Currently Reading: Trent Dalton – Boy Swallows Universe | Anna Burns – Milkman | Victor Steffensen – Fire Country | Ian McEwan – Sweet ToothAfter the 2020 fire (I mean peach) season ended, I headed briefly back to the Blue Mountains via Kangaroo Valley and Fitzroy Falls at Morton National Park, before packing up the van and travelling south.
After the epic week of rain we’d just had, the falls were putting on quite a show
The Morton was giving off a distinctly Blue Mountains vibe – if you didn’t know where you were, that plateau in the distance could be the Jamison Valley’s Mt Solitary
This prompted me to visit the Jamison once back in the Blue Mountains to investigate the damage from the recent fires
I also popped over to Blackheath to see how the Grose had fared – if you’re interested, you can check out my insta post from back in Feb for edits of these pics in which I have highlighted the evidence of burn
This burnt out patch is directly below Govetts Leap, which shows just how close the fires came
Walking in Lawson one morning, we came across a family of Gang Gang Cockatoos. These birds are pretty elusive. I’ve only seen them in Lawson twice in four years. This is not the clearest vid, but if you look closely, you can see their red heads bobbing about on the branches below.
Having left the mountains, and after spending a night with friends in Newtown, I headed south down the Princes Hwy, taking in the paragliders and the view of the Sea Cliff Bridge from Stanwell Tops.
Grassy overlook looking south towards Coledale
View north from the same vantage point
I paid a visit to the Fo Guang Shan Nan Tien Temple as I passed through Wollongong
You can participate in calligraphy, chanting and meditation in the central pagoda …
… or take a walk through the lovely grounds, complete with a sculptural mob of kangaroos
Enroute, I spent some time (and money) in the communities hardest hit by the fires – this is the Courtyard at Mogo
My mates Kevin and Lee have been telling me about Australia Rock at Narooma for years …
… so I finally went to see it for myself
The rock formations were striking
This was followed by a quick dip at one of my favourite swimming spots on the south coast – Bermagui’s Blue Pool
I then found the perfect campsite for the night at Gillards Beach in Mimosa Rocks National Park, just north of Tathra, where I came across this goanna (at least I think it’s a goanna – I need reptile, fish, insect and mammal identification books to go with my fantastic field guide to Australian birds)
I have never seen one so big. The poor thing went up a tree when it heard me coming.
I think it was probably glad to see the back of me.
Very cool rock formations…
And one of the most spectacular sunrises I have ever seen
Peaches and cream
The gift that keeps on giving!
Polly getting ready to face the new day
Kangaroo shift change – kiss kiss…
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More evidence of recent burn just out of Eden
The regrowth was fantastic to see, but the recovery is going to take a long time, and the burn stretches almost all the way to Orbost on both sides of the highway, as far as the eye can see
Then you come across signs like this (just across the Victorian border)
It is a disquieting stretch of highway at present
Imagine being in the path of this kind of heat
Historic Railway Trestle Bridge near Nowa Nowa
You can no longer walk across it – when I got to the top I could see why …
Raymond Island koalas – such cuties
This little dude is just holding on …
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… and this one is pretty good at cuddling itself
Raymond Island Community Garden …
… and foreshore walk
Sunrise at Lake Guthridge in Sale
Tiny house goals
The historic Long Jetty at Port Welshpool – the jetty was still being renovated last time I came this way in 2017
The project ran out of funds before the refurbished jetty reached its intended original length – so rather than leave the pylons until some future funding body could complete the venture, they cut the remaining 300 off below low tide level (!)
It’s an impressive structure all the same, with lots of fantastic interpretive signage replete with information about the history of the place
I drove my van on the beach for the first time at Shallow Inlet (fear not, I have since washed it with a high pressure hose)
View from Walkerville Foreshore towards Cape Liptrap
Boardwalk to Pyramid Rock, Phillip Island
Pyramid Rock – no access to beach!! (*you don’t say!)
Nobbies Lookout Boardwalk
This is where the penguins come in during nesting season
Watching waves break over the rock platforms on the outer reaches of Phillip island was mesmerising.
Weatherworn and wild
There is actually a penguin in that little burrow
Cape Barren Geese in nesting pairs – these beautiful creatures were everywhere at Summerland!!!
Flinders Pier, Mornington Peninsula
Point Nepean National Park
Flotsam and driftwood at Point Nepean
Spent the day on the Mornington Peninsula before the night sail to Tas
Read my book for an hour or so and watched the (gentle) waves roll in
My friend Wes said that some of these driftwood shots put him in mind of a Dali painting
The stroll back to my car took me through this beautiful scrubland
Lady with a letter – woman after my own heart …
Sorrento – how’s the serenity …
Jetty at The Baths, Sorrento
This is a ‘walk at your own risk’ kinda jetty
Had enough of jetties yet? No, me either.
Here’s another pier in Dromana. No diving or jumping. Where’s the fun in that?
Elwood Bathers – on the menu: crispy skinned Ocean Trout and a sneaky glass of pre-sail rosé – don’t mind if I do!
Boarding the Spirit of Tasmania
They take their bed linen seriously on the Spirit
5:30 arrival in Devonport – Tasmania delivers yet another spectacularly welcoming sunrise
What a place!
I came for a week and have extended my stay for a month. Van life is the best.Books Completed: Still no luck on this front.