??Journey or destination??

Exploring life experiences at home and beyond – Destination Happiness


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How we do Oahu, Hawaii

Using our preferred travel method we started the trip with a night at Rydges Sydney Airport. Had the plane spotter room ( of course!) . Honestly I would be happy if this were my holiday. We visited the club 9 bar for a drink. Here we could not only watch the planes but also smell the aviation fuel when people opened the doors to the outside seating.

(Almost a full moon)

This time we were able to enjoy the late checkout of 1pm. Usually we are out of the room by 5 am but this time it was an evening flight. Enjoyed breakfast then was back at the window watching planes.

Was so excited when I saw our plane land from its Phuket trip. Flying Jetstar I was a little concerned as I’d seen them cancel the Honolulu flight a lot in recent times. Credit they had a plane out of action ( yes I know plane nerd stuff haha).

We arrived at the airport check in knowing we had a wait for our check in time. While waiting, a woman sitting next to us gloated about her ( and husband’s) upgrade to business class on our flight and how she had responded to the email offer in less than 3 minutes. You can imagine my less than enthused face haha.

While sitting waiting for check in and, then standing in line, I had 3 people ask me if I was waiting to check in for Bali ( they were checking where they needed to be). I reassessed my appearance as I didn’t think I looked like a Bali holiday person. Must have been the fact I hadn’t straightened my hair ???? Surely it wasn’t my neat, conservative, black and white spotted skirt, black t shirt, Pandora jewellery, jewelled sandals look???

It was announced we couldn’t check in until we had USA security check us, as a flight to Honolulu is a flight to USA ( really???Nooo???). The ‘check’ was of our passports , copy of ESTA ( sent a lot into a panic mode looking for emails of confirmation) and evidence of first night accomodation ( another panic for some). Not for us. We had ‘The Folder’… complète with our daily planned holiday schedule though the guy declined reading it – not sure why. Then we joined the Jetstar check in with a little silver sticker in our passports.

However it seems not everyone had lined up in the ‘security check’ line first. At the next counter to us, big stickbeaky ears heard the person hadn’t yet received confirmation of their ESTA. Felt sorry for her as Jetstar tried to locate it on their system but couldn’t. Last I heard they were changing her flight to the next day in hope the approval was completed by then. Ours took around 48 hours to be approved when we applied.

This time it was Brian who had the body scan. No ‘hot butt’ for me this time , but of course I did get checked for explosives.

I was impressed with our Jetstar flight. I hadn’t set the bar high but they exceeded it. Boarding was easy and fast. We took off on time.

The flight was on a Dreamliner. If inclined you can read about it here. https://www.jetstar.com/au/en/dreamliner

It really did leave your skin feeling hydrated, the seats were quite roomy in economy ( would be much better in business class lol) and I guess this all helped me in my ability to stay awake so long once we landed.

The staff were great. The only annoying part was a cabin crew member – let’s call him Adam for arguments sake. In the row in front of us were a couple. She ( yes I always eavesdrop lol) was a QANTAS cabin crew member and had been for 30 years. Well, Adam was bowing and scraping , apologising that they could only seat them in that row as they were unable to change the seating of the exit row passengers. Fancy that! Passengers weren’t prepared to give up their $59 extra cost seat so a staff member paying probably a 10% fee could have the comfort .

In a very loud voice ( makes eavesdropping easy) he told them he would compensate them with blankets ( that they could reuse next flight if they aren’t treated right) champagne , vodka (extra strong) free dinner and breakfast. Each time he brought these things he gushed asking if the flight experience was going ok. Adam , my flight experience was not going ok seeing what theses people received that I didn’t. Poor old Adam wasn’t even assigned to this section of the plane ‘upfront seating’ but the back of the plane so he was looking a little stressed at times doing the race between cabin spaces. I think Adam might be looking to upgrade to QANTAS cause he promised at the end of the flight with much handshaking ‘to be in touch’ now he has their ‘deets’. Or was the handshaking of another secret style. I have no idea but I hope it goes well whatever it is, for his effort.

