Mid North Coast- Last days

We will miss our daily dose of Brahminy Kites
And White-bellied Sea-eagle’s
And of course… Ospreys

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Hello everyone, we moved our van from Grassy Head to Bellingen Showgrounds on Saturday. The school holidays were starting for NSW which means all the coastal caravan parks pretty much double their prices, so time for us to bail out. We have to slowly make our way back to Stanthorpe now, our Apple thinning job starts around the start of November and there’s still plenty of nature hot spots we want to check out on the way. The last few days we have been revisiting our favourite spots, like Urunga Boardwalk and Bongil Bongil NP and Nambucca. We could easily spend a lot more time down here, still many places we never got to see so we will definetly have to come back and explore some more.

The Showgrounds here in Bellingen are a cheaper option to camp and nice too, you can walk into the town easily and also straight over the road to the Bat Island. Most people would cringe at walking through a patch of forest so full of thousands of fruit bats but we thought it was pretty awesome. It’s great that they are tolerated here and have a nice place to roost during the day. Most councils are always under pressure from the public to move them on……God only know where too, well maybe we are just kooky and spooky but we love seeing happy bats of all sizes.

 

Grey-headed Flying foxes on Bellingen Island


 

Beautiful colours of the Wompoo Fruitdove

Other birds captured over the last couple of days


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Last critter snippets from the Mid North Coast 


 

It was great to finally see Dragonflies emerge


 

There is some rainy weather coming so we hope we can dodge around it somehow. We really love the blue sky for our photos. Tomorrow we will head up to Grafton only a couple of hours drive but Chloe our cat is still getting used to the travelling side of things so don’t want to do too big a trip. Enjoy the pics and video,
Bye for now, Steph and Anthony.

Bongil Bongil National Park – Top Spot

 

Another day in the Sepilok Rainforest

Adult Female Orangutan
Adult Female Orangutan on the canopy walkway

 

We had another great day in the Sepilok Jungle. There’s not much cloud cover so it’s been ridiculously hot. We have a pretty good routine though and try to walk the suspended walkways first as they get quite hot and you are really exposed in some places.Plus the towers are very high which means lots of steps and by the afternoon we are very tired, the heat and humidity certainly takes it out of you. It’s hard to keep concentrating too, sometimes you can go quite sometime without seeing or hearing anything and then we seem to go into a torpor or start chatting while we are walking and then of course we aren’t looking. For lunch we have been going to the Banana cafe, today the owners son Jason found a little whip snake for us, just beautiful and we would never have spotted him, he just blended in so well with his surroundings. Jason and his dad John are getting to know us now as we are there every day and always tell us what they have seen there or if there’s anything around the lake. We come back to the hotel around 5 ish and have been having tea in the restaurant downstairs which is ok and we always seem to be their only customers which is weird.

Keel-bellied Whip Snake Dryophiops rubescens
Keel-bellied whip snake at the Banana Cafe
Copper Throated Sunbird
Copper Throated Sunbird In the Gardens at Sepilok Rainforest

 

Jewel Damselfly - Rhinocypha humeralis
Jewel Damselfly

 

Pale Blue Flycatcher
Bath time – Pale Blue Flycatcher
We saw Orangutans a few times again, a young mum and junior were on the suspended walkway this morning and had quite a crowd all trying to desperately get selfies with the orangutans in the background. I wonder what they think of us, sometimes I’m embarrassed to be a human, these people didn’t even move when they came so close and the sad bit is they pulled all the garbage out of one of the bins and were drinking the dregs from Pepsi coke cans and licking food wrappers even though the sign at the start of the walrk says no food or drinks allowed, obviously for a good reason. I guess some people would think it quite funny but whenever humans get too close to wildlife and an altercation happens where the human gets hurt it’s always the animal that gets euthanased. I think they should have people posted around the park to keep an eye on peoples behaviour, I mean you couldn’t get that close to any animals in a zoo and all the animals here are wild.
Apart from that we got a few more new birds we hadn’t seen before which is always exciting. And we had a huge flock of hornbills flying quite low through the trees right over our heads which was great.
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Tomorrow we are moving back to the Sepilok Forest edge resort where we stayed in the chalet before. It will be nice to be back there. But it’s only for 2 nights then we will have a rest from the jungle for 2 nights in Sandakan. Enjoy the pics.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Bangkok – Benjakiti Park

