Tag: Tweed River

501. Sunday 17th July 2016.Baking, Fingal Heads and Binna Burra…

I should have made a big deal out of last weeks post.After all, 500 posts is a milestone. Considering I do at least 52 posts in a year perhaps as many as 55, I have been writing this for more than 10 years. So, did I go and open a bottle of champagne and toast to the next ten years? No! Instead I had a cup of tea and two choccy biscuits.

Congratulations FrankieG.

Monday 11th July

Today was a mix of overcast and sunny.

What better day to do a bit of baking.

Zucchini Savoury Rice Muffins

Sultana Cake

Mini Baked Passionfruit Cheesecake Cups.   I had some left over Cream Cheese and some frozen passionfruit pulp and some oat cake biscuits and these were the main ingredients as well as caster sugar in the pantry and butter and an egg in the fridge.


My first cheesecake and it was so good.

In the afternoon I went crazy with the Magic Bullet blender. I put in spinach, cucumber, carrot, tomato, parsley, garlic and ginger.

Yechhh! It was so thick and pulpy and bitter. Perhaps I should have used a juicer but it still would have been bitter. I filtered the green mess and put the juice in the bullet and added a green apple. The pulp went into the garden. The taste? Better now that I added the apple but what am I going to do with the rest of the spinach. (It is not my idea of an enjoyable drink) Perhaps I can cook the spinach with a bit of ricotta cheese and make something tomorrow?


Wednesday 13th July

Today I drove over the border into NSW to have lunch with Errol, Nicole, Amelia and Hannah. It is their last day at Hastings Point before they head home to Wollongong. Before leaving Hastings Point we stopped at Lake Cudgen which is behind Cabarita Beach. For some reason the locals like to call it Cabarita Lake while locals at Cudgen call it Cudgen Lake. Go figure! It is a small lake which seems to be surrounded along the foreshore by Melaleuca forests (also known as Paperbark Trees) which are currently in flower.  On the lake and near shore is a thick growth of what appears to be a type of bulrush.

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Cudgen Lake. At one stage big lumps of money were poured into creating resorts with jetty’s and designated swimming locations. All are now weathered and ready to collapse.
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The last remaining pieces of a jetty at Cudgen lake.

We drove along the coast towards Tweed Heads to have a little walk and lunch at Kingscliffe. After lunch the girls wanted to go back to the caravan park for kids club while Errol and Nicole opted for a spa.

This was my opportunity to look at Fingal Head (named after the Celtic God Fingal) which lies between the Tweed River and the sea. Once, all this area was part of the now extinct Tweed Volcano, where lava, flowing into the sea, cooled more quickly forming hexagonal shaped basalt columns.

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This is weathered example of basalt columns at Fingal Heads. The island in the Background is Cook Island, also columnular basalt. The island is named in honour of Captain James Cook who passed this way in 1770.
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Basalt Column cliffs at Fingal Head. Almost the entire headland is made of these columns with an overlay of later lava which is itself overlaid with thin soil.
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Cook island

The columns here are called the Giants Causeway.  Similar basalt columns around the world, such as in Ireland and the USA are also called the Giants causeway. Probably the most famous example of Columnar Basalt is Devils Tower in Wyoming USA. It was the often used setting and a part of the plot in the 1977 movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”.

Also located at Fingal Headland is an unmanned and automatic functioning  lighthouse which was built in 1879.

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Fingal Head Lighthouse.
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Still operational, unmanned Fingal Head lighthouse with a Trig Point. Trig Point was erected in 1872. Trig Points are no longer used as GPS has made mapping and location pinpointing much more accurate.

Today the lighthouse out buildings and lighthouse keeper cottage are gone with only the foundations still intact. The lighthouse sits atop the steep basalt column cliffs and from here,  can be seen the Tweed River entrance, Tweed Heads and Coolangatta looking north along Fingal  Beach.

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Fingal Beach looking north to the entrance to the Tweed Rive, Tweed Heads and Coolangatta.

To the south lies the long expanse of Dreamtime Beach and the town of Kingscliffe. One of my favourite trees, the Pandanus

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Fingal Headland with the iconic Pandanus Trees looking south across Dreamtime Beach to Kingscliffe.
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Pandanus and cliffs looking to Dreamtime Beach.

has a strong foothold on this weather and salt exposed headland where the only other plant in this area which flourishes are grasses.

