weekend drive :: crowdy bay & a wee lighthouse
A weekend with a little driving adventure is the best weekend of all – well, I think so :-) But often, during these busy months of school and work and study and placement, it’s all we can do to keep everything running smoothly at home, let alone pack a yummy picnic and set off for a whole day. Fortunately, the summer holidays provided plenty of opportunities for little – and big – driving adventures, so I’ve plenty to look back on over the next few months. I thought I’d share some of them here – this weekend, I bring you the little known, quiet hamlet of Crowdy Head.
Most of the beautiful bay, of which Crowdy Head is but the southern tip, is a National Park so the only access to the long beach is from this spot, or the northern tip – Diamond Head. Originally, Captain Cook named this point “Indian Head”. The Australian writer, poet, and social justice campaigner Kylie Tennant, suggested he may have named it so after catching sight of, through his spyglass, a group of the local Aborogines – the Birripi people (I think this is their name, but if I’m wrong, I do apologise and please let me know!). Later it was renamed Diamond Head because of its abundance of sparkling quartz in the cliff faces.
Kylie Tennant, whilst living in nearby Laurieton, with her husband (the local schoolmaster) and children, was so delighted with this beautiful spot, she built a wee shack for writing, watching the animals, escaping from it all … not much is known about her time here. But her book “The Man on the Headland” provides an enchanting description of this place and its local “hermit” Ernie Metcalfe.
Despite my many, many trips to the southern tip as a child, we never ventured north, so the delights of Kylie’s Beach, the Diamond Head Walk, the Mermaid Walk, and the many picturesque cliffs, coves and inlets of this part of the park are unknown to me. I intend to remedy this at the next opportunity!
But Crowdy Head – it is part of my childhood dreams and memories. The hot and sticky drive, always accompanied by the incessant and fierce drone of cicadas, from Nanny and Poppy’s to the beach – that always seemed suuuuuuch a long way (only 7km actually!). The beautiful little waves that were always perfect for my sister and I with our boogie boards The wee fishing harbour where Poppy’s friends kept their trawlers. The co-op where we’d buy freshly caught prawns for lunch. The squat white lighthouse, that I imagined holidaying in and keeping an eye out for smugglers, just like Famous Five.
(the site of the lighthouse keeper’s cottage – the Crowdy Head lighthouse was demanned in 1928, very early, so unlike most of its lighthouse cousins, there is no keeper’s cottage for holiday makers to stay – such a shame – the views are magnificent!)
When we last visited here (four years ago) it was looking very neglected and dingy – I stood here with Julian, dismayed and almost disbelieving, declaring that the REAL lighthouse must have been pulled down, such a sorry sight stood before me. But this visit, the little lighthouse is looking splendid! Thank goodness the Taree Shire Council saw fit to restore her to her former glory. I especially loved this little insignia – painted by someone with a steady and quirky hand.
It’s charming naivete reminded me of a wonderful picture book Abby and I enjoyed when she was little.
Don’t you think! Oh I do have such a romantic and sentimental spot in my heart for the ocean and all the good bits that go along with it.
Hope you enjoyed your weekend adventure to Crowdy Bay! I did.