Summer Outings – Montsalvat

Nestled in the pretty bushland of Eltham lies the stunning estate of Montsalvat, which was built decades ago (1934) as an artist collective and still is today. I have been there briefly a few months ago, but too late to venture inside, but I have been keen to visit ever since and it was on my smaller bucket list. Recently  I was invited to visit to tour the facilities as I have been booked for an exhibit in the Residents Gallery (in 2018!). So we investigated the gallery I am to use, wonderful atmosphere,  small and intimate; perfect. We then had free rein to wander the grounds, so we did. There was a wedding in progress and I stalked them when they appeared for their photos in the grounds, and we also wandered around the amazing compound, just decrepit enough to be interesting and restored enough not to ruin the dreaminess of this place. There were families and couple enjoying picnics on the grounds and children running everywhere. There was even a peacock or two to stalk as well. With such glorious weather we lingered here for much longer than we probably should have; but it was just so good to be enjoying the sunshine (without it being too hot). I know there is a lot, but trust me this is nothing and I have put the wedding and peacock stalking in their own posts, also the flowers got their own post and I will do one for the statues as well…

~ Julz

Weekend Wanderings – Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens

Recently on a beautiful sunny Spring day we visited the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens, very old gardens near the Melbourne CDB, nestled next to the Yarra River. The sun was shining and there were people everywhere, enjoying this rare stunning Spring day, it was quite warm and felt very summery. There are a LOT of Pics, as I just could not decide which to show.

I had hoped, being Spring that more flowers would be out, but it seems we were a little too late from some and a little too early for others, I did manage to grab a few

There is also another gallery from Guilfoyle’s Volcano, but I might put them in another post. There is even a rare shot of Moth, taking a shot with his new lens.I personally changed my lens several times, started with the 50mm Prime and then switched to Macro and then eventually to the 18-300mm lens. All too soon we had to leave for another function that evening, but it was a very pleasant afternoon, we could easily have spent hours there and may have to go back again.

~ Julz

Monday’s Musings

Welcome back for another week, I had quite a lovely relaxing weekend, spent Saturday wandering around the Melbourne Botanic Gardens with Hubby, we have not been there in years and the few hours we spent were not nearly enough. I was expecting to see more flowers as it is mid Spring, but we were either too late for some and too early for others.


And the warm Spring sunshine made it feel very summery, lots of other people were there enjoying the park and sun as well. Will write up a featured post, once I have gone through all the pics.

We then met up with some friends for a BBQ and Light Painting, another terrific night.


Don’t worry there is lots more pictures to go through and post yet.

I then spent a VERY Windy Sunday in the Studio, just playing and finishing off a new shabby chic table top I have been working on, and just generally playing around. Then had coffee with a friend and that’s the weekend over and done with.

We have horrendous winds yesterday, buffeting pretty much the whole of Melbourne for the day, so I can be somewhat empathetic to all those suffering in Florida at the same time. I hope all my friends in that part of the world………and Melbourne are all OK. Our neighbours lost a huge tree in the front yard, but thankfully no damage to our places nor theirs.

Til next time, I hope you have an enjoyable week…

~ Julz

Manic Mondays

Wow such a great weekend away, but I’m exhausted. We went away down to the Mornington Peninsula again, this time we stayed in a lovely old lodging house in Sorrento. We wandered the back beaches and explored the Sorrento / Portsea area. Then on Saturday night we met other Togs for sunset and a night of astro photography.


Of course the clouds rolled in and and it was a complete bust, but they all learned the basics, and saw the Milky Way briefly, and few got some shots. I really didn’t take images, apart from Sunset: I was way too busy helping everyone else lol.
We then spent Sunday walking and exploring Port Nepean and surrounding area, here is just a few shots off the phone, I’ll do a separate post later in the week.





