Mac's Notes from Australia 2017-02 to 03

Mac spent some more quality time in "The Land DownUnder" - a good time of the Ottawa year to do so -  and Mac's observations on wine country and other interesting facts are provided below...

Groundhog Day Report - 2017



Llamas down under
Yarra Valley - Llamas... but no groundhogs!



For wine trivia buffs, Wines and Vines Magazine reports in their 2017 Directory and Buyers Guide that the province with the most wineries in Canada is British Columbia with 309 followed by Ontario with 236 and Quebec with 95.


The closest state to us, New York, with 385 wineries, falls well behind California with 4,202!!


Speaking of California, that state has recently received much needed rainfall and snowfall allowing some restoration of ground water and reservoirs after a five-year drought. (Photo crtsy of Wine Spectator)


Australia has experienced a cooler and wetter winter and spring in many wine regions which has resulted in vines that are in good shape for the ripening period.


Watson, head of security for PrestonWine in Australia,

eyes a wallaby during his groundhog search.


In consideration of the topic at hand, groundhog sightings in Australia have achieved the same results as in previous years.


Dingoes tell Mac that they have never seen a groundhog!


I will be posting more news from Australia and will, of course, alert you immediately if we discover the elusive  groundhog.


In the meantime, "Cheers" from below the Equator...,

Mac MacDonald  

(dated 2017-02-01)


MILDURA... in the Heat!


Landmark tower in Mildura


Mildura, in Victoria, sits on the Murray River and centres a vast agricultural area supported by irrigated water from Australia's largest river system. The irrigation scheme was started by the Chaffey Brothers from Brockville, ON, in 1887.

Today the area produces 98% of Australia's dried fruit, 75% of table grapes, 60% of almonds, 24% of citrus and 20% of wine grapes. The vast Lindeman's Wine complex is just outside of town.

Vineyards along the Murray at Banrock Station


On February 09, 2017, I experienced my hottest day ever at 46.3ºC. Businesses closed early and people were advised to stay indoors. It was hard to move at any pace under these conditions.


More to follow...


Mac MacDonald

(dated 2017-02-16)


...and now for Something Completely Different!


Noosa Festival of Surfing



Noosa Heads, Queensland, is located at the northern extremity of the Sunshine Coast about a two-hour drive north of Brisbane. Up here, you only get development up to tree top level - in contrast to the Gold Coast, south of Brisbane, that boasts high rises of 77 stories or 1331 stairs.

(far too many to enjoy, in my humble opinion).

This hinterland of the Sunshine Coast is interesting… with attractions such as the late Steve Irwin's Australian Zoo, the Glass House Mountains, the world’s largest operating Ginger Factory, various mountain towns and even the South Burnett wine growing area.

For the last 26 years Noosa has hosted the Festival of Surfing which draws about 850 competitors and 15,000 people.

Pick your winning surfing puppy-dude

Some of the competitors over the past few years are of the  quadruped (canine) variety who clearly enjoy their special surfing event with their owners. The dogs drew over 2000 spectators for the 2017 Vet Shop Australian Surfing Dogs Spectacular.

Chris de Aboitiz is an Australian dog whisperer and former world champion tandem surfer; he developed Kitesurfing and Stand Up Paddleboard surfing in Australia. In 2016, he  founded SuperDogOz - a brand combining his love of Australian oceans, dogs and teaching. Here's some of his best students (ctrsy. C. de Aboitiz)...


... and



And... as winter slowly gives way, we're watching the vineyard news in California and Ontario... Icewine season has ended... so can Harvest 2017 be far behind?

Mac MacDonald
from Noosa and Wagga Wagga

(dated 2017-03-10)


view from Snowy Mopuntains cottage

in vino veritas,
(scene from a cottage in the Snowy Mountains)

Mac MacDonald
from Australia, late-March, 2017


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