Archive for July, 2012

265. Sunday 29th February 2012. From the Illawarra District to the Shoalhaven District…

30/07/2012

Monday 23rd July.

A quiet day at Horsley. A workmate from my years at IMB (Illawarra Mutual Building Society) Ian F called to the house for a cup of coffee and a catch up. I have not seen Ian since I left Wollongong in 1987. It was great to catch up with him.

The home owners called to say they may be home as early as Wednesday. We are 80% packed and will be ready to leave by Thursday or Friday if they do not come home until Thursday. There is still no decision on the direction or destination when we leave.

Tuesday 24th July

A quiet day of more packing and sorting out storage on WWWGO. I fuelled up TERIOS in the morning and then took WWWGO for fuel in the afternoon. The local Shell garage after a  four cents a litre discount had diesel at $1.49.9 a litre. We have discount dockets but I thought the price was a bit high so we drove along the highway about 5 klms and the same Coles/Shell out let at Yallah had  diesel at $1.45.9 cents a litre. WTF! Other garages such as Caltex and BP had similar prices within a cent or two of each other. An independent outlet at Albion Park Rail, Enhance, was $1.35.9 and no discounts involved! That is a ten cents a litre difference in price between the big operators and the little independent. How can fuel vary so much in price?

Wednesday 25th July

The owners came home this afternoon so we spent time catching up and eating takeaway Chinese for dinner.

Thursday 26th July

After a little sleep in and a slow morning packing and hitching TERIOS we were on our way. (last week I wrote about the jockey wheel and a Couple Mate. I am pleased to report they work…after a bit of trial and error)

Jockey Wheel clamped to one arm of the Hitch n Go frame.

Couple Mate attached to tow tongue and tow ball.

V Plate and Jockey Wheel removed all hitched up and ready to go.

Oh! Did I forget to mention where we are going? In the short term we are driving south to Bomaderry and will spend a few days with Geoff and Margaret C. Along the way (it is only an hours drive) we stopped at Seven Mile Beach for lunch and had a short walk on the beach.

Seven Mile Beach.

The beach was used by Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith commencing 1933 to take the first paying passengers in his plane “SOUTHERN CROSS” to New Plymouth in New Zealand. He would plan his trips to leave early in the morning and take advantage of the low tide for his take off. Locals would show up in their cars and shine their headlights to mark a runway. Flights were arranged so he would always land during daylight hours.

It was a simple short drive to Bomaderry.

Our campsite in the garden at Geoff and Margarets house in Bomaderry.

Geoff did a wonderful chicken and prawn curry for dinner.

This evening I called old workmates from IMB to tell them we are in the area for a few days. Roger and Pat were area supervisors in the Shoalhaven district. We have not seen each other for around 30 years.

Friday 27th July

Roger and Pat H called this morning to arrange a visit for morning tea. We had a great visit with them and compared notes of each of our various travels around Oz. Roger was proud to say he walked the Hume & Hovel Track from Yass to Albury. Another great visit and it was so nice to catch up with them. Morning tea stretched into a wonderful vegetable soup for lunch. Thanks Roger and Pat.

Saturday 28th July

We watched a replay of last night’s Olympic Opening Ceremony, Lighting of the Cauldron and Sir Paul McCartney’s timeless rendition of Hey Jude.

We drove to Jervis Bay with the intention of visiting the National Park. I understood there was a lighthouse within the park. Hmmm! On arrival at the gates we flashed our NSW National Parks Pass and were told it was not acceptable in the park. Why? Well the park is officially within another state – Jervis Bay Territory (JBT) – to be precise, so our state of New South Wales pass is not valid in another state. For those who are not aware, our national capital, Canberra is in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) a chunk of land within NSW set aside for the National Capital. The parcel of land on the coast around Jervis Bay is also set aside as part of the JBT. See   http://www.regional.gov.au/territories/jervis_bay/index.aspx

Apart from the attraction of the National Park, the Jervis Bay Village also has the Naval Training School, HMAS Cresswell, based here and the ruins of an ill- conceived, planned and constructed lighthouse at Cape St George. The lighthouse was used for naval gunnery practise between 1917 and 1922 and is now largely a pile of rubble.  See   http://www.lighthouse.net.au/lights/NSW/Cape%20St%20George/Cape%20St%20George.htm

Australia has a number of similar “territories” such as Christmas Island, Cocos Islands,  Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Australian Antarctic Islands, Norfolk Island and Indian Ocean Islands. Whew!

Not willing to hand over $20 or so just to gain entry for an hour we drove to Hyams Beach and had lunch on the snowy white sands on nearby Chinamans Beach.

Chinamans Beach on Jervis Bay.

It seems the local progress association believe they have the cleanest whitest sand in the world. In fact most, if not all, the beaches within Jervis Bay try to lay claim to the cleanest whitest sand. Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island in north Queensland already has the official cleanest whitest sand in the world. While eating lunch we watched dolphins cruising along, just 100 metres off the beach.

Point Perpendicular Lighthouse across Jervis Bay as seen from Hyams Beach.

From Hyams Beach we drove through Vincentia and on to Huskisson where we stopped to look at the harbour.

Huskisson Boat Harbour.

Dolphins were again doing what dolphins do and attracting many photographers to a hill overlooking the beach. The local Returned Soldiers League (RSL) has erected a memorial

Huskisson RSL Anzac Memorial plaque. Double click to enlarge the image to read the inscription.

around a pine tree which was grown from a seed collected by a survivor of the Gallipoli massacre.

Gallipoli Memorial.

We then drove to Currarong where I hoped we would be able to see the Point Perpendicular Lighthouse.  See   http://www.lighthouse.net.au/lights/NSW/Point%20Perpendicular/Pt%20Perpendicular.htm

On arrival at the turnoff we were greeted by another boom gated office. It seems the area is now under the control of the Defence Department and access is only available through the gates. The area near the lighthouse is under “repair” so access was denied.

From here we drove into Currarong and visited a site of a mysterious finding. There are 32 barrel shaped lumps of concrete on the ocean floor believed to have been jettisoned around 1917 but there are no records of who, when, where and why they are where they are.

Barrel shaped concrete at Currarong. Double click on image to read thedetailed plaque.

Houses on Currarong Creek Inlet.

