Summer Land Camels

If you haven’t visited Summer Land Camels, then you have missed not only a wonderful day out, but also, a highly entertaining experience.

The farm is the 3rd largest in the world. Around 600 camels are on site and another 300 off site. That’s a lot of camels! And yet, look at the beautiful mum above, so happy and proud of her baby. Yes I can confirm, the camels are all happy and well looked after.

We were so lucky to hear from Jeff Flood who gave the most interesting history of how he ended setting up the farm. If you have the opportunity to talk to him, you should, and listen. Love hearing how something came about being, it gives you so much more perspective! We were then treated to a behind the scenes tour, with his son Corey, who was very informative and happy to answer questions. Big thank you to both and all staff who were relaxed, helpful and friendly,

The cafe and shop is located in the awesome old renovated Queenslander above. Love the wrap around verandah giving you the most incredible uninterrupted views across this gorgeous part of the Scenic Rim.So how about a few facts.

Firstly, Camels do not spit, they do not stink, they do not have top teeth, and, apparently, they are not grumpy! But camels also have the solving iq of a 6 year old human equivalent, just keep that in mind. I mean we all know how cunning our little humans can be!

Why are camels simply amazing animals? Many reasons. They have the best wool, their milk is second only to human milk, mix them with normal farm stock in dry conditions and your cattle and sheep will not lose condition. Plus, they rarely become ill. Worms are their biggest problem, but, if wormed regularly, even ticks don’t appear to affect them. Seriously, how special are these incredible creatures?.No those guys are not deceased, they are simply chilling and enjoying an afternoon nap. And yet they look somewhat like a camel puzzle! I do wonder how comfortable it can possibly be to sleep like this, however, they obviously find it to their liking.

In the middle of January, they are still losing their winter wool, with awesome shiny coats showing through. The tufts on their neck were really cool up close, set at regular intervals, totally different to a horses mane, it looks like someone has threaded those little tufts by hand. And then there are the beards underneath the neck. They are quite cute. Their life span? About 50 years.

We were so lucky to be allowed into the paddock with youngsters. After curiously checking out the invading humans and their camera gear, some turned their backs. Not sure if this was the ostrich approach of if I cannot see you, you are not there, or they were simply regrouping to decide on the next strategy. Whatever it was, still kinda cute!

Check out the wool on this baby! Oh and guess who this was?? It was my little mate Marvin from the Sandgate Jingle on the Bay. You may remember that article from a few weeks ago. He was the little man who was quite vocal in his displeasure at being separated from his home. We found out, Marvin was bottle fed and has a little mate Ella who is so bottle fed. The two are very close. When Marvin left to travel to the other side of Brisbane and be a star in the parade, little Ella missed him. She was more than delighted when Marvin arrived home.The Scenic Rim is simply stunning. With the farm location, you are on the edge of this beautiful part of Australia. If I was a camel, this paddock with a stunning outlook, would be my pick. I’m not sure they notice, but pretty sure I would!

We have so much to learn from these incredible animals, seriously these guys are very relaxed and cool. Make sure you go check them out some time. Visit the cafe, check out the retail shop, try a camel milk gelato, purchase some feta or milk to take home. Or, just have a coffee and chill on the balcony, whilst you watch the majestic camels beyond. Oh, and listen. The noise they make is awesome, very chilled, laid back, almost lazy, yet enough to make you know they have an opinion.

I for one, will now be adding this to the list of where to take our visitors when they stay. Go and check it out. Hope there are plenty of babies when you go, they are simply, too cute! Might see you there!

Emporium Hotel – South Bank, Brisbane

Before you enter the glittering building itself, your eyes are drawn to the spectacular display of colour inside the Emporium. Add to this the sparkling Christmas decorations at the time, and you could not possibly walk by without even a glance.

Upon entering you are met with a friendly greeting from concierge as well as a building oozing in sparkling, reflective finishes. Not only can you stay in this hotel, you could also buy an apartment and reside here, permanently. But today, was for a Christmas event, held in The Terrace bar on the 21st floor.

