Botanical Gardens-Hobart

Travel: Royal Tasmania Botanical Gardens- Hobart

botanical gardens- hobart

If there’s one thing about traveling to a cooler climate that’s a bonus, it’s the knowledge that the botanical gardens are going to be spectacular! I visited the Royal Tasmania Botanical Gardens on my recent trip to Hobart. Established in 1818, there are 14 hectares of gardens with over 6,000 exotic species.

Botanical Gardens-Hobart

Botanical Gardens- Hobart

Botanical Gardens- Hobart


Lunch at the restaurant

For obvious reasons! It tasted as good as it looked!

Royal Hobart Botanical Gardens Hobart



Cold garden- Subantarctic Plant House

The subantarctic garden showcases plants and noises from Macquarie Island, to show realistically what the chilly fogs and mists of the windy island are like. I must admit I thought it was going to be freezing, but I would describe it as pleasantly cool. The official description is:

The house was designed to replicate the appearance and environmental conditions of Macquarie Island and also to act as an experimental house for the cultivation of the plants from this region. The curved inner walls are painted with a mural depicting the various environments of the island, while the landscape has been recreated using plants, mosses and rock collected from Macquarie Island. An immersive audio sound-scape of the Macquarie Island environment adds to the illusion of traveling to this remote region and visitors will hear the sounds of wildlife from the Island, including elephant seals, penguins, albatross and skuas, as well as the ever-present wind and rain.


Subantarctic Garden Royal Botanical Gardens Hobart

ubantarctic Garden Royal Botanical Gardens Hobart

ubantarctic Garden Royal Botanical Gardens Hobart

Lilly Pond

botanical gardens-hobart

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Rose garden

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ABC Food Garden Hobart Botanical Gardens

Cactus Collection

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Bat Plant

Bat Plant

Pete’s Veggie Patch/ Tasmanian Community Garden/ABC Gardening Australia

This is the garden that the ABC often filmed segments of its’ gardening show from. Originally part of ‘Pete’s Veggie Patch’ it is now frequented by Tino  Carnevale for the ABC Gardening Australia show. The garden was

“Developed in conjunction with a coalition of community organisations and other interested individuals, it emphasises sustainability, highlights food security and produces local fruit and vegetables for the wider community. This garden provides inspiration and practical ideas for both the home gardener and other community gardens.”

ABC Food Garden Hobart Botanical Gardens

ABC Food Garden Hobart Botanical Gardens

ABC Food Garden Hobart Botanical Gardens

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Botanical Gardens- Hobart

How do you get there? We walked from our hotel, which was a good 30 minute walk, mostly uphill. On the way back however, we decided to catch the red double decker bus back into town for $3.50. This bus goes hourly, however, please check the timetable for details- it is clearly signed at the gardens and throughout town.

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Botanical Gardens- hobart



Travel: Queenstown, New Zealand



Queenstown is breathtakingly beautiful. I have visited twice and think it is truly magical. The obsession with the natural landscape begins the minute you step out of the plane. Even the airport has stunning vistas of the Remarkables. Queenstown is very tourist friendly, so I hopped on a bus which took me directly into town. The buses are clean, with plenty of space for luggage, and run regularly in and around town. I personally think that it is the best way to get around town, and inexpensively- a seven day bus pass costs $47pp for unlimited travel.

Having visited Queenstown previously, my agenda for this trip included:

  1. Go to the movies to see the second instalment of the Hobbit!
  2. Spend time in Arrowtown– read about it here.
  3. Walk around as much as possible to prepare for my Routeburn Track hike
  4. Have a day spa experience (my family had given me money for my birthday)
  5. Indulge in a hot pool with a view experience. (My gift to myself on the day I returned from my hike).I chose a one hour bath with an aromatherapy burner and scented oil of my choice and soft drink.
  6. Wine tasting tour of Central Otago- read about it here.
  7. Visit the galleries– the Ivan Clark Gallery with its bronze sculptures was one of the best.

Things I had previously done with my family included:

Because I was travelling solo, and had spent most of my money on the hike, I decided to stay in private accommodation at the YHA backpackers. When I arrived I stayed at the YHA Central (pre-booked). This was fantastic because the toilet and shower were in the room. The downside, being right in town was the noise from the clubs nearby. On my return from Routeburn I had pre-booked a private room at the YHA Lakefront.  This was a much bigger YHA with more facilities, however, I had to share a communal bathroom.


Walking around Queens Park and the waterfront is very relaxing not to mention scenic!

My first walk was around the beautiful Queenstown Park. Being a fan of roses, I was in heaven.

My view from the hot bath…


View of the Shotover River from my bath!


