"I think Australia has to be a country which has the 'Welcome' sign out."~ Paul Keating


While visiting Bali, Indonesia last spring I decided to travel to Australia for a week.  I really wanted to go to Sri Lanka instead, but I chose to go to Australia only to cross off one of my bucket list items of making it to all seven continents.  I wasn't really that excited about visiting Australia and wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did.  I thought it would be very similar to the United States.  I asked a friend of mine which area I should visit and she helped me decide on the Melbourne area. 

Stayed at the Radisson Hotel right across from Flagstaff Gardens :

My welcome platter:


View from my room:

Aaaauuuuusss1There was a nice rooftop terrace for viewing the city at night which I thought was spectacular.  Of course, I had no tripod :(



 I loved the colorful beach huts I saw while visiting Brighton Beach:










I visited Healesville to see the vineyards and wildlife sanctuary:



 The third photo down is a platypus, the fourth photo is a dingo, and there are two photos of a Tasmanian Devil:

Aaaauuuuusss1Aaaauuuuusss1Aaaauuuuusss1Aaaauuuuusss1Aaaauuuuusss1Aaaauuuuusss1Aaaauuuuusss1Aaaauuuuusss1  I also went to the aquarium:


Aaaauuuuusss1These penguins are very large!  They are called Gentoo Penguins:





  The city was absolutely beautiful!   I was amazed at how clean and well-kept Melbourne is.  I was also pleasantly surprised at how polite, well mannered and friendly most people are there.  I am usually really against taking public transportation, but while there I did take public transportation to see the beach huts in Brighton Beach.   Everyone was so helpful, and being on their subway was such a different experience than any other subway I've ever been on.  It was so clean, comfortable, and spacious!

Here is a quote about Australia by the writer Jackie Collins:

I have visited Australia several times, and I always try to make a point of going to Melbourne because it's almost my favorite city there, Melbourne and Sydney. But I shouldn't say that because I haven't been everywhere-and I'm very fond of Perth too! ~ Jackie Collins

 I really enjoyed my time visiting Australia.  I wished that I had more time there and look forward to returning.   Maybe I enjoyed it so much because I wasn't expecting very much.  Perhaps it was because I was pleasantly surprised at how different it was than the United States.  I spent two entire days walking around the city amazed at how beautiful the buildings are.  I loved taking photos of them.  The architecture is different than any I've ever seen.  The buildings don't seem very old, as a matter of fact they have a modern look to them, but they are very beautiful with a lot of character.





Have you ever visited Australia?  If so, what area?  I really can not wait to go back and see more of this amazing country!

 Thanks so much for your visit.  Please leave me any questions or comments below.   I'm on my way to Alaska this week, but will post about it as soon as I can!

~ Michelle

A Beautiful Summer Day Strolling Through "Peace Park" in Queenstown, New Zealand


"I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order."

~John Burroughs

The day before I was supposed to start Trey Ratcliff's New Zealand Photography Adventure,  I was feeling a little anxious about meeting a group of new people the next day so I went for a beautiful  and relaxing stroll through Peace Park in Queenstown, New Zealand.  Peace Park surrounds Lake Wakatipu and is right across from where I stayed at the Queenstown, Hilton hotel.  It was a beautiful day in February which is summer in New Zealand.   People were out enjoying the beach, walking their dogs, and taking in the gorgeous scenery.   As you can see everyone seems very happy and it is indeed very peaceful in Peace Park.  There are no natural predators in New Zealand.  It is also a very safe place to live as far as crime is concerned.

Here is a lovely neighborhood I walked through to get there:



Peace (1 of 1)

Now I'm in Peace ParkPeace4-1-9

Almost everyone had a furry family member with them

 A lot of boats were out on this beautiful day


 The water never gets extremely warm in Lake Wakatipu, but it was an unusally warm day with temperatures in the 80's that day so a lot of people were swimming and so were the dogs :)

Peace2 (1 of 1)


Peace3 (1 of 1)




Here are a few photos of the Hilton in Queenstown.  I stayed in a few places in Queenstown including the pricey five star  Rees Hotel and I highly recommend the Hilton for their prices, the service, the rooms. and the location.



Thanks so much for stopping by.  Have a wonderful week my friends. Please feel free to leave a question or comment and remember your e-mail address will never be published.

 ~ Michelle


Pixabay: Find and Share Images Free of Copyrights

On Pixabay you may find and share images free of copyrights. All pictures are published under Creative Commons public domain deed CC0.  

When I started this blog a little more than 3 months ago, it was basically just to chronicle my travels.  I planned to only use photos that were taken by yours truly.  I still plan to use only my own photos EXCEPT when I am planning to travel to a new place and want advice on whether I should go and or what I should do when I get there - IF I go. 

