Day 51 to Day 56 – The return to Bendigo

28 06 2008

Saturday 28th June

Today was the return trip from Sydney to Bendigo.  It was our final day of this 8 week trip.  It had been a wonderful experience with our little boy with us, growing up and learning as we made the trip.  We had seen some wonderful parts of Australia and an experience we will never forget.

This final day involved the longest single day of travel of the entire trip.  However, as one would expect we really just wanted to get home and didn’t fancy a stop anywhere.  So other than food and rest breaks we just kept driving.  Fortunately there was minimal traffic on the road and it was easy driving.  We left Sydney around 7am and had a good trip.  Somewhere along the road we passed Jenny, Paul, Nicholas and Sophie who were headed the other way for a boat holiday around Sydney as it was the start of the school holidays.  We tried to meet them but it was not to be and we passed them without seeing them, which was easily done on much of the Hume highway.

Friday 27th June

This was a day for us to explore Sydney.  We travelled by train from Artarmon to Wynyard station. At which point we had a walk around a number of Sydney’s sights.  This included a visit to the new Apple computer store and the Opera house.  David and Yee Lee picked us up in the evening and we had dinner together. It was a very relaxing and enjoyable day.

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Thursday 26th June

Today we travelled from Forster to Sydney (David and Yee Lee’s unit).  It was a long but good drive.  We stopped briefly in Newcastle for lunch and had afternoon tea next to the Hawkesbury River (just north of Sydney).  It was getting to the stage where we were enjoying ourselves but looking forward to being home soon.  David and Yee Lee took us out for a pleasant meal in Chatswood this evening.

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Wednesday 25th June

Today we spent the morning strolling around Port Macquarie prior to a short drive to Forster.  The walk in the morning was very pleasant.  The walk took in the town of Port Macquarie and included a walk along the path next to the inlet through to the surf beach.  We saw quite a number of dolphins swimming around the heads. 

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Tuesday 24th June

Today was a trip from Coffs Harbour to Port Macquarie.  We made a detour inland to take in Bellingen and Dorrigo.  The detour took some considerable time as it involved a drive off the highway to Dorrigo and then back to the highway.  However it was well worth it and we saw some wonderful sites.  We were treated to a tour of the trains in Dorrigo by the manager of the train museum which was otherwise unavailable to the public.  It just happened he was checking the pamphlet box when we turned up and he kindly offered a guided tour. He was very generous with his time explaining considerable about the history of both the trains and the site.  Zaren was in train heaven.  The drive through to Dorrigo is quite spectacular and we stopped on a number of occasions to enjoy the sites and views.

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Monday 23rd June

Today we completed the drive from Byron Bay to Coffs Harbour.  We stopped briefly to take photos and have lunch at Lennox Head and Evans Head.  It was a good drive but we were really now just starting to go through the motions of getting back to Bendigo and home.  Pictured is Lennox Head and Evans Head.

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Day 19 to Day 50

22 06 2008

Sunday 22nd June

A quiet day on the beach at Byron Bay.  This will likely be our last day in the water before we return to Bendigo.

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Saturday 21st June

Travelled from Coolangatta to Byron Bay and walked up to the light house.  Zaren had a quick dip before dinner.

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Friday 20th June

Last day in Coolangatta.  Spent the day on the beach and playing in the surf.

Thursday 19th June

Drove to Brisbane to check out some things there.

Wednesday 18th June

Did a drive up the Tweed Valley and tried to visit Mt Warning.  However, due to the inclement weather and rain we never got to see the summit of Mt Warning although we did drive up close to the top – we thought!.  We dropped in at the Tropical Fruit World which is a great place to spend money (i.e. rather expensive for what was offered or so I thought).  We drove back to Coolangatta via Lamington National park (the 2nd picture below is around this area) and Nerang.

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Tuesday 17th June

Quiet day in Coolangatta.

Monday 16th June

A fun day at Sea World.

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Sunday 15th June

Didn’t go into the surf today at Coolangatta, which was probably a bit sad as it was a great surf day in what is known as a section of coast which produces the longest wave (or is that break).  Anyway it was a great day and we only managed to get into the pool which was heated but a bit cool due to the wind.

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Saturday 14th June

We flew from Cairns to Brisbane and then drove to Coolangatta, where we are to spend the next week. 

