Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Sea Cliff Bridge.

Here's another one for the 'Bucket List'. The Sea Cliff Bridge.

Here is what 'The Age' has to say.

Coast with the most

Terry Smyth
October 29, 2007

A spectacular bridge heralds our hottest new drive, Terry Smyth writes.

You're driving south from Sydney, heading for Wollongong or beyond to the Southern Highlands, Canberra or Melbourne, or maybe you just fancy a day trip, going nowhere in particular.

And if you're in no hurry you have a choice of routes: the busy Princes Highway, with its traffic fumes and white line fever, or Grand Pacific Drive, with its sea air and postcard views.

No contest.

Opened on December 11, Grand Pacific Drive is a new tourist drive hugging the coast from the Royal National Park to Wollongong. The 70-kilometre drive winds through some of the state's most spectacular scenery - ocean panoramas, surf beaches, heathland, rainforest and coastal villages beneath the towering cliffs of the Illawarra Escarpment - and across the route's crowning glory, the new Sea Cliff Bridge.

An impressive sight and an engineering marvel, the $49-million bridge follows the curve of the coastline below the cliffs and straddles the sea and rock shelves. It replaces a dodgy section of Lawrence Hargrave Drive that wound around the base of the cliff. Prone to landslides, the road was closed for more than two years, cutting off the coastal villages from major access north and south.

The village communities did it tough during those years of isolation, but all that has changed since the opening of the bridge, linking Coalcliff and Clifton once again. Suddenly, and none too soon, there is a constant and increasing flow of visitors to the area, and cafes and shops are busier than ever.

Drive across the bridge or do yourself a favour: stop and walk across. It's an easy 20 minutes each way on a wide, safe walkway, and the views along the bridge, and above and below, are best appreciated at a walking pace.

Moving on, the coastal villages en route all have their charms. Take your pick for a pleasant meal or a quiet drink with jaw-dropping views thrown in free, family-friendly beaches and laid-back ambience.
And so far, not a tourist trap in sight.

The sights

While Grand Pacific Drive has been compared with Victoria's Great Ocean Road, the latter mostly winds through bushland and only occasionally justifies its name. Grand Pacific Drive, in contrast, never loses sight of the sea. It hugs the coast between the high battlements of the Illawarra Escarpment, looming like the great wall of a lost world, and the vastness of the Tasman Sea, an ocean view so wide you can see the curve of the Earth. Looking south, the coast is scalloped with bays, all the way to Wollongong and beyond.

The road

If driving south from Sydney, turn off the Princes Highway at Loftus and drive through the Royal National Park to Stanwell Park.
You could turn off the highway further south, at Waterfall, but a drive through the park is an adventure in itself. At the southern boundary of the park, past Otford, stop at the lookout for your first sight of the Sea Cliff Bridge and the rugged coast beyond, then turn left for Stanwell Park and you're on your way.

The park

To drive through the Royal National Park is to travel back in time to Gondwanaland. A vast preserve of the pristine ancient continent, and the world's second-oldest national park after Yellowstone in the US, the park was established in 1879 and is just 32 kilometres from Sydney. You can picnic on the lawn or mess about in boats at Audley causeway, wander on walking and cycling tracks, or swim at secluded beaches and lagoons. The park includes rainforest, woodland, heathland and clifftop dunes.

The villages

The coast between the Royal National Park and Wollongong is sea change central. Drop in at any of the 10 villages - Otford, Stanwell Park, Coalcliff, Clifton, Scarborough, Wombarra, Coledale, Austinmer, Thirroul and Bulli - and you can see why. With good community and sporting facilities, housing stock ranging from fibro fixer-uppers to stately piles, and town beaches with classic Art Deco kiosks, no wonder the locals look relaxed and comfortable. Here, even the schoolyards have ocean views.

The bridge

When you drive onto the Sea Cliff Bridge it's almost as if it disappears.

There's a curious feeling of driving on the sea - just you, your vehicle and the ocean below. Unlike the old road, the bridge sits safely out from the cliff. The 665 metre span gently inclines but is mostly level, making the protected walkway and cycleway, with its stainless steel guide rails and hand rails, popular with pedestrians and cyclists.

On the roadway, cars, coaches and motorcycles parade across the bridge.

Trip notes

Grand Pacific Drive hugs the coast for 70 kilometres from the Royal National Park - just 32 kilometres from Sydney - south to Wollongong.

Driving south, turn off the Princes Highway at Loftus or Waterfall to Stanwell Park.

