Tea Gardens

Yacaaba Headland Walk


I ran out of time yesterday to post about my walk up Yacaaba Headland and how I only just avoided being in a storm that was moving in. So today (it’s actually the 27th July 2012 as I type away) I must get two days of posts done, even if I slip this one in back in time, so to speak (as you can with the post time when posting).

BrunchSo I decided to do the Yacaaba Headland walk just before lunch and had lunch in the carpark, while reading the paper. Nothing too healthy – I tend to eat far too much junk when I’m on holidays. So it was a bacon & egg roll, as well as a couple of potato scallops and some chips (and coke of course) See Picture at Left. It was really brunch and I needed the energy boost to accomplish the walk. Sounds like a fair excuse anyhow. You do burn a bit bushwalking and climbing mountains.

So after lunch I set out on the walk. It was a beautiful day, spring like, which was quite strange given it was the middle of winter. It was really quite warm and a great day for a walk along the beach and for being in the great outdoors. The walk to the top of Yacaaba Headland from where I set off was a good 1km along the beach, then a further 1.5km from the beach to the top of the headland. So not a great distance really, though the same ground would have to be covered again on the return, so something like 5km all up. I had plenty of time to cover that distance and I knew that from having done this walk before. So of I went.

First up though was a picture of the scene before me as I got through the sand dunes and onto the beach.

Beach & Yacaaba

ABOVE: The Beach and Yacaaba Headland in the Distance

There were very few people out and about, just a couple of people fishing along the beach and a few walkers as I approached Yacaaba. I could see what appeared like a storm brewing back towards the north and out west. Nothing to worry about at this stage though. Plenty of time.

SpongeOne of the things I noticed along the beach was the amount of debris from the sea. There was a fair bit of what I would call natural debris, such as timber, weed of various types, sponges (See Picture at Right), heaps of shell fragments and even a small fish. However, there was a bit of human debris (rubbish) also, which was a shame. Got me to thinking if anything from Japan would end up here in the long run – from the tsunami. Most of it is heading to the US and west coast of North America, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising if a bit made its way to the Australian east coast.

After a bit more than 1km I reached the headland and began my ascent up Yacaaba. The track to the the top of Yacaaba is easily followed and not too difficult in my opinion. There are some steeper sections and the track can be a bit rocky, loose and a bit unstable underfoot, but not too bad overall.

There aren’t a lot of wildflowers to see there at the moment, variety wise I mean. There are plenty of Wattles in flower of course and the usual Banksias, as well as one or two other flowering plant species to be seen.

Wattle

ABOVE: Wattle BELOW: More Wildflowers

wildflowers  wildflowers

As you walk towards the top you begin to get some fantastic views over Port Stephens and in particular Hawks Nest, Tea Gardens and Winda Woppa. The further up you go the greater the views of course and as you near the top there are views up and down the Pacific Coast. It really is a great place on a clear day for fantastic coastal vistas.

View Towards Tea Gardens

ABOVE: View towards Tea Gardens BELOW: View over the Pacific Ocean

Pacific View

Having enjoyed the views for a while, I decided I had better start the trip back and try and beat the storm that was now rapidly heading my way. It was very dark out to the west and north, thunder could be heard rumbling along and flashes of lightning in the clearly heavy rain off in the distance. So down I went. The trip back down was fairly quick, having observed plenty on the way up and knowing the storm was rapidly approaching the descent was somewhat quicker than the ascent had been. No surprises there really.

Bottom of Yacaaba View

ABOVE: The View up the Coast from the Bottom of Yacaaba – Shows the Approaching Storm.

The view up the coast (as seen in the above picture) was marked by the approaching storm, which became increasingly menacing as it adavanced and I got closer to the car. It doesn’t look too bad in the photo above, but as I neared the car It was fairly severe in its appearance and I just got into the car as the first drops of rain began to drop. It was pouring by the time I got back home (just 5 minutes or so away). Yet the storm was gone as fast as it hit.

Bulahdelah


So I was right about my day when I spoke of it yesterday. Not a lot going on today, so today’s post will be more about yesterday. I hope that makes perfect sense to everyone – it sounded even worse with the original way I was going to write it (I was trying to be clever, so went for simplicity in the end).

Bombah Point Ferry

ABOVE: The Punt at Bombah Point BELOW: On the Punt

On the Punt

To get to Bulahdelah from Hole in the Wall, you need to go via Bombah Point and the ferry service there. I guess you could also call it a punt. Many people still call it that. Anyhow, as the pictures show, it doesn’t cover a great distance. How much is the charge for this journey – at the moment it’s $5.00 AU. Seems a little excessive for something that’s over in less than 5 minutes. Still, there is a wage to pay, maintenance, etc. Still, you wouldn’t want to be doing it too often. You do get a ticket though (see picture at right). Punt Ticket

The road to the punt isn’t too bad for an out of the way road. On the other side between the punt and Bulahdelah though… well, that’s a different story and is typical of gravel roads in this council area. It is full of large pot holes. The road from Hawks Nest to the punt is all sealed. You also go past the Pacific Highway upgrade near Bulahdelah and Mount Alum.

