??Journey or destination??

Exploring life experiences at home and beyond – Destination Happiness


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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.

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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 💤💤💤