Thursday 27 June 2019

Around the Central Coast (part 2) - Day 5

Sunday, 9th June - This would be our last day in the Central Coast as we had to be back in Sydney for a dinner that evening.
We checked out from the Airbnb in Berkeley Vale at 10am and drove south to our first stop at Terrigal, a popular beach destination. It was certainly my favourite beach on this coast 😎.

The town looked delightful and very upmarket, and even though it's winter there were loads of people enjoying a sunny day at the beach and a few brave ones were actually swimming.

Terrigal Beach

Terrigal beach
At Terrigal Beach
From Terrigal we drove to Avoca Beach. There is no scenic drive as there are lots of beach front properties, something that doesn't happen with the Perth beaches where everyone has a right to beach access and the houses are across the road.

Here I could actually see some fancy houses with a gate from their back garden to the beach.
Sadly it appears to be a treacherous beach as there were 3 plaques honouring 3 young men who drowned.
While Jose investigated beyond the rocky area to the left of the beach I watched a man playing with his dog, throwing a stick into the sea which he would bring back again climbing the rocks with ease.

Avoca Beach - fancy houses, sand, rocks and a man playing with his dog
Man and dog playing with a stick 
Houses with their back garden facing the beach, memorial plaques to young men who drowned on this beach
Next we drove to Copacabana Beach, first stopping at Winney Bay lookout and just to it's right the Captain Cook's Lookout.

At Winney Bar and Captain Cook's lookout. Bottom left - Winney bay lookout

Captain Cook's lookout

The lookout offers panoramic views of the Pacific ocean, and apparently on clear days you can see the Sydney skyline. It's also one of the best spots to watch the whale migration during June/July and October/November.
There were some people with binoculars who were pointing out to a whale in the distance, but without binoculars I could only make out a dark thing in the distance.

Just below is Copacabana Beach, a popular surfing and swimming beach, named after the famous Rio de Janeiro Beach in Brazil, maybe because it is surrounded by some hills on either side of the bay.

Copacabana Beach
After visiting nearby MacMasters Beach we decided that was enough beaches and drove on to Woy Woy about 17km away.

MacMasters beach with a Lifesaver station
MacMasters beach and a little rabbit we saw crossing the road when we were leaving

On the way to Woy Woy near Ettalong I spotted a beautiful area and we turned the car around to go and see it. It was St. Hubert's island, a beautiful and expensive canal estate built in the 1970's, with just over 1000 residences. 

St Hubert's Island canal estate 

Booker bay Marina across from St Hubert's Island
At Woy Woy (big lagoon' or 'much water' in the local Aboriginal language) we stopped at the Fishermen’s Wharf for what else but fish and chips, which was very nice this time.

Woy Woy is another popular retirement and holiday destination in the Central Coast, and a major commuter hub for local workers into Sydney and Newcastle with a train station and a bus interchange and there is a ferry that connects with other villages around.

While Jose waited for the order on the outside deck I photographed more pelicans being fed by a lady from the self-funded Pelican Rescue & Research. She was also giving a talk to the onlookers about the various things pelicans get tangled in at sea.

Can you spot the fish inside the beak?
Pelican feeding at Woy Woy

Jose motioned me over to eat and after our late lunch we walked around the waterfront reserve where a few people were fishing.  There was also a picnic area and a war memorial. Across the road Jose had a coffee at the Gnostic cafe, and I had a hot chocolate.

It was 5pm and we had a dinner invitation for 7pm at Jose's landlord's house, so we had to get going. Even though it felt as if we had travelled a huge distance we only did about 50kms from Berkeley Vale to Woy Woy and then we drove another 70km to Middle Cove in Sydney's northern suburbs.

Signs at the Woy Woy Fisherman's Wharf (2 on left) and at the Gnostic coffee shop (2 on right) 

We got home at 6pm, freshned up, changed into something more appropriate for dinner and joined the party that had already started upstairs at Jose's Iranian landlords.

They are a lovely couple who have become friends, and I'm so grateful to them for making sure that Jose didn't feel alone while working in Sydney. They invited him to some of their events, introduced him to their friends, took him out sightseeing, to the beach, to breakfasts, etc.

The dining table was laden with delicious Iranian nibbles, my favourite being a dip made with eggplant, really yummi.
The drinks flowed, and the numerous guests including us danced to the lively music.  
A few of the lovely ladies in the Iranian group who knew Jose wanted to talk to me, so I felt very welcome.

We had no idea there would be a main dish later on, so when lasagna was served at about 10pm I hardly had space left for it. 
Then they served delicious and light cream puffs that they bought at an Iranian pastry shop. I had to try one of course, it was divine!!

The starters table
N announced to everybody that Jose was leaving Sydney and returning to Perth (next week), so everybody was sad that Jose was leaving.
We left at 1,30am, luckily we just had to come down the stairs to the granny flat and straight to bed!
We hope B and N visit us in Perth one day.

Jose and I and the neighbours N and B

The map of our return trip from Berkeley Vale to Woy Woy
Berkeley vale to Woy Woy
 For other signs from across the world follow this link.

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Around the Central Coast (part 1) - Day 4

On Saturday, 8th June, our second day in Berkeley Vale, I drew back the curtains and peeped out to the cosy patio when I got up, to find 3 cats staring at me. When I opened the patio door, two of them ran away and hid under some bushes, but one accepted my pats.

The lovely patio and outdoor area of the Airbnb
The 3 shy cats from the Airbnb
We showered, had breakfast and left the house for our day trip around the area. 
It was a gray and wet day, but our first stop - Shelly Beach, was full of surfers.
On to the next beach, Toowooon Bay just to see the views. 