So arriving in Bulahdelah you enter near the old Court House, so I thought I’d stop and have a quick look.

The Court House isn’t open to the public too often. The note on the door indicated it was open on Saturday mornings, but I wouldn’t be too confident in what was on the note, it had been there for quite some time and was rather weather beaten. There are some old bits and pieces laying around the grounds of the Court House, from Bulahdelah’s logging and mining history. Being into history, I enjoyed having a bit of a look at these items, which you do see time and again throughout the region in various museums, parks and even in the bush. The whole region enjoys a similar history, particularly logging.

Bulahdelah Court House

ABOVE & BELOW: Bulahdelah Court House

Bulahdelah Court House

Mining History

ABOVE: Mining History Relics BELOW: Logging History Relics

Logging History Relics

Following the time spent at Bulahdelah Court House, I decided it was time for lunch and if you follow me on Foodspotting or visit my profile page, you would know that I found a cheese and bacon sausage roll (from Bulahdelah Bakery – best bakery in the district) for lunch (I actually had two – naughty), while reading a newspaper parked out the front of the visitor centre. Why there? Well I decided I might as well grab some info. on some areas I’m thinking of visiting in coming days, as well as further down the track. I have a visitor centre practically next door to me, but since I was here I might as well pop in.

Bulahdelah Bakery

ABOVE: Bulahdelah Bakery BELOW: Bulahdelah Visitor Centre

Bulahdelah Visitor Centre

So after that it was back down the highway and to Tea Gardens once again.

For more on Bulahdelah:
http://www.bulahdelah.net.au/

For more on Tea Gardens:
http://www.teagardens.nsw.au/

Native Wildlife of the Area


It’s another wet and windy day in paradise, so not much to do but sit it out. It also means I haven’t got a lot to type about (as opposed to write about, given I’m using the keyboard). So I’m going back a little and posting about some photos I’ve taken in recent months here. In fact, what I’m posting about today is one of the great things about living here in Tea Gardens, which differs a great deal from other places I have lived down Newcastle and Lake Macquarie way and that is the abundance of wildlife around here. Sadly we have managed to kill of most of the wildlife down around Newcastle, or at the very least drove it all away. Here it abounds and I love it being so.

Diamond PythonI’m not talking about just the smaller animal and bird species you might expect to find in a suburban area, but even the bigger examples of wildlife also. Kangaroos and Wallabies can be found all over the place in this area and it isn’t unusual to see them bounding down the main street in numbers. In fact, sadly, you often find them as road kill on the main road out to the highway. Where I work we have smaller wallabies and kangaroos actually living in and amongst the homes, with joeys in their pouches as well. The odd Dingo can also be seen from time to time. Koalas are known to live in healthy numbers around the area – not that I have spotted one here yet.

Reptiles abound here also, with large numbers of Red Belly Black Snakes, Diamond Pythons (pictured at above left) and Tree Snakes readily found in the warmer months, along with Blue-Tongued Lizards and Goannas. I have seen some Goannas that have been at least 1 metre long. Some of the Diamond Pythons have been closer to 2 metres in length.

It is the bird life that really thrives around here, especially the wetland varieties. The area is rich in bird life. At work you can see on a daily basis Wattle Birds, Blue Wrens, Finches, various Parrots and Rosellas, Black Cockatoos, Galahs, Water Fowl, Wood Ducks, Ibis, Egrets, Spoonbills, Herons, Black Swans and many, many more species of birds. There are the rarer sightings of birds also. A Tawny Frogmouth (pictured at below right) has made its home near where I live, trying its best to look like part of the tree in which it chooses to roost.Tawny Frogmouth

The area also abounds in sea life, of various types and sizes. It is not unusual to have Humpback Whales sighted of the coast here and Dolphins can be spotted almost every morning if you know where to look. The Sting Rays are also easy spot at the right time of the day.

You do get your not so welcome species of wildlife also, such as mosquitos and sand flies, but I guess these play their part in the general run of things, being food perhaps for the more welcome members of wildlife society.

One of the things I’m doing down here, tieing in my interest in web applications and social networks, is being involved with the Project Noah social network. This is a place to log wildlife spots with GPS markings using the iPhone application, along with the web application. I haven’t long been involved in it, but it is something I will be doing more and more. It will be good to build up a more complete picture of what species live in the area. Others can get involved in recording and mapping the wildlife of the area here by joining the ‘mission’ I have started at Project Noah.

