Relative Travel – Day 9 – Newcastle to Mount Annan

Sleeping water birds at a mini island in Tuggerah Lake, near The Entrance.

Our destination for the day was Mount Annan, near Liverpool, south of Sydney.  Tollways with 80kph speed limits now bypass Sydney.  You don’t see a single traffic light until after turning off the Hume Highway at Campbelltown.   With a mid afternoon ETA we had time to spare, so stayed east of the Newcastle bypass highway, travelling down the Old Pacific Highway until we turned further east to join the real coast road at Budgewoi.

Most of our drive was familiar, but not all.  We had intended to do a run into Caves Beach, just south of Swansea, but missed the turn in the new (to me) road arrangements south of the bridge over the entrance to Lake Macquarie.  But we did take a run into Catherine Hill Bay.  I wanted to see the old coal loading jetty, last viewed during an inshore tack when sailing a newly acquired yacht from Sydney to Brisbane, many years ago.

The historic Catherine Hill Bay coal jetty is under threat after damage from the bush fires in the area last year.
Catherine Hill Bay Surf Lifesaving Club overlooks the beach.

This was a coal mining area, of course.  As you approach the beach and jetty, you pass through streets lined by old miner’s cottages, many under renovation, probably reaching seven figure valuations as a result. We parked above the beach so that I could walk down a sandy ramp to the ocean’s edge to take some photos.

The entrance to Tuggerah Lake at The Entrance.
In past times Pelican feeding was a feature activity in Marine Parade at The Entrance. Pelicans still wait on a small adjacent island. They must have long memories.

We re-joined the highway via the southern access to the town, passing new houses, including large homes with ocean views and a new subdivision, down in a valley, with no views at all.   At Doyalson we turned in again to the coast, driving through Budgewoi, over the bridge that spans the narrow waterway that joins Lake Munmorah and Lake Budgewoi.  We then travelled through Toukley and Noraville to The Entrance  which we made our morning coffee and photo stop.

Residential accommodation on Marine Parade at The Entrance.

As we had approached The Entrance we both noticed water birds in Tuggerah Lake.  With morning coffee done, we returned the couple of kilometres to where we had seen the birds. I fitted my long lens and took a number of photos, including some with which I was reasonably happy.

The road bridge over the entrance to the lakes at The Entrance.
An Intermediate Egret showing some breeding plumage.
A Pied Cormorant out for a swim.

Retracing our steps, we drove through The Entrance to Long Jetty, on the eastern shore of Tuggerah Lake.  Long Jetty is both a suburb and a long jetty. I had heard of it in both forms and driven through the suburb a number of times.  Today we called to visit.

Water birds perched on the end of the long jetty at Long Jetty NSW.

The jetty is intended for foot traffic, with a hand rail on one side.  The timber deck is about a metre above the water. On the outer end of the jetty I could see a group of water birds, sitting on the rail.  My bird lens was not attached to the camera but the smaller one would do.  But on the spur of the moment I forgot to change the camera settings from general sightseeing to bird photography.  The result was photos of less quality than they could have been.  We live and, hopefully, learn and remember in the future.

A closer view of the perched birds on Long Jetty. Australian Darter and Pied Cormorants.
Long Jetty suburb at the shore end of the long jetty.
An example of what you get when you do not have correct settings on your camera.

We continued south, keeping as near to the ocean as possible, turning east for a better view of the coast whenever the opportunity presented.  Then we came to Terrigal and I realised that I had never been there.  I was impressed.  We drove through town to the bay where the launching ramp is located and where views are to be had over the bay, back to the residential and commercial development of the town centre.  This location provided views of magnificent sea cliff top houses, the kind that dreams are made of.

Part of Terrigal across the bay.

After a viewing and photo stop we drove around point Kurrawyba with its two headlands and then via the Scenic Highway to eventually reach Woy Woy.  There we did some necessary shopping and returned to the Pacific Motorway near Gosford to continue south.  So after crossing the Hawkesbury River and reaching Hornsby we were taken underground for a long sweep to the west on the M7 until we swung back east to the Hume Motorway at Casula.  It was then a quick and easy drive to Mount Annan, our destination.