To visit the bar, ride the lift from the ground floor up to the 21st floor. The lifts continue the sensory overload theme of this hotel. Beneath your feet and on the walls, constantly changing scenes light up your ride.The trip to the terrace is worth it. A massive bar dominates the back wall of the room, overlooked by a moving canvas of neon. The glittering ceiling rolls back to reveal a glass roof, giving an added air of space to the area.Even the floor moves, with lighting continually changing from square to square.There is a constant wow factor here. Just as you are focusing on one area, something else lights up and catches your eye. But there is one overwhelmingly beautiful view which is most definitely the cherry on the top for this impressive building.Brisbane comes to life beneath the balcony, with breathtaking views across Southbank, Brisbane river to the city and beyond. Personally, I could spend hours here, just watching the living, breathing city, going about its day to day business.Sunset is always impressive, however 21 floors up with a totally uninterrupted view of our wonderful city (yes I may be biased here, but seriously, Brisbane is pretty cool!), it is simply stunning.

You cannot access the pool area, unless you are staying on premises, however, imagine lounging around this infinity pool with a sprawling Brisbane City laid out before you. It’s pretty hard to find such an uninterrupted view anywhere.Parking is available directly beneath this complex, or in the nearby Southbank car park. However, if you would like to come sit, wile away some time over lunch, dinner, or enjoy a catch up drink with friends, then try the train. The hotel is built into the platform of the South Bank train station, really, how much more convenient do you want!

Impress your visitors as you stop by here for one of Brisbane’s most incredible vistas. It will be pretty hard to find someone who finds this view blasé. Or, book in and treat yourself to weekend of indulgence. With all of South Bank on the doorstep, this area has a lot to offer!

Destination – Gold Coast. What to do during your stay!

When you reside in South East Queensland, the Glitter Strip that is the Gold Coast, or the Goldie as it is often affectionately referred to by locals, is right on your doorstep. Funnily enough, when something is right on your doorstep, you often overlook it in favour of destinations further from home.

Highrises tower over sand, surf and myriad of city streets. Here the limit is, imagination, pure and simple.

Recently having enjoyed a brief overnight stay at Surfers Paradise, it was a delight to spend some time wandering our little area and visiting a few local businesses. Our accommodation for the night, was Novotel Surfers Paradise. Not the first stay here and definitely wont be the last.

This trip was to serve two purposes, one for a function, the other to catch up with lifetime mate and spend some girl time alone for the first time in about 16 years. Both purposes were fulfilled beautifully,

With a balcony giving a view of the sea and beach, Novotel Surfers Paradise, really is a pleasant place to wile away some time as you relax into that holiday (albeit brief) mode. Our room had been renovated, was clean, tidy with plenty of room to move. That balcony is just an awesome added extra bonus!

Staff were fantastic, throughout the establishment, from reception to cleaning and everything in between. Very welcoming and helpful. The only meal we had at the hotel was breakfast, but, the choice at the buffet is superb. Add to that a helpful chef who can whip you up an omelette or eggs of your choice. Yum, great way to start your day.

Even though the weather wasn’t that great we did head out for lunch on the first day. After a bit of retail therapy, what could be nicer than a balcony lunch overlooking the flame trees in full flower, with a lot of potential for simply watching the world go by. We found this ideal spot at Hard Rock Cafe. Located on the same block as the hotel, we arrived there by meandering through some interesting shops between the Novotel and Hard Rock. Ok so we didn’t go far, but in our defence, there was a lot to see, I mean a lot!

Again the service was superb, with meals coming out quite quickly. The Nacho meal was huge and I certainly enjoyed the fish n chips, awesome food, great company and a lovely atmosphere.

There’s plenty to see at this venue too, with walls seeping music history for your perusal. Loved the Christmas tree set up, great tribute to Guns N Roses.

Part of the reason for this trip was to visit a small function at the iconic Island hotel. With a renovated function, open bar area on the rooftop, it was interesting venue to visit. The Island is one of the original hotels for Surfers Paradise, now renovated, whilst still maintaining some of the history from years gone by. We were treated to a very brief sunset, which looked incredible from the function room we were in. Would recommend paying The Island a visit whilst you’re exploring Surfers, theres a great bar and restaurant downstairs, plus those renovated rooms are apparently quite a sweet place to stay.

