Travelogue: January 2013 Archives

OK we weren't actually in South West Rocks at all this day.  But it was the last day of the trip.

Got up and ready and had a quick walk down to the Warner's Bay foreshore.

Lake Macquarie

Maccas at Warner's Bay for breakfast, then headed south.

All along the Sydney-Newcastle freeway there's sunflowers growing!  And corn too.  It's as if someone's just been driving along and tossing seeds out the window the whole way down.  It was pretty cool!

Snapped this cool brick mosaic of Will and Kate outside Austral Bricks.  It's made of something like 15000 full and half sized glazed bricks.  Very cool!

Will and Kate in bricks

Then lunch at Sutton Forest and home!!

So the last morning of our stay in South West Rocks and the sun comes out.  Hrmmm.

So we went up to the gaol again to get a few photos of it in the sun.

Trial Bay Gaol

Trial Bay Gaol

Trial Bay Gaol

View from Trial Bay Gaol car park

On the way back to the highway I got some photos of some of the houses and how they elevated them to keep off the flood plain.  

Some build their houses on a big mound

Flood plain houses

While others just go two stories

Flood plain houses

Had a maccas stop near Port Macquarie for lunch.  This is on the roundabout next to it.


Driving driving.

Saw some birds circling
Birds circling

The Rock!  It's still there!
The Rock

An F/A-18 near Williamtown

And arrival at our motel on Lake Macquarie around 4:30pm.  It has a nice view of the lake.

Warner's Bay

Warner's Bay

Watched the storm roll in.  Read a book.  And just chilled out for a bit.  Stepping out of the airconned-to-cold motel room was like stepping into a sauna.  It was that hot/humid, even after the storm had passed.

So headed into Newcastle to meet up with Fiona.  Was a lovely night and great to catch up with her again.  

Went to Goldbergs on Darby Street.

There was cheesy olive bread
Cheesy olive bread

I had "black pepper marinated lamb fillet" on a smashed kipfler and apple rosti topped with sumac aioli.  It was delish!
Goldberg lamb

Stu had "lemon and thyme baked ricotta" with warm olive and pind nut salad, watercress, roasted capsicum and chilli jam
Goldbergs ricotta

Fiona had a pretty amazing platter of goodies.

The little lioness

Then back to the motel to crash.  The aircon worked super well and made the room lovely and cold to sleep!

Another quiet morning.

Packed a picnic lunch and headed out to Smoky Cape.  

Smoky Cape Lighthouse sign

Smokey Cape Lighthouse

Walked up to the lighthouse and arrived just before 1pm, and noticed there was a tour at 1pm.  $10 each though, which we thought was a little pricey.  But decided we'd do it.  Except noone turned up.  Waited and waited and in the end gave up and headed back down.  Only to find the tour was down at the bottom of the hill.  Yay for telling us that on the sign, buttheads!  Were a bit over it, so didn't bother joining the tour late.

Why don't you tell us the tour starts at the bottom of the hill??

This lizard was on the path up the hill

Next up was a walk down to that middle beach down there
North Smoky Beach

Have I mentioned the humidity?  It was horrible.

This was the beach
North Smoky Beach

And the view back up to the lighthouse
Smoky Cape Lighthouse

We went for a dip, even though the surf was the most dangerous surf I've ever been in.  Waves and rips going in all sorts of directions, holes in the beach etc.  In the end we only went in a few metres from shore, as the water depth changed too dramatically to go out any further - we'd have been swept out to sea for sure.

Had our lunch, and another dip, then headed back up the hill.

Saw these lovely glossy black cockatoos on the walk back up the hill
Glossy black cockatoos

Glossy black cockatoos

Cooled off in the car ride back to the house, then headed out again for a little swim in the tidal creek.

Dinner was some amazing jewfish

Not much else for the rest of the night.

Overcast.  Humid.  Not hot, but oh so humid.

Did pretty much nothing all morning.  Attempted to get some sleep.  Not altogether successfully.  Made up a picnic lunch and headed out.

First stop was Trial Bay Gaol.  The buildings are remarkably well preserved.  Although most of it is solid granite.  It'll probably be there for centuries.

We spent a good hour and a half here.  Well worth the $7.50 entry.

Front entrance
Trial Bay Gaol

Interior courtyard
Trial Bay Gaol

This was the mess hall
Trial Bay Gaol

Cell block A on the left, exterior wall on the right, with a sign saying watch out for swooping magpies on the bottom left
Trial Bay Gaol

The area between the mess hall and the cell blocks
Trial Bay Gaol

The kitchen
Trial Bay Gaol

Remains of the hospital building, with cell block B behind
Trial Bay Gaol

"Silent cells"
Trial Bay Gaol

Stu in one of the silent cells
Trial Bay Gaol

View from the lookout tower.  The prison was built to house prisoners to build this breakwater.  But they never really made very good progress with it, and eventually abandoned the idea and closed the prison.
Trial Bay Gaol

Looking down cell block A
Trial Bay Gaol

During its time as a prison, they housed one prisoner to a cell on hammocks
Trial Bay Gaol

During World War I, they reopened the prison and sent educated German men here to keep them out of the way during the war.  They housed two per cell, which made the gaol quite overcrowded.
Trial Bay Gaol

The kitchen building
Trial Bay Gaol

Looking down cell block B.  This was built later (1900) and is remarkably drab next to the lovely granite.
Trial Bay Gaol

One of the baths in the bath house
Trial Bay Gaol

Kangaroos next to the bath house
Trial Bay Gaol

Looking down to the bath house
Trial Bay Gaol

After the gaol, we ate our picnic lunch in the car and then went on the walk down to Little Bay and the duck pond.