That’s it for this week, til next time, happy snapping…………………


Wednesday Wanderings – Phillip Island Pt 3

Kitty Miller Bay & SS Speke Ship Wreck

Not far down the coast again from Cape Woolamai (Phillip Island) you will find Kitty Miller Bay, it’s not very well sign posted, but it is worth trying to find it. Again a very picturesque and rugged beach, it is a bit of an effort just to get down to the beach, but there are rock pools with crabs and small fish and interesting things to find. The Surfers all seemed to show up here, despite the dangerous rocky outcroppings, so did the fishermen. If you walk over to the left hand side (more like stumble, part climb and crawl over rocks) you will find a very steep, small track up the side of a steep hill. Please don’t get me wrong I am not the fittest person in the world, but this was a Goat track! Once over the other side of the hill, you will see the wreck of the SS Speke is spread before you (well what’s left of it). It crashed there in 1906 (more info). I did not travel the last few treacherous meters to the bottom (neither did Moth), it looked easy enough to get down, albeit with a broken neck! However I had my 200mm lens so I was content to shoot from up high. Poor Moth carried my backpack and tripod the whole way as well, so I took some more long exposure shots from here as well.

Flynn’s Beach

After our treacherous and exhausting climb to Kitty Miller Bay we headed back into Cowes for lunch and went to a delightful Italian Restaurant (I know, I Know it’s what we always seek out – Blame Moth). We then decided to head back out to see what other wonders we could find. We went to Grossard Point Historical Area, honestly not much there, a really old Grave and some markers, but not much else. The Day before and this morning out at the Cape we passed signs for Flynn’s Beach, we almost didn’t go…surely it was just another surf beach? Especially after our disappointment at Grossard Point, but I said we wont know unless we go. It was beautiful, wide sandy, glistening beaches, wild life and apart from one family playing cricket on the beach, not a soul to be seen. We walked for miles, along this pristine coast, ours were the only foot prints in the sand (apart from birds – the tide had probably washed away all others). There was the remains of a  very old pier some distance along the coast, so we walked out to it for some photos, and then slowly made our way back. We even stopped so I could draw our initials in the sand, I know the waves would reclaim the beach, but romance is not completely lost!

Beach Afterwards we continued along the coast, not much more to tell. Just a few more beaches, but nothing compared to what we had already seen that day.

The next day dawned wet, cold and miserable – it was our last day. There are many things to do at Phillip Island and we certainly did not see them all, even between the 6 of us! But we thought we might try for a few more on the way home. We drove past Amaze ‘n’ things and stopped briefly at The Chocolate Factory (we did not do the tour – very long ques, but we did buy some), we then stopped at Pioneer Bay (mostly swamp and marshes), we then went to Churchill Island (an historical spot and wetlands area), we had a coffee and waited for the weather to clear, but it only got worse. We gave up and went home……we will come back, maybe in the spring. It was a very pretty spot.

– Julz

Weekend Wanderings – Phillip Island Pt 2

Cape Woolamai Day dawned a little chilly and cloudy, but we still decided to head down the Cape. We stopped off first at Woolamai Surf Beach, a beautiful, wild, rugged coastline, we did not see anyone out surfing today, maybe they were still in bed, it was early! Next we drove up the coast a fraction to Cape Woolamai and walked the boardwalk down to the beach. The beaches on this side of the coast are much more picturesque than the Cowes side, with wide sandy beaches, cliffs and rocky outcroppings, full of life and color, with birds and wild life everywhere. We walked out to near where the Pinnacles were, but the walk looked long, treacherous (climbing over rocks) and rain clouds were looming ominously overhead. We chickened out this time (I am not really all that steady on my feet at the best of times and we didn’t have great walking shoes with us – next time). I took some great shots, tried my hand at some more long exposure shots and panning with sea birds. We saw a lot of seagulls, but also Pacific Gulls, Chats, Buff Banded Rail, Silver Gulls and The Cape Baron Goose, alas no Pelicans (more info here).

Pyramid Rock We then drove around the coast a touch more to Pyramid Rock, great huge Pyramid formation, great waves and rocky surrounds and a very easy walk to get to the look out. The sun finally made it appearance and glistened off the waves crashes ashore, very pretty (if not windy). We even spotted a Red Bellied Black Snake, although I fear a bird dropped it, it was not looking very well, but I was not going to stop and render aid – they are highly poisonous!

