I have 9 old, wrinkly friends, who are retired or semi-retired. Five of them all used to work together and the other four are husbands. They didn't want to lose touch when they retired so they decided to meet and have lunch or dinner when it was their birthdays. However, they got disenchanted with buying a present every time, and decided instead to give a Birthday Bear (thats me.) I get passed from one birthday person to the next each time they meet. The fun part is, that I get to be dressed differently each time, usually to reflect some aspect of the recipient's personality or life.
PS: Two of my wrinklies, Chris and Bob, have gone on a working holiday tour around Australia so they don't celebrate with us very often.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


It is no fun being squashed in a suitcase and stowed in the hold of an aeroplane for 2 hours, but I didn't want to miss a trip to South Australia and Lake Eyre. It was Ann's birthday trip and I wasn't going to miss it, so I climbed into Diane's suitcase and suffered being bent in half all the way to Adelaide and Pt Augusta. I was glad when we arrived and I could get out and have a good stretch and see all my old wrinkly friends again.
 Happy birthday Ann! I was decked out as a tourist and ready for this trip.

The motel staff wouldn't give me a chair at  Pt Augusta but at least it was cool on the floor.

 I had a special place on the coach I had a good view out the front window.

I saw miles and miles of desert.

I had my walking shoes on ready for a walk on the salt pan of Lake Eyre.

 Oh, no! It is too far away. I can't walk that far, why couldn't the silly driver drive us right to the edge of the lake.

 Whoo Hooo! The next day we went up in a little aeroplane. I loved the view.

Hey look! Lake Eyre has water in it.

Wow! The water is pink.

 While the wrinklies went for a walk in the desert, I checked out the pilot's seat. You know I reckon I could fly this plane.

Now let me see. Mmmmm yep, I can do it. Here we go!

See I got everyone back to Marree safely. Can you see the little town in the distance.

 I was looking forward to a nice cup of tea.

 I had to hang around while the wrinklies went on a town tour. It was too hot for me so I stayed in the cool donga.

The next day we were going to Wilpena Pound. This is a bit boring driving through the desert I might just have a little nap.  No, I can't sleep because I'm a bit hungry. I wonder if I can find Ann's Chocolate stash.

 Oooops! I got sprung helping myself to the chockies. Now my arms have  been stuffed into the elasticed seat pocket so I can't get into the chockies again. I have to wait until after dinner. Pah!

Before dinner we walked to the top of Wilpena Pound. Everyone was huffing and puffing.

 I had to have a little lie down when we got back. I need some food!

Finally, I get some dinner and dessert. I ate it all so now I can have a chocolate or 2 or 3 or 4 or.......

Whoops! I forgot that I have to stow away in Ann's bag so that I don't have to pay for an air ticket, but I think I ate too many chocolates. Oh well here goes...breathe in! I'll see you all when I get back to Brisbane.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Bill and Diane set off this morning and drove the hired people mover to pick up me, Ann and George.

I was ready and excited about going on a mystery tour.

George and Bill packed the car.

I had a spot looking out of the back window. We then picked up Mary and visited Paul and Helen and let them know how we would miss them.

First stop was Gympie, a country town, a few hours north of Brisbane. I was excited to find a Bear shop and I had fun making friends.

Then I had coffee and scones for morning tea.

I explored the park in this old gold mining town.

I loved the ducks and the fountain.
The first part of this trip has been fun for all of us.


We stayed in a cabin in Bundaberg. In the morning we packed the car and I opted for a seat in the back again.
We drove to Bargara Beach and caught the sun rising over the Pacific Ocean. They walked along the boardwalk. Sonya's sister in law lived here so we gave her a ring and she came to say hello. I think she thought that we were nuts having me in the car and signs saying Birthday Bear Mystery Tour. 

We drove to the beach at Bagara and met Sonya's SIL she said hello to me too.

I was happy to have my own bunk bed in the cabin.

Today we did a day trip on a LARC (Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo) vehicle.
We drove for 35 k along the beach and through several inlets.

I enjoyed it when we went in the water.

We stopped for morning tea and I climbed a tree to look at the splendid view.

After morning tea we were back in the LARC and climbed up the hill to Busted Head Lighthouse and passed these grass trees.

I was lucky I didn't have to walk.

Coming down the hill was exciting with glorious views of Bustard Bay. 

It was a bit scary because I was driving and I couldn't see out of the window.

We stopped by a steep sand dune to do some sand boarding.

I watched how to do it.

...and I was brave enough to have a go.

Wow what a day! That's enough LARCing for today.

Today is Mary's birthday and Ann has dressed me in an outfit suitable for Mary.  Now I am a lovely lady who enjoys bushwalking. Ann snuck onto the balcony of Mary's cabin and left me there for Mary early in the morning as a surprise.

Naturally mary was surprised and pleased with me.

The beach at the town of 1770 (weird name I know) James Cook landed here in 1770 to replenish his supply of fresh water.

We celebrated Mary's birthday at a roadhouse on the way to our next destination...Cania Gorge. We have never been there before and it is exciting not knowing where we are going until the beginning of each day. Ann had even organised the roadhouse to produce a birthday cake.

