??Journey or destination??

Exploring life experiences at home and beyond – Destination Happiness


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.


  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 😥





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.


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 🙂


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.


A –Z of the Central Coast NSW

As part of my YOLO (you only live once) year 2014 I’m going to explore the place where I live. I’m aiming to find lots of different places and activities. I’m organising it alphabetically, with a little creative use of lettering as you will see. This post contains my personal thoughts as I was not a guest of the centre nor received payment of any kind to write about how enjoyable this place was. Purely a tourist!

 A –Z of the Central Coast NSW

A – 141 Alison Road Wyong 

The Milk Factory

History says it started as The Butter Factory in 1907 by a Co-op of 56 local farmers, existing to only process butter, not milk. It burned to the ground in less than two hours in 1921, the fire reported to have been so huge that the exploding butter could be seen and heard 10 km away! From the ruins a well-equipped Milk Factory was built by the 200+ dairy farmers who were shareholders in the Co-op. Today it has a variety of small stores as well as fitness venues and a picnic area by the river.

On arrival P1010740we were greeted by a few PURPLE cows and no! we hadn’t been drinking 🙂 The cows are creatively painted and help direct to the entrance. There is adequate parking in the grounds and we chose to park up close to the cafe before strolling around.




 First we headed to the Little Creek Cheese store. It has a working factory attached and although it wasn’t working today we could still look through the glass windows to the machinery. This would be interesting to watch when operating. Little Creek Cheese were awarded a Gold medal for their BBQ Cheese at the 2013 Royal Easter Show. The helpful assistant shared with us numerous samples (my style of sampling) of both on site prepared cheeses and hard cheeses from the Hunter Valley. He took time explaining a little about each cheese. We purchased a feta marinated with dill and garlic and a dessert cheese (not a Little Creek Cheese product with blueberries through it. Being a hot afternoon the assistant offered to mind our purchases in the fridge until we were leaving the Milk Factory and we took him up on his offer.


Yes the lid has been pulled off already. Couldn’t resist a sample when I got home.







P1010713Next we strolled past the fitness centres where some were working out their whole bodies unlike us working out our mouths on both talk and cheeses. We walked past a sheltered picnic area and down a staircase of stone to the river bank.



Row boats and kayaks were for hire but we just were observing today. It would be a nice activity to try on another visit. Little ducks swam around and a sign told us platypus lived in the area.

This would be a great place to sit with a Sunday paper and a coffee or some bread in a bag to toss to the ducks. The river runs over a weir. Basically the weir has been designed to ensure Australian Bass that travel to the salt water downstream to spawn in winter can travel back to the freshwater to feed and grow in spring and summer. It has also been designed to allow the fish to travel in low water times. Learned all this from a sign at the steps to the river. You could also read it easier here. (page 30)

P1010715   P1010719P1010728

Thirsty we headed back to the cafe but were sidetracked by  Luka, a chocolate factory. The staff was dressed in black with gold trim attire lending a magical feel of a Wonka variety. The factory was visible throughP1010734 big glass windows like in the cheese factory. We watched as milk chocolate was stirred by machine and saw some heart shape chocolates setting. We purchased some chocolates for later. A coffee shop and ice cream bar is due to open in here next week too, so many reasons to return!

Off we walked chocolate bag in hand (three bags within it) to the cafe. This too is only newly opened. I drank an iced coffee. The milk was pleasingly cold (nothing worse than a tepid iced coffee and had a great serve of whipped cream on top (my favourite serving style). My husband had an iced chocolate that tasted great (had to do a taste test) and a berry friand.


The Milk Factory would be a great spot for families with children and adults. Definitely worth the trip and it’s not that far from Wyong Station. I couldn’t locate any public transport but you could contact the centre to check that out.

An Awesome Activity




A Convict comes a’calling

Although the precise dates are a little sketchy, I’m relating here a story of a series of dreams my mum had. The sketchy dates go back to around 1970 when the dreams started, although I was told the story maybe five years later when I was older. These stories relate to the old home I told you about in Dundas Dreaming, although my mother had the dreams long after she had moved out of the home and was living in her own home.

