More than just Beaches

Improving my poor knowledge of industrial developments along the East coast has been an unintentional but nevertheless interesting part of our journey. Our relatively close proximity to Shoalhaven Starches in Nowra didn’t impact greatly upon our stay apart from an occasional rather odd aroma in addition to the deep background hum. I didn’t know anything about Manildra and have been interested to read about this diverse 100% Australian owned agribusiness. The processing plant on the Shoalhaven River produces wheat gluten and proteins, starches, syrups and ethanol. The fermenting process would probably account for the faint but persistent aroma.

Moving on from Shoalhaven to our next camp, to meet up with my dear sister and her husband, we bypassed Sydney on the M7 through a thick haze of smoke from nearby bushfires. As we turned off towards Lake Macquarie and passed by Delta Colliery and Vales Point power station on our way to Mannering Park I began to wonder about my choice of caravan park. I had failed to make the connection between Mannering Park and Vales Point and rather oddly the coal fired power station was not mentioned in any advertising material as a feature of the area! Although visually looming large and well illuminated at night, from one view point in the park, it quickly became part of the background.

Cabbage Palm and Paperbark Swamp (Livistona australis and Melaleuca quinquenervia )

Allen and I took a short walk in the morning of our first day in Lake Macquarie. It was one of the worst days of smoke haze we have experienced and with the temperature rapidly rising to 38 degrees we didn’t feel like being outside for long. Black Ned’s walking trail was rather neglected and the boardwalk no longer exists but it was peaceful under the trees and the air seemed slightly less polluted.

Angophora costata along Ruttleys Road into Mannering Park

On our way back we stopped near Hales Point Power Station to have another look through the gate. There was something about this view through the smoke haze that I found entirely appropriate.

In a couple of hours the haze had become so thick that the chimneys were barely visible.

The duck population in the caravan park provided great entertainment as I am an avid admirer of ducks. Lake Macquarie is open to the sea through a narrow channel so the ducks were very appreciative of some fresh water to dabble in.

Australian Wood Ducks

Caves Beach provided a pleasant coastal walk for some morning exercise but bird life was somewhat limited, perhaps due to the current weather conditions.

Although not visible in this photo there were 3 ships on the horizon waiting for a berth in Newcastle, a short distance to the north.
Lovely coastal heath providing habitat for a healthy population of Fairywrens.

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