Finally we drove to the beginnings of a walking track known as Abrahams Bosom which ends at Abrahams Point.  See   http://www.lpma.nsw.gov.au/about_recreation/walking_tracks/abrahams_bosom_walking_track

The picnic area at the beginning of the walk is very pretty and has a delightful footbridge across a tidal creek.

Footbridge and reflection at Abrahams Bosom.

By now the afternoon shadows were beginning to lengthen so we did not walk to the point.

Sunday 29th July

Geoff and Margaret drove us west along the southern bank of the Shoalhaven River. First stop was Burrier, a pinpoint on a map. On a sheer cliff high above the water we could see the river far below with mighty gum trees looking small below us.

View of Shoalhaven River from high atop sheer cliff.

Grady’s Riverside Retreat is a popular bush type camp on the river.

Jetty and Pontoon at Grady’s Riverside Retreat on the Shoalhaven River.

Once upon a time when I canoed the rapids along the river, Grady’s was used as a pull out point as the rapids ended here and the water became wide, shallow and marginally effected by tide. To paddle any further was a battle against prevailing winds, tidal influence and the hundreds of water ski boats encountered closer to Nowra.

Next was to find the confluence of Yalwal Creek and Shoalhaven River. Along the way along a rough bush track we stopped and explored old gold mine shafts which were dug over a century ago. Most have been fenced or grated over the open shaft. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yalwal,_New_South_Wales

Continuing along the narrowing and worsening track we came across a real bush camp called Coolendel where we were met by Peacocks and Peahens

One of about a dozen Peacocks at Coolendel.

, fat, furry and lumbering Wombats

Fat furry and sometimes fast Wombat.

and of course many Wallaby’s and Kangaroos.

Little Black Faced Wallaby munching on a Wandering Jew plant.

Many bush tracks head to the river and one of the final bends containing rapids before the river shallows and the rapids cease.

Rental Canoes below the rapids at Coolendel.

See   http://www.coolendel.com.au/

From here the Yalwal Creek track deteriorated further and thank goodness for 4WD and high clearance. Afternoon shadows were approaching and it was decided to turn back before we reached the confluence.

Perhaps we can do that on another visit.

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264. Sunday 22nd July 2012. Still in the Illawarra area but not for much longer…

22/07/2012

Monday 16th July

Nothing too exciting happened today. We did get some more polishing done on WWWGO. I climbed on the roof and did parts of where the curved GRP joins the roof and the side walls. Although there is not a great deal more polishing to complete, most of it is difficult and inaccessible without a couple of ladders and a plank. Some of the work will be completed by hand as it is difficult to reach and or dangerous to use a high power polisher. Over the next two days I will make an almighty push to get it completed especially with the news we received late in the evening.

About 9pm we received a text message from the home owners. They are tired of travelling and miss their own bed. They have decided to come home and will arrive about 26th July, almost three weeks earlier than anticipated.

Whoa! That throws our plans askew but we still have 10 days to get WWWGO completed and all other gear we want to pack away at Errol’s house.

Tuesday 17th July

The TERIOS went in for a 15,000 klm service today. It seems the strange metallic whining sound we can hear at low speed is the warning on our brake pads that they are at maximum use and need to be replaced NOW! It is booked in for 3pm tomorrow when the parts will have been delivered.

While on WWWGO roof preparing to polish, two pre-teen girls on pushbikes stopped to say how much they liked our “caravan”. They also commented how new and shiny it looks. Hmmm! It is nice that the work we have been putting in on the polishing job has been noticed by somebody other than ourselves.

Thanks for your comments girls.

Wednesday 18th July

I had a visit with a doctor today as I have what I thought are sun cancers. One is on the back of my right hand and the other is on my wedding ring finger. The cancer tingles and itches and feels like an ant is crawling in circles. Of course the wedding ring aggravates the growth. The doctor said the growths are sun spots, pre sun cancer, and will grow into cancer and become more trouble. She treated them with a Cryo Gun, a device which shoots liquid nitrogen onto the spot. This burns the sun spot and kills the root. The area blisters and turns red and eventually the growth falls off and although it leaves no scar, it does leave a small white discolouration on the skin.

As a bit of a diversion I thought I would mention about reading books. As anybody who knows me would attest, I like to read. Usually I carry a book wherever I go and have something to read while having a coffee, or waiting for an appointment or Donnis to do her shopping. If for some reason I have left the book behind then I busy myself reading posters and signs and menu’s or brochures. Anything.

I usually carry a big box of books under WWWGO floor.

This box of books is about half the size I started carrying on this voyage.

This year, to help cut down on weight and provide a bit more essential storage I was leaving books I have read in caravan park camp kitchens. That way I am contributing reading material to other readers like myself who are always looking for something to read. About March this year I started to use the Kindle electronic book library. I do not have a Kindle reader although one would be nice. They are lightweight and come in three sizes and can also be used to download using a WiFi facility. The big benefit of the Kindle is the screen looks just like a book and you can adjust the font size up or down. The small book size Kindle does not have WiFi and is the cheapest on the shelf at around $139. One drawback is they cannot be read in the dark without buying an additional cover for around $50 which has a built in light. Batteries in the Kindle will last for weeks of normal reading. I established an account, free, with Amazon.com and established a user name and password for Kindle. I can download and read any book which has a Kindle file name extension of .MOBI. I established a Kindle App on both iPad and iPod Touch

I have Kindle Apps on the Ipad (above) and iPod Touch (below) I mostly read the books on the iTouch as it fits easily in any pocket and I can take it anywhere.

and have my own library of books most of which I read on the iPod Touch. It is small, can be carried in a pocket and the screen is illuminated so I can read in bed at night with the lights turned off so I do not disturb Donnis. The iPod Touch is a small screen so I turn pages more often than reading a book for example or using the iPad. It suits me and I am happy with it and now all my reading is done electronically. I have a paper book I started to read in March and I am still less than halfway through whereas in the same period I have read eight electronic books. The Kindle books keeps track of where you are up to so even if the battery goes flat, when you recharge and open the book again it takes you to your last page. Another exciting feature is the built in dictionary. If you see a word which you are unsure of, place finger on the screen over the word and a dictionary explanation pops up.

Although I was reluctant at first and always said I was a paper book person, I have now embraced the eBooks concept. Somehow I have to read another two dozen paper books so I can pass them on to other readers.

