Thursday, 24 April 2008

Catherine Hill Bay

This former mining community on the coast north of Sydney is being threatened by large-scale, unsympathetic development as a result of the mine closing and the owners planning to sell off their prime headland property. We went to see it while it is still untouched.
The cloudy, rainy day hadn't daunted half a dozen surfers in wetsuits on the beach beneath the old pier.

Out at sea, under a stormy sky, freighters rode along the horizon awaiting a berth at the nearby port of Newcastle. It was in this vicinity last year that storms forced one freighter onto a beach where it lay stranded for a couple of weeks, making worldwide pictorial news.

Michael took advantage of a clear spell to do a quick sketch looking along the beach towards the pier.

I strolled along the edge of the beach, where this lovely old sign caught my eye.

And this wattle, just bursting into bloom.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Another Day, Another Bushwalk

It was Michael's birthday on April 4th and so, with a few sunny hours to spare, we decided to investigate a short track featuring three waterfalls, close to the nearby town of Lawson. It led through a shallow valley carved by the stream that fed the aforesaid falls. We walked up and down steps cut into sandstone rocks, and through bushland where the slender, steely trunks of Mountain ash (Eucalyptus oreades) rose out of carpets of ferns into cool, sundappled air. As we walked we could hear the stream running through undergrowth beside us, though we caught only occasional glimpses through gaps in the scrub.

Our path led us across the base of each waterfall in turn, under dark ironstone shelves of rock, gleaming with the constant sluice of water.



We trudged over soft, pale sand washed out to the margins of pools into which the water fell, and negotiated mossy wooden bridges of decaying wood.


Although it didn't offer the dramatic, cliff-edge views that many trails in the Blue Mountains do, it was shorter and less demanding than most of those, pleasant enough for the time we had available.