Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Safari 2018 July 31st & August 1st

2018  Reflections Holiday Park Evans Head
July 31st

Looking up Evans River as it flows toward the Pacific Ocean
After a very cold night we had an easy trip today. It took 1 hour for us to travel north to Evans Head where we have settled into the Reflections Holiday Park. After exploring the township in our vehicle and then this afternoon we walked on a section of the 'walking track' within the township. This gave us another view and eventually took us out onto the beach- a total of about 4km for the circuit we walked. Fruit bats were obvious in some of the trees near the Evans River. 
The weather has been warm, but again I think we should expect a cold night again.

August 1st
Washing Day....which is easy at home but in a Park Laundry...
*first the carrying of everything to the laundry
* joining the queue for a washing machine
* chatting to everyone else in the laundry
*loading the machine with clothes, soap and coins 4X $1 coins
* about an hour later ..clothes are pegged on the line. The basket is so heavy John usually helps me. Great to have this weekly chore behind us .

'Modern day' lighthouse at Evans Heads
We set out late this morning to find an old lighthouse site. Each person we asked gave a different story. Eventually we walked through the bush to the mystery of the old lighthouse. No sign of the concrete remnants of an old lihghthouse. The bush, track and ocean scenery were great and we found a modern day lighthouse which nobody had mentioned to us. What a mystery.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Safari 2018 July 28th, 29th & 30th

Bundjalung National Park ,Black Rocks Camping Area, Site #10

July 28th

We packed our camp and headed north to Black Rocks Camping Ground which is still in Bundjalung National Park. The drive along the Pacific Freeway was made interesting by the massive  upgrade which is currently happening . The project is signed as 'Ballina- Woolgoolga Upgrade'. We could not believe the machinery being involved over such a long stretch of the Highway. Of course the large bridge being built at Iluka to span the Clarence River is part of this same project.

Welcoming arrangement of still life
Eventually we found our way to the Black Rocks Camp. It has 50 sites which all need to be booked online which John had done. All the sites are quite private with a BBQ unit, a small clothes line and picnic table and seats. We were welcomed by empty bottles sitting upon our table.

We have walked the Emu Loop which is a short walk through the bush and along Jeruslem Creek. The bush is most attractive with quite a few flowers in bloom including banksias and lovely grass trees. As well as this there are lots of birds..including the Superb Blue Wren, Rainbow Bird or Bee Eater, Lewin Honeyeater, the White-cheeked Honeyeater, an Eastern Whipbird and a number of Brush Turkeys wandering through the bush. There is much chatter to be heard when we are sitting outside.

Late in the afternoon we walked out to see the beach with the tide coming in. The beach is lined with large black rocks which are rather soft and slippery. 

Beautiful russet coloured Coastal Banksia
July 29th, 

John went for a long walk along Jeruslem Creek..over 9 km in length. I chose to do a shorter walk, of about 2km, through some low bushland. The track was wide, sandy and rather uncleared. It was a delightful walk with the pungent aroma from all the flowers in bloom. The bush was really pretty with grass trees and banksia bushes and to add to this there were tiny White-cheeked Honeyeaters diving around enjoying the sunny morning.

Banksias & Grass trees

 I spent a lot of time today stitching my eco dyed wool. Mid afternoon we walked the beach for about 45 minutes. It is a wide, wide flat beach..especially at low tide. Black rocks line the cliffs of the beach. these black rocks are easily eroded. They are soft sponge like rock known as Coffee Rock or Black Rock..

One interesting visitor to the camp ground today was a goanna. Evidently  they are common and like to raid camps for any food left out.

Black Rocks of the beach

 July 30th.

