Wednesday, October 31, 2012

CENTRAL COAST - BRISBANE WATER - Cockle Bay - kayak - 31 october 2012

I launched at the boat ramp at serento close empire bay.

It was a nice glassy paddle along the channel with the tide helping me. There were a number of small islands at the end of the channel. These islands and their foreshores were teeming with birdlife. I followed the bay around to the right to the entrance of cockle bay.

The channel was narrow and fun to paddle due to the volume of water moving in to fill the bay. The bay is quite scenic with eagles, ibis, etc. At one stage, I notice a strange movement in the water that turned out to be a large turtle. Further along, I pulled in for a rest and sunk into the mud up to my knees. An experience that I'm glad stopped at the knees.

Leaving the bay. I paddled over to some oyster leases. Seagulls had made them their nesting sites and they weren't happy as I neared them.

The paddle back was a little hard with the tide now working against me.

A nice paddle with heaps of birds and a turtle!

distance 3.54km
time 2 hours
av speed 2km/hr

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

CENTRAL COAST - Bouddi NP - Stroms, NW ridge and Turkey Trail - MTB - october 2012

I bought a Garmin GPS for the bike and was keen to try it out.

I drove to Maitland Bay Information Centre and rode along  Stroms Track, then along the road to the beginning of the North West Ridge Trail and then back along the ridge trail and turned off onto the Turkey Trail.

It was a good ride through dry bush scenery.  The lookout from the ridge was blocked by trees but it was still nice towering above the local bush. I didn't video the turkey trail section as I didn't press the start button hard enough. Bit of a shame as this was actually, the best part. It had some very narrow and dip sections!

The garmin was fun to use and here are the stats:

Stroms Track - 2.17 km in 12 m 26s
NW ridge trail - .85 km in 5m
turket trail and NW ridge trail - 1.77 km in 12m 21s

Saturday, October 27, 2012

CENTRAL COAST - Brisbane Water NP - Rocky Ponds - MTB - 27 october 2012

Up early and I popped the bike into the van and drove to brisbane waters national park.

A sunny, cool morning. Basically, I followed the service roads to Rocky Ponds. There were a few steep sections with some good downhill runs in both directions. In some parts, I walked... it seemed easier.

The ponds looked geat with the sounds of birds and water babbling over the rocks. I wandered a round and climbed down a few rocks and waded along one of the ponds. Very pretty!

On the way back, I got my first flat tyre. Luckily, I had a spare tube and after about 20 minutes I managed to get the tyre on and pumped and away I went.

Great ride and an excellent way to start the day.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

CENTRAL COAST - dharug national park - october 2012

I spent a night at Dharug National Park and had a long walk and a cycle.

I arrived at Mills Creek Camping area, which was a short turn off the Wisemans Ferry Road. No one there! So I drove a little further to the picnic area and the start of the grass tree circuit and the 11km walking track.

The walk took about 4 hours with 5 rest spots. There was a lot of up the hill and down the hill walking. Some parts were steep and some were also slippery due to leaf litter. The rocks (sandstone) had some amazing shapes and in one section large rocks had fallen forming a walk through cave. At the bottom of most of the gullies were waterholes that weren't suitable for swimming but they looked pretty. The higher parts of the walk had very, very dry vegetation and the gullies and lower slopes were lush (in comparsion). The views at the top were limited being obscured by vegetation. Parts of the track were quite overgrown and in two sections the track became hard to follow. On one occasion, I lost the track. The highlight was the lace monitor that was sunning itself on the track. Very nice but it took ages before I could persuade it to move on so I could pass (there was nowhere to go around it safely). It was a great but tiring walk!

I stayed at Mills Creek camping area that night. No one else was there. All I could hear were the sounds of the bush. The camp area was flat and spacious with toilets, BBQ, bins, info signs, fireplaces and wood. My company was a brush turkey that stayed near me all afternoon and was there to greet me (bludge) in the morning.

I drove to the start of Devines Hill just pass the ferry to Wisemans Ferry. This was to be a mountain bike ride. The hill was very steep but I managed to cycle all the way to the top (well almost). There were a lot of info signs along the way regarding the building of the road. Very interesting. It certainly was an amazing feat of construction and human endurance. At the top of the hill, the road veered to the right and became more rough. After 1/2 kilometre, I reached Finchs Line which was a rough road that followed the ridge line then dropped very steeply in a zigzag fashion down to Wisemans Ferry Road. The last part was not for bike riding but in sections it wasn't too bad. Along the way, there were views of the Hawkesbury River. At one point, there was a series of large sandstone rock platforms with an unobstructed awesome view of the river and valley below. At another point, there was a view looking north over the thick bushed inland valley. It was a great bike ride though very hard and fast in sections!

It was a great two days at Dharug National Park! I 'll be back in the future to do the Dubbo Gully for a cycle.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

CENTRAL COAST - Waterfall Bay - kayak - 18 october 2012

I launched opposite Waterfall Bay at the public wharf. The weather was cloudy and there was some drizzle on the drive but none at the venue.

The paddle was pleasant over still glassy water and there were a number of small beaches on the way to the falls. I stopped at one for a rest and walk around.

At the falls, I tucked the canoe between the water and a rock overhang. The banks of the falls were steep and a bit too high to lift the kayak on to drier grounds. Anyway, it worked.

I walked around the falls which aren't really falls but rather a casade of water. Most of the water flowed under rocks. Still, it was a pretty scene and it was fun climbing over the large rocks.

Back at the kayak, I continued to another small beach, which despite the no camping signs was used for camping. It was a shame that whoever stayed last left a lot of broken bottles around the abandoned campfire.

The return leg was a bit more difficult paddling into an increased wind and wave chop.

A great 2 hour kayak with pretty stopovers.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

CENTRAL COAST - Wamberal Lagoon - kayak - 16 october 2012

A hot day with flat surf. I passed Wamby lagoon and it looked inviting for a kayak.

I launched and paddled slowly around the lagoon. It was very hot so I tried to keep in the shade as much as possible.

I disturbed two eagles as i paddled around one of the bends of the lagoon. They were such a majestic sight as they powerfully flapped away to a quieter area.

I wanted to try out the kayak in case of a fall. I sank the kayak and it still remained afloat but getting the water out was a problem. Eventually, it was best to empty the water as much as possible then go to shore to drain the remaining water.

The second test was getting back in the kayak from deep water. That was no problem by staddling the bak and hauling myself along to the seat. If the kayak was filled or half filled with water it would be very difficult to paddle the kayak onwards.

Fun day!

Monday, October 15, 2012

CENTRAL COAST - Munmorah SCA - 13 to 14 october 2012

We just purchased a new Hiace campervan and were keen to take it on a test run.

Munmorah SCA is located at the northern end of the Central Coast in NSW, Australia.

We arrived at Frazer Park and went for a walk along the beach and the rocks to the south. There was a bit of an ocean swell running so there were some large waves that caused large sprays of water into the air. The rock platforms were mainly conglomerate which lead to some interesting rock formations with the help of wave action and salt corrosion. Bongon lagoon is next to the southern carpark. It is small but looks like it would be interesting to kayak along.

Our next stop was the palm circuit walk. This walk was short but lead through rainforest and drier vegetation on the steeper section of the walk. At the top of the track, there was a track leading onwards to Snapper Point Road. The track leading down the hill runs beside a small creek that would be more scenic after rain.

We drove to Freemans Camping Area and set up for the night. We extended the awning, made the bed and dinner. We had a lot of gear from tent camping and used what was needed in the campervan.

It rained during the night but we were dry and warm. It did get cold during the later hours of the night so warmer sleep gear would be needed for the next trip.

In the morning, we had breakfast, packed and drove to Snapper Point. At Snapper Pt, we walked around the cliff top looking at the fishermen below. We were lucky as a pod of dolphins cruised past while we were there. There was a large cave at the base of the northern side of the point where the waves crash up and surge into. We then followed a short  track to Bongon Beach. The flannel flowers amongst other flowers were in full bloom.

We drove a short distance up the road to the carpark at the start of the Moonee Beach walk. Jacinta remained behind for this one. The trail lead downhill to Moonee Beach and beyond. (It would be a good bike ride down and challenging on return). I walked along Moonee Beach towards the south coming to flat island which I climbed and walked along. Nice view from this point. I returned and walked through the sand dunes to Ghosties Beach and Timber Beach. The coastal cliffs here were very high and looked very unstable. On the return walk, I ventured through the dunes close to the cliffs and had a nice view from the highest dune above Moonie Beach. I continued backtracking returning to the van. The return walk from the track at Moonie Beach to the carpark took 25 minutes.

We drove to Frazer park for lunch and a rest. After that, we returned home.

Munmorah SCA is a great place to stay and visit - beaches, cliffs, pockets of rainforest, islands and walking/bike tracks. The campervan worked well. It was so much easier to set up and pack up than camping. It was especially easier once home. Camping use to take a good half day but the van took 20 minutes. Now to plan for the next trip!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

CENTRAL COAST - Popran Creek - kayak - 2 october 2012

I've wanted to do this kayak for awhile but had trouble finding a closer launch spot. I drove along Wiseman's Ferry Road and came to spot on the road opposite the entrance to Popran Creek. A small path lead through the mangroves to the edge of the Mangrove River. I have driven pass this spot before but hadn't noticed the path.

It was a bit narrow so it it was a little difficult carrying the kayak and the final section was very slippery. I launched and paddled across Mangrove Creek to the entrance of Popran Creek.

Nearly, straight away I was greeted by a large eagle in the trees. Nice sight!

I paddled as far as I could along Popran Creek until I reached a series of fallen trees blocking the creek. The banks on either side were either too steep to get up and pass or too overgrown.

Along the way, I diverted off the the creek three times to followed smaller feeder creeks. One creek was very straight and lined with very tall grasses. Part of the way along there was a small bridge. I landed here and was very surprised to find that there was a raised walking platform through the rushes.

The other two smaller creeks lead through the mangroves and were narrow with low tree branches making it a fun and adventurous detour.

Popran Creek itself was very pretty and there were three/two bridges to pass under. One was very very low and I just managed to get under it. It was worse coming back as the tide was higher.

It was a great kayak and as a change I had the tides right and the high tide helped me up the creek and the low down the creek.

Back to the car  and the adventure had only just begun. My car had a flat battery as I had left my lights on. No worries, ring the NRMA. Worry, as there was no mobile phone reception. There were a few houses opposite but no one was home. I walked 4 kilometres to Spencer and got a lift off a very nice couple on the last one kilometre. They were going to do a few things and would pick me up on the way back. At Spencer, there was no mobile reception. No worries, I'll use the public phone. No change. No worries, I'll get change at the grocery shop. The grocery shop was closed. Luckily, a lady pulled in to go to the shop and had some change. I rang, got assistance and the couple came back to drive me back to the car. An hour later, the battery was charged and I was off.

A long day, a good kayak and despite the car problem, I met some very nice people!


A relatively very cold winter in Australia. We had been waiting a long time for our next overseas trip and it always seems so far away but t...