Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Central Coast Impressions

Central Coast, as its name suggests, is an excellent location - there is the juxtaposition of coastline and large lakes almost abutting, providing lovely beaches and inland water for sailing and other recreational facilities, all within an hour of Sydney.

Lake Macquarie - bigger inland water area than Sydney harbour, which has a series of small villages on its banksides - such as Swansea and Belmont. The picture below is from Mawson Lookout at Caves Beach near Swansea. In the distance Lake Macquarie is on the left and the ocean at Blacksmith's Beach on the right - you may have to click to enlarge.
from Mawsons Lookout
As a contrast to Sydney you have a series of small towns, which apart from Terrigal are low rise, small town Australia - Toukley, Budgewoi, Wyong. Then there is series of small resorts - Bateau Bay, pretty Hardy's Bay (pic below), and Copacabana.
Hardy's Bay
The area has a Series of conservation areas, including National Parks like Wyrrabalong; State Parks such as Munmorah, with its heathland covered with flannel flowers and pockets of littoral rainforest - cabbage tree palms; and local community conservation areas, such as nature trails done by ratepayers and local councils. A good example is the lovely headland walk at Norah Head which you can turn into a loop walk by passing the pristine Norah Head Lighthouse, built in 1903, and coming back along the beach, past the sea pool formed by placing rocks to provide sheltered water, safe to swim in, which is refreshed when high tide floods in.
sea pool at Norah Head Bay

You can just see Norah Head Lighthouse in the picture above. We walked along the beach as part of our loop beach/nature trail walk.

Headlands with lookout areas give good views up and down the coast. We saw Whales off Soldiers Beach. Washing machine seas - white frothy churning.

Closer to Newcastle, for instance Catherine Hill Bay, old mining industry abandoned and village now having to turn to tourism with concomitant pressure on old housing stock. Below is a picture of a disused coal jetty which would have sent coals to Newcastle! Mining is still carried out around Newcastle and we saw big cargo boats lined up in the sea waiting patiently to be filled with coal.
disused coal jetty at Catherine Hill Bay
A lot of development in this part of Australia consists of pulling down old houses and rebuilding bigger, modern houses filling the plot. Not much regard for privacy - decks overlook backyards etc.

I don't think the shopping malls, such as the Westfield Shopping Centre at Tuggerah were there when we did a whistle stop visit 12 years ago.

Water conservation measures are being taken by individuals - brother in law (bil) has large rainwater tanks which filters the rainwater from the roof for garden use. There are bans on certain usages, washing cars, hosepipes etc. but no apparent spending on water conservation by local authorities - for instance when it did rain it rained heavily and the run off pours out to sea instead of being held in tanks etc.

Lovely to meet younger members of the family not born when we were here last. Jezza's two live the closest to bil but strong contact is maintained with Jo's 3 through babysitting and holiday visits. Dom still lives at home - looking after Ma and Pa while running her catering business.


PMM&L said...

Looks just like Portobello (Not!)
Pictures are fab - hope you enjoy the cricket as much! x

axx said...

Yes I'm getting a bit anxious about the cricket (but don't tell Rich!) We'll enjoy it whatever :-)