Benjakiti Park, our saviour in Bangkok
Our saviour in Bangkok – Benjakiti Park

Press or click here for more info about Benjakiti Park

Well it’s our last day in Bangers, it all turned out not too badly after all. We thought we had some major catastrophe happening with the bone grafting in my implant not taking, but more grafting was done today, actually injected in which I had never heard off, but we have got a whiz bang dentist that also teaches at the University in Bangkok. He has a practice in Koh Samui and one here in Bangkok.

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 Benjakiti Park

We have been able to easily walk to the Benjakiti Park and what a surprise it was, as you can see by the photos we saw many birds , dragonflies, butterflies, lizards and that beautiful snake. It was quite busy there this morning being Saturday so we caused a little bit of interest from people probably curious as to what were taking photos of, being the only people with a huge camera. Of course we didn’t point the snake out, he was so well camouflaged and anyway ( Most people are so terrified of snakes they miss the sheer beauty of their movement). We didn’t want to cause a panic or worst case the snake gets hurt, better off to be hidden,  he was just gorgeous.
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The Golden Tree Snake or AKA Flying Snake and a couple of Lizards

 


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A collection of Dragonflies from the Park

 


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And we got some Birds
We are so glad the park is there, it kept us occupied in this sprawling concrete jungle, though we have adapted quite well, have found great eateries and good cuppachino’s, but still will be very exited to head out to our favourite national park -Khao Yai tomorrow.
We will get a taxi to the airport and pick up a hire car from there again, we probably won’t get out to the park till late afternoon but have got 5 nights there.
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.

 

 

 

 

 

Kui Buri National Park

The Beauty of an Asian Elephant

We had a good day, a nice breakfast at the palace and then we decided to just walk up the side road here as we could see that most of it was bushland. Well we found lots of dragonflies and a bit further up we’re heaps of ponds with some bird life so Anthony managed to get some nice photos just in our backyard really. He was quite happy to hang out there for a while but I was already sweating so I decided it was a good time to check out the pool, have a nice swim and relax a bit which was really nice.

 

Dragonfly pics for the day

 

Black-winged Stilt
Black-winged Stilt – Image captured behind our Resort
We then decided to drive up to the Kui Buri National Park  about 1 hours drive, to try and see some elephants. It’s renowned for being the easiest place to spot them and boast a 99% success rate. The drive out there was really nice, good road hardly any traffic and beautiful countryside. Quite a few pineapple plantations and rubber tree plantations too.
They are very strict at the National Park, no walking through only by safari, we had already done some research and knew roughly what to expect.
We headed off just after 2 pm and only one other safari Ute going, it seems there aren’t many people around, maybe it’s just crazy busy on the weekends..
Gaur Bull
The Gaur Bull (Bos gaurus),
We saw the Gaur very quickly I wasn’t really prepared so didn’t get much of a look at him really. Bizarre looking animal though, I guess half bison and maybe half buffalo.
We saw the elephants very soon thereafter which was fantastic, we did get off the back of the Ute and got quite close about 40 mtrs so Anthony got some really nice photos. What a beautiful animal, so peaceful, they don’t really seem to do much, just eat and swish their tails.
A moving experience up close with Asian Elephants 
We stopped at another viewpoint and you could see them in the distance and we must have sat on these logs for about an hour, we were under the impression  that the guy on the motorbike who had been spotting the elephants and radioing through to our driver was out spotting other animals for us….but since our guide or the driver couldn’t speak English we didn’t realise this was the end of the safari……everyone had gone home except for us dim wits sitting there absolutely bored shitless fo quite sometime. The safari finishes around 6 pm but because we were so lucky seeing the elephants so quickly we had a lot of time to kill so they were quite happy for us to sit there twiddling our thumbs, funny hey??  Lucky Anthony made some snappy sign language and we went home early. Honestly we love elephants but after a period of time it’s like watching a cat sleeping, you just want to go to sleep too.
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You can watch a short Video of the Elephants here
Still it was great to see them but the safari utes only go to about 3 viewpoints so I guess there’s not that much chance of seeing anything else. They’ve got an impressive wildlife list so we were quite a bit disappointed not to see anything else.
Well this was our last day down this neck of the woods, back to the big smoke Bangkok tomorrow shock horror, we will just have to remember to breathe.
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.

