Together with some friends we drove to this mid north coast of New South Wales which is 390 kilometres north of Sydney three years ago for a four day holiday. The place was named after the Governor General of New South Wales Lachlan Macquarie when John Oxley, the first European to reach the place in 1818 named it after the governor general.
It was a holiday period at that time here in New South Wales, and because of that the roads were very busy and police patrol cars were very visible along the highways and main roads. We encountered heavy traffic at Bulahdelah 235 kilometres north of Sydney and it took us sometime about half an hour to pass by this clogged road.
We had our camping at the Melaleuca Caravan Park and as expected it was too, packed up with holiday makers who came from around New South Wales. We came to befriend some couples; ardent campers like us who according to them have been touring Australia and that they had just came from their holiday in Tasmania. Another young couple came from Tamworth which is about three more hours’ drive north of Port Macquarie. The good thing about Melaleuca is that the site was clean and in a friendly setting which was just along the Hasting Drive of Port Macquarie. It has good facilities like swimming pool, children’s playground, family room (play games and watch TV), barbeque house and dining, and a fully equipped kitchen.
I was able to explore the surrounding areas before the sun sets off. I had a good walk up to the Hastings River where at a distant some boats were afloat and perhaps were fishing on the calm waters. The place was relatively calm, quiet and the people I met along the way were behaving very friendly with good smiles.
As always during the first day we’re very eager to roam around places of interests here. So, after taking breakfast, we drove to the Port Macquarie airport which is quite close from where we camped in. It is a domestic airport and we saw light planes parked at the runway. We had our photo sessions here and after that we visited Ricarodes Tomatoes and Strawberries; a state of the art computerised technology on two acres of greenhouses and produces high quality hydroponically grown tomatoes and Strawberries. I love the way they grow their strawberries (see photo). There were many visitors who arrived here ahead of us as evidenced by just some few visible ripe strawberries, the good ones were already been picked.
After the strawberries, we went back down to Town beach where we had our lunch in one of the picnic grounds. As usual I had enjoyed the coastal walk from here then to Oxley and up to the Flynns beach resort. After lunch and a bit of rest, we drove to the Bago Wine and Vineyard south west of Port Macquarie just off the Pacific Highway to the Milligans Road, an unpaved road, rough and dusty. We enjoyed tasting their wine and we ended up buying some of their wines. Their vineyard is huge and they have these two huge mazes where we had some few photo shoots. Sometimes Jazz music concerts are held here and then of course selling of their wines during the event.
We were not so lucky when we went to Timbertown in Wauchope, because we arrived here half an hour before its closing time, in effect we were not able to gain access to its facilities in its heritage township, where the steam train still runs, timber is still sawn and the bullock team still hauls its heavy load and many more. There were some old cutting implements used before, photos displayed at the lobby detailing the history of Timbertown, and how people lived and worked here before.
The following day we decided to go to Lake Cathie. The place has a nice view especially at the point where it meets the sea. While my friends were busy eating some snacks at the picnic grounds I went on a bush walk and to the lookout overlooking the sea and the lake. I took some photos of it. What I hate at Lake Cathie is that it has a very strong stinky smell of the sea because of the sea weeds washed ashore, accumulated, some dried, some still wet, and flies sucking up from them whatever they need as food.
Then we drove to Bonny Hill beach where we had our lunch. The beach was perfect for the kids because it was low tide at that time exposing the beach sand, but at the far end down south brown coloured big rocks was exposed and they made the beach here a good photography subject.
We continued our trip and finally arrived at the Dooragan National Park further down south of Bonny Hill beach. The car park was full and heaps of people were here at that time. The park is famous for its hang gliding sports and we were lucky to watch some hang gliders preparing their parachutes as well as some guys who took off from the gently sloping edge of the mountain. It’s a nice place for a look out of the sea, the roads and houses down below.
We drove back up north of Bonny Hill to a famous wine tasting called Longpoint Vineyard and Art Gallery. It has red canopy at its entrance into the house perhaps to create a shade from the morning and noon time sun. It has a very cool vineyard and fascinating terrain and surrounding. We didn’t buy any wine here as my friends considered their prices a bit expensive.
After that, we went to the Crystalline Pottery by Rod Page which is just around Bonny Hill area or just 20 minutes’ drive south of Port Macquarie. For the last 26 years Rod has perfected his signature crystal glazes to produce work which is both beautiful and functional. Works include bathroom sinks and vanity basins, water features, birdbaths, vases, water filters, platters and lamp bases in a variety of colours and sizes. Indeed, very impressive works!
