The Pig Yard

Pig Yard @ Brisbane - November 2005

The final part of our holiday started with a flight into Brisbane airport where we were going to stay with our good friends Ian & Sue. Sue met us on time and she whisked us off to their house which is an hours drive north of Brisbane. They live an idyllic situation on a forty acre plot with donkeys, dogs and a welter of wildlife all around the house.

Our first morning was an early start to go Platypus searching in a local creek. Tom, a local character, knew exactly where to look and although we caught some glimpses of these very shy creatures there wasn't an opportunity to get a photograph.


Brisbane city has so much going for it. Apart from the commercial and shopping areas there are some wonderful parks and Jane is swimming in an open air swimming pool which has a beach and is right next to the river. The city is generally clean and parking is not a problem, if only British cities could follow Brisbane's example.

To get between some of the areas of the city and the suburbs  people use the WaterCats. These are catamarans which are very fast and stop every quarter mile or so along the river. We took an evening trip down the river to take in the atmosphere. The skyline is very impressive.

Whilst out on the water we were fascinated by the fruit bats flying across the river as the sun set - it was like something out of batman.


The day we spent in the city was rounded off by a visit to an Irish theme pub (they get everywhere) to listen to live music. The girl was excellent and her choice of cover songs was really good. Her opening number was one of our favourite Tracy Chapman songs.

There were a couple of guys at the next table who were particularly annoying because they were talking very loudly, not listening to the music and then each time she finished they clapped - why were they clapping because they hadn't listened at all?

Feeding time on the decking at the house takes on a whole new perspective when a scrub turkey turns up. We were amazed by the colours of the birds turning up - lorikeets, king parrots, sulphur crested cockatoos and others like pigeons or Australian magpies which although not so colourful were still different to the regular birds we are used to in the U.K.

What has to be a highlight of our last week in Australia was the walk along a gorge. We walked down into the gorge appropriately dressed in swim suits, a top layer and life jackets. We walked along a path until it ran out and then we had to swim along the gorge until we could climb out then walk a little further.

There was always a risk of collecting ticks or leeches as we walked as well as keeping an eye out for snakes and spiders. Despite these risks it was amazing to be floating on our backs looking directly up towards the top of the gorge at least 100 metres above us.

The picture shows us standing by Ian's Nissan Patrol, ready for the expedition but unfortunately we couldn't take our camera or camcorder because they would've got soaked as we swam the deep, dark pools. At the end of the event we felt a great sense of achievement even though we were soaking wet and just a little cold.

The Glasshouse mountains are volcanic plugs that stand above the flat surrounding plain. They were first seen by Captain Cook from his ship, he thought they looked like glasshouses, hence the name. Steve didn't share Cook's imagination and couldn't see a glasshouse in any of the shapes. Our walk to the top of our chosen mountain was quite tough but there was a breeze to keep us cool on the way up.
The donkeys roam the sloping area of Ian & Sue's plot disappearing for hours at a time but are always there when food is in the offing.

Not only do they keep the grass down they also manure certain areas. The best composters you could wish for.

They are very happy in this perfect life.

Down at the dam looking up towards the house first thing in the morning you wonder if this might be considered heaven on earth.

This picture was taken on our last morning and it was quite a wrench to leave it all behind and return to cold, damp and dismal England.

The happy family, or at least most of them - Rupert the collie, Sue, Ian and Ben. Absent from the picture are Panda the old English sheepdog, Dinny and Susie the donkeys not forgetting Matthew, Ian and Sue's recently graduated eldest.

Melbourne & Tasmania

Hunter Valley

Port Douglas