Travel: Sculpture on the Edge: Getting your holiday art fix


Two weeks ago I headed up to Maleny for a portraiture shoot, and to attend Wittafest. On the way, I got an unexpected bonus- Sculpture on the Edge. On display from 12th September 2015 to 18th October 2015 at Spicers Tamarind Retreat is an interesting and thought provoking display of sculpture by local artists. Pictured above is what I like to think of as my self portrait. The artist Jim Cox, called it “The blonde arrived in her open top sports car”. It’s made from mixed media/resin/collage/polyster/fiber. She’s on sale for $1,500, if you’d like to have a permanent reminder of me in your garden…

I was very excited to see my old mate Mr Snuffaluffagus had joined me for the day. Well obviously the artist  Elli Schlunke had an active imagination and a whole heap of determination to make “Mammoths” out of old electrical cables, but clearly she wasn’t a fan of Sesame Street. Who needs a trampoline in your garden when you’ve got a friend like Snuffy to tell your secrets to?  An expensive friend at $35,000, but then great works shouldn’t come cheap should they? I think this would be much more interesting that Ronald McDonald in our street (Yes, there is a real Ronald McDonald statue in our street – one of the owners used to make Ronald for the stores when he was made out of steel rather than plastic).

sculpture on the edge

Every exhibition has to have its political statement, and this seemingly innocent plane, is not all that it appears.


“Underwear” by Greg Windsor

“The work encompasses issues of social justice as well as political commentary, responding to an obligation in ‘keeping the bastards honest’. “Our Blokes couldn’t build a canoe…” the comments made by then Defence Minister David Johnston, in the Abbot Government, declaring that our shipwrights ‘couldn’t build a canoe’. His words rocked the boat so much as to cost him his job. The work “Underwear” is a play on words, referring to how the sub operates, as well as to what is meant to be worn inside ones’ outer attire. It reveals this embarrassment which, when viewed by the world, must be seen as ‘hanging out the laundry for all to see’. The craftsmanship and detail of a stripped canoe combined with aeroplane wings are symbolic/ironic toward the pending decision for our government to award the $20 billion contract for the building of the submarines to either South Australia or Japan. The works employ the use of recycled timber and challenge the notion of what some may consider waste or discarded materials, giving them new life and meaning. The skill level required in using substandard materials becomes a juggle as this challenges the process of construction. This material is metaphorical for the fragility of the common man dispossessed.”

Artists statement

I’ve never claimed to understand art, and can’t draw or paint or sculpt to save my life, but what I do understand is that art provides us with a powerful way to express ourselves. I can imagine that the process of making this piece of art saved Greg thousands of dollars in therapy bills, because art is a fantastic way to vent our frustrations and anger and even sadness. You have to respect people who take action and actively work with their thoughts rather than letting them channel down into resentment and bitterness. The world would be a better place if we all picked up a pencil or a camera instead of a fist.

Here’s a small selection of some of the photos I took of the sculptures.

My favourite thing about the exhibition was, not the art. It was the location; oh and um these pods. I call them nanoo nanoo pods because well, they remind me of Mork and Mindy, but, heck we all know I’m a little quirky.

spicers pods

I might have sat here for a while



Other things you should know:

Spices has a coffee shop, for after your wanderings. I haven’t dined there (yet). A girl’s got to leave some things for later…

On the last weekend of every month, a selection of hinterland artists throw open their studio doors and invite you in to see their work and enjoy their creative spaces. Open 10am- 4pm. See the Arts Connect Website for details.

Gardeners Fall’s is right below Spicers, and is a favourite place for locals to test their dare devil natured by diving from the top of the falls into the water. It was empty when I went, (because it was cold) but is a lovely stroll (man I am getting old using that word), regardless.

Katische would like to thank her portraiture client Phillipa for having a photo shoot in Maleny and allowing this little gem to bring sunshine into my life. Spices Tamarind Retreat is now on my wish list to stay at. You can book to stay there by clicking on the button on the right hand side of the page.

Coochiemudlo Island

Travel: Top ten things to do on Coochiemudlo Island

Coochiemudlo Island

Coochiemudlo Isand: Have you heard of it? Having moved back to Brisbane three years ago, I am on a quest to discover places in South East Queensland that I have never travelled to. So often when we grow up in a city and return as an adult we make many assumptions about what there is to see and do. For example, the islands of Redland Bay; if you think you’ve seen it all just because you’ve been to North Stradbroke Island, you’re wrong.

