Penguins point has no penguins

I took up running over 10 years ago now. I am by no means a running junkie but I do clear my head whilst hitting the road. I guess if ever a lion chases me I wont be the slowest runner. Apparently elephants and pigs will be slower. So long it is not a cheetah at my pursuit…

Culburra beach is the perfect place to find a route out to Penguins point. With a 40 meters incline above sea level the view out the point is incredible. Most of the year you can see the whales migrating up and down the coast. Not during summer though.

I use Map my Run to search for routes around when Im away from home and found a great 5km route just at our doorstep. And so I ran. Did you know it takes 200 muscles to take a step when you run?


The largest of them all

Culburra beach is a tucked away town north of Jervis Bay National Park. With a population of 3,500, this little beach town was originally designed by Walter Burley Griffin, the same architect who designed Canberra. Culburra was known until 1916 as Wheelers Point until the first white settler, when became Culburra – meaning sand in the local Aboriginal dialect.

As in all Australia, good coastal beach towns aren’t complete without good fishing. And around good fishing there is always Australian pelicans lingering about to catch some fish, or at the very least, scraps of fishermen cleaning their catch of the day.

Australian pelicans are the biggest pelicans in the world and have the longest bill of any bird; it measures 49 centimetres in length and can hold up to 9 to 13 litres of water.

Australian pelicans can measure around 1.6 – 1.9 metres in length and have a very large wingspan of 2.5 – 3.4 metres.

Male Australian pelicans are bigger than the females and can weigh up to 10 kg in some cases, but 8 kg is a more usual upper weight.

Australian pelicans do not have much waterproofing oil on their feathers and can become wet and cold. No wonder they search the warmer locations.

Not everything is what it seems

The Blue Mountains were formed around one million years ago. There is no wonder there is so much history around this area. The Blue Mountains is densely populated by oil bearing Eucalyptus trees. Thus the atmosphere around them is filled with finely dispersed droplets of oil, which, when combined with dust particles and water vapour, make a blue visual effect.

The Blue Mountains are about a 90 minute drive from Sydney. There are eight connected conservation areas in the World Heritage area, all full of dramatic scenery of cliffs and waterfalls and full of amazing walks and hikes. Free for all to enjoy nature and even spot a few creatures. Though be careful not to step on snakes or legless lizzards like this one! (See if you can spot the ears)

The right way around

In Evans Lookout Road in Blackheath, about fifteen minutes drive up past Katoomba, is a walk called the Grand Canyon walking track. It is often considered as the most impressive walking trail in the Blue Mountains. It has, however, some very steep sections and there is an easy way around the circuit and a hard way which ends up in steep inclines and never-ending uphill zigzags.

The Grand Canyon bushwalk was constructed and opened to the public in 1907. Since then thousands of walkers make the ~6km bushwalking adventure around rainforest, creek crossings, waterfalls, huge sandstone walls and rock overhangs. Including us.

And just if you are wondering, we went the right way around…

Punch buggy

Im not sure where the game really began. There are some theories (here and here), like being a “dark joke in dark times” in Germany. Regardless of its origins, the game has caught popularity in our family and now spotting the unique design of “beetles” has become a pavlovian response to punching and a bit of fun. The increasing rarety of the original bochos means that spotting them is hard. Unless you come across a gathering of old VW vehicles.

Burnt path

Another Sunday, another bush walk. Starting South of Sydney, in Cronulla, with a long beach to walk across to then enter the historic Kamay Botany Bay National Park on the Kurnell Peninsula. Its historic significance dates to 1770 when it is said that Captain Cook landed here. It is now, supposedly, one of the best whale watching spots in Sydney, though we were a bit late to watch the humpback migration that happens in June/July.

We kept wondering why the walking platforms were all burnt, had a fire been a controled fire or a natural disaster. Of course, reaching the end of our 14km walk we discovered the walking track was closed to public. I guess they dont have a lot of walkers starting on the Cronulla side.

So it happens that a few weeks past a fire consumed 350 hectares of land south of Sydney, with speculations that it was an arsonist who started it on Sunday 3 September. It was impressive to see a land come back to life as it is used to fires in the hot summer days; plants had already started blooming and growing again after just a handful of weeks.