Thursday 19th July

As mentioned, the home owners are returning early and we have not put any firm plans in place beyond their return. Yes the CO-PILOT will fly to Canada in September but that is the only fixed plan. We have been looking at several options which all have an appeal but as we have discovered, the Universe has other plans for us. Often what happens is nothing like any of the options we considered. We are waiting on a couple of replies which will decide where we are going next. We have done a good amount of research into house sits as this would be an opportunity for me to sit still in one place while the CO-PILOT is away.

Trust me, you will read about it here, first.

I have been researching using a jockey wheel on the Hitch n Go A frame and a Couple Mate to hitch TERIOS to WWWGO. The hitch can sometimes be difficult as we find it does take the two of us to get it hitched. The jockey wheel would make things easier but as I discovered when I called Hitch n Go, the engineering principles in the design do not allow for any holes to be drilled into the frame nor any welding. Both would create a potential weak spot and would be a cause for a declined insurance claim at least or possible traffic charges at worst should the A-Frame fail causing an accident. The only permitted method of attaching a jockey wheel is by clamps. The other clever device is a Couple Mate is a V shaped metal plate which guides the tow hitch precisely over the tow ball. Hitching can be done by one person. I have a bit more research to do but will advise on the outcome.

Friday 20th July

Bit the bullet and bought a jockey wheel, a Couple mate and clamps. The first test will be the day we leave here.

We finished the polishing, cleaning and detailing of WWWGO today.

YeeHar, Hip Pip Hooray and all that jazz. I may be biased but it looks pretty good. We started packing a few items aboard and should be ready by Wednesday.

WWWGO and TERIOS outside the house at Horsley.

Saturday 21st July

Tonight we went to the movies with Errol to see The Dark Knight Rises the new Batman movie and the one which sparked the massacre in Denver Colorado this week. Our thoughts go out to all the families affected by this atrocity. Donnis niece Jessica and her husband John live just two blocks from that movie theatre and were thinking of going to the movies that night.

We arrived at the theatre and after joining a long queue were fortunate to buy the last three tickets. Unfortunately they were only four rows back from the screen and we found ourselves tilting our heads back to be able to see the screen. Within about the first 10 minutes of the beginning of the movie I commented that I thought the movie would be in English. Honestly the producers try to make the voices sound so much more threatening and in the process make the words unintelligible. Well at least to me. Donnis too. The movie is violent and if you thought the last Batman movie was violent, think again. Regrettably there is no Heath Ledger to steal the movie this time around. Michael Caine delivers his usual fine performance as Alfred the butler. Commissioner Gordon was again played by Gary Oldman with his character role flair and was wholly believable. Apart from those two I have no idea who the other actors are. Oh yes of course Batwoman was played by Anne Hathaway.

Sunday 22nd July

We went to church with Wayne and Narelle M today then Wayne drove us over the mountains to Bowral and on to Berrima where we had lunch. Berrima is very old historic town being on the main road from Sydney to Melbourne.

The original Berrima Bakery Established 1850.

There was a toll office ,located in town and a fee was collected by anybody wanting to use the road. The weather was not kind to us and it was typical of Southern Highlands. It was not raining so much as a heavy clinging mist which left moisture on everything which then dripped. Even humans were wet and dripping after walking a few minutes in the mist. We walked over to the old Berrima gaol which is now closed.

This was the administration building for the old gaol. Strangely public are not allowed on the premises or grounds…except when the downstairs section is being used as a craft shop. Today the gate was open but the craft shop was closed. The only way to find out was to enter the gate and walk the path, illegally, to the front door to find the little, Craft Shop Closed, sign!

Sign outside Berrima Gaol. Despite what the sign might say about being “fully operational” it is not. It is now closed. Wayne was involved with a committee to try to obtain government funds to re-establish a market garden outside the walls which was once tended by inmates and is now overgrown.

We walked onto the grounds and was about to photograph the front gates when a security door opened and an Indian looking man stepped out and pointed at me to tell me no photos were permitted. Huh! The place is closed and I can see the gate from the street. No matter he told me, no photographs but step back onto the street and you can take all the photos you want. Huh! Are you kidding me? This is an historic Australian Gaol on Australian soil and an Indian man tells us to move along and not take photos! He did point out a sign, which can only be seen when you are on the property which declares, no photographs. As quickly as he appeared he was back through his little door and was gone.

Front entrance to historic Berrima Gaol. Photo taken from the street. The sign declaring no photographs can be seen to the left of the entrance gates.

Berrima Courthouse. Despite a sign at the gaol declaring the courthouse is open 364 days a year, it was closed.

As the weather was miserable and a walk along the nearby National Parks was out of the question we drove to Moss Vale, Bundanoon, Kangaroo Valley, Berry and back home along the highway.

Historic sandstone turreted Hampden Bridge at Kangaroo Valley.

It was a long day and despite the miserable wet weather we enjoyed the trip.

Next week we should be somewhere new away from the Illawarra. Who knows what the Universe has in store for us?

263. Sunday 15th July 2012. From the sea to the escarpment and what’s cooking?…

15/07/2012

Monday 9th July

A quiet day for us. We polished the last remaining sections of GRP on the passenger side wall on WWWGO and started cleaning the under surface of the roll out awning. Over several months, particularly with the awning rolled up and lots of rain, mildew has built up so the awning, when unrolled looks dirty and smells musty. We used a spray bottle with water and a few drops of Oil of Cloves. With a little scrubbing the mildew is killed and removed. We will try to finish the external part of the awning tomorrow then turn WWWGO around so we can polish the back wall and the remaining parts of the repaired drivers side wall.

Tuesday 10th July

The work did not go as planned. The GRP on the passenger side and trim around both doors is now polished and all that needs doing is the back wall of WWWGO and part of the drivers side. The stubborn stains on the underside of the awning need another application of oil of cloves and a bit of a scrub. Only a portion of the top of the awning has been cleaned, the part which is easy to reach with a broom. Clouds rolled in with a cool breeze blowing it was becoming uncomfortable outside. When the fat raindrops started to fall it was time to stop work. It was also an opportunity to visit a new housing estate. Although the site office was closed and not one display home has been completed, enough material was left outside the site office to answer most questions. In fact there was so much written material and three CD’s all packed into a presentation carry bag it satisfied our curiosity.

