Leaving Port Stephens we headed north to Forster/Tuncurry. According to an information board, Tuncurry means “Plenty Fish”. Certainly this was proven by the fishers cleaning their catch using special tables – while surrounded by pelicans.
Two nights at Tuncurry meant I had a day for cycling around the local shared pathways. The Council has spent up big on them and a sizeable network exists. Forster and Tuncurry are separate towns situated on either side of Wallis Lake. A long bridge joins the two. It has two raised sections to allow for shipping – the lower sections traverse the sandbanks.
Not being able to resist, I rode the bridge our first evening there. It is approx. 1 kilometre from the base of each run-up ramp. Not feeling at the peak of fitness I engaged the Mountain Drive to climb the “hill” on the bridge and spun my way up.
Next morning I checked the small blue signs indicating various walk/bike trails and noticed one called the Coastal Trail – a shared path starting north of Tuncurry and ending south of Forster. It was intriguing – where exactly did it go? In the end I don’t think I found out but I did give it a good shake.
First off I headed north. I passed Rockpool. This is a netted beach near the mouth of Lake Wallis just before it hits the ocean, Going past I followed a side trail out to the end, where Lake meets Ocean and arrived at a good time. The tide was going out and there was a pod of dolphins playing in the churned up sea at the mouth. It was great to watch them surfacing, blowing and diving back under seemingly having a great time. A pest on a jet ski was also playing about on the waves near them but the dolphins just ignored him and continued to play to their audience onshore.
But there was more trail to follow so I left and headed north. Past sports grounds, an off-lead dog area, a huge club (RSL? Footy?) and out through scrub and then to a TAFE college. Here the trail petered out so I assume it was hoped that TAFE students would cycle. No chance apparently, the car park was full.
So it was back to Tuncurry and then over the bridge to Forster. Coming off the bridge I noticed a trail circling round and disappearing under the bridge and I took it. This led to Forster’s Lake Wallis waterfront. All sorts of businesses running here. Whale watch cruises, paddle board hire, cafes, fish and chips etc. I was hoping to find an ANZ bank ATM but none presented themselves. I needed a wallet refill and a balance check.
Continuing on I selected the signposts leading to Forster Village and ended up in an industrial estate. The types of business were many and varied and the traffic coming and going was high. So it was interesting to see a sign amongst all the ruckus for “Tranquility Funerals”. There was nothing tranquil about the setting. Continuing through, looking for something interesting, in the end nothing was found so I retraced wheel ruts and got out of there.
Back a bit and I found a blue sign pointing to Forster Keys. What could they be? Let’s find out. The route was by both shared path and then a wide cycle lane on the highway containing some parked cars. It led to a development of person-made canals with waterfront housing. Rather exclusive in presentation, house size was large to huge and there was much provision for boat ramping and personal jetties.
I purchased a chilli-chicken wrap from a bored lady and found a Reserve with grass and a seat between two waterfront houses and had lunch. I was observed in case I was up to no good.
Continuing on I found another reserve, this time fronting an arm of Lake Wallis and I had a sit in there too. It was so quiet. All I could hear for minutes at a time were background bird calls and tinitus. A little further on was a delightful grove of paper bark trees – Melaleuca quinquenervia.
Time was a ticking so I turned and began to ride back. Sue hasn’t been feeling too good and she had an appointment with a Doctor so I had better be there. Passing through Forster I chose a main business street and found ANZ. Wallet loaded and financial position understood it was back over the bridge.
Keeping the Doctor’s appointment we found out Sue has a recurrence of Vertigo (hence the ‘Giddy Aunt’ thing). Her last go at this cleared up in a few days but this session has already gone for longer. We have decided to keep going until next weekend. This means we will visit Roger, Sue’s brother, who we haven’t seen for around 10 years and then decided whether or not Sue heads home and what happens to me and the caravan.
Port Macquarie. Was our next stop. Here “they” haven’t heard about shared paths or cycle lanes or, seemingly, anything to to with bicycles. The traffic was thick and fast. The method of attacking a roundabout is to drive into it no matter who is already on it. Apparently different road rules here. It wasn’t conducive to cycling and I didn’t.
On the plus side we did walk to a headlands, read a sign about whale watching and then saw some “spouts” where whales were surfacing and blowing air and water up quite a long way. They were too far out to see much actual whale but we were happy to see as much as we did.
Port Macquarie sunset
On to Kempsey and then to Collombatti and the farm.
The road to Roger’s farm turned into gravel some kilometers before his place. On Saturday I rose early after taking in the sights of the blood moon in close companionship with Mars.
Not much of a pic but proof I was up to watch the lunar eclipse !
I decided to have a cycle along Collombatti Road. The little wheels on the bike managed the gravel OK as long as I aimed for the smoother looking spots. In places the rocky base had pocked through and made things a bit more bumpy. Not a lot of corrugations but some corners had their fair share. The dips in the road were really quite cold but as I climbed the next ride the air warmed. I cycled approx 10k down to the rail crossing and then turned for “home”.
And a bit further along :
Contemplating the coolness of the air.
Another week and another missed 100k – only 46k this week.
Total for week : 46 k Total for year : 2,904 k
Vivente : 0 k Brompton : 46 k Anura : 0 k