We arrived in Cania Gorge last night, the frogs were in chorus and the birds were singing. This morning Mary took me to visit Cania Lake in the gorge.

The lake was pretty.

Then we went on the Shamrock Mine walk. It is fun in the back pack no tired legs for me.

I wonder if I'll find any gold down there. Wait a minute I can't get in it is covered over so silly bears can't fall in.


It had been raining gently throughout the night and as we set off for Carnarvon Gorge the clouds and rain were surrounding us. 
When we stopped for morning tea, Ann received a call from the Carnarvon Gorge Wilderness Resort telling us that the road into the gorge had been closed due to the rain (it is a dirt road) and we wouldn't be able to go there today. Naturally we were all disappointed and now it was a mystery to all of us where we could stay for the night. We had been booked into the Carnarvon Wilderness Resort for three nights.

We drove past Carnarvon Gorge and continued on towards Injune for a bed for the night.

We found a typical one horse country town Motel and settled in. My humans scrounged around the luggage and found some left overs for an afternoon tea on the "balcony"? I was glad to be released from the luggage compartment and stretch my legs.

Mmmm these biscuits are yummy.


We were lucky. The rain stopped and the road opened into Carnarvon Gorge. It is in Central Queensland in a remote area without phone, TV or internet connection. We stayed at The Carnarvon Widerness Resort. 
It is a walker's paradise. There are many walks, long, short, difficult and easy. The oldies went hiking while I snuggled down in the warm cabin and had a snooze.


After 3 days of bliss in a posh cabin, I was safely tucked into the luggage compartment with a good view out of the back window.

Off we went down the narrow dirt road but it was very picturesque.

We were on our way to Chinchilla via Roma. I waved to some emus and I liked their long legs because I have long legs.

After more than three hours I was happy to get out of the car and visit The Big Rig, which is a museum about the history of oil drilling in Roma. After another three hours we were at our next destination...Chinchilla.

 Each day Ann gives us a little envelope with the information on where we are going.  Yesterday Ann told us we were going to The Chinchilla Bed and Breakfast. However, we ended up at a mutual friend's house in Chinchilla and she was expecting us...da dah.. it was a surprise.
My humans had fun catching up with friends Judi, John, Jo and Rob. "C'mon stop nattering and let me out of the car."

After Chinchilla we ended up in a farmhouse near the Bunya Mts NP.

It was cold and I was very happy to stretch out on the sofa in front of the fire. We were to visit the local observatory after dark to look at the stars and moon but it was cloudy and rainy so we went to the local pub for dinner. That night Ann dressed me in a new outfit to surprise Diane for her Birthday tomorrow. 


Ann put me on the dining room table, I had my very own deck chair.
I was dressed in holiday attire, sporting a new scarf, shirt and pants. I had a frog pen (Diane loves frogs) and I had plenty of holiday brochures to plan more holidays. My camera lanyard had "BEEN THERE DONE THAT" written on it

Diane was very happy with me.
It was soon time to pack up and leave our farm stay for our next unknown destination. We drove through beautiful countryside and headed for Esk. 

Diane and Bill's oldest friends live in Esk but Diane and Bill didn't know that Ann had organised a birthday morning tea with their friends, Joan and Norm.  It was so exciting to be with them all on Diane's birthdayI had the best spot, near the birthday cake which had been arranged secretly too. I love these surprises.

After morning tea we continued on our mystery journey. We drove to Somerset Dam but when they opened the back door I fell out onto the road. Luckily Diane saw me and administered CPR and set my broken leg and we were on our way again. Luckily bears mend quickly.

Evening was falling and we must away to our next destination. This will be our last night...where could it be?


The surprises continued to come even in the last days of our tour. After having a surprise Birthday Morning Tea with dear friends we headed towards Brisbane but not home yet.........

George was driving and we started to see the familiar outskirts of Brisbane but then he turned off towards the Redcliffe Peninsular and then pulled in to Scarborough Beach Resort, where our friend and tour guide, Ann, had booked us into an apartment for five people. You can see George on our balcony.

I enjoyed the view from my new deck chair and I was glad to put my sore leg up after getting it broken yesterday.

Moreton Bay

The oldies had another surprise for dinner.  It turned out to be the famous Morgan's Seafood Restaurant. It was a smorgasbord of prawns, oysters, Moreton Bay Bugs, lobsters, mussels and hot fish, calamari, chips, potatoes, vegetables and salads. It was a fabulous meal. Helen and Paul came too. 
In these last hours of the trip Ann had organised another surprise .

LtoR: Mary, me, Helen, Paul, Ann, George, Bill and an empty chair where I should be, but I stayed at home to recover from my accident. 

Ann had arranged for Helen and Paul to come to the restaurant for dinner . Helen and Paul are members of our Birthday Bear Dinner group but they couldn't come on the mystery tour as they had intended to, because Paul was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma and had to have chemo therapy and recover from an operation. It was great to see they could manage the long drive to this side of the city and enjoy the last night of the tour, and Diane's birthday. 

I love Ann for making this trip happen and including me in the fun. I love all the oldies in the birthday group.