The estate, called Brooks Reach is along Bong Bong Road which when followed to the end, high in the hills under the brow of the escarpment above Dapto brought us to the old Huntley Colliery site. The colliery was closed in 1989 and two sets of 4m high padlocked gates leaves no doubt this is the end of the road. See   http://www.illawarracoal.com/huntley.htm

 

An old abandoned building near the top of the hill leading to the old Huntley Colliery. The shape of the building gives no clue as to its former use.

This sign and the miners hats are near the strange old building.

Tuesday 11th July

Wednesday 12th July

A tourist road, the Grand Pacific Drive starts near Sutherland in Sydney, through the Royal National Park and follows the escarpment and the northern suburbs of Wollongong, following the coast through Port Kembla and Lake Illawarra, Shellharbour, Kiama, Gerringong and still following the coast to Bomaderry where the road ends at the bridge across the Shoalhaven River  to Nowra. Our drive today picked up the GPD just south of Albion Park Rail where we followed the drive to South Nowra to look at, of all things, a couple of display homes. The day started out OK but quickly became overcast and rain was threatening. As we left Nowra the rain began and made for some pretty poor photographic light. We stopped at Gerroa to look at the view along Seven Mile Beach to Coolangatta.

Looking toward Black Head Reef at Gerroa on a cold and dismally wet afternoon.

Back home I spoke with daughter Melissa who recently competed in a marathon endurance ride in Cairns. This was the same ride last year where she was leading and on the home stretch when she fell from the horse and was unable to complete the ride. This year she completed the ride and won the event. So, she won in 2010, DNF in 2011 and won in 2012.

Good win Melissa.

Also called daughter Averyl but she has not yet returned from Lithuania. Her flight left Brisbane bound for Mackay but was turned back as the airport was closed due to the sheer volume of rain over the last day or so. She and Shelby-Rose will stay in Brisbane overnight.

Thursday 12th July

I enjoy fruit cake. Almost any sort of fruit cake will do. I know I know if it becomes a showdown between Devils Food Cake, Black Forest Cherry Cake or Fruit Cake I go into stall mode and you can hear my computer brain saying “that does not compute”. Luckily the three options never appear at the same time to compete against each other. Fruit cake can be a pain and time consuming to make. It can also be relatively simple and for best results start planning the night before. Here is a nice easy, tasty fruit cake recipe with only a few ingredients and even if you have not planned 24 hours ahead can still be whipped up, baked, cooled and ready to eat with a couple of hours.

Ingredients

500 gr mixed fruit. Now it seems the people who make mixed fruit package it in 375gr packs or 1 kg packs. I buy the 375gr pack and add whatever I have on hand to make it up to 500 gr. A small handful of walnuts – crushed. Some fresh cherries pitted and chopped. Glace cherries, extra sultanas, some banana. Any combination to make up the total 500gr of mixed fruit.

300ml carton of iced coffee

I cup self raising flour. Some people like to sift the flour – usually most flour is already triple sifted – so if you are a sifter, by all means sift the flour.

1 egg (optional but I always add an egg)

A teaspoon or two of cinnamon (again optional)

Rum, brandy, port of your choice in whatever slurp measure you use. Again this is optional. Soaked overnight with the fruit and iced coffee is the best.

Method

Soak the fruit in the iced coffee overnight if possible. It works ok without overnight soaking but the fruit absorbs the coffee overnight and makes the fruit plumper and juicier.

When ready mix all ingredients (flour, sifted or otherwise added last)

Line a loaf tin with baking paper, spoon in the mixture and place in a moderate (I really mean moderate) oven for an hour. Check with the old skewer trick. Stick the skewer in the middle and remove. If cake sticks to the skewer, more cooking is required. Leave in pan for five minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Give it a good hour. In this time the cake will firm up to an easily sliced loaf.

Enjoy. It is hard to stop at one slice so be warned.

Friday 13th July

Shiver Shiver Shiver. Friday the Thirteenth. Ghosts n Goblins and all that scary stuff!

I think not!

In fact we did not even realise it was the 13th until it was mentioned on the news in the evening. The sun woke in the morning and stayed with us all day. In fact it was warm enough to polish WWWGO and wash TERIOS and polish its bonnet all while I only wore a Tshirt.

In the afternoon we drove across the other side of Lake Illawarra to Windang Beach.

A delightful walk beside the lake is preside over by an avenue of tall and imposing Hoop Pines.

Beach sign.

A young Shearwater on Windang Beach

Once upon a time the lake would silt up at the entrance to the ocean beside Windang Island. Some years ago a pair of break-walls were built to stop the silting and to keep the lake open. Now when a good swell is running, small surfable waves break inside the break-wall channel.

Although there were good waves breaking on the beach, inside the breakwall and wrapping around the island reef, there was not a surfer in sight. Interesting, especially that school holidays are not yet finished.

We first explored the northern wall and beach and saw the intrepid beach

These two families were well set up for some beach fishing. The women had set up a charcoal stove and were barbecuing Tailor fillets. The aroma was blowing in the breeze and tantilising our taste buds.

and break-wall fishermen enjoying the warm mid-winter conditions. We were enjoying the warmth as well, knowing it would not last long and cold wet conditions would return.

Donnis enjoying a rare warm sunny Winters day on Windang Beach.

We then drove around to the southern break-wall and walked to Windang Island. At high tide the narrow sand and rock bar crossing to the island is flooded making the island truly an island.

Windang Island

Today we crossed just before high tide and were able to walk to the island and back after removing our shoes.

The narrow spit of land seperating the island from the mainland.

Scattered among the rock shelf and in the sand are a number of rail carriage bogey wheels succumbing to the ravages of salt water, wind and rust.

100 year old bogey wheels succumbing to rust.

Remains of rail lines are also visible at certain times. In 1890 a scheme was developed to transport coal by rail to ships at the island. The project was abandoned in early 1900 and much of the bogey wheels, axles and rail lines are still scattered across the sand and rocks.

This photo is worth double clicking to view full size. It is made up of 11 seperate images. The view taken from Windang Island from right to left includes Windang Beach and Breakwall, Warilla Beach, Barrack Point, Shellharbour and Bass Point in the distance where the Blue Metal loading wharf can be seen in the enlarged image. The Illawarra Escarpment can be seen way in the distance.

Atop the highest point on the island is another of those now obsolete trig points.

Windang island Trig Point.

I did not walk the narrow overgrown track to the trig as I had left my shoes on the dry sand on the other side of the narrow isthmus joining the island to the mainland.

