As you could have probably guessed from my title, this blog will take me home. I don’t mean Brisbane, it won’t get me there. But it will get me to the place that fills my lungs, eyes, ears and heart with home.
I left off last time in my home state of NSW, but that was the southern side of the state and an unfamiliar city. That certainly doesn’t speak to me of home. The only reminder of home there would be the yellow license plates! But that’s an aside. I left Sydney (as you may have guessed from my title and tangent) heading west over the Blue Mountains. I left in the dead of night as to avoid the inevitable Sydney rush hour (the normal Sydney traffic is bad enough already!).
Anyway, it was an uneventful drive, with the exception of some amazing views come morning of the Blue Mountains! At the end of the road was Megan Halcroft – someone who does extensive work with bees, including the running of many famous workshops, the “Bee aware of your native bees” Facebook page and much more!
As you might imagine, her garden has been tailor-made for bees to find food throughout the season! Well I must say, it is doing its job fabulously. I have been hard-pressed to find any native bees over the past few weeks but here, I found 12 new bees to photograph (including some males and females of the same species). After a fantastic dinner and a lot of photographing, we stayed up talking bee business and the like before bed.
Once again, I must emphasize how lovely and passionate all of these bee professionals are. There must be something about bees that causes them to attract the right people!
The next morning ,I was sent off with an equally fantastic breakfast and the intention of being a tourist for a little while. I headed towards Jenolan Caves along a wonderfully windy road through some forest (where I got to see a lyrebird!).
After a while, I was greeted with a natural arch/cavern to drive through to the car park of the caves. So cool.
As it turns out, the next cave tour was booked out and I didn’t want to wait an hour and a half plus more for the tour when I wanted to drive to about Taree by that night. So I promptly left and hit the road back to Sydney and north. The highway north of Sydney is actually one of my favourites due to the huge forests and canyons with wild-looking rivers 100m below. One day, I want to kayak up one of those rivers and camp on the bank to see what can be seen.
I checked out a few spots around Taree to make camp that night, and I settled on one in a little town just west of there called Wingham. The site is jammed between the river and a bit of rainforest. I got there a little late, but certainly not too late to enjoy the moon over the river, which was literally jumping with mullet! After I enjoyed the river and moon it was time to make dinner. It was around this time that I got an unexpected visitor… A fellow photographer, Charles Davis named it Hendra…
After my Hendra-free meal, I packed it in, excited for a morning walk through the rainforest there, where I would get to meet Hendra’s family. Essentially I now think that all flying foxes are adorable.
Continuing on, I stumbled upon a wonderful lookout at Sawtell. As it turns out, there are no parking restrictions there so I spent the next two nights with ocean and riverfront views at zero cost! A van can really take you places, people.
While there I also managed to find another 5 bee species on some lawn weeds and a coastal heath plant in flower!
Various sunrise shots
After getting back from taking some sunrise shots, I saw a man picking up the broken glass from about 6 beer bottles thrown around the night before by some inconsiderate (among other descriptive words) people. So together [with the added help of my brush] we cleaned up and chatted. His name was Paul. He was a local who had recently bought the newer version of my van and was looking to travel around Australia in it [again]! I then spent the rest of the morning and a little bit of the afternoon getting a tour around the area, which is how I found the perfect solution to avoiding the Easter rush and relaxing for a couple of days (without searching for bees). I found Mylestom.
Tucked out of the way, on the Bellinger River, and just behind the dunes to the beach, Mylestom was the perfect spot to get away from the bustle of the Easter holiday rush! Not to mention, Paul showed me the perfect free campsite on the river and beach access, where I only saw the occasional beachgoer making their way over the dunes (aside from the multitude of boats and jet skis towing people up and down the river). I also broke my rear window via a branch… BUT NRMA will cover it with no excess or damage to my no claim bonus!
I didn’t know it that day, but I would be leaving in the night. I thought that I should miss the Easter Monday traffic and drive home on the cool, uncrowded roads! And what a drive it was! I saw the roads that I was most familiar with on this drive, among others, but with a welcome twist. The roads were all girt by fog. Not so much on the roads themselves, but following it in the paddocks and bush beside. The fog, the full moon and the stars made for something quite magical.
So is that it?
No, it’s not… I’m not back in Brisbane yet, and while that’s only a short drive away, I still don’t consider this to be over. After I arrive in Brisbane I’ll put together another post with some final and interesting stats, but it should be a short one. Then the long process of photo editing, writing and more will begin. I don’t expect to leave this blog for ever at all, but certainly, the posts will become less frequent.
Kilometres travelled: 25 537
Bees photographed: 195