Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Kiama, South Coast New South Wales

Kiama is a delightful little town on the south coast of New South Wales. With a population of around 13,000 it's bigger than some towns we've visited but still small enough not to feel overwhelmed by lots of people. The caravan park we are staying at is called Kendalls on the Beach and as the name implies it is literally right on the beach. Lying in bed at night listening to the crashing waves certainly is a nice sound to fall asleep to.
The beach at our front door
Our stay here is a lazy few days but Kiama still has quite a few attractions to visit, with Kiama Blowhole probably being the most famous. The Kiama Blowhole is an unusual rock formation that spouts spectacular plumes of water high into the air.
Kiama Blowhole .... before the surge....

Kiama Blowhole
Right next to the Blowhole is the imposing Kiama Lighthouse. This lighthouse was established in 1887. The original apparatus in the lighthouse was an oil burner, producing a light that was visible for nine miles. After several upgrades to coal gas, acetylene gas then 240 volt the lighthouse was then de-manned.
Kiama Lighthouse
Just around the corner from where we are staying is the Little Blowhole. Similar to it's big sister, the Little Blowhole spouts vigorous sprays of water from a naturally rock cove. The reason for the name Little Blowhole is not that it spouts are not as high, but the hole where the water comes from is narrower.
The Little Blowhole
As the water rushes through both blowholes it is accompanied by a thundering sound of the air and water being forced through the openings.

Blue Mountains, New South Wales

The Blue Mountains are situated to the west of Sydney. It is known for it's spectacular scenery with steep cliffs, waterfalls and eucalypt forests. These oil bearing Eucalyptus trees are the reason the mountain range is called the Blue Mountains. The atmosphere is densely populated with finely dispersed droplets of oil. In combination with dust particles and water vapour, scatter short wave rays of light which are predominantly blue in colour. I have wanted to visit this area for many years and made this trip my opportunity.
Jamison Valley with it's blue haze
Our first stop was to Echo Point to checkout the Visitor Information Centre and the famous rock formation of the "Three Sisters".
The Three Sisters
Next it was off to Scenic World with it's Scenic Railway, Scenic Skyway, Scenic Cableway and Scenic Walkway. First up was the Scenic Railway which at a 52o incline, the steepest train in the world. It was originally part of a network of tramlines built to bring coal and kerosene shale from mines up to the main railway.

.....and we're off

Scenic Railway
Once off the railway we walked through the amazing forest past the Ventilation Furnace and Coal mine entrance to the Scenic Cableway bottom station. This cableway is Australia's biggest cable car. From the Jamison Valley we returned some 545 metres to the main building.

Scenic Cableway
Last but not least was the Scenic Skyway, with it's partial glass floor. At 270 metres it is the highest cable car in Australia. As it glides between the cliff tops you can view the Jamison Valley and the Katoomba Falls.
Scenic Skyway

Katoomba Falls
Once again we returned back to Myrtle (our camper) after another very full day.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


It's been 16 years since I was last in Sydney, I was lucky enough to have come and worked here for a week while the 2000 Olympics were on. But this time in Sydney was a quick three day visit, one day to look around Sydney, one day up the Blue Mountains and one day catching up with some relatives. We decided to stay about and hour out of the city - Sydney is way too busy to tow a van through, plus Richmond is at the base of the Blue Mountains. I had been recommended the Richmond Club camping area so that's where we headed. It was a great location but oh my goodness we were camped literally in the carpark. It really didn't matter though as we fully intended to be out every day, which we were. So our first day started around 10.00am as we jumped on the train and headed into the city. I just might add that our day didn't finish until 1.30am - goodness we were tired. We had a look around the city a bit, had some lunch and then headed over to Darling Harbour.
Looking back at Sydney CBD from Darling Harbour
Shane's not one for heights but I got him up in the "Star", the ferris wheel at Darling Harbour.
The Star

Centrepoint Tower - from the top of The Star
Next we decided to get a ferry out to Manly. Heading out in the bay we were surrounded by hundreds of sailing boats tacking every which way to miss each other and also miss the many ferries travelling the waters.
From the ferry you could see the tourists doing their bridge walk - not for me!

