Tag: Cyclone Debbie

638. Sunday 9th September 2018. Mackay and family visits…

Many photos this week.

Monday 3rd September

We had a lay day today. That was a good thing because I needed to rest from lack of sleep Saturday night and after a long day yesterday. As well I still have the dreaded head cold which has taken hold. Runny nose, plus a cotton wool head feeling and headache. Hmmm! Was it only May this year when I last had a head cold? Other than that I cannot recall the last time I had a cold.

In the afternoon we drove Sandi to the airport for her flight to Cairns.

Tuesday 4th September

It is another hot Spring day here in Mackay.

In order to stave off cabin fever we went for a drive to 1. buy some fuel and 2. have a look around the beaches of Mackay. Have they changed much? No not at all. Unfortunately the approaches to the beaches, usually via a park are dry. In this drought it is the best you can expect as the grass is dry, brown and crackly. The approach to what should be the premier beach of Mackay, Harbour Beach, passes through a dismal and untidy industrial area and some dry scrub over sand dunes. The nice tar sealed road ends at the Surf Club and the road along the beach, laughably called East Point Drive is a lumpy bumpy pot holed, sand boggy excuse. The roadside is littered with rubbish and even used as an oil dump in places. The road ends at the entrance to the Pioneer River and should be a pristine location. It is not. It is used by hoons in their four wheel drives and in the wet manage to make deep mud filled trenches. No improvements have been made to this road at least since 1986. (It seems the land is owned by the Mackay Harbour Board, not Mackay City Council, not the State Government and not Main Roads Dept. The Harbour Board has not spent any money on maintaining the road .)

We stopped at the picturesque Mackay Marina but roadworks are being carried out so vehicle access is denied. Pedestrian and cyclists are permitted. A plaque at the entrance to the rockwall declares the wall was damaged by cyclone Ului in 2010 and Cyclone Dylan in 2014. Repairs to the wall were completed in 2015 and the road was re-opened. Cyclone Debbie in 2017 again caused damage to the rock wall and parts of the marina itself. The road along the marina surrounding rockwall has been closed ever since. Repairs are still being carried out with a constant flow of trucks loaded with basalt blocks from a nearby quarry.

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I had to reverse the photo to understand this. The catamaran is called “BLONDE MOMENT”. I wonder if buying a new catamaran was the blonde moment.

We also took a drive along Mt Basset Road to the weather observation complex at Radar Hill Lookout.

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Mackay Bureau of Meteorology and weather station atop Mt Bassett Lookout.

Much of the city and inner suburbs of Mackay is built in on or around mangroves.

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View from Mt Bassett to Mackay City. Mangroves and Pioneer River are in the foreground. Note the building storm clouds.

Many creeks feed into the arms of the convoluted Pioneer River. The river does flood, especially in cyclonic conditions but so far the two modern high level bridges have stood up to the task. It is easy to see much of the mangroves surrounding the city from the Mt Bassett Lookout.

The streets of the city and inner suburbs often flood during periods of heavy rain and high tide. The city is criss crossed with flood easement canals with non return valves. It is often these valves which help create localised flooding as a high or King tide tends to keep the valves closed. Rainwater backs up and soon a flood begins.

While out and about we watched building storm clouds, black and ominous, creeping along the coast.

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Looking to the east from Mt Bassett Lookout. Those ships in the path of the building storm are waiting to load coal from Hay Point Coal Terminal to the south. About 2 dozen ships were waiting.

The sky was soon overcast, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped.

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View from Mt Bassett overlooking Mackay Harbour to the north.

I cooked up a big batch of Chicken Massaman Curry. Daughter Averyl joined Donnis, Dave and myself. Great curry although a little mild and sweeter than the Yellow Chicken Curry I did last week. It had a distinct bite and made my nose run and lips numb.

A little drizzle of rain before we went to bed. Is that all we are going to get out of that big black clouds earlier today?

Wednesday 5th September.