From Mountains to the Sea

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Picturesque Dolphin Bay, SamRoiYod

 

Wow wow wow ….

What else can I say? Check out our new digs!! Palace more like it with Palace gardens, this little mini resort should be on the cover of a glossy travel magazine, absolutely stunning. It’s called Stella Resort just up the road from Dolphin Bay where all the fancy resorts are. Our room is beautiful too and spotless, really when I looked at that pool I just wanted to get my bikini on and lounge around it for the rest of the afternoon, the lady here does meals and even massages, what a beautiful relaxing place and check out the mountains in the distance.

 

How amazing does this scene look? At our new Digs

 

We really wanted to check out the area as we only have 3 nights here….tick tock tick tock, so no time to relax just yet, plus we hadn’t had lunch, looks like we might be combining lunch and dinner. The surrounds here are amazing, that mountain range is awesome and the coast is pretty good too. We found a nice restaurant by the beach , fantastic Thai food, there’s restaurants and bars most of the way along Dolphin Bay.
The fishing village of Bang Pu was so colourful, all those brightly painted boats made for great photos, oh yes and look at the Hoopoes almost at arms reach on the lawn of a resort after we spent quite sometime stalking them at the dam this morning.

 

A couple of snaps from around SamRoiYod
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A quick look a SamRoiYod including Dolphin Bay and Bang Pu
Anyway enjoy the video and pics, we are really excited to do more exploring tomorrow,
Bye, Steph and Anthony.

Kaeng Krachan – Rivercreek Estate and Surrounds

Impressive National Park Entrance

We had a nice relaxing day today, had a nice breakfast down here on the landing, walked up and down the road looking for birds but it was already hot at 7.30 am and not much shade on the road also it is a public road with other farms and houses and it seems everyone has a dog or 5. Most are ok with us walking past but others go to town so we try not to disturb them too much. There is a lot of birds we see but then again hard for photos as we don’t want to follow the birds into people’s private gardens and farms though really everyone is so friendly here they probably wouldn’t mind. They really stare at us as they drive past as if we had just dropped down from Mars, I don’t think they get any western tourists walking around with cameras and binoculars. We certainly must be a sight.

 

A couple of Pics waking around Rivercreek

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A short Video of Rivercreek Estate

We took the kayak for a paddle in the little river here but we should have gone early not at midday, honestly we are such Wally’s sometimes, it was nice but ridiculously hot and really uncomfortable with the life jackets on camera , hats etc so we only went for an hour, still got some nice photos.
A couple of pics paddling around Rivercreek
We then went for a drive to the big dam, Kaeng  Kra Chan which is part of the National Park, just beautiful there, finally got there a bit earlier to get some photos and walk around a bit.Theres this huge suspension bridge going over to an island, we just got there and all these macaques were sauntering along coming our way quite funny to see.
A couple of pics from around Lake Kaeng Kra Chan
Some other tourists had small bags of food and started walking on the bridge and these macaques  are so clever …..the people never suspected that they had only one thing on their mind and they reached up and grabbed the food bags so quick I wish I had my video camera going. One lady had the food tucked in her handbag and had turned to have her photo taken by hubby and this macaque  just snuck up and grabbed her bag and wrenched out the food and took off along the bridge. Would have been a great video.😁😁
You can’t walk over, it’s all wired up, I think maybe the macaques  on the other end got too aggressive and were attacking the tourists. I guess this is a classic case of what happens when you feed wildlife.
These macaques are quite amazing, they swim and dive to catch crabs in the lake, and wouldn’t we love to capture that.
We found a great little restaurant that makes amazing fish cakes absolutely yum.
We love Thai food just not too spicy.
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.

