Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Return to Daisy Hill Forest Park

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A 6.30am start to our walk today in Daisy Hill Forest was a wise decision, but we still returned 3 hours later dripping with sweat and red faces. Sadly the forest was dressed in its drought colours, however we were still able to find beauty in its stately trees, colourful peeling bark, wildlife and the unexpected wildflower.
 Seed pods and flat path

    Numerous steep inclines

                    Dry creek beds

                       Contained bushfire.

 Teasing dark clouds and the occasional rain droplets.

                       Winding trail

    Several wallabies were spotted, along with a small blue kingfisher, goanna and noisy cockatiels.

The picnic tables were empty and forlorn in this brown landscape.
   On our return journey we walked several suburban streets to enter the Springwood Environment reserve to return to our cars. The physical features of this area were surprisingly different to that of Daisy Hill Forest, such a short distance away. 
This stunning native flower took our attention. Blossoming at the end of a long lanky stem, it appeared to emerge from a reedlike plant. I wonder if anyone can identify it for me.

Throughout the month of October we have gasped at the mauve beauty of the jacaranda trees. Now the brilliance of the red of the poinciana's, jolts our senses each time we spot one, especially after exiting the dry brown forest.

Hiking 'down under' in summer is always going to be a hot, sweaty business, but I sincerely hope that drought breaking rain soon arrives for the good of the wildlife and farmers. 

Thank you for visiting. Please leave a comment if you have enjoyed the read.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Short walk - Byron Bay

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Wednesday 5 November saw Margot, Laurel and I setting off very early to deliver Laurel's mother to Mullimbimby [Northern New South Wales] to spend the day with a good friend she rarely sees.
Our initial plan was to then hike the Minyon Falls track, but we were delayed when we accepted a delicious morning tea and guided walk around this 80 year old's amazing garden.

We are a very flexible group and, so long as we are somewhere out in the great outdoors, we are not overly concerned about distance covered. Plan B was to drive to Byron Bay [20 mins], park at Clarks Beach and follow the trail to Byron Bay Lighthouse. When we discovered that street parking is now $4 and hour, we almost went for plan C.

The lighthouse stands on a bald, rocky, headland above the bay. With its precipitous cliffs on the eastern side having a sheer drop of 100 metres, it is quite a strenuous climb to it from Wategos Bay.

Cape Byron Lighthouse completed in 1901, is the most easterly lighthouse in Australia and one of the most powerful.

Gleaming, white, tiny-grained sand and clear turquoise water stretched before us, as we crested the sand dune from the car park.

Idly walking in perfect sunshine, we soon had to leave the beach. Unfortunately we soon discovered that the trail along the lower rocky headland was closed. Road walking to Wategoes Bay ensued.

Our efforts were rewarded when we arrived at this secluded bay, by the creative flair of both young and old.

Is this little toddler about to create another master piece?

Maybe some day!

I've since discovered, that 'Craig' regularly creates Yin and Yang Spiral Art on the beach. He has chosen these symbols as they are not religious, just spiritual, and this way they won't offend anyone.
They were completed on our return.

On reaching the lighthouse, we had spectacular views of Australia's most easterly coastline from its most easterly point. Alas, today the dolphins didn't dance in the waves and it was too late to spot the southern migrating whales. 

Laurel was determined to spot something on the horizon - a new island! A moving new island! Even my 30x optical zoom shot didn't convince her. Thankfully a ranger came to my rescue and now the mapping charts are able to remain the same!

There's always lots of laughter on our hikes 'down under' and today in this brilliant sunshine was no exception.

Thank you for dropping by. Please leave a comment if you have enjoyed the read.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

South across the border to Yamba and Grafton.

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At the beginning of October, our Jayco Eagle Camping Trailer was begging to be used, the mauve haze of Grafton's magnificent jacarandas called [it was festival time] and the peaceful, white, sandy beaches of Yamba awaited. Friends were keen to join us.

We managed to get away on Wednesday the 29th and camped at the Calypso Caravan Park, on the banks of the Clarence River, Yamba. With its population at 7000, Yamba has still managed to keep a relaxed laid-back lifestyle, enhanced by its beaches and waterways.

When camp was finally set, we joined our friends for an exploratory walk of the headland and main beach.

The river view, from the camping ground.

As the sun began to sink below the horizon, tranquility settled on the river and we relaxed happily with our friends and wondered that we should be so fortunate.

A golden sun rose as we set off on our early morning walk. Sailing boats, glowing cliffs, wildflowers, and glistening sand also greeted us.

Our day was spent in Grafton dazed by the intensity of the mauve of the jacaranda trees, which originate from South Africa. Endless streets and avenues are graced by their beauty. Princes Street was closed for  Jacaranda market day. A wonderful festive air was created by stall holders and shops creating mauve displays. Children were in mauve fancy dress and countless heads sported mauve wigs.

Another tranquil sun setting in the west was the perfect end to a perfect day. Friday's sunrise was just as awesome. The day was spent swimming, enjoying the surf and wandering along the endless, empty white sandy beaches.

We managed a final sunrise and walk on Saturday morning, but just as we were commencing to decamp, a light drizzle had us packing up in a less than leisurely pace. It made leaving this idyllic spot just a little easier to say goodbye to for this visit. We will be back!

Thank you for dropping by. Please leave a comment if you have enjoyed your visit.