Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Safari 2018 June 27th, 28th & 29th.

Reflections over Myall Lakes
 June 27th   Myall Lakes

We have taken nearly all day to drive the 123km from Port Stephens, through Tea Gardens and Hawkes Nest to the Mungo Brush Camping Ground in the Myall Lakes National Park. It is a lovely spot on the lakes with nearby waves of the Pacific Ocean on the other side of the sand dunes. It is a very narrow spit which we will explore tomorrow as well as several of the walking tracks. Surprisingly there are quite a lot of other campers near us. ..some with bicycles others with canoes. They should have fun tomorrow.
The reflection in the Lake is magnificent with mountains and clouds and water.
We have booked for three nights so we will decide tomorrow how long our stay will be.

Banksias in the Myall Lakes National Park

June 28th, This is a lovely spot so we will spend 3 nights here. The grass is clean and mown. There are a large number of walks that are available. Many go through the bush to the Ocean which today is Indigo blue in colour. The beaches are clean and long so plenty of opportunity for walking. The bush is interesting as it is so different to our bush in NE Victoria. Banksia trees are large and strong as are the Melaleuca trees with their bark peeling off in lengthy sheets. One distinctive and tall tree with salmon coloured bark on the trunk is an Angophera which is a very close cousin of the Eucalypt family. The distinctive feature is the lack of 'eucalypt' smell in the leaves which are very similar in shape to a eucalypt leaf. There are many birds which can be heard and seen...Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos which are very noisy, Blue Faced Honeyeaters, Kookaburras, Willy Wagtails, and Magpies are just a few. We have not identified them all despite hearing many of them.
Very dark clouds this evening with some thunder which produced a good shower of rain.

Cabbage Palms

One of the Walking tracks which we followed out to the beach.

 June 29th 
The morning dawned clear and blue so we set aside our day to complete some of the nearby walking tracks. We packed our lunch and walked out to another area of Lake Myall. It was very wet under foot but the bush, was again, spectacular. With banksias in bloom, very tall palms, meleleucas, salmon trunked angopheras and strangler vines. 

 We will move further north tomorrow, but this evening we have had the most colourful sunset over the lake.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Safari 2018 June 25th & 26th

June 25th...Treescape Camp

Coastal Banksia
From Cessnock we drove a short distance to Constable Estate to see a memorial to Len Evans who was the major influence in the development of the Hunter River Wine Region. He had visited our Milawa Vineyard on a number of occasions. He was English born and became an avid wine enthusiast here in Australia. From Cessnock we followed the maze of roads and highways across country to Nelson Bay. We avoided both Maitland and Newcastle a fact that we were very pleased about. Driving with a caravan in heavy traffic in unfamiliar roads is not a lot of fun! John did very well to follow the correct signs.
We have settled into a small camping park called Treescape at Port Stephens. We appear to be the only caravan booked in. We plan to stay 2 nights. After exploring the area and visiting a point where whales can be seen and Coastland Banksia were in bloom, we walked from our van to a beach called Samurai Beach, which does have a very deep sandy access path. We were happy to walk. It is a beach where nude bathing is allowed. Not for us with such a cold wind blowing and not for us on the warmest calm day either.
We expect to spend a calm night here with no traffic noise and only the sound of waves in the distance. Our day has been most enjoyable and not nearly so cold!

June 26th

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo       

We have stayed in the Port Stephens area today and had a good look around the various points of interest...Walks have been great on sandy beaches, bush tracks and rocky points. Late this afternoon we walked along a bush track which was thick with Banksia trees and many other natives plants and trees of this area. We could hear a large number of birds, most of which we could not identify. There were many squawking birds from the Friar bird family surely interested in the honey from the Banksia flowers. They were difficult to see amongst the thickets of branches and leaves. Suddenly I realised that I had disturbed a very large bird. After careful tracing we were able to identify it as a Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo...the exact cockatoo that we occasionally see when skiing down the Dargo Road from the WSC lodge. I was not close enough to take this photo..some one with a much stronger lens on their camera than I have on my tiny pink Nikon.
Tonight we have enjoyed a delightful fish meal at the nearby Golf Club. Fish of the Day was Dory with a lemon sauce plus feta and dried tomato.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Safari 2018- June 23rd & 24th

