254. Sunday 27th May 2012. The Illawarra District, home for three months…

Monday 21st May

Today was umm err, a rest day. Resting from what I hear you say. For the first time in such a long time we have a house as a home base and we just finally relaxed. Nothing was planned. We just mooched around the house and attended to the needs of the two dogs. Well, one dog is happy just to have a pat on the head a few times a day. The other, a black poodle is blind and deaf and I suspect, losing its sense of smell. It requires medication and taking outside to do its business. Other than that we read or watched TV.

Tuesday 22nd May

Boring as it may seem, today was another rest day. Well, at least I rested. The CO-PILOT drove to Corrimal to help Errol with some work on the, as yet, incomplete house. It is a good thing the CO-PILOT is not the navigator. She got lost going to and coming home from Corrimal.

Sigh!

Wednesday 23rd May

Boring as it may seem…Hmmm. That’s the way I started the comments yesterday. Today was like yesterday. CO-PILOT got lost going to and coming from Corrimal.

I pumped up the tyres on the rusting mountain bike. I know which parts are aluminium. These are the parts not covered in rust. I took the trusty rusty treadly for a spin and came home with aching calves and buttocks.

I also walked to a nearby bulrush pond and took photos.

One of a number of bulrush encrusted ponds, part of Robin Creek scattered throught the estate.

Flowering bulrush.

A pair of near friendly swans on the pond. When I approached the pond they approached me but kept a respectable distance. Perhaps they used to being fed by residents?

We watched the first round of the 2012 State of Origin game which was won by Queensland with the obligatory controversial try.

Thursday 24th May

Boring as it may seem…

Friday 24th May

Visited an Over 55’s Resort in Kanahooka. This one is a relocatable home type resort with most of the homes close to 20 years old. We saw two homes which might be suitable for our needs when the time comes and gave the resort our tick of approval. We then drove on to a gated community with a communal pool, community hall and lake. An open to the public restaurant also operates from beside the lake. We had coffee and scones.

Then we drove on to the Nan Tien Buddhist Temple and Pagoda.

The pagoda. This is the building most visible from the Southern Freeway.

For those people who have ever driven on the freeway through Wollongong and all points south they can see the temple standing out as a landmark near Unanderra. From any point of view this is an impressive sight. On arrival we discovered there are more buildings than just the temple and pagoda. There are several temples with related buildings and squares. The gardens are a delight and worth a visit for them alone.

This curving pathway is flanked by winter naked trees, their discarded leaves pepper the path and created a relaxing scene.

Entry is free. The car park is built on several levels within the gardens and we were surprised at the number of tourist buses and people taking guided tours or worshipping.

From the carpark and gardens we found the first temple and were impressed by its size.

At the top of the stairs and entrance to the first temple is this incense burning bowl.

Doorway to temple. From here photos are not allowed and footwear is to be removed.

The Buddhist faith is built on many achievable qualities. Some, such as Peace, Harmony, Tranquility are evident here and I found the temples and surrounding gardens had a calming effect on me. There is a restaurant on site serving vegetarian dishes for $12 the smells were enticing. Next time.

We found the first temple we encountered was a smaller version of the main temple and square.

A Korean visitor asked us to take her photo and in return offered to photograph us on the square at the foot of the stairs leading to the main temple.

Signs at the entrance to the park asks that the buildings and customs and beliefs be treated with respect. Some buildings ask that you remove your shoes, dress modestly and no photos or videos. Of course all foodstuffs, especially meat, fish, pork and alchohol are not permitted.

The path and steps pass through a mix of roadway, carpark and gardens leading to a statue of Buddha.

After lunch and attending to the dogs we drove to Shellharbour Square again. Yeah, Yeah,  I know, I wrote about the shopping centre in negative terms last post. What we did not realise at the time was that the shopping centre has just gone through a huge expansion and the new look centre had its opening that week with Saturday being the BIG day. Today was busy but more relaxed. We also took time to look at Max Brenner Chocolate Restaurant.   http://www.maxbrenner.com.au/

(No we did not indulge). If you like chocolate this is the place to let your hair down. Everything on the menu is chocolate and people were queued up to wait for a table. I saw a woman served a chocolate burger. Imagine two giant chocolate chip cookies with a huge chocolate ice cream patty surrounded by a wall of whipped cream. With knife fork and spoon in hand and a sparkle in her eyes she was in chocolate heaven. The CO-PILOT is on a diet otherwise she would have been in the queue.

Saturday 26th May.

Where possible we try to get out and about so the CO-PILOT  can learn about and see more of the Illawarra district.

Today was very strong winds and very chilly. In fact when I went for my walk at 6am, walking into the wind was a fight for every step. When I turned around I was blown along the footpath. These westerly winds will persist, off and on, during the next four months.

We drove to Albion Park to visit the Illawarra Light Rail Museum

One of several Illawarra Light Rail engines still operational at the museum.

(free entry) and watch the camp oven cooking competition.

A beef stew was bubbling away in the smaller camp oven but we were not able to discover what was in the large pot. Smelled good though.

We probably arrived before the crowds and were only able to watch the heats of a boil a billy of water competition.

There were six heats of six contestants each having to create a fire from supplied kindling and boil a cup of water in a tin billy. Each heat winner went into the final of six contestants all vieing for a good looking trophy.

From there we drove to the little village of Jamberoo

St. Stevens Presbyterian Church stands as a landmark at the entrance to Jamberoo.

The popular old Jamberoo Pub.

and had coffee.

Sunday 27th May

Today we visited Hill 60 in the Port Kembla area.

I love these old trig points found in high locations all around Australia. Used as a navaigational aide they are no longer used but most have been retained in situ. This one is on the top of Hill 60 Port kembla.

Incidentally Kembla in the local aboriginal language means Plenty Wildflowers. The hill sits above Red Point and in 1942 had a gun emplacement built there. The emplacement was named Illowra Battery. More details are shown here

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illowra_Battery

The tunnels are still in place although not easily accessible and are now the haunt of local kids and graffiti idiots. The views north to Wollongong

This is a composite image from 6 photos. It is best viewed by double clicking for a full page image. Looking north twoards Wollongong and to the east.

and south as far as Bass Point and west to Lake Illawarra and the Illawarra Escarpment,

Another composite photo looking south and west.

part of the Great Dividing Range are spectacular. Hang gliders use the area as a launch site and although  considered today to be ideal conditions there were no gliders to be seen. As well a great left hand reef break below the hill and not a surfer to be seen. A number of people were enjoying a picnic on the grass.

Port Kembla is famous for the steelworks.

In the afternoon Nicole and Merrilyn visited with the childre so I put the bread-maker to good use and baked a chocolate mud cake.

I will set the timer tonight so I wake to a freshly baked sourdough rye loaf.

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