Rock, Water, Seaweed

Looking to the south from the Austinmer headland we see Little Austi Beach. At the far end of the beach is another smaller headland which takes you around to the main beach featured in an earlier post.


Down on the beach the rock platform reveals its geometry.
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The triangular rocks make for interesting rock pools.


Sea creatures trace patterns in the sand of the rock pool, revealing the multi-coloured rock underneath.


A sharks egg captured my attention. I had never seen one before. Apparently they are sometimes called a Mermaid’s Purse. I think this is the egg of the Port Jackson shark. What an great specimen.


Up close, the seaweed situation is looking out of hand. There has been a bad storm and a huge volume of kelp has been dumped at the south end of the beach.


Sky, sea and seaweed make a great combination for a photo. Not so inviting for a dip in the ocean.


Swamped by seaweed. Yes, we’ve all had days like this.




Austinmer Headland

Little Austi is the second beach at Austinmer, located to the north of the main beach. At its northern limit is a tall headland, surrounded by and extensive rock platform.


On top of this Headland is the Headlands Hotel, scene of the 2005/2006 Australian TV series called, strangely enough, headLand. This was taken in 2010, so it may have changed since then.


The headland rises towards the sea to form a high cliff face, with a steep drop to the rock platform below. Its a dangerous area as this sad memorial testifies.


At the base of the cliff is a flat, wide, rock platform, criss-crossed with lines in the rock. Here is a man collecting shellfish or bait.


This image shows the triangular pattern in the rock platform.


Water rushes in and out of this opening in the rocks. Its best to keep away from the edge of this type of rock platform as freak waves can catch you unawares.


Standing on the rock platform, the cliff face reveals the geology of this area, which includes and abundance of coal.


On a nearby rock platform, a keen rock fisherman prepares his kit.


Some images from the Austinmer holiday have been selected for greeting cards available in the ImageChest Etsy Store.

Dusky Austinmer Beach

The Beach at Austinmer New South Wales is popular with summer holiday makers but on dusky winters evenings, it can take on a less welcoming character.

The steps down to the saltwater pool look like steps to nowhere.


Some people are keen.
From the northern most end of the beach I can look back at the pool and change sheds, not tempted to get wet myself this evening.
The trees take on a spooky character in the dusk.
On the way home the fish and chip shop beckons, a splash of colour and warm light.
Some images from the Austinmer holiday have been selected for greeting cards available in the ImageChest Etsy Store.

Austimer Escape

In the winter of 2010 I spent a week in Austinmer on the Illawarra Coast. It was my first holiday in over a year. Since contracting pneumonia in early 2009 I had been struggling to recover my health from post-pneumonia fatigue. I faced the 1 hour train journey south from home in Sydney with trepidation. This small beachside town in the Illawarra Region, nestled between the Illawarra Escarpment and the Pacific Ocean, seemed a world away. I arrived by train at the bustling unmanned railway station.


I found safe haven at the cosy and comfortable Sur La Mer Bed and Breakfast. It had everything I needed and I could have quite comfortably lived there on a permanent basis.



To the north of the railway line, a winding road climbs up into the foothills of the mountains. I walked up here to a lovely art gallery and artists studio.


Its not a big place, but there are some lovely cafes and specialty shops to explore, such as Mala Beads.


I decided to extend my stay, but needed to change accommodation. The Austinmer Beach Cottages gave me an excellent view of the escarpment. Where Sur La Mer had been safe and cosy, this place was open and expansive. This transition seemed to reflect my growing confidence that I was well enough to be back in the world.



The escarpment looms high over the town so that when the sun moves westward in the middle of the afternoon, the whole town is in shadow. I looked longingly to where the sun was still shining on the other of the mountains.


Its Austinmer Beach that draws people to the town. The slow paced life on a thin strip of coast between two big cities, Sydney and Wollongong.


But its the rock platforms that have always drawn my attention.


Something happened in Austinmer. I made the switch from seeing myself as a convalescent, to believing I was well enough to get on with my life. I did a lot of walking, writing and photography. Within a few months I was exploring England.

I have selected some images from the Austinmer holiday to be the subject of greeting cards available in the ImageChest Etsy Store.

Stormy Stanwell Park Australia

It seems like its time to come back home and take a look at some pictures of Australia. Today I am going to share some images of a small town called Stanwell Park, just south of Sydney. Stanwell Park has a lovely sandy beach, most famous as the landing place for hand-gliders which take the leap from Stanwell Tops.

On my way down to the beach, I encountered this fellow, a Sulpur Crested Cockatoo, who exhibited no shyness in front of the camera. One of these birds had a character role in the film Rio, as the main villain. I think this characterisation was a little harsh, cockatoos are not normally inclined to criminal activity, unless you have a laden fruit tree.


As you approach the beach you find a river attempting to make its way into the sea. Sometimes it doesn’t quite get there, and forms a shallow lagoon. A good rain will sort this one out.


You can see the cliffs which are so popular for hang-gliding. Since this was a wintery weekday, there was only a lone glider high in the sky. I met this man later in the beachside cafe. It was strange to see a dot circling in the sky gradually materialise as a real person.


As I walked out onto the beach, the threatening sky began to assert its presence in the north east.


While to the south it was still blue skies and fair weather. You can see the new elevated road curving out over the cliff edge.The old road had collapsed down the side of the cliff, cutting off Stanwell Park from the towns to the south until a new road could be constructed.


Looking out to sea, a helicopter and a tanker.


Tucked between the busy cities of Sydney and Wollongong, the beach towns of the Illawarra Coast have to reconcile tourism with industry.