Saturday 14th July

We were Happy Little Vegemites today. Busy Vegemites too. In the morning we washed and partially polished TERIOS. We also completed another section of polishing the back of WWWGO. We will be so pleased when all this washing and polishing is finished.

In the afternoon we drove to Minnamurra Falls, a NSW Parks & Wildlife National Park. We used our All Parks Pass (purchased last November) at the entrance otherwise entry was $11. The park has a loop walk to the upper falls, mostly uphill, rated as medium difficulty, length of 2.6 klms and two hours return. The walks are on paved paths or raised walkways made of either timber or metal.

A fine example of a raised steel walkway and the steep incline.

The raised walkways serve a number of purposes, they keep hikers off the ground, keep hikers on the track and most wildlife (read snakes) can be easily seen. There are none of the old tracks where you climbed over rock, tree stumps, fallen trees, tree roots, overhanging vines

Donnis and a rare overhanging vine and tree across the pathway.

and slippery creek crossings.  The timber walkways are showing signs of the common problem of all timber within a rainforest. Damp rot is slowly winning the battle and it will not be too long before the timber will need to be replaced with steel walkways. Creek and river (the Minnamurra River begins here on the edge of the escarpment) crossings are either solid bridges or a couple of suspension bridges.

Longest of the two suspension bridges across the beginning of the Minnamurra River.

A welcome number of seats are placed at strategic places along the walk. Donnis struggled for most of the hike and I must admit to breathing heavily as the path became steeper. Prior to 1989 the original path led to the lower falls and was an obstacle course of rocks, fallen trees, tree roots and hanging vines.

A common sight within a rainforest is a Strangler Vine wrapping itself around a Small Leafed Fig and eventually killing off the host tree.

Access to the upper falls was via an ill-defined climbing track use of which was discouraged by the park rangers. Heavy rainfall in 1989 caused a landslide which closed off access to the lower falls.

From a viewing platform near the upper falls we looked down upon the lower falls. Water can be seen cascading into a pool below.

Sign beside a fallen tree.

The fallen tree which had rotted from the inside out.

The Minnamurra River carved out a slot gorge which is totally different to other waterfalls in the Illawarra District. Once thousands of years ago, the area was filled with a volcanic rock known as dyke. Being softer than the surrounding rock the dyke was eroded over many thousands of years by the Minnamurra River as it poured over the escarpment as it rushed towards the sea.

Upper minnamurra Falls.

Donnis at the Upper Minnamurra falls.

The place sure has changed since my last visit umm, cough, splutter years ago. In those days there was a rough unsealed car-park and a small covered information booth which sometimes had brochures. A new Visitor Information Centre, souvenir store, modern toilets, café and picnic grounds and sealed car-parks welcomes visitors.

One of several minor falls beside the path to the main upper falls.

Instead of driving home the way we came we drove through the Jamberoo Valley much of the time following the Minnamurra River then turned off onto Swamp Road which twisted and meandered through a side valley containing many dairy farms, eventually joining the highway south of Albion Park Rail near Dunmore. We enjoyed the walk immensely but are paying the price in aching muscles tonight.

Sunday 15th July

I woke with a headache and very sore leg muscles and knee joints. As expected.

We are blessed with not one but two bluesteel crepe pans. Blue steel is very user friendly and can be treated any way you like and does not require special cooking methods, cleaning regime or storage or future seasoning care. The pans are ideal for an omelette for one person. Want to know my secret omelette? It can be cooked in a conventional frypan but be aware that pans with a coating or a plastic handle might not be ideal. This omelette is for one person and is mighty satisfying at breakfast.

Ingredients

One egg

Tablespoon or so of water

One bacon rasher sliced or chopped.

A slice (or two if you like) of onion, chopped

A small handful  capsicum, chopped

A handful of button mushrooms sliced into quarters

A handful of chopped baby spinach leaves

A handful of grated parmesan cheese or any other grated cheese to your liking.

4 slices of tomato.

A handful of fresh chopped coriander or if using the refrigerated tube stuff, about 25mm or whatever your tastebuds prefer.

Pepper and salt to your preference.

Method

Place the bacon, onion, capsicum and mushrooms and a little oil in the pan and cook until the bacon is crispy. Cook on high then reduce to medium when everything is cooking nicely. While those ingredients are cooking whip up the egg in a bowl with a fork and when nicely whipped add the water (not milk). Add pepper and salt and the coriander and whisk again until frothy. (a couple of drops of Sesame Oil adds an extra dimension)

Ensure none of the ingredients are stuck on the bottom of the pan. Add a little more oil if required then re whisk the egg mixture until frothy again and immediately add to the pan.  Add the chopped spinach leaves. Then add the grated cheese. Finally put the sliced tomato on the top.

Reduce the heat to low and wait until the edges of the omelette start to lift away from the sides. Turn off the heat and turn on your grill to highest heat and put the pan under the grill. Keep a close eye on it as this will only take a few minutes. While this is cooking put a slice of bread in your toaster (my preference is rye, sourdough rye is even yummier)

When the top of the omelette bubbles and the cheese is melting and starting to brown take the pan out of the grill (do not forget to use a mitt as the handle will be hot) use an egg lifter to lift around the edges of the omelette and it should slide off the pan onto the plate.

Butter the toast and enjoy.

A cup of tea, brewed while the toast was toasting is an excellent accompaniment.

See you next week.

262. Another Pub crawl…

10/07/2012

Pubs in Australia, particularly those in small towns and outback are iconic places and often the source of helpful information as well as being a place to slake your thirst and rinse the dust of the road from your throat. Well… these days travelling in air conditioned comfort in a motorhome we do sometimes have a thirst but dust in the throat is stretching the picture a little far.

On with the show of Pubs we have encountered in our travels.

Some have been good for a photo.

Some have been for slaking the thirst and a photo.

Some have been good for a meal, slaking the thirst and a photo.

The Old railway Hotel at Barcaldene. Naturally it is across the street from the railway and is good for a cold beer and a meal. Pubs and fire in Barcaldene often go hand in hand. Many pubs and for that matter other businesses have succumbed to fire in the past. Some have been rebuilt. Barcy still has more than its fair share of pubs still operating.

The Holbrook Hotel at umm err Holbrook, somewhere between Yass and Albury on the Hume Highway is a bit more substantially built than most outback pubs.