Happy Birthday to me!.

During the night the rain thundered down prompting us to jump out of bed and close all the windows. Wow! That was some rain which continued for ages. I hope they got some of this rain out west where it is desperately needed.

According to the news reports and Facebook pages, we received over 100mm overnight.

In the afternoon we went to visit friends Len and Lyn at Slade Point. We have been friends for many years since we originally joined the Mackay Sugarloafers chapter of the Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia. We no longer have a motorhome and cancelled our membership several years ago. Len & Lyn still have their campervan and are still members of the CMCA but no longer attend meetings.

Tonight we went to watch Shelby play Netball. Her team was undefeated – until tonight. They lost by one point. The other team came out with a winning attitude and took Shelby’s team by surprise. By the end of the first quarter they were down by 7 points. They made up the deficit and matched the other team point for point but ran out of time.

Thursday 6th September

Today we visited niece Kelly and young son Ollie and grandfather Mike.

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Mike and Kelly work with bees. Oh and that’s me.

It was a nice visit and we learnt more about bee keeping. Kelly and partner Jason have a number eof beehives including Native Bees. They collect and sell honey and are called Beecasia Honey. I learned something new today. I always thought Native Bees to be stingless. Of the 1600 known native bee species, only 11 are stingless. I also learned that the native bee sting is nothing like the painful sting inflicted by European Bees. Apart from producing and selling honey they also create bees wax cloth which can be used and re-used instead of say, plastic film. https://www.facebook.com/Bee-casia-Honey-145037879555168/

Kelly also showed me photos of a recent fishing trip to Reliance Creek where they came across a group of baby Crocodiles. They were able to scoop one out of the water and examine the youngster. It is rare to come across young crocs in the wild without a mumma watching from nearby.

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Ollie holding a baby crocodile found in Reliance Creek. Note the mangroves behind him.

Usually they know how to stay hidden. After they had a chance to examine the young croc it was released back into the water. Kelly, that was a magnificent find. I know you have spent many years fishing in Reliance Creek. I have too. We knew there were crocs there but have never encountered them before.

Afterwards we drove to Shoal Point for a marathon walk along the beach. It was low tide and the sand goes on an on and on.

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View of Little Green Island from the hill at Shoal Point. On days of very low tide you can walk to the island through calf deep water…and back again if you do not dawdle. The island is privately owned and has a fresh water supply from an underground spring.
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View from the hill at Shoal Point looking north to Cape Hillsborough.

At low tide the millions of Blue Soldier Crabs emerge from under the sand to feed on the miniscule amounts of detritus in the sand, leaving rounded pellets of discarded sand behind them. It is amazing to watch these little crab marching across the sand. As my shadow appears over them they stop and instantly burrow into the sand.

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Just a small number of Soldier Crabs going about the business of finding a meal. Look along beaches anywhere along along most of Australia’s coastline and you will see millions of these .
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This is what an adult Soldier Crab looks like. Imagine hundreds and thousands of these walking across the beach rolling up tiny pellets of sand to extract nutrients.

Once upon a time I could drive the 4WD along the beach to Reliance Creek.

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Mangrove trees will take root in almost any environment and maintain the struggle to survive and capture more ground and create a bulwark against the ocean. The roots spread out like fingers and detritus and leaves build up around those roots and in turn attract more sand and leaves and slowly build a soil platform around itself.
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Remains of what was once a strong and healthy Melaleuca (Paperbark) forest. Slowly the shape of the coast changed due to shifting currents and many many cyclones. In the background you can see a combination of Melaleuca and Mangroves retaliating in trying to win back what was once land.
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Did this chair wash up from a storm or was it placed here? To me it is facing in the wrong direction.

Now, successive cyclones over several years has eroded the sand and exposed the mangroves all of which are dead and their slim trunks stick out of the ground like tall thick stubbles of wheat.

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This was once a mangrove forest which has been overwhelmed by the sea and will slow decay and form a muddy peat like base which will also be fertile ground for future mangroves.

