South to Sydney – October 2023

Our daughter Kara works and lives in India. As she is an Australian citizen, she must return to Australia at least every five years to renew her visa. Kara is involved in that process right now.

Visiting Relatives and friends fills a great proportion of her time. We chose her necessary journey to Sydney to offer transport and combined with a visit to relatives and friends, thus killing to birds with the same stone, as the saying goes.

Pleasure boats anchored at Warners Bay, near to our Newcastle motel.

We departed Redcliffe on Wednesday 4th October but only travelled to Ballina, where we spent the night with friends Thelma and Joe, who have been mentioned in these pages previously. They are among our oldest friends and have known Kara all of her life. As usual they provided a pleasant overnight stay.

On Friday we covered the six hundred plus kilometres to Newcastle with the next day spent calling on two of Kara’s aunts and an uncle. There our paths diverged. Kara caught a train back to Port Macquarie to spend time with friends there while Ruth and I continued on to visit daughter Briony in Sydney, after spending Friday night in Newcastle.

We first called on Briony at her Erskineville unit where we were unable to stay as she currently has a visiting English flat mate. We had booked at the Mascot Merriton Suits, so with Briony in tow we went to book in. Formalities complete we walked around the corner for lunch.

Frenchman’s Bay, La Perouse with jetty construction on the left.
The Macquarie Watch Tower was built by Governor Macquarie in 1821-22 to house troops keeping watch for smugglers at La Perouse on Botany Bay. It is among the oldest Colonial structures remaining in Australia.

Rather than just sit around and talk we took a drive to La Peruse for some great views of Botany Bay on an almost cloudless day. We found a parking space after a search so that we could enjoy the views and absorb the history of the place. A new ferry terminal is under construction. It will become the northern end of a ferry service from a matching new terminal at Kurnell.

On our way to dinner at one of the outside restaurants at the new Marrickville shopping centre, we drove through that east coast residential area that parallels the coast from Cape Banks to Bronte. Every available square centimeter has been built on already, but they still find space for more. Literally thousands of million dollar plus houses. Who could ever assess their value?

Sashimi entre at the Japanese restaurant at Marrickville.

Eating with Briony is always an adventure. This Saturday evening was no exception. A Japanese restaurant provided the location for our culinary adventures. I had not dined on Ramen cuisine previously and I am afraid that I can’t remember the names of dishes, but it was very tasty and satisfying. The food met the requirement to be easy to chew, a present necessity as Ruth breaks in a new upper denture.

Pleasure boats in the Empire Marina at Bobbin Head.
Waterside Bistro at Bobbin Head.
Part of the picnic area at Bobbin Head in the Kar-ang-gui Chase National Park
Part of the picnic area at Bobbin Head in the Kar-ang-gui Chase National Park

Briony didn’t have any place that she wanted to visit on Sunday. She said that we were the visitors and should go where we wanted. But when I said that we would head for the water ways of the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park she miraculously discovered the Hawkesbury River Oyster Farm at Mooney Mooney. It is not a coincidence that she loves oysters.

A Pelican at Brooklyn with its head pulled in.

We coffee’d up from the takeaway at Briony’s units and headed north over the Harbour Bridge and along the highway to the most northern turn to Bobbin Head. All was relatively quiet on a Sunday morning, but the cafe at the Empire Marina had a reasonable breakfast morning and their lunch trade was making its way through the gate in reasonable numbers.

Our lunch booking was for 1.30 pm, so we had some time to spare. We called in at Brooklyn where we were entertained by Pelicans looking for food. The solitary fisherman retrieving his boat had let them down, it seems. With time to spare we returned to the rest area by the Hawkesbury River.

The Hawkesbury River road bridges. both new and old.

The restaurant is at the bottom of a step pinch on the riverbank which would have been a scramble for Ruth and her walker but a departing customer provided a vacant parking space right at the front door. Sometimes you get a win.

Oysters Mornay at Hawksbury River Oyster Farm. My favourite way to eat oysters.
Entre of Scallops Mornay at the oyster farm restaurant.

The restaurant takes bookings, but there is no table service other than for delivering hot food. Orders are placed at the counter. You carry cold dishes to the table yourself. We had a combination. Fresh King Prawns, Oysters mornay and mint flavoured and battered fish with salad. In Brooklyn Briony had acquired three small bottles of Champagne. The tables are right beside the river. The queue waiting to place orders didn’t seem to get any shorter even though the service was quick. Very pleasant!

Diners waiting to place orders at Hawkesbury River Oyster Farm.

We drove back towards Sydney, cutting across suburbia to Terry Hills where we took the turn to West Head and Church Point. A sign warned that the West Head Lookout was closed for renovation, but we drove out there anyway. Briony had not been there before, although she was with on many of our river excursions when resident in Castle Hill. The road temporarily terminates before the view is in sight. We retraced our steps and turned for Church Point.

Dining by the Hawkesbury River. Photo just after we had vacated our table.

Church Point was an important place in our lives during one of my business transfers to Sydney. Our small yacht was moored there, so it was the starting point for many of our aquatic adventures.

We returned to the south side via Mona Vale Road and Ryde Road and the Pyrmont Bridge. It was back to work for Briony next day, so we dropped her off for a quiet night and returned to Mascot for a quiet night of our own.

We make our way home in the next blog.

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