Walking up to the German monument, they've cleared a long tract of bush out, so you can see all the way up to it.  It unfortunately looks slightly rude from a distance..
German monument

The German monument, for the four Germans that died in the gaol during the war.  It was blown up in 1919 by persons unknown, but eventually rebuilt.
German monument

View of Trial Bay Gaol
Trial Bay Gaol


View across to South West Rocks
South West Rocks

Little Bay
Little Bay

Little Bay
Little Bay

Kangaroo tracks in the sand
Kangaroo tracks on the beach

Big boy kangaroo.  Look at the muscles on him!
Big boy kangaroo

Kangaroo and joey

Joey having a drink


The duck pond.  Originally built as a water source for the gaol
Duck pond

Duck pond

Scribbly bark
Scribbly bark

One of the powder magazines used to store explosives for the construction of the breakwater
Powder magazine

The other one.  It was supposedly blown up as a test run by the same people that blew up the German monument.
Powder magazine

Wandered back to South West Rocks and went down to the tidal creek

Bridge over the creek

Where kids were jumping off the bridge into the creek..

Kids jumping off the bridge

Kids jumping off the bridge

Came back to the house for a very lovely chicken dinner.  After dinner we watched the King's Speech, which we quite enjoyed, even though a few liberties were taken with the story.

Chicken dinner

Yeah so didn't get too much sleep.  Too humid!!!  Even with the fan on we were pretty uncomfortable.

The sweetie and Sally.  Animals like Stu because he's so soft and squishy :)

The sweetie and Sally

Breakfast on the deck.  Quite civilised really!


They wanted me to kill this march fly, but it was so cute!

March fly

So yeah a fairly slow morning.  Debated going for a swim but I was a bit stressed about getting myself all messed up (we were going out to meet people later that day).  So in the end we just did a big drive around South West Rocks.

We drove through the town and up to Trial Bay Goal and out to the Smoky Cape lighthouse.

Smoky Cape Lighthouse


Then back into town for lunch.

Lunch in South West Rocks

After lunch, we got ready, then headed out for a slow drive down the coast.

They have police radar traps even on the quiet back roads (not that they're that quiet - there's an awful lot of people camped up and down the coast).

Radar trap

The GPS originally said it would take four hours, but it kept revising it down.  Here's where we hit some dirt road.

Loftus Road

Nice view of the beach near Point Plomer

Beach near Point Plomer

South of Point Plomer was where we were most concerned about the road.  Then we saw this sign

Management track sign

.. and this mud ..

Point Plomer Road

.. and decided we wouldn't tempt fate.  So turned around and headed back to Crescent Head, then back to the Pacific Highway.

South of Kempsey, where they're building the bypass, they have this sign telling people to ignore their GPSes..

Ignore GPS

In Port Macquarie we went to Big W to pick up some stuff for Stu, then we headed out to visit Stu's mum's grave

Grave marker

Then went for a drive round Port Macquarie

Tacking Point Lighthouse

Stormy beach

The sweetie at Tacking Point

Then to our destination for the evening - Finnian's Irish Tavern for a school reunion of sorts for Stu.  He actually only really knew two of the guys there, and they were pretty cool.  Had some squid and some wedges and a couple of beers.  I also might have stolen some of Tom's steak after he declared himself done with only half the steak eaten.. it was nice steak, this would never do! ;)

Pub food

We migrated outside when the band started up, as they made talking over the noise a bit difficult.

The band

And then we headed back to South West Rocks for the night.

While everyone else went to work, the sweetie and I headed out of Canberra.  It was hot and windy at 9:30am, and I had visions of a repeat of ten years ago.  

Stopped at various Maccas along the way for breakfasts, coffees and lunches.

We happened to be driving through Sydney at the peak of the heat wave.  We passed a sign that said 45C and we were all "what the??".  The car didn't seem to be overheating (according to the heat guage), but seemed to be threatening to stall.  So we were ok on the freeways, but that bit of Pennant Hills Road was a bit tough.  We turned the aircon off and suffered, but didn't break down.  When are they ever going to join up the M7/M2 with the F3 ????

It was so hot, we made a little hoodie to shade the GPS

GPS shade

Drove on and on.  Went through Kempsey a bit after 6pm and then got to see the new Kempsey bypass being built.  The bridge over the Macleay River and floodplain is 3.2 kilometres long and will be the longest bridge in Australia.

Kempsey Bypass

Kempsey Bypass

The sun and clouds over the Macleay River were pretty

Macleay River

Arrived at Stu's dad's place around 7pm, and had a lovely meal of freshly caught bream, as well as kingfish and trevaly (I think).

Then we pretty much just crashed.  They have an amazingly well equipped self-contained flat downstairs, which was a lovely little retreat.



Kazza's "Boring Life Of a Geek" aka BLOG

IT geek, originally from Sydney, moved to Canberra in 2007. Married to "the sweetie", aka Stu. Prolific photographer, Lego junkie and tropical fish keeper.

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