??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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Ways to enjoy a swimming pool and ensure others do too (?) !!

I decided although I like to wear the newest style clothing and hair, keep up to date with music and can tell you the latest Kardashian gossip with the best of them, there is still a hidden ‘old’ gene that surfaces every now and then. I think it was surfacing big time when I was sitting poolside at a resort and while I wrote this. 🙂

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1. If mum is sitting on the pool edge in her pretty bikini, well styled hair and make up, don’t jump in the water there. Instead walk the 10 paces to the stranger who is also sitting poolside, also has perfect make up and hair and is enjoying her quiet time. Jump right in there, creating a splash that won’t splash far enough to wet your mum.
2. Signs don’t apply to men. Don’t let the ‘No Diving ‘sign take away your fun. To maximise your fun, ignore those empty spots poolside when choosing your spot to execute your dive. Choose less than 30 cms from the lady sitting quietly poolside relishing in the peaceful water gently lapping over her feet. Select the lady who is enjoying the fact that she no longer has to do the ‘watch the kids safety’. Step as close as you can, bomb into the water. If you really want it do it well stand up after the dive ( yes the water is only shallow) then do your most splashiest duck dive. Very impressive.
3. Children need to practise their swimming strokes every opportunity. You have invested many dollars in those lessons and where better to practise the fast feet kicking. The best method is to do it pushing out from the beach area of the pool. More often that not the beach swim out is only used by one or two people. They are sitting there using the area as it is designed, to sit in the water without disturbing others and enjoying the sun’s rays dancing on the soft water lapping around them. Sit back on your deck chair and bellow ( oops use soft tones) at your children, “Do It again!” “Go back to the edge and kick harder this time!” This will buy you time without the kids . Those sitting close by will enjoy watching your children have fun and listening to your exquisite instructions, not to mention being covered in water splash. Another suitable venue for this activity is near the swim up bar as well. All those drinks being carried away can be made more tasty with a good splash of chlorinated swimming water.
4. The lady staring out at the water , saying nothing, enjoying the vision of palm trees swaying , music of a solo guitar player singing ‘her’ music,is just waiting for you to bring your baby over to splash right up close, and not to mention you engaging in loud cute baby talk and yes, splashing. Nothing cuter than someone else’s baby in a baby float that keeps floating to her and knocking her legs. What fun would the empty area of the pool be for this activity? No , close range to another is the preferable place.

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5. Don’t just bring a float to the pool. Bring a huge ( decent size) float then ride it close to others floating in the water. Up close those floats look even more impressive as they glide past a face , pushing glasses from the face of the plastic float free person. Don’t bother with a verbal apology, no, respond with a simple splash wave as enjoy your hands help you paddle on.
6. Bring a decent size ball ( talking regular football size of course!) to the pool. Stand the person who is least likely to catch the ball near the person who is standing and / or floating in the pool carefree. Purposely ignore the empty expanses in the pool. Have the strongest tosser hurl that ball so it skims the water creating a perfect splash – yes in the face of unsuspecting swimmers. This can only be topped in greatness if the player who didn’t catch the ball does some hectic water thrashing to reach the ball.
Most of all, always have your interactive pool fun as far away as possible from the empty parts of the pool…and your mum. Choose an unsuspecting stranger instead. 🙂

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Have you any other examples of where others involve you in their fun at the pool ?


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C is for…

CATHERINE HILL BAY NSW– Alphabetical exploration of the Central Coast NSW

As a teenager my grandfather had a nursery at Frazer Park in NSW. It was located on the Pacific Highway not far south of Swansea. From his house the views swept panorama style over Catherine Hill Bay and the adjoining beaches. Coal ships would line the horizon waiting their turn to enter (probably) Newcastle to load up. He sold the property when I was around 20 moving back to Sydney closer to us as his health was deteriorating. But this isn’t about family, that’s just a little insight into what drew me to explore Catherine Hill Bay.

Catherine Hill Bay was named after the schooner “Catherine Hill” which ran aground there on 21st June 1867.The town prospered from coal mining. Rows of 19th century miners’ cottages line the roadside near the coast. They are square shaped houses with verandahs and no fences, all built close to the street. Have a look here for some great photos.

The pub features strongly in this village and has its own Facebook page.

