If you have never visited Australia, it is hard to describe the sky there. It seems bigger and brighter somehow.
Port Macquarie is a small town on the coast in New South Wales.
We had booked 3 nights on a managed campsite, so that we could hook up to the electricity. The girls loved it. There was a lovely pool, children’s play area, and it had a little beach for them to run around on. I was happy that there was a launderette on site… Oh, how things that excite us change with age. Based on the amount of laundry that I had to do I assumed that there were people living with us that I didn’t know about. Haha.
The weather was beautiful. The sky was an incredible blue colour, with a few white fluffy clouds dotted around.
If you have never visited Australia (and if you haven’t, please take it from me – you should. Definitely put it on your bucket list), it is hard to describe the sky there. It seems bigger and brighter somehow. The colours of the sky, the clouds, the sunrises, and the sunsets are all unbelievable. I took photos, but they just didn’t do it justice to be honest. Some images look like they have been photoshopped, but I can assure you that they haven’t.
It took less than an hour to get all the washing done and dried, which gave me the rest of the day to work on my tan. As I sat on the bed by the pool, I felt a tickle on my leg. I looked down to see what appeared to be a twig on there. Confused, I brushed it off, but it stayed there. On closer inspection, I saw that the twig had legs and a funny little head which looked almost alien. (In fact, it had an expression on its face that reminded me of the strange little things in the film Men In Black.) A praying mantis had decided that I looked like a safe place to rest! Unlike spiders, this little chap didn’t freak me out. I watched him for a while as he bobbed his body around – he looked like he was having a little boogie and getting down and funky with himself. I put my hand down and after a bit of hesitation he climbed on, and I put him on a wall to keep him safe so that he didn’t get squished under someone’s foot.
The following day we visited the Koala Rescue Centre. These poor creatures had been rescued from the severe fires that had swept through Australia some months prior to our visit. The koala population has been reduced by over 70 percent because of the fires.
I met Lola.
She had her paws burnt and the intense smoke had affected her eyes so badly that she could no longer see, but she looked happy sat in the crook of her tree munching on Eucalyptus leaves.
Barrington was also a survivor of the fires, he too had badly burnt paws. Poor little thing. Well, I say little – Koalas are rather big. Barrington was about 90cm in length and looked to weigh around 8kg. I wouldn’t want to be under a tree if this adorable fluffy ball fell out!!
Our last day at Port Macquarie, was also the last day we would spend with family for a few months. We planned that we would meet up again in 5 months somewhere at the top of Oz.
We said our goodbyes and set off on our journey to our next port of call. We decided that we would find somewhere to stay in Dubbo, which was an 8-hour journey from Port Macquarie.
As we travelled along the highway, I watched the landscape change as we went further inland. It went from lush green grass and mountains to red dirt and dry bushes. The red dirt was a burnt orange in colour and looked stunning as a contrast to the pale sapphire blue sky.
I looked out of the side window in awe of this amazing land. We pulled over for a coffee break at the side of the road, and on a fence post was a huge bird of prehistoric proportions. It stood at over a metre tall and had a sharp beak that didn’t look too friendly. It sat and looked at us for a short while then spread its huge wings and flew off. It looked the size of a small airplane when it took off! Its wings were at least double its height. I checked my friend, google. We had just had our first encounter with a Wedge tailed Eagle. What a majestic bird indeed.
We set off on the road again and arrived a few hours later in Dubbo.
We only wanted to sleep so that we were good to go for the long journey ahead of us, so we pulled into a field that accepted overnight stays. We rang the number that was pinned to the gate, and were told to put $5 in the tin, which we duly did.
The guard dogs came over to check us out, had a sniff, then trotted off to leave us to our own devices.
We set up camp for the night and slept well. When we left the dogs followed us and sat by the side of the car as we turned out of the site, as if they were checking we were definitely leaving as we had only paid for one night…
The next stop over was going to be Broken Hill. If you have ever seen the movie Mad Max, you will recognise this barren looking land, as it was filmed around this area. As we approached Broken Hill, we were stuck behind a huge lorry which was hauling some mining equipment. The CB radio crackled to life every now and then with the words “6 metres at the wheel comin’ at ya!” from the driver. Then a vehicle would come by us in the opposite direction but having to drive off-road as this beast took up both lanes! We arrived and drove through the main town.
To me, the main street, had a look of an old-fashioned Western film.
I popped into Cole’s supermarket and stocked up on a few provisions. Then we found a lay-by to stay for the night. There were hundreds of flies in this area, and I was pleased that I had bought special fly nets to put over our Akubra’s. (Aussie hats – minus corks)
They managed to keep these pesky critters out of our mouths! (Although, before I had put the net over my hat, I was divebombed by flies who decided to try and get into every facial orifice that they could. Ugh!)
After we had eaten dinner, we watched the sun set over the hill (sounds romantic.. until I tell you that it was actually the top of a lead mine waste pile…but it was still beautiful, none the less and we shared it together) and retired to bed, listening to the strange sounds outside which were being made by some creatures. I didn’t investigate, so I have no idea what was out there…but they sounded big!
We were settling into life on the road and were looking forward to the next day of our adventures Down Under.
The following morning, as we were on the road to Port Augusta, my brother-in-law rang us to ask if we had been listening to the news on the radio. We hadn’t, as we had made an epic playlist for our journey. He told us to tune into a station, as the virus that was in China, had now started to spread over lots of countries, and the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison (or ScoMo as he is referred to in Oz) had just closed the international borders. No one was allowed to fly into Australia until further notice!
We turned the radio on to see if there were any restrictions to our travel. So far, so good. Nothing seemed to be happening within this huge country, apart from it now being closed off to the rest of the world.
We continued our route towards Port Augusta and marvelled at the scenery as we drove for hundreds of miles.
On the way we pulled over for a rest and a coffee break. I looked the red sandy earth, and it was covered in seashells. How on earth did seashells get into the middle of Australia? Well, according to my friend, Google, some ten thousand years ago, at the end of the last Ice age, one-third of the Australian continent was submerged. That’s 2 MILLION square kilometres! So that’s how come seashells scattered the land that is now in the middle of Oz. I found it fascinating.
After we had our break and refreshments, we carried on the journey to Port Augusta.
A few hours later we arrived at the camp site that we had pre-booked. We drove in an noticed they had a lovely pool. We parked the caravan by a fence that backed onto the sand, and a little further down was the sea. All seemed idyllic, until later that afternoon when we were relaxing in the sun…
THE FLIES! Oh boy,
..they came in droves and were relentless. Up your nose, in your mouth, in your ears… any orifice and they were there. We had to put our fly-nets on, but they soon became covered in these little annoying things.
We decided that they maybe a little less persistent if we walked down to the sea, so off we set. Yes, we were right, there seemed to be less of them there, so we spent our time in the lovely blue water until the sun started to go down in the sky.
The following day, we received a phone call from my brother-in-law. `he had heard whisperings that Australia was going to shut its internal borders between the states.
As we REALLY wanted to spend a great portion of our time in WA (Western Australia) and we were in South Australia, so we didn’t want to take any chances. We packed up our rig and moved on. Port Augusta was lovely, but we weren’t going to miss its flies!
WA HERE WE COME!