Arrived at Honolulu 7 minutes early … to s vision of a flight of about 25 steps up ‘Arrivals’. The escalator was broken 😱😱. Caught the wiki wiki bus to immigration – no way was I walking!

After a discussion of my name as apparently the person before me was also Kerry Anne… a feigned giggle that yes it was a popular name in Australia ( is it???) … a struggle with the fingerprint machine ( it’s digital by the way, I had been thinking how annoying it will be to have ink on my hands)… collecting my luggage from the baggage carousel I was in the land of Trump. ALOHA 🌴 🏊‍♀️ 🏝 🇺🇸

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Sunset Dinner and Show Cruise – Robinson Crusoe Island, Fiji

After a lazy day poolside, following a huge ( as always) buffet breakfast, we dressed up for a 4:15pm pick up for a sunset dinner cruise and show. The show was to be held on a small nearby island – obviously Robinson Crusoe Island.


The brochure promised us –
• 30 minute Jungle Cruise to the island

• Welcome Kava Ceremony

• Fijian “Lovo” (earth oven) Buffet

• Fire Walking Demonstration

• South Pacific Performance featuring Fire & Knife dancers

• Island bonfire and string band serenaders

and I must say it delivered!!

The bus arrived on time and after about a 45 minute bus trip we arrived at the Robinson Crusoe Island Ferry Jetty , with a few other mini buses and a coach.


We swapped our ticket vouchers for boarding passes and watched the first boat start its trip down the river. Our boat filled quickly. We were assured there was no deadly wildlife in the river, given instructions on the use of life jackets, then with a loud ‘BULA’ off we sped.


Our trip took us through the mangrove lined Tuva River. At the mouth of the river the sunset painted a glorious picture of orange glow. Small boats,the other ferry and palm trees cast silhouettes against the strong glow.



Docked on the island we were met by a serenade and we were led to the meeting area.


First we were told the story of chiefs and kava ceremonies. We watched a ceremony then all were invited to partake in Kava.

A bonfire on the beach followed. Songs were sung as hungry tummies awaited the final cooking stage of the Lovo. We soon watched the foods removed from their rock under earth oven.While the rocks were still sizzle hot we witnessed some Fijians walk on them. This must take a lot of mind psyching.


Dinner was served- a delicious menu of tender beef, chicken and an assortment of vegetables. With full plates on our tables ( and soon very full tummies) the performers serenaded us- melodic and peaceful.

The end of dinner signalled the start of the show- I was captivated from the beginning to the end. We watched as women and men performed traditional dances with a variety of costume changes. The knife dance was impressive but the fire twirling was what thrilled me the most- I have long been intrigued by watching the flicker of its dance. The finale is on the beach and without ruining it ,let’s say it was totally riveting and a spectacular visual.


To the strains of Isa Lei – The Fijian Farewell Song, our dinner show ended and we headed back to our buses via another trip in the island ferry.

It was a little unnerving wondering how the trip would be, aware we had seen no navigational poles but had seen tree stumps exposed in the rivers while on the daylight leg. The light turned out to be from someone sitting up on the roof with a large torchlight beam. A little concerning at first, but YOLO. The trip with the sparkling star sky canvas and the roaming floodlight beam added to the adventure.

Would thoroughly recommend this to Fijian visitors. It was an amazing evening! Money well spent 😀


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A Lazy Time in Paradise

We have awoken to cloudy skies for the last two days ( which cleared mid morning), but today it was a blue sky peering down on us.

On Tuesday we lazed around the ‘adults only’ pool. Service was always with a smile and they provide a water rehydration counter, and a waiter brought around cold slices of watermelon. It took just one moment for me to become accustomed to this lifestyle.

Brian drank 3 cups of kava at the torchlighting ceremony in the evening. His speech was a little slurred for a minute or three due to his numb tongue.

