??Journey or destination??

Exploring life experiences at home and beyond – Destination Happiness


Weekly Photo Challenge: Abandoned

Weekly Photo Challenge – WordPress

For this week’s photo challenge, show us abandoned. You can go literal, as I have, and share a photo of ruins, a desolate place, or your idea of a wasteland. Or you can interpret it in other ways, from images of overlooked things to forgotten people.

Last weekend my husband and I travelled to Catherine Hill Bay( on the northern perimeter of Central Coast NSW). It is a village built on coal mining but today the old jetty has been abandoned to coal trains . Instead its a haven of pylons for diving beneath and swimming in a shady place.Today graffiti covers the gates that once were the entry of life to this jetty.



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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!