Today, the medium sized swells were crashing against the vertical basalt columns and were probably the reason so many people were sitting on the rocks watching the sea. This would be a wonderful place to visit when the huge storm waves are battering the coast. Today a small pod of dolphins were cruising in the deep water just off the base of the cliffs.

In 2010 Donnis and I visited a similar basalt column area called Sawn Rocks in Mt Kaputar National Park near Narrabri in western NSW.

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A fine example of mildly weathered hexagonal basalt columns.Mildly weathered in this case is a few million years give or take a few more million years but this example in Kaputar National Park, western NSW near Narrabri, known as Sawn Rocks has not been eroded by the salt ocean and pounding waves over milenium.
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Some of the columns have broken and fallen to the base of the cliffs. They really do look as though the rock has been “sawn”.

The features in this park are more visibly stark and pronounced as they are not subject to the same weathering and action of the sea as is the case here at Fingal Heads.

Strange clouds gave the Tweed Rive and the twin towns of Tweed Heads (NSW) and Coolangatta  (Qld)in the distance, a  brooding outlook.

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Looking along the expanse of the Tweed River with the towers of the twin towns of Tweed Heads (NSW) and Coolangatta (Qld)
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A calm backwater f the Tweed River at a location known as Cave Point.

Thursday 14th July

Good friends Tony and Dawn arrived for an overnight stay before heading off to the Sunshine Coast tomorrow…for a holiday!

Friday 15th July

After Tony and Dawn left I also left for Binna Burra in the Lamington National Park on the Great Diving Range. Sister Enid and husband Ken have a weekend planned with friends to do a couple of walks in the rainforest. They are staying at Binna Burra Lodge.              http://www.binnaburralodge.com.au/

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Binna Burra Lodge.
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Some of the slab sided cabins with shingle roofs.

I took an extra jacket as a precaution against the cold front moving in from NSW. Although I expected it to be cold I did not expect snow although snow was forecast for parts of NSW above 800 metres. Binna Burra is also 800 metres above sea level but it only snows here infrequently.

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This once delightful bid house has not seen birds in a long long time. The spiders have taken over.
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This children’s playground has not been used by children in a long long time. I guess the spider webs which drove the birds away from the bird house also drove the children away.

The lodge was built in 1930 and has been added to over the years. The original buildings were of slab timber, roughly hewn with a cedar shingle roof. Rooms share facilities. The 40 Klm drive from the coast took almost an hour. The road is steep, winding and narrow. In some places it is one way only with blind corners.

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Valley view along the road to Binna Burra.
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The steep hillside is a great place to fly gliders. It is not such a great place if the glider crashes.

The old lodge has a separate accommodation of modern buildings with facilities. The new buildings do not blend in with nature and are a jarring counterpoint to the original buildings.

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The newer cabins do not blend into the hillside.

There is also a camp ground managed by the National Parks. I chose not to go on any of the walks as I have been suffering high blood pressure for a month including a constant headache for almost two weeks leaving me a bit light headed and at this altitude slightly out of breath.

I had a time of near panic when I realised my precious Panasonic Lumix FZ200 camera was missing. We had left the nearby barbecue and picnic grounds to drive to the lodge when I noticed the camera was missing. I drove back to the picnic grounds, retraced our steps but found no sign of the camera. I reported the loss to the teahouse then drove to the lodge to make the same report there. Sister Enid and friend Jack insisted we go back to the picnic grounds and have another look. I thought it was a waste of time as it was more likely anybody finding the camera would keep it. We split up looking at the toilet block, the barbecue pit and the picnic table. I heard Enid calling me that she had found the camera. It was a few metres away from the table where I had last placed it. The camera was on the ground beside a rock and its location was such that it would not be easily seen. We speculated the pesky thieving aggressive Scrub Turkey could have tried to take it. (earlier a turkey jumped up onto the barbecue table and stole a tub of butter Ken had placed there. He and Enid chased the turkey and managed to recover the butter but the turkey kept the lid) Perhaps. Once they found it was not food it would have been abandoned. Personally I think the camera and case was simply too heavy for a hungry turkey to carry. I am inclined to think there was some sort of human activity involved. Either way I was grateful we found the camera.

Be still my beating heart. Next time I will padlock the camera to my arm…

Just kidding

498. Sunday 26th June 2016. A funeral, a look around Port Macquarie and a visit to Murwillumbah…

Monday 20th June.

Despite the overcast, rain and blustering, cold westerly wind I drove from Port Macquarie to Newcastle Crematorium at Beresfield. I had allowed three hours for the journey and even stopping for fuel and a coffee break I was still 90 minutes early.