Catherine Hill Bay is on the State Heritage Register and one of only two entire towns so designated.

We wandered along the sand where just a few people frolicked in the water. I said to my husband, as the waves trickled over my thong clad toes, this was the first time I’d been onto the beach all summer – then I realised it was the 2nd March  (Autumn) …oops.  I’m not a sand person.

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I had however frequented the beach through summer watching it from esplanade cafes and restaurants locally and balconies during my island New Year’s Eve getaway.

I made use of my camera to take a panorama shot of the abandoned jetty. Worth clicking on the photo as it looks better than it appears here 🙂

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The gates closing the old coal jetty

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yachtsWe headed north to Swansea before heading back home. On our return journey we had to wait while the bridge over Swansea Heads opened to allow a flotilla of yachts to enter. It was novel watching the first few but then 15 minutes later the excitement had totally faded.

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Where we live is such a beautiful place with so much to explore. Do you have a favourite place to visit in your local area?

 


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A Thing of Beauty

A thing of beauty is a joy forever

      Its loveliness increases,

        It will never

     Pass into nothingness.

                John Keats

He surely wrote this with Hamilton Island in mind. I have seen the island in all seasons, each with its own beauty. The sky is a lighter blue in winter but temperatures hover mid 20C , the springtime breezes caress the palm fronds, afternoon  storms are more spectacular in summer and in autumn hardly any rain seems to fall  and the skies are crisp blue. But enough words , for this post is supposed to be a wordless . But I just couldn’t resist adding a few ‘brushstrokes ‘with ‘word paint’.

Make sure you click on the image to see the beauty in greater splendor.

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Escape to the Hunter Valley

The hands had just struck noon on the Pokolbin Village clock.
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The village houses many little stores, our favourites being the Pokolbin Chocolate Co. , Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop and Vittorio’s Café Restaurant. We ate a leisurely lunch at Vittorio’s, free of bells tolling, with a pleasant view of the Hope Estate Winery. The sun was warm and a jet (or was it the International Space Station on one of its many fast orbits) drew a trail of white across the otherwise blank blue canvas of the sky. I could get very used to this. Who am I kidding? Only COULD?? haha
The Village
After lunch we visited the Hunter Valley Gardens. On arrival the lady told us we would need an hour and a half to walk around the gardens. We ended up close to doubling this time. Her estimation was for the “SEE Hunter Valley Gardens tour’ I think. We did the ‘Stop and really smell the roses / blooms’ tour which I think is the true way to do justice to this wonderful garden exhibit.
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We started at the rose garden. It was a maze with a central piece about a grandmother’s love. The sculpture had a grandmother figure surrounded by children in varied forms of play. I watched as a little girl engrossed by it all began joining in with each statue group of children, posing as they were. She was obviously lost in the moment but was a true reflection of the sculpture’s theme I thought. The roses wafted a sweet smell as we took a moment to sit on the pergola’s wooden bench to read our map.

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From here we headed through the Formal Garden, complete with wishing well, to the Indian Mosaic Garden. The entry is through 180 year old antique Indian Gates flanked by bronze elephants. Curry plants fill air with their spicy scent.
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We saw waterfalls with gurgling water making its way to the base where massive carp swam amongst the water lilies. We sat in shady spots allowing our senses (except taste …but that came later haha) to enjoy the experience. I noticed people rushing to see it all but I think it was best seen by moving slowly.

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The one place I did rush around madly was the Storybook Land. Here Nursery Rhyme and fairytale characters came alive amidst a variety of colourful blooms, trees and grasses. The characters could do with a coat of paint but the concept totally held my attention …the big kid in me.
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Jack ,Brian and  Jill  Went up the hill

Who pushed Humpty??

Pathways of fine pebbles that crunched softly beneath your foot with each step took us around this garden. At the end of the walk, when I was glancing over the map to check we had missed nothing I found something on that map I had missed! It was that the pathways covered roughly 8kms of track!! No wonder our feet were sore and our brains were singing ‘Coffee and cake time! Coffee and cake time! ‘Appeased those thoughts then headed to British Lolly Shop before making for the car and our trip home.

I always go away at least for a few days each school holiday and this was the first in a very long time I hadn’t. These two days though were rejuvenating. I guess I’m ready now to go back to work. The next term is short but heavily loaded with report writing time. As much as a bane they are to prepare there is the satisfaction of knowing the contribution you have made to help the children learn new things and the reward of realising just how well you have got to know them.


