Friday, September 27, 2013

Sea Acres Rainforest Centre

We had a leisurely Sunday morning, having breakfast on the deck with binoculars close at hand as the whales were in the bay.  Unfortunately it was not possible to get a photo of the whales but with the use of the binoculars we were able to get a reasonable viewing.  Apparently some 3000-4000 humpback whales pass close to Port Macquarie on their migration north between May and November.  We were lucky to time our visit when it was possible to see the whales on a daily basis.

There are a number of tour companies offering boat trips to the 100 kilometre waterways to see the whales up close.  This sounds wonderful and surprisingly the trips were not too expensive (and in fact the cheapest we have seen as we come down the coast) however those white capped waves are more than enough to put me off.  If we could see the white caps from the deck, and even better from standing on the coastline, imagine what they are like to experience from the rocky surface of a boat.  Not for me and my sea legs.  As for Peter, I was more than happy for him to head off, with the camera, and see for himself and I would happily entertain myself with my book.  But he didn't like the idea of leaving me behind - how is that for love?

As we had driven along the coast road between Port Macquarie township and Lighthouse Beach I had seen a sign post to Sea Acres Rainforest Centre so after checking the internet decided it was worth a visit.  We timed our visit perfectly - their one hundred year celebration and no charge for entry!  As we entered the boardwalk through the rainforest there were volunteers showing various wildlife that are "occasionally" found in the area.  There were a number of snakes and various lizards on show.  One of the volunteers offered to put one of the snakes around my neck but I decided to give that a miss today.  Instead we admired one of the large lizards - sorry can't remember the proper name for it.

We certainly didn't see any of the wildlife on show as we walked the boardwalk - some birds, yes, but nothing else.  I realise that it is difficult to see these creatures from a distance.  We did see some bush turkey so at least we saw something.

Sea Acres is actually now a national park (from 2011) and contains one of the largest, least disturbed and most diverse coastal rainforests in New South Wales.  The boardwalk is elevated and is 1.3 kilometres long (no wonder I thought the skywalk at the Tamborine Mountains in Queensland was short!) .  The actual walk is accessible for all abilities and is wheelchairs and pram friendly.  We only met two other groups walking which was a little surprising one family group and another young woman and her mother who had lived in the area all their lives and never visited - surprising eh but at least they had come now.

The walk was really pleasant and gave a very good opportunity to look at the various trees and ferns growing in the rain forest.  It lived up to its slogan "take the wonder walk".  Part way along the walk the met up with the two ladies and one of them offered to take a photo of us together - often a rare occurrence when travelling.

 Walkway and Us
School and other groups often visit the boardwalk and part way along the walkway there is a wider area set out with seating for talks - a very peaceful spot.  Here there are wood carvings.

We completed the walk, which was very pleasant with a cooler temperature within the forest than the 30 degrees in Port Macquarie that day.  We finished off our visit with a look through the gift shop and then devonshire tea for Peter and a smoothie and cake for me in the rainforest cafe - certainly a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

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