June  23rd  2018..Goulburn River NP

Apart from the minus 4 deg morning we enjoyed our campsite by the Turan River. The friendly female kangaroo and young greeted us again. Last night they enjoyed our scraps of pumpkin.
Bull Rushes in green Goulburn River
We travelled NE to Mudgee where we refilled our water tanks and ate lunch. From there we have continued in a north easterly direction to the Goulburn River National Park. You would think that we were in Victoria with a name like that but No, we are actually north-east of Sydney. The gravel road in was rather slow but we have settled at the clean and attractive Spring Gully Campground. Hopefully we have chosen a spot where the early sun will find us after the longest night of the year. The bush is rather like the Chiltern or Eldorado bush land. To make the area more familiar we found a signpost to ‘Kelly Gap Track’. 

Once again it was very cold overnight and the morning was overcast with fog and cloud  around the hill tops…yes very cold. However the day was warm enough to dry washing and towels. We have been about camp all day apart from 2 good walks along the road which is quite hilly with gravel wash aways.
We are sitting by a campfire with the sun long gone. It actually set behind the nearby hilltops about 4.00pm making the shortest day of the year even shorter.
Kangaroos and emus are about our camp. An emu actually removed a ball of cotton thread from the table where I was working as well as my tiny scissors. Pied Butcher birds, Little Ravens and Currawongs visited from time to time. 
This park has about a dozen very clean camp sites so we have enjoyed our stay. It is quite remote without phone or internet contact.
We must continue to move north tomorrow or closer to the coast, with the thought of warmer nights in mind.
June 23nd

Very cold again probably minus 5 deg with everything very white.  We packed and headed for Cessnock. The drive through bushland and mountains was lovely. Farmlands appeared dry and frosted. A very long train transporting coal was an unexpected activity. The mullock heaps from the coal mines were extensive and high.
We have booked into the Wine Country Tourist Park a little north of Cessnock for 2 nights. This will provide us with mains power and a laundry to do a weeks washing. 

Frosted wood pile at minus 5 deg
Tomorrow I expect we will explore the wineries and vineyards of the Hunter Region.

June 24th...a lovely day exploring the Food & Wine of the Hunter Region around Cessnock.
We bought olives, cheeses, honey, several pieces of clothing  and we will drink some wine this evening. It is a really great area for the Gourmet Traveller.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Safari 2018 -June 21st & 22nd 2018

July 21 & 22nd Sofala

Last night it was extremely windy as we camped by Lake Cancoar. We did have a  hiccup in the operation of our generator so there was not a lot of heat..we have survived and hopefully heat will be restored this evening. At present we have left the cold winds and showers down south .... so to speak!

A locked gate in Sofala
This afternoon was spent very comfortably sitting in the sun by the Turon River where we have camped for the night. The Turon River runs through Sofala which is the oldest surviving Gold Town in NSW. It began as a Gold Rush Town during the 1850s. Currently the population is fluctuating but there are about 200 permanent residents. A very pleasant place to spend a few 'slow' days.

We walked through Sofala this morning. It is an old town with some cafes and some establishments offering accommodation. Many cafes were closed today, we can only presume
that it is not the Tourist Season.
 Many buildings are very old and rusted and need a lot of renovation.
We visited this town about 3 or 4 years ago and very little improvements have been made since then.

Sofala- a novel fence made from a collection of bed head

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Safari 2018 June19th

June 19th  Darby's Falls Reserve

We left our caravan at the Darby’s Falls Reserve and back tracked to see the Wyangala Dam Reserve which is large and interesting with many cabins for accommodation and many caravan and tent sites. The Dam Wall is quite huge being 1.5 kms across. Unfortunately we were unaware that we could have walked along it…maybe next time!

We tracked back to the caravan, hooked up again and traveled on to Cowra which is quite a hilly town with a population of a little over 10,000 people.

The country continues to be hilly and undulating with a dominance of granite boulders which vary in size but would certainly make it practically impossible to cultivate for cropping. Sheep are the main farming pursuit. 
Windfarm overooking the out flow of the Cancoar Dam.

From Cowra we have traveled north east to the Carcoar Dam. This is much smaller than the Wyangala Dam. The Cancoar Reserve is available for camping. It is cold and breezy this evening so we will be glad of our generator to provide for some heating.

Across the Dam there are 7 large wind towers turning in this evening’s wind. They make a constant hum in the background but not enough to stop us sleeping I am sure.