Broken Bay Writers – Stories of NSW Central Coast and beyond

Scribbles on life, the universe and everything… Woy Woy, Ettalong, Umina and teh Central Coast that is!

Tag Archives: Beaches

A Touch of Brisbane!

Last week my partner and I traveled to Brisbane Australia. We only had a couple of days there, but what a couple of days it was.

Judy braving the ferris wheel

Judy braving the ferris wheel

For the shopping enthusiast, you will find the Queens Street Mall. The Mall is a series of indoor and outdoor shopping extravaganza’s that seems to go on forever. I shopped in Queens Street for the entire day and didn’t visit the same store twice! This mall is not for the faint of heart. All I was missing was a girlfriend so we could stop and sip an afternoon cocktail at one of the many outdoor cafes while comparing the treasures of the day.

The highlight of the trip though was the evening spent at South Bank. South Bank appears to be a park, series of museums, restaurants and shopping centers all situated along the Brisbane River. It is quaint, breathtaking and it a must see for any travelers to Brisbane.

My partner and I started our evening with a “cool one” at one of the many restaurants dotting the river front. It was just before dusk and the feeling in the air was one of divine relaxation.

We then decided we must see the sunset from the Wheel of Brisbane. This is a picturesque ferris wheel illuminating the South Bank skyline. The wheel offers panoramic views of the river, city and in our case the setting sun. If I wasn’t so darn afraid in ferris wheels it would have been a spectacular ride. Fear aside, I was very happy to experience a vibrant sunset from the “best seat” in the city.

The mighty wheel!

The mighty wheel!

A feature of South Bank (and there are many) that must be touched upon is the arbour that seems to go on forever. I do not have any idea how long the arbour is, but it is almost indescribable in beauty. We walked the arbour for at least 30 minutes before leaving behind the wonderful smells of the lavender coloured bougainvillea to find what else the park had to offer.

We found a manmade beach that is amazing. It is spectacular with its sand beach’s, rocky rivers, pebble swimming holes, lagoons, water parks and playgrounds. The beach has many boardwalks snaking through it’s length as well as a rain forest. I must confess, it is the most beautiful man made beach I have ever seen. It seems that Queenslanders do not do anything halfway or at least in the case of South Bank, they have gone “all out” and then some.

We proceeded on to a very pleasant dinner that included great food, fine wine and superb company.

We ended the evening with another walk through part of the arbour, the illuminated beach area, stopping at a pond full of slithering eels. Overhead was the shadow of fruit bats flying around the gardens.

Looking towards the arbor.

Looking towards the arbor.

We walked the bridge across the river while admiring the architecture of the downtown buildings both old and new.

I am looking forward to another trip to Brisbane as I saw a Moreton Island adventure that is calling my name. I love exploring Australia!

The Sentinel’s Mate!

The Sentinel of Ettalong Beach

My partner and I strolled on the white sands of Ettalong Beach. Droplets plinked on our rain jacket hoods negating conversation. Lights from across Broken Bay shimmered in the subtle gloom of the rainy night. My partner and I were consumed in silent reverie.
Peering across the water a ghostly apparition floated mysteriously. It may have been a buoy marking a mooring, or simply a floating grocery bag. A few minutes observation revealed the apparition was heading on a steady course, moving with some purpose. It came close to shore, revealing the outline of a large bird.

This rather stately pelican roams the sandy inlet, investigating breaches of “bait and catch” security by fisher folk. This large pre-historic looking bird also samples the picnic trappings of naive or distracted swimmers. The pelican is the Sentinel of Ettalong Beach.

Pelicans look like inanimate floating objects as they swim along. You cannot see its web feet churning under the water. As they glide along, they seem wooden, like a floating toy bird. This creates an artificial appearance, like a decoy duck.

The Sentinel lunges forward, proving it is in fact a living organism. The ungainly beak spears into the dark waters. Just as suddenly, its head jerks back, flipping a small fish into its beak to the back of his throat, already looking for its next prey. The Sentinel gazes at us for a moment, a large eye that appears painted on a wooden head, and then continues fishing for dinner.

Pelicans are rarely solitary. Typically they live in small to very large flocks. Pelicans are known to work together, cooperating to “pen” the fish before plunging their beaks into the water to catch their prey.

The Sentinel has not read that book, or so it seems. Recently  Ettalong Beach is being  patrolled by a very odd couple.

The Sentinel’s mate is a diminutive diver duck, dwarfed by the pelican. They spend considerable time together on patrol, sharing “the catch”. The duck seems to dive for fish and share with the Sentinel. It is a charming symbiosis that I would have though rare between different bird species.

Pelicans have been known to eat ducks and seagulls when food supplies are scarce. Perhaps the diver duck is unaware of the risk it takes on days of poor fishing.

The Sentinel patrols its patch in all conditions, as though it is the ghostly incarnation of an old salt, destined to watch over the sea for eternity. This silent sentinel now has a sentient being to while away the hours of the watch.

Let us hope The Sentinel does not decide to have a friend for dinner!!!