Well, the heat beat us. We wanted to stay three nights at Upper Colo Reserve, but after a 37C day, and with 41C predicted for the next, we decided to cut our losses at two nights and head back home.
On the way, we decided to go the long way home, and explore the lower reaches of the Hawkesbury. That’s where we found the car ferries.
We had been on the ferry at Wisemans Ferry, but we discovered others at Sackville, and the one pictured at Webbs Creek. All are maintained by the state and are free of charge. Makes any car trip bit of an adventure.
By mid-morning, the mist was long gone, and the river was turning into a warm bath. The air temperature was a maximum of 37C that day! The water temperature must have then be close to 30C.
Back at the campsite, we took advantage of every little bit of shade.
Bridie Beagle panting like no tomorrow. She enjoyed the heat, even if it completely drained her.
Even after a swim, she once again insisted on sunbathing. The saying about mad dogs (and some silly people) being the only ones crazy enough to be in the midday sun, is true where she’s concerned.
The Colo River that morning was misty and mysterious.
At Upper Colo, it’s hemmed in by sheer sandstone cliffs and dense bush.
By the water, it sustains more verdant species.
The river has its source deep in the Blue Mountains north of Lithgow in the valleys of Capertee and Wolgan. We visited the Capertee Valley a few years ago, and by road seems like a world away from Upper Colo.
The Colo eventually flows into the Hawkesbury, which drains in Broken Bay, so we’ve seen quite a few sides of this extensive river system.
In between, it flows wild through Wollemi National Park, until it emerges at Upper Colo, before meandering into the Hawkesbury at Lower Portland.
It reminds me of the novel The Secret River. Set by the Hawkesbury in the early days of New South Wales, it described the recreated the experiences of the first white settlers to the area. They saw the river and the bush as a mysterious, menacing creature that was just waiting to gobble them up. Sitting by the river that morning, I think I understood how they felt.
The next morning was a very misty one.
I was up before everyone else – I couldn’t miss this photographic opportunity.
The mist hung around for half of the morning, until the sun struck the hills.
It was however long enough for me to photograph the river, which we’ll visit next.
Being on the edge of the Blue Mountains, we thought that we would be in a good place to see some wildlife. Well, perhaps it was too hot for most animals. There were plenty of bird sounds in the morning, but not many that appeared in the open. No mammals to speak of, but we did have this lace monitor climb the tree right next to our camp site.
It wasn’t the only one either – we saw three or four lace monitors wander around during our stay. They all looked pretty healthy, meaning there was plenty of food around for them at least.
It’s been two years since our last camping adventure, and when we booked our camp site at the end of January, we thought that we would get a good few days of camping.
We wanted a place that was within a 4 hour drive (including stops), had a place to swim (my request), was dog friendly (so we could bring our beagle), had a toilet, and (at Hubby’s request) had a shower of some sort. Yes, he’s a fussy one. Upper Colo Reserve fitted the bill, having all of those things.
Our last few tries have all been marred by rain, and the last by a little heat, but January seemed mild enough, so perhaps the end of February would be mild too. Little did we know that we’d be camping through the hottest period of this summer…
First afternoon was pretty warm, around 33C or so. Because we came mid-week, we had much of the campsite to ourselves. Upper Colo Reserve is at the edge of Wollemi National Park, on the Colo River. Though it’s just under 100km from Sydney CBD, it felt like a whole lot further away.
Note the jerry cans and water bottles full of water. It would prove to be very important the following 36 hours…
We are going through a long hot patch in Sydney at the moment. It’s been 30C or more everyday for almost a month (with only one or two exceptions), and the forecast is for more right into April.
The fan, and more often than I like, the air-con, has been on constantly, day and night.
At least some of the plants seem to be liking the weather. Our roses are actually flourishing, with practically no additional watering.
I also did a reconnaissance of the northern end of the Maroubra Beach. There is a rock pool, Mahon Pool, that may have been a good bet if the swell was off-shore, but certainly not on the day of my visit.
It certainly gave you a good view of the sandstone cliffs.
And a spectacular view of the coastline beyond.
But with the big surf, it drew crowds wanting to get up close and personal with the ocean – without getting too wet.
I preferred to keep my distance from the edge and take my photos from relative safety. I think the ocean was mesmerising wherever you stood that day.
Those waves were really impressive, but not for those up for a swim.
The main beach had been closed for swimming a few days that week, so for those wanting a dip it was time to head to the southern end.
At this end was a more sheltered spot for a quiet dip. Surrounded by the green hill of the Malabar peninsula and the sand dunes, you could be mistaken you’re in a little coastal hamlet.
The water was clear, and although not deep, was enough to be refreshing.
And safe enough to introduce the little ones to the water too.
It’s amazing that even after living in Sydney for much of my life, I can still find plenty of places that I have never visited. Maroubra Beach is one of them. I must say that I like it a lot.
It’s a longer beach than either Coogee or Bondi, and far less developed. Not a large-scale developments on the beach front in sight, which is a relief.
On a weekday, it’s only me, a few swimmers, and the surfers, who were busy tackling the big swell.
In fact, the waves were so good that the surfers bear couldn’t take their eye off the action.