Monday, 17 June 2013

Four lookouts in the Watagan National Park

Saturday, 13 April 2013

A Saturday Afternoon Bushwalk

6th of April 2013: A Saturday afternoon bush walk in Lane Cove National Park

Porters Bridge - Built by unskilled labour in the depression years

Walking along the bush tracks and roads, there is a significant amount of remnant heritage stone work in the walls, road edging, bridges and steps. It got me thinking about how materials and workmanship has changed from the past to today.

The oval road island now covered in bush but once was a BBQ area. Well made sandstone wall
Most of the heritage elements are built from sandstone and have been there for more than 80 years. I think quarried nearby. The stone is squared and in some cases such as the walls and bridges its very neat and ashlar coursed and finished. The stone along the trails is squared and used where stairs are required. Similar stone was used to edge the road, which till recently was mostly visible until it was covered by re-asphalting works. In most case these stone elements are still functioning as the design intended in the day. I enjoy viewing the history that the sandstone elements provide me on the walk. I wonder who used these, how long they have been here and what the area in the past would have looked like.

Sandstone Road Edging
These days for at least the last 20 years, path elements such as signs and stairs are built from treated pine. They have a much shorter life span and are generally more susceptible to vandalism. The timber steps showing signs of decay probably will not see another 5 years. I wonder whether in 50 years we are going to see anything from today, replaced by new. The sandstone in its enduring ways will still be here, evidence of past enduring design.

bush track
Then again maybe its just today's thinking in minimising man's (humankind's) intrusion into the bush?

An Angophora growing in a between two large bush rocks 
flush stone edging to road
Stone edging covered by asphalt

Former stone entry gates to park

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Easter Weekend - Hill End - Sofala

Easter Weekend 29th of March to the 1st of April 2013:

The Royal Hotel at Hill End
Hill End, a gold mining town of the 1900's. Three friends and I decided to head to Hill End and Sofala for a camping weekend over Easter. We left Sydney on Friday morning and we were at Hill End just after lunchtime. We setup camp after investigating the two paid town camp grounds choosing the Town Camp ground over the bush orientated ground. Both were almost full by the time we got there. We would have camped along the Turon River down the Bridle Track but not all our cars would have made it down due to clearance issues.

Hill End is a heritage site and maintained by National Parks.

A lone heritage building in the setting sun
Hosies Bed Breakfast at Hill End

Weeping Willow with a lone bench as the sunset.
We spent Friday afternoon setting up tents, collecting and cutting up fallen trees for firewood along the Bridle Track, a little site seeing around Hill End and a then Beer at the pub. We tried to get a few beers to go but apparently not available on Good Friday.....who new? We spent Saturday Gold Panning down on the Turon River finding a few specks proving there is still a gold for the casual fossicker with a some work. We all had pans, showels, small picks etc at our disposal. We also had two home made hand crevicing pumps and a home made sluice. We were all quite sore at the end.

Sofala main street and a Nissan CUBE (there seemed to be a lot of these in the area.)

Sunday, we headed towards Sofala and stopped at a creek along the way. We did a little panning but we were suffering from the day before and were a less energetic.  A few more gold specks were found and then we packed it in and headed for sight seeing at Sofala. While we were finding the spot a dog ran off from its owners we tried to stop it further up the road but it ran in another direction. We told the owners but they returned multiple times during the day asking if we had seen at all again during the day. We don't know if it was found. The owners were from Canberra so maybe the dog was trying to find its way back?

Sofala with looming dark clouds
St Pauls in the morning at Hill End
 We headed back early on Monday to miss traffic returning to Sydney.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Kulnura to Yarramalong along the Forest Road.

Red Hill Forest Road Sunday the 24th of March 2013:

A friend and I set off from Sydney at a fairly civilised 10 am and headed towards Kulnura, NSW. I was on the Suzuki DR650 and he was on the V-Strom. During the week I had been doing some investigative work on the NSW maps SIX viewer for some fire trails through the national parks around Sydney. The fire road - named 'Red Hill Forest Road' runs through Ourimbah State Forest and is also noted as a easy route on the Transaustraliatrail website. I thought it would a good starting point to build our confidence on dirt some more, without heading all the way to farm in the Hunter Valley.

So on to the ride. From George Downs Drive at the Kulnura shops we turned right and headed down Greta Road. About 4km down the road we took another right turn at Forest Road. At this point the roads are still Tar but narrow a little. Another 3.7km's down Forest Road it turns to dirt and becomes Red Hill Forest Road, maybe named after the red clay soil on the road and soil mine on the ridge on the right as we headed down the road?

Red Hill Forest Road is an easy ride with a mix of light sand, reddish clay, gravel and exposed rock sections. The only issue is that you don't always see the sand until you are in it as a result of the tree shadows. It is a fire Road and would be accessible by a car with some good height clearance. A few large berms  and ruts along the road might pose problems for low vehicles. The weather was perfect and was a good short ride. It was also nice to find out how comfortable I was starting to feel on the dr650. It was definitely confidence inspiring on all the road surfaces. Red Hill Forest Road took us all the way to Yarramalong road where we headed towards Yarramalong and then home.

The video below shows the route.

Friday, 22 March 2013

My New Suzuki DR650

Late last year in October I sold the Honda VTR250 so I could upgrade to a larger motorcycle. I enjoyed the motorcycle tour back in March 2012 and hope I will be able to do a few more of these. I also had fun on the off-road parts of the tour so my next bike had to be more capable of doing these kinds of rides. I was looking at adventure tourers and the Honda Transalp and BMW 650gs were possible upgrades. My problem is my height and adventurer tourers are not low due to there nature of be able to go off the beaten track. I looked at wide variety of bikes and the Suzuki DR650 seemed the most capable offroad bike compared to the others and was very cost effective  It had a high seat height compared to the 650GS but the seat is narrow which allowed me to just touch the ground. The suspension also sags a little when sitting on it. The DR650 is also relatively lite for 650cc bike and compares similarly to the old vtr250 in weight. This provided me some assurance as a shorter rider. So in the end after taking a few for test rides I made up my mind and bought a second hand 2008 model with 710km on the clock.

The video above is the first long distance ride on the bike with some dirt roads. I really like the upright seating position which is especially good when commuting. It feels competent off road, which currently not the case for the rider! but that will come.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Motor Cycle Tour Video Part 4 - Final

This video is the final video of the tour and includes Day 10 and Day 11 of the trip. Its starts in Port Campbell where we had stayed the night. We first head to the Arch/ London Bridge and then head up to Wodonga via Ballarat and Bendigo (no footage of these places though). From Wodonga we head over the Snowy Mountains and then up through Cooma and back to Sydney

Below are the blog posts for the corresponding days

Motorbike touring day 10

Motorbike touring day 11

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Kayaking down at the Roseville Bridge, Sydney

A few weeks ago I took the Kayak out down to Roseville Bridge and paddled my way up towards the Suburb of Davidson. I have done this journey many times before but thought I would take the Go Pro with me this time. It turned out to be an excellent day for it as we have been having a very wet but hot summer here in Sydney. The water is a lot muddier than usual as a result of the heavy rains and there is a great deal of leaf litter floating close to the surface washed down from beneath the trees and from the creeks.

It was almost high tide which allowed me to paddle through mangroves and easily up some of the narrower creeks but as a result hid many of the little river beaches that reside along this stretch of water. The water was very still and reflective almost mirror like in places, which can be seen in parts of the video.