Almost half past four in the afternoon when we’re finished at the Crystalline Pottery. We decided to buy foods at the Settlement City Shopping Centre and had our dinner at the Settlement Reserve picnic grounds overlooking the beach. Some friends prepared our foods and the others cooked the foods. We had a hard time cooking the foods because the picnic grounds were not provided with lights; we utilized whatever torch we brought with us for some of them were left behind in the camp site. We finished here half passed eight in the evening.
It was the day for our check out at the camp site. After our breakfast we all packed up our paraphernalia, some guys went filling up their cars with petrol, ready to roll on back home.
But most of us were still undecided if we go straight home or to stop at any good places to visit. So, the decision was to visit some beaches along the way. We reached Blackhead Beach at Taree almost half passed twelve in the afternoon. The beach has a nice, big pool and there were only few kids using it when we were here. I explored the place until I reached a lovely park at the top of the mountain that has a nice view of the whole beach. I took some photos of the panoramic beach view and surrounding areas.
We didn’t stay long at Blackhead. Further down the road on our way home, we dropped by the Foster beach. Here, we watched how they fed heaps of pelicans. It was feeding time! We watched how hungry the pelicans were, and how fast they swallow and took another food again.
There weren’t any available picnic grounds here so we moved to Tuncurry Beach which is just across Foster beach. The place is better than Foster and we did have our lunch here. It was a late lunch, had it quarter passed three in the afternoon. Tuncurry has a long sea barrier of boulders. I saw some guys on both side of the barrier, fishing, their fishing rods were long I wasn’t aware just how many fish they already had caught. This was then our last stop over and we headed home after a good rest here.
This is the Hampden Bridge in Kangaroo Valley a two hours’ drive from Sydney or Canberra between the South Coast and Southern Highlands. The bridge is wonderfully attractive because of its built and the most photographed in the country. It is the longest suspension bridge built across the kangaroo river and arguably one of the most important examples of bridge engineering heritage in Australia, second only to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
As recorded, construction began in 1895 and the bridge was opened on the 19 May 1898, just six days before floods washed the old bridge away, a just in time engineering feat for the community.
We were here for a weekend getaway two years ago with some friends and had a night slept at the Kangaroo Valley Glenmack Park’s cabins.
We hit this road when we travelled up to the place where the 12 Apostles are, just right after we finished our tour of the Fairy Park at Anakie, and that was after lunch time. The Great Ocean Road, which starts at Torquay and travels 243 kilometres westward to finish at Allansford near Warrnambool, the largest city along the road. The road is two lanes (one in each direction), with the majority covered by an 80 kilometre per hour speed limit.
It is a winding road, and is considered a tourist attraction in the area, in which much of the road hugs coastline affectionately known as the Surf Coast between Torquay and Cape Otway and the Shipwreck Coast further west of Cape Otway, providing visibility of Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean. The road traverses rainforests, as well as beaches and cliffs composed of limestone and sandstone, which is susceptible to erosion. The road travels via Anglesea, Lorne, Apollo Bay, and Port Campbell, where we stopped for the 12 Apostles.
Apollo Bay is another beautiful and stunning place to stay and experience or feel the air of the sea as well as the surrounding mountains. I had some photos of the bay, too. We also had a brief stop at the Koala Cove Café, in Kenet River for snacks and rest that was around three in the afternoon.
Then another stop at the Gibsons Steps where I took some stunning seascape photos of the area below the road, at sea level. This is another lovely coastal attraction along the road, not far from the Port Campbell National Park.
During the last Federal election campaigning, the issue of upgrading or improving this road was touched, by a political party but then, I reckon there wasn’t any seriousness attached to their words, but we’ll watch and see after a couple of years or so for any developments. There will be more business along the road, more traffic; more tourists will be travelling here if the condition of the road will be completely upgraded.
Fairy Park is crafted out on spectacular rocky hilltop into a truly unique place where family and friends come to relax and enjoy a day out together in a tranquil environment, with over 33 attractions in place. The three main areas that combine to form Fairy Park are the Fairytale Land, Camelot Playground and the Elephant Rock Picnic Grounds. The park is housed in beautiful buildings including castles, cottages and caves all set amongst neatly kept gardens, giant boulders and lovely water features.