Two Blue Native Iris
 Our day began with an early walk across to the beach to see the high tide. The sea and the tides are quite fascinating for us. Later in the afternoon we walked for an hour, in a northerly direction, along the beach on wonderful hard sand at low tide. In the distance we could see menacing smoke billowing into the sky..a controlled burn of the bush we suspect and we hope not an 'out of control' burn.
Much of our time has been watching and listening for birds. There are so many of them near our camp. John was lucky to see a Scarlet Honeyeater which is a beautiful brightly coloured bird of red, white and black. Another couple of birds to be added to our list are the White-bellied Sea Eagle and two Pied Oystercatchers. 
Another walk along the 'bush' track gave a lot of pleasure as we looked at all the flowers- including quite a number of beautiful blue/violet native irises.
Yes, we did see another Goanna  searching around a newly vacated camp site. This one was much darker in colour than the one we saw yesterday.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Safari 2018 July 26th & 27th

July 26th 2018
   Woody Head, Bundjalong NP

Inspirational lines on the rocks

The day has flown by with 5.00 pm upon us already. We only travelled about 8km to this new campsite in the Bundjalung National Park. We have a spot very close to the Pacific Ocean once again. We arrived out here before 10.00 am so out site was not vacant for us. Off we went on a walk around Woody Heads and along the beach. The rocks on the headland were quite different, but still the Coastal Banksia was dominant and showing many beautiful blooms.
This afternoon we walked the Iluka Rainforest Walk and returned along the same interesting track. It was nearly 5km in total, With this morning's exploration of the beach and rocks  we have walked nearly 8 km today. This is quite a distance for me..sure to sleep well tonight. It does tell us that John's new hip is working well. I do not see him limping at all. This National Park Camping is really lovely with clean and spacious surrounds. We are booked to stay for 2 nights. This morning as we walked the rocky beach we found, clustered together, about 20 little piles of stones..for all the world like miniature prayer stones.  Other rock formations could easily be used as inspiration for stitching..we will see! 

One of the small piles of rocks at Woody Point
  July 27th

View From top of Middle Bluff
This morning we walked along the beach to Middle Bluff which has an unusually rocky ledge reaching out into the sea. Eventually we found a track leading up to the top of the Bluff. It  was a great view of the surrounding coast line. We watched a pod of 6 or 8 dolphins playing in the waters. It is wonderful to see several of them come to the surface in unison. The beach had an interesting difference in that it had swirls of small shells which had come in with the tide. As we walked through the bush to the beach we heard several loud calls from the Eastern Whipbird. They are a shy bird so we only saw very brief glimpses of this shy bird which I believe is in our NE Victorian bush lands .

Our afternoon excursion took us shopping for yet more food. Yes, we are eating very well!  

Later this afternoon we walked a path toward the northern section of beach which on first glance appears to be very untidy with trees fallen on the sand. From explanation notices it seems that the sea is eroding the forest at a rate of 2 metres per year. The explanatory diagrams are quite remarkable as they show the change in this section of coast line since 1940. It is one of the fastest eroding beaches of NSW. The National Parks officers have built a sturdy dune or wall and planted it with local plants to help stabilise it from the erosion by waves and tides. This is only serving to slow the process of erosion. It is a classic  example of how coastlines are formed with change and would serve as a great example for Geography students. I have posted this diagram as a reminder to me about the coastal change.
Coastline changes

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Safari 2018 July 24th & 25th

July 24th

Iluka , Clarence River Estuary
Waters of the Clarence River Estuary

This morning we only had a short distance to travel to our next 'stop over' at Iluka which is situated on the Northern Head of the Clarence River Estuary. From Brooms Head we travelled north- west to Maclean... a Scottish town if you observed the tartan decorations along the roadsides. The Clarence River Estuary is a wide labyrinth of water ways with many islands including the large Harwood Island. This island has homes and farms on it, as well as schools and a huge Sugar processing plant. We travelled past many sugar producing properties and shared the highway with large trucks transporting newly harvested sugar to the Harwood Mill.

Anglican Church boat

To add to this we needed to drive through the massive project of re-routing and rebuilding the Pacific Highway. Unfortunately I was not quick enough to take photographs of the amazingly huge bridge being built to cross the Clarence Waterway. This large bridge was only one of many bridges being built because it is such a wet and complex waterway. This river and estuary carries a lot of water out to the ocean. It does have massively high floods from time to time so the new Pacific Highway needs to be above the average flood, strong and well made.