Coochiemudlo Island (Kutchi-mudlo) is a name that many people have not heard since the 1980s. I know, because I recently surveyed my Facebook friends and the responses were, well a little interesting… It seems that not many had been back to the island since their high school science excursion where the only thing they remember is being knee-deep in mud.

So now, I was curious. Why had no one been back? Was there something wrong with the island? We spent a weekend there to find out exactly what the island offered.

Up for the challenge were my two children and friend and fellow Instagrammer Amanda. Amanda took care of the logistics and found a friend who let us stay at his holiday house, so that we could provide you with an objective view of the island.

How to get there:

Ferry from Redland Bay.

You can travel on the passenger-only ferry (perfect for a day trip) or the vehicle ferry. You’ll have to reverse onto the vehicle ferry so that you can drive off forward when you reach the island.

The history of the island:

  • Matthew Flinders landed here in 1799, and the first white settlers came in 1895, however, it took until 1978 for electricity to come to the island! Coochiemudlo retains its Aboriginal name and although thought not to have been settled by the traditional landowners of Australia, they did use the island for collecting shellfish and other bush tucker. As of 2008, 708 people were recorded by the Australian Census as living here.

Top ten things to do on the island:

Coochiemudlo Island

There’s a 5km bike track that starts at the ferry and meanders through wetlands and beaches. Or, if you’re like Amanda, you can jog it! Bring your own bike on the ferry or, hire a fancy one.

collect shells
Collect shells at low tide. I have never seen as many whelks as there are on Coochie. This place is kid heaven for collecting all things fascinating.
3. SUP
SUP: Stand Up Paddle boarding at high tide. Amanda took her board out and paddled through the mangroves.
4. Have fun on the water
Hire a kayak, tinnie, BBQ boat, or aquaboat from Coochie Boat and Bike Hire and have some fun on the water!
5. Get Wet!
Get your togs on (or cozzie’s if your from the south and visiting) this is the best place to swim at high tide for the kids- there’s no surf, so the water’s calm.
6. gorge yourself (1)


What’s to eat on Coochiemudlo island?

Given this is not a built-up island with a massive tourism focus most holidaymakers bring their own food and cook in their accommodation, We found a mulberry tree and gorged ourselves. If you’re more civilised you might like to try dining at Red Rock Cafe, or enjoy licking an ice-cream on the beach from the kiosk.

7. relax
Relax and read a book while the kids play at the park, or even better, join this vibrant community of artists, photographers and writers, and take a retreat and write your own book here!
8. Get your camera out
Get your camera out, on Coochiemudlo island there’s tranquility, rugged beauty and an abundance of wildlife! Bring a waterproof camera if you like exploring the mangroves at low tide.
9. Play Golf
Yep, you’re right, that’s definitely not a photo of a golf ball. But the kids didn’t want to get off their bikes and hike down to the course, so you’ll have to imagine it is. Betcha didn’t think there was a golf course on Coochie!
10. exfoliate
Get more than dirty in the mangroves- have a professional give you a real exfoliation, massage or beauty treatment.

Our verdict:

This is good old fashioned fun at its best! Time out in nature, where wildlife is at your doorstep and there’s no pressure to fill your time with expensive activities and a never ending list of restaurants. This island is about spending time with and actually talking to your holiday companions, and doing the simple things that you used to enjoy before we came obsessed with bucket lists, and instagramming our every meal.

You can stay in Brisbane and travel to Coochie as a day trip or stay on the island.
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Guest Blogger: Sarah Duncan: Visiting the magical Guatavita Lake in Colombia

Travel Blog: Travel Colombia Visiting the magical Guatavita Lake in Colombia

Sarah Duncan:  Sarepa
Guest Blogger: Sarah Duncan

Today’s guest travel blog is by Sarah Duncan of the travel blog Sarepa. Sarah fell in love with Colombia and has travelled there extensively over the past ten years.

Today’s Sarah takes us to the magical Guatavita Lake in Colombia.

Guatavita-Lake-Travel-Colombia-6-792x356On the way to Guatavita Lake, we drive along the damp stretch of road, bumping along as the path begins to ascend steeply towards the sky. We’re surrounded by a cotton candy haze of low-hanging clouds and fog.

“The weather is like this almost all year round,” our guide, Alejandro, says from the front seat of the car in soft tones that hum when he speaks.

We continue to bump along through a green patchwork of rolling hills that have engulfed us, some dotted by native flora, other patches cleared for agriculture and farming. Potato farms are particularly popular here, we learn.

We’ve been driving for over an hour to the northeast of Bogota until we arrive at the starting point for the short trek up to Guatavita Lake.


The constant drizzle curls my hair and drips from my eyelashes onto my cheeks before rolling down my face and onto my bright green plastic rain poncho.