We’ve seen Cinderella at the Grand Ball, squirted the Frog Prince at his waterfall, saw Jack in his beanstalk, joined the Teddy Bears at their Picnic and heard the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears among others to the delight of the kids and were also amazed at how they patiently and put all things up creatively.
Some of the favourite fairytale characters are Red Riding Hood, Pinocchio to Rumplestilzchen, Alladin and Snow White. There are over 22 animated hand crafted scenes that come to life at the push of a button, all with digitised sound and lighting. Indeed, amazing for the kids!
For train buffs, the hilltop Castle incorporates a huge model train set and a Train Museum housing a rare collection of Markilin (guage1) model trains. Nestled beside the extinct volcano of Mt Anakie is the summit of Elephant Rock with breathtaking 360° panoramic views. A truly remarkable location for a great fun!
Again, heaps of families with kids around were on shoulder to shoulder along the pathway leading up to the fairy castle, all wanting to reach the summit, cameras popping out as they moved on and up to another attractions.
There’s a lot to capture here, in remarkable photos. I admit, I did have a wonderful time taking shots but failed to capture panoramic and creative ones! There was no enough time to scale out and creatively think of where and how to do that, really pretty bad.
They say autumn is the best time to visit this place as the Grande alley flame-red Liquid Amber Trees and a mountain of golden and amber leaves are all invigorating and colourful. The garden has these great attractions and we spent more than a couple of hours of enjoyment – tree Surfing, tube slide rides, obstacle courses, hedge mazes, 3D indoor mazes, bush adventure scramble, fantasy gardens, and enchanted creations, heaps to entertain the young and the olds.
But, we had a hard time parking our car because the car park was already full when we got here, we did just park on the road side and after an hour or so, more visitors arrived and parked alongside with us. That was remarkably stark indication how much visitors were received during that day.
The traditional Hedge Maze with Japanese Garden in the centre is the trademark of the garden. People got lost here easily looking for the exit or the centre (which is a Japanese garden), and we were one of them. The maze was so big, tall, and has labyrinths, a mad maze indeed!
The 3D indoor maze also attracted our attention. Inside of it are labyrinth of graffiti like arts on walls (exits indicated this time), with piped in loud and scary music, high impact intense colours of blue, orange to red, and yellow green on both narrow walls of walkways. Then there was this bridge totally enveloped with a tube like turning painted blanket which was a scarier passageway. Each individual entering the 3D maze was provided with 3D glasses. Indeed, a sort of a crazy maze full of fun!
Also, the tube slides were very entertaining, too. Heaps of children and adults did enjoy this attraction. Tree surf was fun, as we saw it but never tried because advance booking was required before availing this facility.
The notable sculptures along paths throughout the Sculpture Park added more glamour; they were skilfully carved out of cypress logs by Ken Blum, an artist in residence. Using chainsaws, axes and chisels Ken has revealed the faces of many of the indigenous people who once roamed the area.
People lined up to take their photos with these awesome masterpieces as their photo backgrounds.
We had our two-night slept over here at Torquay on a rented two storey house close to the beach and to the shopping centres when we were on holiday in Victoria. Torquay is a township in Victoria, Australia, which faces Bass Strait, 21 km. south of Geelong and is the gateway to the Great Ocean Road.
Many of the world’s most famous surf companies have their home in Torquay, including Rip Curl, Piping Hot and Quiksilver – all of which make up part of the Surf Coast Plaza, which provides shopping and eating, as well as the Surf World Museum.
The beach was cool, and I had the chance to capture its beautiful seascape during sunrise and sunset. You know, my heart was throbbing ecstatically upon sensing the beauty of the beach and its surroundings, very captivating indeed, that I said to myself, these must be preserved in photo shots and be shared with to others. For every shot I took at every angle of the beach, I know these could be another set of memories of great places I’ve been. You can view more some photos of the beach in my photo galleries at the sidebar.
I would compare a part of the beach as calm and picturesque as the beach in Dee Why in Sydney. Just above the road are holiday houses or beach houses which are readily available for occupancy by holiday makers. According to people who already came here consider the beach as the photographers’ paradise and indeed is true! I’ve seen one photographer’s photo taken here and printed on canvas as awesome and he did capture the beach well and perfect.
Again, if I have the chance to go back here for another holiday, I will do so and explore more about the place. There are a lot of holiday activities that you can enjoy and if you want to know more, just click this link for you to consider and make plans this coming December holidays.