A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: charlystyles

Byron Bay - NSW

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Famous for it's lighthouse trademark, as well as its pristine beaches, great surf breaks, lush tropical rainforests and eclectic hinterland villages,
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Cape Byron, named by Captain cook in 1770, after his navigator, the grandfather of the famous poet Lord Byron, is mainland Australia's most easterly point.
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Cape Byron Lighthouse
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The imposing Cape Byron Lighthouse, built in 1901, became Australia's most powerful in 1956 with a beam visible for 27 nautical miles.
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Byron Bay was, by 1885, an important shipping port, plying a busy trade in timber and agricultural produce. A jetty was constructed in the Bay between 1886 and 1888 and the railway opened soon after. By the time the lighthouse was completed no fewer than 16 ships lay wrecked in and around the Bay.
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At the Cape there are around 270 different types of native flowering plants and over 60 different types of native animals. Some of these only occur in this area and 15 are threatened with extinction.
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Through Byron Bay Shire there are over 37km of scenic beaches.

From the top there are spectacular views back to Byron Bay with Julian Rocks just out to sea
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Heading back down, I walked along Little Wategos Beach
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back to Wategos Beach
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with beautiful views over Byron to Mt Warning
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Charlotte most easterly point

Charlotte most easterly point

Posted by charlystyles 13:15 Archived in Australia Tagged byron_bay cape_byron Comments (0)

Mt Carmel Macadamia Farm, Rosebank - NSW

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Rosebank is a thriving village on the edge of some of the region's most beautiful rainforest.
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The next short chapter of my adventure took me to Shaun & Carmel's macadamia farm for a new learning experience!
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Home for myself and Nina (another workawayer) was the studio
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The farm had spectacular views over the Hinterland
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even in the rain
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First up was a tour of the farm, from the front of the tractor!

through the long, long, long grass
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and to visit Robbie and Midnight
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Robbie is Shaun's handsome horse
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with a fettish for licking the metal gate, which I assume was for minerals
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I took Robbie to the house paddock to spend some time with him,
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but he missed his companion too much!
Midnight is Robbie's 40 year old companion!
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who was very kean to see Robbie return
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The horses enjoyed quite a view, which reminded me of home, Soemrset
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Other animals included Poro & Molly, two Kelpies
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Poro was the wiser, older dog,
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but very, very stick focussed, even jumping to the trees if it landed there!
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and Molly was only 8months old,
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but obsessed with Poro!
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wherever I went, Poro (and therefore Molly) followed
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Nina & I were given a very warm welcome, in the form of a Rosebank Shed Party, with the local friend and neighbours
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Carmel exercised her talent as a musician, and we all joined in

as the evening got colder, the huddle around the fire got closer!
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The Macadamia's were the main focus of the farm,
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with 30 acres of orchard
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and we made quite a team;
Nina on the grass cutter
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me on the tractor (with the help of the dogs of course)
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and Shaun on the harvester
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...which became my task to fix when it got clogged up with dirt and dust!
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20 rotating fingers, and each one ceased on!
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Once the nuts were harvested they look a bit like this
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Work was carried out in the nut shed
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where they were fed into the hopper
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and fed through to the de-husker
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which wasn't fun when it went wrong, and carried on feeding nuts...onto the floor...ops
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luckily Shaun was on hand to fix it
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The nuts then fell through to the conveyor belt
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to the sorting table
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where Nina & I picked out the good, the bad and the ugly
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based on these issues, such as splitting, rotten, nut borer damage
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Finally, we produced s a crate of finished nuts ready for sale to the wholesaler
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and after all this, there was some serious pruning to be done, and burnt. At the back of this pile is the tractor, hidden by the branches!
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but with the rain, it took a good fire starter to get it going
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and then the green wood burnt with firework sound effects

After all the hard work out, a few nights out were earnt, including the local pub, where Carmel and others played
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Dinner with some lovely neighbours, Dee and CarieAnne (with Carmel)
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the local 'all schools' production of Aladdin
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which was very good, especially considering the ages ranged from 9 to 18yrs old
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which was preceded by the local Belly Dancing club
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and decorated with the children's lanterns, designed and built for the Lantern Parade the following week
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Another treat was fresh bread from the neighbour's new hand built bread over
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producing lovely Turkish and fruit bread for lunch
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Another stay, another great pile of memories!
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Posted by charlystyles 13:44 Archived in Australia Tagged macadamia rosebank Comments (1)

