Long Weekend on The Central Coast

October 26th, 2016

Australia has endless places to explore and vistas beautiful to behold. On our first weekend away from our home in Sydney, we went to the Central Coast, a marvellous region of beaches, lakes and amazing views for those hardy enough to hike and climb.

The map below shows the location of most of the photos and places that we visited on our short three-day trip.

Our first goal was to explore the area just north of the Hawkesbury River, which forms a sort of natural barrier to the north of Sydney. If you zoom in on the map, you will see that there is a large peninsula that drops down from Gosford. There are some lovely small communities in there and a few small beachs. The look-out at Warrah along a fireroad between Pearl and Patonga beaches provides an amazing view both inland along the Hawkesbury and out to sea past the Barranjoey Lighthouse. As always, click on the photos for a larger image.

Long Weekend on The Central Coast
Warrah Look-out  - looking out toward the Hawkesbury river

Along the fire road we had the opportunity to see lots of native flowers. I say 'native' because Australia has suffered from so many invasive species from the bunny rabbit to the prickly pear, that even in the 'bush', or forest, there may be invasive species.

Long Weekend on The Central Coast
Native flower

This next flower is one that I saw in Sri Lanka. I am not sure if that means it is invasive here or there, or simply native to both places?

Long Weekend on The Central Coast
Glowing flower

As we made our way northward along the coast, we passed an area where pelicans apparently like to congregate and feed.

Long Weekend on The Central Coast
Pelican circling

They are quite a sight, especially up close. 

Long Weekend on The Central Coast
Pelican landing

Long Weekend on The Central Coast
Pelican colony

 From the pelican feeding area, we headed north again along the Central Coast HIghway and stoppped off just a few kilometers later to get a selfie along Pelican's Beach. 

Long Weekend on The Central Coast
So many beaches - some are not even named

After a few more stops along the way, we finally arrived at our BnB in Coal Point on Lake MacQuarrie. We found this place on AirBnB. The hosts were a lovely, recently retired couple. Our bed was about 20 feet from the water (inside!) and so we fell asleep that night to sound of waves.

Long Weekend on The Central Coast
Sunrise over Lake MacQuarrie

The next day we continued our trip north. We passed through Newcastle, named, I suppose, after Newcastle in the UK because of the coal. We passed around the outskirts of Newcastle and over a bridge to the beach (another beach!) at Stockton where we got a great view of the harbour and Nobby Head. I took these photos on another trip to Newcastle to buy my new bass, but they are still worthy of inclusion here.

Long Weekend on The Central Coast
Looking toward Nobby Head Lighthouse

Long Weekend on The Central Coast
View from Nobby Head south toward Newcastle

From Stockton, we continued our drive northward in to the Worimi Reservation Lands along the Worimi National Park and beach which stretches for close to 30 KM to Birubi Beach. Despite the number of beaches, I am continually amazed by every new vista.

Long Weekend on The Central Coast
Worimi or Birubi Beach from Birubi Club.

We went for a long walk on the beach - 45 minutes out and turn around - and at one point thought we had returned to Dubai!

Long Weekend on The Central Coast
Camels on the beach?

Long Weekend on The Central Coast
Annette on the beach

As always, there is an abundance of life on the beach. In this photo, the seagull was eying the shell pretty closely before he took a bite for lunch.

Long Weekend on The Central Coast
Eying lunch

Location: Central Coast, New South Wales, Australia

Parramatta and the Flying Fox Colony

October 19th, 2016

Yes, we do live in Sydney, but to real Sydney-siders, we must confess that we actually live in Parramatta. It might be like people from Dartmouth saying they live in Halifax, or people from Peterborough claming to be from Toronto. Nevertheless, we love it and it is now home for the next little while. We share this home with a colony of Grey-headed flying foxes, many of which fly over our garden in the dusk.

Unlike many of their smaller cousins who roost in caves, eaves of houses or in your belfry, these flying foxes hang out in the broad daylight. Click on the pictures for a larger view and slide show.

Parramatta and the Flying Fox Colony
Colony along the river

Most, however, are simply trying to sleep and rest up for their night's activities of grazing for fruit and flowers to eat.

Parramatta and the Flying Fox Colony
Wrapped up in their own wings

It seems that they get restless as well, perhaps from the noise of the neighbouring park. During our visit, there was a lot of activity and occasional foxes flying around.

Parramatta and the Flying Fox Colony
Stretching his wings

The Parramatta Park had a few other residents as well. The Sulphur-crested Cockatoo is a noisy fellow, making a screeching noise that could be the model for pterodactyls.

Parramatta and the Flying Fox Colony
Dexterious

Parramatta and the Flying Fox Colony
They tend of flock together and spend time on the ground

The park is on the site of one of the first farming efforts in Australia starting in about 1790 under the guidance of Arthur Philip. This house was the first Governor's house, built in 1788. It now houses a restaurant and small art gallery.

Parramatta and the Flying Fox Colony
Parramatta Park and the Governor's house

One thing we have found pleasantly surprising is the Aussie BBQ culture. In almost every park we visit, they have free gas BBQs available for general use. This seems to be a great idea.

Parramatta and the Flying Fox Colony
Free gas BBQ for your use

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Location: Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia