Friday, October 13, 2017

SYDNEY, COOKS RIVER KAYAK - 11 OCTOBER 2017


At Sydney again so I decided on a kayak along a part of Cooks River and Wolli Creek.


It was a bit difficult finding a place to launch. The place I had picked was actually fenced off from the water. I drove about a kilometre along the river before I came to a parking area near the water. I had to carry the kayak a short distance and launch down some slippery stairs .


I was on the water and paddled along Cooks River which was fringed with river mangroves. There were a number of birds in spots and heaps of bridges to go under.  The traffic carried by the bridges varied from trains, pedestrians, cars to oil pipelines.



Eventually, I reached the convergence of Wolli Creek and paddled along it. 
It was fringed by mangroves in parts and weeds in others but it was surprisingly pretty. 
There were a lot of fish jumping about and a lot of cormorants looking for a feed.


There were a number of industrial and highrise buildings on the eastern shore. On the western shore, there were mangroves and other trees, parklands and a rocky hillside.
The creek ended at a concrete weir.


It was an unusual kayak and worth the effort.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

SYDNEY, COOKS RIVER MTB - 10 OCTOBER 2017


A  trip to Sydney for Kara's medical treatment.  It started at 10 am and finished approximately 3:30pm. There wasn't much for me to do there but wait so I used the time to do some nearby activities.


Today, I decided on a bike ride along the Cooks River cycle path. 

I started going to the west but found it a bit boring after awhile as it was too urbanized.
I backtracked and headed towards the east.
This was much better. Highlights included: low hanging tree branches, low bridges, narrow bridges to cross, roads with traffic to cross, groups of birds, a blue tongue lizard, a chat with an old Scottish guy, some regenerated wetlands, lots of paths and a few tracks.





I rode as far as the Princess Highway bridge at Tempe. This brought to mind a lot of very old and fun memories. My very first friends and I use to ride our bikes from Newtown to Tempe and wander around Tempe Tip (gone now), crawl along the length of the Princess Highway bridge underneath it, walk along the top of the oil pipes on the bridge and even floated out to Fatima Island on old bedding mattresses. The latter sank on us and it took ages before a fisherman would give us a lift back to shore.

So it was a very good day, remembering and riding.

Friday, October 6, 2017

BOUDDI NP MTB - BOX TRACKS - 7 OCTOBER 2017

A pre-sunrise surf check and off for a mountain bike ride.



I parked the van and loaded up the repaired bike for a ride on the Box Head tracks at Bouddi National Park. The last ride I had, at Kooragang, I had two flat tyres.



My first accomplishment on this ride was making it to the top of Hawks Road without stopping. Loving this new bike.


The second merit, was doing the Old Wagstaffe trail and the trail down to the Tallow Beaches with speed and control. Both are steep and rough.


The third, was sighting a small flock of yellow tailed black cockatoo on Tallow Beach and a swamp wallaby in the bush just off Hawks Road.


In addition, other fun parts were the track to Little Tallow Beach - narrow, beach views, steps and rocky cliffs - and having Tallow Beach all to myself. Both these beaches are so pretty being wind swept white sand surrounded by cliffs and rugged and dense bush vegetation.



I surprised myself when at the end of my ride my GPS indicated I had done over 10km. It didn't feel like it.



I drove to Terrigal Haven for a morning cappuccino and watched a wedding on the grassed foreshore.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

KOORAGANG WETLANDS MTB - 5 OCTOBER 2017

2 October 2017

Fun surf at North Avoca with Micheal. Some okay ones amongst the not so okay ones.

3 October 2017

Surf check but not so good.

Jacinta and I had coffee at Terrigal Haven. The wind was light, there was a cloud cover and it began to sprinkle lightly with rain.

Afterwards, I parked at Kincumba Mountain and had a ride on the tracks.


It was a quiet ride and the tracks were very sandy in parts. Some rain needed to firm it down.

In the afternoon, Kara, Mr Archibald and I drove to Copacabana beach for coffee and to watch the ocean.

5 October 2017

Jacinta and I left early morning for a bike ride at Kooragang Wetlands at Newcastle.



We crossed a bridge made in 1956 to Ash Island and parked the van. there were a number of conservation volunteers there who were about to start removing reeds from certain areas of the wetland. A nice thing for young people to do.


We rode along the raised pathway above the mangroves. I learnt that there are 20 species of mangroves in Australia and two of them are here - River Mangrove and Grey Mangrove.