Walkabout - NSW

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An amazing few days 'walkabout'!
After a little bit of planning with a lot of maps ,
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and some red wine
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we set off to the hills
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Beginning with exploring a few hours north of Sydney, a spectacular section of the Great Eastern Escarpment, high up in the mountains.
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First stop Big Nellie one of the main attractions of Coorabakh National Park.
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It’s an imposing rock plug that soars more than 500m above sea level, reminding us of an earlier time when the Australian landscape was still being created by volcanoes and earthquakes.
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When the sign says 'no foot or hand holds, experienced climbers only...we paid no attention and carried on anyway!
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Worth it when we got to the top though
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The views over Coorabakh National Park were spectacular
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Rather than spend the night here, we decided to push on. Next stop, Comboyne...
Getting up Big Nellie was the easy part - getting back down was slightly more interesting. Let's just say I'm glad it wasn't wet!
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Coorabakh National Park
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Coorabakh National Park, meaning bloodwood, forms part of the Lansdowne Escarpment, separating the Manning and Camden Haven River catchments. Formerly part of Lansdowne State forest, this 1,827 hectare national park was dedicated in 1999 to protect outstanding scenery and a wide variety of wildlife communities.
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Dry heath and woodlands occur alongside exposed shallow soils of the escarpment and volcanic peaks of Big Nellie, Flat Nellie and Little Nellie. On the protected slopes, there the soil is deeper and more fertile, tall eucalypt forests are found. Along the creek lines are abundant sub-tropical rainforests. The diversity of animal species comes from the diversity of the landscape and plant communities. Koalas, brush-tailed phascogales, Parma wallabies, stuttering frogs and bush stone-curlews are just a few of the threatened species found in the park.
Newby’s Lookout
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This view looks across the rich alluvial flats of the lower Manning Valley was named after a pioneer of the district, John Newby, who lived from 1810 to 1880. From here you can see the towns of Lansdowne, Wingham and Taree and the coastal villages of Old Bar and Wallaby Point.
Moving on through the Bulga Plateau where white settlers first arrived in 1892 to Elands, the countryside was beautiful
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and we stopped for a drink at Boorgana, and chatted to the locals, two of which within 10mins of meeting us had offered us a place to stay! But we had other plans. Nick knew a spot by The Rapids just a little bit further on.
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We set up camp
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We even had the luxury of his and hers toilets!!
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After collecting some fire wood, and cooking an excellent dinner of home made burgers and rough cut wedges, we settled down for the night with the fire, and some more red wine
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The next morning, we packed up camp and headed to one of the tourist destinations nearby:
Ellenborough Falls
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The southern hemisphere’s second highest waterfall with a single drop of 200m. (The highest falls in the southern hemisphere are located at Wallaman Falls in North Queensland.) The Ellenborugh Falls Reserve covered an area of approximately 130 Ha, 80% of which is heavily vegetated with an extensive diverse range of Cool Temperate Rainforest.
There are 641 leading down 160m to the gorge at the bottom of the falls.
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The stairway opened in 1996 replacing an informal track.
At the top of the falls the bedrock of the Buldga Plateau (siltstone, sandstone, mudstone) is exposed in the river bed.
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These rocks were formed some 280 million years ago in the Permian period. On the western face of the gorge, rocks date back even earlier to the Cambrian period, some 550 million years ago.
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After a coffee (hot chocolate) and sausage roll from the hut at the top, we chatted with the lady there who recommended we visited Blue Knob on our way to camp at Dingo Tops.
So we set off, stopping at another lookout, where it was amazing to see 'Black Boys' growing out from the rock face
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Blue Knob
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At 1,014m it is one of the highest peaks in the forest. Two of the most well known Australian rainforest trees can be seen from here. In winter you may be able to identify the Red Cedar by its leaves turning yellow and then dropping. The new spring growth is characteristically pink/red. Favoured for its valuable timber, this species is rarely seen today apart from inaccessible spaces such as this.
In the summer months another species can be seen, adding a splash of red to this green landscape. The Illawarra Flame Tree presents spectacular flowering display in the early summer.
We were a little surprised when we got there to find a team of workmen (on a sunday) building the viewing platform
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But then, they did have the best camping spot in the area, with spectacular views to the coast
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Heading down through Tapin Tops we saw a lot of old growth and spectacular mountain scenery. Arriving at our next camping spot - Dingo Tops
It was great to see a group of dirt bikers making the most of the forest trails.
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Once again, a great spot for a night's camping and a great opportunity to take some star trail pictures
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Taking photos of star trails at night, led to a night time exploration of the local rain forest! All I can say is, some photos worked, some, not so much!
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inside a tree trunk, looking up
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The next morning we found another trail to investigate (this time in day light) called the Red Cedar Walk.
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The rain forest is not something I would have considered when you think of Australia
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It's great to see so many 'old' trees, as a lot of the area was destroyed by logging, so pockets of forest like this are quite special
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This is a Stringy Bark Tree - for obvious reasons
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and once again the weather was on our side
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even the local snails are giants like the trees
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Moving on for the days adventure, we passed Koala Road, though sadly didn't spot any koalas
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Next stop was Potteroo Falls
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a little walk through the forest along and over the river led to a beautiful waterfall
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Back at the truck, it was time for tea and cake (being British whatnot) whilst enjoying the footpath over the river
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As we came down the valley out of the rainforest of Killabakh Nature Reserve to Rowley's River, we were treated to more spectacular views
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and passed this handsome chap
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We found a great spot by the river to set up for an early camp and enjoy the tranquillity
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Nick took some time out to contemplate the wonders of the world (and the bag of crisps)
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bed ready
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after a stroll along the river to spot Platypus, and this lovely set of rapids
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It was back to base to practise some archery
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and then for some good food, good wine and good company
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The next morning we headed home, stopping to spot koalas (without success)
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and to admire one last view at Brushy Cutting Lookout, back across Lansdowne
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and all of this possible, thanks to Nick and the beast!
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Posted by charlystyles 13:57 Archived in Australia Tagged walkabout comboyne big_nellie blue_knob dingo_tops Comments (0)

Boating about in Funcurry - NSW

sunny 20 °C

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After the hard work of gardening, Nick and I had a day out on the boat investigating the waterways that surround Forster and Tuncurry.
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It was great to see the area from a different angle. Heading down the Wallingat River
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with Nick at the helm of the Black Pearl
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Wallingat is a new park with an old heritage. Prior to the gazettal of 6,557ha of land as National Park in 1999 the area was reserved as a stat forest with a logging history going back to the mid 1800's.
Then there is the rich Aboriginal heritage reaching back past the time when the sea levels rose to their current height some 6,000 years ago and the coastal lakes formed around the park's seaward edges.
It was so still the mountains reflected in the water
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and the river was a mirror to the rainforest along the banks
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to see the amazing mangroves line the banks of Punga 1
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and the reflections at Ferny Creek
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We saw a lot of the local birds, including a Spoonbill
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Sea Eagle
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and Black Swans taking off
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As we stopped to go ashore a couple of times I spotted these Wattle Acacia
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and the view back across the river was beautiful
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On the way back, we pulled into an island Nick had not yet explored
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and I came across this Midden where the aborigines would have caught and eaten and left a lot of sea shells
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Whilst exploring I met a local Antichinus
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and a little further along I was a bit surprised to find goat footprints!
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and so from this day one, it shall be known as Goat Island!
The view from Goat Island back across Wallis Lake was spectacular
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Heading back to Tuncurry,
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we stopped to throw a line over and try our luck at Bream. Unfortunately too small to be legal, so he lives to tell the tale!
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...bit of a let down to the pelicans that are always waiting for left overs at the cleaning sinks back on shore.
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A top day out with a great person in a beautiful part of the country.

Posted by charlystyles 13:41 Archived in Australia Tagged lake island boating goat wallis tuncurry wallingat Comments (0)

Sunsets & Sunrises of Tuncurry - NSW

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A collection of photos of sunrises and sunsets from different locations in Funcurry. The above was a mangrove tree, a welcome on my first night in town, shortly after a welcome from the local dolphins!
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Sunrise from where it all began -Tuncurry Breakwall
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Sunrise at The Rock Pool
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Sunrise looking back to where I'd come from at Diamond Beach
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Heading home from a trip out on the bike (VFRX CrossRunner)
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and stopping at Wallambe River to watch a barefoot skier enjoy the last few moments of light
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Watching the sunset with a few beers
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Looking back to Tuncurry and 'home'
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Going to miss this place.
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Posted by charlystyles 13:44 Archived in Australia Tagged sunrise_tuncurry sunset_tuncurry Comments (0)

Diamond Beach - NSW

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About 3.5hrs north of Sydney is a small coastal town called Diamond Beach, and as the name suggests it has the most magnificent beach.
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Dianne and Chris are fortunate to live only a few minutes from the beach in a lovely house with room for two dogs and two horses!
Lily - a Boxer
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and Tasha - a Doberman
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Spirit, an Arabian
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Kaliff, also an Arabian
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Dianne is very knowledgeable about correct saddle fitting, and as a result has found a unique saddle design that was like something space age! The concept is It can be fully adjusted and moulded to fit the horse.
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Chris has built a lovely fire place to cosy round in the evenings
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The house and location are so special that they rent it out for other people to enjoy
and move into their caravan
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It was a great place for a run
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Every morning before 6.30am, we'd be up to take the dogs a long the beach as the sun rose.
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Needless to say the dogs loved it, and the views were spectacular!
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The beach is a very sociable place were local residents met to take the dog for a walk, go for a swim, check out the surf and general have a natter!
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However, the best way to keep Lily and Tasha from having too much fun and running off into the sunrise with the other dogs, was to walk that little bit further around to the next cove, where they could be let off the lead to play and run around
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Some days the sea weed seemed to appear from nowhere and take over the beach
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Tasha loved nothing more than wading into the rock pools hunting for fish
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whereas Lily was always a little bit calmer and actually stood still at times!
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It was always interesting to see what sights we might find along the walk. One day there was a structure that appeared overnight
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Most days we saw dolphins,
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though with the waves so big they'd often be a little further out from the beach
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There were usually signs of the ghost crabs digging holes into the sand
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and occasionally the washed up empty eggs of the Port Jackson Shark
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a couple of times we saw horses being exercised along the beach
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One day we found a snake skin hiding in the brush
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But mostly, it was about the dogs having fun
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there were surfers, of course
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and watching some beautiful sunrises (here follows rather a lot of photos of them!)
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There was the amazing Mangrove Tree, with roots extending up to 10m away from the tree and pointing skywayrds
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The remnant rainforests of the Manning Valley make a significant contribution to the biodiversity of the region. Littoral rainforests once formed an almost continuous strip along our coast at the rear of the dunes. Sandmingin and urban development have reduced this significant vegetation type to a number of small and vulnerable pockets. the rainforest at Redland and Hallidays Ppoint to the south, are important exmaples of littoral rainforest growing on coastal headlands.

But it wasn't all play. We put in a new fence to mark the parking area
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and re-built the chicken run gate, and built an internal fox proof enclosure
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I'm going to miss this very special place...
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and these two very special people
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and their very special dogs!
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Posted by charlystyles 13:10 Archived in Australia Tagged sea_horse diamond_beach Comments (0)

On the way to Sydney - NSW

sunny 26 °C

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Having left Sydney a few weeks before, I was keen to go back for the VIVID Light Festival which lived up to be as amazing as the advertising showed!
Nick was heading that way from the same town at the same time, and gave me a lift. It was a great chance to explore the outer suburbs of Sydney rather than passing them by on a train.
First stop Brooklyn
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The photo below of the Cabbage Tree palm grove with the Hwkesbury River was taken in 1927.
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It's amazing to see how high those trees have grown!
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Adventures included a little off-roading at Buludelah
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stopping for vital re-fuel ... of pies...
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and managing a rather hairy turn around avoiding the sheer drop when the gate up the track was locked
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Before we left Sydney there was one last chance to admire the Botanical Gardens, and the local Cockatoos!
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On the way back up we stopped at West Head, to admire the views of the surrounding area
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of Lion Island
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and to Barren Joey (aka Palm Beach)
Somewhere down there on the water front was my home for the night
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We weren't the only ones making the most of the stunning back drop, like this photo shoot
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I was lucky enough to spend the night at the family's beautiful house at Palm Beach (aka Home & Away!)
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Another day, another sunset,
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Posted by charlystyles 13:32 Archived in Australia Tagged brooklyn palm_beach west_head Comments (0)

A spot of gardening in Tuncurry - NSW

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Whilst walking along the harbour break wall one day, a friendly local stopped to discuss the Sea Hare I'd been studying in the water. To cut a short story even shorter, he asked for my number and I invited him up to come shell hunting with me on the nearby beach, despite the pouring rain!
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So we went out fully prepared I even had wellies (gum boots) on, but they were soon full of water! So what else to do when you're already thoroughly soaked through - go for a swim in the ocean!
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...this was Nick! someone just as crazy as me.
I've since learnt that most adventures involved a little off-roading in the land cruiser. The trip back from the pub that night was no exception!
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Nick had a list of job to do in the garden before he went away for a couple of month, so I offered to help out (in exchange for food and board of course)!
First job was the Elephant Fence. Not that there is a problem with wild elephants in Tuncurry, but if you're going to build a fence, you might as well make it a good one!
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Using old sleepers on their third lease of life,
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creating a future trellis to grow jasmine along, which should soften it a little!!
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Next were the raised beds in the rear garden.
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First job was to clear all the buffalo grass - it's tough, as the name suggests!
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Then add a trellis for climbing beans and banana tree support.
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and soon you have what is affectionately called the Charlotte Style Chapel! First service held a few days later one evening (with a few beers)!

The Kookaburra liked it
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The next bed, tucked under the stairs was built by an English Rose, for English roses (and other!).
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and soon to be a path outside the shed.
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Finished off by Nick with a lot of hard graft!
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With the compost above ready for plating some goodies in a few months time.

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Posted by charlystyles 13:18 Archived in Australia Tagged gardening tuncurry Comments (1)

Forster-Tuncurry Walking - NSW

sunny 20 °C

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Spending a day exploring the local town, I walked from Forster to Tuncurry and back around the coastline.
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Forster
Forster is a coastal town in the Mid North Coast region of New South Wales, Australia, in the Great Lakes Council LGA, about 308 km (191 mi) north-north-east of Sydney.
Looking out to sea, next stop...Chile!
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It is immediately adjacent to its twin, Tuncurry, which is the smaller of the two towns. The two towns are joined by quite a long bridge
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The usual local pronunciation of the name is "Foster".

At the Northern tip of the Great Lakes, these twin towns are where Wallis Lake meets the ocean.
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Wallis Lake
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Oyster Farming in Wallis Lake
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Forster Breakwall
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Looking from Forster Breakwall to Tuncurry breakwall
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and back from Tuncurry breakwall to Forster breakwall
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Just befoe Tuncurry breakwall is Rock Pool beach
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A great spot to see some fishes, and this 'Sea Hare or Aplysia'
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And the other side of Tuncurry breakwall, is Nine Mile Beach
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The twin townships are surrounded by National Parks and feature majestic headlands and long secluded beaches. Boating, fishing, diving, paddling, cruises, whale watching and coastal walks combine with galleries, unique shopping and award-winning restaurants.
One of the activities I quite fancied (but not on my own) was 'aqua biking'!!
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The towns host some of the best sporting events in Australia and many adventure enthusiasts make an annual pilgrimage to the region every year to explore the surrounding forests and waterways.

Some other characters enjoying the surrounding waterways, were the Australian Pelicans... lots of them!
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these ones were hanging around the fish cleaning sinks on th ecamp site by the harbour
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and these fellas, were just messing up someone's boat...
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Forster has an attractive little harbour
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Forster Ocean Baths
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An application was made in January 1935 to the Unemployment Relief Council for the purpose of construction of Ocean baths and a Casino / Dance Hall at Forster.
In March of 1935, a work schedule was prepared and emergency relief workers, also known back then as 'Work for the dole', were given approval to be used as labourers.
April 1935 saw progress in the removal of rock and preparation of the pool bed.
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In May of that year plans were approved by the Public Works Department and the Unemployment Relief Council.
Forster Ocean Baths was officially opened on the 18th January 1936 by the Hon. JM Dunningham, Minister of Labour and Industry.
Total cost of the Ocean Baths and casino Buildings cane to £5,734 with an additional £500 for fittings.Forster_Pool.jpg

As the walk goes further south along the coastline, I found Main Beach
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and along to Pebbly Beach
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before the headland rose, givin great views back to Main Beach
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Have you ever seen the untamed beauty each time a wave breaks in the ocean.
Have you ever felt the coolness of the water as the sun breaks crystallising the entire ocean.
The lip crashes on your shoulder forcing you deeper into the hollow tube the beauty of life is the personal sensation.
This area here is one of the natures great beauties.

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At the end of a days exploring, my ever-faithful sandls gave up. Bought in New York many years ago, they have been all over the world with me, and walked many, many miles
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Still, at least I had a beautiful spot to sit and wait to be rescued
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Posted by charlystyles 13:45 Archived in Australia Tagged forster tuncurry Comments (0)

Shells - NSW

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The problem with travelling, is you only have so much capacity. If you buy anything, or find anything, you have to carry it with you! Or in my case, send it home. But that's not always possible.
Whilst staying at Diamond Beach, I spent hours shell hunting.
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The beach was covered in them! More than I have ever seen before, and some amazing designs and colours.
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I would love to have taken them all home, and in days gone by, added them to my fish tank. But instead, with Chris's knowledge, I have put together some information on the ones that appealed to me the most. I have added some online images of the snails that would have once lived in the shells.

Amoria Unulata
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This species migrates in the spring from deep water to shallow water sandbanks to breed (Smith, Black & Shepherd 1989).
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It lays egg masses in the shape of a hollow cylinder, 16 to 20 mm in diameter, attached to the substrate. Eggs are contained in capsules in the egg mass, and embryos can be seen through the walls. The embryos hatch as well developed, crawling juveniles.

Baler Shell (the large one pictured)
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The shells of this large marine mollusc were highly valued by Aboriginal people, who used them to store water. The name came about because early Europeans recorded Aboriginal people bailing out their canoes with these huge shells.

Black Rock Crab
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The Rock Crab is a common Sydney species found under rocks around the low-tide mark.

Bristle Worm
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In free-living polychaetes, the bristles, combined with snake-like body waves, help the worm to move along. Other sedentary worms have a leathery tube, sometimes decorated with pieces of broken shell, or sand and mud particles.

Cart Rut Shell
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When it was first discovered, this species was named the Cart-rut Shell because the grooves resembled the narrow, deep wheel ruts of the horse-and-carriage vehicles of the day.

Cone Shell
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Cone snails use a hypodermic-like modified radula tooth and a venom gland to attack and paralyze their prey before engulfing it. The tooth is sometimes likened to a dart or a harpoon. It is barbed and can be extended some distance out from the mouth of the snail, at the end of the proboscis. All Conus snails are venomous and capable of "stinging" humans.

Cowrie Shell
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The shells of cowries (especially Monetaria moneta) were used for centuries as a currency in Africa. Huge amounts of Maldivian cowries were introduced into Africa by western nations during the period of slave trade.
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A print from 1845 shows cowry shells being used as money by an Arab trader. The Ghanaian unit of currency known as the Ghanaian cedi was named after cowry shells. Starting over three thousand years ago, cowry shells, or copies of the shells, were used as Chinese currency. They were also used as means of exchange in India.

Turban Shell
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The name "Turbo cornutus" literally means "horned turban," and it is characterized by a hard, ventricose, spiny, imperforate shell.
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What fascinated me is the hundreds of 'trap doors' you find on the beach - the door to the snail shell, which is closes tightly shut when threatened.

Green Turban Shell
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Mulberry Whelk
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The Mulberry Whelk, or Black Oyster Borer preys constantly on other molluscs and barnacles. It is able to use a sulphuric acid from its salivary glands to dissolve and bore its way through the prey's limy shell leaving a neat hole in their shell, and use its rasping tongue which is called a radula to cut up the animal and suck out the pieces. to use a sulphuric acid from its salivary glands to dissolve and bore its way through the prey's limy shell. Like the hole in the green turban shell below
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Chris measured one medium-sized Mulberry Whelk's radula at 8 cm long.

Zebra Topped Shell
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This Zebra Top Shell ranges from Townsville in Queensland around southern shores to Geraldton in Western Australia. It is very common in south-eastern Australia. It is unusual how the Zebra Striped Top Shell gains its striped shell pattern. At certain times of the year the algae it eats contains a substance that the mollusc excretes into its shell to form a darkened band. It is not known if the number of bands indicate the age of the Top Shell. What is interesting is that the bands occur in all variations of thickness from very thin to very wide.

Lobster Pot Rock
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Left over and washed up from weighing down lobster pots out at sea.

Seaweedy beach
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One day, the beach would be covered in sea-weed that had appeared over night. The next day, it could all be gone again, leaving a clean pebbly beach!

Love for the shells and the people at Diamond Beach
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Posted by charlystyles 13:55 Archived in Australia Tagged shells diamond_beach Comments (0)

Out & About at Dimaond Beach - NSW

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Just along from Diamond Beach is Redhead Beach, a great place for shell hunting
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and then there's Nine Mile Beach
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which goes all the way to the nearest town of Tuncurry. One afternoon I set off walking along the beach, but got distracted by the temptation of the sea...
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As I walked back the sun was setting
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and the fishermen were making the last catch of the day
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One of Chris's secret spot was the 'Australia Cave',
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where if you look from the inside out, the view is framed by the shape of Australia!
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as Chris demonstrated
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Surfing
Like most Aussie's that live by the sea, Chris' passion was surfing.
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It was such a pleasure to be taken out for my first surf lesson! and with an excellent teacher - I was standing up by the third wave!
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However, it's not always perfectly sunny in Australia, but it was a great opportunity to get some unusual shots of the rain on the water.
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Ranch Sorting
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One of the local events Dianne took me to was Ranch Sorting. It's similar to Camp Draft, if you've read my blog from Victoria. It's an equestrian sport that evolved from the coomon ranch work of separating cattle into pens for branding, doctoring or transport.

Teamwork is the key during the time limit to cut out the correct cattle one at a time and drive them into an open pen while keeping the other cattle back. Each team had 2 minutes to get as many cattle in the pen as possible, starting with a designated number, and working up sequentially.
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On the day we went, they were raising money for Breast Cancer. ... I've never seen so many pink cowboys and girls! ...and horses...
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Posted by charlystyles 13:28 Archived in Australia Tagged shells surfing ranch_sorting Comments (0)

Kiama Coast Walk - NSW

sunny

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I caught the train up to Minnamurra and walked the 13miles back.
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I was taken about by the ticket machine on the platform - never seen so many buttons
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The first section of the Kiama Coast Walk leaves the mouth of the Minnamurra River and heads south through reserves and streetscapes to the Kiama Visitor Centre at Blowhole Point.
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The Kiama coast Walk starts at the mouth of the Minnamurra River and heads south through reserves and streetscapes to Blowhole Point.
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The catchment for the Minnamurra River covers almost half of the Kiama Municipality. A maze of little creeks and bogs feed into the river. the river travels through Minnamurra Rainforest and Jamberoo Valley.
The estuary spills out to the sea where the eucalypt and banksia forest on the spit holding the sand in place and protecting the river and houses from the force of the ocean.
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Across the tidal river mouth, you can see the secluded stretch of Mystics Beach.

Gerringong Cemetery
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Originally dedicated in July 1863, this cemetery displays unique designs and craftsmanship in the range of headstones dating from the late nineteenth century. Early graves run east to west facing the spectacular coastline.
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Cathedral Rocks
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This distinctive latite rock formation has lured sightseers since 1820.
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The rocks are remnants of the edge of a lava flow that has been eroded by the sea. The latite, commonly known as columnar basalt, owes its name to the characteristic vertical columns that are formed during the unique cooling process of this type of lava.
The below photo is courtesy of Gary P Hayes, and shows the rocks at their best.
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Bombo Beach
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The route was made more challenging due to various footpath closures, mostly due to bridge and road work
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Boneyard
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Bombo Headland or 'the Boneyard' was once a plentiful place where the Dharawal and other Aboriginal groups gathered to catch and collect marine life.
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With the onset of colonisation, the headland was stripped of vegetation and became a loading dock for the blue metal industry. While middens remain here, sadly decades of quarrying destroyed most of the remnants of Aboriginal culture and history.
After a substantial fight by a local activist group to save the headland from further quarrying, it was declared a State Park in 1974.
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Kendall's Beach
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Surf Beach
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Bombo Headland Quarry
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The volcanic rock of the Kiama district, latite, was initially used for fences and buildings.
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As the roads, tramways and railways of New South Wales rapidly expanded, the demand for the crushes latite (blue metal) created employment and industry in the developing community.
With the booming trade in blue metal, quarries opened up at sites outside Kiama such a Bombo.
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A jetty was completed at Bombo in 1882 and steam powered crushing machines installed at the quarry. In the early days many of the quarry workers at Bombo lived in tents.
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Clouds of dust regularly shrouded the camp in a gritty haze. A number of fatal accident in the first few years and the reputation of the sole drinking establishment gave the place a bad name.
If you can see me in the image below, you'll see how big the rocks are.
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The blue metal industry remained the main employer in the district until the 1960's.
The remnants are spectacular - and very popular with location scouts.
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King of The Boneyard
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Cameron Boyd was known to many as the 'King of the Boneyard'. His passion for surfing, nature and the local community combined with a strong, steadfast character earned him enormous respect
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Cameron was a regular surfer at Bombo and The Boneyard and his disposition was such that he spent almost as much time watching, assessing and chatting about the surf as he did in it. This wealth of knowledge was generously shared.
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Cameron is also known to have performed many ocean rescues at The Boneyard and nearby surfing locations averting tragedy.
I work to live but live to surf.

Kiama Harbour Boat
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Inquisitive Pelicans
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Kiama Beach
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Kiama Lighthouse
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The Kiama Lighthouse was completed in 1887. It was designed by the Colonial Architects' Office by Edwards Moriarty. The light had to be imported from England and the completion of the structure was the cause of much celebration.
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Kiama Pool
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Kiama Blow Hole
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The Kiama Headland is composed of volcanic rock called latite. A volcanic extrusion, known as a dyke, cuts through the latite. The dyke is composed of a softer rock cdalle basalt. Over millions of years the softer basalt has eroded faster than the latite creating a tunnel under the headland. Eventually part of the headland collapsed creating the Kiama Blow Hole.
As each wave surges through the tunnel, air is compressed in the rear chamber building tremendous pressure. As waves subside, pressure in the chamber releases forcing the trapped water up the blow hole with a loud 'whoomp'!

Black Beach
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Interesting sign...
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Little Blow Hole
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Little by name, yet often grander by nature.
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The best time to experience the Little Blow Hole is when the wind is blowing from the northeast.

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I started the route form the south, but was cut of by a lagoon that was flowing into the sea after all the rain.
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Werri Beach
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The rocks even have a spa!
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This overlooks the short section of the walk shown above
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The walk was from the furthest point in the picture below
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I spent a lot of time mesmerised by the rainbows created on the wave spray
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A great walk along another part of the east coast
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Posted by charlystyles 13:13 Archived in Australia Tagged kiama_coastal_walk Comments (0)

Sydney by Night - NSW

rain

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El Alamein Fountain
A fountain and war memorial located in the Kings Cross area. Commissioned as a memorial to soldiers who died in 1942 during the Second World War in two battles at El Alamein, Egypt, and was designed by the Australian architect Bob Woodward.

One of the great things about spending time in a city, is seeing it come to life at night, and taking the time to explore and investigate the sights.

Tower Eye
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The Sydney Tower has been an integral feature of the Sydney skyline for over 30 years. Measuring 309 metres at its highest point, it is one of the tallest structures in the southern hemisphere and by far the tallest building in Sydney.

The Strand
When English architect, John Spencer unveiled his plans for the arcade in the mid-1880s he received a standing ovation. The plans were ambitious. The arcade was to be 340 feet (approximately 104 metres) long, and three storeys high. Magnificent cedar staircases at each end of the arcade led to the second and third floor galleries which were linked by a central bridge.
The arcade was one of the first Victorian buildings in Sydney designed to take into account the harsh Australian climate. The roof was to be made of glass, specially tinted to reduce glare, and the access gallery of the top floor was projected to shade the lower levels.
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Spencer's plans were elegant. Delicate ironworks brackets to support the galleries and the railings, finely carved cedar balustrades and shopfronts, marble columns and richly tiled floor. The lighting was especially innovative, a combined gas and electric system was used in combination fittings designed by the architect, some of which still exist; the concourse was lit by two huge central chandeliers suspended from the crown of the roof trusses and having 50 gas jets and 50 electric lamps in each. There were also two Victorian state-of-the-art hydraulic lifts.
When it opened on April Fools Day 1892 the Strand Arcade was regarded as the very latest in shopping centre designs and was described as: "The finest public thoroughfare in the Australian colonies."
One-hundred-and-eighteen years, two depressions, two World Wars and two major fires later, it still stands, a little out of place, in the heart of modern Sydney's CBD.

Angel Place
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Forgotton Songs
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The thoroughfare is home to an installation by creative artist Michael Thomas Hill of 186 birdcages and 10 speakers which play the songs of about 50 bird species that once lived nearby before colonial development.
a lost Teddy Bear in the city
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Bathurst St
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Sydney Town Hall
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Renowned for its High Victoria interiors and richness of decoration, it is the largest and most ornate late 19th-Century civic building in Australia. When completed in 1889, it was the colony's most daring, technologically innovative and controversial building, and it dominated the Sydney skyline for almost a century.
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Queen Victoria
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The Queen Victoria Building, now affectionately known as the QVB, was designed by George McRae and completed in 1898, replacing the original Sydney markets on the site. Built as a monument to the long reigning monarch, construction took place in dire times, as Sydney was in a severe recession. The elaborate Romanesque architecture was specially planned for the grand building so the Government could employ many out-of-work craftsmen - stonemasons, plasterers, and stained window artists - in a worthwhile project. Originally, a concert hall, coffee shops, offices, showrooms, warehouses and a wide variety of tradespeople, such as tailors, mercers, hairdressers and florists, were accommodated.
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The QVB fills an entire city block bound by George, Market, York and Druitt Streets. The dominant feature is the mighty centre dome, consisting of an inner glass dome and an exterior copper- sheathed dome. Glorious stained glass windows and splendid architecture endure throughout the building and an original 19th century staircase sits alongside the dome.

St Mary's Church
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This Cathedral represents the spiritual origins of the Catholic Church in Australia. It is one of Sydney's most treasured historic buildings and one of the finest examples of English-style gothic churches in the world.
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St Mary's has the greatest length of any church in Australia (although it is neither the tallest nor the largest overall).

St Andrews Cathedral
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Located in central Sydney, the cathedral is one of the city's finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture. Designed by Edmund Blacket, it was ready for services and consecrated in 1868, making it the oldest cathedral in Australia. Joan Kerr described St Andrew's as "a perfect example of the colonial desire to reproduce England in Australia in the mid nineteenth century."

Hyde Park
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Hyde Park, the oldest public parkland in Australia, is a 16.2-hectare (40-acre) park in the central business district.

Fireworks
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A lively harbourside precinct, Darling Harbour is just a 10-minute walk from the city centre. It was originally part of the commercial port of Sydney, including the Darling Harbour Railway Goods Yard.
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During the Great Depression, the eastern part of Darling Harbour (Barangaroo) became known as The Hungry Mile, a reference to the waterside workers searching for jobs along the wharves.
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Every Saturday night, it lights up with fireworks.
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With great views over the city skyline, it's such a great view.
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Click the link below for the action video!

A walk around Darling Harbour gave some great views, even in the rain!
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The city Is disappearing into the rain clouds..
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But we had a lot of fun anyway!
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PyrmontBridge
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Pyrmont Bridge is one of the world's oldest surviving electrically operated swingspan bridges. The first bridge began operating in 1857 and the current swingspan bridge opened in 1902. The bridge provided the main transport route between the city and Sydney's growing western suburbs while the swingspan allowed tall vessels to access Darling Harbour.

Botanical Gardens
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The Royal Botanic Gardens, are just a short walk around the water's edge from the Sydney Opera House, and is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful settings you will see anywhere. The gardens sit on the side of an undulating piece of land and the harbour views from up on the hill are superb. There are large trees with a wonderful shade canvas and this makes the best spot imaginable to stop and have lunch - sitting on the grass and taking in the harbour views.

Possums
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Walking back through the Botanical Gardens one evening, I came across these two, rummaging for something in the undergrowth.
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Not as demonic as the eyes make them look, honest!
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Art Gallery of New South Wales
The most important public gallery in Sydney and the fourth largest in Australia. The Gallery's first public exhibition opened in 1874.
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Steps to the harbour
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Opera House
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Identified as one of the 20th century's most distinctive buildings and one of the most famous performing arts centres in the world.
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Harbour Bridge
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Luna Park
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The park was constructed at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge during 1935, and ran for nine-month seasons until 1972, when it was opened year-round. Luna Park was closed in mid-1979, immediately following the Ghost Train fire, which killed six children and one adult. Most of the park was demolished, and a new amusement park was constructed.
Luna Park is one of two amusement parks in the world that are protected by government legislation; several of the buildings on the site are also listed on the Register of the National Estate and the NSW State Heritage Register. The park has been utilised as a filming location for several movies and television shows.

Central Business district (CBD)
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an iconic city
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Posted by charlystyles 13:27 Archived in Australia Tagged fireworks sydney_night Comments (0)

Hollaback Farm, Berry - NSW

semi-overcast

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Berry is an attractive and stylish village 90 miles south of Sydney. Rustic and sophisticated, its surrounded by rich dairy country below the coastal escarpment. It has many historical buildings which are listed on the New South Wales Heritage Register.
Wilson Store
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Book Shop
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With it's historic buildings and leafy surrounds, Berry is a delightful village which is a favourite with Sydneysiders seeking a less hectic lifestyle.
Museum
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Post Office
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Pub
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Just three kilometres out of Berry is Hollaback Farm.
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I spent a week with Craig and David at their beautiful home on the hill.
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The house is a nearly finished vewry contemporary new build, with beautiful interiors and amazing views down the valley to Berry.
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with a river at the bottom of the property
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View from the lounge
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dining lounge
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view from the garden
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Swimming pool
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Along with the house, they are also doing a great job starting a farm, with angus cattle
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and dauber sheep for grass cutters!
One of the small jobs was putting up fencing around the citrus and advacardo trees
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Removing the poisonous fire weed from the paddocks
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and splitting wood - with the pneumatic splitter on the tractor.

Although the winds roll up the hill, it was a great spot to admire the view
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whilst working
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It was great to see the colours inside the logs
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However, some pieces had residents, from witchetty grubs
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to snakes!
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The splitter was good, and actually made it enjoyable, and not back breaking!
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and then loaded into the trailer
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to be stacked up
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The Great Dividing Range, which runs from the blue mountains down to the Snowy Mountains and into Victoria, divides the region into three areas. The central strip, has beautiful beaches hemmed in by the rising mountains to the west.

Seven Mile Beach
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Just nine minutes from Berry and extending from Shoalhaven Heads east of Nowra to Gerroa , Sevan Mile Beach National Park includes a beautiful beach stretching for mile ... seven of them!
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Posted by charlystyles 13:26 Archived in Australia Tagged berry seven_mile_beach Comments (0)

Palm Beach (Summer Bay - Home & Away), Sydney - NSW

sunny 26 °C

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One of the sights to see near Sydney is Palm Beach - about an hour and a half bus ride away on the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park peninsula.
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It is locally known as 'Palmy'.
It wasn't what I was expecting; I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of tourism in the area, and more so by just how beautiful the location is.
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It's the main location for exterior filming of the soap Home & Away, which I admit, like most people, used to watch every day after school. So I had to go an have a look.
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Alf's Bait Shop
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The Jetty where they have their secret meetings
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with some nice boats
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Summer Bay Surf Life Savings Club
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The beach they go for a walk along
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The ramp where they walk down onto the beach
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The fence where they always seem to bump into each other
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The sand dune where they go to have a good cry
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We walked the length of the beach, stopping to watch the surfers
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and the impressive waves
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and at the far end, we took a path up to the lighthouse
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The path started from the beach
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and wound it's way up the cliff, under the rocks
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We didn't find the diner (it's probably in a studio somewhere) but there was a lovely looking restaurant
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The headland at the northernmost point rises quite sharply from the beach to over 100 metres above sea level, and features an operational lighthouse. It's not the tallest, but still makes me look small...
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The Barrenjoey Head lighthouse was the third light constructed on the Barrenjoey, New South Wales headland, and was completed in 1881. Designed by NSW colonial architect James Barnet, its construction cost £13,695, plus £2,210 for the lamp. At an elevation of 113 m, it is visible to a distance of 19 nautical miles (35 km; 22 mi) out to sea
The views from the top are stunning, almos the best I've seen so far...
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and on the other side, looking north up the east coast
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A customs station was established in 1843, as the Headland marked the entrance to Broken Bay and Pittwater – considered to be the back door to Sydney for smugglers. The first report of any lighted beacon on the headland was in 1855, when a fire was raised in a basket to assist mariners during storms.

George Mulhall - first principal keeper of Barrenjoey Lighthouse.
The census of 1828 stated that Gearoge Mulhall was born in Australia in 18111 (his headstone states 1814). Hi father and mother came in convict ships from Ireland in 1803.
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George's death is an interesting tale- on a stormy night in June 1885 ventured out of the lighthouse for more firewood and was struck down by a tremendous bolt of lightening and as the journalism of that day recorded, was burnt to a cinder. His death certificate however, describes his cause of death as apoplexy (stroke). A few years later, George Junior was struck by lightening resulting in a badly burnt arm which from that day was bound in snake skin to ward off further celestial visitations.

They weren't filming on the day we went, so we took enough photos of ourselves to make up for it :)
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Posted by charlystyles 13:12 Archived in Australia Tagged palm_beach summer_bay home_&_away Comments (0)

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