Yesterday we spent the day on the beach. I bravely ventured in, after a lot of psyching up in my mind. I’d read the boards telling us to be sea animal wary. I’d read the post about lion fish, crown of thorns , stonefish and sea snakes. This water, although an aqua beckoning delight to the eyes, was also a treacherous zone ( well that’s how I interpreted it).
I was armed for combat as best I could be – KMart edition thick ( and when I say thick I mean around 4cms) sand shoes. They were in stunning white. I must admit , once they were wet they were a heavy drag on the calf muscles. On entering the water a swarm of crazy fish began circling me ( or it could have just been alarge school of fish that happened to be where I was😂). Suffice to say, I wasn’t a water baby for very long.

We also drank fresh juices to rehydrate. 
Today Brian has headed off to enjoy a raft ride, waterfall and Fijian village. The less adventurous one of us ( me) is poolside, again enjoying the adult only pool.  Resort living is my holiday choice. Though, on Saturday I have an escape from the resort planned for the evening.

 


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Departure – with a twist

Was woken at 1:30 am Monday morning,  by a text from Jetstar advising our flight would be delayed in the morning. Departure time moved from 8:55am to 10:30am. This meant the wake up alarm could be moved forward from 5 am to 6:30. Luxury 🙂 I woke up super early and enjoyed the extra time watching the airport come alive against the majestic sunrise hues.


Arrived for an easy check in,  but as per usual our check in gate was J !!! Handed over the bags and proceeded to border control and security. Had all my lipsticks, mascaras, eyeliners and moisturisers in my little liquids plastic bag. Popped my jacket onto a tray, removed all my ventolin canisters into the tray, placed my liquids bag in the tray then needed another tray for my handbag then sent them in their way to be xrayed. Of course, I was the one chosen for the body scan.

On exiting the scan I was asked to move to the left to observe my picture and note the images. The images indicated coloured spots and I had to suggest anything that might be the reason for this. I sheepishly suggested my underwire bra and cheap necklace along with the metal zip in my dress (yes all poor choices for travel wear haha) . I was then advised I must submit to a pat down , so stood patiently while I was patted. Passing that test I then was ( as always) chosen for the explosives wand check. Passed that, and was free to proceed to a cafe for breakfast. Yes …all that with no coffee!!!

At check in, although the departure board indicated out flight was leaving from gate 26A , we were told it was in fact gate 55. Deciding to eat closer to the gate we headed that way assured by the signs it was just a 7 minute walk – I do so love walks. Obviously they use a slow walker to gauge the distance and we were ordering at a cafe in less than 5 minutes including a window browse of shops – Tiffany for me, duty free liquor for Brian.

After breakfast we headed for gate 55. I wasn’t confident that this would be our gate as the departure board still indicated 26A. Arriving at the gate I decided to use my plane geek skills to establish which plane we were waiting on to be our plane. Worked that out, with the help of flight aware and flightradar, establishing it had landed at a gate B1. Not much help. As I stressed, I heard an announcement that …sure enough…we were leaving from gate 26A ( yes double 13). The board also indicated the walk time was 12 minutes ….arghhhh… But I had 20 mins and of course it was significantly less.

Gate 26A turned out to be a bit Harry Potterish. There was almost the brick wall to push through – well an escalator. This time checked with a Sydney Airport Assistant who told me her information didn’t indicate this was the gate for my flight, but she did a walkie talkie check and found it was our gate. The gate board only indicated Seoul, ports in New Zealand , Papua New Guinea and Norfolk Island. Eventually we were allowed down the escalator to the boarding area. Here we proceeded to boarding walking straight through onto a bus!!!! that took us to the plane. But as expected we had to wait on the bus while some late arrivals were paged. Finally I guess they arrived because the bus took us out to the plane. Rydges was visible from the plane – we had in fact travelled a full circle and not left Sydney.


