The song "Home Among the Gum Trees" could have been written about any number of locations in Australia, however I'd like to believe that it was written about the Goulburn Valley. I came back to the GV a few years ago after having lived away for much of my adult life. Apart from the warm, friendly people, one of the things I missed the most was the beauty of the eucalyptus trees as they stand tall and proud with their distinctive fresh smell. To this day, I still love the crisp sound of walking on the discarded leaves.

The Goulburn Valley has so much to offer nature lovers like myself. I often wander down to the Broken River just to sit and listen to the sounds nature has on display. It's very easy to miss if you're not paying attention. I have learned to distinguish the calls of the rosella, then I watch for the magnificent burst of colour to appear in the trees. The unmistakable laugh of the kookaburra is likely to be heard around dusk. They're not always as easy to spot as they are to hear however I don't think I'll ever tire of seeing them. I rarely see more than one at a time, and they always see me first. As I sit by the riverbank a splash will quite often break up the other noises of the bush. It's the fish having a play as they swim towards their destination. Drops of silver appear and disappear in front of me near the water's edge.

If I'm not at the river then I might be taking a leisurely stroll around Victoria Park Lake where many ducks and other water birds call home. I like to keep a look out for the pelicans  - another bird I'll never grow tired of seeing. I've been known to talk to them as I pass by. They respond by casting a friendly glance.

The Goulburn Valley is home to so many fascinating creatures. The nocturnal life such as the possums and bats are a lot more elusive to spot, but I know they're out there and that's something that gives me great comfort.

However, my absolute favourite sighting is the owl. There are many different species and I'm certainly not an expert but seeing an owl of any description gives me a special buzz. It is a seldom occurrence but one that I treasure. They have a habit of popping up when I least expect it but it always seems to be when I'm in need of a pick-me-up. Their majestic vision is enough to lift my darkest of moods.

Sometimes it can be hard to find a few spare minutes in our busy day to day lives, but the benefits of doing so can be quite substantial. As Goulburn Valley residents we are truly fortunate to have an abundance of flora and fauna at our doorstep. It may sound cliche but sometimes the best things in life really are free.