There were a number of plans. Originally we were going to spend a couple of days in Canberra to do the museums and galleries. An alternative was to spend a few civilised days in Noosa. Then one of the myriad online stalking systems made us an offer we couldn’t refuse: a brief trip to the Gold Coast for less than the price of a large night out.
For my European friends, Gold Coast probably evokes images of miles of unspoiled beaches, tropical palms and cocktails in the sun. Well, it’s sometimes like that, in parts. Most of it is more like Mallorca – night clubs, cheap food, cheaper beer and young people behaving badly. That describes Broadbeach, the up-market end. We’re in Surfer’s Paradise which is, shall we say, the more exuberant, less costly end of town. A bloke had his ear bitten off outside a club last night. This is a normal thing here.
Anyway. Weather. This is Queensland in summer in a moderate year. So. Rain. It’s currently pissing down. Also, cold. It’s about 27°C today. Tropical paradise it is not. Still, it’s a truly world-class beach, the locals are friendly, the beer is excellent and it’s an hour’s drive home.
This post is not about any of that.
We took a slightly indirect route here so we could have another look around Tambourine Mountain. The ecology is truly fantastic. It’s a tropical rainforest at 450m elevation. We took pictures.
We really do live in the most beautiful place in the world.
The throbbing metropolis of Rotorua on a kicking Monday night.
We saw more birds than people on the walk to the pub.
Keep it real, Rotorua.
Dozens of red-billed gulls and pied cormorants are nesting on a tiny islet a few meters from the shore at Sulphur Point in Rotorua.
The wind was offshore, bringing the hellish stench of Satan’s flatulence from the geothermal features to the South. There used to be mineral baths here, with a full-time attendant to pull people from the pools when they became unconscious from the fumes.
They though this was healthy and good for them.
Final Wingstroke on Landing
A Red-biiled gull chases a Black-backed gull. The Black-backed gull is about five times the weight of the red-bill.
This is a life-and death struggle. The larger bird can and will eat the eggs and chicks of the smaller gull. Birds suffer major injuries and die in these fights.
Announcing Short Final, Branch 20 Left.
Prop from HMNZS Canterbury (F421), a Leander Class frigate built in 1969 by Yarrow Shipbuilders. She served in the NZ Navy until 2005.
I was editing the pictures from the zoo, deep in the geekery of levels and saturation and tone colour. I glanced back at this image and my visceral, limbic predator response fired. “I have been spotted by an apex predator and I am so fucked.”
I think this is the single best picture I have ever taken. It deserves its own post.
“I have seen you and I will eat you and you will die.”
The new lens is regarded by some as the best lens for zoo photography in the world. There’s a rather good zoo an hour or so from here. They have tigers.
In this case, they had one tiger which they had just moved into an enclosure on its own. It was sniffing around and quite literally peeing in all the corners. Some portraits:
Licking its nose. The vomeronasal organ was getting a good wotkout.
Bengal tiger. She’s seen something.
Looking at the camera
“Why are you eating grass?”
“Because I’m a tiger and can do anything I want.”
A friend from work has a niece or god-daughter or some-such. Apparently, said child has a thing for giraffes. When I mentioned we were going to the zoo this weekend, my colleague asked for giraffe pictures.
Happy to oblige, Erica.
Three more giraffes.
Giraffe in profile
Staring at the camera
Another picture of three giraffes
Nibbling some leaves
Sharing from the haybag
No leaves left