In boarding we were advised to keep our seat belts off due to refuelling. Then we were told to buckle up for our flight – bitter wasn’t to be yet. Seems now there was inclement weather in our path so a new route needed to be approved before we could depart. Turns out this new route required more fuels , so it was belts off again. The pilot then muttered something about it being a much heavier jet now but the fuel was adequate for the trip ( that’s got to be a positive!!)
Finally we lifted off two and a half hours late- much to the delight of the child who had been kicking my seat for hour and a half on the tarmac ,and probably to the man in front who immediately reclined his seat on reaching out ascent height.

Enjoyed some cheese and crackers and soon we arrived in Nadi.


We were thrilled our transport was waiting for us and after an hours drive at sunset we arrived st Shangri La Fiji Resort. Starving we headed to the first restaurant we saw and ate a hearty dinner.


We will explore tomorrow in daylight .


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Cinderella – a modern day tale – a Zoom to Broome  

Once upon a time, Cinderella was transformed to a princess for a weekend, and flown to Broome. Her fairy godmother QANTAS cast the spell after viewing Cinderella’s competition entry video. You see, in this story, it wasn’t a prince looking for a princess but QANTAS sharing the celebration  of their 30 years of Frequent Flyers program with ordinary folk , also celebrating a special milestone in their lives. The competition involved either 25 words or less, explaining the milestone ( but as those that know this Cinderella know, this wouldn’t even see me finishing my introduction ) or a 30 second video. With a picture saying a thousand words, Cinderella saw this as her best chance. Her milestone was 30 years of marriage.

Proud of her effort she waited anxiously for the day the winners were to be announced. The day came and went and Cinderella thought the fairy godmother hadn’t chosen to be hers. But, just a day or two later, a phone call informed her she was in fact going to the ball….oops Broome. With a loud “Whacko the derrio” in the ear of the poor girl on the other end of the phone she zoomed on cloud nine before deciding just who her  lucky 3 guests were to be.  She took her own prince, and to accompany them were to be her son and daughter in law.

But fairy tales are narratives, and as such need a complication. This came in the shape of a broken ankle for her son. Surgery to place two pins and a metal plate ,  the wearing of a  moon boot and nil weight-bearing  provided  the complication. Seeking solutions she was met continually at brick walls as she searched her family for who to take now.  Her daughter and life-partner couldn’t make it logistically due to distance. Two sisters – maybe- but again one was distance challenged. Two  sets of ‘inlaws’ arghhhh….but then, one hadn’t been to Broome. And so the complication was solved. 

She started her magical adventure at Sydney Domestic Airport. After check in ( yes she needed a bag for all the clothes and accessories she would need for her 34 hour adventure) she headed off to the first ‘ballroom’ aka QANTAS lounge.  Entering the ( normally for her) forbidden doors she glided up the escalator with a grin rivalling the Cheshire Cat!! She wallowed in the fun, made herself a toastie and lined up for a barista coffee. 

Then, the flight board announced time to move to the next ‘ballroom’. Cinderella flew in the luxury of a private QANTAS flight on a 737-800. She sipped on cocktails and wine as a princess should. She ate foods that a princess should. The staff was so magical and ensured she was treated like a princess should be! On arrival in Broome a fairy godmother ( aka flight attendant) went the extra kilometre to allow Cinderella to sit in the business class seat and the flight captain let her peek in the cockpit. 


Cinderella’s bucket list already had so many ticks. Could it get any better?? Well it is a fairytale so we know anything can and does happen. Whisked away on a charter bus, she arrived at the resort to be entertained by a champagne reception. Even Mother Nature played her part with temperature ( 30C – excellent winter’s day !!)  and the bluest of clear sky. 


Entering her room at Kinberley Sands Resort, Cinderella noticed two bags of goodies.  Each contained a beautifully soft, large round beach towel, QANTAS bag tag ……and wait for it…QANTAS pyjamas- something Cinderella had only ever dreamed of, being an economy flight traveller. The room was beautiful and overlooked an azure pool, which at night was lit to a beautiful deep sea blue. 

