Apr 20, 2014

Sunday Selections #168 - New South Wales Central Coast and Sydney holiday

It's time for Sunday Selections!
Sunday Selections is a weekly meme hosted by River at Drifting Through Life. 

The rules are very simple:-
1. post photos of your choice, old or new, under the Sunday Selections title
2. link back to River somewhere in your post
3. leave a comment on River's post and visit some of the others who have posted and commented: for example:
    Andrew at High Riser
    Gillie at Random Thoughts From Abroad

This week we drove up the Hume Highway to New South Wales. These days it's about a nine hour drive from Melbourne to Sydney, and the road is fantastic: well designed to ward off sleepiness, dual carriageway all the way, rest stops every few kilometres, and you drive past, rather than through, every town and hamlet on the way.

We were driving with two kids and we also made sure to stop and stretch and swap drivers every 2 hours, so it took us a bit longer. We stopped at Glenrowan ('Ned Kelly's last stand') and the Dog on the Tuckerbox ('five miles from Gundagai') for the entertainment value, and an obligatory roadhouse/petrol station complex for lunch and car snacks.

When I was a kid we drove up to the Central Coast and sometimes on to Queensland's Gold Coast a few times - each time a marathon hell trip without air conditioning, bottled water or electronic entertainment devices, with metal seatbelt buckles, car sickness and my dad driving like a maniac and refusing to stop because he'd just passed all the traffic, dominating my memories. The road wasn't as good then and as bad as I remember these trips as a kid, the torment must have been worse for our parents.

With this in mind we invested in a portable DVD player, and charged up every device we could distract the kids with, for the two days leading up to the trip. Loaded up with DVD player, iPods, iPad, DS consoles and phones, drink bottles filled with refrigerated water and a cool bag stuffed with fruit, biscuits and crackers, we were ready.

The trip is actually not at all difficult (though I'd hate to try it with younger kids), and although my car charge outlet doesn't work and the DVD player died after one movie, the kids were able to keep themselves happy and it all went well.

We did underestimate the time it would take us though. We were driving to The Entrance on the Central Coast, which is an hour and a half past Sydney, but the last stretch was done in the dark and it was a bit tricky navigating the (weird) Sydney highway system in pitch dark. Sydney, why you name multiple roads and highways with the same name?

We arrived sweaty and tired, collected the key to our holiday flat, climbed the three flights of stairs, and arrived in a (literally) stinking flat. There was no water - at all - and someone had, let's just say "used" the toilet, which was the source of the stink.

With no way to flush the toilet or clean up we rang the after-hours number for the flat and were told the problem couldn't be fixed until morning. Finally they told us to call the plumber in the emergency listing, so we did that and he turned on the water, then the next morning came back to fix the massive gushing leak which appeared, which was obviously the reason the water had been turned off.

The next battle was cockroaches. Lots of them. That night we killed TWENTY of them, and none of us slept well. A trip to the local 7-11 for cockroach spray left the flat finally insect free but faintly toxic for humans. I went to sleep having made up my mind we were leaving the next morning.

But the next morning everything was better, there were no more cockroaches, and we were living with this view:

We only saw one more cockroach during our stay there. Unfortunately it was on my arm while I was lying in bed... but at least it was the last of them. 

(I write this calmly, but I was not calm).

Our unit's position was magic: right on Marine Parade, on the top floor, corner unit looking over the beach, channel, bridge and waterfront. It was the kind of place you never usually get to stay in. We were lucky I think (and maybe the cockroach nest lowered the price).

We stayed three days at The Entrance, then two days in Sydney, then drove home again. Another two days away would have been perfect, but other than that it was pretty darn good.

Central Coast

Pelican feeding at The Entrance:
daily at 3:30 pm

Quite old signs on the wall of the
unit next to ours
(note the reference to 'garbage tin')

Crackneck Lookout

Seagull at Shelly Beach

The beach and channel at The Entrance: 

The channel looks calm but is deceptive, with fast moving currents and shifting sandbars - not safe for family swimming. There are plenty of puddles and pools for splashing around in though, and lots of beautiful shells and rocks to collect.


Entering Sydney Harbour from the
Paramatta River
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Opera House and ferry

Darling Harbour
Ibis (and seagull) at First Fleet Park

Walking from Circular Quay
to The Rocks

Home again

It's not the Sydney skyline, but I do love the view of Melbourne coming over the Bolte Bridge.  I took this shot a bit too late - a few seconds earlier with the Melbourne Star ferris wheel in the foreground looking over Docklands to the city buildings is the better shot.

We got back last night, so today has been all about relaxing at home. And chocolate eggs, of course.



  1. Lovely work. Cockcroaches are not something Melbourne people know much about. I can't imagine why the place was not sprayed before guests arrive, well controlled regularly.

    1. Yes, you would think a bit of a spray would have been done, as that's all we had to do to get rid of them . I can't STAND cockroaches, but then who can?!

  2. Jackie, despite cockroaches you have had a great time.. Now travelling with children is easier because there are a lot of electronic devices which they love and the journey is definitely easier for parents than it was in our childhood.

  3. I remember those looooong car trips. And the nausea. And the no stopping rule.
    I am very, very glad it was better for you and your family this trip.
    And the rewards look to have been HUGE. Love the pelicans, and the water views.

    1. They absolutely were. Yes, the car trip these days is just tiring, not difficult/uncomfortable as it was for us as kids. And it was definitely worth it. We loved The Entrance and Sydney.

  4. The views are amazing, but I would have been at the office first thing the next morning filling out a complaint sheet and asking for a discount. No water, then a leak and the cockroaches! and the smell! That flat should have been checked before your arrival.
    Were the long trips with your dad just Sunday Drives or was there a destination to be reached as quickly as possible?
    I remember Sunday Drives where dad would just drive around eventually stopping somewhere for lunch or ice cream, we kids just didn't see the point. Why bother? We could get ice cream at home.

    1. We should have, and I considered it - but we were only there for 3 days and didn't want to waste our time on such things, plus the flat was already pretty cheap (I wonder why lol). It all turned out OK in the end, but yuck.
      Our drives to NSW and QLD were for summer holidays, my dad probably just wanted to get them over with as fast as possible. But yes, we did ALSO do Sunday drives, and as kids we never got the point; they are a hangover from my parents and grandparents' generation where a car was something special. The only ones I liked were drives to the Dandenongs, as I loved driving through the forests of tall trees and ferns.

  5. Glad you had a good break. Looks lovely.



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