 

 

Kaeng Krachan National Park

 

Well the two days at the Kaeng Krachin National Park  was pretty amazing. We did quite a bit of walking and got rather hot and bothered at times as it’s very humid and we haven’t really been doing much exercise either so we’re feeling it a bit today. We didn’t actually see a lot of birds, heard plenty but being such thick rainforest it was very hard to see anything. But the amount of different butterflies and dragonflies made up for it, we have never seen such a variety in our lives and they are just everywhere…even on the way into the park we stopped a few times to get photos. And as you can imagine these photos are only of ones that landed, so many hardly ever seem to land and when they do they look very bland as they sit with their wings up instead of down.

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A sample of Butterfly Images taken at Kaeng Krachan NP
A sample of Dragonfly Images taken at Kaeng Krachan NP
The monkeys were just gorgeous I also took some video of them. We did hear hornbills and gibbons a few times but no luck in seeing them . Anthony had a ball, he topped his record of all time photos in one day ….around 800, crazy but you really do have to take so many photos to get good ones as you will see with the results. We won’t bombard you too much with bug photos but will put a link to our Flickr album if you would like to view  some of the others.
Some Primates of Kaeng Krachan NP
The editing of so many photos sure takes time though and we have to research nearly every bug as we don’t know what they are but  it sure keeps us busy in the evenings.
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A short Video of Kaeng Krachan National Park 
We will have a look around here at the Rivercreek Estate this afternoon as there are so many birds here too, we just need to rest up a bit first, it’s so hot n the sun so we will wait till it cools off a bit Enjoy the pics and video.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Bangkok to Kaeng Krachan

Our Hotel in Bangkok
Waving to the neighbours – Aranta Airport Hotel, Bangkok

Well what can I say about Bangkok?. We hated it. We would never normally bother visiting such a toxic metropolis but sadly we had dental appointments and our grand plan of spending as much time in nature as possible is now being encroached upon with yet more dental visits next week…not so easy peasy as we first thought.

Our Digs in Bangkok 
Meanwhile today things seemed a bit better and we left the hotel, picked up our rental car from the airport and drove almost 3 hours away from the big smoke.
The peacful surroundings of Rivercreek Estate 
Anthony found us the most beautiful place in paradise, the birds are chirping here , the dragonflies and butterflies seem to be in abundance and we only walked around the property here for maybe an hour, got some great photos already and tomorrow we visit the biggest national park in Thailand ( Kaeng Krachan) so are really looking forward to that. Our new abode is called Rivercreek Estate and it’s a really nice spot here on the river, we both feel so much better getting back into nature.
Critters of Rivercreek Estate
So be prepared for lots of photos coming over the next 3 days, the birdlife in the Park is supposed to be amazing  and we plan on going every day.😀😀
Cheers for now Steph and Anthony.

Koh Samui, Thailand

Oriental Garden Lizard
Oriental Garden Lizard in the Hotels garden

Greetings from Koh Samui in Thailand.

The flights went well, we had a 2 hour stop in Singapore on the way so it all went quite quickly which is always good when flying . The landing here was a bit hairy, it was really windy and we flew around some really big black clouds.

The getting money out, SIM card for the phone and hire car all went smoothly and the hotel room is nice and clean. It was around 10 pm by the time we settled in and were really looking forward to today to check out all our favourite places.

