Dorrigo and Dangar Falls

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It’s been mighty wet up this way, with the tail of cyclone Marcia mixing in with a rain depression and giving us constant rain for quite some days. There was a break in the weather so we headed up to Dorrigo for the day to have a look around. This is a stunning drive up the hills through the rain forest until you could out into the highland plains around Dorrigo. The town itself is old world, with great old turn of the century architecture. The area was founded on timber logging and then turned into pasture country, originally dairy and now more beef. Everywhere you look is green rolling hills dotted with cattle.

Just out of town are the Dangar Falls. We were keen to see these, given the amount of recent rain, and were not disappointed. The falls were running strong and the views from both above and below were wonderful. It’s a bit of a treacherous walk near the bottom, with slick, wet rocks to negotiate, but well worth the effort. Unfortunately, the weather started to close in on us again and we didn’t have time to explore the national parkland. We will save that for another day.

Crescent Head – Beach, Rocks, Surfers, Golf and Sharks

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There is a price you pay for having green, verdant landscape. The price is rain. Lots of it. We have been stuck inside a lot of the last week and the rain has been pretty relentless. Our property is slushy at best and the rest is a swimming pool. The daily temperature never really changes. It’s high teens at night and high twenties during the day. Very pleasant most of the time, though it can get a little humid at times, but nothing bad.

So, when we see at least a little break in the weather, we try to get out before it turns again. This was the case when we headed down to Crescent Head to give the dog a chance to run somewhere that wasn’t muddy and us a chance to get out of our four walls. This beach, like most in the region, is quite beautiful. Situated at the southern end of Hat Head national park, Crescent head is a long white arching stretch of white sand, with the Killick Creek flowing in at one end near the point with its rugged cliffs and a break that is popular with surfers. On the other side of the point is Pebbly Beach which is in stark contrast to the sandy beaches around the crescent.

Due to all the rain, Killick Creek is running red with tannin and this stain is evident out into the surf, with a red tinge apparent in the white caps of the waves. The town itself is sleep little village at this time of year without the crowds, but it does come alive at the weekends when surfers and holiday makers flock to make the most of what the region has to offer.

There is a lovely little golf course carved into the side of the cliffs and running down to the beach. It’s a little wet to play at present, but hopefully will dry out so I can get a game there before we leave.

We are lucky to have this and other such beaches within our easy reach, and should this weather ever let up, we will be spending a lot more time down and around here. On midweek days like these, we don’t have to share the beach with many others… just the odd person going for a stroll and a few surfers.

I’m told the fishing is good here, though I have had little personal experience of success. There was a sighting a few minutes before we arrived of a 4-5 foot shark leaping out of the water and twisting in the air before splashing back down. This happened just near the surfers. They are made of sterner stuff than me. I don’t like co-habitating with sharks, but it didn’t seem to worry them much.

North to Kempsey

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Our new farmsit is in Kempsey, in north east NSW. Kempsey nestles in between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour, sitting on the might Macleay river. It is the perfect base to explore the region and the choices are many. A very easy drive to the east finds you some of the best beaches in Australia – South West Rocks and Crescent Head to name just a couple. In-between these two, you have the thick bushland of Hat Head national park, with its own peaceful little beachside hamlet. To the west, there is huge choice of national parks and state forests to explore, and I intend to do as many of them as possible.

We drove up here from Melbourne over a couple of long days, stopping in Goulburn, south of Sydney for a night. I had forgotten how beautiful this drive is, with widespread forest and farm land, brief glimpses of water and mighty cuttings through the hills. Starting with the golden farmlands of summer Victoria, everything gets progressively greener the further north you travel. Kempsey itself is verdant, with that definite sub-tropic feel about it.

Our house is set on 33 acres about 16Km from town. We were to have a small flock of sheep to mind, but they were sold the day we arrived. Problems with dog packs had driven Paul, the owner, to sell them off. After loosing 37 head of sheep in one night to a pack of domestic dogs that are not restrained was heartbreaking, so the rest were shipped off. This leaves us in charge of the house, which is wonderful. It is very spacious, with a huge swimming pool, lots of “toys” (motorbikes, quadbike, a variety of ride-on mowers and a couple of Jaguars at our disposal, should we wish to partake…and who wouldn’t! One of our boundaries is the upper reaches of the Macleay River, a large, beautiful and relatively slow flowing affair. I was down there in the early morning and the water was like a mirror, broken by the occasional fish that would leap up to catch some insect on the surface. There are a myriad of birds of many varieties along with lots of dragonflies hovering about. I think I will be spending a few mornings down there…