The Pioneer Valley Pub at Gargett is, by coincidence in the umm err Pioneer Valley west of Mackay Qld. This substantial brick building is family friendly and caters for family gatheries, barbecues and other activities encouraging family participation not just drinkers. They serve good meals too.

Harrigans Pub in the Hunter Valley Wine district is a purpose built meeting place renowned for a dining experience. Somehow it is a pub but in the more modern sense.

Nindigully Pub. This pub is virtually in the middle of nowhere about 60 klms from St.George in Qld. It is on the bank of the McIntyre River and is a stopping place for truck drivers, travellers, grey nomads, and anybody who wants a break. It is the more traditional iconic pub with booze, wine, meals, accomodation and rodeos and other picnic activities designed to bring the people out for a day or a week. The meals are good to and happy hour starts at 4pm and is well attended.

Pinnacle Pub located in the little hamlet of Pinnacle in the Pioneer Valey west of Mackay. This is another historic iconic pub famous for their award winning meat pies. They have their own cricket pitch and football oval.

Yandina Pub at, of all places, Yandina in the ginger growing district in the Sunshine Coast, Qld.

The old Telegraph Hotel, Gunning NSW, built 1914. Gunning was a once prosperous town but still struggling to maintain its existence. The pub is probably the busiest place in town.

The Rutherglen Hotel located at umm err Rutherglen in Victoria in the wine producing district. Rutherglen is another town which was in decline but jumped on the back of the grape growing and re-invented itself into a quirky food, drink and antiques tourist destination. It is busiest on weekends.

The old Railway Hotel at Gympie Qld. Gympie is another town faced with decline but has found new life in various parts of the town. Originally built when the railway was a thriving industry servicing the goldfields in the area. The railway now by-passes the town and the gold is long gone. The old railway station is now used by an historical tourist train so the hotel struggles due to lack of patronage.

261. Sunday 8th July 2012. Life in the Illawarra continues as we Fly to Fall…

09/07/2012

Monday 2nd July

Including Tuesday 3rd July.

Not much happening. The sun is shining and the wind is blowing. Who left the refrigerator door open? If you can find a place in the sun without the wind it is very warm. Once in the shade and the breeze is very chilly.

Nicole and Amelia have both been ill with a cold and the CO-PILOT has been helping each day. Tonight, Tuesday, she is staying overnight as Errol is on duty overnight in Canberra.

As mentioned in my last post I have started to scrub and polish a small section of fibreglass on WWWGO every day. I have to do the work in the shade and with the wind blowing I become numbingly cold and can only tolerate the cold for less than an hour.

The wind is also drying the polish as I apply it. After several days I now have a polishing routine.

Polish is applied to the compound pad on the machine. This is then applied to small section of GRP. Usually it starts to dry out so I mist spray water on the work and continue to polish.

I then clean off any residue and overspray with a damp cloth.

When the section dries I remove the compound head and attach the lambs-wool buffer head and polish until it shines. A 2 square metre section takes about an hour.

Earlier this year we picked up an ant problem when at Culcairn or more precisely when travelling to Puckapunyal. At the time I sprayed all the ants I could see and thought the problem was solved. Later, back at Culcairn I was moving some items in the sub floor storage and found huge numbers of ants. Once again I sprayed them and probably eliminated them but failed to notice the smaller ants were still in residence. While travelling I gradually placed poison in their tracks and thought they were gone for good as we had not seen them up until we left WWWGO for repairs. Monday I noticed ants again and have been placing poison in their tracks over the last two days.

A big moon crept into the early evening. Viewed across the fields it was a dominating prescence.

This view of the moon is almost a convincing argument to prove the moon is made out of cheese.

Wednesday 4th July

Hmmm! We still have ants but in lesser numbers. I may have to pull everything out of WWWGO and inspect all boxes, nooks, crannies and crevices to find the nest. The poison is working as I am finding lots of little dead ants on the floor each morning. Meanwhile the poisoning will continue.

With a little free time while the CO-PILOT is helping Nicole each day I have been baking with the bread maker. The Sourdough Rye loaves are a wonderful texture but like all bread is difficult to cut especially as it is a crusty loaf and my eye does not line up the slices all that well. An electric knife has helped and I now have slices which look like umm, err, slices. I have also made a couple of Light Rye loaves. Although the name is light rye, the finished loaf is a deep brown colour and has good texture and flavour. I have also made a couple of Devils Food cakes and today was a Banana and Walnut cake.

Tonight we joined long time friend and past workmate Bob T at Dapto Leagues Club for dinner. Sharyn was sick. Bob brought along his brother Phil who was once a squash player and I have not seen him for many years. They also brought their brother John who is blind. He is a wiz with remembering dates and names and places and can give the exact time date and location when he gave up smoking 20 something years ago. I can vaguely recall when I gave up smoking but can only remember roughly how old I was. I also recall it was my birthday and I quit smoking as a birthday gift to myself. It was a great gift which I still have to this day.

We watched the State of Origin between NSW and Queensland. Queensland won by a point, giving them a seven year winning streak. Of course it would not be a State of Origin without NSW supporters whinging they were robbed. Even when the won the second game of the series three weeks ago they whinged that they would have won by a bigger margin because the refs allowed tries or disallowed tries or sin binned or not sin binned. Being gracious in defeat, or in victory does not seem to be a strong suit of the NSW team OR their supporters.

Thursday 5th July

State of Origin and the NSW post game excuses were wheeled out in the media.

Sigh!

Friday 6th July

Although the day was spent around the house and I continued with the polishing of WWWGO the highlights came to us.

Our granddaughter Shelby-Rose accompanied by her mum, my daughter Averyl, competed in the karate world championships in Lithuania. After two days of training to shake off jet lag and a further three days of intense competition, Shelby won a bronze medal in one division of the sport and placed fourth in another.

Congratulations Shelby- Rose for entering and being successful in your first International Competition. May there be many more successes in your life. We are so proud of you.

Shelby Rose with her bonze medal.

The other excitement also came to us and was additional excitement for Averyl and Paul.  Son Beau and his partner Emma had a baby boy.  He weighed in at 8 pound 4 ounces in the old internationally recognised baby weight scale. He has been named Malakye.  A good strong name albeit with an unusual spelling.

Sheesh that makes me feel old! Technically I am a great grandfather.  Averyl is a grandmother and our grandchildren, Shelby-Rose and Anakin are now an Aunt and an Uncle at 11 & 9 respectively.  Of course Paul is a grandfather, a title which sits comfortably and proudly on his shoulders.

