Toowoon Bay Holiday Park is on top of a cliff with amazing views over a rugged coast line and the Tasman Sea. Cargo ships, waiting to go into Newcastle Port, line the horizon. The waves were gigantic our first few days here, apparently due to a king tide and some unseasonal rough weather. A few hundred metres from the caravan park is a Surf Life Saving club with a patroled beach, an easy walk for a pre dinner dip. We had great fun riding our bikes along the beach at low tide. On our last day the local beaches were closed due to bluebottles. There were thousands scattered on the beach. As they dry out in the sun they puffed up like clear blue dumplings. They made an incredible popping sound as we rode over them, there was no way to avoid them as there were so many.
On our second day a strong wind blew, relentlessly all day and all night. The van rocked even with all the stabilizers down. Everything outside had to be packed up, the awning, chairs and tables. I kept a close eye on the large norfolk pine trees outside our window as they bent and swayed. A couple arrived to pitch their tent near us, it took six of us to hold it down. I couldn’t resist taking this photo when I dashed back to our van to get something, if you look closely you can see everyones feet under the billowing tent. These people had not camped for over 20 years, their son convinced them to try it and lent them his tent. They had never put it up before which made for some interesting conversation during construction… actually it was more like yelling above the noise of the wind and tent.
There are large numbers of enormous wild rabbits in the camp area at night.
A short drive from Toowoon Bay is The Entrance where The Tuggerah Lakes and the ocean join. The Entrance is internationally recognised as ‘The Pelican Capital of Australia’. We went to the peclican feeding which was very informative and fun. Heres a link to more info if you’re interested. Pelican Feeding.
There are some great bike paths around the area. We did a four hour round trip from our van along the coast, past the sea baths (and up some steep stairs……. somebody wasn’t thinking when they added that bit), through The Entrance town, along Lake Tuggerah (and a fabulous jetty), then back through the town of Toowoon Bay and home.
One of our day trips (in the car) took in Gosford, Woy Woy, Copacabana, Avoca Beach for a swim, and Terrigal.
We met up with some relatives who live on Lake Macquarie. They gave us a guided tour of the area and of Newcastle, which was made even more wonderful due to their keen interest and enthusiasm in the history of the area. Thank you for giving up your day to show us so many interesting and beautiful places, Ken and Beriss, it was a truly fabulous day. Here’s what we saw. Lake Macquarie. Walking along the board walk we saw so many fish, some quite big. Garfish, bream, flathead, and lots we didn’t recognise. It showed just how healthy the lake is. A few days previous, a great white shark had been sighted in the lake for the first time ever.
Noddys Light House, on the south side of the entrance to New Castle Harbour. It looked quite striking against an incoming storm.
Merewether Ocean Baths which opened in 1932 are the largest ocean baths in the southern hemisphere. Both are 100.58mtrs long, the larger one is 45.78 mtrs wide (an olympic pool is 50mtrs long). The smaller childrens pool is 32 mtrs wide, shallower and has its own beach. We have to come back one day to swim in there, it looks amazing. Earlier in the week they were closed due to the size of the waves crashing over them. There is a second Sea Bath in Newcastle, closer to town, which is heritage listed but smaller.
The Port of Newcastle is the worlds largest coal export port by volume. It is Australias first commercial export port, with the first coal being exported in 1799. More than 2,200 ships come into the port every year. Turn around time for loading a ship with coal is 24 hours. And this is the machinery used to move the coal from the trains to the ships.
Today we leave Toowoon Bay and head north to Crowdy Bay National Park. Cheers for now. Helen and Tim