AU East Coast,  2021  

 

Photographs and commentary: copyright Jonathan C Nevill,  2021, unless otherwise credited. Camera: Samsung Galaxy S7.
Date: April 10 - May 31, 2021.

 

I left Tasmania by ferry, with my Hyundai iLoad van, on April 10. The purpose of the trip was to catch up with distant friends.

This collection of photos is NOT a travel story, unlike my usual photo-essays. It's just unrelated photos, each one of some passing interest.

 

I camped at Bear Gully Reserve, just west of Wilson's Promontory, Victoria

It's a relaxing, sheltered ocean coast. There were lots of beautiful fungi.

 

There are many long, empty beaches along the south coast of New South Wales.

Gillard's Beach, at Mimosa Rocks National Park. This is typical of many south-coast beaches. And this was taken on a long-weekend.

 

I followed Highway A1, more or less consistently, as I drove north. 

The image above was taken at sunset, looking west from the highway. Many of the clouds appeared blue rather than their usual grey.

That's the Great Dividing Range in the distance.

 

Australia's East Coast has many attractive cities, towns and villages.

Here at Port Macquarie, I was impressed with the amount and scale of suburban vegetation. Brisbane is another city with a lot of trees.

 

Another sunset, just north of Port Macquarie. Tall cumulo-nimbus clouds are wonderful features of the sky, here only on the horizon. 

In Tasmania we generally don't have enough energy from the sun to form these huge, towering clouds.

 

I have friends living in the hilly hinterland of northern New South Wales. They live on several hectares, most of which is rainforest. 

Their small house is mostly hand-built. I was impressed by a feeling of calmness... which perhaps comes from living in a forest.

 

Nimbin, a small town in this countryside, has been the home of those seeking an 'alternative' lifestyle for many years.

On a previous visit to Tuntable Falls, a 'commune', I asked one of the residents why the children playing in the creek were fully clothed.

I had expected them all to be naked, on such a hot day. My friend replied that, strangely, many of the children from hippy families had 

ambitions to grow up to be bankers and real-estate agents. Perhaps it's the destiny of one generation to reject the values of the previous.

 

 

 

 

 

Mount Walsh National Park lies in the background

The farmhouse on the right needs a bit of work....

 

Great Keppel Island lies off the Queensland coast from Yeppoon (near Rockhampton).

I visited the island to spend a few days with a friend, Catherine, who was volunteering at one of the islands hostels.

The highlight of my visit was snorkelling over the ruins of the underwater observatory (on the above map, just south of Middle Island).

I thought it would be fun is the fish could get inside the ruins, looking out at the snorkelling tourists through the observation windows.

Although I didn't see any big fish, there were many beautiful fish of smaller size. Visibility was not conducive to photography.

 

Trans Australian Airlines (TAA) operated a substantial resort on the island. It ran profitably for around two decades. 

Due to high operating and maintenance costs, profitability declined and the resort now lies abandoned.

It seems strange to see such expensive infrastructure abandoned, on an island which in many ways is a tropical paradise.

 

Behind the resort, cottages are slowly being overgrown, as the forest moves in...

 

In Victoria, it's unusual to see a house raised above the ground, unless it's on a slope.

In Queensland and coastal NSW, it's common. When I lived in Brisbane we had a renovated "Queenslander".

A timber home, with verandas on three sides (north, east and west), and a large deck on the south side. 

All raised about 2.5m above the ground. It has no air-conditioning, but used lever windows extensively.

Being above the ground, it would make good use of the slightest breeze.

On a weekend, we would eat breakfast, lunch and dinner on the deck, which abutted the kitchen.

Unfortunately I was unable to get a close photo of this farmhouse, but it's a good example of the style.

 

Here's another example of a raised house, but this time the reason is not ventilation, but the house's position on flood-prone land (NSW).

 

Talking of lever windows....

Here's an example from Colecliff, just north of Wollongong in NSW.

 

I visited friends living in Dalby, a rural city about three hours drive west of Brisbane.

The Darling Downs... gently undulating country which seems to go on forever.

The original vegetation was extensively cleared long ago. In earlier years peanuts were one of the main crops.

There's a lot of chickpeas grown now. Being well inland, Dalby has hot summers and cold winters.

I love the colours in the cloudless sunsets. Yes, the power poles really do lean all over the place. I guess that's the result of deep soils.

 

I couldn't resist taking a photo of this second-hand car yard in Dalby...

Except it's not actually a used car yard. It's called "Dalby Used Machinery". There's millions of dollars worth of machinery here.

Including a railway locomotive! To its right, expensive prime movers are lined up for sale.

Imagine buying a used locomotive! That's actually pretty hard to imagine...

 

Brisbane is a great city. The climate is generally good. This photo was taken from a recently-constructed riverside walk, complete with cafes.

It's very popular with both locals and tourists alike. 

Another view. The water looks brown and it is brown. The river carries a lot of fine sediment into Morton Bay, just off shore.

Morton bay is quite shallow, and popular for a variety of water sports. I had hoped to dive Flinders Reef, just north of North Stradbroke Island.

But my plan was cancelled due to timing issues.

 

Brisbane City Council provides bicycles and scooters for hire. A great idea.

 

Moving south to Wollongong, Bald Hill in Stanwell Park is a popular launch site for paragliders (pictured here) and hang gliders.

I had a few un-answered questions... like what happens if a pilot make a wrong judgement and ends up in the ocean?

Most of the pilots we saw that day (I was with Kara) were recreational. There were a few commercial tandem operators.

 

The Sea Cliff Bridge, north of Wollongong.

 

Recreational pools in the coastal tidal zone are a great feature of the NSW coastline. 

As you can see, even used in late Autumn (20th May).

 

Patterns formed  by erosion in the coastal sandstone are endless and intriguing.

 

Macksville Bridge.  

There is a lot of flat land along the NSW coast, with wide, meandering, generally slow-flowing rivers. 

Two centuries ago, there were extensive wetlands in these areas. Today, most of the natural wetlands have been drained for farmland.

The birds, reptiles and mammals which once inhabited these wetlands have largely disappeared. 

Ibis however are an exception to this pattern of local extinction, and have to a certain extent adapted to use man-made habitats. 

 

Reflecting back on my East Coast journey, as it was nearing it's end, my emotions were a mixture of joy and sadness. 

After many years of physical separation, it was a great joy to see friends who were doing well. There was sadness too, to meet with old friends 

who were not doing so well, some seriously ill. 

 

Just as I was preparing to leave Tasmania on April 10, I learned of my friend John Doak's death. In my early days living in Hobart, John was one of my best friends, and kayaking partner. He was good-natured, imaginative, with a great sense of the ridiculous. Caroline was the love of his life. She was full of energy, larger than life, highly intelligent, very funny. When she died of cancer at a young age, John lost his only soul-mate. The years passed... and gradually John withdrew from his friends, including me. 

 

I thought of the words of the song:

 

"for every new path, there must be an end

for every broken heart, there must be a mend"

 

John died without every finding his path's end. John died without ever finding his heart's mend. 

I felt so sad...

 

One of the best parts of my trip was coming home.

All the girls (Karla, Victoria and Chelsea) were waiting for me at Hobart Airport! That was such a nice surprize!

They bring sunshine into my life...

 

 

 

 

 

 

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