Australia · 14 Days · 44 Moments · March 2018

Ian & ALo to NSW Central Coast 2018

13 April 2018

Ran the gauntlet of the Virgin flight check in system that now seems slow and archaic compared to Qantas. Many unhappy customers but we were happy because we made the flight home. 😃

12 April 2018

Dropped the car 🚗 off on the way back to the unit, packed and fell into bed 🤪
Finally, grabbed the car and trekked out to Blakehurst to meet up with Nathan, Danielle and the girls for dinner at the Shipwrights Restaurant. Comedy of errors for us getting there, and for the poor chef who was missing his wait person until about 40 minutes in. ALo acted as waitress and coordinator for our table to keep the girls fed and happy! 😊
Then caught a ferry ⛴ round to Central Quay to grab a round the harbour tour. It never ceases to amaze me how much coastline Sydney is blessed with and how much opportunity there is for waterside living. Really enjoyable trip.
Whilst at the Tower we bought a Combo ticket which gave us access to Madame Tussaud’s wax house, and the Aquarium as well a cruise around the Harbour! Had fun doing a rapid run through both venues.
After confirming with Bayswater about the car 🚙 extension and drop off arrangements we walked over to the Sydney Tower to visit the Eye 👁 for views over the city. Fantastic blue sky day.
A day in Sydney! Started with breakfast in the Museum cafeteria. It poses as a restaurant and it does have great views and pretty good service, but the food was pretty ordinary.

11 April 2018

Drove on then into the Sydney traffic mayhem and checked in to Wyndham. Dinner at the Crown Hotel over the road.
Last day on the coast so drove down to The Entrance and spent a few hours with John and Sandra Cox at their unit near the waterfront. Walked along the water front with John and solved many of the world’s problems 😁.

10 April 2018

Then headed for what is known as Sunset picnic point on Wallis Lake for the end of the day.
Then drove the 15km up roads Tom didn’t know existed to the Whoota Whoota Lookout that sits up high in the midst of the forrest with views north across Wallis Lake. A bit too hazy and too many mosquitoes to make this anything more than a fleeting visit.
Headed south then to Cellito Beach near Sandbar. I think the reputed spots to observe were the shallows at Sandbar itself but there was an interesting boardwalk through the littoral rainforest. So very few people around everywhere we went.
Went out on the Wallis lake for a lunchtime cruise. Really good trip learning about the oyster farming industry as well as the many bird types and the notable characters who own property facing the lake. Maybe the highlight of the trip so far. Or maybe it was the dozen fresh oysters that we bought for $19.50 when we left the boat and ate for dinner?

9 April 2018

Drove down to Terrigal to catch up with Gary and Kaye Baillie but also ran into Kim and Carol MacLymont, Neil and Carol Aubrey, and Richard Payne and his wife Elizabeth. Haven’t seen most of these guys for 50 years so there was a fair bit of reminiscing done. Maybe catch up again next year if the organise the 50th school anniversary??

8 April 2018

Next destination was Seal Rocks but first a quick stop at Neranie for a view of Myall Lakes. Totally amazed by the clarity of the water, but also the dearth of other people around! Fantastic! At Seal Rocks we walked up to the Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse. Still playing spot the koala 🐨 everywhere we go, but no luck. Glad we saw some in Port MacQuarie. The beach south from Seal Rocks seems to attract every driver and fisherman in the state. You could get run over going for a walk! The old lighthouse cottages have turned into accommodation but you need an overdraft to stay there!
Next stop was The Grandis which is reportedly the highest tree in NSW at 76m high. How did this fella miss the timber cutters before?
Strangely Tuncurry seems to attract more people to a made Rockpool than the natural beauty of Forster.
Forster is blessed with two totally different beaches at The Tanks and The One Mile Sand dune. The Tanks are a protected natural pool made by a rock ridge parallel to the coast while the northern end of the other beach is a high sand dune which must be a great spot to watch the surfers in action
Travelled into Forster and braved the mosquitos to make the 500m hike up the hill through the littoral rainforest to the Cape Hawke lookout and its 360 degree views. Again, screaming kids take the edge off the beauty and tranquility! But so do the buzzing mosquitoes 😩
Followed Tourist Drive 1 heading north from Pacific Palms to the Green Cathedral at Tiona then checked out the clear waters of Wallis Lake.

