New South Wales

Sydney’s pied currawong

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The currawongs are amoung my favourite birds, this yellow eyed beauty was enjoying his perch in a she-oak whose branches overlooked one of the numerous small bays that fringe Sydney Harbour, one of the most spectacular harbours in the world.

The view from the currawong's tree includes a distant view of the city of Sydney.
The view from the currawong’s tree includes a distant view of the city of Sydney.

The Pied Currawong is a common nomad in Australia’s east. They breed in isolation but will join flocks of up to 100 in winter, though I have never seen such a sight. To see them en masse sounds a bit too much like being inside Hitchcock’s movie the Birds! The currawongs have a strong, loud gong-like call that I find melodious, interspersed with whistling ‘oo-oooooo’.

the reef, at dawn

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Long Reef, Sydney Australia at dawn.
Long Reef, Sydney Australia at dawn.

I was down in Sydney town a couple of weeks ago… a seven hour drive down south from my usual abode … staying in an old house that belongs to my family. The house was originally a four room ‘holiday’ home with an outside loo, and while it has grown somewhat over the last seventy years, much of the original remains. From the deck, or ‘verandah’ to some, the view looks north-east towards a large promontory that juts into the Pacific Ocean surrounded by extensive reefs, an extinct volcano where I wandered as a child, picking up fossils as easily as one normally picks up shells. Over the years the trees have grown and a new house has gone up next door, yet even they could not damper the beauty of the early morning sky just before the sun came up, a fitting tribute to the molten heat of a once active and fiery volcano.

the south coast (NSW)

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I have travelled in Asia and North America and loved every minute of it but my bucket list now includes more of Australia. This year I have been down to Bega on the New South Wales south coast,

Potato Point - looking north
Potato Point – looking north

a lovely oasis where old-fashioned single lane roads weave around headlands and through small villages.

Referred to as the Sapphire Coast it is a continuous panorama of rocky coastal headlands, rainforests, bird filled lagoons and camping grounds perched on river inlets and hidden away in isolated hamlets.

There is something about the camaraderie of camping grounds that I really enjoy.

Dalmeny
Dalmeny

Though I was staying with an old friend in his home at Dalmeny, we visited his brother at Dalmeny campground.  He is well set up as a nomad, complete with a terrific camper trailer and an adorable odd-coloured-eyed blue heeler.

Gary’s dog
Gary’s dog

This area of the New South Wales south coast is a nature and art lovers paradise, overflowing as it is with national parks and nature reserves, walking trails that meander for hours through changing landscapes,  surf and swimming spots, and quaint ‘arty’ villages made up of clusters of restored buildings, green streetscapes and folksy cafes.

 

The Big Merino

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The Big Merino was built in 1985 in Goulburn, a mid-west town in New South Wales Australia, as a monument to the district’s fine wool industry. When highway upgrades left it stranded it was moved 800 metres in 2007 and given a face lift.

It now stands 15.2 meters high, 18 meters long and weighs 97 tones. It was modelled after a real and impressive ram called … yep, you guessed it … Rambo! On the inside are displays about the 200 year old wool industry and a quality gift shop, but the highlight for kids is being able to climb up on the inside and look out its eyes!

storm brewing

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Valla Beach on the New South Wales north coast is the perfect escape for a spot of birdwatching and a long stroll at the beach. Australia’s coastline is nearly one long continuum of beaches fit for swimming, fishing, surfing and beach-combing and many are fringed by great birding locations.