Here is a photo of a place which I think is my dream vacation.  I wanted to reach out and ask my audience if they have been to this supposed island paradise, heaven on Earth, or most beautiful place in the world?  I got this photo from Pixabay and the photographer is "WikiImages".  You can see 2 photos of Bora Bora at this web address:  http://pixabay.com/en/photos/?q=bora+bora&order=best&image_type=&cat=&orientation=

Pixabay is very selective of the images they make available for use so you can be assured that you will probably find some nice images to use for whatever purpose you need them for and not be concerned about a copyright violation :)  To view more specific information about using photos from Pixabay please see http://pixabay.com/en/service/faq/

Here is a link to my account which I try to add new images to everyday:  


Here are my five most popular images:


Dolphins in Lovina Bali



Floating Lone Tree in Lake Wanaka, New Zealand


Lion in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania



The Azure Window on Gozo Island in the Mediterranean



Sunset in Key West, Florida


 If you've been to Bora Bora, please let me know what your thoughts are.   Basically, I want to know if it's worth the high price or is it all hype.  If you loved it what did you do for activities?   Thank you in advance :)

Thank you so much for stopping by.  I love to read your comments or questions and and reading other people's blogs as well.  Your e-mail address will never be published.  Until next time, take care my friends!



Visiting "The Hills" Golf Course in Arrowtown, New Zealand

"It is almost impossible to remember how tragic a place this world is when one is playing golf." ~Robert Lynd

During my New Zealand Photo Adventure I had the wonderful opportunity to visit  

"The Hills" Golf Course  which opened in Arrowtown, New Zealand in 2007 by Sir Michael Hill.  The course hosted The New Zealand Open in 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2014.  It is famous for the beautiful flora, views, and especially the sculptures.  Sir Michael Hill has always loved the arts and wants young people in New Zealand to be exposed to the arts the same way they are in Europe.  "The Wolves are Coming" exhibit is on the 18th fairway and was designed by a Chinese sculptor named Liu Ruowang.  Sir Michael was originally only going to purchase 5 of the pieces, but ended up purchasing the entire 111 piece set.  The horse exhibit on the 7th tee titled "The Frolic and the Fancy" was designed by Max Patte in 2013.  Max is based in Wellington, New Zealand.  Each of the horses weigh about 1.5 tons and are about 9 feet (2.7 meters) tall.

 My photos don't do this fabulous golf course and beautiful sculptures justice, but what a wonderful place to practice one's photography skills!



"The Wolves are Coming" reminded me of several scences in the "Twilight" movie series.Golf2

Wolf attack!Golf6

Me in the morning before coffee ;)Golf4

 I loved the landscaping throughout the course!




Here is "The Frolic and the Fancy"exhibit:







 Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you all have a wonderful week.  Please let me know if you have any questions remember that your e-mail address will never be published if you leave a comment.  Take care my friends!



Group Travel: Is it Right For You?

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” -Anonymous

Many of you who read this post already know if traveling with a group is right for you.  I had always been hesitant since I like my space and don't like waiting for others when there is something I want to do.  Over the past year I have traveled with two groups.  One of the trips would be considered luxury travel:  (click on the underlined words following to see a post on this trip)

Luxury travel trip

                 The other would be considered be considered an adventure/humanitarian travel trip:

Adventure/Humanitarian travel

 It would be unfair for me to compare these two trips because that would be like comparing apples and oranges!  Tanzania is a developing country and New Zealand has a thriving economy.  I definitely did learn what I want and can handle in a trip especially with other people.

On one trip, which would be considered adventure and humanitarian travel, to Tanzania with I had to share a room with 3-4 people and sleep on bunk beds.  For two nights of the nine I was there I had to share a bed with another woman.   I also had to share a bathroom with no less than four people.  We only had access to cold or bucket showers which made it impossible for me to wash my waist length hair :(  There was also one night that we were supposed to sleep in a boma in Massai Land.  I didn't go because they were sacrificing a goat and everyone had to drink a little blood or the Massai might be insulted.  I am a strict vegetarian and am very involved in animal rescue.  There was no wifi in the guest houses we stayed at the entire trip.   


It may sound like I'm bashing this group and I really don't mean to - that is NOT my intent.  My intent is to share  some questions that I will always ask when traveling with others.  I feel that I should have known better and asked more questions!  Here are some:

1.  Will I be sharing a room (or a bed) and with how many people?

2.  Will I be sharing a bathroom and with how many people?

3.  Ask for a COMPLETE itinerary so you will know if there are any activities that conflict with your beliefs.

4.    Will any of the places you stay have wifi or any type of internet access?

5.    How often will you be moving from place to place?

6.    If traveling to a developing country, what type of bathroom facilities will be available?  In many developing countries, there is no running water so you might only have a squat type toilet.  

7.    What will your daily schedule be like?  If each day is 12-16 hours, do you have the stamina for it?

8.    What is the food and or meals like?

9.    How much spending money and or cash will I need?

 ***I may add to this list if you want to leave me a comment with other important questions.

 Now that I have told you so many negatives about my trip to Africa, it's only fair that I tell you the positives.  First and foremost, they made sure we were safe and felt safe.  They told us what we needed to know about the culture so we wouldn't offend anyone AND stay safe.  The leaders made sure that I had vegetarian food even though I was the only one on the trip.  They also respected my decision to not spend the night in Masailand for the goat sacrifice. I learned how to use my DSLR camera.  By staying at the guest houses we were financially helping the local people.  I got to see the culture and a side of the country that I would not have if I hadn't been on this trip.  I also got some great photos!  Please see my other post on this trip here:  

Adventure/Humanitarian travel


Thank you so much for stopping by.  I love to read your comments or questions and and reading other people's blogs as well.  Your e-mail address will never be published.  Until next time, take care my friends!