Into Northern NSW
We are a bit behind with the Blog, having too much fun. After our time with Mick and his girls on the weekend of July 16, we stayed for an extra day on the Monday while Mick went to work.
Living locally is one of Roger’s nephews, Nathan with his family Tammy, Layla and Jade. So we visited to say G’day.
Nathan is the Ranger at the Killalea State Park, on the coast just south of Shell Harbour, and a beautiful place it is too. Nice rolling land, leading to beautiful beaches, very natural and well protected from adverse conditions.
This is Farm Beach, a light offshore breeze blowing on the day with several surfers taking advantage of the light surf and great weather.
We drove back to Wollongong along the Princes Highway, through Albion Park, alongside the small airport there. We noticed that HARS, the Historic Aircraft Restoration Society’s Museum was open so we popped in for a look and thoroughly enjoyed it.
There is an enthusiastic group of mainly volunteers that restore many of the old planes that are there and conduct tours through them.
First we saw a Qantas Boeing 747-400, City of Canberra, which was the first (and only?) 747 to fly non-stop from London to Sydney in 1989, a 20 hour journey. Roger remembers travelling on this plane between Sydney and London in the 1990s, though it did stop in Singapore on those trips.
The plane was donated to the Museum in 2015 when it was retired from service. They invited the pilots who did the record London-Sydney trip to train on a simulator to be able a to land it safely at the airport which is far too small for it ever to take off again. A major achievement.
Many of the aircraft were military, here’s Heather getting comfortable in the cockpit of an F-111.
Some of the restoration work that HARS does is on planes privately owned by other people. Here is a Messerschmitt from the 1930s being restored for a private owner in Europe.
HARS members will fly it to the owner when it is ready for delivery.
There are a lot of DC3s, a DC4, Piaggio, Vampire, Caribou, Orion, Convair, Mirage, Sabre Jet, and Roger’s favourite, a PBY-5 Catalina, a large flying boat also from the 1930s. Their Super Constellation is away at the moment but will be back soon, and John Travolta has decided to donate his ex-Qantas Boeing 707 to HARS when they can find the $400,000 it will cost for the fuel to fly it there.
Heather looked at home in the cockpit of a Bell Huey Helicopter from the Vietnam War.
We spent much longer than we expected at the museum, in the care of a young but very knowledgeable guide named Tom, then just beat Mick home from work.
The next day, Mick went back to work and we moved on through Sydney and on towards Queensland.
We caught up with some friends in Sydney on the way through, then over the ‘coat hanger’.
We fought our way through the Sydney traffic and made our way to a motel for the night on the Central Coast area near The Entrance. The motel wasn’t great but the local area is always good.
The local Pelicans get fed every day at The Entrance but we missed it that day.
Maybe these guys did too.
So last Wednesday, we went on to Port Stephens just above Newcastle, where we rented a town house at Soldiers Point for the rest of the week. Here is the view from our bedroom. We love the natural beauty of the area.
The outlook faces west so we were looking forward to some good sunsets. We didn’t plan on strong westerly winds to be blowing straight us which were uncomfortable but we still found plenty of sheltered beaches and coastal attractions in the area.
This view facing east from Soldiers Point towards the Nelson Bay township.
Roger met some very tame Pelicans on the breakwater at Nelson Bay Marina.
Fingal Bay beach was so sheltered that some other people were out enjoying the beautiful weather too.
At the Marina at Soldiers Point there are several sculptures that are interesting.
This one is called Bubble and Squeak, a dolphin mother and young and was made by Mike Van Dam.
The sculpture took 250 hours to make, weighing 60kg. It is made of 240 metres of 4mm marine grade stainless steel chain, with more than 12,000 links.
One day we saw these Pelicans just riding the winds, completely effortless and beautiful to watch.
We did get some good sunsets over Port Stephens, though you can’t feel the wind in the photo.
We had a good time in Port Stephens but on Sunday we moved on for the next part of our winter escape.