A splash in the pool and then it was time to prepare for the dinner to be held at Cable Beach. A white dress affair, Cinderella managed to borrow suitable attire from a friend. It’s quite hard to find white summer clothing in the middle of a freezing winter. 

The sunset at Cable Beach deserves a photo. The hues change and colours deepen as the sun slinks to hide behind the ocean. As an east coast girl, sunset over the ocean thrilled Cinderella. Silhouetted against the sunset, a camel train made its way over the sand. A smoking ceremony signalled the beginning of the evening feast. And that it was, a feast for all senses!! Dinner was a night of sparkling pearl white, with a delicious menu to devour, washed down with quality wines, while listening to a melodic duet. Cinderell ate and drank like a princess should and had many laughs and interesting conversations. 

Next morning, saw Cinderella partake in a sumptuous breakfast before heading to Willie Creek Pearl farm. Here she held pearls that she could only have dreamt of ( one worth approximately $8000),  and enjoyed learning about the pearling industry, before taking a short cruise on the crystal blue waters to see the pearl farm. 

Regretfully now  for Cinderella, the hands of the clock seem to speed up. Before she knew it, she had boarded the flight home and was seeing the familiar sight of the marvellous harbour that is Sydney.  Her fairy godmothers and godfathers, in the form of QANTAS  staff, waved her a fond farewell . Cinderella doubted they could ever know the impact their actions had made on her. She did tell them, but knew they deserved more. 
On behalf of Cinderella I want to thank QANTAS for running this competition . I’ve often been a naysayer thinking these types of competitions weren’t won by real people but now I know different.  I encourage you, if you see a competition that has a prize you want, enter. You have nothing to lose and who knows, you too might be another Cinderella.

The glass slipper of memories will live forever in this Cinderella’s mind.
And someone missed us while we were gone for the weekend.


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BIG Heatwave

img_3307The BIG heatwave that crossed other parts of NSW also hit here at Port Macquarie. First we knew of it, was leaving our room to walk the hotel cafe at 9am, for breakfast – we melted in the 10 metre walk. After breakfast, we thought a BIG sea breeze might be found at the beach, so headed there. The first beach was awash with seaweed so we moved on.

 

Lucky for us we got a great parking spot at the next beach. The early birds had caught their worm (or wave) and were leaving as we arrived. Brian went for a BIG swim but I tested the water temp and decided it wasn’t warm enough for me.

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  BIG crowd

 

BIG Bluebottle swarm

BIG Bluebottle swarm

I  also saw bluebottles on the waterline and took this as a warning to find shelter away from the sand, in the shade. Shade however was at a premium,with tall pine trees giving sparse deep shade.
An hour later we headed in search of ice cold Coke and drank this in our (air conditioned to 22C) hotel room fighting with incredibly poor wifi 😥

 

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In the afternoon, with the temperature still soaring, we headed to some breweries. On arrival at the Little Brewing Company we saw one of the ‘Hello Koalas’ that are spread around Port Macquarie. Hello Koalas is a Sculpture Trail of 56 painted koalas. They are definitely worth a drive around following the map here. Brian with his BIG thirst, had a 4 taste adventure and, of course, we left after purchasing some products.

lbc

Driving on we moved on to the  Black Duck Brewery, with Brian enjoying another taste sample. I liked this too, not for the beer, but a lime soft drink and dukkah with oil and bread platter. Yes, Brian bought some of his favourites here too! bdbbDinner was at Hogs Breath. We had a table outside enjoying the soft breeze. But… BIG gusts came, threatening to knock the large umbrellas over, so we were moved into the veranda.