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Day Tripping -Hawkesbury Valley

With only a few days left of my holiday (Brian had these days off too) we decided to do some day tripping. Our first day’s trip was to SEE Wisemans Ferry. Later you will see why I cursed the choice of this word!
We headed off on Anzac Day morning. The weather was perfect. The sky was a canvas of blue without even a hint of a cloud wisp. We armed ourselves with our traditional driving treats…Mentos and water and hit the road.
The drive to Wisemans Ferry took us via Spencer, the home of my maternal grandfather before he was old enough to leave the nest and move to Sydney. It is a suburb of the Central Coast region where I live. It is located on the north bank of the Hawkesbury River. Mangroves line the river here. According to the signs it is known as “THE HUB OF THE UNIVERSE”. It had a general store and one section of its tables located on the river front are tagged as “Dunkirk Hotel”.

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We drove on, taking the ferry / car punt to Wisemans Ferry. The traffic is obviously heavy at some time as there are two punts that run the river at this point. We parked at Wisemans Ferry on the southern side so I could take some photos. Wisemans Ferry is rich in both Aboriginal and European history and has a part of the convict-built Old Great North Road that once connected Sydney and Newcastle .It also has an old hotel rumoured to abound in ghostly activity. We hopped back in the car drove past the hotel and began the steep drive up the mountain. Brian’s comment was “Well we’ve seen Wisemans Ferry, where to next?” He was right. We had SEEN it albeit from a moving vehicle. He offered to turn around but the road was steep and there was really no place to do a big swing around so I accepted the fact I’d seen Wisemans Ferry.

Wisemans Ferry along the Hawkesbury River banks

Wisemans Ferry along the Hawkesbury River banks

The car punt across the river at Wisemans Ferry

The car punt across the river at Wisemans Ferry

From here we drove on to a town called Ebenezer where you will find the oldest standing church building in Australia and the oldest existing school building in Australia. The schoolmaster’s residence was built in 1817 and as luck would have it, is used to serve Devonshire teas. No way was I just going to SEE this place, ha ha ha. The scones were amazing…homemade by nimble fingers with a lot of baking experience no doubt. The milk jug had a material cover with crocheted edge, something I remember from my childhood. Morning / afternoon tea was a big thing in my home.

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After tucking into these melt in the mouth delights, washed down with strong brew we wandered through the graveyard reading the headstones. I noticed one family (Grono) had a crypt and row of graves together, then one alone for Maria Grono. I decided I would google her when I got home. I was intrigued as to why she was apart from the others. I wanted to know her story. Turns out she was a wife of one of the sons and the linked graves were those of the parents and their 9 children. Seemed there was nothing untoward her grave being a little apart from the others. But being me, nothing finishes that easy. Turns out this lady shared the same maiden name with my maternal grandmother’s maiden name. I’m just so sure somehow I will find a family link 😉 INSERT SPOOKY MUSIC …

With full tummies and thoughts of six degrees of separation occupying my mind we drove on arriving at Sackville. We crossed the river on yet another car punt. Apparently my great grandfather Jesse Suttor was the Sackville punt man at one stage in his life so this ride is a little in kin style.

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The shadows were starting to draw long and thin signaling it was time to begin journeying home .We took the scenic route through the Richmond area. The Hawkesbury River still featured in our journey… such a long river span.

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Always thinking of meals, we ate at Pie in the Sky a pie store situated on (well not literally haha)the Old Pacific Highway and yes, it overlooks the Hawkesbury river as well as the main F3 freeway. I had meant to take a photo of my pie dinner which was by the way really tasty…but hunger, having eaten nothing since the scones at Ebenezer and around 6 hours having ticked by, made my mind to hazy to think about getting the camera out. But I did at the end !

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Homeward Bound

I would say “Why is the day always so perfect weather wise , when you have to go home” but every day has been wonderful. The wet season the locals curse for not yet having arrived ,was good for us :). Sure it has been hot ( very hot) but we expected that.

