Location: Manning Valley
Date: February 2011

February 27, 2011. Here I yam! Just made it in time before February disappears. Yesterday, I'd planned to visit Mondrook just outside Tinonee on Tinonee Rd, not far west of Taree. There was an artisans working display at the Artisans Retreat and Gallery. But I ran outta time and postphoned it until today. Silly me. The 2-day exhibition was Friday and Saturday, and today is Sunday, so I missed out.

In any case, I went to the wrong place. There's an arts and crafts place directly opposite Artisans Retreat, so I drove in there and parked in the wrong spot. Quick as a flash, the owner arrived at my driver's side door and told me to park somewhere else. But that was cool cos he spotted the camera and said, "You've got a good camera, would you like to take a photo of a koala?" I followed him to a couple of gum trees and he eventually pointed at a juvenile parked in a forked branch. Next thing I knew, a couple of tourists, including a young Japanese girl, had joined me, doing all the "isn't it gorgeous!" and "oh, how lovely!" things that tourists do.

But the damn thing refused to pose. It just sat there with its back to us, facing away from our cameras. So the owner shouted a few obscenities (just kidding) and banged the tree trunk, and eventually the koala turned around to see what all the commotion was about. It wasn't amused, so all it did was stick its tongue out as if to say, "go and find your own bloody tree".

Well, here I am at 66 and that's the first time I've seen a koala in the wild (not that Mondrook is all that wild... but it is natural bushland), let alone been able to photograph one. Now I can die in peace.

So then I wandered over to Artisans Retreat to discover that I'd missed the working exhibition, but the owner was very friendly and pleasant and showed me around. And by the way, Bluey ran like a dream. She's not a bad old girl ya know. Oh... and make sure you "spot the croc". Click here for the photo album.

February 6, 2011. Well, this is not the Manning or anywhere near here, rather it's a bunch of pics I downloaded from the net of tropical cyclone Yasi which hit far north Queensland a few days ago. Click here for the photo album.


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