Native spider orchid

Patricia Newell-Dunkley Photographs by Reginald J.Dunkley.

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Greetings from down under as we visit one of the “Hot Spots” in New South Wales, namely Byron Bay.  This is one of the most visited tourist towns on the N.S.W. coast, with a bohemian feel enjoyed by backpackers, couples and families alike.  Named after John Byron Grandfather of famed poet Lord Byron, perhaps that is why Byron Bay is so popular and reverberates with an undercurrent of poetic excitement.

Favoured with sublime beaches and enchanting sunsets, there is nothing you cannot find or do in Byron Bay.  This iconic location attracts over 1.5 million visitors each year. It offers natural beauty, alternative culture and a certain buzz all of its own, as people from around the world, from all walks of life enjoy the relaxed lifestyle and let their hair down while on holidays.

Whether it is kayaking alongside bottlenose dolphins, and beautiful turtles, sky diving over Byron Bay, Whale watching, surfing, cycling, snorkelling,  exploring the National Parks or the Hinterland Rain-forest, or even just jostling around with the crowd taking in the atmosphere whilst wining and dining.

It was when Byron Bay was discovered by surfers around Australia that the town began blooming, and became a popular travelling destination. Now famous for its unique ambience, which is a big part of the “Byron” feeling. You can find many a local hippy and street artist and there is always something going on in town.

Stroll through the streets and you will find small colourful shops, markets, and dining places that give expression to the alternative lifestyle of Byron Bay. It is hard not to have a good time as you blend into the relaxed atmosphere.

Visitors enjoy a diverse range of budget friendly and luxury accommodation options, including hostels, apartments, holiday houses and resorts.  Byron Bay has it all plus a good climate.


This time of year is perfect to visit Cairns the main centre of Queensland, when the climate is not too hot. It is the most popular base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef, The Daintree Rainforest, the Atherton Tablelands, Cape Tribulation, Cooktown and the rest of Cape York Peninsula.

Cairns is awash with bars, nightclubs, eateries and cafes suiting all budgets.  It has a city atmosphere and instead of sandy beaches there are mudflats, abundant with native bird life. However, if you are planning to stay for a while it is best to base yourself in the pretty northern beaches.

A favourite is Trinity Beach renown for its superior swimming, with its mile long, pristine golden sand and startling blue waters, in a  tropical island setting. This is beach side living at its best and still only a few minutes from Cairns.

Journey north along Cairns Northern Beaches, passing Palm Cove, Four Mile Beach, Green Island, Fitzroy Island, to Port Douglas via Captain Cook’s Highway one of Australia’s most scenic coastal drives and see sugar cane fields, and experience the unique way of life in this part of Australia.

If you enjoy the outdoor life Queensland’s Tropical North is just the place for you.


Here at Shelly Beach the sea is playing rough but the surfers are out enjoying the waves, come rain hail or shine.  Even the whales seem to be enjoying the extra turbulence as they head northwards.

The yearly Orchid show was spectacular to say the least, and hundreds of people swarmed in to buy their favourite orchid.  All colours and varieties it would seem that the orchid is definitely leading the charge in the exotic flower world.

Our art exhibition was a huge success with lots of sales, especially of orchid paintings which were really beautiful.  So much so we have been invited back next year.

Princess Pixie the Pomeranian is enjoying a hot water bottle at night tucked into her basket before sleep, and the birds are eating up a feast with a three course breakfast in this cooler weather. For me I love the winter.

Cheers. Patricia.