Don't miss the spectacular view from the Headlands Hotel at Austinmer.

Friday, April 23, 2010

$5,400 taxi ride

British comedy legend John Cleese took a $5,400 taxi ride from Oslo to Brussels after becoming stranded in Europe's volcanic ash travel crisis. read more

Now that's what I call a Cab fare.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

by Robert Herrick

by Robert Herrick

GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying :
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer ;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may go marry :
For having lost but once your prime
You may for ever tarry.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I am a giddy goat!

Well, I am a silly sausage then, aren't I?

I was meant to include these photos of the Strawberry patch being strawed in yesterday's post but forgot all about them and clean left them out.

I was also going to say how I side dressed them with compost and added a hand full or two of Rooster Booster fertilizer as well. And how I finished off the whole thing by watering them with some fish and seaweed emulsion.

Just as well I remembered today then.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Yes, I do still garden.

Yes I do still veggie garden but after a long, hot and arduous Summer I'm glad to say Autumn has arrived. Though, sadly, the garden has suffered badly from long periods of neglect.

The reasons for this neglectfulness on my part are many and varied. One has been the weather this Spring/Summer. Firstly spring was rainless hot and obviously dry which meant more watering which meant I needed to spend more time in the garden to keep everything alive which led to resentment by me because I could be doing so much else with my time. Then Summer was wet/hot and dry/wet/hot and dry. Long periods of damp, high humidity and overcast weather meant the plants became soft then the sun would come back with a vengeance, like a week of 30+ temperatures, and fry the poor little buggers, which led to me becoming very frustrated and again resentful (time wasted, nothing to show for my efforts) with the whole veggie thing.

Another reason for my Summer of neglect was due to me working nights in the Cab it means that when I do surface of a day time it is some where around 11 to 2 o'clock. This puts me right into the highest heat and humidity of the day. Needless to say getting me motivated to go out and do and hour or two of gardening at that time of the day is next to impossible. So there you have it, my excuses for having a poorly run down garden and I'm sticking with them.

Now on a positive note I was able to get out in the garden this morning and get some work done. First of which was plant some picking lettuce and some baby spinach.

So into a unused bed I added a bucketful of compost and a few handfuls of Rooster Booster, turned the whole lot over and in and bunged the seedlings into the soil. Easy as huh?

And last but not least watered the whole lot in with some fish and seaweed emulsion.

Just a photo of a ruby chard that managed to survive my summer of neglect.

This is my Rosella flowering. First time I have grown a Rosella so I'm keeping a close eye on it to see what happens next. I am hoping though that it is not too late in the season with Winter just around the corner.

Anyhow that's it for now, hopefully with some cooler Autumn and Winter weather I'll be able to get more jobs done out in the garden and come up with some kind of plan for getting through Summer around here.



Saturday, April 10, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Which one.

My heart says this one.

My head says this one.

Oh what to do!

Build a bridge.

What is it about bridges that I find so appealing? Even the simplest one are interesting to me.

I found this one yesterday while out walking around Prince Henry Drive, a local tourist drive around the range escarpment here in Toowoomba.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

More Autumn walking

The Summer rain we have enjoyed here in Toowoomba has certainly made it an especially sweet time to go for a good long walk now the Autumn flowers are here.

Gordonia axillaris (renamed Franklinia axillaris, but still known and sold as Gordonia axillaris)

Random Dahlia in an abandon front yard.

Coral vine has been one of my favorites ever since I became interested in gardening.

Rustic. I like fences and posts with random vegetation covering them.

I'm beginning to feel my frustration of not being able to take a half decent photo take over the rational half of my thinking. Because giving the credit card a max out to buy a good camera is becoming very appealing to me right now.

I see Canon have some nice cameras out.
This one looks interesting (PowerShot SX200 IS). And it has full HD movie capacity.

Cheers and Happy Easter,


Thursday, April 1, 2010

A bit more Autumn

A bit more Autumn.

I guessing a bit here but I think these are the flowers of our local rain forest Black Bean tree.
I'll know for sure when it starts to produce its bean pods which can grow up to 20cm long and 30/40cm's in diameter.
It is certainly showing the benefits of the 200+ml of rain we had earlier this month.

Speaking of rain we had a few storms rumble through here last night and gave everything a good watering for Easter and it looks like I have managed to secure the Houdini chooks so with a little good luck over Easter I'll be able to get some good gardening happening.

Happy Easter everyone and keep safe.