??Journey or destination??

Exploring life experiences at home and beyond – Destination Happiness


D is for …

I am beginning to appreciate the scenic area in which I live as my husband and I start exploring a small part of it each fortnight. We have lived here near 30 years but only now are making a real effort to get to know what it has to offer. A few weekends ago we travelled to the local destination of Davistown. It is part of Gosford City situated on Cockle Channel, an arm of Brisbane Water. We took a walk along the Illoura Reserve Walk .

Davistown (according to the Gosford City Council  webpage) was named for the concentration of Davis family members living in this area. They were ship builders. The area came to be populated with the Davis’s and their families, hence the name Davistown.
The part of Davistown in the vicinity of Lintern Street wharf was once known as Bedlam. It was reputed to have been the location of the largest Aboriginal camp in the district during the days of early white settlement. The Davistown district was home to the Guringai tribe, whose country stretched from the north side of Sydney Harbour, north through Pittwater and Brisbane Water, to the southern end of Lake Macquarie. Signs of habitation in the Davistown area include a rock shelter and shellfish middens. Burramun is believed to be the aboriginal name for the Davistown area. (LINK)

Ferries still work this waterway today, having first been active prior to the opening of the opening of the Rip Bridge in 1974. The small communities around Brisbane Water relied on little ferries to get them to Woy Woy and Gosford. We didn’t take a ride on the public ferry this time but I’d like to give it a try another day.

fr_1260_size880Ferry ticket booth (unmanned now)

Today many beautiful homes face this pretty waterway. While we walked along, close to the water’s edge, we watched children frolicking in the water, people fishing from a jetty, boats bobbing on the small wash created from the slowly meandering boats, dogs being walked, balls being kicked and a café echoing laughter as people sipped their beverages.


This one pelican sure took his position seriously.Although its not easy to see in the photo the small blue and white sign down the pole says “SURVEILLANCE AREA” .

Do you take time to get out and enjoy the area in which you live? Sometimes the best is closer than you think .


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C is for…

CATHERINE HILL BAY NSW– Alphabetical exploration of the Central Coast NSW

As a teenager my grandfather had a nursery at Frazer Park in NSW. It was located on the Pacific Highway not far south of Swansea. From his house the views swept panorama style over Catherine Hill Bay and the adjoining beaches. Coal ships would line the horizon waiting their turn to enter (probably) Newcastle to load up. He sold the property when I was around 20 moving back to Sydney closer to us as his health was deteriorating. But this isn’t about family, that’s just a little insight into what drew me to explore Catherine Hill Bay.

Catherine Hill Bay was named after the schooner “Catherine Hill” which ran aground there on 21st June 1867.The town prospered from coal mining. Rows of 19th century miners’ cottages line the roadside near the coast. They are square shaped houses with verandahs and no fences, all built close to the street. Have a look here for some great photos.

The pub features strongly in this village and has its own Facebook page.

Catherine Hill Bay is on the State Heritage Register and one of only two entire towns so designated.

We wandered along the sand where just a few people frolicked in the water. I said to my husband, as the waves trickled over my thong clad toes, this was the first time I’d been onto the beach all summer – then I realised it was the 2nd March  (Autumn) …oops.  I’m not a sand person.


I had however frequented the beach through summer watching it from esplanade cafes and restaurants locally and balconies during my island New Year’s Eve getaway.

I made use of my camera to take a panorama shot of the abandoned jetty. Worth clicking on the photo as it looks better than it appears here 🙂


The gates closing the old coal jetty


yachtsWe headed north to Swansea before heading back home. On our return journey we had to wait while the bridge over Swansea Heads opened to allow a flotilla of yachts to enter. It was novel watching the first few but then 15 minutes later the excitement had totally faded.


Where we live is such a beautiful place with so much to explore. Do you have a favourite place to visit in your local area?



B is for Barbeque

Barbeque at Mangrove Creek Dam

Today we completed the 2nd letter of our alphabetical adventure around the Central Coast of NSW. I have never been to the Mangrove Creek Dam (Central Coast’s largest dam) though it has figured greatly in our local news over the last year. The Central Coast, like most of NSW, has experienced drought over recent years. This water source has, according to council records, been as low as 10.27% on 24 February 2007.

The dam is  an easy hour drive from the coast- not far from Kulnura. Many farms along the way had fresh fruit and vegetables for sale- oh and of course manure. We parked in the gravel car park and then walked around the picnic area. It’s not huge but the way things are set up you don’t feel the next ‘party’ is sitting right on top of you at the tables.


