Debbie & Geoff's

Australian Safari

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Travel Blog     -     February 2018

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Thursday 1st – Saturday 3rd February 2018

Still hibernating at Forster, we spent the days doing long walks around the area, one day we had torrential rain so we didn’t feel guilty to relax again and read a book and just chill. I also had the pleasure of my first facial since we had started the trip and I must admit it was good. Geoff even tried fishing on the break wall, but still no fish have been harmed on our explorations.

 Magpie call for mum     Forster bar entry      Forester caravan park
Magpie call for mum                   Forster bar entry                       Forester caravan park

The day we had the car checked at Taree the Commonwealth Games torch was in town, but just our luck we were stuck on the wrong side of the bridge at Tuncurry when the bridge closed and we missed the opportunity to cheer it on as it went right past our van park. But the good news was the car was ok and the computer error codes were cleared and we were ready to be on the road again.

Sunday 4th – Friday 9th February 2018

Not travelling too far and with the weather a bit iffy we headed to Old Bar for a few days. The main reason is Geoff had read about Aleutian Terns which are a bird species that has never been seen before in Australia. So our first day after setting up we set off down the beach heading towards the area where they had been spotted. Lucky for us we met up with Jack who was also there to photograph them and he told Geoff that the 18 of them had taken off and it would be better to come at high tide later that afternoon.
Taking his advice Geoff headed out that afternoon and also early in the morning to spot the elusive birds. And yes he was successful.

 Aleutian Terns     Photo bom by Godwit      Little Turn sheltering from wind in tyre tracks
Aleutian Terns                   Photo bom by Godwit           Little Turn sheltering from wind in tyre tracks

Me, I spent the day catching up on domestic bliss and went for a lovely beach walk in the other direction where I managed to get a photo of a white bellied sea eagle with my iPhone. Ha!

 Fishing at Forster     Chatting with the locals      Locked up Trial Bay Gaol
Fishing at Forster                   Chatting with the locals                       Locked up Trial Bay Gaol

Next stop is South West Rocks still going slowly hugging the coast. We have 2 nights here and our first afternoon we went to the Trial Bay Gaol this was built for convicts in the 1800’s who were housed here while they built a breakwater and later reopened to house German internees who resided in Australia when the 1st world war broke out. Though a lot of the steel bars, doors and ladders had been removed and sold for scrap the gaol was in remarkable condition with its granite walls withstanding time and all the elements that had been thrown at it over the century. The views were amazing as we could climb up to the guards lookout area and see the expanse of the land and sea.

 More chatting with the locals     Trial Bay Gaol       Trial Bay sunrise
More chatting with the locals                   Trial Bay Gaol                       Trial Bay sunrise

 Trial Bay Gaol     Debbie behind bars       Smoky Cape Lighthouse
Trial Bay Gaol                                         Some say right place                       Smoky Cape Lighthouse

The following morning we headed to Smokey Cape Lighthouse so named by Captain Cook who spotted the aboriginal fires as he sailed past the point. This is a major lighthouse and the tallest light in Australia.

 Smoky Cape Lighthouse     Looking south from Smoky Cape       Trial Bay contemplation
Smoky Cape Lighthouse                   Looking south from Smoky Cape                       Trial Bay contemplation

We then drove back towards the gaol to do a few walks in the area. First we headed through the banksia heathland towards the monument that was built to honour the 5 Germans internees who died at Trial Bay. The track then took us to Little Bay where Geoff spotted an Osprey perched on the rocks and of course he went off to try and get a decent photo as he didn’t have his massive camera with him and needed to be a bit closer.

 Trial Bay Gaol     Smoky Cape Lighthouse       German Monument
Trial Bay Gaol                   Smoky Cape Lighthouse                       German Monument

The scenery along the coast was terrific but also the bush surrounding the area is lush and green and a joy to walk through. Still following the track we arrived at the Powder Magazines used to store gunpowder during the construction of the Gaol and breakwater. One of the buildings was still intact but the other had been mysteriously blown to smithereens. This is all in the Arakoon State Conservation area and Hat Head National Park and definitely worth a visit.

Another day and another stop at Urunga where we had a nice walk to the redeveloped wetland area. This site was originally a processing plant for extracting heavy metal from ore. This was stopped in 1974 and the land stayed dormant till 2011when the government started the massive task of redemption of the land. Now there are beautiful walkways through a lagoon area and the wetland is now regenerated into a lively wetland and open public area.
Our last one night stop was back at Yamba with the sole purpose of catching up with our lovely friend Nyarie for dinner that evening.

Saturday 10th – Thursday 15th February 2018

Retracing our steps we headed to Ballina to catch up with family and also we were on a mission. The mission being to look at property as we have decided this might be the place where we would like to settle down. Of course our main priority is somewhere big enough to park the van when we weren’t on the road and enough bedrooms to have all our friends and family come and stay. House after house but nothing was to our taste, some too big, too expensive, too small, not a big enough driveway, the list went on as we searched the real-estate agents and their listings. So what did we end up doing…… we bought a block of land! There you go something right out of the blue. We never had building on our thoughts and now as we paid the deposit our interests started to make way for building plans and colour schemes. Lucky for us it will be a while till the development will be ready to build on.
Geoff did manage to go fishing with his brother and nephews and he did catch a fish. I am sorry but we never got to take a picture of it just to prove it has been done.

Friday 23rd – Wednesday 28th February 2018

Our time share at Cabarita meant a week of having friends and family come and stay. We had friends from home Peta and Alistair that just moved up there so it was exciting to see their new house which was in walking distance to where we stayed. Also our good friends Michelle and Stephen moved up to the Gold Coast at the same time so it was great to have them come and stay. The 6 of us had a few very fun nights and days. Dining out and beach walks and swims. Just the best catching up with this crowd.

 Bush-stone Curlew              Bush-stone Curlew
Cabarita Locals Bush-stone Curlew

From Cabarita (Cabba to the locals) we drove the 70 km to the Gold Coast to check out Michelle and Stephens new apartment. Great apartment and brilliant view. We went for lots of walks, and had a fantastic day on their boat. You can’t beat sightseeing from the water, massive houses on the canals and a lovely beach for us to jump over and have a cooling swim. Plus a bottle of bubbly to share before going to the Southport Yacht Club for lunch. As the sun was shining this day it was certainly a highlight of the trip.

 Fun with Michelle & Steve     Fun with Michelle & Steve       Fun with Michelle & Steve
Fun with Michelle & Steve

The last day of February and it was time to head off again and say goodbye to our beautiful friends. Our night again was at Ballina where we stopped to pay the official 10% deposit on our land. We also took a drive to the site and Geoff managed to find a way in and stand on our actual block. It all started to feel very real, we are going to build a house.

 

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