The morning didn’t start too well, very blustery conditions and very dark ominous clouds which didn’t look good for our trip up the mountain.
Breakfast at the Coffee Club, Koh Samui Style
Retro Selfie at the Coffee Club, Koh Samui Style
We also forgot it was Sunday so going to our favourite breakfast haunt wasn’t going to happen as they were closed. We had plonked ourselves in Fisherman’s Village  to be close to cafes and shops etc, but hardly anything was open being Sunday  morning. So we ended up in a Coffee Club which was really good , a great setting there right on the beach. But they are also ridiculously expensive here but we didn’t have much choice this morning.
We drove up to the mountain and the weather deteriorated from there really, we were in the clouds and it started to rain. The road had also deteriorated since we were here last year, pothole central and very slow going. The Secret Buddha Garden was nice, I took a video but you really have to imagine it on a nice day.
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Short video clip of the Secret Buddha Garden
After that we drove to the Him Lad Waterfall  where we saw lots of different types of lizards and birds last year but today….Nothing. We did almost get to the waterfall, but it started raining quite heavy and it was a bit treacherous under foot with slippery rocks and tree roots, pretty impossible to get photos anyway even if some critters did appear so we turned back. Quite a boring day really but the weather did clear enough this afternoon to walk around the hotel grounds here and get a few photos.
Garden birds and a couple of other Critters of Koh Samui
So tomorrow we are off to Bangkok,,,the really big smoke. Hope the weather improves a bit.
Bye for now Cheers Steph and Anthony.

 

Sunshine Coast

Ewen Maddock Dam
Ewen Maddock Dam

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A short video clip of Ewen Maddock Dam

 

Well we have just finished our week in Landsborough on the Sunshine Coast, the weather was ok and we got to visit Lake MacDonald, Noosa Botanical Gardens and Ewen Maddock Dam quite a few times which is always one of our favourite places to visit, the walks are really nice and lots of birds though getting photos of them is quite hard as the trees are really big and the ground cove is all ferns so all the birds seem to hide in there. You can hear lots of birds there but hard to see

 

 

Lake MacDonald and Noosa Botanical Gardens 

It was also a great time to catch up with family and friends and the Landsborough Pines Caravan Park  is also one of our favourite parks, they have a small lake there and the only site we can fit on to backs on to the lake so we can keep an eye on the waterbirds coming and going and Anthony can quickly duck outside and get some photos. There’s also a quite elusive Azure Kingfisher there, so many times we can see him from the back window but trying to sneak up on him is quite difficult, but Anthony did manage this time to get a fantastic photo, so we are very happy.

 

 

Some critters from Ewen Maddock Dam

Today we had to store the van, and lucky to even get a spot…we did book a few weeks ago but I guess things change in that time or maybe they just plain old forgot we were coming but as it turned out they could just squeeze us into their very last spot😬😬Then this afternoon off to Brisbane ( shock horror) this really is our worst nightmare, it’s about one and a half hours but of course there was an accident and after nothing moving for quite sometime and then of course the standard roadworksi closer to the big smoke, quite distressing really, the trip took about two and a half hours. We had to drop the truck into storage there too near the airport and we could walk to the hotel though there are massive roadworks at large right outside our hotel and we had difficulty getting across the intersection,,,,there was a way across but us country bumpkins don’t function very well in the big smoke.🙄🙄

 

 

Landsborough Pines Caravan Park

So we are nice and snug in our hotel room, will have to negotiate the roadworks again tonight when we go out for tea and then again in the morning for breakfast before we head to the airport for our flight to Thailand at lunchtime. So tomorrow night we will be on the island of Koh Samui, hard to believe, it’s been a really big day.

We hope you like the photos,Anthony must have taken a thousand photos of ducks but he did get rewarded with some great shots.Keep tuned for our up coming photos from Thailand,

All the best ! Steph and Anthony.