Debbie & Geoff's

Australian Safari


Travel Blog     -     January 2019

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Tuesday 1st – Saturday 5th January 2019

The New Year dawned hot and sunny and even though we were all a bit tired from the late night, I don’t think anyone’s head suffered too much with the evening’s celebrations. We decided to stick around longer in Wauchope as there were quite a few things to see and do, and the farm made a nice base. Whilst our friends from South Australia went to visit family, Geoff and I decided to do a bit of exploring around the forest tracks. 4WD was used quite frequently as we bumped our way trying to navigate the overgrown tracks. Deciding to head to a lookout we missed the turnoff somehow but we still saw some great scenery.

 Debbie guiding over washaway bridge    Fire trail blocked      Fire trail gets narrow
Debbie guiding over washaway bridge               Fire trail blocked                     Fire trail gets narrow


 Black-faced Monarch    Dollarbird      White-necked Heron
Black-faced Monarch               Dollarbird                     White-necked Heron

What would a trip be up that far north without a visit to Smokey Cape Lighthouse. Though the walk up to the lighthouse looked daunting our friend Des (who is not the fittest in the bunch) made the trek and we all enjoyed the cool breeze and spectacular view from the top. With more sightseeing in the area we visited places that we had been to in September and it was great to show it off to Des and Rina who hadn’t been on this coastline before.

 Geoff, Debbie, Des, Rina    Smokey Cape Lighthouse      Southerly current off Smoky
Geoff, Debbie, Des, Rina               Smokey Cape Lighthouse                     Southerly current off Smoky

Unfortunately it was time to say goodbye to Des and Rina as they headed back home, but we decided a few more days was required. Making the most of the area we headed to Cowarra Dam where we visited the dam. Though no swimming was allowed they had great picnic and BBQ facilities and some incredible sculptures and totem poles. It was certainly worth the short drive there.

 Cowarra Dam    Totem poles Cowarra Dam      Cowarra Dam
Cowarra Dam               Totem poles Cowarra Dam                     Cowarra Dam


 Toms Creek    Ellenborough      Ellenborough Falls
Toms Creek               Ellenborough                     Ellenborough Falls

That afternoon we also visited Ellenborough Falls which is not at Ellenborough which we found out but at Elands. It turned out to be a very long drive but with the pretty walk and water falls it was worth it. We found a free camp at Ellenborough with the river flowing through it and though it was chock a block full being holiday time we will keep it in mind if we head in that direction again.

 Ellenborough Falls             Ellenborough Falls              Ellenborough Falls
Ellenborough Falls

Our final day at Wauchope and we headed to Ricardo’s which is a farm that grows hydroponic tomatoes and they tasted sooooo gooood! Also you can pick your own strawberries, have a light meal and buy amazing jams and chutneys. It was a bit hot to wait around for the guided tour so after reading all the signs about hydroponic tomato growing and purchasing some jam and of course tomatoes, we headed off to Sea Acres Rain Forest Centre. This was another interest place with great board walks that meander through the forest. Information plaques were abundant and though there was not much wildlife, I think it was a bit hot and most creatures were hiding, but we did see some critters lurking in the shadows. They also had part of the Hello Koala trail where one metre high fibre glass koalas have been decorated by artists. There are 50 in all scattered around the Port Macquarie area and I think quite a few made their home at the Wildlife Refuge.

 Sea Acres Rain Forest    Sea Acres Rain Forest      Sea Acres Rain Forest
Sea Acres Rain Forest Centre

On the road again and back to Urunga for the night to break up our journey. We thought it might have been way too packed but to our surprise there seemed to be plenty of room left for us to have our private water view of the river.

 Halliday’s Point Caravan Park
Uranga Free Camp

Sunday 6th – Thursday 18th January 2019

Back in Ballina at our usual caravan park we spent the week with family visits, fishing and beach walks. We also had a visit from Andrew a Sydney friend whom was in the area and spent a few days together before we both headed south. Nothing has happened with the land or house plans so we decided to head south and had a few nights at Halliday’s Point where we caught up with our good friend Brad and Beverley who have a holiday home at Tall Woods. The view from their house is amazing and we spent the evening with them for dinner and also the next day together, first for a bush and beach walk followed by lunch down in Forster and a swim at their home. I can see why they love it up there so much as it is a perfect location for them to chill.