The mangroves have been fighting a battle with the sea over untold millenia. The mangroves try to reclaim land from the sea while the sea tries to wrestle back what belongs to it. It is a constant battle and looking at the sand it is easy to see ancient beds of rotted trees similar to peat slowly turning to mud mixed with sand.

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This is the remains of an ancient mangrove forest now a muddy peat base.

It is no longer possible to drive now that the sand is gone. Even walking among the fingers of mangrove stumps and muddy peat requires care where your feet are placed. In one peat/mud zone was the remains of a late model 4WD where an incautious and most likely inexperienced driver came to grief.

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Jut some poor unfortunate teenage driver who borrowed his Dad’s car to impress his mates with his driving ability had to abandon it in the mud. How he managed to drive it this far through tree, rock, mangrove and mud obstacles is a mystery. Perhaps he was a skilled driver after all. The ocean was more skilled.

Later I learned the Mitsubishi Pajero 4WD was borrowed by a teenage boy. Worse, he borrowed from his Dad. The car got stuck in the mud and could not be retrieved and has been flushed out by two high tides a day for the last 12 months.

Friday 7th September

Today we took a quick walk around Bucasia Boat Ramp on Eimeo Creek

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A couple of boats tied up n the mangroves on a muddy bottom at the Bucasia Boat Ramp end of Eimeo Creek. The one on the left was unfortunate in that it took on water and sank and became stuck in the mud. The owner managed to pump out the hull and refloat…temporarily. The hulls had became damaged and continued to take on water. There is a sign on the boat that it is a danger to navigation and must be moved. The boat on the right is still being used as a live aboard.
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Bucasia Boat Ramp end of Eimeo Creek. This is also a live aboard although you would need to time arrival and departure. That mud is thick and deep and smelly.
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More live aboards at Bucasia Boat Ramp at Eimeo Creek.

then visited Mike and Kelly. We learned a bit more about Native Bees. Most of them are single and do not swarm or have a queen. They do not make honey. They are however very good at pollinating. Beekeepers tend to make Bee Housing or Bee Hotels just to have these busy little bees in their area. Each “hole” in the hotel will be a home to a single native bee.

070918 beehome
A single Native Bee Hotel. Single native bees do not swarm, do not have a Queen, do not build a nest and do not make honey. They do pollinate so are still a gardeners friend. Installing one of these will attract single Native Bees.

Tonight we caught up with my daughter Melissa and her husband Steve. We went to a local Mackay Japanese style restaurant called Bing Nomiya. It has a reputation for good food. When we arrived it was fully booked out. Not a table to spare. OK thats good. We ordered. An hour later we had not been served but people at nearby tables who arrived after us were eating. Hmmm! That’s not good. We complained. They told us we had only ordered 30 minutes before!!! WTF. That was not true. But had we ordered 30 minutes before you would expect to at least have had the entree served within 10 minutes! As it turned out we were not impressed with the food. It is not as good as the Kabachi Ya Japanese Restaurant we have on the Gold CoastThe only good thing about the poor service was we got to spend more time with Melissa and Steve to catch up since our last visit. Melissa is very busy and in big demand tending to the needs of horses. She has a business trimming the hooves of horses and providing a massage and or Chiropractic attention to horses. To keep up with the demand she usually has to work weekends.

Saturday 8th September

Today we visited the Go Wake Cable Park http://gowakemackay.com.au/ to watch Anakin in his wakeboard competition. Anakin is in the Intermediate Class and only only joined the sport this year. We were quite amazed to watch the Novice Class and the children, as young as 7 perform jumps and twists. They look so light and seem to perform their stunts in slow motion.

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Look at the size of this boy. He barely has enough weight to make a splash.

Anakin threw himself into the competition despite having an injured back and despite having received acupuncture treatment earlier today.

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Anakin waits for his heat to begin.
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and he gets away to a flying start in heat 2.

