Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Wednesday 18th July


I had a solo trip to “Port” (as the locals call Port Macquarie). The scenic beaches are always a drawcard for me, especially with this glorious sunny weather we are having. Chilly to start with, several frosts over the last week, but turning out beautiful once it warms up.

I walked around the shops & a small mall before heading to Aldi for groceries. The final stop for the day was the Douglas Vale Homestead & Winery. This little piece of history close to the town & is run by volunteers. The homestead dates from 1859, & some of the vines are from the original plantings. I had a guided tour of the old house & tasted a few of the wines, purchasing a couple.

Oxley Beach - Port Macquarie

Flagstaff Beach

The Maritime Museum 

Tasting area at the Douglas Vale Winery


My morning was spent using the blower around the outside of the house, squeezing juice from the tasty, sweet, juicy oranges a neighbour gave us, and a few menial household chores.

Tuesday 17th July


I did some cooking & housey stuff today. Geoff was happy to get chocolate chip cookies again.

I have managed to also get back to the latest Blog Book, though I'm still several months behind...

Waitui Falls

Creek at Swans Crossing


Our outing for the day was to Woolies for groceries. What an exciting life we lead!

The biscuits were great!
Monday 16th July


We had a drive up Middle Brother Mountain today, with stops to see the Bird Tree & Benaroon (tree); the 2 largest by volume Blackbutt trees in NSW. Then it was to the Hannam Vale Lookout, through Hannam Vale, to the Waitui Falls.

I think the falls are supposed to be a secret as there were no proper signs to them. When we arrived I saw bright pink spray paint on a tree saying Waitui Falls! Quite strange. Anyhow, they were down in a pretty glade & flowing well into a pool, which would probably be quite popular during the hot summer months. Neither Geoff nor I were game to have a dip, as I don't think the temperature was much above 10C!

We had one final stop at Swans Crossing in hopes of more orchids; I had been told it was a place to try, but we lucked out!

Frost on the car  & grass in Kew

Benaroon Blackbutt

Hannam Vale Lookout; toward the coast & South Brother
"Art" at the top of Middle Brother!


Another good day out exploring the area. The lack of orchids was disappointing for Varena, despite my find of a few. But they were the wrong sort, apparently. We had already seen that variety.

The campground at Swans Crossing was surprisingly well populated, but there was plenty of room. There is always one dickhead camper who thinks that getting out to the bush for some peace and quiet means cranking up the car stereo. And he did.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sunday 15th July


The Laurieton Waterside Markets were on today so I headed down there for a look around. There were a large variety of stalls with loads of people checking them out. I bought some local produce before heading to the Henry Kendall Reserve for a look around.

Back at the house I made a batch of Macadamia Nut & Sun-dried Tomato Pesto, which I have been meaning to do for ages.

Arty effects on Stingray Creek

Shark flood marker

Where does this Pelican
 hide its beak...

One of the 50+ "Hello Koalas" that are around
the greater Port Macquarie area

North Brother from North Haven breakwater

Posing Tern...turning!

Pied Cormorant waiting for lunch

While Varena was out I had another practise on the zero-turn ride-on mower. It is not difficult to use, but I am still a bit tentative with doing fiddly bits. I guess I will just have to do it slowly.
Saturday 14th July


I returned to Queens Lake Nature Reserve, finding many more orchids, but only one new type which wasn't fully open yet. So I'll return & hopefully find it open in a week or so.

Geoff was a house hubby today.

Small Helmet Orchid or Pelicans
(Anzybas unguiculatus)

Cobra Greenhood
(Diplodium grandiflorum)

Pixie Caps
(Acianthus fornicatus)

Box Greenhood or Small Nodding Greenhood
(Pterostylis hispidula)

Tall Greenhood or Common Leafy Greenhood
(Bunochilus longifolius

Unusual colouring of the usually all-white White Fingers
(Caladenia catenata)


Once again I managed to do both stuff and things while Varena was out.

Friday 13th July


Today we headed north from Port Macquarie, crossing the Hasting River on the Settlement Point car ferry. We checked out Pelican Point, which is directly opposite Port Macquarie, then we took the 4WD track to Point Plomer, through deep & wet potholes & sandy tracks. We certainly gave the new tyres a good work out.

We had morning tea at the lovely Queens Head Beach, then had another stop at the Point Plomer park before getting to Crescent Head for a fish'n'chip lunch. There were plenty of whales breaching in the ocean off the lookout. The Maria River Road back to Port Macquaire was less rough, and we took & a 2nd car ferry into the town.

The final stop of the day was at the Black Duck Brewery, for Geoff to taste some of the local brews.

Point Plomer Track

Queens Head Beach

Delicate Nobby Beach

Across to Little Nobby


The 4WD-ing was a bit of a surprise. I expected dirt roads but we got some good off-roading in. Another surprise was the number of whales we could see. Heaps!

The Black Duck Brewery was a good way to finish our day's travels.

Thursday 12th July


Geoff made a rather large dent in his wallet today. 8 new tyres for the van & car! It has been on the cards for a while, but he found a good deal in Laurieton at the garage that “Old Geoff” recommended, so he bit the bullet.

We had around 2 hours to kill whilst that was being done, so we checked out the Rotary Club book sale, walked down & along Stingray Creek, & had a cuppa at Grounded Cafe. We even sat outside in the warm sun.

After lunch I suggested we go to Lake Cathie. The council had recently open the sand bar which separated the lake & the ocean. It had been planned for the end of the month but the lake levels were high enough to be flooding walkways & park benches. We missed the actual opening but the flow of the water out of the lake was still huge. It was mesmerising to watch, & of course I got a few snaps! We stopped several more times on the return trip for more scenic water shots.

Lake Cathie

The lake rushes to the sea

The swollen lake meets the in coming tide

Moody waters & sky

Overlooking Rainbow Beach

North Haven


The tyres on the van still had some good tread but were getting too old to be reliable and safe. And two of the ute tyres had just about hit the tread wear indicators. So, new shoes all round!