We then wandered over to Kitty Miller Bay, the S.S Speke Ship Wreck and Flynn’s Beach, but I will save them for next post. – Julz

Weekend Wanderings – Phillip Island Pt 1

I have been trying to finish the edits from my trip to Phillip Island and Cowes over Easter, which has been more of a challenge than usual. Normally I can just sit down and fly straight through them. But this time I am forcing myself to slow down and really go through each shot. Only keeping the really good ones. Now for those who do not know WHERE I am talking about, Phillip Island is off the bottom of Victoria, Australia. Cowes sits on the sheltered side of Phillip Island which is on Bass Straight.

Cowes I seem to be working my way around the coast. A few weeks ago I visited Cape Schanck, just across the bay. I frequently like to sometimes do a little bit of research about an area I visit, but I do not always put it in the post; but I thought this time I would


Originally inhabited by Aboriginals, this area was discovered in 1798 and the whole area was name Western Port (because it is West of Port Jackson), by George Bass (from Bass Straight fame). The area was used by whalers to harvest the seals frequenting the Island and around the Nobbies, sad but true! in 1842 the McHaffie Brothers took a lease of the whole island to graze sheep and apparently set fire to the island to clear the land! Eventually it was then subdivided and used for settlement, but it was very harsh climate and water is difficult to find. The first pub in Phillip Island was in 1870 and the Tourist industry started not long after approx1880s and the Guest House Industry was born here. Original guests went to the South side of the Island to watch the Mutton Birds, and was then overtaken by the  Penguin Parade around 1920s. The first car ferry from the mainland is 1933 and the first bridge in 1940s. Motor Car and Motorbike racing started here in the late 1920s and was very popular, as was the swimming, surfing and strawberry farms; MotoGP is still ran here!  You can read more on it’s history here.

Cowes Beach & Esplanade

We stayed in a Guest House (Holiday house) with 4 other people, who we hadn’t stayed with before…just to make it interesting Moth and I ended up with Bunk Beds! Anyway we did our own thing during the day and then met up for BBQ Dinner, drinks and a catch up on where everyone had been and where they were going next, in the evenings. We were staying right on Cowes Beach,  which is a fairly quiet beach, safe beach unlike the surf beaches down on the Cape, Grant Point Etc. We spent the afternoon wandering up and down the beach and along the Esplanade. Cowes is like so many other tourist town, only one real main street, with lots of restaurants and cafes, nick knack shops and souvenirs. The Main Esplanade was full of Easter tourist, the businesses all making the most of the last summer traffic they will see until the spring/summer months brings better weather. Being on Bass Straight the weather is cooler and the wind blows, a lot. It is not a very pretty beach (in my opinion) lots of rock, very little sand and more grassed hilly areas than actual beach. But there were a lot of people playing in the water and the sand, fishing off the rocks and pier.

Point Grant, Penguins and The Nobbies

Home of the Penguin Parade, Pyramid Rock and The Nobbies (so named for their shape) and Point Grant. We headed down there later in the afternoon, as we had booked tickets for the Parade. Parking at The Nobbies Center is at a premium, with so many tourists, even this late in the day. It was very dark, cloudy, windy, cold and had just started to rain. We walked the Boardwalk down the the Nobbies and back up to the visitor center. Seal Rocks is down on the Nobbies, but without binoculars there is little to see. We then headed over to where they hold the Penguin Parade. This is actually a public beach which they close off 2 hours before sunset and then it becomes a tourist attraction. We took our seats in the big concrete amphitheater and waited for sunset. The weather had improved slightly by then and it wasn’t as cold. The Penguins spend the day at sea, fishing and then return to their burrows at night. In groups they waddle up the beach and to their burrows……quite the sight. We are not allowed to take any photos so the first 3 are courtesy of Google Images, the rest we took during the day (we went back the next day for a quick trip)

Stayed tuned for next week’s Part 2 – Cape Woolamai, The Pinnacles and Pyramid Rock.

– Julz

– Julz