We have spent the afternoon exploring the area. We walked for an hour on a walking path along the Estuary with all the marinas and boats. There were fishing boats, yachts, several ferries for transporting people across the estuary to Yamba. there was one boat/barge called 'Resurrection'. This barge is owned by the Anglican Church. There are  regular Church Services conducted on the Clarence.

The ocean is not far away so we checked that out as well. Across the estuary stands a light house on the Southern Head. There is no car ferry to transport vehicles to the southern side. The only way to get close to this lighthouse is to go back to the Pacific highway and travel
the 'long way' round.

The local Fish Co-op has provided us with a delightful meal of Kingfish plus chips. A salad completed the easy and tasty meal.

A new bridge for the Pacific Highway
July 25th
 Washing day has come around again! Everything dries very easily in this warmer climate.
Our main activity for the day was to go on a 3 hour ferry cruise up the estuary to the new bridge. Near the bridge is the sugar processing plant. It was a chance to have a closer look and to take some photographs. of the massive construction work taking place to construct a new bridge as part of the newly routed Pacific Highway. It is expected to be completed in 2020. The old bridge, which we travelled on and you maybe able to decipher in the background, was opened in 1965. 
The cruise was a peaceful and interesting trip which gave us a great view of farms and buildings along the banks of the estuary. 

Sugar cane processing plant on Harwood Island

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Safari 2018 July 22nd & 23rd

Bright pink berries in the coastal bush
July 22nd 
Grey Cliff Camping Area

Looking toward the Brooms Head settlement
Today we have only moved north about 25km to camp in the Brooms Head area which has 4 or 5 camp grounds. We are at the Grey Cliff Camping area. The waves are only a few metres away. It is very noisy with 'high tide' happening at this very moment. It appears there is not a lot to do in the area apart from a long walk on the beach which we plan to do in the morning when, hopefully, the tide is low. This afternoon we walked up to Red Cliffs Lookout, which was a disappointment as the climb was so very short. However the view of the beach, toward Brooms Head was magnificent.
Mid afternoon we drove to the settlement of Brooms Head and then on to the Sandon settlement. Brooms Head had a huge clean Park for camping but I cannot say the same for the situation at Sandon. Bungalows and caravans were in a state of neglect so we are pleased to be camped further north within the National Park, where it seems tonight, we are the only campers.

We have decided to stay an extra night here and enjoy the view for a little longer.

July 23rd

Brown Quails ( a little blurred because of distance)

We have spent a second day at the Grey Cliff Camping Area not far from Lake Arragan..but still in the Yuraygir National Park. There are several small beaches but one very long one which we walked this morning. It was 2.5 km so a long walk for me when it is ‘there and back’. The sand was smooth and hard at low tide, so it was very easy to walk on. John went for another walk this afternoon, along the walking track which went through the bush. It also went across the sand bar blocking the water from Lake Arragan, which I am sure runs into the sea at times.

I have found this an interesting park mainly because of the number of birds flitting through the Banksia bushes. Most of them taking nectar from the large Banksia flowers. There are many of the tiny Regent Honeyeater as well as a few Superb Blue Wrens, Butcherbirds, Friar birds, a Sea Eagle and the quaint Brown Quails which feed on short grass and are very easily frightened. Their legs are so short making them fun to watch.

We will sleep again with the roar of the ocean in our ears and wake again in the morning with the same roar going on. It is breezy and cool outside. We wont chance having our awning out this evening. The movement all night is disturbing anyway without an awning creaking,

Friday, July 20, 2018

Safari 2018 July 20th & 21st

July 20th 
Illaroo Camp Ground - NP

The weather has been a little cooler and at one stage I thought we may have a shower of rain. We have set up in a lovely campsite with lots of room. Many people have moved out this morning but during the afternoon many new camps have been set up..the last weekend of the holidays for NSW kids.
An archway through the coastal bush
This morning we walked to the Minnie Waters settlement through the bush along an 'arched' pathway it was only 1.25 km whereas by road it is a bout 4km to the same place.
Early afternoon we drove south for about 12 km to see another settlement and several other campgrounds. By the time we returned the afternoon was becoming cool. John went for another beach walk and I was lazy staying at camp!
 Just near our camp, on the beach there are about a dozen tiny streams flowing out into the sea. They all make lovely patterns across the sand. The water is not deep and we easily walked through each little stream.