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Friday 13th June

Yey, our first Queensland (and Great Barrier Reef Island) – Green Island – to set foot on these holidays.  We took the short boat trip from Cairns to Green Island and spent most of the day on the Island.  It rained on and off throughout the day but we still had time for a trip in the glass bottomed boat and I had time to snorkel on the reef – although the tourists have really loved sections of the reef next to Green Island to death.  It was still fun and the rain and wind (let’s not forget the strong wind which made Zaren and Jane a little sea sick on the trip over) didn’t dampen our spirits.  We arrived back in time for a walk around the city of Cairns before returning to Trinity Beach for our last night in Cairns.

Picture of Jane and Zaren leaving Green Island and the Cairns Harbour.

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Thursday 12th June

Today included a trip to Cape Tribulation, which is about as far north as one can drive along the coast without a four wheel drive and for that reason about as far as most tourists go north.  The drive was fairly easy with a simple ferry crossing over the Daintree River.  We stopped briefly at Mossman on the way there and Port Douglas on the way back.  Pictures at Mossman and Zaren at Cape Tribulation.  By the time we reached Port Douglas on the way back it was raining a bit and surely must have been about as cold as Port Douglas gets.

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Wednesday 11th June

Today we took the Scenic railway to Kuranda and caught the spectacular Skyrail back from Karanda.  The Skyrail is an absolutely amazing trip.

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Tuesday 10th June

Today was a trip to the Atherton Table lands.  It rained a few times during the day, but it was often dry enough to see a few of the sights.  It was a big drive, passing through Kuranda, Mareeba, Atherton, Malanda, Millaa Millaa (the waterfall circuit just out of Millaa Millaa), Innisfail and then a drive back to Cairns.  It surely must be some of the most spectacular country in Australia. 

Below are pictures of Millaa Millaa falls, and another looking down from Crawford’s lookout, and a third of the rain in Innisfail.

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Monday 9th June

Flew from Brisbane to Cairns today.  It was an early start – leaving Perigian Beach about 4.00am to get to Brisbane in time for an early flight.  We are to stay five days at Trinity beach.  Had a quick look around the local beach.  Photo of Zaren on Trinity beach.

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Sunday 8th June

Pretty much the same as for the previous day.  Grant had received his new Dell computer and I spent a few hours assisting him setting it up, including setting up his iPod and an installation of iTunes.

Saturday 7th June

This was a bit of a lazy day around the Noosa area.  The weather was a bit cool for swimming so we just went for a drive and a walk around a few of the areas close to Noosa.

Friday 6th June

Today we made a long trip from Yeppoon (near Rockhampton) to Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast.  It was an all day trip with just a few short stops for meals, and time to take a few photos of things we’d passed on our way up the coast, but during which time it had been too wet to get out of the car to take photographs of.

We took a few photos of the Fitzroy river which runs through Rockhampton (thus named due to the rocks in the river used (years ago to cross the river) to get to the hampton (or something like that)). The photos below are of the river.

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Also stopped briefly in Gladstone and below is a photo of the boat harbour near the central visitor information desk.

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There were a few places (including beaches) I would have liked to have visited on the trip down the coast, but we were on a tight timeline to get back to the Sunshine coast so that we could get ready for our flight north to Cairns in a few days time.  However, we had established that beaches around this area (even though they were in Queensland) were a little cool to swim in during this time of the year if the day was not fairly sunny. Hence one of our reasons for deciding to book a trip to Cairns was to find some warmer tropical waters.

Thursday 5th June

Today we played tennis in the morning, which was the just the second time (the first time only a few days prior) in a number of years we’d enjoyed such an activity.  (Great having Zaren in kids kapers)!  We played a good two "setter" with one set going each way.

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In the afternoon we took some photos of the local beach and facilities and had a short swim in the pool, a go on the water slide and a warm spa.  The photo of the sea below was looking towards the northern Keppel island (north of Great Keppel Island).  We had planned to visit Great Keppel Island but the main resort had only recently closed down and most facilities were no longer operational so we decided against both a day visit to the Island or a longer visit.  This was in part due to the cost of the short boat trip to the island and the current temperature which meant the water temperature at this time of year is only around 21C, which is a bit cold to spend much time in the water unless the sun is shining.