There is simply so much to do in Queenstown, you’ll be back many times!

Eat Pray Love Made me do it.

Eat Pray Love Made me do it

Recently to celebrate the anniversary of Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert called for submissions to be included in a book of short stories titled “Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It”. Naturally, I jumped at the chance. My submission was not successful, and I thought that I would share it with you, so that those of you who are new to this website, can gain a sneak peak into my life, and why I am a photographer and writer. (The original article was not submitted with photographs)



In the early scenes of the movie Love Actually, Jamie (Colin Firth) comes home to discover his semi-clad girlfriend cavorting around the lounge with his brother. Suitably devastated, he retreats to a lake house to write a novel on his old-fashioned typewriter. I too, have retreated to a lake house. With the dissolution of my marriage, I have packed my things and brought my children to a house overlooking a lake in Witta, eager to create a fresh new future.

I don’t want to move back to my hometown of Brisbane to be pitied. I know that just like death, divorce is a taboo and most people in society run from those who have failed in marriage rather than come close to support them.

I want to be alone to lick my wounds. I feel ashamed. My heart feels black with grief and I need the freedom to be in the emotion of the moment, to be sad or mad or angry, to achieve nothing other than simply getting through the day. I am now a recipient of a government pension and my ego does not like it. I refuse to live in a depressing environment. I know that if my house is hell, then my mind will descend there.

I know I need time to heal, but with two children under four and a dog, I cannot escape the country to an Ashram, so I choose to make my new life in Witta a healing adventure. I create my first blog and name it ‘Adventures with Munchkins. It is a way to document for myself the experience that I am going through. I want to write about the change in my life from an uplifting point of view. From a perspective of adventure, from the rose tinted lenses of a woman who thinks she can face fear head on and make an adventure out of the experience of being a single mother.

I know that single motherhood is one of the biggest fears married women face, and parents have for their children. It is the main reason that abused women remain victims, and others who are in a loveless marriage remain until the kids have left home.

Single mothers are blamed for everything. Bad behaved children, truancy, rises in crime and drug usage. A single mother is someone to be pitied, not inspired by. A single mother also usually earns less and works more, and holds the greatest guilt over not being a super human and giving her child every experience possible. One in four children in single parent families in Australia live in poverty.

I am determined that I will not be the object of pity. I am also determined not to let my single motherhood change my parenting wishes. I wish to be a present parent, even if that means I am a parent who remains on a pension longer.

My number one focus in life is to recover from my marriage breakdown to ensure that when I am ready to return to work, I am an asset not a liability. Eat Pray Love becomes literally my bible. I feel like Liz Gilbert is the only person in the world who understands me.

I highlight passages and every time Richard from Texas counsels her, I feel as though he is talking to me. Especially when I am sad, and then angry. Both which are natural stages of grief, experienced as a result of a separation and divorce, both equally disturbing and overwhelming.

“Groceries, you need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select what clothes you’re gonna wear every day. This is a power you can cultivate…Because if you can’t learn to master your thinking, you’re in deep trouble forever”.

And so I learn how to watch my emotions rise, and monitor my thoughts like passing clouds. At some point in time, I stop being angry, start to accept my lot in life, and starting seeing the beauty around me.

Eat Pray Love

I am filled with awe of the clouds and the fog and the mist of Witta, and how they interact with the mountain range. The mornings are filled with spectacular sunrises and the evenings with even more amazing sunsets over the lake. So begins a fascination with recording the beauty I am seeing on my iPhone.

Eat Pray Love

The day I started to see beauty in my own yard, changed my perspective on life.

I change the name of my blog to ‘The Lake House Writer’ and my journey takes on a new dimension. Each week I post images that I have taken that are blended with quote that reflects how I feel, the inspiration that I am seeking in my life. I create my first photographic video that incorporates images I have taken on my iPhone with Tibetan music and post it on the blog.

I decide to undertake a photography challenge with my friend also named Liz. We no longer live around the corner from each other, and as a way of continuing the friendship we decided to upload a photo a day. It just has to be a single photo, something that we had done or seen or eaten that day.

Eat Pray Love

From this point onwards my brain explodes. I allow my brain the space to be silent whilst my eyes filtered the experience of my life through a camera. I experience the complete spectrum of emotion through the excuse of photography. This enables me to see the emotions that I am experiencing at a safe distance, and I can correct them so that I do not go too high or too low.

I can now view my photography and say ‘wooah that was a dark day yesterday’, better make today a light one. I then simply seek an adventure where I photograph something beautiful in nature, to make my mind focus in that direction.