As people arrived it was clear the small chapel was not going to hold all the mourners. Apart from family, relatives and friends, Bobby had a wide circle of people who respected him. After the chapel was filled it was standing room only – outside in the cold. Bobby’s daughter Libby, ably assisted by her brother Grant, gave a moving eulogy. Bobby was a member of the National Rifle Association of Australia and at one stage was coach of the junior team which toured overseas. Mourners from the club and other business customers from Coonabarabran joined family and friend s to pay their respects.

Libby commented that sometimes her father was a Grumpy Old Man but we loved him. Judging by the tears, the 12 grandchildren also loved him.

Goodbye Bobby.

After refreshments at Beresfield Bowling Club I drove back to Port Macquarie arriving well after dark. Within minutes I laid down and fell asleep for a couple of hours. It was a long day, including 6 hours of driving and an emotional event.

Tuesday 21st June.

I decided to stay another day so I could be refreshed for the drive back to the Gold Coast. I drove around looking at some of the many beaches around Port Macquarie.

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Town Beach

Town Beach is adjacent to the breakwater and marina wall. This wall is different to most I have seen elsewhere, almost every stone face is painted with a memorial or endless love sonnet or even just a memento of a visit.

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These are the painted rocks along the breakwater walkway.
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This man is painting his own message on one of the breakwater rocks.

There is a great deal of beach erosion, a legacy of the violent storm experienced all along the Eastern Seaboard of Australia a few weeks ago.

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Beach erosion along Town Beach from recent storms

It was here I watched the cargo ship, “ISLAND TRADER” enter the narrow seawall opening into the Hastings River and marina and canal residential community. The ship carries supplies to and from Lord Howe Island almost 600 Klms offshore. LHI is part of NSW and therefore part of Australia. Port Macquarie is the closest NSW port to LHI.

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Island Trader returning from Lord Howe Island.

Shelley Beach has a memorial to Harry Thompson who arrived with his family in a caravan in 1960.

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Shelley Beach
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Harry Thompson is silent sentinel over his Shelley Beach. Note the cleared understory of the beachside vegetation.
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Picnic shelter carved to represent the interior of Harry Thompsons caravan where he and his wife and son lived for 40 years.

Perhaps the best explanation of the story is from this Flikr Page.

 “In 1960 Harry and Jean Thompson moved from Warren in western NSW after winning the lottery and buying a caravan. Being from the bush, with no experience of the beach Harry got bogged in the sand at Shelly Beach at Port Macquarie on the NSW mid North Coast.

The Thompsons decided there and then that they had found their spiritual home and thereafter made their caravan their permanent home at beautiful Shelly Beach,

The Thompsons were long time unofficial caretakers of this idyllic Port Macquarie beach and in the process became legendary as they successfully garnered the support of Port Macquarie residents in their effort to resist many vigorous attempts by the local Port Macquarie – Hasting Shire Council to evict them from their self proclaimed beach side home.

Harry Thompson, died on 31st January 2000 at age 83 and the community began fund raising for a memorial, now evident at the northern end of Shelly Beach in the form of a wooden sculpture of Harry and interestingly, his caravan. The area has become known as ‘Harry’s Corner’ and a walking trail with 254 steps, all laboriously built by Harry, leads to a nearby lookout now known as ‘Harry’s Lookout’

Such was the fondness with which Harry was held he was elected citizen of the year in 1983 and in 1999 was proclaimed ‘Mayor of Shelly Beach’


In 2009 an unbelievable mindless act of vandalism saw the sculpture of Harry decapitated. Fortunately local builder and friend of Harry, Ted Sala, came to the rescue and repairs were made and Harry once again stands a silent sentinel watching over his beloved Shelly Beach.”


I also visited secluded Miners Beach now an unofficial nudist beach, and given the weather today very few people were seen, all dressed of course.

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Miners Beach. Note the Banksia.
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Little Miners Beach.

Most of the beaches on the south side of Port Macquarie are at the base of steep cliffs much dressed in native vegetation including the wonderful Banksia’s.

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Much of the cliffside around the Port Macquarie beaches have all native vegetation. Currently Hastings Council are removing non native species. These beautiful banksia frame the scenery.

A walk has been established from Town Beach all the way through the beaches as far as the Tacking Point Lighthouse.

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Tacking Point Lighthouse.

Nobby’s Beach is on this walk but does have a one way access road as well.

