Tag Archive: New South Wales


Up In Mount Victoria, NSW


Only 120 kilometres west of Sydney is the small township of Mount Victoria in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. Population about a thousand. Here is a more quiet, if not more elegant section of the Blue Mountains. Beautiful manors, historic buildings reused as elegant hotels and summer retreat houses dot the landscape. There are many heritage sites in the area but they compete with the wondrous panorama at an elevation of over 1,000 meters. The mountain was named after Queen Victoria but the settlement area was originally called One Tree Hill until the arrival of the railway station and establishment of the first Post Office in the 19th century.

These days, many locals go to Mount Victoria for serious bushwalking, rock climbing, bird watching or simply to visit this charming village without the tourist crowd. There was some festivity the day we visited as we passed what looked like flea markets and food fairs. But we drove past them and began our short hike. Cox’s Road and Cox’s Descent don’t seem to sound right but that’s what the markers say. 🙄

The photos speak for themselves. I may have ventured farther than I should have — “for my age” — but the views of the valley below can be mesmerizing. I dare not even dwell on the possibilities. A strong gust of wind, an accidental slip. Oh well.


We’re done feeding the wild rainbow lorikeets , and decided we’d have more animal adventures. Bendalong Bay is not far from our homebase in Lake Conjola, and we spent the morning there watching people let loose their dogs on the beach, viewing stingrays swim near the shore, young paddlers on boards, swatting fruit flies trying to land on our cereal bars. Sun’s up and the weather’s ideal for a lazy morn.

Only one thing went wrong. Stingray feeding happens late afternoon. But no worries, we found many swim up to shore while seagulls fly above the paddlers, ducks and the pelicans. Bendalong is only a half hour north of Ulladulla and actually borders Lake Conjola National Park. The beach is good for paddle boating, surfing, swimming, fishing, and errr…. stingray feeding. I am just not sure how I’d feel swimming with these stingrays. 😜 Have a look at this video on stingray feeding in Bendalong Beach.

http://youtu.be/53O3OuAh9d0

This is Australia. The wildlife is awesome, birdwatching, bush walking and water activities the norm. Where else do you meet kangaroos in parks while you’re out intending to go kayaking or fishing? Where else can you paddle on boards while weaving through pelicans and stingrays swimming near the shore? How else can you enjoy a weekend without going outdoors? Life here is more meaningful for the outdoorsy types. Camping is always an option and bush walking is a regular activity. That is, after one does the laundry 🙄 My nephews are serious bikers and rock climbing is always a favourite sport. The girls love to shop but won’t mind weekend trips to the lake and parks. Fishing will have to wait though.

We made trips to Bendalong Bay for the stingrays and another day to Newcastle for the pelicans. Of course you’d find the seagulls almost everywhere like when we visited Kiama and Wollongong. I am amazed that all these animal and bird encounters are so freely enjoyed here in Australia. What a blessing for these Aussies!

The Pelican Feeding in Newcastle was quite a show. The feeders/carers are professionals and loved an audience and they got a pretty good sized crowd the time we visited. Weekends are never a bore. Or for that matter, neither are weekdays. The feeding show is timed daily at 4pm at the most popular tourist attraction in the Central Coast — The Entrance Waterfront. This feeding event sponsored by the Central Coast Council is quite a spectacle. I noted though that one of the volunteers clearly has a favourite among the pelicans. She calls her “One Wing” for obvious reasons. She narrated how this particular pelican lost her wing in a boat accident some years back. The upside though is this pelican will never have to go hungry as the volunteer looks for her and feeds her first. After that, the rest of the pelicans compete for the fish and other seafood scraps.


We’re on a road trip towards the South Coast. First off is Kangaroo Valley which I’ve visited some years back. (Go check the link) The Hampden Bridge is one of its attractions here, being one of only a few suspension bridges around Australia. I remember a lunch in this landmark pub and hotel called the Friendly Inn with 2 grandchildren who have since grown up. What 5 years can do!

We drove towards Lake Conjola which is really one of my favourite destinations whenever I’m in Sydney. Our family would always spend family time here but we only managed 3 of us on this trip as everyone else was busy. The resident kangaroos were too lazy to welcome us, unlike the last time I was here when we found around 30 of them Roos!

