A Drive & A Half
11th - 15th November 2011
Well after having a fantastic time in Sydney we headed south to Wollongong to catch up with a friend for a couple of nights. She has a wee girl similar ages to Mollie so that gave Mollie a chance to play with another wee girl for a bit.
Lots of memories here too as Graham and I stopped in Wollongong for a few nights. Some quite strong which got me upset but it was to be expected.
It was in Wollongong that I had to sort car hire out anyway. I managed to get a bit of a bargain. A car with Queensland plates had been left in NSW and was needing returned and so I was happy to oblige of course. It's a Toyota Corolla (AUTOMATIC!!!) 1.8 so it will make good time on some of the roads we travel on.
Well Sunday morning and we all headed to Symbio wildlife park which has an enclosure where you can feed the kangaroos. It's a bit north of Wollongong so at least Mollie and I were a bit into our journey before actually leaving. I got lots of photos of Mollie feeding the 'roos' They are sooooo cute.
We stayed at the park until lunch time and then said our goodbyes. I was heading for a place called Newcastle which is an old industrial type town but seemed like a natural stopping point as it was around 3hours drive.
The drive, if I'm honest was scaring the hell out me! I had to manoeuvre our way round/through/over Sydney (ahhhhh I would have stopped here forever if I could have) and then get on to some highway and avoid Roos, Koalas, snakes and OH really important - stick to the speed limit of 90-110kmh.
Well I managed Sydney ok. I got forced into taking one wrong turn but then I was in the wrong lane. That was easily sorted though - through the housing area and back onto the highway. Done! Easy peasy. The big trucks scared the life out of me going over roundabouts and when they overtook me. We aren't talking UK sized trucks. We are talking Megastructures! Wheels bigger than the car. Thankfully there weren't too many of them. There were, however loads of police on the roads. Patrol cars up and down the highway, police cars in central reservations with speed guns. It is very noticeable that no one speeds, well not outrageously so. As I was travelling ALL cars were within the speed limit which changes constantly on the roads. It can be 80kmh to 110 kmh but you have to know otherwise you could get a serious fine and points taken away. Here you start with 12points and then you have them deducted after each offence. The courts can increase the deduction if you have been caught before etc once all 12 have gone you licence is gone.
Well we made good time and no sarcastic comments from Mollie. We did a quick stop just before Newcastle and at 4pm I thought we could do Port Macquarie by tea time ish. By getting there it meant we could do 2 nights instead of one. Quick chat with Mollie. Agreed. In all fairness she did really well in the car. She has her nintendo, her VTech Storio, my old iPod and her own pair of earphones which mean she can listen to music without disturbing me. She had me in stitches as she was singing along to Hapiness' "gotta hurry, hurry hurry, be quick quick quick, just step on the gas......"it was funny!
We arrived in Port Macquarie just after 7pm. A quick bit of bargaining with the receptionist about rates for two nights and breakfast included, Mollie is free of course because she is under 4!!!! - sorted! We stayed in a Rydges hotel in PM. It's probably one of the better ones. It looks out on to the harbour area which is teaming with life. On the Monday we took a walk along the front and saw pelicans, fisherman, little boat tours taking trips out to see whales, dolphins and such like. There was a wee sea plane taking off and landing. Oh and the joggers! Up and down they went. Mind you I've begun to feel like I could join them.
We sat down by the pier for a good hour or two and watched the fisherman. We watched a beginner fisherman land A puffer fish (well he cut his line because he didn't want to handle it) then an octopus. Mollie watched as another fisherman quickly killed it and took it for bait. We have chatted a bit about this and I wondered if she should have seen it as she quite likes octopus especially in the aquariums we go to. But it's called the food chain and the octopus became food for the bigger fishes. She seems to be ok with it and accepts it. We promptly left after this thinking we had had enough life discussions for the day.
The afternoon brought a visit to a Koala hospital (aaaah) Up on the outer edges of PM there is a koala hospital which takes in injured and sick koalas. They get no funding and rely solely on donations and volunteers. It is a fantastic place. We had a lovely time going round and meeting all of the koalas. I think Mollie was expecting some in bandages! Anyway, the website is www.koalahospital.org.au Worth a wee look.
Today is Tuesday and we have left Port Macquarie and headed up the coast to Coffs Harbour. Only 168 km today instead of the 400km I did on Sunday. I took a road called the Pacific Highway which is undergoing some upgrade but it made the drive north so easy and pleasant. It was noticeably green and tropical the further north we came. There were a few road kills on the way and we aren't talking deer and bunnies - kangaroos and koalas. There are things in place to try and prevent the deaths such as huge nets going across the trees up above the road so that the koalas can cross the road but occasionally they lose there grip and fall. It's not nice to see.
We are now in a house belonging to my aunts friend, Fiona. It's a stunning house set at the top of Coffs Harbour overlooking the rest of the town. I've been able to sit and watch the sun disappearing and also to listen to the many sounds of the wildlife outside. Kookaburras I've been informed will probably wake me tomorrow. Bliss, can't wait.