Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Illawarra Escarpment and Wollongong coast

I often refer to Robertson being close to the coast, sitting above the Illawarra region. This what I mean. Click to enlarge the image, and you will see Lake Illawarra, the Blue Scope Steel (formerly BHP) steelworks and Wollongong.

I am indebted to my fellow Aussie Nature Blogger, Mick (from Sandy Straits and Beyond) for reminding me about the Weather. It was the weather which was special, yesterday. Crystal clear sky and a westerly wind to push any of Wollongong's pollution out to sea. After all the view is potentially there every day, but few days are as clear as yesterday.

The three peaks are the hill tops which dominate the Wollongong skyline (Mt Keira, Mt Kembla and Bulli). They are not high points, it is just that they are very abrupt. They are the edge of the Illawarra Escarpment, and come very close to the coast. As a result, there is a very nice patch of sub-tropical rainforest along that coast, just below the escarpment.These photos are taken from the Lees Road lookout, off the Jamberoo Mountain Road. The lookout is approximately 5 Km east of Robertson. OK, so it is not IN Robertson, it is just the best view one can get, locally. But you get the point. Here is a Google Map with the vista angles drawn in. Click to see the detailed location.Robertson is one ridge further up from the sandstone escarpment (where these shots were taken). You will recall that we are on a basalt cap above the sandstone.
View over the Maquarie Rivulet valley.
From the valley floor, Robertson is 15 Km along, to the left.
The Macquarie Pass is located to the left of the above image. The lush green valley below runs from Albion Park (out of sight on the right) through this valley, then suddenly climbs the escarpment, some 8 Kms to my left - at the end of this valley.
Dairy farms dominate the floor of the
narrow, lush Maquarie Rivulet Valley.
Here is a view (somewhat foreshortened, I admit, because of the longish zoom lens) which shows one of the local sandstone clifflines, near Knights Hill, with the coast in clear view beyond.
Finally, here is a zoomed image (taken with a 300 mm lens) of Port Kembla, the steelworks and 6 ships waiting off shore to receive their loads of coal or grain. Part of Lake Illawarra is visible in the middle distance. There is a new gas-fired power station at Haywards Bay in the lower foreground. The Illawarra is a very energy intensive region, especially when you realise that there are huge coal resources underneath the Escarpment.Wollongong lives and breathes on energy. It may also die because of industry and Governmental refusal to adapt to new energy-conscious polity.

There is a tiny Wave Power prototype facility proposed for Port Kembla. A good start, but not much more than a token gesture.

What about a chain of Wind Turbines sitting out to sea? That's work, wouldn't it?


mick said...

Fantastic scenic shots and great descriptions. The weather must have been lovely and clear to give that kind of clarity in the photos. You live in an interesting area.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Mick
I completely forgot to mention that it was the clear weather which inspired me to go there, yesterday.
After all the view is there (potentially) every day. But only on really good days can one get such a clear view.
Late afternoon, with a westerly blowing the smoke of Wollongong out to sea.
I shall go back in and edit in a comment (credit to you for reminding me).

Gouldiae said...

G'day Denis,
Very enjoyable and informative posting, and a nice spot you've got there. You've reminded me I've been meaning to do a post on the views of the southern ranges around here. Got a couple of 'lookout' spots I always try to detour past if I'm going anywhere. People ask, "Why do you go to Maffra that way?"
Woolongong seems a bit like the Latrobe Valley next door to me here. We have the worst polluting power station in Australia, possibly the world - Hazelwood, (built using 1950's technology and has recently had its life extended to the 2030's I think). A new 'carbon capture' project has just been announced too. I think the figures are something like- the new technology will capture 25tonnes a day. The station spews out many thousands of tonnes a day!
But anyway, don't start me.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Gouldiae
Indeed the Hazelwood plant is legendary - legendarily bad. And yes the "pilot plant" for carbon capture is tokenistic. But don't tell Peter Garrett or Mr Brumby, will you? Just our little secret!
Back to the view. We have had a burst of really clear days, and that's what prompted my visit to my favourite lookout.
The National Parks people have built a railing, to make it "safe". There is no sign. Hardly any of the locals ever go there - and no tourists.
One has to know about it, to find it. One of those situations.
I hope to see your views one day.