The lakeside house bears many happy memories and our stay here adds another. Revisiting the house, the lake, the nearby beach, the boardwalk, or simply walking aimlessly are favourite pastimes here. If one is into fishing, paddle boating, kayaking or swimming, there’s much to do. As for me, I’m quite happy dropping in in this heritage bakery in Milton and taking out some pies to eat in the cottage while having coffee and reading a book.

From Lake Conjola, we had the chance to drop in on nearby beaches and lakes to feed some birds and sea creatures. Upon leaving, we made our way back to Sydney with stops in Berry for a relaxing Oriental lunch at LEAF. Wish the rest of the family was with us but there would be other times, for sure.

Feel free to click on the highlighted links for more photos and details on Lake Conjola and The Heritage Bakery in Milton. Watch this site for blogs on feeding adventures with stingrays, pelicans, Lorikeets and seagulls.


It was a clear, sunny morning for walking. But a rainy afternoon. We made good. Set out early enough, had a good lunch in the area near the Museum, and got promptly back in the car, heading home, when it started raining. 





Too bad the Museum was closed when we visited. But it was quite a sight , both from a distance and from its porch. Housed in a former cable station building, you can view the La Perouse Monument and the coast from the Museum porch.  This commanding view is a fitting tribute to  the French explorer Comte de Lapérouse who allegedly arrived in Botany Bay in 1787-1788 before his expedition mysteriously vanished. The Atlas of the Voyage of La Perouse is housed in this Museum.  Right outside of this Museum area, you can spot a row of restaurants and cafe bars including Danny’s where many chose to lunch on its famous fish and chips. 




We first rounded up the tower and crossed the bridge before a piccolo break and the walk along the coast. Being ANZAC DAY, there were many who had the same idea as ours. Young families with strollers, a group of scuba divers, a pair doing their pre-nuptial pictorial in the rocky coast, some fishermen-hobbyists, a crowd of tourists, hikers and a few nudists in a quiet corner of the beach. (Oooops…. )





There is a sign that 4 people have died in this rocky coast, a prompt reminder never to turn your back against the waters. Then again, I thought of the peril of bringing young children to play among the rocks.  But this morning, the water was calm and unthreatening. Still….. I thought the water must be cold for swimming but you’d never know that watching how these folks take to water. 





These Australians are extremely lucky to be blessed with such a natural landscape and seascape.  I can only envy those with easy access to the beach, maybe sharing lunch with seagulls, playing beach ball by the shore, and to a few (nudies), having a complete and even body tan! Congwong Bay Beach, Little Congwong Beach, and the beach at Frenchman’s Bay —– these swimming areas in Botany Bay are only 14 kilometers southeast of the Sydney CBD.  






A delight to walk around this area. Lots of activities going on, fine sand, a Museum (!), a nudist corner (!!), rock formations, pockets of scuba diving and fishing spots, an old bridge, a row of cafe bars and dining options. Your day’s complete! 








For more blogs celebrating life, check out : 

https://lifeisacelebration.blog/

http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/liliram/

Like me on Facebook: 

https://www.facebook.com/Lifeisacelebration


Why not?  Yeah, it’s cold but NOT “sufferingly cold”. And for Cebu Pacific’s basic return fare (Manila-Sydney-Manila) of only PhP13,000, how can you go wrong? Even inclusive of those add-ons (food, baggage allowance, seat assignment, etc), it’s still a steal at US$350 or so! Again, why not? 

 




Check out these links for the winter time I spent visiting family in Australia:


Of Roadtrips, Train Journeys & Flights

Back In The City (Sydney)

Househunting: Katoomba

A 3rd Visit to Watson’s Bay

Sydney’s Barracks Museum

Lake Conjola Weekend

Flaneur On The Loose

Bushwalking in Lake Parramatta

Mayfield Garden

Coastal Walk from Bondi to Coogee

Gold Coast 


Food Trips

The Grounds of Alexandria

Salt Meats Cheese

Dining: Cupitt’s Winery & Restaurant

Tandoori King

Donto Sapporo


Enjoy, mate!


For more blogs celebrating life, check out : 

https://lifeisacelebration.blog/

http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/liliram/
Like me on Facebook: 

https://www.facebook.com/Lifeisacelebration




This is a sequel to last year’s blog summary (IN AND OUT OF SYDNEY). Some favorite sites were revisited and explored further, and unlike the earlier blog, I’ve thrown in a list of food trips (including some from 2013 archives)  for you to consider. Have a good trip, mate!

