Soldiers Point

could not ask for more

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Morning, afternoon, night and in between we could not have asked for more. The G.O. and I spent¬†a series of flawless days around Port Stephens¬†highlighted by my sister’s simple, stunning wedding day at Nelson Head Inner Lighthouse¬†and a relaxed, fun, beautifully personalized¬†& crafted reception at the ibis Styles Port¬†Stephens Salamander Shores Hotel at Soldiers Point.

Practically, unusually warm May weather enhanced the celebrations. We, and more importantly the bride, were graced with 14-15 to 22-23 degrees C (57-59 to 71-73 F) clear sunny days and fresh, full moon lit nights.

Before, during and after the big day we caught up with family, friends and as happens on these occasions made the acquaintance of a few more.

But while the wedding party et al had a go-carting post-wedding day recovery session we took some time out. The G.O. and I, just because, shouted Dad an excellent seafood lunch at The Deck at Soldiers Point Marina, afterwards wandering around the shiny nautical vessels dreaming of the boating life. Although, I think Dad would have liked to be able to drop a line and catch a fish or two amongst the tauntingly visible shoals safe in the clear waters of the no-fishing marina zone.

Any free time we had the G.O. and I sat on the balcony absorbing the views over the garden and bay, or walked on the beach.

I could not ask for more, Ed McCain

“…These are the moments I thank God that I’m alive
These are the moments I’ll remember all my life
I’ve got all I’ve waited for
And I could not ask for more…”

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on point duty

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lunch spot overlooking the bay
lunch spot overlooking the bay
baby stingray in the shallows
baby stingray in the shallows

The G.O. didn’t take much convincing to go up to Port Stephens¬†the day before my youngest sister’s wedding, so we left Sydney at a civilized hour and arrived at d’Albora Marinas¬†in Nelson Bay¬†in time for lunch overlooking the water.

After lunch we strolled around the marina and spotted 3 pods of dolphins cruising the bay. Of course, the phone-camera we had to hand wasn’t up to capturing pics.

Post-stroll we headed around to our accommodation, the ibis Styles Port Stephens Salamander Shores Hotel at Soldiers Point, also the wedding reception venue, set in beautiful gardens on Salamander Bay.

G.O.'s crabby grab
G.O.’s crabby grab
pelican tour guide
pelican tour guide

After a brief chat with family who’d arrived we wandered down to Wanda Beach for a quick walk before getting ready for an evening of pre-wedding drinks and dinner. That was the beginning of not only socialising with family and friends but what seemed to be non-stop wildlife encounters.

We walked along the jetty looking down into water so clear that if you’d had a fishing rod you could see a delicious dinner of black fish or whiting, as well as myriad tiny neons.

bevy of swans
bevy of swans
threesome of white ibis
threesome of white ibis

On the sand¬†I slipped my thongs (flip-flops) off to go for a paddle, looking back to suggest the G.O. do the same… wondering why he was wearing joggers on the beach.

As I stepped further into the water, I looked down, luckily, as right at my feet was a baby stingray which checked them out then seeing the G.O’s feet also, decided to move off just far enough.

brace of mallards
brace of mallards

Not far along from that encounter the Cancerian G.O. met up with a crabby cohort and nearly dunked his good watch attempting to shake hands-pincers.

the good ship pelican
the good ship pelican

Returning to our room, our balcony was beset with native birds, who maintained a constant presence over the weekend, one cheeky native myna bird even venturing inside.

seagulls on the sand
seagulls on the sand

At the start of our next morning walk we were greeted at the beach by a pelican who led the way towards a bevy of black swans, a threesome of white ibis, the good ship pelican, a flock of seagulls, a brace of mallards, and a raft of wood ducks –¬†all of which made daily repeat appearances.

We had only had one other glimpse of dolphins in the bay from the balcony of my sister’s 5th floor honeymoon suite. So, on Saturday afternoon a little before dusk the G.O., my uncle, aunt and I drove around to The Anchorage Marina at Corlette¬† where the G.O. and I stayed previously and saw¬†dolphins dining late in the day, but to no avail this time.

cheeky native myna bird
cheeky native myna bird
friendly rainbow lorrie
friendly rainbow lorrie

Heading back to the car, disappointment somewhat mollified by the spectacular sunset, there was just enough light left in the day for us witness a wild rabbit nibbling the lawn near the car park supervised by a black cat from its vantage point on the brick wall.

 

visiting kookaburra
visiting kookaburra
beautiful butcher bird
beautiful butcher bird

Earlier in the day walking along the beach, seeing many people with dogs, I’d jokingly commented to the G.O. the only thing we haven’t seen is a cat [who’d appreciate the beach as a big litter tray]. Well, now we had, with a bonus bunny thrown in the mix.

 

 

kitty and bunny
kitty and bunny

Added to all of that, enroute driving¬†along the the freeway I’d spotted¬†a trio of¬†big white billy goats lounging in the morning sun on the edge of a cutting way up high, and on the way home a couple of kangaroo’s reclining on a front lawn.

“Each day provides its own gifts”, Marcus Aurelius

 

…But there was one other wildlife encounter, wonderful enough that it deserves its own post.

[Click on the image thumbnails, and they’ll open up into (slightly) larger images]

smoke gets in your eyes

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The G.O.¬†and I¬†awoke somewhat bleary eyed on Sunday morning¬†after my youngest sister’s Friday wedding at Port Stephens. No, we hadn’t tied one on. Our¬†muzzy eyes were more to do with¬†NSW Rural Fire Service¬†hazard reduction burns across the bay at Tea Gardens-Hawks Nest¬†evident by the plumes of smoke we’d seen the previous day. The morning sun was a little hazy too.

8.45 am Sunday looking over Port Stephens
8.45 am Sunday looking over Port Stephens

 

[Smoke gets in your eyes, The Platters]