Sand patterns

July 21st,

Yes, we have had a third and very lazy day here at the  Illaroo Camp Ground. The temperature dived last night to about 3 deg this morning. It was good to get moving and have a long walk..mostly along the lovely wide beach and along a bush track..a total of 54.5 km....must be good for us! I think it will be very cool again tonight.

Bitou Bush
While we have been here we have become quite interested in identifying a coastal plant which was introduced into NSW coastal areas, from South Africa during 1946, to assist with the stabilisation of dunes after sand mining. Unfortunately the Bitou Bush is well suited to Australian conditions and has few natural enemies. It has succulent oval leaves and yellow daisy like flowers. It is growing very strongly along many of the coastal areas we have camped in. An eradication program has continued since 1990 and involves the use of several natural biologoical control agents. (PS..the flower photo has been taken from the park notice board)
Yellow daisy-like flower from the Bitou Bush

Safari 2018 July 19th

July 19th 2018
Sapphire Beach Camping Park 

We walked along Sapphire beach before we vacated our spot at the Sapphire Beach Resort. We headed north along the Pacific Highway, turning east toward Yuraygir National Park which runs along the coast for quite some distance. We have camped at the northern end of Illiwarra camp. Our rig is very close to the beach and the waves will ring in our ears all night…a peaceful and constant sound. The bush backs the rear of our site. We can hear the shriek of black cockatoos in the banksia trees.


We arrived late morning and have enjoyed a restful afternoon. Apart from a drive to the Minnie Waters settlement and a late walk on the beach I have done very little except reading and stitching.
We walked the beach just before sundown.
This evening's view is quite dull with a very smokey sky. Evidently controlled burns are happening in the Park. 

On looking at the map I can see that these waters of the Pacific Ocean are actually a Marine Park. There are many rocky outcrops which would make good diving.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Safari 2018 July 18th

July 18th 
Sapphire Park in Coffs Harbour

Regent Honeyeater

We headed north from Urunga, calling at Sawtell before we reached Coffs Harbour. The day is, again, clear blue. Sawtell is a seaside settlement so we drove out to the main Lookout to watch the whales. Each day they prove to be very special to watch as they play in the ocean and spurt sea water high in the air. While we were watching I had a rare close look at a tiny Regent Honeyeater. They are a delicate little bird flitting about presumably after tiny insects and honey! One hovered quite close to me, but I was not quick enough to snap a photo so will have to gather one, of this quite rare species, from else where.

Coffs Harbour
We have come here to the Sapphire Park in Coffs Harbour. This afternoon we walked out to Muttonbird Island which was a very steep climb. The view was spectacular as we could see the beautiful Harbour with the mountains in the background. The city is situated on Coffs Creek.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Safari 2018 July 15th, 16th & 17th

Grevillias are just one of the beautiful blooms
Urunga Waters Van Park
 Unfortunately the notes for the days of July 15th, 16th & 17th have deleted themselves or been deleted by the operator.
Katang River

It is not possible for me to remember all the details so I will post some photos and had just a few comments. 

We stayed at Urunga for 3 nights..camped on the Katang River. The weather continued to be sunny but with nippy mornings nearly down to zero degrees.

 Urunga has a wonderful Boardwalk
 of 1,200 metres in length. We walked as far as we could and watched the ocean for whales, from the Whale Watching platform. 
We drove up to Bellingen, a nearby, very busy little township. I think
it is known for the quaint 'alternative' shops...even the IGA Super Market had a long aisle of very interesting and different foods.

Urunga Boardwalk