Our exploring included a test of a couple of chocolate places, one each day of course… Our favourite between Max Brenner & San Churro, was the latter, on this occasion.Remnants of the 2018 Commonwealth Games remain around Surfers, with Borobi smiling happily at tourists and locals alike, inviting you to take a posing photo.

We finished our exploration of this small part of the Gold Coast, with a lunch at Helm Bar. The large sprawling complex caters for your needs and is conveniently located alongside one of the canals, meandering its way through Surfers. Even on a dull, overcast day, there is still plenty to see across the water, with the big floor to ceiling windows allowing a great view. Here we encountered helpful, friendly staff and a menu with plenty to choose from.This superb platter we shared was a credit to the Chef. Awesome finish to our short little break.

There is simply not enough room to cover everything we saw and experienced. However, set Gold Coast as a destination for your break, either short or long stay. You certainly will not be bored!

Further photos and brief stories, posted on Dine Live Travel’s Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Stellar. Follow Dine Live Travel to enjoy future visits to the Gold Coast!

Christmas in Sandgate – Jingle All the Bay

Following an invitation from Sandgate Chamber of Commerce, I visited the annual Sandgate Jingle all the Bay Christmas parade and street party. This free event is organised by some hardworking volunteers, from the Sandgate Chamber of Commerce.Even the dull skies and threatening rain could not dampen the spirits of those who attended. Totally awesome to see so many families enjoying an evening out, perusing the many stalls, dining from the food vans and enjoying the entertainment on offer.

What a wonderful assault on the senses! The air was filled with the sounds of music, machines and laughter, all competing against the chatter of flocks of bird life, eagerly gathering for their usual dusk meal and daily catch up. The smell of many different foods, wafted through the air, enticing hungry patrons to eat their fill.

A big hit with young and old alike, was the baby animal nursery. All were so cute, very friendly and active, but one little man stole the show. Marvin, the 5 month old baby camel.Marvin was more than happy to voice his disapproval at what he perceived to be a delay in the arrival of his dinner. Whilst his milk was warmed and feed prepared, Marvin took great delight in loudly proclaiming how hungry he was.

Vintage cars drew many looks and comments. These old girls were part of the parade too. Lovely chatting to the proud owners and hearing the history. For instance the Chevy Ute at the back of the photo above, had refurbished timber from different structures around Brisbane. This old Ute had been in the same family since 1926, with the original registration papers still kept. The back of the cab was made with timber from one of the old city swimming pools.

All aboard the express! Families rode in the train as it traversed the street. Others climbed the rock wall, bounced on the bouncy castle, took a spin in a spinning cup or found something amongst the many stalls to keep them amused until the Christmas parade began at 7pm.

The happy crowd enjoyed some free handouts from local businesses, including the water donated by Cafe63, show bags from the doctors and Chemist Warehouse. Friends caught up, whilst strangers traded happy remarks. It was truely wonderful to see so much community spirit come to the fore.

Much to great delight of the children, parade time came round, hearlding the arrival of the jolly fellow in red, Santa Claus himself. Full of wide eyes and excitment, the children proved Santas arrival was the icing on the top of truely enjoyable evening.

Animals, vehicles, people and even a longboat, paraded down the street in front of everyone. Bringing up the rear was a young lady, covered in a string of lights, who showed her impressive poweress on a bar across the back of a ute.If you missed this years event, be sure to keep an eye out for details next year. I’m told the crowd attendance well exceeded last year, proving the popularity of this community street party.

To all those volunteers who worked, businesses who participated and donated, to bring this enjoyable event to the local community, you should give yourselves a well deserved pat on the back!

The success of the evening is proof you are doing great work.

Sugar Republic

This pop up sweet experience, teases those childhood memories. Spend your allotted time traversing down memory lane, whilst tasting some of those sweet delights we used to enjoy!

Now finished in Brisbane, its time for Sydney siders to indulge in this sweet experience after opening date, 10 February 2019. After ending its run in Sydney, Sugar Republic will be return to Melbourne, where it first began.

From the time you enter, there are activities to do as well as some sugary delights on offer. Tickets are purchased online, with and hour to an hour and a half a good time allowance for meandering through.