7 April 2018

Had a look around Pacific Palms and some of the local beaches. Surprised by how few people there are around. The lakes are beautiful, the beaches squeaky clean. But populated by heaps of blue bottles washed up with the tide so swimming could be interesting 🤪

6 April 2018

Finally arrived at the interestingly named centre of Pacific Palm that will be our base for the next few days. Resort is on the edge of a National Park with big gums all around. And these are filled with bird life as we discovered when we took our plate of snacks onto the verandah. First it was a family of kookaburras with one cheeky enough to steal from the plate. Then some splendid King parrots.
Couple more stops along the way to see the breakwater at Harrington and the old wharf at Croki. Every where you look this country is so green, lush, and littered with fat cows 🐄 who don’t know which blade of grass to address next!
Next stop Crowdy Head lighthouse. There must be a template for small lighthouses set on high cliffs as this one looks just like the Tacking Point light
Today was translocation day moving from Port MacQuarie to Pacific Palm near Foster Tuncurry. Came along a winding scenic route following the unmade roads close to the beaches. First stop was Diamond Head where there is a remote camp ground. Walked along the beach to a most unusual rocky headland. Returned to the camp ground to find casual skippies and racehorse goanna busily relaxing about their business.

5 April 2018

With a few hours of daylight still left we headed off to one of the must-do locations the Cattai Wetlands. Sadly or crazily these close at 3pm on weekdays so it was just like being in Perth in the past! In the two minutes out of the car for the photo of the sign I was assaulted by more mosquitoes than I thought existed so it was probably an expeditious retreat back to town for a late pancake lunch!
We were drawn back to the beauty of the Hastings River today and took a cruise up river ostensibly as an eco trip but more actually an afternoon noon tea and a chat with amiable fellow travelers.

4 April 2018

Port MacQuarie sits at the intersection of the Hastings River and the ocean so let’s have fish and chips for dinner by the river front. Discovered that there is no fishing industry locally so we ate Queensland fish 🐠 and watched the sunset 🌅 again over the Hastings River. Pity about those fish and chips- pretty shabby produce but a great location.
Ok let’s ignore the weather forecast for today and head inland to the mountains. Drove out west past Wauchope towards the Ellenborough Falls. These are reportedly one of the longest single drop waterfalls in the Southern Hemisphere. Someone must have forgotten the Angel Falls in Venezuela which are about three times as high!! But the walk down the 641 steps to the valley floor and the 1242 (seemingly) steps back up (puff wheeze) was a really great scenic time. Maybe we only walked 6175 steps but it was equivalent to 38 storeys (trust me my iPhone told me)

3 April 2018

Okay so it is 70% chance of rain ☔️ today so let’s go museuming! Had a interesting afternoon at the PM history museum. Run by volunteers (as is everything of interest in PM) who are also retirees! Keeps them off the streets creating problems I suppose 😊. Then we had an early dinner at The Grill which is a waterfront restaurant close to the wharf. Good Surf and Turf, great location, beautiful company.