Our one singularly most important charge for our stay is to look after the child replacement dog, Coco. When I heard that our responsibility was to a miniature poodle, my heart sunk a bit. I’ve never really been one for little dogs. I do have to say that this one has won me over a bit. She plays ball with total enthusiasm, is affectionate without being “in your face”, travels perfectly in the car with not a sound, eats very little, deposits her tiny bits way off in the garden, rarely barks, (and never at me), and is generally an all round good egg. Of course, I still require that Glenda takes her on the lead in public while I walk on the other side of the road…. she is, after all, still a poodle…

I haven’t yet explored much of the region, but what I have has been wonderful. Early morning mists with the sun peaking through lighting up the orb webs, long reflective rivers, birds and insects aplenty and distant mountain ranges tempting me toward them, its going to be a fun few weeks. There is lots to photograph and explore. I even caught a fish! As Glenda might explain, it is the most expensive fish in history, given the money spent recently in resurrecting the tackle, but I’m sure the cost per meal will keep coming down, angling gods willing.

MORE PHOTOS AT http://www.garyberesfordimaging.com

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Farewell to Jindabyne

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Sundown on our first long term housesit, and Glenda & I were very sad to say goodbye. If all our future sits are as marvellous as this one, it will be difficult to come back to reality. Our wonderful house in Jindabyne, courtesy of Donna and Rob, was idyllic… a little touch of bucolic bliss we borrowed for all too short a time. The house itself left nothing to be desired, with all the modcons we could wish for and a level of comfort fit for royalty. We will really miss Oscar, our lovely little canine friend who kept us company every day with walks and rabbit chases. Our ladies, the cackling crew of five Isa Brown hens were hilarious with their busy little antics and their unfailing supply of 5 eggs on a daily basis did nothing to reduce our waistlines (No, we didn’t eat them ALL, but we did put a dint in them!) Scooter the cat was predictable in his sleeping habits. I don’t think I have ever met a cat that sleeps quite this much! Happy to be patted at any time, in fact he fair revelled in it, but would not seek attention at all (except at meal times).

The region is some of the most picturesque in the world, between the mountains, the iconic Australia farmland, dotted with snowgum and huge boulders and the huge Jindabyne lake which plays host to the lovely village. Our trips up into the mountains were memorable for the wildflowers and vast expanse of mountains heading into the distance. It was just amazing and I could sit and take in those scenes forever.

Alas, it’s over now, but we will remember our time there forever. It finished in a lovely social evening with our poor exhausted hosts, Donna, Rob and Ryan, who had driven all the way back after taking the Spirit of Tasmania overnight. I hope all our future hosts are as fantastic as these ones. It really was a wrench to leave, but life goes on and there are more travels to be had.

There are a bunch of photos of our experience here in the galleries on the portfolio section of this website and I will be posting more as I get the inclination to process them. None of them can do justice to the region, but I will try my best.

Cheers

Gary and Glenda

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Farewell to 2014

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    MORE PHOTOGRAPHS AT www.garyberesfordimaging.com under the Portfolio tab

    It’s been an eventful year, with one thing and the other. There seemed no better way to end it than up in some of the most spectacular real estate in our land – the high country up around Kosciuszko. It’s quite a hike up to the lookout from Thredbo, but worth every minute. Quite a way to end the year, overlooking Australia from on high. The wildflowers are at their peak currently and a stunning foreground to the layered blue of the mountains in the distance. A magical place at this time of year and highly worth the huff and puff to get up there.

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Jindabyne Rodeo

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Last December, we watched our first rodeo. The first thing you notice when you walk in, is the hats. Big hats… everywhere, on everyone. Even the babies wear 9 gallon hats. Then, you notice that smell. It is the scent of unbridled testosterone. I mean, this really IS the land where men are men (and the sheep aren’t nervous anymore – they’re used to it). Honestly, these people are tough, honest, no nonsense hard and tough. It’s like stepping into a different world, a world of miller shirts and muscles, whips and embroidered denim. They have to be tough to do what they do. The animals they ride are serious amounts of muscle and animosity. The sole intent is murder, and these men (and women) play with them like they are poodles. They have events for 6 to 11 year olds. They put them on angry animals that are many multiples of their size. It was great to watch, but the men I admired the most for their bravery were the distraction clowns, who put their bodies in the way of these monstrosities after the riders has been unceremoniously “dumped”. And also the rounders, two very serious looking mountain men on horseback who gather up the still bucking horses after each ride. They do it with no fuss, no fanfare and an amount of skill that would make Clancy proud. I came away feeling quite inadequate.. (But unbruised, which is more than I could say for most of them!)

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A Different Christmas

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For the first time ever, Glenda and I spent Christmas day not surrounded by family. It just felt plain weird. Sure, there wasn’t the panic of getting everything ready, making sure the house was in a fit state etc etc, but we really did miss the hurley burly that is such a part of the Christmas day process. That being said, we had a lovely roast lunch, a few wines, joined the family for a while on Skype while they celebrated and had the traditional post Christmas snooze. We tried to get the animals into the spirit of the thing, but they just didn’t seem that keen.

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