The Skillion is the southern most of the two headlands on the point at Terrigal.

There we caught up with Ruth’s youngest sister Dorothy (Dot) and her family, including newly minted grandson Max. We also caught up with Max’s mum Deahna, our niece Madison, Madison’s fiancé Josh and Dot’s other half, Peter. Max’s dad had work commitments.

Luxury homes overlook the Pacific Ocean at Terrigal Beach.

After much talking and taking of refreshments, Peter took to the barbeque to produce the protein to accompany the other portions of the meal, previously prepared.  With a libation or two we all enjoyed a very pleasant evening, called to an earlier close than might otherwise have been the case by our hosts need to make early departures for work the following morning.

A final view of Woy Woy before we re-joined the Pacific Motorway near Gosford.

Sydney – Day 13 to 20 – 29th January to 5th February – Sydney with family

Having heard forecasts of hot weather in Sydney, we packed to leave Katoomba with some reluctance. We had a very straightforward run down the mountain, stopping for coffee just past Penrith and reaching the Lane Cove River Tourist Park at about lunch time.

It was hot, so it was not long until the air conditioner was operating and with the assistance of a fan to circulate the air and comfort was restored.

We had an early start on Thursday to meet Karen’s flight, which arrived at about 6.30 am. Karen is staying with Briony while we are in Sydney, so a North Ryde to Erskineville commute is a daily routine. Briony is working and Karen has some commitments but we are able to spend some valuable time together.

Pleasure boats at Bobbin Head.

Pleasure boats at Bobbin Head.

On Friday we had a few spare hours in the middle of the day so we took Karen for a picnic at Bobbin Head in the Ku-Ring-gai Chase National Park. On Saturday we (all four of us) commenced our day with brunch at the Sydney Fish Market and then drove out to the home of Ruth’s youngest sister at Mt. Annan for a family gathering. We all eat far too much food but a great time was enjoyed. Much catching up with folk who we do not see very often.

Barrenjoey Head at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River.

Barrenjoey Head at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River.

The mouth of the Hawkesbury River.

The mouth of the Hawkesbury River.

Ruth and I had the day to ourselves on Sunday. We used it to continue our visit to Ku-Ring-Gai, driving out to West Head where magnificent views of Palm Beach, Barrenjoey Head, Lion Island and the extensive waters of Pittwater and the mouth of the Hawkesbury River are laid out like a diorama. Over thirty years ago, during a short term posting to Sydney, we owned a small yacht

Palm Beach and Pittwater.

Palm Beach and Pittwater.

that we kept on Pittwater, so these waters were our regular weekend playground. The views brought back very pleasant memories.

We later drove along the Northern Beaches as far as Avalon where we found a pleasant small restaurant for lunch. We returned to the caravan via Dee Why. It was in this beach side suburb that Ruth spent her teenage years, so there was a certain nostalgia during this part of the drive.

Avalon Beach

Avalon Beach

Monday was Briony’s birthday. It was a work day for her, so we met her after work at the Red Lantern on Crown, a trendy Vietnamese Restaurant in now fashionable suburb Redfern. The restaurant is operated by TV chef Luke Nguyen, who I had never heard of before, but who everyone else seems to know. Briony is a confirmed “foodie” and had sought out the venue with great care. She had chosen the tasting menu. The food was superb.

Tuesday was our last day in Sydney. It was a cool day and raining. Karen was moving on to stay with friends in Sydney so we spent some time with her in the shelter of a shopping mall before returning to the van to start to pack for our departure the next day. That evening we made our last trip to Erskineville where we had a meal with Briony before saying our farewells and returning to North Ryde. We had spent a very pleasant and happy week with our two daughters who we see together so infrequently.

On Wednesday, still in the family theme, we have come north to Shoal Bay on Port Stephens to spend three days with my elder brother Ivan and his wife Marjorie. They are Novocastrians, so have had only a short journey to reach the Shoal Bay Tourist Park. Their van is parked right next door so coffee and chats are easy and convenient. We will be seeing the sights while here so normal blogging will resume.