Monday, 21 December 2015

west coast

Rachel's arrival last week heralds the beginning of the festive and holiday season for us. The rest of the tribe arrives in a few days.

In the meantime we decided to head to the West Coast for a couple of days. Being a 'Hydro kid', I grew up in Gowrie Park, Strathgordon and Tullah; rugged, remote and mountainous areas of the state. I remember a lot of rain, bush and being surrounded by mountains. Living up close and personal, mountains were not just distant towering shapes, they loomed immediately above and cocooned the villages where I grew up - impressive and imposing, secure and timeless. It doesn't matter where you are on the West Coast there is a mountain somewhere nearby.

Mount Roland, not officially on the West Coast, but Gowrie Park was nestled at its base
My mother came with us and we visited the places and houses where we used to live, the bush having reclaimed much that was taken from it. It really is a different world down there and thirty odd years seems like a lifetime ago. My girls could not fathom such a lifestyle, "but what did you do here?"

We stayed the night at Strahan, a lovely little place on the coast. It is strange that my mother had never been there and I, only in the last ten years. We had lived an hour or so away and yet had never come to this place. In Strahan, mining gives way to fishing and other coastal pursuits, it is a tourist hub now and gateway to the famous Gordon River wilderness.

breakfast time
The Ocean Beach was wild and spectacular.

Colin in joyful anticipation of a very cold dip (Johanna was brave enough to join him)
We drove to Macquarie Heads. Macquarie Harbour was an infamous penal colony "a place of extreme physical and mental torture". Hell's Gate was the name given to the narrow entrance to the harbour.

We walked to Hogarth Falls.

what you do when you arrive at a waterfall
And picnicked at Henty Dunes

Some memorable bits:
eating locally grown Kentish cherries and spitting the pips out the car window
listening to Colin, Rach and Johanna belt out some tunes
warm wind blowing a gale through the car as windows were wound all the way down (going up windy mountain roads and having the air con on at the same time is a bit much for Pat)
sitting by the water at Strahan Cove, sun setting and pizza eating

Looking forward to lots more memorable bits over the Christmas break...

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