In his final round he had a fall and landed badly and found he was in considerable pain.

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Anakin performing a loop in his first heat.
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Anakin performing an even better backward somersault in heat 2.

Hmmm! I see more physio, Chiro and Acupuncture in his life in the coming weeks.

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Anakin doing a power turn to line up and gather speed for the ramp.
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Anakin slides onto a rail.
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Staying on the rail for its full length is a challenge.

Afterwards we retired to daughter Averyls house where we had dinner and surprise surprise she baked a Carrot Cake for my birthday. Awwww. Gee Wizz. Thank you. We had a pleasant afternoon and dinner with Donnis, Averyl, granddaughter Shelby and grandson Anakin

Later back at Sandra’s house Dave and I sat up late working on a project on his computer. We over indulged in chocolate bullets and I over indulged more than Dave.

Sunday 9th September

Woke to an upset stomach. So upset I did not feel like breakfast. I am convinced this is the bodies revenge for over indulging on chocolate bullets.

For that reason today was a bit quiet. Dave was at Big Boys Toys promoting Shannons Insurance while Sandi was taking part in a walk for World Suicide Prevention.

Donnis and I stayed home. I had a sleep and after Donnis had lunch we went to Eimeo Beach for a walk in the fresh air and strong breeze.

090918 eimeo
Probably the most sought after beachside location in Mackay. This house address is Mango Ave and is the only house right on the point with multi million dollar views. Somehow it has escaped serious cyclone damage.

It did nothing to settle my stomch but I did come home and have another sleep.

Tonight we had a family dinner. Besides Sandi, Dave Donnis and myself we were joined by Daves daughter Emily and her husband Bill and their two children.

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Bria an almost 3 year old ball of uncontrolled energy. She likes chocolate…who doesn’t.

We plan to hit the road tomorrow morning and cover at least 500 Klms before we stop for the night.

Thanks Sandi and Dave for looking after us.

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568. Sunday 3rd September 2017. House painting and a long bush hike…

Friday 1st September (First day of Spring)

For the first time in a long, long, long time I did not post  last week.

Shame! Shame! Shame!

We started painting the house interior last week and it has continued all this week.

Today was a lay day.

Yahoo!

Saturday 2nd September

Met sister Enid and hubby Ken at Binna Burra a small parcel of private land within the Lamington National Park along the Scenic Rim Region in the McPherson Ranges. The car park is 800 metres above sea level. Today we took a hike along the Daves Creek Loop Trail which took us through some heavily wooded country, some open heathland and spectacular steep cliffs some 900 metres above sea level.

020917 fallen
One of the legacies of Cyclone Debbie earlier this year. Although the cyclone came nowhere near this region, it was hit by strong winds and heavy rains. We saw many fallen trees along the track.

In places we could look across deep valley floors within ancient volcanic caldera and see Mt Warning across the border in NSW. Todays 4 hour, 12 Klm up and down hike was a sort of warm up preparation for a more challenging hike/climb of Mt Warning…perhaps in October.

In places the track skirted steep cliff edges which made for a nervous bit of careful walking and to ensure there were no trips or slips on the downward slope.

020917 view
Our path follows that cliff line on the left. The track can be seenheading close to the edge. The high range in the distance is part of an ancient volcanic caldera and overlooks the Tweed Valley in NSW. Look carefully and you can see a Telstra Tower midway aling the ridge. further forward but unseen is whta is known as The Best of All Lookouts in Springbrook National park which I have written about before.

We stopped for lunch on a cliff edge overlooking the Numinbah Valley where we could see the ribbon of back road which travels over the range down into the Tweed Valley of NSW to Murwillumbah.

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Our precarious lunch spot.

I am nervous about heights so removing my camera, hat, walking pole and backpack was done very carefully. A playful bird flitted around us looking for a handout of small amounts of bread which it took and placed in the fork of several bushes nearby.

