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Australia, Asia and the Desert All in One Day

Sunday 6th September 2015

semi-overcast 18 °C

Having spent the last few nights in B & B's where we needed to get up and/ or check out quite early it was nice to be able to have a but of a lie in as we didn't need to be out until 11am. I had heard a lot of rain in the night, so wasn't sure what the weather was going to be like when I poked my head out of the door. It was a bit cloudy but still nice and quite warm, nice enough to have breakfast on the decking.

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We sorted our stuff out and checked out and then looked around the shop which was full of craft items, mainly alpaca wool products from Peru. We had been given a bucket of alpaca food last night, so we had a wander round the farm feeding those that showed some interest and didn't look too scary. We had been told that for some reason the black ones are more inclined to spit, although I have no idea why.

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We had asked at the shop about local vineyards worth visiting and where told about a cooperative which specialises in small label wines. We went and tried a few, Nigel nobly 'spitting' so that he could drive. We bought a couple of bottles, one a 2013 Andrew Thomas Sweetwater Shiraz and the other a 2013 Shiraz from the Little Family vineyard. They were both Shiraz as that is what is primarily grown in the Hunter Valley. Neither were cheap and we spent considerably more than we would ever spend on wine in the UK. Not sure our regular purchases will ever taste quite as good in the future.

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Suitably imbibed we continued towards the coast. By this time we only had about an hour or so to go, so despite having a packed lunch we decided to press on. We arrived at our YHA hostel, the Samurai Beach Bungalows, at about 2:30pm and were able to check in. The guy who manages the site showed us around and took us to our bungalow. It was simple but very nicely fitted out and was surrounded by its own little bit of rainforest.

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The whole place has the feel of somewhere Asian, despite being surrounded by gum trees. He also told us that in a couple of weeks there would be koalas around the site but for some reason that no one really understands they always stay at a nearby swamp until the middle of September before moving here, so it is unlikely that we will see any. After settling in we decided to go and check out nearby Anna Bay. This is made up of two beaches, the rocky Birubi Beach and the massive Stockton Beach which is backed by mile upon mile of sand dunes.

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These are the site of many of the local activities such as sand boarding, off roading (something Gary did when he and Carrie were up here), go karting and camel riding. In between the two there is a cafe which serves meals from early morning to mid afternoon. We decided against any of the more strenuous activities and just went for a walk. It us such a beautiful area and very photogenic so we walked/ lingered for quite a while, watching the waves crashing on the rocks, the surfers and a guy fishing.

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We then drove into Port Stephens to get some more shopping. When we arrived back at our bungalow there was a very loud kookaburra giving vent nearby. For dinner we had some salad and a cooked chicken, followed by the remains half of a Jamie Oliver (he seems big in Woolworths out here) Lemon Meringue Pie washed down by the last of our Barossa Bethany red. It was fascinating eating out on our veranda in the dark, listening to the rather noisy wildlife. Once we had finished Nigel stayed outside for a while, and I came in and did some writing on my blog and also spoke to Adam and to Carrie on the phone.

Posted by Gill's Travels 20:31 Archived in Australia Tagged australia port_stephens

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