We had a BIG ( actually enormous) dinner then raced home buffed by wind gusts beating at our backs. Great day for me to choose to wear my circular skirted dress 🙂


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BIG CARtastrophe

And the day began. Switched on the car – no display unit – no airconditioning – then the ultimate- no windows worked. I pushed open my door before we had ‘No doors opening’. Found the windows would open once the engine was switched off, so we opened our windows and drove off into the heat. 


Arriving at the Big Banana we decided to park in a shady spot ,and with some trepidation , we closed the windows. We figured if we couldn’t get them to open on our return we would address that problem then. 

In keeping with the trip theme I ordered the BIG breakfast and that it was!! In true ‘me’ fashion, our breakfast number was 26 ( to the unwary 2 x 13) and I am a Triskaidekaphobia sufferer 😳 Was kind of fitting to our day’s start. 


We wandered around the BIG Banana then returned to the cafe for a frozen choc-coated banana ( with sprinkles). Originally my BIG trip plan hadn’t included the Big Banana. However, on looking at the itinerary Brian suggested stretching the trip to include here –  literally for a frozen choc-coated banana- and so it was included. 


Entering the car  after leaving the cafe, we realised we could still open the car windows by turning the engine on , then off. However, now the brake system light was staying on. We decided ( foolishly some might think, but I know this car well) this was just part of the computer failure as the brakes were working well. This light had come on last time the car had computer issues and that had been confirmed by the repairer at the time. Comfortable with this decision (YOLO) we drove off, hot wind blowing through our open windows taking with it my carefully applied face makeup. 

 I started to question my decision as we climbed the steep, windy, narrow drive to Sealy Lookout. The drive up saw us on the high side of the mountain but I knew that meant we were to be on the valley side on our drive down. This meant constant questions as to how the brakes felt – just to be sure. The lookout has a BIG lookout – Forest Sky Pier. It has magnificent views over Coffs Harbour. Forest Sky Pier extends twenty-one metres out from the car park and stands fifteen metres above the forest floor. Considering the park is at an elevation of 310 meters you can imagine what looking down is like. Not one for heights I did walk out to admire the view. We had left the car windows open as I was a little worried we may have been tempting fate of reopening them again should we close them. 


Next stop was the Clog Barn – home of the BIG clogs .To get there we passed under the LITTLE Harbour Bridge. 


 We parked close to the doors so we could keep an eye on our unlocked, windows open car . We both had photos with our feet in the clogs then individually had a look inside the clog barn. 


Back into the extremely hot car. I began to wonder just how long we could survive in a car without air conditioning. Brian reminded me that as kids we only had car windows ( but I wasn’t falling for that because I know our climate is getting hotter). Not letting the inconvenience of this car alter our plans,  we drove to Urunga to see the BIG hive.Along the drive we saw the Big Banana hand at  a roadside fruit store. 

At the BIG hive we bought up not honey, but BIG bottles of local Dorrigo spring water for the 100 minute journey to Port Macquarie.

As if things couldn’t get worse, around Nambucca road signs warned us of possible delays of up to 15 minutes due to roadworks. All I could think of was having to sit still in this heat box and so began rationing our water – no guzzling I instructed Brian 🙂 But things were in our favour , when we made it through the Go sign at the end of the traffic line, before the STOP was turned . 

On arriving at Port Macquarie we detoured to the Ford service shop. I had been googling and there were suggestions we could disconnect the battery to reset the computer (which is what I was hoping was all we needed). Unfortunately they couldn’t look at our car to disconnect the battery until Friday so we plodded on to our hotel in search of an air conditioned room. 

We called the NRMA and he said he’d never seen what was happening in any car before. That’s actually the way my life usually goes. But he wasn’t going to let  this car beat him. He had a face that showed determination to beat this car at its game . AND HE DID!!! Turns out the ignition switch is dodgy, so to get everything working we just have to turn the engine on then turn the key back a little and PRESTO. – windows and air conditioning working perfectly. 