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Wednesday 4th June

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We played golf today on the "championship" course at the Rydges Capricorn Resort at Yeppoon.  Zaren was at the kids club from 8.30 to 12.30 which allowed us the time to play 9 holes.  In the afternoon I had a brief go on the Sea Kayak.  The sea water around Yeppoon appears a little muddy due to the fine sand which floats in the water.  It’s also very quiet on the beach at this time of year and when I was kayaking I was the only one in the water for as far as I could see.  They do have crocodiles in the local rivers – which no one seems to be too concerned about.  However, knowing that they’d lost track of a number of them since recent rains I didn’t spend to long out on the kayak (might have been the only meal around).  Returned to the safety of the swimming pool and water slide in the afternoon.

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Tuesday 3rd June

Today we completed a beach walk in the morning and a drive up to Byfield just out of Yeppoon in the afternoon.  We weren’t overly impressed with Byfield. We couldn’t easily get to any impressive places and the sign by the small river we stopped at warned of crocodiles and poisonous fresh water stone fish.  We returned to the resort in Yeppoon in time for our afternoon water slide at the pool at 3.30.

Monday 2nd June

Our first full day at the Rydges Capricorn Resort at Yeppoon.  We played tennis in the morning and had a swim in the afternoon.  Unfortunately the swimming pool was not heated and therefore a little too cool to spend too long in.  However, it was a very large and impressive pool with a man made sand beach at one end of it.

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Sunday 1st June

Made a short trip from our accommodation in Rockhampton to Yeppoon (about an hour out of Rockhampton).  Unfortunately the weather was wet and it was difficult to do much other than hop out of the car to take a few short walks and some photographs.  We did hang out at the Rockhampton McDonalds for a while as it was the only dry park we could find for Zaren to have a bit of a play.

Photos below are of the Singing Ship and one of the small boat harbours in sections of coast just south of Yeppoon.  This singing ship is a monument in honour of James Cook’s discovery of Keppel bay and makes whistling noises when the wind blows, which the wind was doing (as well as the clouds raining) when we visited it.

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Friday 30th May

We spent the day in "Town of 1770" and Agnes Waters.  No prizes for guessing what year the local port was discovered by Captain Cook!  It was a wet and wild day.  Fortunately we had nice accommodation in which we were staying but our trip out doors was not that pleasant.  However we did manage a few short walks, but definitely not a swim (at what is reported as the most northerly "surf beach" on the coast of Queensland).  As it turns out there were surfing lessons being offered further north at Yeppoon (to name one place other than this) so not everyone agrees on this area being the most northerly surf beach.  Over the few days during this period this section of coast experienced significant rainfall.  Noosa, which thankfully we were not at during this period, experienced about 150mm of rain and had their main beach wash away during storms.  Where we were was wet, cold (Queensland cold) and the surf was fairly wild.  Below are some of the pictures we took around the area.

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Thursday 29th May

Today we made the trip from Maryborough to Rockhampton.  We had stayed with Dennis and Ruth Theabold (who had helped us look after our house in Bendigo and who now lived in Maryborough).

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Maryborough is famous for the writer who wrote Mary….

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The umbrella that Mary had (shown in the photo above) was quite relevant and we wished we had ours at this time.  We made our way from Maryborough to Childers which had been made infamous for the Childers backpacker fire.  The photo below shows the rebuilt accommodation in which so many young backpackers had died years prior.  Childers supports many itinerant workers as it is a big fruit growing/agricultural area.  This is an industry significant numbers of backpackers assist with.

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Wednesday 28th May

Drove from Peregian Beach to Maryborough stopping briefly at Gympie where we visited the mine museum.

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Tuesday 27th May

Visited Australia Zoo.

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Monday 26th May

Spent the day on the beach in Noosa.

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Sunday 25th May

Down at the local beach and Noosa today.

Saturday 24th May

Visited Eumundi Market, the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and had a brief swim at Noosa all in one day.

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Picture of the Silver man at the Eumundi market.

Friday 23rd May

Completed a trip down to the southern end of the Sunshine Coast today.





Day 11 to Day 18

22 05 2008

 

Thursday 22nd May

We spent the day around the Sunshine Coast and Noosa today.  Will be on the beach.  Life’s a beach!

