|After a brief coffee-stop at Nambucca Heads, our first major stop was off the highway at the curiously-named South West Rocks, a township at the mouth of the Macleay River on Trial Bay with Shark Island sitting across the estuary. Despite the fearsome combination of rocks, sharks and trials in the names, the setting is rather beautiful, with long stretches of white sandy beaches.. The town itself was dry and treeless, its lack of beauty capped by an unglamorous caravan park taking the plum position on a headland park. |
The southern side of the headland provided a place for Munson to swim with some other dogs. A cluster of rocks formed a loose semicircle that broke the surf so that dog and humans could paddle around in some depth.
I have vague memories of visiting the historic Trial Bay Gaol as a child but little detail remains. The gaol was built to house prisoners so a breakwater could be built to house shipping traffic between Sydney and Brisbane, this being approximately the half-way point.
This area didn’t re-enter my consciousness until about fifteen years later, when I was in a light plane returning to Sydney from a trip up the coast. Somewhere around South West Rocks, a storm rose and the little six-seater Piper Cherokee was thrown around between dark clouds and lightning strikes. For more than a few minutes, I thought this stretch of coast might be my last view of anything. My friend Margie – once a rural flight hostess - was sitting next to the pilot, knitting away through all of the turbulence. My thoughts were a combination of “she’s relaxed so it must be all right” and “I hope she doesn’t put a knitting needle through the pilot’s head!”
The storm chased us on to Sydney and we staggered out of the plane at Bankstown Airport. I commended Margie on her composure, at which she raised her knitting, distorted with erratic holes and said “I was bloody terrified”.
|We lunched in Port Macquarie and wandered around the shore of the Hastings River, where Munson sniffed out a large colony of painted koala statues. Once a penal colony, Port Macquarie is now better known as a popular retirement destination, making it a quite expensive place to live. |
|There wasn’t much further to go before reaching Forster (pronounced Foster) which is at the top end of the NSW Central Coast. It’s an accessible beach location for Sydney weekend getaways with many large coastal lakes for non-surfing water sports. |
Munson had already swum today and Gustav was quite jealous of this, so we spent an idle hour on one of the long ocean beaches … Munson perhaps less idle than us.
|Our dinner options were rather limited, but we were a short walk away from the pelicans and sunset across Wallis Lake, not a bad scene for our last night away. |