Her dreams started with a convict visiting her in a dream. She told me and my sisters of the feeling of being awake while he spoke to her. He wore the traditional arrow styled clothing.

black_arrow  Convict Arrow to show ownership of property by British Government

His message to her each time he visited was that he had been wrongly convicted of a crime of theft. He needed her help. He told her the records were kept in a storeroom underneath the stairs at the Dundas house. He wanted her to get the records and cross out his name. She said he virtually begged her to do this for him. Mum knew this storeroom existed but had never in all her time gone down the stairs.

He visited often, each time revealing more about himself. He told her his name was John James Huntington and he had a friend called Molly Brown. Each time he implored her to help him retrieve the records. All he wanted her to do was to strike off his name. Each time he visited, Mum said she had felt no danger from him (fear yes, of the unknown though).


We frequently visited my grandparent’s house and Mum told of how she always thought, with a sense of uneasiness, about the dream when she was there. One day she felt compelled to look down in the storeroom. We were outside with my grandparents. She apparently opened the door under the staircase but said fear overcame her and she couldn’t go down the stairs. He came that night and told her she was so close and to go finish the job but she knew she couldn’t / wouldn’t.

One night he came to her, but this time his message was different. Recently the house had been sold to a developer. Sadly the plans involved bulldozing this old homestead down and replacing it, and the large land parcel, with new modern homes. The old homestead had been bulldozed down that day, a chunk of history reduced to rubble that probably became landfill for the new homes.

This was to be the last time he ever visited.  He told her that there was nothing she could do now. The records were buried forever now. He apparently looked disappointed but again Mum felt no menace from him. With that message he was gone and never returned (to my knowledge).


Once the internet opened up the world to us (maybe mid 1990s) one of the first things I did was search this convict. The dreams Mum spoke of had always captured my thoughts and stayed on my mind despite no further talk of the topic. I am a believer, as was my mum, in spirits returning. I didn’t have high expectations but was intrigued.

The internet wasn’t as easy for me to navigate then (I’m the Google Queen now). Not knowing where to start, I remember typing in the name. I didn’t find it then but having a personality of a dog with a bone, just wouldn’t let it go. Over time I found how to locate the muster lists of the first to third fleets that transported to NSW.

 Of all the convict lists, I found just ONE convict by the name of James Huntington. He was transported to New South Wales aboard the Matilda. At that point he was just a name on a list , but a real person never the less and the fact that there was only one convict by that name (many convicts shared other names like Smith )made me more convinced this was the man in Mum’s dream. I was able to share this information with mum who, like me, believed it was the visitor to her ‘dream’.

Then I began tracing where the convicts on board the Matilda were sent to. The convicts from this ship were sent to Parramatta for work consignment. For those not familiar with the area Dundas is a suburb of Parramatta city. They were sent Parramatta to help build the settlement and to further farm the land. “resulting in the erection of dwelling places for the governor, the officers, the convicts and some of the troops, together with several store-houses.”  http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/phillip-arthur-2549 

 Unfortunately my mum passed away before I found more information on John James Huntington. I located his details of conviction.

He was convicted of stealing 3 sheep, 2 bushels of barley and 2 hempen sacks.


Though somewhat hard to read here the original can be found at http://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/ConvictsDetails.aspx?convict_id=2805

As to his friend Molly Brown – a ship called the Mary Ann sailed to NSW with female convicts also bound for Parramatta. On board were two Mary Browns. Apparently Molly is the nickname form of Mary. Maybe his friend? She too had been sentenced in Lincolnshire.

Now ,as if this story isn’t intriguing and spooky enough I’ll let you in on a few other odd facts. As I told in Dundas Dreaming, my sister spent around 5 years of her life in this house. Being an only child her old lady imaginary??  ‘friend’ was dismissed as an invented being. Strangely enough though, one of the names my sister wanted for me was Matilda (the transport vessel of John James Huntington). Was this lady in fact Molly?

I am still searching John James Huntington. Strangely I feel compelled to see if I can right the wrong or at least find out some more. I have found a death certificate in his name (and from the Parramatta district) which I intend purchasing from Births, Deaths and Marriages to see if it’s him. If so, it’s very tragic as his death was just one year after arriving in Australia.

That house held many secrets, some now buried deep, but still it manages to haunt dreams, but now it’s the dreams of myself , my sister and my niece…but that’s a whole other installment ! Trust me it will put more goosebumps on your goosebumps!