Eat Pray Love

I have a whole new culture at my fingertips. Living in Witta, I am exposed to the freethinking Bohemian living citizens of Maleny. People here simply view life differently. They take you as you are. They explore all facets of life, all theories of existence and all forms of healing. Nothing is too strange, too unacceptable, or too radical.

I decide that if I am going to live in the middle of nowhere, I might as well embrace it- put on the glasses of Peter Mayle for a while. It may not be rural France, and I am living in a brick rental house rather than a crumbling Chateau, but the experience for me could be the same. I needn’t travel overseas to live an adventure. This realization gives me immense freedom and tears off the tape that is binding my wings to my side.

My blog becomes the place that I explore my fascination with life in Maleny. It is the best medicine for a broken heart. I simply operate from the place of knowledge that I know nothing about repairing a broken heart and that I will take any advice, and try it. Any remedy, any alternate therapy any approach to life and any friendship that came my way. If it doesn’t work, there is nothing lost.

Eat Pray Love

And nothing is lost, because, a year later, we return to Brisbane, ready to face the world again. We face a bigger battle helping my father face an early death in the form of prostate cancer and again Eat Pray Love comes to my side to help cope with anxiety, depression and grief, all the same emotions, this time in a different form.

the hardest goodbye

When the grief passes I take Richards advice,

“Take all the time you need to heal, but don’t forget to eventually share your heart with someone”.

A couple of short relationships later, my heart has been wedged right open, and I am optimistic that in time, I will find the right long term relationship.

Eat Pray Love

Words by me, image by Russell Stevens.

My writing and my photography has been a constant for me through this journey and I’m now both a professional photographer and writer. I’ve just put the finishing touches on my manuscript, which I have been writing since that first blog as a newly single mother.

Eat Pray Love

So from the bottom of my heart, and also from my children, who have gained a mother who is passionate about her work, I thank you Liz. By taking the courage to be vulnerable and share your story, you have helped me through my darkest times and provided me with the never-ending light of inspiration to guide me on my way. Your Facebook posts have impacted and helped me on a daily basis and you Liz, have become my Richard from Texas.


*Note- one of the many challenges that Liz and I took was a structured challenge from Fat Mum Slim.  These photo challenges are a fantastic way to get started with photography. In time, we decided to create our own challenges, but highly recommend the structured approach to get you photographing and give you some confidence.




Photography: Grab your loved one by the hand

One of the wonderful parts about the development of mobile phones into smart phones has been the camera. We no longer have to lug around heavy cameras to take candid happy snaps of our friends and family. We’ve all been recording impromptu moments of fun and learning along the way, naturally, what works with photography.

But if you’re like me, in the process, you’ve gotten so many pictures, that you don’t print them out anymore, and they sit on your computer’s hard drive. I also don’t have any nice pictures of myself with the kids- you know, “keeper” photos.

Impromptu attempt. however, one child wouldn't get in the photo with Santa- you can see him behind me in the blue striped shirt

Impromptu attempt. however, one child wouldn’t get in the photo with Santa

Recently, I have been approached by a number of friends to take candid family photos for them. I’m always hesitant when the word “family portraits” are used because I have heard so many stories of husbands and wives investing fortunes in family photography only to have one spending more that was agreed, and the other feeling ripped off. When people look at the “package deal” photos on the wall, they no longer see the smiles, they see dollar bills in flames. Which is probably why I like photographing trees…


So I have set about testing the water, and have used the opposite approach to many. My approach has been to create a situation which involves the maximum fun and laughs and the minimum stress. I’m not about styled picture perfect Pinterest portrait shoots. I let the kids run wild, and make the parents hold hands and kiss. It’s amazing how many couples have not held hands for a long time.

I'm a bit nervous about this kissing thing!

I’m a bit nervous about this kissing thing!

And as for kissing in front of the kids… I make a song and dance about it, and do shots where the kids pretend they are not looking and then make them look. Those photos are never going to be the ones that they put on the wall and frame, but guess what. The after effect is amazing. Ask a couple to hold hands for five minutes and make them kiss and the world changes. Literally.

Kids might squeal but deep down it gives them immense comfort and satisfaction.

Kids might squeal but deep down it gives them immense comfort and satisfaction.

We get so caught up in the world of making a life, and doing all the things we need to do that we forget about the things that mean a lot and make real memories. Not just photographic memories, I’m talking about impressions on our mind that will make us smile when we are 75.

It's the moments when you're not posing, that mean the most.

It’s the moment’s when you’re not posing, that mean the most.

Here’s some behind the scenes videos of a couple of recent photo shoots. I think they are best summed up by the gentleman who said to his wife “wow, that was a real feel good moment right there”. Yep, heart swollen.