Somewhere along the track we crossed a small brook or creek, no more than a stride wide which had a small trickle of water struggling through the rocks. This was Daves Creek for which the track was named.

After lunch we started the climb on the return to the car park and were surprised by a sign which said Surprise Rock. It was indeed a surprise a large rock in the middle of otherwise rock free bush.

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Looking across the heathland from Surprise Rock.

The rock had beautiful views across heathland to Mt Warning in the distance.

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Looking past Surprise Rock towards Mt Warning and the Tweed Valley of NSW.

Eventually we made it back to the car park where we stopped to finish our sandwiches but a busy cheeky unidentified bird made three passes snapping at my sandwich, taking a little bite each time. On the third pass he took what remained of my sandwich in one low flying sneaky attack. We never even saw him coming.

On the way home I stopped to watch Para Gliders take off from an impossibly high and steep hill. Now that’s what I would like to do. On second thoughts I am a little nervous about heights.

At least I can watch.

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Preparing for a bit of time in the sky.
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Quick take off. A few steps and this pilot was flying.
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The carry bag doubles as a comfortable sitting harness.
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Mt Warning is in the background.
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A gentle landing.

545. Sunday 26th March 2017. Coastal review and a cyclone comes visiting…

Monday 20th March

Well another week has rolled by without us going anywhere or being involved in anything exciting.

This week of relative inactivity can be used to show some of our coastal photos captured in our travels.

011 12apostles
Twelve Apostles or at least some of the eight still left. Look carefully and you can see seven.

The Twelve Apostles are located along the Great Ocean Road near Port Campbell Victoria. In living memory these limestone stacks have been called The Twelve Apostles most likely by an explorer or local identity with an overactive religious imagination. At least since the early 1800’s there were only 9 stacks with one stack collapsing in 2005. And then there were eight. In recent years, undersea explorers have found Apostle Cousins, undersea limestone stacks, in the waters nearby. Amazingly the undersea stacks are eroding at a slower rate than those poking above the water. We first saw the Apostles in late January 2006. Our first glimpse was on a stinking hot day of above 40° temps with an oven-like westerly wind. The next morning dawned bright and clear. It was such a nice sunrise we decided to climb down a steep staircase to the beach below for an in your face close-up view. Within hours the weather turned nasty with big black storm clouds rolling in from the Antarctic bringing strong icy winds, stinging cold rain and a drop in temp to around 14°. The Twelve Apostles is on our bucket list to visit again. Preferably sometime when the big ocean swells roll in from Antarctic storms where the waves crash against and rocket up the limestone cliffs.

012 broadwater gold coast
Gold Coast Broadwater.

The Gold Coast Broadwater Qld is one of my favourite coastal views. (actually I have so many favourite views I do not really have a “favourite”. I just enjoy coastal views) To the right in this photo is the Iconic Q1 building at Surfers Paradise. That is the building I climbed with Tyler when he was visiting from Canada in January 2017.It is easy to distinguish the Q1. It is on the far right and has a giant Lightning Rod which is visible along most of the Gold Coast and hinterland.

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Austinmer Beach

Austinmer Beach and Rock Pool NSW is a northern suburb of Wollongong located south of Sydney along the Lawrence Hargrave Drive.  We stayed in our motorhome on the beach at an inexpensive small camp ground operated by Austinmer Surf Life Saving Club. The Sydney to South Coast Railway Line runs along the narrow escarpment between the Great Diving Range and the sea. Sometimes the line disappears into tunnels at other times there is a breathtaking vista of the coast from high up in the foothills. The town really only got its beginning in 1887 when the North Illawarra Coal Company opened a new mine in the area. The famous Bulli Pass, a steep and winding road to connect to the main highway is located a short drive to the south. The less well known and less steep Bald Hill Road is a few Klms to the north. It also connects to the main highway at Helensburgh.