The earth makes squelching noises under my feet, adding to the noise of light rain, soft wind and the sound of fellow visitors and school students laughing as they, too, put on their brightly-coloured ponchos.

“The indigenous people from this area were called the Muiscas,” Alejandro whispers as we begin our walk, the tone of his voice adding to the mystery and wonder of the place.

“The word ‘Muisca’ in their Chibcha language means ‘the people’ and this land, Cundinamarca, in Chibcha, means the land of the condors, which is Colombia’s national bird,” he continues.

The condor, which has a wingspan of around 10 feet and is one of the largest birds of prey in the world, is no longer found in these parts of Colombia, Alejandro says. They’ve moved to less inhabited areas in the south near the Amazon jungle.

Looking up to the surrounding mountains, you can imagine these birds soaring through the air, gliding powerfully through the sky before landing on their hapless prey, spotted from above.

From the entrance point to Guatavita Lake it is about a 15 minute trek, but on this walk up the mildly inclined steps, we took a journey into a distant, magical past. Because Guatavita is more than just a lake, after all.

Far from the chaos of Bogota, we walk through the Paramo ecosystem, which some scientists believe to be evolutionary hotspots and hotbeds of biodiverse activity.

They’re mostly found in northern parts of South America including Colombia, Venezuela, Peru and Ecuador. But the ecosystem is largest in Colombia and through the Andes.

Walking through the Paramo we spotted Espeletia plants, also known as Frailejon, which are shrubs that only grow in these high altitude ecosystems. They have a thick trunks and large leaves which are covered in a soft fur that protects the plant from frost and the brisk temperatures in these parts.

The warm air, all the way from the Pacific, blows through these areas and cools before precipitating over the mountains, creating the almost all-year round fog that we noticed on the drive up.

These unbelievable little shrubs absorb water from the clouds, which is then past through to the roots and into the soil. These little guys grow just one or two centimetres per year. Just imagine how old this guy (on the right) is!



The local indigenous people of Colombia faced quite the ordeal once the Spanish arrived way back in 1499. Those who survived the introduction of disease were left with some pretty rough Spaniards to deal with, who wanted their vast fortunes of gold, among other things.

For the Muiscas, gold was valuable, sure, but not in the way that we might think. Gold was used in ceremonies, to denote social status, but it was also their material of choice when making handicrafts because the shiny material was so abundant. It was also used during ceremonies, too, right here at Guatavita.

This is the very spot where the story of El Dorado and its buried treasure originates, and it’s thanks to the local indigenous folk.


Way back in the day, before the Muiscas had to face the Spaniards, each of their regions had a leader, whom was called a Cacique. But not any ol’ Musica got the opportunity to become one of these revered folk, it took a long and arduous series of tests before he was given the coveted title.

The tests began when the chosen boy was just nine years old. He would be put in a room and denied the world’s earthly pleasures such as salt and spices.

Instead, he was only allowed to eat boiled vegetables and meat. After nine years eating like a paleo, before it was hip, at 18 years old, and at the peak of his sexual awakening, he was tested yet again. This time several beautiful women were to accompany him and be at his beck and call.

If he could deny these “cuchas”, which means “woman more beautiful than rainbows” and not the modern translation “old woman”, they could then proceed to the next test. If he couldn’t help but have his cake and eat it, too, then he would be cast out from the community.

If he passes this most difficult of tests for an 18-year-old, then he was given a house full of all the pleasures of the world. Yes, even salt and spices and beautiful cuchas.

Could he at last enjoy such pleasures? Of course not! He had to refrain from any of these things, but live under the same roof with them, just for one more day. If he could last a mere 24 hours more, then he could become a Cacique.

But, the ritual doesn’t end there, and this is where the story of Guatavita Lake really comes alive. These Caciques would arrive at the lake to make offerings in order to receive abundance from their goddess.

And how do they make such an offering? Well, they smother themselves with sticky stuff, probably honey, which is rubbed into their naked bodies and then covered in gold.

They’d then walk up to the lake and, from a raft, throw pieces of gold into the water as an offering, an act which has since inspired curiosity and greed from treasure hunters from around the world.

Over many years Guatavita Lake has been drained, people have scuba dived to its depths and a channel was even dug up, leaving a V-shaped hole in the mountain. One hopeful man even suggested that more than one billion sterling worth of goodies were still sitting on the bottom of the lake.


Thankfully, the lake and some of the surrounding area is now protected and people are no longer able to come here to look for buried treasure or clean their cars (as Alejandro mentioned wasn’t all that uncommon not that long ago!) and, more seriously, it is no longer at risk of being further damaged in the pursuit of riches.