You want me to what?

You want me to what?

Grab your loved one by the hand.

For further information about portraiture contact me at or on 0411 040 688. Limited spots left before Christmas.

Monday Motivation

Every morning you are

Photograph donated to the Chapel Hill State School Silent Auction by Katische Haberfield

Chapel Hill State School Fete

There’s nothing more rewarding than giving back to the community that supports you and your family.  Which is why I am excited to announce my Gold sponsorship of the Chapel Hill State School Fete this year. I’ve donated three of my hugely popular Autumn leaf photographic canvases from the ‘wonderment’ collection to the silent auction. Visit the auction site here to place your bid. 100% of the proceeds go to the school, this year the goal is to upgrade and improve the playgrounds and sporting fields at the school to meet the demands of the growing number of students (up 30% over the past few years).

The three photographs up for auction are:


“Fifty Shades of Autumn”. Photograph taken in Stanthorpe.

Inner Glow

“Inner Glow”

Photograph donated to the Chapel Hill State School Silent Auction by Katische Haberfield

“Suddenly I see”

Be quick- place your bid today! The auction ends September 4th at 10:00pm.

The fete is on Saturday 5th September- details can be found here.






Heartfelt thanks


Photo by Michel Poknee of Chicoz Photography

Photo by Michel Poknee of Chicoz Photography

It takes a village… thank you to all my wonderful friends and family who came to and supported me for this exhibition. It was a mammoth exercise to shoot, collate, print, pontificate over, market and organise this exhibition.

I couldn’t have done it without the support of my kids and my mother and my sister, Liz, the wonderful support of photographic buddies Amanda and Russell, the Instagram community, the Chapel Hill S.S community.

To those who travelled from the coast, and those who I hadn’t seen since I lived in PNG or who I went to Primary School with!!

Thank you to my B.G.G.S school buddies- you are bloody legends- always supporting me. Truly a wonderful year group.

Thank you to each and everyone who spent time with me this weekend, and thank you to those who are ill and sent me messages from their bed.

Thank you to everyone who supported me from the sideline and especially those who valued me and my photography and purchased. You are truly special people and I am blessed to have you in my life xx

Photo by Michel Poknee of Chicoz Photography

Photo by Michel Poknee of Chicoz Photography

My new bespoke cushion-available for order by contacting me.  Image by Michele Pocknee of Chicoz Photography

My new bespoke cushion-available for order by contacting me. Image by Michele Pocknee of Chicoz Photography

The green side of the room- featuring my new bespoke cushion based on the ‘a touch of paradise’ photograph. All my photographs are now available as a cushion for $100 plus postage. Two weeks order time. Thanks again to Michele Pocknee of Chicoz Photography for this photo.


If you were unable to come to the exhibition, all the photographs are now available for sale at this link  Contact me if you are interested in international orders as I work directly with your local printer to ensure quality of reproduction and to eliminate costly international shipping charges! There are a few printed canvases available from the exhibition in the 36×24 $400 and 24 x 24 size ($250), please contact me to find out which ones these are.

Happy Snaps posted on social media. Thank you to everyone who entered the selfie competition. The winner is Tanja Prell, who wins the display canvas of  “Solitude”.  Tanja please email me to organise collection of your photographic canvas.


Sometimes it can feel like no one’s watching what you are doing. But I’ve been reminded by Austin Leon, to keep sharing and continually improve myself. Recently, however I have hit a gold mine, and a lot of my photos have been shared and featured in Instagram.  Whilst I take the photos for myself, to inspire myself, and because honestly, I just can’t help myself, it is nice to be recognised.

Australians are notorious for not sharing when they receive recognition because we have a culture of cutting down tall poppies and making sure people don’t get “a big ego”. I’d like to encourage everyone to do the opposite. Share your joys and your highlights, the right people will be there to cheer you on 🙂

If you’re on Instagram, I’d love to see your photos 🙂

Recently the Brisbane Open House featured my photo from last year’s competition as their Facebook Page photo. The photo was taken from inside the caretaker’s house in the bridge. We took a tour of the bridge as a part of the Open House weekend. It was great fun, and I look forward to submitting my application for further tours this year.



Travelling through life with a camera

I need to escape regularly. Working from a home office, I need to get out on the weekends and inject some fresh air and life into my blood. I find travelling an easy way to do this. When I bring my camera along with me, I find that I stop more, and really take in my surroundings. I look for textures and colours, for the shapes in the clouds, and the everyday things that make me laugh. I look for the things that other people walk past.

The following photos are from a recent trip to Sydney’s eastern suburbs.