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Coles Bay Tasmania

Coles Bay on the south east coast of Tasmania has some awesome coastal views stretching for Klms. The bay is located on the sheltered side of the peninsular It is located on a narrow neck of land known as Freycinet Peninsular. The entire area is part of the Freycinet National Park and is home to many species of wildlife. The Swan River which begins somewhere in the wild mountain ranges to the west, drains into Moulting Lagoon, part of Coles Bay then drains into the ocean at Swanwick Bay.

015 eimeo qld
Eimeo Beach

Eimeo Beach Qld is a small tropical beach located in the Mackay North seaside suburb of umm err, Eimeo. The famous Eimeo Pacific Hotel is located atop a steep hill to the left of the photo. In the background can be seen the long stretch of Bucasia Beach to Shoal Point Headland and Little Green Island just offshore. Also visible is Blacks Reef also just  offshore.Although only a small beach it is patrolled in summer months and is used by the Sunset Bay Outrigger Canoe Club (formerly Ko Huna Outrigger Canoe Club) in its club premises shared with Mackay Catamaran Club.

016 horseshoe bay
Horseshoe Beach

Horseshoe Bay is located in Bowen Qld about 200 Klms north of Mackay. The bay is a delightful safe protected little body of water, ideal for family events, boat launching and retrieval but can be a nightmare in windy conditions. It becomes absolutely frightening in a cyclone. It can also be extremely hot and humid as when it is protected from the southerly winds it gets no breeze at all and is frankly, stifling. It is also a place subject to the deadly box jellyfish, Chironex Flexerii and the tiny but even more deadly Irukangi. Saltwater crocodiles are also seen from time to time. The coral sand bottom is also littered with ancient sharp coral outcrops. It is a place which is lovely to look at but I have never entered the water here.

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Kirra Beach

Kirra Beach on the southern end of the Gold Coast Qld adjoins the other famous Coolangatta Beach. My first introduction to Kirra Beach was on a long car drive with three friends from Sydney. Arriving at the beach at 6pm with the sun sinking in the west we felt it was time for a surf after a long and tiring 1,000 Klm drive. I had never surfed in the dark before. I have not surfed in the dark since.

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Luna Park

Luna Park is strictly speaking not located on the coast. It is located on Sydney Harbour NSW. Luna Park is an amusement park located at Milsons Point, under the northern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s super easy to get to by train, ferry, bus or car. Luna Park was opened in 1935 with the advertising slogan “Just for Fun”. It ran on weekends only until 1972 when it went full time usually 10am to 6pm weekdays and until 10pm Saturday. Keeping with the “fun” theme the park offers the following safety tip…For the safety of our guests, when the weather is funny some rides and attractions may need to close at short notice. Awww. Just writing about Luna park makes me want to go again and relive my childhood. Anyone for Fairy Floss?   http://www.lunaparksydney.com/

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Noosa Beach

Noosa Beach Sunshine Coast Qld. What can I say about Noosa which I have not already written about many times before. It is another favourite beach.

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Port Fairy

Port Fairy at the end of the Great Ocean Road Vic. It is located on the Moyne River and was named by the crew of a whaling ship, The Fairy in 1828. In some respects much of Port fairy still looks like it did 100 years ago and still maintains a sort of olde worlde charm. The town had an arm wrestle with its original name. A John Griffiths established a whaling station and called the town Belfast after his home town in Ireland in 1835. The Post Office already called the town Port Fairy John Griffiths was not to outdone and agitated to the point the town was renamed Belfast in 1854. The local population, few of whom came from Ireland agitated themselves and soon the town reverted to the name Port Fairy. That name still stands today. Incidentally whaling is no longer carried out here but the cold waters around the coast are ideal for squid and calamari fishing boats.

Sunday 26th March

Tropical Cyclone Debbie formed off the tropical coast of Queensland on Friday. It is expected to cross the coast as a Category 4 or worst case scenario, Category 5 about 8am Monday. Predicted path is to cross south of Ayr and the time of arrival is expected to be at the top of a King Tide. With a two metre storm surge expected there are interesting times ahead.