Australia Road Trip and More

So after sending the Hillbillies north , taking a bus and a train to get back to Sydney, and exploding the airmattress for the night, I go pick up Katie from the airport at the ungodly hour of 6am. Back on the trains we head up to Gosford which is a lovely place for Kate to shake off some jetlag. We relax and catch up with Uncle Andy and Aunt Trish, then I help load up some engines for the trip to the farm. A lovely dinner of some lamb send us off to bed with some sweet dreams. On Saturday we head back into the city via train for a family BBQ at a park just off of Botany Bay. Delicious snags (sausages), potato salad and tons of other foods make for a great time. We hang with a bunch of aunts, uncles and cousins with their new ( well new to me ) kids and enjoy ourselves. Back on the train to Gosford and we spend a leisurly night watching the Olympics and having a few beers. On Sunday we walk around Gosford for a bit then load up the Land Rover ute for the 5 hour trip to the farm. Showing up at the farm in the dark was a little traumatic for Katie, but she shook it off and we piled on the blankets, fired up the space heater and crashed out.

As it is a farm we woke up most days fairly early, just as the frost was burning off. Mornings varied from unloading, to driving up to check out the plantation, to driving Morans Trail (which was clear with no fallen trees.) We could ride into town to drop off Uncle Andy at the office so we could use the ute during the days. Monday was a day trip to Bellingen, which is a great old farming town that has re-invented itself as kind of an arts/live music town. Tuesday we hiked up waterfall gully. We decided to bring clothes so we could get wet as we climbed, which made it a lot easier. The water was bitterly cold, making your feet and hands ache.

Wednesday we went just down the road to Nambucca Heads, enjoyed a beer on the beach at the V-wall tavern, and did a bit of shopping in the town. Thursday we went a bit south to Trial Bay and Smokey Cape which was very nice; some deserted beaches and huge vistas with glorious bays and huge points. The jail at Trial Bay seemed like and fairly easy place to do some time. Apparently the whales are migrating up the coast, we kept a sharp eye out but didnt spot any.

The food varied this whole week. We went shopping, and got some groceries . We had some hot and cold breakfasts; a picnic lunch wherever we were at lunchtime, then some dinners of sausages and steaks on the grill. We also had two superb dinners with relatives; fresh lamb and veges with Aunt Marnie and Uncle Hugh one night, then lamb with gravy, potatoes and cheesy cauliflower another night with Cousin Paul and Betty. Both meals were lick your plate delicious.

On Friday we borrowed a car ( thanks Aunt Marnie and Uncle Hugh!) and headed north for Surfers Paradise. A slight mishap with the GPS that Uncle Andy lent us, as the cigarette plug didnt work but we sorted it out and rolled into Surfers around 4. The picture below is the view from our hotel room.

We had some beers, a quick walk on the beach then showered up and headed out for some dinner. After walking around the madness that is Surfers Paradise (think Ocean City MD x10 with a way nicer beach and better waves) we ended up at a great Italian restaurant. A starter of brushcetta, followed by veal and mushroom rissoto for Katie and veal, peppers and other veges in a red sauce over tagliatalle. We crashed a bit early as we had a big day on the waves planned. After a fast breakfast buffet we rented some boards and wetsuits and proceeded to get hammered for the next 2 hours. The waves were nice but it was hard to get out past the break, with a huge longshore current dragging us into the swimming areas. The water was a bit cold but the hot tropical sun and steady paddling kept us pretty warm. We then loaded up the car and headed south to meet my cousin Andy in Byron Bay.

Byron is a super chill surf town that has resisted the huge high rises of Surfers Paradise. We met up at the Beachside Hotel (a lot of the bars are former hotels so they keep the name, but are usually just bars) and had a couple of cold ones. We headed back to his town of Lismore before we had too many and proceeded to have a bunch more. After meeting his lovely wife Jane and a meal of steak and salad, we headed out to the bars to meet up with Andys son, Tom whom I hadn't met before. He very graciously left his friends to come have a beer with us, which was super cool. A couple too many beers and next thing we know its 9am and our heads are pounding. A bit of brekky to settle the stomach and we head off to tour the edge of the caldera. Apparently where Lismore is located is at the edge of an ancient, huge (150 mile diameter) volcano. What that means is huge rock formations and spectacular views.

We also drove through the very hippy town of Nimbin which is like a Dead show stopped and made a home somewhere. We didnt stop for too long, just long enough for a bit of a wander and some shopping. Then it was off the Border Ranges National State park. We only had enough time to check out a bit of the view before we had to drive back to Missabotti. Another meal at Aunt Marnies ( some pork spareribs and vegestir fry) then it was up at 5 for the ride back to Sydney. I will post more as it happens

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