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Nobby’s Beach

At Flynns Beach

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Flynns Beach notice to weed brought in by recent storms.

I watched boogie board riders in shallow water in front of the cliff face.

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It was cold on the beach today but these wetsuit clad boogie board riders were enjoying themselves.
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This rider needs to be careful he does not bite off his tongue.
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These riders were following the break of the waves…towards the rock!

At the end of my journey was Tacking Point Lighthouse. The  lighthouse was built high on a rocky headland in 1879 and is listed on the National Trust Heritage Register. The light house was built due to the large number of shipwrecks in the area. There were twenty shipwrecks between 1823 and 1878. The lighthouse was only 8 metres tall due to the height of the headland itself. It is similar in construction height to Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse which also sits on a high headland at Seal Rocks South of Forster.

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Lighthouse Beach looking south.

Late in the day I went to Lake Cathie (Locals pronounce it Lake Cat Eye which is probably a derivation of the original, Lake Cat Hie. It depends on which local you speak to and how long they have been a local). Calling it Lake Cathie alerts locals that you are an uninformed visitor.

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The calm reflective beauty of Lake Cathie where is runs into the ocean.
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Lake Cathies looking towards the bridge.

Wednesday 22nd June.

Another long day of driving home. Although there were lots of stop/slow roadworks I still managed the trip in 7.5 hours. Once home I fell asleep and woke in time for a light dinner and watch round 2 of the 3 round State of Origin series. Queensland won round one and only needed to win on their home ground to win the series for 2016. Despite strong defence by NSW and some good tries to both sides, Queensland won 26 to 16 and making them series winners ten years of the last eleven. The third round in NSW in three weeks was a sellout before tonight and the game will be just as tough despite it being a “dead rubber”.

Saturday 25th June

Astute and regular readers will recall I broke my wrist in an ummm, bicycle accident on 2nd August 2015. I required wrist surgery to install a T piece stainless steel plate. For 10 months I have been doing regular physiotherapy and taking strong nerve pain medication. I was on 300 Mg of Lyrica twice a day (the maximum advised does is 600Mg per day) and another pain medication, 10 Mg of Endep at bedtime. Although the medical profession say the medication is not addictive it is not something which you can just stop taking as there will be withdrawal symptons. One of the many side effects is weight gain. In my case about 10 Kg. I am pleased to report that I have stopped physiotherapy and now using the hand in regular daytime functional uses rather than the regime of particular exercises to regain use of the hand. What I am most pleased about is I started a slow withdrawal of the medication and I have not had any medication for two days. No constant pain and I am sleeping.


However, although the last two nights sleep have been a little troubled and have woken a few times during the night.

Silly repetitive dreams.


I mention these two drugs in case readers ever find themselves on Lyrica or Endep and need to know the slow process of coming off the drug.

Sunday 26th June

Yesterday evening and again this morning it was quite cold with overnight temps down around 10 degrees. Yeah Yeah I know. It only begins to get cold at minus 10. Remember we live on the Gold Coast and spent the last 30 years living in the tropics. Anything less than 23 degrees is cold!

Now for something totally different.

I drove to Murwillumbah about 70 Klms from home. The town is just over the border in NSW and is situated on the mid reaches of the Tweed River

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Tweed River looking east.
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Delightful timber cabin cruiser on the Tweed River.
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Another lovely old boat on the Tweed.

in what is surprisingly called the Tweed Valley. Once upon a time the original Pacific highway ran through here, following the Tweed River into Tweed Heads and on into Coolangatta Queensland. The town is not large in terms of size or population but it does have an impressive art gallery called, Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre.

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Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre.

Apart from the impressive paintings and sculptures it also includes a re-production of Margaret Olley’s home in Paddington, Sydney. The rooms have been re-created using photos and includes all the bric a brac, furniture, clothes, magazines, books, painting materials, weird statuatry  and assorted junk which was in the house at the time of her death. It also includes the stove top, oven and the kitchen sink. The windows also include the original tissue thin ragged curtains on the original house. The gallery sits on a hill overlooking the lush pastures of the Tweed

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Tweed River and valley.

while in the distance is the looming presence of Mt Warning (named by Captain Cook when he sailed along the coast in 1770) and other peaks which were formed by a massive volcano twenty million years ago. The other peaks are also

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Mt Warning
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Mt Warning and Tweed Valley.

the remains of the volcanic caldera. There is much to see in the Tweed Valley and surrounding peaks, National Parks and caldera farmlands.


I will save a return visit for when Donnis is home.