Start by spinning the wheel and see what your prize is, bounce on the trampoline with balloons, jump out of a huge cake, be the shopkeeper at your own lolly shop or release your inner child as you flail around in the massive ball pit. Swing in front of the wall of sugar, but forget to taste test! A scoop of ice cream here, candyfloss there, perhaps some whizz fizz, who knows what delights are going to await you behind the scenes!

Sydney and Melbourne are lucky to have some new interactive experiences which have been added in. This instagramable pop up delight looks to be growing as it moves around! Opening date for Sydney is 10 February 2019.

Taking photos is encouraged here, just be sure to follow and hashtag #sugarrepublic to show off your sweet snaps,

Would we go again? Probably not, only because. I feel this experience is one of those one off, something different activities. Once you’ve been, experienced and indulged, I don’t think you will feel the need to revisit.

On that note, remember to take those snaps, tickle the tastebuds and enjoy the outing!

Jenolan Caves to Brisbane, via Dubbo

Whenever you go away, there comes that inevitable time, to head home. After our drive to Bathurst, we eventually needed to return to Brisbane. Dubbo is a short drive, of under 4 hours from Jenolan Caves.

Heading through all sorts of changing landscapes, we could be forgiven for thinking we had ended up in the wrong country! But, through Wellington we went, as we headed to Dubbo.

We had a late start on this day, only due to an unexpected breakfast delay. This meant the planned stop was shortened to 10 minute breaks a rest area. Interesting to pass through Orange and many other country areas. Each unique in their own way. Orange itself a lot more spread out than I had imagined.

After lunch, we arrived in Dubbo where we stopped by the Zoo. On this occasion we personally didn’t do the rounds of the zoo, choosing instead to settle in for a bite to eat at the cafe. Quite an interesting spot to sit, while you watch the monkeys on their nearby island, and view the bird life just casually, swimming or strolling around the area. One of these was this magnificent peacock.Not too concerned about visitors, he was happy to meander around the tables, checking to see what might be on offer before heading out to the wide open space for a bit of lunch.Monkeys are always fascinating to watch. They don’t stop, constantly moving around their island, interacting, playing, just generally entertaining the public. You could easily wile away the hours out the front of the cafe, relaxing and receiving the free entertainment on offer.

Should you decide to go into the zoo, which if you havent done, you should, then dont forget you can take your own vehicle round or hire one of the golf buggies. Great idea if you are short on time or simply not really up to the walk.

With a lot of accommodation choices on offer, it can be hard to decide where to stay. On this occasion we were booked into the Abel Tasman Motor Inn which is conveniently located near the zoo, and even more conveniently located across the road from Club Dubbo. Awesome venue if you’re after some hearty bistro meal, quiet drink or even a dabble on the pokies. Great way to finish the day!The following day, was a short drive to Narrabri. However, after passing through Gilgandra, we headed up to Siding Spring observatory at Coonabarabran, for an informative experience, before continuing on to Narrabri.

Once you leave the main road to head up to the observatory, the road is rougher in places and a little isolated. Still fine for cars plus the diversion is well worth it, when you can view with you own eyes, not only a stunning view, but Australia’s biggest telescope.Housed inside the huge white 6 storey high dome, you can see from miles away, the telescope is quite fascinating.

Theres a cafe on site, plus a gallery costing a mere couple of dollars to enter, which gives some amazing history on the universe and this entire set up. Check out the weights of those milk cartons throughout the universe! It’s incredibly addictive!

Now stick your head through the gap and become a part of the universe…

The vistas from here are amazing. Looking out over the Warrumbungle National Park is quite heartstopping. For as far as the eye can see theres an incredible array of Australian trees, rocks and infamous red dirt. If you haven’t dropped in here in the past (as we hadn’t), then I strongly suggest you take the time to stop in. We had storm clouds rolling in and yet the scenery was still breathtaking. In some way, those storm clouds really fitted into the area, giving a subdued moody look.Keep your eyes peeled too, there are some totally awesome art creations as you head up the short hill to the observatory.

Our last overnight stop was Narrabri. Totally surprising to find we were booked in to a very unique hotel, named the Crossroads Hotel. Looking pretty slick with a modernised look, the rooms surprised, not only in spaciousness, but in the clean modern feel.