 

 

20140611-083115-30675777.jpg

Bondi Beach

 

 

 

Day Trips From Sydney

 

A Weekend in Lake Conjola


PARAGON CAFE: Oldest Cafe in Australia


BERRY As Pitstop On Way to Jervis Bay

 

Blue Mountains’ Many Walks and Lookouts

 

Leura and Katoomba in the Blue Mountains

 

 

 

20140611-083115-30675406.jpg

Darling Harbour

 

 

In And Around The City

A Few Good Spots Around Sydney

 

Sydney Harbour Bridge 24/7

 

Bondi On The Pacific


Watsons Bay


Powerhouse Museum

 

 

The Friendly Inn at Kangaroo Valley

The Friendly Inn at Kangaroo Valley

 

Food Trips

 

Leura Gourmet Cafe

 

Heritage Bakery


NANDO’s Peri Peri Chicken

 

How About Some Burgers from Charlie?

 

WatervieW in Sydney’s Olympic Park

 

SUSHIRO In North Sydney

 

Two Skinny Cooks from Berrima (2013)

 

The Old Bakery Cottage In Berrima

 

Mira Japanese Resto In Manly Beach

 

Lindt’s At Cockle Bay Wharf

 

Nick’s At Darling Harbour

 

That Famous Robertson Pie

 

The Friendly Inn @Kangaroo Valley

 

 


 One thing I love about Australia is its many hamlets. Small, quaint, charming, enchanting villages either in the mountains or by the coast. I remember the first time I visited Katoomba. Took the train aiming to spend a whole morning viewing the magnificent gorges of the Blue Mountains and doing some bushwalking. I did. But I remember more that one afternoon I walked aimlessly along the streets of Katoomba. No Maccas (McDo) or KFC food chains here. Instead, I found tiny cafes, charming bookstores, arts and crafts stores, and food and delishops.

 

 

20140610-104438-38678790.jpg

Echo Point

 

My Katoomba Bookstore

My Katoomba Bookstore

 

 

Back in 1999, I stayed in an artist’s home. It’s quite a walk from the Katoomba Train Station, and it didn’t help that there was no heating around the house. Next day’s bushwalking was a struggle that I kept wishing I was on the cablecar with glass floor that kept passing us above the bush. When I had the afternoon to myself, I mechanically walked towards this bookstore that has seen better times. Old, unpretentious, but oozing with that old world charm. At the time, there was a baby grand piano in the center where someone (I assumed he was the owner) was playing some classical tunes. He offered me a cuppa and encouraged me to browse around lugging my cup of my favorite brew. What a relaxing afternoon.

 

 

Cablecar takes you right to Katoomba's iconic landmark -- The Three Sisters in Echo Point.

Cablecar takes you right to Katoomba’s iconic landmark — The Three Sisters in Echo Point.

Bookstore in Katoomba

Bookstore in Katoomba

 

 

Katoomba is truly an artist’s haven.  The oldest cafe in Australia is also to be found here, so lovingly restored and preserved. They even hold movie nights here! And in neighboring Leura, one is encouraged to simply walk around and appreciate the local architecture and gardens. There are bushwalking options leading all the way to Echo Point or to Leura Falls, if that suits your fancy. Or maybe you would like to just stay around Leura Mall and enjoy the flowering cherry trees. Amazing how they have preserved this historic street to include the Leura Post Office which now houses a news agency. Have a meal in one of the restos and coffee shops before checking out the many antique and gift boutiques.

 

 

We had a fantastic lunch here!

We had a fantastic lunch here!

 

 

 

 

Paragon Cafe is the oldest cafe in Australia.

Paragon Cafe is the oldest cafe in Australia.

You'd love dog-friendly Leura!

You’d love dog-friendly Leura!

 

 

And not to forget, take home some of those gourmet jams, dips, marmalades and tea concoctions. You don’t know how a simple jar can “extend one’s holiday”.

 

 

The old Post Office now houses a news agency.

The old Post Office now houses a news agency.

Grab a table at the Solitary Cafe. Just beware your coffee easily turns cold.] Grab a table at the Solitary Cafe. Just beware your coffee easily turns cold.


image

It’s Autumn in Berry, Shoalhaven.