Top photo - Shelley Beach, Bottom photos - Toowoon Bay
Back in the car, we drove further north to Norah's Head to visit the lighthouse. 

It was the last lighthouse to be built in State of New South Wales. It has a 27 metre (89ft) high tower, and was completed in 1903, with funds from Edward Hargraves, an English born gold prospector who bought land in this area to build his residence, Norahville. 
After a considerable number of shipwrecks on "his" coastline he decided the area needed a lighthouse.

I'd never climbed to the top of a lighthouse, so for a $6 entry fee I joined a small group with a lovely elderly gentleman as the tour guide, who explained all about the construction of the lighthouse,  the numerous shipwrecks in that coast, and the jobs of the keepers, who had to be men, married and short.

We climbed the 96 narrow steps all the way to the top, going past the window with the red light and then further up to where the optic prism light is located, and climbed out onto the surrounding balcony to enjoy 360 degree views of the spectacular coastline.

We learned about the duties of the lighthouse keeper, how the light was originally moved by 
kerosene that the keeper had to carry all the way up. The lighthouse light has been electrified
since 1961 and automated since 1995. 
Before then the 700 lenses of the optic prism also had to be regularly cleaned due to the 
kerosene fumes.

The former Lighthouse keepers cottage has been converted into two fully equipped 3 bedroom 
cottages for holiday rentals, and the lighthouse is also popular for wedding parties.

The Lighthouse keepers cottages (bottom right)

Views from the lighthouse balcony. You might spot Jose  in a black jacket waving to me to the right of that white shed

The dark skies over Norah's Head Beach

When we left we drove back to The Entrance about 15 min away to watch the Feeding of the Pelicans held at 3,30pm at Memorial Park. The town of The Entrance is  known as the Pelican capital of Australia and the town gets about 200 thousand visitors keen to watch this spectacle.


We arrived half an hour before and there were lots of birds already waiting near the shore. Closer to time they started making their way to the feeding platform.

The feeding started in 1979 when a guy who worked at Clifford's fish & chip shop started feeding them during his lunch break. The birds soon got used to it and if he was late they would waddle across to the shop and wait. 
Later the town management took over the feeding with the help of sponsors and donations. During the 30 minute show they also collect donations and sell pelican soft toys.

Almost time and the Pelicans are on their way

We managed to get a front row seat and noticed the birds weren't scared of the tourists.  
Jose was sitting next to the gap where the feeders walked past, and a couple of pelicans would come and go following the feeding lady, flapping their wings and trampling on people's feet.

Waiting time.....
This one was next to me before Jose took his seat where the bird is now

The volunteers who feed them are also on the lookout for pelicans injured by fishing line and tackle. 
The volunteers explain facts about the pelicans, such as: the Australian Pelican is the only species found in Australia (there are 8 different ones around the world), is also the largest and has the longest beak. It can hold 13 litres of water and they need to eat 1 to 2kg of fish/crustaceans/frogs a day.
They weigh about 4 to 8 kgs (8,82 to 17,64 pounds), and can glide on thermals as high as 3000mt for about 24 hours and can travel hundreds of kilometres.
There are about 300 to 500 thousand pelicans in Australia with about 500 living in this area (Tuggerah lakes) and about 80 coming to the daily feeds.
The ones who attend the feeding don't migrate as they get free fish year around 😉. Clever aren't they?

Can you see the beak laden with fish?
Fish going down the throat - can you see the lump?

After the show we went across the road to the Fish & Chips shop for an early dinner (or very late lunch). There was a long queue so we presumed the food was good, while the fish & chip next door was empty, so we ordered a mixed seafood basket for both of us, but were disappointed with the food.
When we finished we bought an ice-cream cone in a nearby shop.

The boardwalk where we ate under the big pine tree, the fish & chip shop and the ice-cream shop

The sun was setting and we walked back to the parking lot and drove back to Berkeley Vale.

 There didn't appear to be anyone at the house when we arrived, and we went into our room, put the heater on and while Jose read his emails I sat in bed downloaded my photos and then read my book.
A few hours went by and we both commented how relaxed we felt, with no tv or other noise in the background, just sitting there quietly.

It was about 10pm when Jose said he was feeling peckish and went to the kitchen to make us a few slices of toast with cheese and a cup of tea, before we went to sleep. 

                                                  My youtube video of the Pelican feeding

Berkeley Vale to Norah's Head and The Entrance

Hope you enjoyed meeting the pelicans as much as I did 💓😊.


Monday 24 June 2019

Monday Mural - It's like a jungle sometimes

I found this mural when I visited Newtown, a quirky inner city suburb of Sydney, when I visited a couple of weeks ago.
This mural was originally painted over a decade ago by local artist Colin Bebe on the side of a terrace house on the corner of King and Enmore streets.
It depicts animals in an  urban streetscape and the words "It's like a jungle sometimes", a reference to a song by New York Hip Hop group Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five.

In September 2017 an advertising agency painted it over (without approval by local authorities) with a mural promoting the thriller "Mother" starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem (photo below).
There was a huge uproar by the community and the film's Hollywood director Darren Aronofsky had to apologize for the desecration of the popular mural and offered to  pay for the original mural to be repainted.

If you like murals or have a mural you'd like to post, this meme is for you. 
Just follow the Linky steps below.   Be sure to link back to this blog and visit
your fellow mural bloggers.  
Looking forward to your mural finds this week. Thanks, Sami. 

In the veranda of the adjoining house I spotted another mural. 

                       Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five - It's like a jungle sometimes (youtube)

And this was the mural that replaced the original for a very short time.