 Halliday’s Point Caravan Park    View over Brads house      Brad's house
Halliday’s Point Caravan Park               View over Brad's house                     Brad's house (left)

Friday 19th – Thursday 24th January 2019

As school holidays are still in full swing we organised a holiday house at Stockton with my friends Helena and Brad and their girls. The house was brand new and the location was a very nice holiday spot, close to the shops, beach and river. Our week consisted of Geoff, Brad and I doing early morning walks along the river and beach front. Then Geoff and Brad would go off fishing and yes they managed to catch some wonderful flathead, enough for us all to have two nights’ dinners. The youngest daughter, Eden, had a friend stay and we were lucky enough to see them before midday when they finally got up to go to the beach. Oh to be young again.

 Newcastle Harbour    View over Brads house      Turtle swiming past fishing whalf
Newcastle Harbour               Newcastle Harbour                     Turtle swiming past fishing whalf

Helena and I got to have our girly time, we caught a ferry to New Castle and walked around the shops before having a bite to eat at a waterfront café, another day when the house was quiet we watched a movie together, “The Book Club”, which I can highly recommend for all ages. We treated ourselves to scones with jam and cream after a stroll to the beach and to top it all off we both went to the beautician for a spot of pampering. Just heaven!

 Brads Birthday cake    Debbie barefoot lawn bowling      Stockton family
Brad's Birthday cake               Debbie barefoot lawn bowling                     Stockton family

As the end of the week drew near it was time to celebrate Brads birthday and we had an afternoon game of barefoot lawn bowls. Being the first time for all of us we had no idea of what we were doing but it was a lot of fun for our pre dinner game. The club also had trivia on and with the mix of people, young and old at our table, we managed to come second as we all had something to contribute. You could have blown me over with a feather when they read out we had won second place.

Waders arrive from Siberia and Alaska to spend the summer at Stockton Sandspit

 Eastern Curlew    Curlew Sandpiper      Bar-tailed Godwit
Eastern Curlew               Curlew Sandpiper                     Bar-tailed Godwit

The week flew way too quickly and we said our goodbyes as we all headed south. Helena and the girls home to Sydney, Geoff and I to Toukley for a few days and Brad was the only one going north to visit a friend and finish his birthday celebrations.

Friday 25th - 31st January 2019

Once again we were back in Toukley for a few days and on our first night got to catch up with the newlyweds Bronwyn and Anthea at their lakeside house. We had a wonderful evening starting with a float on the lake on their floating island sipping a glass of wine whilst floating on the lake followed by homemade pizza. It was also nice to reciprocate and have the girls over to my sister’s house for lunch on the last day of the holidays.

 Branthea on the lake    Carole on the Island      Anthea on the Island
On Branthea Island               Carole on the Island                     Branthea on the lake

On the road again heading up north, we seem to have done this before, and before and before. So we decided to stay one night in Harrington before making our way to Woolgoolga for a few nights. Now we had originally thought that this was a new venture for us but once we arrived in town we realised that we had been there before. Our park was right on the beach and with the warm weather the sea breeze was very welcome.
Besides beach walks we ventured back to the Cattai Wetlands at Coopernook . Again this was a place we had visited and one thing we did notice was how much the water level in the wetland had gone down. Even without looking at photos we could remember how the water would lap around the viewing platform. Oh how our poor countryside needs some good steady rain. Even in the drought conditions the forest still was impressive and we enjoyed sitting in the bird hide doing a bit of spotting on the wetland. After our few days it was time again to head to Ballina. Our house contracts were ready to sign.

 Checking the wetlands    Eastern Yellow Robin      Brown Cuckoo-Dove
Checking the wetlands               Eastern Yellow Robin                     Brown Cuckoo-Dove


 Sacred Kingfisher    Woolgoolga water tank      Dollarbird
Sacred Kingfisher               Woolgoolga water tank                     Dollarbird