2 April 2018

Ended the day with sunset 🌅 at the Tacking Point Lighthouse which in architectural terms is pretty small and unimpressive but the coast north is rocky and the long Lighthouse beach 🏖 running off miles to the Brothers in the far distance is a great visual combination. Plenty of clouds so a great sunset.
Then headed further south to the Sea Acres National Park where there is a long elevated boardwalk though sub-tropical rainforest. Remarkably different to what we walked though yesterday and also because it is so close to the sea. Spotted a family of bush turkeys scrabbling on the floor below. We must be getting old and impatient- no time for screaming kids running hither and thither. Much prefer the quiet of the timbers.
Quiet day due to lack of sleep. Leisurely breakfast looking at tourists stuff. Made our way to the Koala 🐨 hospital where the volunteers (and paid employees) are doing a great job in raising awareness of the issues facing the declining koala population. Have to say that spotting koalas in a tree is not easy even when you know they are there!
So last night ALo suffered an allergic reaction to the wine or the fresh figs. No seriously 😐 scratching skin on the head, dry eyes 👀. Then upset stomach which kept her up half the night. So no one slept well. We will try to separate wine and figs tonight to see where the problems lie!! Have to say that I had no issues 😉 Ohh, and the wine had come from our last Europe trip and was John & Sandra’s birthday present to me. Not a bad drop - for some.

1 April 2018

We strolled south along Town Beach, Oxley Beach, Rocky Beach, Flynn’s Beach and Nobby’s Beach before we turned and walked back to the car 🚙 parked in the city. Really pretty coastline with high rocky headlands and viewing points. And the birds! So much chirping and singing! So about 14,000 steps for the afternoon has left us happily tired for the evening.
After a BLT for lunch we set off along the Hastings River breakwall checking out the painted rip rap - some interesting family histories, some philosophical wisdom, some memorial blocks. Really fascinating. Then we continued south along the coastal walking path.
Wandered around Port MacQuarie townsite and checked out the decorated koalas! Who’d have thunk it? So we have cows on Coworamup, koalas in PM! As far as we can tell we found about 20 koalas from a total of 60 so barely (bearly) a pass mark. Every one has incredibly detailed artwork.

31 March 2018

So we finally arrived at Port MacQuarie, our accommodation on Settlement Point on the Hastings River. Very pleasant upstairs unit with views over the bowling green. Some people can bowl - others make it look difficult. Gradually found that the ficus trees at the back of the block were roosting spots for bats 🦇 at night. Can they make a racket!!?? Also discovered that here in the trees (along with almost every other treed and sheltered area we visited) the hungry mosquitoes 🦅 (as big as birds?) were rife!
And there across the Hunter River tied up was a Celebrity cattle cruiser. Sure that most of the people wandering the streets were off the ship!
No breakfast today because of the rushed start so getting a bit peckish. After driving around checking out the beaches we arrived at Newcastle main drag where a new light rail is being constructed. But more importantly we dug into a chilli dog and a pulled pork and mushy pea roll from Harry’s Cafe de Wheels! Well satisfied!!
Called into Newcastle and drove up Tyrell St to find Ashdown Flats where the Lewis family used to go for holidays to see Grandma Forsyth. As I recall, it was badly damaged in the earthquake so looks basically the same but different in detail from what I remember. Newcastle on revisiting looks like a pleasant city. We might come back here another day for a longer look.
Headed north out from Sydney city and only got lost once somewhere around Chatswood - Tom knows where he is, sometimes the driver gets off the track. 😎
Finally got to Sydney and arrived at the hotel around 0715, fell into bed and slept till the alarm at 1145 am. Feeling so much better - until we rang about picking up the hire car. “We close in 10 minutes, can you pick it up tomorrow?” Shit, don’t go, I’ll be there! So running like a madman I set off down the street to find a taxi. Got to Bayswater at 1159 and picked up a RAV4.

30 March 2018

Well things didn’t start well. We missed our 1520 flight to Sydney by about 3 minutes - which with the $200 rebook penalty was about $1 per second so a painful learning exercise. How many of the little jobs we chose to do could we have omitted so as to catch the plane 😳? So sitting waiting in Hudson’s Cafe and Gurjit came past as he was flying in. 4DG is everywhere. Now waiting for the Red Eye. Interesting to see that all Qantas International flights appear to be departing from T3. Checked in and found we were the only people in the lounge. Not surprising really since it is 5 hours to boarding 😏. I guess this is a record really for us - arriving 8 hours before boarding but we are now about to be loaded on 😊. On the other hand let’s have a 10 minute delay because of curfew issues in Sydney.