Toowoom BayFebruary 10, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C
The BBC forecast was spot on, so we moved down the coast to set up at Toowoon Bay,which lies next to The Entrance. The Entrance is the connection point for three shallow inland lakes to spill out to the Pacific Ocean. Toowoon Bay is on the ocean side of a long stretch of coast line. As we drove along we could see how much rain had fallen over the last 72 hours. Many caravan sites on the lake side were flooded out - the lake water level must have risen by some feet which is quite something as the area covered by the lakes is extensive.
We sun was shining as we pitched up and very quickly all dampness in the tent was dissipated.
We tried to do the 5 mile Coast to Lake walk on our first day, but the lake side path was inundated and a guy was stand up paddle boarding on the water about 3 feet above the normal foot path level. Wending our way around the flood we came across some locals who were not enamoured by the performance of the local Mayor. Their houses were either partially flooded and their garages actually flooded by the height of the water which they say was unprecedented - all due to her not having The Entrance properly dredged. As we walked around the peninsular and across the main bridge we could see further flooding to lake side properties on the northern side. Lake side businesses were flooded out. The Entrance is protected by a sand spit which restricts the amount of water from the Ocean entering the Lakes. As we walked along the Ocean side we watched two huge diggers open a channel in the spit to try to relieve the flood, The idea being that the rush of water out of the channel would erode the sand spit sufficiently to reduce the water level in the Lakes more quickly. This was classic council activity - the first digger started to cut a channel as the second one was being prepared for operation. After about 45 minutes the first digger left its position then proceeded further along the spit to start digging there instead. The second digger then trundled along to spend its time filling in the channel created by the first one. We watched all the activity from the coast path along with many others who came to enjoy the spectacle. Where we were a bus load of council managers were standing directing operations for the digging crews on the beach. Just prior to the relief channel being completed the nine council managers bundled back into the bus to disappear down the road - presumably it was knocking off time. The more cynical of the observers thought the plan was doomed to fail - apparently the rush of water through the relief channel would erode the end of the spit away to increase the opening to the ocean. We walked on resolving to review the situation in the morning. It was an interesting and scenic walk - we reckon we walked about 9 km in total.
We pottered down the coast a little way to Terrigal, a local beauty spot where there was a nice coastal walk for us to do. Haven Beach which is usually golden sand was covered in a thick layer of sea weed - no sand to be seen at all. A news crew was there from the TV station and we were invited to offer a few words to camera which we did - no idea if they were used. After our walk we returned to The Entrance to discover that the plan had indeed failed, the end of the spit was still there. However a plan B had obviously been put into action and a stretch of about 70 m in the middle of the spit had been removed to allow the flood waters to escape. The level of the lake had reduced by about 18 inches in the 24 hours between our visits. The diggers must have been busy overnight and the start of the opening appeared to be coincident with the location of the first excavation which had been filled in.
The birds in The Entrance were clearly having a good time, although the pelicans were missing their daily feed by the council (for the tourists) - they were fishing in the waters around the spit.
We did a couple of bush walks in and around Nora's Head lighthouse and Bateau Bay which we enjoyed.Read more