Audley has to be one of my most favourite spots on this planet... and that's saying alot because I've seen a few and many are very dear to me but there is something about Audley...
I feel ashamed to say that just shy of one year since being back in Sydney and living only 10 minutes or so away, Wednesday of last week was my first visit in a long time. Growing up in the Shire, Audley was part of my stomping ground with both family and friends. Our extended family would often go there for picnics when we were young, we'd hire out the row boats and have such incredible fun... this carried on into my adolescent years when I would still visit with family but also started going there with friends... and it continued into adulthood and now I've picked up where I left off.
Having lived away from the Shire for about 12 years, having experienced, and fallen in love with, a slower pace of life and having become more aligned with natural environments over cityscapes, I was very glad indeed to immerse myself in the silence and solitude that is Audley.
I rowed and drifted along the river, with the ducks to keep me company and could literally feel the serenity penetrate to my core. I practically had the whole place to myself and it was magic.
Even the busloads of Japanese tourists that arrived mid-morning, after I had returned my dinky little row boat, only sent happy ripples along the river as they laughed and rowed... even the people visiting the Weir Cafe were serene... but I will now let the pictures tell the story:
... and I also snapped some images of the Weir Cafe but as I was on my own I didn't stay to eat but will return one day with friends to try it out:
Above: Showing some of the indoor area of the cafe, it shares its space with the Visitor Centre & Giftshop
Above: Showing some of the outdoor area of the cafe overlooking the idyllic Hacking river.
Above: The building as a whole, to the left on the ground level is the Weir Cafe / Visitor Centre & Giftshop; upstairs is the old dance hall that has been refurbished and now goes by the name of The Audley Room, serving high tea and catering to weddings and on the right is the character-filled Commonwealth Pavillion (close up: below).
You can read more about the Royal National Park here but I highly recommend this spot to anyone who likes picnicking, taking out a row boat, canoe or paddle boat, hiking / bushwalking, birdwatching, photography, painting en plein air... or just simply taking in the solitude and silence.
I've purchased my annual pass and will be returning often, not just to row but to walk and study nature, getting endless inspiration for my designs.