Shane wanted to go to the Manly Leagues club as he had been there 36 years ago on a football trip. I really wished we hadn't gone as it certainly wasn't the highlight of our daytrip. But the ferry trip back to Sydney certainly made up for it. Coming back to Circular Quay you pass the Sydney Opera House and have a fantastic view of The Sydney Harbour Bridge. As I was standing on the deck of the ferry taking my photos all of a sudden we were treated to fireworks going off at the side of the bridge. Then as we passed the Opera House we could hear the band Crowded House performing one of their four reunion concerts. What a way to end a fantastic day.
Sydney Harbour Bridge with fireworks 
Sydney Opera House
Then it was back on the train for our hour and a half journey home. 
Have I said I don't mind train travel so it was a pleasant ride home too.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Jimmy's Beach, Hawks Nest

We've now headed west to another beautiful seaside location called Jimmy's Beach, Hawks Nest which is a suburb 220 km (137 miles) from Sydney. This delightful little location is bordered by the Tasman Sea on the east, the Myall River to the west and Port Stephens to the south.
Looking out to Broughton Island - Myall Lakes National Park
Being in such close proximity to Australia's largest city Sydney, Hawks Nest is a popular weekend getaway and holiday location for Sydneysiders.

Naturally with all this water surrounding us we just had to have a fish. Even though we did catch fish there were none suitable for the table.
Quite a pretty location to have a fish

Unfortunately I caught a stingray - but all was good. He was released safe and sound

Seeing this is an oyster growing area I just had to give them a try.
Oh they were so  nice. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Urunga, New South Wales

After enjoying our stay here last year we just had to come and stay in Urunga again. Last year it was only 3 nights but this time we have extended our stay to 6 nights. With a population of just over 3000, Urunga is another seaside town that's population increases during the holiday season and on weekends.  Urunga's attraction all have to do with water especially surfing and fishing. We have been out fishing a few times but have had no luck. Luckily there's a couple of places I can get my seafood fix. 
He's pretty happy when his day involves having a fish with a beer in hand

These local oysters are definitely up there with best I've ever had
The Urunga boardwalk is a spectacular one kilometre walk over the tidal Urunga Lagoon then out to the beach. 
I really did try to get out early enough to get some shots of the sunrise, but I was a bit late.
But I'm pretty happy with this one. 

This little guy was making a bit of a racket........

......then I noticed his mate he was talking to. 

This lone fisherman was lucky enough to find a nice quiet spot out of the wind. 

The sight looking back at Urunga from the end of the boardwalk is quite spectacular

Monday, November 14, 2016

Goodbye Gold Coast

Well our month long stay on the Gold Coast is almost at an end. I initially looked forward to settling somewhere for a month but with all the travelling we have been doing it didn't take long before I got itchy feet. So I'm not sure if in the future I will hang around somewhere this long. That doesn't count home. The caravan park we are staying at is really good and in a perfect location but it's also a park that gets extremely busy over the weekend. I really don't mind it if it's busy but it's when you get surrounded by an extended family in four tents that set up almost on our laps and have the foulest mouths I have ever heard. I just can't believe that families would use this language especially when they have little children with them. Now I'm not against the odd swear word but all the time, when it's yelled and the drunken behaviour that accompanies it is a bit much to take. OK that's my rant over, thanks for listening.

The view of the caravan park we are staying at from Tallebudgera Creek

I was treated to some great cloud formations 
The other day we went had a day trip up to Tamborine Mountain, which is the hinterland behind the Gold Coast. From the east side of the mountains you have beautiful views of the ocean and from the west you are treated to the mountain views. North Tamborine is a delightful little village that caters to the many tourist to the area. It's main street is lined with various shops, cafes and restaurants.
Amazing views

Treated to one last Gold Coast sunset

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Gold Coast, Queensland

Well I've now been on the Gold Coast for about 2 weeks now and this is the first time I've logged on to do a blog update. It's not that I've been very busy, I have been out and about but just not on my laptop much. I have been having a few IT issues and it seems the new iPhone update doesn't want to allow me to upload any of my photos - grrrrr.  I have been to the Gold Coast many many times and still enjoy coming here, although I choose to stay in the less touristy areas now. But I think everywhere on the Gold Coast is now touristy and very busy.
Surfers Paradise in the distance
How have I spent my days so far, well there has been shopping at the shopping centres, warehouse outlets and a few markets. Walking along the beach, catching up with friends, eating some yummy food and most of all relaxing.

Amazing fruits at the farmers market

My type of mini golf course - Buddha theme
I have been lucky enough to have my cousin Sue staying for the week. We are extremely close but don't get to spend a lot of time together so this is a very special week.
Suzie and Davine 
One day we headed south to the very spiritual,amazing Crystal Castle and Shambala Gardens. I have been there before and just knew Sue would love it, and she did. Crystal Castle and the gardens is a privately owned property filled with the most amazing crystals, statues, sub-tropical plants, labyrinth and a walk to the most beautiful stone Buddha I have ever seen. We had a glorious spiritual day of meditation and relaxation.
Lakshmi - The Goddess of fortune, prosperity, wisdom and fertility.
She is also the embodiment of beauty, grace and charm

Avalokiteshvara - embodies the compassion of all the Buddhas

The Great Buddha