The Tasmanian Night Sky

The night sky is something I have always been fascinated by as a kid. Growing up in Sri Lanka, I used to sit outside my home every night after dinner and spend hours looking up at the sky. Counting shooting stars and passing satellites was a one-time hobby, as was tracking the movements of Jupiter’s moons.

Even today, when I do have a clear view of the night sky, I just marvel at the stars and galaxies above our heads and wonder what might be out there that is still waiting to be discovered.

During my recent trip to Tasmania, I was treated to some of the most clear night skies I have ever experienced and couldn’t resist attempting some night sky photography. This will hopefully be the first of many such night sky photos…

High Country Harvest Festival in Bright

My wife and I enjoyed visiting the township of Bright in the Alpine Valley region of Victoria so much so that we decided a 3rd trip in 12 months was in order.

This time though, our main aim was to attend the cooking classes run by Patrizia Simone, the owner of Simone’s Restaurant in Bright. The class coincided with High Country Harvest Festival for 2014.

The class was on Saturday 17th May, and a group of 11 met at the kitchen and headed off to a local pine plantation to forage for mushrooms. With Patrizia and her mushroom expert guiding he group, we collected several baskets full of pine mushrooms and the occasional slippery jack.

The next stop was a chestnut farm in Wandiligong where we collected heaps of chestnuts and sore fingers. As much as I enjoyed the forging for chestnuts, the Autumn colours of the trees in the plantation got my attention, as you could see in my other post titled Colourful Bright.

Once we got back to the kitchen, we started our classes by preparing a duck saltimbocca, followed by making pasta from scratch – my first time ever, and then making a quince crostata for dessert. After preparing the food, we then proceeded to watch as Patrizia showed us her cooking techniques.

Lunch was served at a long table, where we all enjoyed the food and company, just like a massive Italian family feast.

The second day was a long lunch at the restaurant where we were looked after by Patrizia, George and their staff who served an amazing meal. We were fortunate to sit through lunch with a few of our new friends from the cooking class. The beauty of an event such as this was the new friends and connections we were able to make, on top of learning cooking techniques from an expert.

Besides the cooking classes and big lunch, we also managed to sneak in a multi-course dinner at Tani Eat & Drink, where the food was still pretty impressive.

Having an opportunity to catch up with new (and old) friends, enjoy the amazing Autumn colours, take time to relax and catch up on reading was a fantastic way to spend a weekend.

Mushrooms of the Victorian High Country

This is a collection of photos of mushrooms that I came across in the Victorian High Country (Bright and surrounds), including when we went foraging with the Simone’s Cooking School.

I don’t know the names of all of them, but feel free to comment if you know what they are…

Sunset in the Victorian High Country

Spectacular views of Bright and the Victorian Alpine Valley from Huggins Lookout.  Word of caution, a 4 wheel drive would be handy given the state of the road further up – and watch out for the logging trucks!