Not taking any chances we walked to a nearby Thai restaurant for dinner and strolled back to our room via the waterfront of the Hastings River, eating ice cream . Everything was good with the world again. What a BIG day 🙂 


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BIG things impress us

Today we travelled off in the direction of Coffs Harbour via the Waterfall Way from Armidale.

In true style we started the day in a big way with breakfast. The motel promises complimentary continental breakfast but I wasn’t too sure it would make me happy. I was pleasantly surprised as I tucked into cereal, yogurt and toast – with real butter – and the coffee was good too! Definitely fitted in with the BIG theme.

First stop was the big golden guitar. This place will be wall to wall people at the end of the week attending the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Apparently it is the largest one in the Southern Hemisphere. I also learned Tamworth is the home of country and western because in the 1950s, when everyone else was absorbed by rock and roll and the likes of shows like ‘Bandstand’, the folk of Tamworth refused to join in , opting instead to promote country and western music. But for now it was just us wandering this dedicated venue. 

That’s Chad Morgan – a bit of a waxy fellow haha

Took a few photos and were quickly on our way to the BIG view (named by me , not by Tamworth Council- they call it Oxley Lookout).  We enjoyed the silence and view over Tamworth from an elevation of around 600 metres (BIG height ).


Brian didn’t believe me when I said our next item was a BIG chicken at Moonbi but nevertheless he drove . He did question me a few times if it was a big chicken we were really looking for 🙂

Would you believe me ???


At Uralla we saw Thunderbolt’s Rocks-yes they are big but not technically a big icon since they are an actual thing. How disappointing people have felt the need to graffiti them.

Unexpectedly ( like the big blue heeler) we saw the BIG soldier at Uralla. He stood outside a now vacated war museum and according  to my Google research had been moved away – shows how you need to be discerning when using Google haha. Brian declared the museum a BIG disappointment as he would have enjoyed exploring it had it still been open :).


Arriving at Armidale we found the BIG lawn bowl. With a quick photo we were off off to Dorrigo.

It was another technically non big stop but it did serve BIG lime milkshakes in the cafe we chose. We also visited the lolly shop to satisfy Brian’s BIG sweettooth.


The trip through Dorrigo was magical. The temperature dropped to 20C and mist coated the green mountains. The road was incredibly windy in parts so I wasn’t the best of passengers with my constant reference to the need to be slow.

This photo doesn’t go the scenery justice.

Arriving in Bellingen we took time to wander and enjoy the menu boards of cafes with our eyes. We both were intrigued by the Satay Tofu pie with vegetables. Bypassing these cafes we spent  our money instead at the Sweet Bellingen and you can read about how amazing it is here.

With full bags we finished our drive to Coffs Harbour.

Dinner was fish and chips watching BIG waves.


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Journey of All Things Big

This week we are a having an adventure road trip within NSW. Our road trip will take us on a loop journey from home. We will travel out through Newcastle , Hunter Valley, Singleton, Muswellbrook, Tamworth, Armidale, across to Coffs Harbour and back down via Port Macquarie before heading home. I have named this our ‘Journey of All things BIG’. I have been researching the big icons in this region , so it will be big icons, big mileage , big bellies from eating and big credit card bill at the end (more than likely 😳 )

Luckily this time we didn’t need to organise a house sitter for the pets as our daughter and her partner are home for the holidays – perfect timing!!

As usual we started off around an hour later than I planned . We aren’t good on early starts. Farewelling all we drove off but not before informing Brian ( in kind tones of course) we had no time on our agenda for a breakfast locally. Rain made our start less than desirable. 

Our first BIG thing was a pair of ugg boots at Thornton ( not far from Newcastle).

After taking photos we ventured into the museum. It was interesting learning about sheep and the ugg boot factory but shearing a sheep had to be the best part for sure 😎

Brian found some replacement wool sock/ slippers to replace some he had that were once destroyed ( I think by a young puppy). 