Tonight I drank the final drams of the cumquat liqueur we made 12 months ago. It has been a good drop, maintaining flavour and aroma to the last drop.

Saturday 7th July

It was a busy day for both of us. My sister Bev and hubby Peter had phoned to say they would drive from Gymea for a visit. We asked they stay for dinner. As well we invited Errol n Nicole to join us with the children. We spent the day preparing for dinner by baking a fresh rye loaf, a fruit cake and a chocolate cake, split and filled with crushed preserved cherries. The main meal was Beef Stroganoff slow cooked in our Dutch Oven for most of the afternoon. The stroganoff was served with egg pasta Porcini Mushroom Tagliatelle and a mix of steamed cauliflower and broccoli. I also suggested they might like to soak up the sauce with slices of fresh baked rye loaf. That suggestion achieved unanimous approval. The evening was a gastronomic success although there were comments about instantly putting on weight.

Sunday 8th July

Wow! Today was a day that made up for a quiet week.

We joined Wayne n Narelle M at church then they very kindly took us on a drive to Jamberoo, then Jamberoo Valley Pass. Near the top of the pass not far from Barren Ground National Park is the Jamberoo Lookout.

View of the coast from Jamberoo Lookout. This is a composite photo and therefore best viewed by double clicking to see full size.

and now for something completely different. By looking at this sign and the composite photo you can see the places shown on the sign.

From here there are distant views of Lake Illawarra and north to Corrimal and as far south as Kiama and Saddleback Mountain. After leaving a cosy warm car it was a bit of a shock to feel the cold breeze on the edge of the Great Dividing Range Escarpment. Time to put on our winter jackets!

From the lookout we travelled on to the Illawarra Fly

These signs are in several places along the pathway to the beginning of the fly. Given the fallen tree debris I can imagine it would be a popular place for red bellied black snakes.

http://www.illawarrafly.com/    (it is owned by the same people who own the Ottway Fly in Victoria but in our opinion the Illawarra Fly is far superior as it is built on the edge of the escarpment and gives stunning views of the coast.)

Donnis and Narelle at one of two suspended cantilevered viewing arms.

Illawarra Fly Treetop Walkway.

The average height above the forest floor is 25 metres and the huge observation tower is 45 metres above the forest floor.

Fly Observation Tower.

Access to the tower is via a circular stairway

Circular staircase to the top of the tower a further 20metres above the walkway.

which for those who have fear of heights, even a mild fear, is a bit of a challenge. The views are worth the challenge. So is the feeling of reaching the top and overcoming that fear. The fly is a series of connected walkways high in the treetops. At the two furthest ends of the walks are cantilevered walkways ending in a platform.

One of two cantilvered platforms as seen from the top of the observation tower.

The structure does not have any upright supports and is only supported by cable. They do swing in the breeze and as people walk on them. The sway and bounce does make clear photographs difficult. The structure has been designed to remain stable (stable???huh?) in winds up to 280 KPH. If the wind was much stronger than today it is doubtful many people would be walking on the structure. We also stopped here for lunch with the crowds of people taking advantage of the clear mostly sunny conditions.

From the Fly we continue along the Jamberoo Valley Road to the intersection of the Illawarra Highway where the famous Robertson Pie Shop is located. This is a famous shop and the car-park was totally packed as were both sides of the highway for 100 metres in both directions. People love their pies especially good pies and with crowds like this it proves they are still a good pie shop.

From there we turned left and drove the Illawarra Highway through Robertson which is also famous as a potato growing district. The town has many old businesses and houses and like Berry on the coast below, has re-invented itself as a town of interesting shops. We continued through Robertson and on to Fitzroy Falls, one of several falls along the nearby escarpment. The falls are part of the Morton National Park

Fitzroy Falls, Morton National Park Visitor Centre. Enlarge the photo by clicking twice and you can see the wonderful faced sandstone building blocks.

which stretches almost as far as Goulburn another 60 klms to the south and linking up with the Bungonia National Park. The park visitor centre has been re-modelled and enlarged and is built out of face dressed local sandstone. Wildes Meadow Creek which feeds the falls runs under the highway and rushes to the sheer drop into Upper Kangaroo Valley below.

Wildes Meadow Creek as it cascades over Fitzroy Falls.

The sunlight on the sheer sandstone cliffs was just staggering in bright colour.

From above the wester side of the falls looking towards Upper Kangaroo Valley.

If you have ever visited Katoomba and the three sisters and looked into the Megalong and Jamiesons Valley’s would give you an idea of the vast views.

From the eastern side of the falls looking into Upper Kangaroo Valley.

We did a short 800 m walk to another vantage

Frank N Donnis from the western escarpment wall looking back to Fitzroy Falls.

point but shadows were beginning to lengthen and the cool of early evening was enough to send us back to the car park and head home via Macquarie Pass to Albion Park and then home.

We had an enjoyable day with good company and spectacular views. Thank you Wayne and Narelle.

260. Sunday 1st July 2012. All quiet on the Illawarra front but we do visit The Farm and Bass Point Reserve…

04/07/2012

Monday 25th June

Scott and Monica fly back to Melbourne tomorrow so it was arranged to have dinner with them at Woonona Bulli RSL Club. I was once a member of this club – 40 plus years ago. I can report the club has changed and what was once the front entry is now a cenotaph type memorial. What was once nearby houses is now a car-park. The meal deal was a rump steak plus chips and salad for $10. I expected a small hand sized steak with tiny salad. That’s OK as we normally only eat a small steak anyway. The meal which arrived was huge. Each steak would have been more than enough for two of us and the salad was huge as well.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

Umm Err, nothing to report.

Friday 29th June

Thank goodness the sun was shining the wind was not icy cold and we had a chance to go for a drive. We chose Killalea State Park which encompasses two iconic surfing beaches.

A steep drive leads to the carpark at The Farm.

In fact the beaches are so iconic they have been given a National Surfing Reserve Status on 6thJune 2009. Near the path to the beach a small granite cairn has been erected with a copper (or brass) plaque commemorating the National Surfing Reserve status. The sign is suffering from a mixture of verdigris and salt encrustation but is still readable.

The Surfing Reserve plaque at The Farm.

