Heading north to the Peel Valley through the Hunter Valley, I feel the landscape change. As I head north by north-west, we enter the hunter valley, and glide by the vineyards and row upon row of horse fences. Further north, the landscape changes again as we cross the great divide.

And it’s not just the newly reformed roads heading north!

Although, the new hunter expressway makes this trip about 30 minutes quicker, cutting the 295km journey that was previously just over 4 hours to closer to 3 and a half hours.

Travelling through Singleton, Muswellbrook, Scone, and Murrundi remains the same.

This jaunt northward was practical. There was a shipping container’s worth of boxes that had been stored for close to seven years that I needed to sort through. But those details are for another post – likely over at Quotidian Home – so let’s just settle in for some photos, shall we.

Nothing quite like the goanna tree, and the view of the clothes hanging out on the clothesline. Someone mentioned to me that there are parts of the US where clothes hanging out like this is not permitted! That seems daft and sad all at the same time. This is a little piece of Australia right here…

Early in the morning, there is an eery quality to this landscape. At the same time, there is a rugged beauty to its inability to be tamed, though many have tried. This photo reminds me of the movie,”picnic at hanging rock” – a disturbing classic Australian film about a group of you girls who mysteriously vanish. Hanging Rock Is only a few hours away so the comparison is not entirely beyond the pale.

Pindari means “high meeting place” in Gamilaroi, one of the local languages. This is the gate to the horse paddock. I think it’s beautiful in its rusted old way!

northward peel valley hunter valley

The trees here have personalities. Can you see an old man? a dancer? can you see the gnarly knobs of branches long since lost? The bark is not damaged, as this is the habit of this kind of tree.

The paperbark tree can be found in other parts of the world, though they are native to Australia. You see them scattered about England, and around California in the USA. They are apparently very healthy in the Everglades in Florida where the EPA has deemed them a pest and where they are also known as “Punk Trees.”

eucalyptus peel vally

I find myself wandering often, especially in the early morning and early evening.

Drinking in the landscape and the sunshine and the air.

I find myself drawn to the Australian natives.

I feel myself drawn down into the gullies.

These greyish blues against the backdrop of the blue sky and the green and brown of the grass….

When you’re lucky, and visitors can attest, my dad cooks breakfast.

You couldn’t eat it everyday as generous and various as they are.

But oh, how i’ll miss these.

He cooks these on a barbeque. Our barbeques often have mainly flat plates with one grill.

I worked for four days straight sorting through a lifetime that has been packed away for a long time. From the time the sun came up to when it went down again and i didn’t hesitate to stop to enjoy moments like the one above.

On my way out of a town, i couldn’t resist stopping to be a tourist. The Golden Guitar, a fixture in the country music capital of Australia. Like Nashville, I tell people, just like Nashville… If you follow my Instagram you would have seen a much cheesier image than this one, but let’s just leave that there shall we?!

Hunter Valley Peel Valley

This landscape is rugged. Indeed, It’s only about 45 minutes from where Dorothea MacKellar, a well known Australian poet lived. While she was visiting family in England she penned a poem titled “My country.” Her country is my country too.

She begins by speaking to those who love England in the first stanza…while the rest of the poem is squarely focused on Australia!

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold –
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.

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Anna Blanch Rabe is an Australian-born writer and photographer. You can follow her adventure on Not A Pedestrian Life, or Facebook. For more domestic things take a look at Quotidian Home.

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