Breakfast was fun. There was the usual hot food buffet you come to expect plus it had a pancake machine to make fresh pancakes when you want the. At the touch of a button a pancake rolled out of the machine onto your plate. They were hot and fluffy. I think I need this as a gadget at home ( to keep all the other gadgets company in the ‘I’ve used it once ‘ gadget cupboard ) hahaha.

After breakfast we sat in the coolest air conditioned part of the hotel on a comfortable lounge before heading to the airport around midday. all went smoothly. We boarded on time
And took off on schedule. This was written while in the air about an 1 hour and 15 minutes into the flight. We have had the first inflight food cart service and have been informed it comes out again in forty minutes. We are travelling Virgin so it’s a pay as you eat/drink affair.

Must remember to do the inflight leg exercises. We were in a set of three seats. I had the middle and was peeved I hadn’t booked us a window seat then remembered I had booked the aisle and middle to let Brian stretch out. Well I couldn’t see out the window ( those who have travelled with me before know how I like to hang over the window person …well it didn’t feel right to do that to a stranger hahaha. There were free aisle seats so I asked to move. Much more comfortable for us. 🙂

Just turned my iPad’s time to Sydney time. That certainly sped up the trip hahaha. In Darwin we were one and a half hours behind – that includes half hour time zone and hour DLS. From 3:24 pm I went to 4: 54 pm :)) hope my maths was right cause had to do it manually. Our plane lands at 19: 30 I think so if my calculations are right ( probably not lol) we have about 2 and a half hours left – equivalent to a trip to Hamilton Island…what a thought .. I wish !! So all up I think that makes the trip just under 4 hours. That is such hard work , working it out 🙂

Ok, I get up to do my walk . It’s a long flight . As I walk I see the whole back row is vacant…all six seats. Probably where the attendants sit to takeoff and land but I asked if I could sit near the window and the head guru said yes! So now I had a window seat and a row to myself to stretch and exercise my legs in flight hahaha . Asked Brian if he wanted to join me but he thinks the plane might be a bit too bumpy for him. Actually it is a bit bumpier here but its a trade off for space 🙂

No idea where I am flying over as the flight path according to the magazine is over central Queensland in a roughly diagonal path from Darwin to Sydney. I can see a huge mountain range below. Probably can google map it when I’m home. Australia is such a vast country of varied landscapes.

Plane landed. 10 minutes early so we Tarmac sat 10mins. So close to home yet so far .
Collected our bags and before we knew it were on the train for the hour and a half ride home. Ally met us at the station-so good to see her.Tim and Rachel (his gf) were home when we arrived so we all sat up for a while telling stories of the days we have all been apart. I love travelling but home is the best of places to be .

This is the end of the holiday blog but I have enjoyed writing so intend writing in it as often as I can ( I even have some ideas to pen -suggestions to make NT even more user friendly hahaha).

We had a wonderful journey, met many different people from varied walks of life and heard the stories they had to tell. This widened my perspective on life. Travelling is an opportunity to open the doors to new experiences , ideas and opinions. The view from ‘inside’ is often so different from the one portrayed to us as outsiders. While we can’t walk in others’ shoes we can see their tread on the path as we move along it. Now I am inclined to debate again that topic Journey/ Destination. It’s not a finite answer. I have seen journey and destination on this trip and both enlightened me.

It was especially wonderful to have this time with Brian away from the chores of life, the distractions, being time poor. We remembered we could laugh a lot together, have fun, show strength (well that was Brian with suitcases hahaha) and importantly remember why we married 25 years ago. Again I must wonder was it the journey here …or arrival at this knowledge destination that was important.

Check back soon for more ramblings 🙂

Love Kerry-Anne ….happy to be back home in Terrigal ( least for now I say as I finish thumbing through the Sunday Telegraph holiday section …some nice cruises in Europe I see hahahaha)

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Selfie from my solo plane row 🙂


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Storyteller :)

Around 3 am I must have drifted off to sleep. Rain was falling heavily on our tin roof. It is a pretty sound at night. When we got up and ready to leave looking outside I realise we hadn’t been the only people staying here. In fact there were several caravans down further. Not only that, the AAT Coach line trip from Darwin to Litchfield stop in ‘because the food here is really good ‘ . Ha ha I obviously read too any freaky stories 🙂 I do tend to have a good imagination and the ability to turn nothing into a really good story ( I sense you all thinking “no, never” and laughing )

Today we headed to Litchfield National Park. It is only about an hour and a half drive from Darwin. Litchfield National Park features numerous waterfalls and streams which cascade from the sandstone plateau of the Tabletop Range.

