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It Was All About the Scenery Today

Monday 7th September 2015

sunny 20 °C

It's has been a bit of a mixed day today. I had quite a good night sleep although I was woken up really early by our friendly(ish) neighbourhood kookaburra shrieking at full volume at about 6am. I managed to get back to sleep but woke up with a bit of a headache (probably just a little too much red wine at the wrong time) having had some pretty weird dreams. I took some painkillers and went back to sleep for quite a while but again woke up still feeling a bit grotty. We decided to just relax for the morning, starting with toast for breakfast at the communal open kitchen. I was really enjoying our little bungalow in the rain forest and hearing the exotic animal sounds.

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We then sat for an hour or two outside of the office using the free wifi. I uploaded all of the blog writings I had done the night before and accompanying photographs. At about 2 o'clock we decided to go out for lunch at the cafe at Birubi Beach that we had seen yesterday. Nigel went for a meat pie and mash, whilst I had snapper, salad and fries. The portions were too large for me and I ended up leaving quite a lot of chips. Whilst we were waiting for our food we saw a pod of dolphins playing in the surf, initially right alongside a guy surfing. We watched them for a short while before they disappeared out of sight. Once we had finished eating we went for a short walk along the beach, again admiring its beauty with the amazing backdrop of the sand dunes. The light had changed significantly overnight and seemed to look even more photogenic.

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We reflected on how different it is being away for a length of time when it seems so much less like a holiday, and much more like your lifestyle, albeit temporarily. On the way back up the road I stopped to look at some really pretty trees with bright red flowers which seemed prolific in the area. Later research showed these to be Coral Trees.

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Once we left Stockton Beach we drove to One Mile Beach a short distance up the coast. This was quieter and still very beautiful, but not for me as special as Anna Bay.

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Having only seen the most immediate stretches of coastline we decided to take the short drive up to Nelson Bay and then parked up at the end of the beach at Shoal Bay. We had been told yesterday by the guy at the campsite about a great walk up to a viewpoint on Tomaree Head which has apparently been voted one of the 10 best views in Australia. There was a bricked pathway which rose very steeply up the headland. It must have been one of the steepest man made footpaths I have ever been on. The path then split, with the lower one going to some gun emplacements and the other continuing up for another half a kilometre. The path became a combination of dirt track with rock steps and metal staircases and walkways. Despite having been told it was an easy walk we felt it deserved every bit of its 'moderate' classification. As the pathway wound its way in amongst the trees it continued upwards, every now and then giving glimpses of views of several stunning beaches below.

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Eventually we reached the top to an amazing panorama. You could see a number of beaches, several of which looked to be only accessible on foot. We spent a while soaking up the views and taking photographs.

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It was almost 5 o'clock at this point and there were a number of people up there who looked like they were going to stay and watch the sunset from there, however we decided to make our way down whilst it was still light. The walk down was pretty tiring as well and quite heavy on the old hips and knees, however it took much less time to walk down the 300+ steps and the very steep pathways.

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Once at the bottom we went to have a look at Zenith beach, the nearest of the three that we had been able to see from the viewpoint.

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We sat for a while on the dunes, listening to the waves and watching the light fade in the bay. We could see a lovely red sky behind us over Shoal Bay, so we walked there and stood for a while, chatting to an Australian guy from Sydney on holiday for a few days with his wife.

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Once it was completely dark we made our way back to the hostel, and once mosquito proofed, went to the kitchen to cook up some chicken soup with the leftovers from yesterday's meal. We were told that they were lighting a camp fire, so once we had cleared up our dinner things, we made our way towards the fire and sat with two other English people, a Dutch guy and an Australian. We were joined at one point by Mark, our host, and Syphon the python that he rescued as a baby! He lives normally in the games room 'the shed' but apparently some girls that had gone in there were not too keen on him. We sat watching the bush television (aka the campfire) for about an hour or so before going to our room to read/ blog/ listen to music or a combination of all three.

Posted by Gill's Travels 00:01 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes beaches night sunset ocean australia port_stephens

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I believe Syphon the python lives in the shed, not Mark!

by Nigel's Travels

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