Monday, January 28, 2013

Houseboating on the Hawkesbury River

Last weekend we got together a group and rented a houseboat on the hawkesbury river.  Starting up in Brooklyn, we had the weekend to explore the upper parts of the river.

The weekend started off a scorcher with Friday hitting an all time Sydney high of 45 degrees C which is a whopping 113 degrees F.  Thankfully there was a fenced in pool right where we were meeting to get everyone on the houseboat and we spent quite a while just soaking in the water with just our faces sticking out.

Row Chris Row!  Fire burning in the background
After 3 of the 4 couples were on the boat, Chris and Gerrie went on a mission to set our newly acquired crab traps for the evening.  Unfortunately about 30 minutes after they disappeared into the horizon, James and Debs showed up and were quite dismayed that we had no way of getting them from the dock to the houseboat.  They cracked open a beer on the dock while shaking their fists at us, but all was forgiven when the dingy came into view being rowed by Chris.

Thankfully they were able to get a ride from a local bogan and then we were all hands on deck.  We spent the evening watching a massive forest fire burn in the distance where we could see the flames over the mountain tops and could watch the helicopters dropping water on the fire from above.

Captain Gerrie driving us out
The next morning we began our trek up the river in search of the perfect spot to moor for the evening.
Debs enjoying breakfast with the bridge behind
Many bacon sandwiches were devoured, along with plenty of cups of tea (you know you're travelling with two english girls when the kettle is always on).

We made our way up several parts of the river before finding a good spot to try some more fishing.  While Ashley showed them how it was all done, we all took the opportunity to relax and have a nap or a few beers.

What are you doing?!
While the boys tried their hardest to catch a dinner fish, seemed like mini jewfish were the catch of the day so they mostly just fed the local stock as it was growing.

shut up and fish
The dingy was taken out to try to place the traps again, with the extra fuel tank this time, and we all settled in to wait.

After some time at that spot went by without catching a winner, we decided to head further up the river to find somewhere to anchor for the evening.

The top deck of the boat was the perfect place to watch the river go by.  It's amazing that we're just an hour or so drive away from Sydney itself and you've got such unspoiled nature right there.  Much of the river is national park area and only a few houses dot the shoreline.

We ended up pretty far up the river in a very secluded spot with just a few other boats around, tied up at one of the moorings and called it a success.  During the evening the boys set the crab traps again, and then spent the night trying to catch whatever might be lurking around the boat.

The next morning dawned a bit cloudy again, but some bacon on the bbq on the back of the boat got everyone ready for the day ahead.

We broke the silence of the morning with the dingy off to check the crab traps, and much to our amazement there were three crabs in the trap!  One of them was a bit too small so we put it back in and then immediately started drooling looking a head to chili mud crabs for dinner.

Dnghy, powered by beer!

Pulling in the catch

Just not your day, buddy

Us wrestling the larger of the crabs

Chris got drabs, the good kind

You might remember us gushing about mud crabs in our NT adventures, but since then we've discovered that these delicious crabs are $50/kg which makes them a special occasion type of meal.  The large crab on the right was 1.3kgs itself, so these two crabs certainly paid for those crab traps!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Birthday camping at cave beach

For Chris's birthday weekend we once again headed down south to Jervis bay to go camping at Cave Beach.

View Larger Map
You may remember this from previous camping trips, but it's really one of our favorite camp grounds and we were happy to return.
One of the things that we really like about the spot is the abundance of kangaroos that are all around the campsite.
With all of the campers around these kangaroos have figured out that it pays off to get close to the humans.
Although we all did our anti-rain dance, unfortunately the weather didn't play along too well on Saturday and instead it was overcast and spitting rain off an on throughout the day.  Boredom was avoided with some walks on the beach coupled with a few beers by the campfire while we hid out under the shelter.
Just as dusk was coming, the sky started to clear up and the sun peeked out to give us an amazing double rainbow out over the beach.
We all quickly ran down to the beach to see it over the ocean.
Amazingly we could actually see both sides of both rainbows which isn't something that you get to see every day.
We stayed down on the beach as the sun started to set, turning the sky pink.

 As the sun went down we all got a bit silly.

After the sun dipped below the horizon we headed back to our campfire for some dinner, topped off with cakes made in oranges in the campfire for Chris's birthday.
Sunday dawned clear and sunny, and instead of taking pictures we all headed to the beach as quick as possible for some surfing and boogie boarding before heading home from a great weekend.