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    The first tourist stop was at the Magnetic Termite Mounds. It appears like hundreds of tall tombstones . Probably lucky I hadn’t seen this yesterday 😉 They are built by magnetic termites and have arches, tunnels, chimneys, insulation and nursery chambers. The mounds are aligned north to south to minimise the exposure to the sun. This helps with cooling.There are also cathedral termite mounds here. The cathedral termite builds a column styled mound . The build them up to about 6 metres high. As the younger termites grow they begin making their own nests. When the colony dies out in the large one ( with young left home and building new colony nests ) the tall nest is used by small animals for a home. Termites are not in fact ants. They are actually part of the cockroach group eating cellulose from grass and wood while ants are scavengers.

    Magnetic Termite mounds

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    Cathedral Termite mounds

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    Driving on from these majestic tower and eerie tombstones we visited the Buley Rockpools . Buley Rockpools is a stream which has formed rock pools of varying sizes and depths as it makes it way down to Florence Falls. Brian swam in the rockpools , I splashed in a shallow one 🙂 The water was tepid far from cool but still it was refreshing. The heat here near the water is bearable. It is exhaustively hot however , away from the water and trees.

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    We were quite hungry by noon having not had breakfast and drove to Wangi Falls as the only open kiosk was there. We ate the best hamburger…the type that has meat , lettuce tomato, beet root, egg, bacon , pineapple and onions. DELICIOUS !!! We then walked the 80 m to the Wangi Falls plunge pool to swim. This swim involved a certain amount of trust in the Parks and Wildlife people. Salt water crocodiles and freshwater crocodiles visit here during the wet season , but rarely in the dry season ( that’s the season of the moment) . Traps haven’t caught anything ( aren’t crocs supposed to be smart though) . It was a really pretty sight with two falls cascading down. The thunderous tones of the waterfalls is audible from the car park about 100 m from the waterfall. The pool has a concrete step with handrail into the water which makes entry easier. I sat on the steps . The water was cool and refreshing, little fish swam around my feet. Brian took off to swim to both falls. The larger of the falls he said, tumbled really hard on you.

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    We had one more ‘must see’ left in this park ( well ‘must see ‘if you only have a 2WD car like us…4WDs can get to more things ) which was Florence Falls. I read the 135 steps down ( translates to 135 steps back up !!!! ) and decided to give it a miss. I preferred the photos option for this. Off trudged Brian armed with towel water and camera .

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    Time to head to Darwin. There was no Internet yet so had to wait until we were near Humpty Doo to be able to search for a hotel for the next two nights. how arc could it be to find a room not too expensive for two nits in a city ?? Well I shall tell you !! It wasn’t dissimilar to another experience I had in another city – Hobart. Rooms that normally sold for say $300 we’re advertised at around $700!! Then there weren’t even many of those with vacancies. Vacancies were as you can see at a literal premium. I didn’t want to do another caravan park cabin ( metal even with air con in this climate is hot). So , I saw one in the main street of Darwin for only $105. Ok it was budget but in a city I thought how how could it be?? Well it could be really bad!! I was just looking for clean with a comfortable bed and air con. On arrival in our room the Ghan cabin was starting to look huge when in the perspective of train size compared to this. To enter the bathroom one of us had to stand hard in the room corner so the other could pass to go in. I like two pillows so I took the one from the single bed and it had dirty fingerprints. I went straight to front desk. They changed the pillowcase and came back to the room to check it out. She said the rest was clean ( which it was). I said I wanted to cancel the second night which she obliged but said she couldn’t refund tonight’s ( lets face it I couldn’t be any accommodation anyway and she probably knew that judging by the line at the front desk looking for accommodation. She offed a bottle of wine to make the night better but I explained I wasn’t looking for to be bought 🙂 retrospect I should have accepted it ha ha.
    Ate out at a really good Indian food restaurant and finished with cold rock ice cream.
    We returned to our box and found a night in the travelodge for tomorrow night. Thankfully all the rooms re returned to regular prices 🙂

    Tomorrow will be our last day on holidays. It has ran away so fast 😦

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