See www.tourismshellharbour.com.au/accom_result1/killalea-beach-the-farm

The beaches are The Farm

TERIOS on the hill above The Farm.

and Mystics. We visited The Farm.

Panoramic view of the farm. This is a composite and is best viewd by double clicking on the image. In fact all images are better viewed by double clicking for a full size image.

A good swell was running and a small crowd of Friday surfers were in attendance.

Part of the crowd of 30 or so surfers waiting on a wave. Note the headgear especially the surfer top left who is wearing a motorcycle helmet.

I was interested to note, apart from all surfers wearing wet suits and the number of women surfers, was the head gear worn by some. In fact one was wearing what appeared to be a motorcycle type helmet!

The take off point provides a left and right hand break so it is suitable for naturals and goofy footers.

Being a goofy footer myself I prefer the left hand breaks.

When one of the many older surfers left the water we got into a conversation and I mentioned surfing here uhemm spit splutter, 50 years ago! He also surfed here then and we both discussed those days when it was a working farm and the farmer installed his daughter at the gate to collect two bob (twenty cents) to enter and follow two wheel tracks across the hills. We were allowed to park beside a lagoon behind the beach but had to be off the property before dark. There were no facilities. As this is a State Park, visitors must still be off the property by 7.15pm as the gates are locked. Now there is a sealed road to The farm as well as the sister National Surfing Reserve of Mystics. There is a sealed car park and toilet facilities and nicely manicured grass hills sloping down to the water edge. Even if you are not a surfer this is still a magical spot. Did I feel the urge to don a wetsuit, grab a board and try a few waves?

You betcha I did!

Stack Island. Looking south from a hill above The Farm and Mystics can be seen what appears to be an island at the mouth of the Minnamurra River. In fact the “island” is connected to the mainland by a narrow spit of land and foot access is possible at low tide.

Saturday 30th June.

Last day of the financial year.

The CO-PILOT spent the night at Corrimal helping Nicole while Errol is at work flying airplanes. She arrived back mid- afternoon and we went to visit Bass Point Reserve between Shellharbour and The Farm. The reserve has been set aside as a place or historical, cultural and geographic importance.

www.heritage.nsw.gov.au/07_subnav_02_2.cfm?itemid=5061535

Once inside the reserve there are gates which are locked at 6pm Every Night and fishing, spearfishing and collecting (shells, rocks, soil, sand, timber) are not permitted. At the entrance to the reserve there is a basalt quarry not in keeping with the reserves aims but has been operating more or less continuously for a century or more.

First up was a popular surf break known as The Shallows.

Capturing a sharp in focus photo of a surfer in action is difficult but capturing a sharp and in focus wipeout is something special. At The Shallows.

When I surfed here we called it The Pilings simply because there were pilings still sticking out of the surf. There was once a jetty here which was used to haul blue metal from the quarry to waiting ships. All that remained were the pilings, now even they have gone but who knows what still lies below the surface of the water? Surfing here had several hazards. First there were the pilings to contend with, the shallow water over rocks which were pockmarked with eroded holes filled with what we called sea urchins and a rocky shoreline. If you wiped out in those days, you were not anchored to the surfboard with a leg rope but the board skipped away through the surf and ending on the rocks. You were left to swim to the beach to retrieve the board. If you stood on the rocks the chances of stepping onto a sea urchin was very high. The urchins brittle and slime covered spines would break off in your foot. That was very painful but if hospital treatment was not quickly obtained, the slime would turn the foot septic in a matter of a day. The Shallows is one of only a few areas along the coast which has black sand.

Further out on Bass Point itself was the site of a shipwreck in 1943.

Commemorative plaque to those who lost their lives rescuing others during a shipwreck in May 1943.

All crew members were rescued by locals and members of 6th Australian Machine Gun Battalion conveniently camped nearby. Four members of the battalion were drowned in the rescue attempt. As a small boy I recall being taken here on a family excursion and recall seeing the rusting remains of the ship. Later in my surfing teen years much of the ship was scattered rusting lumps among the rocks. Still later in the early 70’s it was still visible as plates of rusting steel among the rocks but no longer evidence of a ship. Now by searching among the rocks and occasional piece of rusty metal can be found. A number of memorial plaques have been placed on the reserve. There are a number of aboriginal shell middens in the area and many of them are marked as historically significant and earmarked for archaeological survey…sometime.

From the car-park we found the walkway to a trig point.

Trig Points are no longer used as technology has replaced their usefullness. I know, I know, all trig points look much the same. However most trig points are located on tops of hills, cliffs and mountains and are in interesting sites. The significance is now in the location of the trig and surrounding views. In this case nature is winning and there is no longer a view.

Trig points are no longer in use as navigation and surveys are carried out digitally. The path is slowly returning to nature and it will not be long before the trig point path disappears in much the same way as the shipwreck has been reclaimed by nature.

From here we drove further around the reserve to Bushranger Cove a premier diving and snorkelling location.

Bushranger Bay. Very pretty in the sunlight and wonderful safe diving and snorkelling.

www.bluebeyond.com.au/bass-point.html

I recall snorkelling here and pushing through a growth of kelp I suddenly found myself, face to face with a large cuttlefish its huge eyes seemingly staring at me. In truth I was staring at it. As it moved slowly away from me its camouflage colouring changed from a mottled green of the kelp to a mottled pinkish grey of the rocky bottom. That was one of my most memorable snorkel adventures.

By now afternoon shadows were creeping across the reserve but we had one more stop to see, Galloways Beach lookout beside the quarry. The attached photo, if enlarged clearly shows the mound of crushed granite beside the Galloways Beach headland.

Overlooking Galloways Beach. Note the pile of blue metal in the background. The quarry has been operating on and off for over a century. Attempts by local conservationalists to have it closed have failed. Industry and a nature reserve sit side by side.

Although we only had a few afternoon hours to explore, we felt satisfied with the time spent at the reserve.

Night fell with a thump so we decided to drive home on the eastern side of Lake Illawarra, stopping at Berkeley for fish, salt n pepper squid and chips for dinner.

Sunday 1st July

The new financial year begins.

We started to wash and polish WWWGO today. The wind picked up and it must have been blowing from the snow. We managed to polish an area of about one square metre before finishing for the day. It is hard work manipulating a heavy polisher around the sides of WWWGO, especially with a chill wind blowing, scattering polishing cloths every few minutes.

Enough is enough.

Perhaps I could polish a small section every day!