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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
From Hyams Beach we drove through Vincentia and on to Huskisson where we stopped to look at the 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
around a pine tree which was grown from a seed collected by a survivor of the Gallipoli massacre.
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.
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.
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.
Grady’s Riverside Retreat is a popular bush type camp on the 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
, fat, furry and lumbering Wombats
and of course many Wallaby’s and Kangaroos.
Many bush tracks head to the river and one of the final bends containing rapids before the river shallows and the rapids cease.
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.