But, the icing on the cake, well there were a couple of things. Check out the in house bowling alley, how cool is this!Not only a two lane bowling alley, there are video games, machines and your own bar. Sweet!!

Or perhaps you just want to chill in the tasteful garden area,Another option, book a private room if you have a group. That way you can all eat together, or just sit back and have a conversation away from the general public. Whatever you choose, this country hotel is ready to provide. Enjoy!

Our last stop on the final day, was the truck stop in Goondiwindi. What a hearty lunch for only $12, and this was the small plate! No cooking when we get home!

Thank you for joining me on this road trip, it was truely enjoyable and so interesting to see a bit more of this massive continent we live in. Cheers!

Brisbane Convoy for Kids

After 9 years, Brisbane’s convoy for kids has really started to make its mark on Queensland’s Calendar. Raising a gobsmacking 25 million in the first 8 years, this charity has started from humble beginnings to now become a much looked forward to event.

This year 547 trucks joined the convoy from Brisbane’s Forest Lake on the Southside to Redcliffe Showgrounds on the Northside of Brisbane. That’s not just 547 trucks, there were the drivers, their support crews, employers and families.

Truckies finish off an already full work week, polishing and cleaning their rigs ready for the convoy. Some working into the night to bring out every last bit of shine possible.Barnes Auto Co were one of the companies to send a number of trucks, their total was 8. Assisting a little with the clean up, I then rode along on the convoy.

The day was to prove interesting, exciting and, in places, humorous. Although I’m left wondering if the truckie, who whilst sitting waiting in his truck, amongst the many rows of rigs for the event to start, announced over the radio he was going to order Uber eats, would have ever received his meal! Certainly gave us all a laugh!

What an incredibly heartwarming experience the day was. Everywhere the public could, they lined the streets and sought vantage points to view this incredible spectacle. Cheering, waving and clapping those trucks and their drivers on.

Parents were showing the little ones how to pump their arms so the drivers would pull on those air horns. Kids faces were lit up with the sheer glory of seeing this rumbling, honking mass of sparkling steel on wheels bypass them.

Listening to drivers talking on their radios, we heard some saying how they were blown away with the sight of so many people supporting them in the cause they in turn were supporting. It was incredible.

More so when we live in a time and age where so many run the trucking industry down. And yet, here were these hardworking guys, giving up what for most of them was a precious weekend day off, to support this worthy cause and becoming the heroes of the day. Many had their own families along, with a number of excited kids happy to be riding in their parents rig.

The Showgrounds was a place of wonderment for the kids. There was a petting zoo, rides, big sandpit, all of which were free for those children today, as well as an array of food and general purchase choices. Around every corner there was something different, even displays by the Pine Rivers historical society..Many companies had donated goods to the auction. Some going for a very cheap price compared to their actual worth. However all funds were donated to the kids. Today was all about preserving our future.

The logistics behind the successful organisation of this event, would be the result of hard work and effort. Not an easy job. This year the increase in the trucks from just over 400 for 2017 made it harder for everyone to co-ordinate. Many trucks had left the Showgrounds by the time the trophy ceremony began in early evening. Only because those drivers had completed a long couple of days and needed to have those trucks safely back in yards for the night. Some would be preparing for a new work day,

I believe everyone involved from organisers to sponsors, participants, families, supporters, employers, employees and simply anyone who gave a piece of themselves or something to this event deserves a big thank you. It is truely an impressive day for a wonderful cause.

See you there next year!

For more on Brisbane and surrounds check:

https://snaptravelblog.com/brisbane-city-hall-clock-tower-tour/

What to expect on your road Trip – Brisbane to Oberon NSW (Bathurst)

When reside in, or visit Australia, road tripping is mandatory. It can be a mere hour, or days from point A to point B. With 6 States, all differing in what they have to offer, this huge continent filled with everything from red dirt and desert, to rain forests and snow, has so much to offer, more of which you will see when you road trip.

We started our trip in Brisbane, heading through the Great Dividing Range to our first stop Stanthorpe. Even this sector has a myriad of landscape changes. Red dirt proudly dominating cliff faces through Cunningham’s Gap, whilst rich newly turned soil amongst green pasture, leads to a long flat vista, ending in a mere handful of hills.Road tripping requires frequent breaks. Our trip had been split into roughly 2 hour driving sectors with a stop at iconic Australian towns along the way.

