After so long without decent rain, the seemingly perpetual heatwave and the horrific bushfires across Australia, the weekend rain was very welcome. I’m not sure how much we got here, but it was great and made a huge difference to the grounds at work (I’m the Head Gardener). More of course is needed, but it was a most welcome start to ending the drought – which hopefully will be the case.
Today is Christmas Day, but this post is not about Christmas Day – other than the fact that the day is actually Christmas Day. It is about the weather we are having on this particular day, that just happens to be Christmas Day.
In recent times the weather here has been very hot and we have been experiencing a drought. Yesterday the temperature was very hot, there was a dry, hot wind blowing and it was very draining. The watercourses around the area were drying up and had very little in the way of water left in them – apart from the main river of course.
Today the temperature is much cooler, with a wonderful cool breeze blowing and it is currently raining. In fact there is a thunderstorm, but not a violent one. It is the type of storm that just seems to slowly roll by with a small amount of lightning and thunder, yet has a lot of steady, soaking rain in it.
This rain is a major blessing and should be enough to allow some colour to return to our lawns (other than brown) and save the various plants under my care at work. Many of our plants have been greatly stressed because of a lack of water, so this truly is a great blessing. Very thankful for the rain.
Today had been quite unpleasant outside. It has been pouring with rain at times, then not. When it hasn’t been it has been blowing a gale and it is also quite cold. It’s bucketing down yet again. So very little has been able to be accomplished outside today. No great outdoors for me on this wet and miserable day.
I have been spending a bit of time, as a consequence of the weather, reading ‘The Bourne Identity,’ by Robert Ludlum. I haven’t read the Bourne series of books before, but have seen the movies many times. I’m a big fan of the Jason Bourne movies. However, having seen the movies it has been difficult to some degree reading the book. The book is very different to the movie, more so than what ‘The Hunt for Red October’ was to the film version. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still enjoying the book and will try and work my way through the other nine books (I believe there are now 10 books in the series).
So I’m making good progress through the first book and as I said, enjoying the read. I’m hoping to complete it before the end of the week, which I think I can achieve relatively easily. I’m approaching halfway through now – on the Kindle. I was only 10% through it a couple of days ago, so progress is going very well.
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).
So 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.
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.
One 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.
ABOVE: Wattle BELOW: More 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.
ABOVE: View towards Tea Gardens BELOW: View over the Pacific Ocean
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.
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.
This photo was taken at Apsley Falls in the Oxley Wild Rivers Natonal Park, New South Wales, Australia. I visited here during my ‘Waterfalls Tour 2010,’ which was my recently completed holiday.
There had been a lot of rain in recent times and the river was quite swollen, in contrast to its usual flow. Unfortuately I was unable to take any photos from the Oxley Walk (the other side of the river), as the bridge that crossed the river upstream had been washed away.
This photo was taken at Gloucester River Falls in the Gloucester Tops, which is part of Barrington Tops National Park in New South Wales, Australia. I visited here recently while on my ‘Waterfalls Tour 2010’ holiday.
The Gloucester River Falls walk takes about 30 minutes to complete and is a fairly easy circuit walk. The walk can take a lot longer if you explore the area surrounding the falls. On this trip I didn’t do that due to the rain, slippery conditions and swollen river.
The walk also passes the Andrew Laurie Lookout, which features great views over the Barrington Tops wilderness.
The video below is of the Gloucester River Falls in the Gloucester Tops. Gloucester Tops is part of the Barrington Tops National Park in New South Wales Australia. As can be seen in the video, there was quite a lot of rain on the day of the visit.
The video below is of the Andrew Laurie Lookout in the Gloucester Tops. Gloucester Tops is part of the Barrington Tops National Park in New South Wales Australia. As can be seen in the video, there was quite a lot of rain on the day of the visit.
Today’s photo is another shot of the Gloucester River Falls area and is a view from the waterfall in yesterday’s photo. The view is of the river further downstream. It really is a beautiful location.
The climb from the waterfall to the base and further downstream can be a little tricky – especially when there has been some rain about and the river is running higher than normal.