We followed a track that took us to the Roselle Track. This track was marked as circular but we actually had to backtrack the way we came. It was an interesting track next to mangroves and salt pans. We saw a few birds as well.




We continued along the road then followed the rainforest track. That was a fun track through overhanging trees and curving paths.


The track continued around the edge of the island along the Scotts Way track until old Milham's Farmhouse. It was interesting with remnants of the old farm house, a well and a garden. The mulberries were delicious.




Unfortunately, as we rode over the grass off the track towards the farmhouse a number of thorns had punctured our tyres ... four flat tyres. Jacinta's bike was a bit okay so she rode back to the van while I walked my bike to the road. Eventually, after Jacinta's tyres going flat again and a magpie attack, we connected again, loaded up the bikes, and visited the old radar station and the schoolhouse.

The radar station was ordinary but the old schoolhouse now an administration building was a beautiful building especially the interior. We met the project manager for the restoration of the island and were amazed by all the work that had been done.



On the drive home, we stopped at Caves beach for ginger beer and fish n' chips on the sand and in the sun.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

MYALL LAKES NP - HIKE, MTB AND WILDLIFE - 29 SEPTEMBER 2017

I had an early morning walk to the beach form the camp area.

A bit of a lateish start to a hike to Yacaaba Head at Hawks Nest.



We parked at the end of beach road and decided to walk across the sand dunes rather than along the beach. Straight away we saw a number of birds and a glimpse of an azure kingfisher.

It was such a good idea tramping along the soft sand of the dunes in the hot weather. Anyway, I was trudging up one dune when I also stepped on a brown snake. Not a good idea as they are fairly deadly. I got a few photos before it slithered into the undergrowth.


We now decided to walk along the beach to the start of the hike. It was nice watching the waves break crisply on the shallow sandbanks and say hello to passing people.


The hike to the top of the headland was dry and steep in parts. Towards the top, we were rewarded with a great, expansive view of Hawks Nest, Tea Gardens and the surrounding hinterland. Nice.



On the way don we had a glimpse of a large brownish goanna.

Next stop was Tea Gardens for petrol, water, coffee and lunch.

We drove back to Banksia Green. The camp area was filling up due to a long weekend. Luckily, we got the last spot. After establishing ourselves, I went down to the beach for a sit and a swim.

I decided on a mountain bike ride from roughly Bennetts Green to Dark Corner along a number of tracks between the main road and the waterway. The tracks were rough with a number of broken branches littering the ground. After the snake this morning, a lot of branches suddenly looked very snake like. It was an okay ride with a number of tracks leading to deadends.






Back to Banksia Green camp for a rest and read. Later in the afternoon, a large goanna was just behind our camp site. A number of birds also visited.



After a good sleep, we headed back home checking out Tea gardens for a coffee, Hams Beach near Newcastle for surf and Red Ochre Beach at Munmorah SCA for surf. The surf was not good but at Munmorah we watched a pod of dolphins catching waves.

The last stop was home - unload, clean up and cruise the afternoon away.

MYALL LAKES NP - KAYAK, BEACH AND REST - 28 SEPTEMBER 2017

Another warm and sunny morning.

I took the kayak off the van and had a paddle along the shore of the lake from the camp site at Mungo Brush.




The wind had died down considerably and the surface of the lake was reflecting the sky and the shore vegetation. Pretty. It was a nice paddle through the reeds and under a couple of overhanging tree branches.

The bird life on the lake as prolific - heaps of black swans and masses of ducks. The ducks would fly off on mass upon any disturbance. I also a saw number of small woodland birds close to shore and a large white bellied sea eagle put on a majestic show for me.




Back at camp, we packed and drove to Bennetts Beach, where we had an ocean swim and a bake on the beach. The surf was small and close to shore but the water was warm and inviting for a swim.


Next stop was Tea Gardens, for a cappuccino and lunch on the quiet waterway.

We were feeling weary so we drove back to Bennetts Beach for a snooze on the beach.

The rest of the afternoon was spent at Banksia Green. We read, rested and wandered to the beach a number of times. The sunset was spectacular with a pink strewn across the clouds and a deep blood red where the sun was disappearing over the land.



SYDNEY, COOKS RIVER KAYAK - 11 OCTOBER 2017

At Sydney again so I decided on a kayak along a part of Cooks River and Wolli Creek. It was a bit difficult finding a place to launch...