. . . ‘tis not I picking away on the rocks with an oyster knife, nor is it either of my hosts, Ian and Ross, whom I am visiting at their beach house at Patonga Beach. (but Ian does know where to go to get the best oysters). A fresh water creek runs into the Hawkesbury River just below their holiday house, and it’s just a matter of knowing the right oyster farmer.
My assigned job for the day trip was to get some new photos of the house for use by their letting agent. And in return, I was fêted with not only with luscious fresh oysters, but also with tiger prawns and locally caught garfish – such sweet meats.
Not fancying the thought of driving back to Sydney from the Central Coast on a Sunday afternoon, I opt to leave the car at home and take public transport for this excursion!
My Seniors Pass gets me all the way to Palm Beach for $2.50 on an articulated, noisy bus. But I sit back and enjoy watching who gets on and off, as the view of the spectacular Northern Beaches is somewhat spoiled by dirty windows. Shame!
Time for coffee in the sunshine before making what must be one of the world’s most beautiful water crossings – to Patonga Beach. I stand on the front of a little ferry boat with the wind in my face.
Sailing from the Pittwater, we pass Palm Beach, Barrenjoey lighthouse, Lion Island with its penguin colonies, and the pristine bushland and sandstone cliff faces of the Kuring-gai Chase National Park.
Wilderness, land and sea, less than two hours from Australia’s largest city made even more impressive under a sunny cloudless sky. (No need for the Stematil for the supposed ‘ocean crossing’ that a friend told me of last night at dinner.)
I am met at the wharf by good friend, Ian the Chookman, who takes me on a tour of this southernmost township of the Central Coast, and up Patonga Creek – not to get oysters, but to get photos!
Wild flowers are blooming at this time of the year. The yellow calliopsis (aka ‘pea-the-beds’ from my childhood) are a weed, but they make great colour for a photo. And driving back to Sydney, the native white flannel flowers are in profusion along the sides of the road – so beautiful growing in clay from between the rocks and dead leaves.