After leaving the horticultural area of Stanthorpe, we headed over the border into NSW. I didn’t take any photos, but simply have to note, Tenterfield is an incredibly pretty area. With tree lined main road, and gorgeous buildings, it really is very appealing to the eye. Our goal for stopping tonight was in Tamworth. Prior to this though, we had a couple of breaks along the way.

Next stop, Glenn Innes. A township and surrounding area, originally owned by the Ngarabal people, marking the intersecting New England and Gwydir Highways. Glenn Innes has a population at last census, of around 6 000, with some beautiful heritage styled buildings throughout the township. Watch out along the roads you travel, just never know what might be around the next corner!120kms after Glenn Innes, we stopped briefly in the township of Uralla. The local Anaiwan people’s dialect was where the European Settlers derived the name for the town. Meaning Meeting Place, Uralla is located at the meeting of the New England highway and the historic Thunderbolt Way.

Captain Thunderbolt (aka Frederick Wordsworth Ward), was the last of the NSW bushrangers , who during the 1860’s, ruled the highways and byways of this New England high country and surrounding areas. Again, the history behind this area is fascinating, much to learn!

Our final stop for the first night was Tamworth. And yes, I wasnt visiting here without stopping at the iconic Golden Guitar!Our overnight stay at the Golf Links Motel, was clean and comfortable. Located a short stroll from the Golf Course, our band of weary travellers was pleased to head up to the Golf Clubs “The View” restaurant, where we enjoyed hearty meals, good service, and a relaxing drink.

Next morning, after a visit to the Golden Guitar, we left the sprawling city of Tamworth, an area seeped in country history, which is also the major regional centre of this New England area, and headed towards Scone. Here, the delightfully detailed Gabriel Sterk bronze mare and foal sculpture commemorating horses and their considerable contribution to history, graces local Elizabeth park. At an original cost of $65 000.00, the sculpture is now fixed to a 6 tonne foundation, after the first prototype was stolen. Wonnarua & Gamilaroi People were the first in this area, with Scone being named after Scone in Scotland, by Jason Kent Toth in 1831.

Landscapes had been ever changing on our road trip, and we had seen so much dry in the surrounding areas, but the worst part of the drought was sill to come.

Merriwa was out next brief stop. Fascinating to see this group practicing their moves on horse back. Not sure what they were training for, but, it certainly brightened an otherwise overcast, dull day. This charming little rural township, is located in the upper reaches of the Hunter Valley. The rural feel, is definitely fighting the history for dominance. Unfortunately the rest of our journey was still ahead. Next stop, Mudgee.

Now the true extent of the drought in the area, was laid bare. So much of this area was bare soil, too dry for grass to even grow. We were grateful to endure the wet conditions, knowing it was helping these farmers in need.

You could literally see the line between drought and rich viticulture/horticulture area. Not long after this we were surrounded by the lushness of Mudgee, sporting vineyards, orchards and looking prosperous.

Mudgee’s development has been into a wine growing region, and is also heavily dependant on the local mines. Many boutique wineries offer their chosen varietals to the interested wine taster. If only there had been time for a few visits! But, today was a quick stop for lunch before heading to our final stop Oberon.

And what better way to fill the belly than with a stop at Kelly’s Irish Pub for some homestyle hearty meals.

As you continue on the road to Oberon, Wallerawang boasts a huge reservoir, which is part of the local power station. Reasonably new on the Australian map, Wallerawang only came to be in the 1950’s when the power station was under construction. The Wiradjuri name for the town means “place near wood or water’.

A short 45 minutes from Wallerawang, and you arrive in Oberon. My previous article, covers Oberon, Bathurst 1000 and the surrounding area. I hope you’ve enjoyed this road trip as much as we did!

Go to https://snaptravelblog.com/how-to-hire-a-brisbane-citycycle/ for your insight in Brisbane City Cycles.

Oberon, NSW

Oberon is a delightful area, a couple of hours West of Sydney, and close enough to Bathurst’s famous Mt Panorama, for the rev heads. Our group was fortunate enough to stay in Oberon, taking over a huge house, Frogspark, for the duration of the big Bathurst race. Location wise, it was superb!