Hitting the road we drove to Kurri Kurri- with BIG tummy rumbles as it was now around 11:30am and no food had passed our lips 👄 

Beautiful murals line the streets on the walls of many buildings. We drove around looking at them then located the BIG kookaburra. It sits in a park watching over the magpies, white doves and pigeons that also frequented the park seemingly looking for food. 

We stopped the rumbles of tummies with a pie each from the local bakery. Brian also had a banana muffin. 


Next was the BIG bottle near the Hunter Valley Gardens ( which in themselves are another big thing). But, before we arrived there we spied the Hunter Valley Chocolate and fudge store. Heavily laden with goodies we headed off in the direction of the bottle. We’ve seen the bottle frequently on trips to the gardens so Brian drove a loop around the roundabout while I took a quick photo from my window. 

The BIG sundial at Singleton was next on our agenda. The trip was beginning to feel like s scavenger hunt as I mentally ticked off each BIG thing. Used the sundial to tell the time using the chart provided alongside,and again off we went. 

The next BIG thing I wasn’t too sure I’d get lucky with. It was a blue heeler dog at Muswellbrook. Apparently they were first bred not far from Muswellbrook in a place called Dartford. When I had been researching my trip I read the dog had been removed for restoration back in July 2016. I’d called the information bureau and they had told me they were hoping for it to be back by the end of January. With my google map guiding us,the information bureau building sign loomed up ahead. I let out a BIG cheer when I saw the dog was back where it belonged! 

Our next stop wasn’t really a BIG thing but never the less it had looked like an interesting spot to stop. 

It was a park at Wallabadah, about 40 minutes out of Tamworth. The park is a memorial to the First Fleet. Having read the first sign I was more than adequately able to answer the question asked of me by a lady wandering the park , as to why it is here. Apparently this was Ray Collins’ (descendant of a first fleeter) vision – but no where else would let him build it. He built it – and they came ! By now the cool temperature ( and rain) was well left behind and the beautiful blue sky framed our view and the sun sizzled my skin as the temp climbed from 31C to 32C ( at 4:30 pm.)


Our final destination to sleep ready for another BIG day tomorrow was Tamworth. 

Our room overlooks the pool and Brian made good use of the pool while I read the Sunday paper. It also has good free wifi too, another bonus!

Dinner was scrumptious at a nearby Chinese Restaurant. The meals certainly fitted our BIG theme and now we are resting with our BIG appetites sated.
 

Brian had his favourite dessert – deep fried ice cream with chocolate sauce. 

Time for a BIG sleep I think 💤💤💤


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Bruny Island Day 2 

We awoke to clouds but no rain. Hopeful for a little less mud we started off to explore the top half of the island. 

Our first stop was the Bruny Cheese Company. although there was no cheese production to watch, we did get to sample some. They were all cow milk based cheeses, ranging from mild soft to hard with a bit of bite. Enjoyed them but with out travel arrangements they weren’t a viable option to purchase.


Next we headed to Get Shucked, an oyster bar. I saw oysters being sorted by size , then went to enjoy some of this freshly shucked produce. They were very tasty and HUGE!! 

Driving on from there we reached Dennes Point and took a walk on the short jetty. The water was crystal clear even at a depth we guesstimated to be about 3 metres or more. Small and large fish swam about the seaweed patches. Just as we went to go back to the car we saw these little creatures playing in the grasses opposite. We think they are baby quolls. They were only about as long as my hand. 

Continuing on we saw an echidna having an amble roadside. It had much more hair between spikes than those I have seen walking wild on mainland Australia. 


From the ferry trip we took the route south, looping us back to Hobart. We detoured by Mt Wellington, observing the cloud atop it as we got closer. The winding road had steep cliffs on our side of the road in parts. It was just 6C at the top ( 13C at sea level). 

Tired, we returned to our hotel back in Hobart. We are off to Port Arthur tomorrow as the weather is to change back to rain on Wednesday, so we will take the sunnier option to walk the historical site tomorrow.