South We Go
22Dec/100

Week 16 The Subtropics

This post in Francais

The Subtropics of Australia is a wonderful place, about 500km north of Sydney we spent most of this week enjoying the warm tropical weather, eating fresh fish, visiting Coffs Harbour, the town that is supposed to have the best weather in the world. We slid down the giant slide at the Big Banana, visited the Koala hospital and went kayaking on the Bongil Bongil River in the national park. We saw bush turkeys and black and red snakes. The week ended with us picking up Fred’s family from the airport Australian style.

Day 105 (15/12/10) Driving North

After all the excitement of last night, it is time to get out of bed and out of the hotel room and hit the road again so we can head north to the sub tropics of Australia. We are going to Coffs harbour that is supposed to have the best climate in the world. As if the other climates in Australia were bad, well some are not so much fun, but it is great not to be in the cold of Europe as it is getting hit by snow storms one after the other and being stuck in an airport trying to fly somewhere. Nope life is good on the road of Australia and that’s how we spent the day, driving 500kms north of Sydney. It is very green here and they are so many types of plants and trees it is just great. I love the tropics.

Day 106 (16/12/10) Port Macquarie

The first town we stopped at in the tropics in Port Macquarie, famous for fishing mostly. I think this is one of the first times since we got to Australia that we ate fish. Not having a fridge and finding the price of fish oddly expensive for a country surrounded by some of the best fishing waters in the world we have eaten very little fish. We had classic fish and chips for lunch, wrapped up like they do in England in newspaper. But instead of being cold as we enjoyed our meal we are sitting by the beach in shorts watching the waves come in. Life is hard. After lunch we went to visit the Koala hospital, it is a hospital for sick and injured Koalas that are found on the side of the road or brought in by other people. They are taken care of and released back into the wild if they are healthy enough.

We then drove to the town of Bellingan, where we hopped to organise a canoe trip for the next day, but the company that offered the tours seemed so unprofessional we opted against it.

We drove up to the rain forest mountain to see danger falls. We camped here for the night and took photos of the waterfalls and the different animals that came and had a look at us. When we were making dinner it started to rain really hard and hail stones fell from the sky, but after about 15 minutes the storm had passed and we could continue to make dinner.

Day 107 (17/12/10) Dorrigo National Park

Walking up next to waterfalls is wonderful. We watched the sunrise over the water falls before walking down closer to them to take some more pictures. We then left our campsite and headed to the Dorrigo National park. The national park is a world heritage listed park contains sub tropical rain forest. We spent the next 3 hours walking along a path in the park. We saw more bird species then I can name, including a bush turkey. These guys are so funny they look like turkeys but are about half the size. They make Whoop Whoop sounds. We saw 2 waterfalls, once that we could walk under, the photos are just amazing. We saw a snake, it was black and had a red belly, some lizards, and a very strange lizard that looked like a leaf and did not move at all except its eyes. The rain forest is so amazing. I love the tropics, the weather is great and everything is so alive here.

In the evening we drove to Coffs Harbour and checked in to the campsite where we will stay for the next 2 days.

Day 108 (18/12/10) Coffs Harbour + Big Banana

After breakfast we headed off to exploer Coffs Harbour, our first stop was The Big Banana. The Big Banana started off as a banana plantation, but has been transformed into a sort of theme park. It now contains a guided tour of the banana plantation, a ice staking ring and a very big bob sleigh ride. We, wearing our Christmas hats went on the bob sleigh. It was fun. Afterwards, we went to Mutton Bird Island, a very pretty walk, which offered great vies of the ocean. Coffs is such a relaxed tourist town, it feels like we are on holiday from our travels. We went shopping and brought some barramundi fish for dinner which we had grilled on the bbq for dinner. We spent the evening using the free wifi that we have in the campsite to try and catch up with our blog a bit.

Day 109 (19/12/10) Kayaking on the Bongil Bongil river

Sunday is Pancake Day, so that’s what we had for breakfast. We woke up, went to the camp kitchen and made pancakes. After breakfast we left the camping and spent the morning doing a bit of shopping, before we had gourmet sandwiches in the back of our van. After lunch it was time for us to go Kayaking on the Bongil Bongil river in the national park with the same name. Our guide was a guy from New Zealand that gave us lots of tips about New Zealand as that is where we are headed after the New Year. We saw many birds and heard lots of stories about the meaning of the river to the groups of people that lived there. It was a very relaxing and nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon. As time goes on, I am sure this is was to live, doing sports and eating pancakes on the weekend.

After the trip was over we hit the road once again to head back down to Sydney, as Fred’s family is arriving the day after tomorrow and will we be picking them up from the airport and giving them a warm Australian welcome.

Day 110 (20/12/10) Driving down to Sydney Cove Lane

We spent most of the day driving down towards Sydney, we stopped at Newcastle to do some Christmas shopping as we have not done any yet and we are not sure if we will have time to do any once Fred’s family is here. We drove down to Sydney afterwards and stayed in a campsite that was near the centre of Sydney next to a river called Cove Lane. We spent the afternoon watching the ducks and bush turkeys wonder around near us and drinking beer; Just relaxing after the long day of driving and getting the van ready for tomorrow, doing a bit of cleaning.

Day 111 (21/12/10) Family Time

We got up early enough and had pancakes again for breakfast, we have been spoiling ourselves with pancakes lately. We have the right to have pancakes and other good things, it’s almost Christmas, so we can indulge and eat whatever we like, or at least that is my excuses. We then put the reindeer ears on our Baby Hippo and our Christmas hats on and drove to the airport where we waited for Fred’s family to arrive. Once they had safely landed and come through customs, we all went to the apartment that we have rented for the holidays. The apartment was a good as we hoped, in a very calm and classy part of Sydney. Where just down the road we have a great view of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, the apartment is on 2 levels so we have more then enough space to enjoy the holidays.

We spent the afternoon talking ant catching up with the news back in France and sharing some of our travel stories. In the late afternoon we did some shopping for the house and went for a short walk, we saw a few parrots hiding in a tree near the house. I am happy to see parrots even in the centre of the biggest city of the country.

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