The picnic and viewing area is well kept and according to the council, recent updated. There are wooden picnic table and chair sets and two, free to use, gas barbeques complete with cleaning equipment. They looked clean, ready for use. But, being me, I had packed our own portable BBQ just in case they weren’t so clean. Oh, and essential to a good picnic spot is a good toilet block. It was not only clean but also had liquid soap and air hand dryers!

toilets                                                        Toilet block

The observation platform offers spectacular panoramic views of the dam wall and catchment area.


Interpretive signage boards completed the area, explaining the history of the dam and methods of making the dam. There even was a visitors’ book complete with pen (that worked!!) encased in a perspex box ready for comments (which people have done).








This place was a peaceful break from the stresses of daily life. A goanna wandered around undisturbed by the people there, in fact it looked like he enjoyed the visitors as he meandered around us rather than escaping.


It’s not, in my opinion, a picnic ground for active kids. There isn’t anywhere to kick a ball or fly a kite and bushwalking is out because there is an entry exclusion area surrounding the dam to protect our water supply. It was perfect for us though, we enjoyed a sausage sizzle and good conversation.



Another hidden spot to visit!





A –Z of the Central Coast NSW

As part of my YOLO (you only live once) year 2014 I’m going to explore the place where I live. I’m aiming to find lots of different places and activities. I’m organising it alphabetically, with a little creative use of lettering as you will see. This post contains my personal thoughts as I was not a guest of the centre nor received payment of any kind to write about how enjoyable this place was. Purely a tourist!

 A –Z of the Central Coast NSW

A – 141 Alison Road Wyong 

The Milk Factory

History says it started as The Butter Factory in 1907 by a Co-op of 56 local farmers, existing to only process butter, not milk. It burned to the ground in less than two hours in 1921, the fire reported to have been so huge that the exploding butter could be seen and heard 10 km away! From the ruins a well-equipped Milk Factory was built by the 200+ dairy farmers who were shareholders in the Co-op. Today it has a variety of small stores as well as fitness venues and a picnic area by the river.

On arrival P1010740we were greeted by a few PURPLE cows and no! we hadn’t been drinking 🙂 The cows are creatively painted and help direct to the entrance. There is adequate parking in the grounds and we chose to park up close to the cafe before strolling around.




 First we headed to the Little Creek Cheese store. It has a working factory attached and although it wasn’t working today we could still look through the glass windows to the machinery. This would be interesting to watch when operating. Little Creek Cheese were awarded a Gold medal for their BBQ Cheese at the 2013 Royal Easter Show. The helpful assistant shared with us numerous samples (my style of sampling) of both on site prepared cheeses and hard cheeses from the Hunter Valley. He took time explaining a little about each cheese. We purchased a feta marinated with dill and garlic and a dessert cheese (not a Little Creek Cheese product with blueberries through it. Being a hot afternoon the assistant offered to mind our purchases in the fridge until we were leaving the Milk Factory and we took him up on his offer.


Yes the lid has been pulled off already. Couldn’t resist a sample when I got home.







P1010713Next we strolled past the fitness centres where some were working out their whole bodies unlike us working out our mouths on both talk and cheeses. We walked past a sheltered picnic area and down a staircase of stone to the river bank.



Row boats and kayaks were for hire but we just were observing today. It would be a nice activity to try on another visit. Little ducks swam around and a sign told us platypus lived in the area.

This would be a great place to sit with a Sunday paper and a coffee or some bread in a bag to toss to the ducks. The river runs over a weir. Basically the weir has been designed to ensure Australian Bass that travel to the salt water downstream to spawn in winter can travel back to the freshwater to feed and grow in spring and summer. It has also been designed to allow the fish to travel in low water times. Learned all this from a sign at the steps to the river. You could also read it easier here. (page 30)

P1010715   P1010719P1010728

Thirsty we headed back to the cafe but were sidetracked by  Luka, a chocolate factory. The staff was dressed in black with gold trim attire lending a magical feel of a Wonka variety. The factory was visible throughP1010734 big glass windows like in the cheese factory. We watched as milk chocolate was stirred by machine and saw some heart shape chocolates setting. We purchased some chocolates for later. A coffee shop and ice cream bar is due to open in here next week too, so many reasons to return!

Off we walked chocolate bag in hand (three bags within it) to the cafe. This too is only newly opened. I drank an iced coffee. The milk was pleasingly cold (nothing worse than a tepid iced coffee and had a great serve of whipped cream on top (my favourite serving style). My husband had an iced chocolate that tasted great (had to do a taste test) and a berry friand.


The Milk Factory would be a great spot for families with children and adults. Definitely worth the trip and it’s not that far from Wyong Station. I couldn’t locate any public transport but you could contact the centre to check that out.

An Awesome Activity