Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Celebrating The Girl 2017 Part 1

When we lived on the coast I was  remarkably fortunate to have a wonderful next door neighbour  called Rita. Rita was my mother's age and filled a big gap for me as a young mum with 3 kids and a mum that was far away, I really treasured my over 30 years living beside her. When Rita became ill her daughter came to live with her to take care of her and we all became great friends effectionally  referring to her as "The Girl" or "The Old Bat Next Door".
Every year now since Rita's passing her daughter and I get together and celebrate all things Rita, high teas, trips away, Christmas windows at David Jones, lovely  meals out and always a stage show if possible.
This year was no exception , but we did so much and I took so many photographs that I have had to divide the trip up into smaller posts.
I travelled to Newcastle on the coach and was met by my friend  and taken to her home, a lovely leafy  small acreage.
The next morning we decided to visit the beautiful  Hunter Valley Gardens, I cannot believe that in all the years we lived in Newcastle  we had not visited these superb gardens.
The entry into the gardens was $30 per person, which initially I thought was a bit steep, but after viewing the gardens and realizing the upkeep involved,  I feel that the price is well justified.
The central rose garden is just stunning, even though it is now on the tail end of the rose season, it was still beautiful.
My friend and I  had  a photo taken by another visitor to the gardens.
As it is  nearing Christmas the gardens host a  marvelous Christmas themed  light display around the entire 25 acre garden area. This even includes snow themed nights where  they truck in man made snow for the period.
Many of the garden areas are themed , each section  different from the next.
There was the asian garden,
and then  after wandering through the moon gate you find the mosiac garden.
There was the 12 days of Christmas  hedged garden,
and many other displays ready to be lit up at night like this Cinderella themed area.
One of my favourites  was the Story book/nursery rhyme  areas.
There was Wee Willy Winkie,
Jack and Jill,
Humpty Dumpty,
and Alice at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.
These were just a small snippett of all the wonderful and creative displays.
Near this area there are also two beautiful old style merry go rounds and a ferris wheel that were not operating while we were there.
I would love to return one day with Brian and  see the view of the gardens  from the ferris wheel.
We decided to have lunch at this point out on the verandah of the cafe  overlooking  a beautiful lily pond and just as we sat there was a short torrential downpour of rain.
The rain finished as quick as it started  and we were free to once again continue our wander around the gardens.
There is a  small train that takes people all around the gardens giving a great commentary as  it travels along.
There are just so many  picturesque spots, I just had to keep taking  shots everywhere I looked.
I loved the beautifully trimmed hedges and topiary everywhere,
I fell in love  with two big metal urns at an entrance to a walkway,
and on closer inspection  loved the  faces on the side.
There were some unusual  plants like this tree, It is called Angel's Trumpet tree.
These were two beautiful blossoms that  were on a few trees,
The views went on, and I apologize if I am repeating myself or  the photos, but  it truly was stunning.
As we crossed one of the pretty  streams we noticed  an unusual bird ,
We were told that he has those special flaps on his feet so that he can wander over the top of the lily pads and find his food. He was very friendly  and posed for quite a few photos by me and many others.
 I  am sure that "The Girl " was roaming the gardens  with us,  her daughter said that this was one place she had wanted to visit but  everything just happened too fast  and they were unable to make it there, so I am glad she saw it with us in spirit. We wandered the gardens for about four hours, but we truly could have spent the entire day there. Hunter Valley Gardens truly is a gorgeous spot, not only is it just the gardens, but their location among  large famous vineyards  and along side boutique wineries, restaurants and other great tourist spots  make it a must on  a destination to see list.
I for one will certainly return, we will probably make it over a period of three or four days and have a really good  look around the area and all it offers.
It truly is true that we often fail to see what is right on our doorstep and are so busy living our lives we only see  the real beauty through a visitors eyes.
I will follow this up soon with the rest of  my short break away.
So until then,
Take care,
Jane and Brian.


  1. breathtakingly beautiful!
    my sister often sends me phone photos when she goes to the Hobart Botanical gardens too, so beautiful & we need more of them; i think there should be a botanical garden in every town!
    look forward to seeing the rest
    thanx for sharing

    1. It was truly beautiful Selina,I could just move in there and live. I also adore botanical gardens and parks.

  2. Loved your writing and photos. Is there anyway to get your blog on a regular basis?

    1. Thank you Yvonne,
      I "think" that if you go to the web verson (located at the bottom of the blog) there is an option that says "follow by email"...I hope that allws you to follow it by email notifications. That's what's supposed to happen.
      Take care

    2. I had a look for what you said but can't find a web version.

    3. Are you on phone or computer ?