The mission I have started for Tea Gardens can be found at:
http://www.projectnoah.org/missions/12346009

Tea Gardens: This is Where I Live


Lions Lookout Park - Tea GardensIt seems to be raining all the time here. It isn’t of course, but it does sometimes feel that way. This coming week is supposed to be dry and above average temperatures for winter. So far this winter it has been quite cold (for here) – easily the coldest winter in the five years I’ve been living around here. So it will be great to have warmer weather. It has also been wet – very wet. But it has been that way for the last two years – very wet! It hasn’t actually flooded on a wide scale around here, unlike almost every other place in eastern Australia. Many places have flooded on several occasions in recent times – some almost a dozen times. But not here, thankfully.

Today has been a nice day given the weather in recent weeks, months and even years. There has been no rain. Sure, it’s quite windy, but there’s no rain so the wind is fine. Rather pleasant considering the recent past. This week sounds like it will be a very good week, weather wise anyway.

Lions Lookout - Tea GardensSo where is this place? It is Tea Gardens – the place where I live on the east coast of Australia. It’s about an hour’s drive north of Newcastle in the state of New South Wales. I have developed a Google Map showing the location of Tea Gardens and of the Lions Lookout just out of town. Sadly I can’t embed the map in wordpress, which is a bit disappointing. Click on the link below and it will take you to the map, which you can zoom in and out on, etc. Over time I’ll add a few other icons and things to the map to show other places that will come up in my posts about the area in which I live.

To view the map click below:
Tea Gardens Map

I was going to go for a bit of a bushwalk up to Yaccaba Headland, but given the wind I decided to put it off until next weekend – maybe. Soon anyway. There will be a post about that whenever I get to doing it anyway. Hopefully soon. I’ve plotted Yaccaba Headland on the map linked to above as well.

So instead of the bushwalk, on a day like today, I thought I’d spend a little while out in the Great Outdoors anyway. So up I went to the Lions Lookout just out of Tea Gardens, on the hill overlooking town and snapped a few photos of the view and the park at the lookout.

View from Lions Lookout - Tea Gardens

ABOVE: The view from Lions Lookout

Solitary Mangrove


Solitary Mangrove - Myall River near Hawks NestThis photo was taken on the ferry trip between Tea Gardens and Nelson Bay last weekend, in New South Wales, Australia. The photo is of a solitary mangrove growing in rocks within the Myall River near Hawks Nest.

Small Wreck on the Myall River


Wreck on the Myall River, Tea GardensFirstly I must apologise again for not posting on a regular basis this last week. There have been some changes in my employment which have kept me from posting. The changes are all good, so nothing to worry about there – just too busy to do so.

This photo is of a small wreck on the Myall River in Tea Gardens, New South Wales, Australia.

Dredging the Myall River Channel


Dredging the Myall River channel near Tea GardensThis picture was also taken on my recent ferry trip across Port Stephens from Tea Gardens to Nelson Bay. This is the dredge that is removing sand from the rapidly choking channel of the Myall River.

Oops… Been Forgetting to Post


View Towards Yaccaba and TomareeFirstly, I must apologise for not posting over the last few days. I have no excuse – except to say I forgot to do so. Oops!!! OK, so I have the apology out of the way – time to post a photo for today.

Today I went on a ferry trip from Tea Gardens to Nelson Bay, did a spot of shopping and then came back via the ferry. It was a bit choppy on the water today and we got tossed around a little. Wasn’t a bad trip and I picked up a few items that I had wanted to get for a while. The ferry cruise across the ‘port’ would have been a lot more pleasant if it wasn’t so windy and cold, but still a good trip.

The photo at right was taken from the ferry while in the middle of the crossing of Port Stephens towards Nelson Bay. The picture shows both Yaccaba and Tomaree, with Broughton Island in the distance.

Sunrise Over the Singing Bridge


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This photo was taken at Tea Gardens (New South Wales, Australia) on the 1st February 2010. The photo shows sunrise over the Singing Bridge, which crosses the Myall River.

This particular shot is looking towards the bridge from the river’s edge near the Tea Gardens Hotel.

Spring Wildflowers at Tea Gardens


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There are quite a few wildflowers around Tea Gardens during spring. This particular photo is of a plant known as Drumsticks (Isopogon anemonifolius). It belongs to the same family as Proteas, Banksias and Grevilleas (Proteaceae).

This particular species of Isopogon is an upright, medium sized shrub with yellow flower heads in spring and summer. They are quite a nice flowering shrub and would make a great addition to a garden in the same way proteas and grevilleas are. They also make a good cut flower for flower arrangements. Propagation is from seed.

More Tea Gardens Wildflowers at:

Tea Gardens Wildflowers