Gnomesville: The Little Gnome Town in the West Australian Bush

Did you know there is a village of gnomes living in the West Australian bush? They have little gnome schools, gnome buses, gnome community groups and tiny little gnome houses. If someone told me the population of Gnomesville was over 5,000, I’d say, ‘yeah, that sounds about right!’

Upon first entering Gnomesville you may feel your inner child squeal with glee. You might come across an Elvis gnome, Gnomi Campbell, a bikini-clad gnome sunbathing or a downright rude gnome bending over with his pants down showing his freckle! But the further you walk into Gnomesville, the more gnomes you see, or rather the more eyes you feel staring back at you. I just couldn’t ignore the slightly creepy feeling the more I explored.

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Further down into the cool canopy of trees you might spot the tranquil creek running through the little gnome town but looking further ahead you start to question, where does Gnomesville end? There are just so. many. gnomes! Continue reading

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Western Australia’s Pink Lakes

Western Australia has a number of pink lakes, caused by a combination of high salinity and salt-loving algae that create the bright, bubblegum hue.

Hutt Lagoon

On a recent road trip north of Perth in Western Australia, I stopped in at Hutt Lagoon, near Port Gregory, home to one of the most impressive and largest pink lakes around. Although 6 hours north of Perth, it’s one of the easier pink lakes to get to in WA, but more on the others later.

Hutt Lagoon spans 14 km (8.7 mi) along the coast and around 2.3 km (1.4 mi) wide with a large dune system separating it from the Indian Ocean.

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Mt Fuji’s Hidden Kimono Museum

It took a while to find, which was more a reflection of my inability to read a map than its hidden location, but the rise of stone stairs to a carved wooden door would indicate that I’d finally found the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum.

Itchiku Kubota Art Museum

Entrance to the garden

Situated in the foothills near the north shore of Lake Kawaguchi overlooking Mt Fuji, is a place worth a visit even if just to see the garden alone. From outside its walls, amber hues drape over the carved entrance created from multiple doors said to have come from Indian castles. Stepping over the threshold feels invasive like you’re intruding into some Japanese feudal lord’s private garden, but intrude I will!

While pretty all year-round, autumn is when the garden stands out with a profusion of foliage ranging from deep reds through to golden yellow. It’s spectacular!

Gravel paths meander through a small forest filled with purposely-placed rocks, ponds and waterfalls, all meticulously designed by the museum’s namesake, Itchiku Kubota.

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Inside the garden

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West Australian Wildflower Road Trip

One of the greatest wildflower displays in the world happens each year in Western Australia, as a wave of northerly blooms descend from June onwards, heading south as the weather warms into spring and early summer.

There are around 12,500 species of flora here, 60% which are unique to Western Australia, scattered over landscapes of red dirt, rocky outcrops, tall timber forests or sandy coastal dunes.

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Whether you have one day or several weeks, there are plenty of diverse wildflower routes to explore. If you’re visiting Perth and don’t have much time, from August to October you can visit the expansive Kings Park that overlooks the city and is packed with over 300 floral species (peaking in September), or head to the Perth Hills to get your wildflower fix on various bushwalking trails and in national parks, where the native orchids are a specialty.

Myself and fellow travel blogger The Barefoot Backpacker, who was visiting from England, started out with a day trip north but this slowly increased into nights as we found more exciting places to visit until I came up with what I think is a pretty good 4 night/5 day itinerary heading into the heart of WA’s wildflower country but also mixing in some interesting non-floral sites to see.

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Helensburgh Glow Worm Tunnel

 

I always thought I’d have to go to New Zealand to see glow worms at the famous Waitomo Cave,  but it turns out that we have them here in Australia!
There are a number of places where you can see them on the east coast but the most convenient would have to be the glow worms at the Helensburgh Tunnels, just 60km south of Sydney.

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Cherry Blossoms in Japan – In Photos

Sakura, as they’re known in Japan, bloom once a year all over the country and the Japanese go mad for it! There are festivals, decorations everywhere, sakura-themed food and everyone flocks to their nearest park to sit under the trees to admire the blossoms (or Hanami, as viewing blossoms are known in Japan), often with a picnic full of little plates to share and lots of sake!

For more info on where to see some of the best displays of cherry blossoms in Japan, check out this post Best Places to see Cherry Blossoms in Japan

But for now, take in the beauty of this little pastel flower that has the whole world watching!

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A cherry blossom lined canal near Nanzen-ji Temple in Kyoto

 

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Cherry blossom lined canals in Pontocho, Kyoto

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