At Frogspark, you could head off for the day, down the tree lined driveway, immerse yourself in the local area, including the delightful Mayfield Gardens or the local Saturday Farmers market, then drift back to the beautifully secluded property for some well earned R & R.

Sleeping up to about 16, Frogspark is well equipped to handle a large group, even providing a pool table and bar area downstairs. Add in the 3 bedrooms and full bathroom also downstairs, additional to the main house above, and you have an awesome space.

But its the wildlife that will keep on giving you that country feel. We had a kangaroo bouncing past the house, a fox at the end of nearby driveway, with visitors to the house including cats and birds.

There’s plenty of room in the house for everyone to spread out. The huge hewn timber dining room table makes for an awesome central hub for everyone. Comforts of home are provided here, including a wonderful welcome basket containing some treats, left for us from our hosts.

Drive the local country roads and explore the area. There’s a lot to see and do here, with Oberon making a very good base for your explorations. The township itself has everything you need for your stay. The local IGA caters for the grocery needs, a selection of shops including cafes, clothes, bakery etc, also line the Main Street.

We can highly recommend DJ’s cafe if you are looking for a tasty hearty meal, served quickly and efficiently. Great way to start the day! Scenic world, Jenolan Caves, Bathurst, all are within an easy 30-45 minute drive from this location. Next time you’re heading this way, consider Oberon as your central point, and definitely check if Frogspark is available!

Jenolan Caves, NSW

Picturesque, depicting a bygone era, Jenolan Caves House is one of Australia’s historic relics. Maintenance plus considerable changes over past years, has kept this interesting building retaining its grandeur from the early days as well as remaining modernly functional. Originally designed and built n 1897, this “wilderness” resort was designed with high society Sydney siders in mind. They would travel out here for rest, relaxation and to rub shoulders with the elite of their era.

This building replaced the privately owned small original accommodation which was ravaged by fire. Unfortunately the owner at the time, Jeremiah Wilson, could not afford to replace, which resulted in the NSW government resuming the land, employing English architect Walter Vernon to design and construct a wilderness retreat for the elite.

Ceiling heights within are huge, chandeliers and antique lighting still hang in some places, stairs take you to many nooks and crannies, with lounges dotted closely around the building. Between our room and the lift, there were two original decor lounges. You can visualise socialites in their finery, stopping to rest and converse in these lounges. Maybe discussing the events of the day, perhaps forming ideas on the expected progression of the state of NSW or Australia itself.To cater for the financially elite of society, The Caves House featured a grand dining room, billiards and a coffee room. Built using limestone from the nearby caves complex, the first stage of this building cost the NSW government at the time 30 000 pounds. Today this would equate in excess of 4 million dollars.

Located in a gully, close to to the Grand Archway of the main caves complex, the hills behind rise up to around 1700ft above the buildings.

The caves complex is an incredible mix of limestone caves, formed centuries ago. Aborigines found the caves, prior to the Europeans who first discovered the area in 1838. The entrance on each side of the caves complex is impressively huge. There are a number of different caves within. Some require higher levels of fitness, whilst others may only have a moderate few hundred steps included in the tour.

We chose the Imperial Cave tour on this day. One of the options of this tour is an additional 66 steps down and then back up again. I should probably mention these steps for the main part are steep and narrow. But, to do so, is well worth while. Check out the incredibly clear water flowing through the bottom of the cave.You can drink this water, there are taps around the shop and complex where you can fill our water bottle with this clear, natural H2O. Guides on the tours are informative, have a sense of humour and are ready to reply to any question you may have.

Natural rock formations are incredible. They change throughout every cave.

Should you be visiting the Blue Mountains of NSW, you need to include a nights stopover here and give yourself time to immerse your soul in the grandeur as well as the incredible wow factor of the area. Don’t forget to enjoy a pre dinner drink in the bar, as well as dinner in the grand dining room. It’s all part of the experience and very worthwhile.

If you haven’t yet visited, I highly recommend you do so. It can be incredible what experiences nature has provided on our own door step, don’t ignore it.

More photos are displayed on facebook/dinelivetravel, instagram/dinelivetravel as well as other platforms. Enjoy your caves experience, it is quite soul reviving.