We took off early for a family weekend in a holiday home by the lake. Not easy with 6 grandchildren of 2 teenagers and 4 under 10. Chaos cuts across almost everything that involved the 6. Who sits beside whom? Who shares a pie or a platter of scones with clotted cream and jam? Which gelato flavors to order?  Where to park? Where and what to eat? Who else hasn’t peed before the next long drive? 

 

 

 

20140602-131742-47862345.jpg

A very interesting one-story hotel in Berry.

20140602-131809-47889511.jpg

Where to have a brekkie in Berry? So many choices.

 

 

First Pitstop identified. The heritage town of Berry in the Shoalhaven region along the South Coast is just slightly over an hour’s drive south of the state capital of Sydney. It is a small town, but packed with many historic buildings as well as a number of curio shops with arts, antiques and crafts. Very charming.

 

 

 

20140602-132412-48252121.jpg

The main street in Berry is lined with historic buildings, interesting curio shops, many arts and crafts stalls.

20140602-132442-48282832.jpg

On this store is a big sign that says “POTTERING AROUND IS THE PERFECT PASTIME”. Only in Berry, Shoalhaven!

 

 

Population is only a couple of thousand. The few we met who manned the curio shops didn’t seem to mind our little ones sneaking in and out of stalls, pushing chairs here and there to get closer to a favorite cousin, or to slurp from someone elses’s milk shake. An elderly couple even approached us while enjoying our brekkie, just to say how delighted they were with our little one who took off his hat to fill it up with water from a drinking fountain! (That could only be Xion)

 

 

 

20140602-133009-48609177.jpg

Cousins!

20140602-140102-50462490.jpg

The kids loved the scones and devonshire tea from Gourmet on Broughton Cafe. Berry, NSW.

 

 

Earlier on, we debated on whether to try the famous doughnuts of Berry or stick to our fav scones and tea. The nearby gelato and available parking clinched the decision to go for scones. Not a bad thing at all. GOURMET ON BROUGHTON CAFE had enough tables to sit all of us, with the Berry Museum, Berry Memorial and a couple more historic buildings just a few meters away.

 

 

 

image

image

 

 

Before long, the little ones easily found their way to the nearby gelato. We also just needed to cross the street to check out the arts and crafts stalls. Many interesting stores here. And the vibe is very “Berry” relaxed. It was so refreshing to be chatting with so many cheerful strangers!

 

 

imageimageimage

image

image

 

 

We were all packed inside our cars and well on our way when we passed the doughnut shop. Hmmmm. Maybe next time 🙂

 

 

image

image

image

IN AND OUT OF SYDNEY


It’s rare that I travel without any plan. But that’s what I just did. As soon as I heard my eldest sister needed surgery, I flew to Sydney as fast as I could. The first 2 weeks involved pre-surgery medical procedures. The 3rd week meant life in St. George Private Hospital in Kogarah where my sister had her surgery and subsequent recovery. Thereafter, we waited nearly 2 weeks for the pathology results. It was quite an ordeal but by the 5th week, we were celebrating! All throughout, the family stayed tight and kept faith. We celebrated “being family” as we made excursions to heritage towns and beach spots, visited Abbeys and churches, watched movies, packed picnic baskets, walked through some parks, dined out and in my last week before going home to Manila, partied like crazy. In the midst of adversity, we managed many family outings. This is our story.

 

 

20130925-003232.jpg

DAY TRIPS OUT OF SYDNEY

 

Kiama and The Blowhole

The Benedictine Abbey in Jamberoo

Wollongong

A Sunny Break In Watsons Bay

 

 

20130925-003925.jpg

 

 

Kangaroo Valley

Blue Mountains and Echo Point

Jenolan Caves

A Rizal Park In A Sydney Suburb?

 

 

20130925-004605.jpg

 

 

Berrima

A Ferry Ride To Manly Beach

Goulburn’s BEST Bakery

Off To CANBERRA’s Cockington Gardens

 

 

20130925-010303.jpg

 

IN AND AROUND THE CITY (SYDNEY)

Darling Harbour

Hyde Park, St. Mary’s Cathedral, The Domain, Bondi & Coogee Beaches, Circular Quay, Etc

Mt. Annan Botanic Garden

 

 

20130925-012643.jpg

We’re FAMILY!

FINALLY, SOME MUSINGS & RAMBLINGS


Continue reading