Recipe for a Curious Lockdown Walk

By Anita Brown, Program Officer, UNE Discovery Voyager

Hey, eucalyptus tree, how did you get to be mottled and patchy? Our Voyager team member, Anita, has cooked up a recipe to make your lockdown (or any time!) neighbourhood walks a little more curious and creative. Are you up for the photographic curious-questioning challenge?


1 or 2 walkers
1 camera or phone-camera
1 or 2 hats
1 or 2 face masks (just in case)
1 large handful of Imagination
2 fistfuls of Curiosity
A search engine, expert or book/s


  1. Step out of your house into your neighbourhood or garden with a photo-taking device.
  2. Keep your eyes peeled for the curious, quirky, puzzling and bold along the way.
  3. Take photos of 4 (or more!) of those curious things that demand your quizzical attention.
  4. (simultaneously with Step 3) Ask yourself and/or your walking companion a question about each “hey, look at me!” thing.
  5. Make up your own answers to your Step 4 questions – hypothesise, get creative!
  6. Head back inside and admire your photos!
  7. Use a search engine, an expert or a book to find out some answers to your curious questions. Have a laugh at the questions that remain unanswered because some things will always remain a mystery.


Here are some photos, questions and answers I cooked up on my morning walk. I hope you’re inspired to cook up some of your own!

Q: How did that crack form in the driveway?

A: (hypothesis) A monster truck came down the driveway and a huge tree fell on the monster truck at the same time that there was a massive earthquake.

A: (researched) My answer is plausible but the cracks are more likely to be the result of moisture washing away the gravel and sand base, causing the surface layer to shift and break. The sun/heat and ground movement can be factors too.

Q: Fallen branch, how come you got to be curved like that?

A: (Hypothesis) At one time this branch would have been attached to a tree. As it grew there was an obstacle in its way, probably another tree trunk, which it wrapped itself around. (no research required – a bit of mystery to remain).

Q: Wattle (Acacia), how come you’re so bright and gorgeous?

A: (Hypothesis) To remind you that spring is just around the corner….and something about attracting pollinators?

A: (researched) While my hypothesis is true enough, I found out some cool information about how plants get their colour.  Plants produce pigments, molecules that selectively absorb or reflect certain wavelengths of light. The wavelength the pigment reflects is the colour we see. One of the groups of pigments is carotenoids, and these are responsible for the sunny yellows we see in blossoms and flowers.

For more information go to:

Q: Eucalyptus tree, how did you get to be mottled and patchy?

A: (hypothesis) A disease caused it to lose its bark.

A: (researched) No! This is a perfectly healthy tree. Many eucalyptus trees shed their bark each year to rid themselves of moss, fungi, lichen and parasites. As the bark peels and dries, it forms colourful patches and patterns.