Walking up the steps to Guatavita Lake, I became short of breath because of the high altitude and thin air (we were 3,100 metres above sea level), but what really took my breath away was the energy, the history and the mysticism of this truly important and beautiful place.


Sarepa was invited to visit Guatavita Lake by Colombia4u and Destino Bogota on the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral and Guatavita Lake Tour. For more information about the tour, be sure to click here. All opinions are her own.


I hope you enjoyed that blog by Sarah 🙂 Thank  you Sarah for sharing your travels! I’m certainly inspired to visit Colombia and enjoy reading all of your blogs.You can also follow Sarah on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.Sarah has a blog writing course coming up that you may be interested in. I completed this course a couple of months ago, and loved it, and have been busy implementing the information I learned ever since.

Who’s the course for?

The Build Your Best Blog course is for anyone who has a project, idea, business venture or creative mission who wants to be seen, heard and engaged with online. If you’re unsure why having a blog is so important, what platform to use or how to ensure your personality and your message shines through in the ever-crowded online landscape, then this guide about how to Build Your Best Blog is a great first step. 

What’s included:

  • Daily emails: Every day for four weeks you’ll receive an email from me with the day’s course content, which will include information, helpful videos, worksheets and exercises to help you put into practice what you’re learning each day.
  • Private Facebook group: You’ll receive access to a private Facebook group which has been set up to help you. Have a question about the course content? Want to connect with other bloggers? Want to be part of a community? That’s where the Facebook group comes in. It’s all about supporting you!
  • eBook: You’ll also receive a 100-page eBook with all the necessary information we covered over the course. That means you can refer to the information as you need it, whenever it is most convenient for you.
  • One-on-one coaching: A really exciting addition to this course is the opportunity to have one-on-one blog coaching from Sarah (that’s me!). At an allocated time, Sarah will go over  your blog and give you personalised feedback about areas to work on with you blog, so you can get the most out of your experience during the course.
  • Access to videos, worksheets + more!

You can find out further information by clicking on the affiliate picture below.

Build You Best Blog Course

Sarepa Build You Best Blog Course

Have you travelled to Colombia? We’d love to hear your thoughts about Colombia in the comments below.


ten tips for travelling with kids

Travel: Ten tips for travelling with kids

Top Tips for Travelling with Kids

ten tips for travelling with kids

The school holidays are so close I can almost smell them! Everyone dreads the first part of the holidays though don’t they- the ‘getting there’. This article will provide you with my top ten tips to make the journey and your first day harmonious and relaxing.The first tip for travelling with children of all ages is simple. If you’re happy, they’re happy. A holiday vibe is easy to catch, but a little bit of preparation is the key to a happy harmonious holiday.

Here are my top ten tips:


Views are important

  1. Views and tranquility are important. I’ll let you into a secret- when I stay somewhere without a view, I don’t relax to the same extent. The view can be of a gorgeous garden, a rainforest, a mountain, or the ocean, but I have to have a view of something. It helps me unwind and is especially important for me in the early hours of the morning when I get up before my family. This is my time, and I personally like to hear the sounds of nature, and watch the sunrise. I also like to meditate in proximity to nature, so if I can do it from a verandah with a view, or sit in a garden that’s ideal. Make sure you request a view at the time of booking; pay the extra to upgrade, it’s worth it.
  2. Book a house or a cabin with enough space: Everyone needs spot to chill in without having to jump over each other. A house you say- that’s too expensive? No, we beg it is not. In our experience, the best houses are those with the simple essentials- access to a pool, a spa, a beach or a canal. Yep, one of those, and you’ve got hours of entertainment for everyone in the family, no matter what the season is. Want to know other benefits of staying in a house when travelling with kids? For mothers with infants and toddlers, a house means you don’t have to worry about the noise that the little ones make when they wake with boundless energy at 5am. You also don’t have to worry about the sound of chairs scraping on the floor and echoing through to the apartment below. It’s also nice to have some space to move and take the baby to sit on the deck whilst you feed, and gaze at the view. Did we mention that houses give you room to bring the scooter and push trikes? Garden access is a sanity restorer, as you can let the kids run around. And if you choose a beach or canal front location, you have sand play in an instant, not to mention the ability to wear the tykes out so that they have that mid morning sleep without tears.
  3. Pre-organise your food and drinks via online shopping to arrive shortly after you do. The most stressful part of any holiday is the travel there and home again. Don’t rush around doing the grocery shopping only to tear your hair out wondering how you are going to transport the Brie without it getting squashed. Now that you know where you are staying, be smart and do your online shopping and organise to have your groceries delivered shortly after your arrival time. All the major supermarkets home deliver, and if you’re into boutique and organic, Google the local producers to find out who delivers in the area. Alternatively check if there is a breakfast hamper or welcome pack as a part of your accommodation. If a restaurant is more your style then pre book your reservation for the first night. You don’t want to have to think when you arrive.
  4. Pack aromatic candles or bring your diffuser with your favourite essential oils with you. You just need to get from stressed mode to relaxed mode in the shortest time possible. I recommend saving one aroma for your holidays. That way your family will subconsciously associate the smell with holidays and begin to unwind as soon as the aroma begins to fill the room.
  5. Charge electronic devices: Make sure all your electronic devices are charged and that you have packed the charger. Pre-download audio books, movies and playlists for each of your kids (unless yours are big enough and have already organised this). It will take time to set up, but you’ll have it organised for each holiday commute in the future. Buy headphones so that everyone can listen to their own music/books. If you have a nanny or house manager, they can do this for you.
  6. Travel snacks: Assign each member of the family their travel snacks and drinks and place them on their seat in the car for when you leave. This means you don’t have to worry about stopping on the way, or trying to distribute food from the front seat.
  7. Holiday rules: Daylight = device free– that means for everyone. Check your iPads and phones in the pantry and allow everyone to become exhausted before they are allowed to chill out with them in the late afternoon. It’s good for the kids to complain that they are bored. Once they break through the “I’m bored factor” they become creative and invent games to play.
  8. Pack holiday games: Simple family holiday games to pack that will entertain the whole tribe include bocce, frisbee, kites and a couple of good old fashioned board games for inside or rainy weather. Check if your accommodation provider has these first! I always bring colouring pencils and stationery for everyone- including mindful colouring in books for the grown ups!
  9. Capture memories mindfully. For those with older children a fun idea is to give everyone an underwater disposable camera or a polaroid camera. The new Polaroid cameras instantly print and your kids will love taking photos with them. Underwater cameras will provide hours of fun on the beach or in the pool. You could also give each child a travel diary to record their feelings, and paste the pictures in.
  10. Pre-organise your meal for when you get home:  so you just have to get it out of the freezer, or call for takeaway on the drive home. Remember to preload the phone numbers in your phone.


Pack the colouring in pencils and books for adults and kids alike!

Travelling with kids is fun, and before you know it you’ll be asking your friends to come with you, and having joint family holidays. Happy Holidays, you’re going to have a fantastic time.

This article was originally published in a different format on, and was written by Katische. It has been revised and reformatted.

Travel: What are you doing next weekend?


Life’s lessons. Image by Katische Haberfield

“Good travel is returning home a slightly bigger part of everyone and not quite the same person as when you set out. The ultimate reward is arriving home with a sense and understanding of who we are mutually as members of the human race”.

Bryce Courtenay

I believe that travel is an essential part of life. It is an important component of every person’s education as it opens our eyes to the world, and shows us that our way of living is not the only way. Through travel we learn about language, culture, customs, cuisine, religion and the environment. Travel gives us insights into the unique aspects of different countries and regions and spending time in nature when we travel helps us understand its preciousness. When we travel to expand ourselves, and not just tick off another item on our bucket list, we can use it as a learning opportunity to understand that what makes us human is that we are all the same. We all face similar fears and desires and we all want to be loved. Travel gives us the space to think and reflect on what it is that we truly want in life.


Coolangatta. Image by Katische Haberfield

I believe that we are truly blessed to be able to see more of the world with cheap airfares, and it is more important than ever to examine our travel consumption and ensure that our leisure does not impact negatively on the environment we stay in. This is one of the reasons I choose eco travel where possible. I love staying in ecolodges because the owners and managers are committed to ensuring that your experience is enhancing nature, and the surroundings are tranquil. The earth wins, and you win. Luxury demands new standards.


Maleny Botanical Gardens: Image by Katische Haberfield

I’ve developed a new travel section of my website with practical and inspiring information on things that you can do in Australia and New Zealand. My focus is always on the experiences and places that I have personally visited, and found interesting, informative, and fun! When I travel I always seek experiences that leave me enriched though culture, art, a greater understanding of history or opportunities to connect with the earth.


Travel offers opportunities to create space in our life so that we can reflect. Image Katische Haberfield.  I’d love to hear what you think. Over the coming months I will be expanding this section dramatically, offering you interviews with locals, and offerings from accommodation providers who I believe offer an outstanding experience. If you’re wondering what to do next weekend, why not take a look?