Walkabout in Wondabyne (Part II): A Dip in the River, sort of…

Welcome to Wondabyne!

Welcome to Wondabyne!

Wondabyne.  It had taken me nearly 10 years to finally set foot on this tiny platform, but here I was!  Just before I disembarked the Sydney-bound train, I asked the train manager in the last carriage about the train coming back.

Somewhere between the bush and the river, lies Wondabyne!

Somewhere between the bush and the river, lies Wondabyne!

“Thanks, mate!” I said in a cheerful tone.  “If I wanna get another train back, just flag the train down?” I asked with a sense of caution in my voice.

“Yeah, just stand behind the yellow line there and just wave; they’ll stop for ya.” He said, in his most reassuring tone, as if he had said this a hundred times before.

“Thanks, it’s my first time here.”

“Yeah, mate, no worries.”

And being the boastful bunnies fan that I was, I added in the fact that I was a Long Islander who staunchly supported the Rabbitohs.  Sorry, but I could not help but toot my own red and green horn.

“Aw, really?  I don’t mind Souths.  They’re pretty good.” He said as the doors closed and as the train slowly pulled away until it was around the bend, out of my sight.

"Wondabyne is a great place to have a seat!"

“Wondabyne is a great place to have a seat!”

With the train gone, all I could do at that moment was throw my arms up in the air and jump towards the sky.  “YEAH!  I MADE IT!” I shouted quietly, forgetting that I was trying not to divert any more attention to myself.  Of course, I then realized that there wasn’t anybody else around.  I mean, I didn’t see a single person around me or on the river, other than a sailboat or two bobbing in the Hawkesbury.  Before continuing my odyssey, I pulled out my Opal card and tapped it on the tiny screen at the edge of the station.  Since my last trip, the CityRail has adopted a new form of technology that allows passengers to use an electronic card to store their fare amount instead of using magnetic stripe tickets in turnstiles.  Since I had arrived, the old system of tickets was just about to be phased out in favor of the aptly named Opal Card.  It felt so weird having to tap my computerized card on a little monitor in the middle of the bush.  But it still felt like less of an eyesore than a bulky ticket machine at the edge of the riverbank.  But I digress.

I wasted no time running down the platform and onto a tiny gangplank that was hooked up to a small pontoon on the river.  It was here that I saw an authentic “tinny”, the little tin motorboats used by many of the local fisherman who live and work on the Hawkesbury.  It was one of the many vernacular that I learned from Oyster Farmer; just seeing one was enough for me.  I pulled off my backpack, knelt down at the edge of the pontoon, and slowly scooped up a handful of water.  I took a deep breath as I splashed it on my face.  It wasn’t that hot outside, but it felt so good as I doused my face with the essence of the Hawkesbury.  Refreshing!  But I wasn’t content to just let my face have all the fun.  I took off my backpack, ripped off my shoes and socks as fast as I could, and then slowly dipped my feet into the water.  “Aaaahhhhh!”  There’s nothing like being the great outdoors and taking advantage of everything that God, Mother Nature and Frith hath made possible at your fingertips.

Tinnies: The preferred mode of transportation among the Hawkesbury!

Tinnies: The preferred mode of transportation among the Hawkesbury!

Wondabyne and Gosford Wharf

Wondabyne and Gosford Wharf

As much as I would have loved to have spent the rest of the day lounging on the pontoon like Jack Flange and Pearl did (actually, they did it on a broken dock in the mangroves), I had a date with the bush.

TO BE CONTINUED…

NEXT TIME: My bush odyssey continues in the thick forest just above Wondabyne.  I promise you will not be disappointed by the scenery!

About admin

I am a graduate of Stony Brook University, and I have a degree in History. I am an avid traveler, with an extensive knowledge of geography, a passion for photography, and a knowledge of animals too. I enjoy pop music of the 1980's, fine dining, movies, baseball, basketball, and rugby.
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