Returning from a driving trip to the south coast of New South Wales, we decided to stop and have lunch in Picton. Following a street sign to the botanic gardens, we found the ideal lunch spot and spent an hour enjoying the walking tracks.
Many birds and ducks, including the White-faced Heron, were enjoying the pond.
Featured in the gardens were three sculptural Bee Bells, launched as part of Pollinator Week 2016. The bell (pictured above) was built on a wire frame and clad in shaped copper pieces with a clay cob centre. Designed to be a habitat for bees, the bells hang gracefully from Casuarina trees in a cool sheltered area of the gardens. Established in 1986, the Picton Botanical Gardens covers 4.1kms and has 90% Native Australian Plantings.
On a trip down the south coast of New South Wales, we called into Bawley Point for a lunch-time stop. Finding a picnic table in a shaded area with a view of the ocean was a bonus.
Bawley Point is located halfway between Ulladulla and Batemans Bay on the New South Wales south coast. The area has beautiful beaches and is surrounded by national parks.
The Bawley Point gantry, one of the last remnants of the local timber mill (which burnt down in 1922), was washed away by storms caused by a destructive East Coast low in 2016.
The rugged coastline near the new gantry.
A Sooty Oystercatcher surveys the shoreline.
The gantry, which was used as a fishing platform by the locals has been rebuilt.
Lake Alexandra, near Mittagong, is a man made lake. It was used as a dam supplying water for engines hauling coal to the Fitzroy iron mines almost 140 years ago. A parkland reserve surrounds the lake, which is home to tortoises and a profusion of birdlife, including many wild and domestic ducks.
The lake water, aerated by a central water fountain, was surprisingly clean and the ducks appeared very healthy. The reserve also includes barbecues, sheltered picnic tables and a children’s playground. Taking the walking track around the lake, we were approached by these inquisitive ducks, which was a good opportunity for some photographs. As we had no food they soon retreated.
Mittagong is one of the main towns in the southern highlands, and is situated at an elevation of 635 metres (2,083 ft). It is close to the towns of Bowral, Berrima and Moss Vale.
While in Mittagong, we also visited Mount Gibraltar which has three main lookouts; Bowral Lookout, Mittagong Lookout and Mount Jellore Lookout. These lookouts are a short drive from the town and feature some amazing dry stone walls and picnic areas.
On a recent driving holiday along the south coast of New South Wales, we visited Pebbly Beach in the Murramarang National Park.
A beautiful sandy beach with pebbly outcrops and large grassy areas, surrounded by coastal bushland, this is the perfect home for the resident wallabies and goannas.
Pictured here is a photograph of the south end of the beach, showing the protective headland and in the foreground some of the small pebbles and rock formations.
I photographed this very tame young wallaby, resting on a grassy bank near the picnic area. Its ears swiveled around as we approached, although it was seemingly unafraid of our presence.
My Grandson took this close-up photo of a goanna, near the pathway to the beach. A common characteristic is the loose skin on the goannas neck, which they can puff up if threatened. It makes the neck look bigger than the head.
Pebbly Beach is a popular camping area with a great surfing beach and bush walks within the National Park. A great place for a picnic or just a walk on the beach, this is a photographers paradise.
Surveying the world from the branches of a Melaleuca quinquenervia, commonly known as the broad-leaved paperbark, are these Sulphur-crested cockatoos.
A common sight in suburbia on the central coast of New South Wales, the Sulphur-crested cockatoo is a large white parrot. It has a dark grey-black bill, a distinctive sulphur-yellow crest and a yellow wash on the underside of the wings. This is a noisy, conspicuous and highly intelligent cockatoo. Its diet consists of berries, seeds, nuts and roots.
This beautiful 40 year old paperbark has grown to a medium-sized tree of about 20metres – large for the front garden of a suburban block. It has provided shade and amusement for the children who love climbing on the sturdy branches, swinging from an attached swing and writing messages on the peeling bark.
Eastern bearded dragons, miniature green tree frogs and dragonflies – these are just a few of the small visitors to our garden.
Here an eastern bearded dragon watches for insects in our vegetable garden and a small green tree frog is camouflaged amongst the rhubarb leaves and stems. This dragon fly with its large multifaceted eyes and two pairs of strong, transparent wings – which resemble a stained glass window – rests on our door.
The Koala hospital at Port Macquarie is located in the grounds of historic Roto House. They not only treat sick and injured koalas but are involved in research work into koala diseases. This sleeping Koala is recovering in the hospital and as Koalas sleep during the day, it didn’t move as I approached his cage to take a photo.
Roto house at Port Macquarie Built in 1890, was home to John Flynn, a land surveyor and his family. The house is maintained by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and has been extensively repaired and furnished with much of the original items used in everyday life of the 1890’s. Well worth a visit, this 11 room weatherboard house constructed from local red mahogany was occupied by his family right up until 1979.
On a visit to Port Macquarie this summer, we were impressed with the historic house and the work of the Koala hospital.
What amazing birds these pelicans are. White with black wings and a pink bill, they have been recorded as having the longest bill of any living bird.
Waiting at the boat-ramp near the fish cleaning table with their eyes on the incoming boats, they are ever watchful for discarded fish and will catch any offerings with ease.
My grandson and I were lucky to be able to photograph these beautiful birds as they seemed to stand in formation, alert to any movement from the fishermen.
This eastern water dragon is the master of disguise as it blends into the colours of the rock and undergrowth. Ever watchful, it flattened its body onto the rock and then would quickly disappear into our nearby garden pond when it sensed danger.
The eastern dwarf tree frog (or eastern sedge-frog) is a small and very common species found on the east coast of Australia. Usually found sheltering in shrubs and fern fronds, they only grow to about 25mm in length. This cute little guy was photographed in our garden at Port Stephens.