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the Basin, Sydney

28 February 2011 3,857 views No Comment

around the national park
photo shoot

A mini-peninsula in the Pittwater River, the Basin is a lovely picnic area/ campground. It’s best reached by water and most people arrive by their own boat – don’t you just love Australia! It’s also accessed by a good ferry service from Palm Beach that also takes in Mackerel Beach, Currawong and a couple of other small places.

I arrived on Friday evening, the sun was setting shiny gold across the water, there were ducks & wallabies wadddling around the grass and I would say about 1/3 of the 400 spots were occupied – it was lovely.
There are more services at the Basin than most other National Parks campgrounds that I have been to: showers (cold), drinking water, gas & wood BBQs, and a coffee man that comes round by boat once an hour! Personally I require about half the above for a good weekend away so I was well happy.

It’s a popular destination, so if you do come I’d say book in advance. On Saturday heaps more people arrived including massive family groups, scouts and backpackers. I can never get enough of seeing Australians enjoying the outdoors, seriously, they know what they’re doing – there are piles of sausages, buckets of prawns, slabs & slabs of beer, noone arrives with a picnic blanket they bring tables, chairs, lamps, toasters, and they have actual trolleys for pulling their gear around. It’s incredible, completely brilliant.

exploring more of Kuringai-Chase

Saturday I spent five straight hours under one tree switching between people, goana and cloud watching, reading, writing and sleeping, it was heaven. Once it started to cool down – I’d say 25 degrees from 29 – I put trainers on and checked the Park out some more. The Basin is part of Kuringai-Chase so if you’re familiar with West Head, Akuna Bay, Cottage Point, it’s part of that. The reason you can only access the Basin by boat (as opposed to car from West Head Road which would seem obvious) is that the track down to the Park is SO steep. It’s that track that I now started on, and it’s the most severe gradient I’ve ever run up. I took the Basin Trail to West Head Road, then the Challenger Trail down and back through the bush, then Basin Track return with a detour down the Mackerel Beach service trail. About 15k all in. After the first ridiculous climb it was just undulating but it felt like more because I was post-hill fatigued. The Park and the views were stunning, lots of wide, remote bush space: an Australia-only combination of blue blue sky, thick green foliage and earthy rock and road, with snatches of sparkling water and cloud wisps for movement. On my return I was also joined by a few wallabies which was, well, charming.

new flavours

Due to the numbers of people that come to the Basin – I’d say 90-100% occupancy on the Saturday night – it’s not exactly getting away from it all. And when it started to rain on Sunday I was only a quick pack, shift, resettle to one of the delicious Palm Beach coffee shops, so not exactly the rough life either! But it’s a cute, far enough break for some head space, a change of scenery and fresh air with a different taste – mostly the taste of other people’s far superior BBQ!


what’s happening here

On the ferry back from the Basin I was mucking around with my camera and Serge, friendly Russian-Australian stepped in. Serge, it runs out, is a digital photography professor so he talked me through how portrait shots ‘should’ be taken. (Sorry, but the only subject available was me, and if I’d known I would have at least had a wash, and yes, that’s my pyjama top…)

Anyway, what you see here (apparently) is:

a bad portrait because there’s too much subject

a good portrait because you get the subject’s (crusty) face

a pretty good portrait because there’s a lot of the subject and there’s more space on the side that the subject is favouring (=facing)

a not bad portrait because it’s close up of the subject’s face but it’s not favouring a side


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