This post on Catherine Hill Bay is the first of a series of Easter 2014 posts I have coming. There are just so many photos Ben and I haven’t had the time to go through them all and pick our favorites. But trust me, the best of Easter is yet to come, plus loads more from the past three months in Australia.
We planned on spending our Easter weekend in Narromine with Ben’s family, so Good Friday morning we got up early, packed our bags for Narromine, and then headed in the opposite direction towards Catherine Hill Bay!
I know what you are thinking, how are you going to just not show up for Easter? Don’t worry, we still went to Narromine, but we went later in the day. We couldn’t let the first morning of beautiful sunshine in a week, and a day off work, keep us from a morning of snorkeling.
So what was the snorkeling like in Catherine Hill Bay? It was the most unsuccessful snorkeling trip we have ever had! Here’s a small recap of how things went, aka how things went terribly wrong…
– The water in the bay was freezing!
– The water was also cloudy, I’m talking so incredibly cloudy I saw one small school of fish, and Ben saw no fish in our two hours of snorkeling.
– I dropped my snorkel in that super cloudy water… and luckily caught it (ok, so that didn’t go totally wrong).
– Ben dropped his snorkel… and wasn’t so lucky.
– My flippers fell off, twice (and again, luckily caught them)!
– The current was so strong, we were fighting the waves to not get dragged into the barnacle filled pier and jagged rocks.
We thought that was it, but when we got home to rinse everything off we noticed Ben’s flipper had cracked in half, this means Ben now has one flipper and no snorkel the next time we want to hit the water. Needless to say we are now a defunct snorkeling duo and will have to wait until next spring to get back in the water.
Our trip was so disappointing I almost didn’t write a post about it (I’m stubborn like that)… but the photos from that morning were too good not to share!
A Quick History on Catherine Hill Bay
Named after a schooner who ran ground in 1876, Catherine Hill Bay is a small mining town on the south end of Lake Macquarie. Coal was first discovered in the area in the 1860’s (you can still find some on the beach today) and the New Wallsend Company opened the first coal mining company in the area in 1873. The New Wallsend Company built a jetty to transport coal to sea for the large ships.
Over the years coal mining continued with different companies operating the mines and rebuilding the jetty, up until 2004 when mining ceased operation.
From what I have read of Catherine Hill Bay, the landscapes and environment are virtually unchanged since Captain Cook sailed past in he 1700’s.
The homes surrounding Catherine Hill Bay’s landscapes are old miners cottages. Built close to one another on rolling hills with gorgeous views of the ocean, and short walks from the beach. There is also a small pub just across from the surf house which I have been told is a, “bloody good pub meal.”
As you drive farther up the hill towards the old mine you will find undeveloped land. Currently there is an ongoing battle for the land to build residential homes overlooking the bay.
Catherine Hill Bay remains a great spot for surfers, and whether you can surf or are just a surf enthusiast, it remains a quiet spot to catch a wave or watch the waves any day of the week.
No, I do not know this guy, he just so happened to get in my way and made for a great shot.
Like I said, it really was an unsuccessful day of snorkeling at Catherine Hill Bay, but a gorgeous location, history lesson, and a beautiful afternoon of relaxing on the beach was a great way to kick off a long weekend.