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On the Move Again

Tuesday 8th September 2015

sunny 22 °C

We are on the move again today. I have really enjoyed our time in Port Stephens, and loved staying at the Samurai Beach Bungalows which have proved to be a really special Youth Hostel. As we had to check out by 10am we decided to have a bit of a lie in and then focus on packing up and loading our stuff in the car rather than eating. The plan was to go (again) to our favourite cafe, Crest at Birubi Beach, for brunch. Before we left I had a bit of a task. I had been carrying in my rucksack a small teddy bought a few years ago at Loch Ness. Travelling as long as we are, packing space is at a premium, and he was taking up valuable space. I had also bought a small koala key ring when we were in Katoomba which seemed a more practical replacement. It sounds incredibly soppy but I couldn't bring myself to dispose of the teddy, I wanted to think he would go to a good home. At the hostel their games room 'the shed' felt like a suitable resting place. I took him over there and found him a nice spot sitting on a shelf underneath a Scottish flag. I still feel a bit guilty for leaving him behind and have a silly hope that he will be happy there. Sometimes I really am my father's daughter!

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We then said goodbye to Sandy who was cleaning out the pool ready for the impending warmer weather, and made the short drive to the cafe. I had a delicious brunch of smashed avocado on sourdough bread with bacon and Nigel had poached eggs and bacon. Mine was also washed down by a fruit smoothie. It was all delicious and really set us up for the day. I couldn't resist taking another couple of photos before we got back into the car.

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We wanted to have a look at another couple of beauty spots before we left the area totally. Nigel drove and I navigated and we initially went to a place called Soldier's Point where we saw some pelicans both on the land and swimming in the harbour. We then continued around the bay until we found somewhere safe to swap over the driving.

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As Port Stephens is on a large peninsula we had to drive quite a way south before turning north and heading in the direction of Port Macquarie. Rather annoyingly I hadn't driven far before I started to get a headache again so Nigel took over the driving. I felt really quite grotty so slept quite a bit of the journey. There were quite long stretches of eucalyptus forest, fenced off from the road to stop koalas wondering onto the road, and special bridge type structures for them to clamber across high above the freeway. We stopped over half way through the three hour journey so Nigel could have a break. There was an Australian family there (two women, a man and two children) but the children's behaviour really concerned me. The boy who I estimated to be about three could hardly talk, but nevertheless kept coming up and trying to engage with us, and the little girl about five or so looked really withdrawn. Both were running around in bare feet, which seemed quite unsafe in the Australian bush. All the while the adults seemed totally disinterested apart from making some comment about leaving them there if they didn't want to come with them. It was a reminder that I am still a social worker at heart, and as we left I felt really concerned about the children and their future. We had no choice to carry on with our journey, and I tried to push my thoughts to the back of my mind.

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Shortly after we turned off the main highway in order to follow a road nearer to the coast. The scenery seemed to be changing and getting more like what I would expect in Queensland although we were still in NSW. The dry creeks were being replaced with broad rivers, and the gum trees were interspersed with palms. We stopped briefly at Rainbow Beach near a place called Bonny Hills. It is a really pretty beach, but has signs warning against dangerous currents, high surf and harmful algae. We reflected on what a shame it is that so there are so many stunning beaches in Australia where it is unsafe to swim.

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Nigel continued driving for the remaining few miles to our destination. Our apartment couldn't have been more different to the hostel. It is smart, modern with a large lounge, kitchen diner with bifold doors opening into a large balcony overlooking the sea which it shares with the bedroom.

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The apartments are grouped in pairs with a laundry cupboard with washing machine and dryer. We brought all of our stuff up from the car and then I put some washing on. Once that was finished we went shopping for food for supper. It was a 'pile it high' type of supermarket and not a patch on the Woolworths we had got used to. We bought just enough food to cook some chicken fajitas for supper and decided to find somewhere better for shopping tomorrow. We then relaxed for the evening before going to bed with the sound of the waves crashing on the beach nearby.

Posted by Gill's Travels 15:07 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes ocean australia

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