The trees on the Girrakool Loop had some interesting details. This one had stripes on it.
And this log had bark that was as red as the outback sands.
There were some wildflowers out, the most striking being this mountain devil.
Eventually, the track met up with Leask and Piles Creeks. These waterways run into the Hawkesbury.
As we made our way back uphill towards the picnic area, we encountered a few little cascades and cool patches of rainforest.
A nice little walk through the Sydney Basin bush.
We discovered a new little walk not too far from Umina – the Girrakool Loop. It’s in the Brisbane Waters National park near Kariong, very close to the freeway, but so well-hidden that only the locals know of this spot.
There is a picnic area and car park at the start of the track, so the walk might be a good way to start/end a day out.
The track winds its way through the bush, across rock platforms with mature grass trees.
And under great Sydney Red Gums.
It was shedding time, so the scribbly trunks were well exposed on some trees.
While on other trees the blood-coloured sap was flowing.
Two more projects that I completed last year was the laptop cover that I crochet in various 8 ply yarns and lined.
And the Avalon Ballroom scarf for N’s birthday, in a wonderfully rich Bold Bamboo yarn, with an Art Deco influenced pattern.
It’s been several years since we visited the village of Wollombi, so it was high time that we made a day trip up from Umina. The hour-long drive along the Central Coast hinterland back-roads is always a pretty one, and Bridie was up for it, keeping her nose out the window for most of the trip.
At the end of it was Wollombi Wines, a little winery selling some quaffable wines. The light shiraz was particularly tasty. The winery were also hosting the Sculpture in the Vineyards exhibition.
It’s an exhibition that’s exclusive to the wineries around Wollombi, and there were some interesting entries.
Bridie however, didn’t know quite what to think of it all.
The trip on the Manly Fast Ferry takes 20 minutes, compared to half-an-hour on the old ferries, so very soon the city sky-line was in view.
We veered pretty close to Fort Denison, a former prison and military fortress that’s now a fine dining restaurant and function centre.
Beyond the island are the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Opera House – always a reassuring sight. We pass by two old ferries which service the smaller wharves on the Harbour.
A cruise past the Opera House, and we’re once again into Circular Quay. Not a bad commute.
One of the privileges of living in Sydney is having access to Sydney Harbour. Now, some of us might be lucky enough to wake up to the Harbour every morning, but I feel privileged enough to be a short train ride away from such a scene as this.
Of course, there is no better way of seeing the harbour than to take the ferry to/from Manly, as I did on the day of our Manly lunch. The old green and beige ferries might still have their charms, but for a few dollars extra, you can have the air-conditioned comfort of the Manly Fast Ferry. That’s one below.
But the harbour is magical, whichever mode of transport you take. The water, skies, clouds, hills and all manner of water-craft, never fail to blow away the cobwebs away.
Back in November (yes, I am very behind on my posts), I met up with friends N and F – it was N’s birthday! It was a warm (but not too hot) day, and our venue was Hugo’s at Manly Wharf. It was a lovely venue, overlooking the water. The food was pretty good, too.
How about some risotto?
Or pan-friend salmon?
And sticky date pudding and ice cream for dessert?
Now, I know that there’s no such thing as a typically ‘Aussie’ meal, but if a non-Australian asks me to give an example, I think this selection would fit the bill – Italian and Anglo influenced dishes, with some seafood thrown in!
Last November, on Remembrance Day, our family gathered at Circular Quay on a breezy evening.
Not to take in the view, which was of course splendid…
But to see a banner of red poppies unfurl over the sails of the Opera House.
This was the work of my father-in-law, P, a former member of the Royal Navy and local RSL member.
He wanted to raise awareness of Remembrance Day, and the cause of current and past military personnel from all conflicts outside of Anzac Day.
Given that our more recent veterans come back with all sorts of physical and mental stresses and frequently face a lack of support, it’s a worthwhile cause to champion.
I’ve had a few projects on the go this summer. In the lead-up to Christmas I was busy knitting up Christmas baubles from a kit which my sister-in-law, L, had given me earlier in the year. The kit had 23 different designs so I got to try a few! The baubles went to different homes at Christmas time.
I also knitted up another Milo vest – my first in Bold Bamboo! This went to my friend’s baby son, K. Although he’s not even 6 months old at the moment, I knitted a size 1 as babies seem to grow so fast…
And on the back of my laptop cover, I crochet a cover for my new phone. It’s even lined and has a small pocket for ear phones!
The paleontology lab processes fossils large, like this diprotodon skull that’s almost a metre in length…
To microscopic fossils from small marsupials or bats – these are micro-bat skulls.
Everything needs to be sieved…
Sorted (sometimes via microscope, as with these tiny teeth and jaws)…
And then classified. This generally involves comparing the fossils to known species. Teeth are the most useful fossils for classification as they are unique for every species.
This is the lower jaw of a small marsupial species, similar to a kangaroo.
And this is another diprotodon jaw, but for a much smaller species as it fits in a 10 x 10cm box.
These fossils may then be formally described as part of university research. The best go to university or museum collections. It’s this kind of research that helps paint a picture of what ancient Australia was like thousands and millions of years ago.