Wednesday 21st May

We made a big trip today from Coffs Harbour to Peregian Beach (Sunshine Coast) stopping in Grafton (at Mc Donalds), Brunswick Heads and Coolangatta.  It was a big drive (longest single drive to date) with more than seven hours at the wheel.  The stop at Brunswick Heads, which is just a few kilometres from Byron Bay was brief although we found it a quaint location.  The Lonely Planet guide describes Brunswick Heads as a quiet getaway with good beaches and that’s a fairly apt description.

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Beach at Brunswick Heads (The shadowy part in the water is a huge school of small fish)

We made Coolangatta for lunch and had time for a dip in the water, at which time Zaren declared "this water is not cold", and indeed it was not.  We had finally made it to Queensland and the water was at such a temperature that it was comfortable to get into without feeling cold.

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Coolangatta Beach (looking towards Tweed Heads)

Tuesday 20th May

We spent the day looking around Coffs Harbour with a walk down the Jetty (within the protected harbour) and a mandatory visit to the Big Banana.  We thought about going for a swim but the surf was a little too big even in the protected harbour and a little too cold.  I took a picture of some kids surfing the reflected wave off the rocks within the harbour.  I thought they were mad surfing so close to the rocks, but they knew what they were doing and were having a great time.

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Monday 19th May

Travel from Port Stephens to Coffs Harbour.  This was a big trip and other than McDonalds at Taree we only briefly stopped at Nambucca Heads to take a few photos and have lunch.

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Nambucca Heads

We arrived at Coffs Harbour with enough time for a short walk to Mutton Bird Island (although about one month too late to see any Mutton birds as they had all migrated north).

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Photo from atop Muttonbird Island towards the protected harbour and airport (in distance)

Sunday 18th May 

We were in Port Stephens with friends (Yee Lee and David from Sydney) and had a fairly relaxed day which included a walk up the Tomeree Headland.  It was a fun walk with great views of Port Stephens from the top.

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Saturday 17th May

We completed the drive today from Wollongong to Port Stephens in which we tried to get through Sydney in the shortest period of time taking route 6.  The best part of the drive was just as we left Wollongong along the Grand Pacific Drive.  It is a spectacular section of road especially across the Sea Cliff Bridge.  The photos below are of the bridge and looking down on the bridge as we rose the mountains and made our way to Sydney.

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Friday 16th May

We made the short trip from Kiama to Wollongong visiting both the Minnamurra Rainforest (just out of Kaima) and a visit to the Buddhist (Nan Tien Temple).  Zaren really enjoyed the walk around the rainforest which probably his biggest walk to date.  The rainforest is supposedly the most southerly example of a subtropical rainforest.  Nan Tien is the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere and really quite spectacular.  The photos are from the rainforest and the temple (looking towards the mountains surrounding Wollongong).

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Near Flagstaff Point Lighthouse looking towards Port Kembla

Thursday 15th May 

We drove from Batemans Bay to Kiama stopping briefly in Jervis Bay to have a look and take some photos.  It was a perfect day when we arrived at Jervis Bay and if not for the fact that Zaren was asleep in the car I would have loved to have gone for a swim at Murrays Beach (shown in the following two photographs with three sea kayaks in one of the photos).

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The following two photos are from Cave Beach and looking down on Jervis Bay Village as we made our way out of Jervis Bay.

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We arrived in Kiama early afternoon and thought it was a pretty town so decided to stay a night. The following three photos are of Kiama (the last being of the big blow hole – which wasn’t really blowing).

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Day 10 – Batemans Bay

14 05 2008

Wednesday 14th May

Remained in Batemans Bay today so that I could go fishing on an ocean charter.  Left at 6.15am and returned about 6 hrs later.  Caught two fish which I kept but was also given four other fish which the others on the charter didn’t want! 

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We cooked and ate all the fish for lunch and dinner after the fishing trip.  $105 for the fishing trip and food for six meals (3 people x 2 meals)!

Went to Mogo in the Afternoon with a plan to visit the Mogo Zoo, but by the time we got there Zaren was asleep. So we decided to just stroll around the quaint town of Mogo (about 10kms South of Batemans Bay).

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Day 4 to Day 9 – Mallacoota to Batemans Bay

13 05 2008

 

Tuesday 13th May 

After a morning start at the centre of Batemans Bay,

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we headed first to South Durras and then North Durras.  Both had minimal development on them (although there was some housing and accommodation available – with North Durras looking like it hadn’t been touched in 40 years) and had (like so much of this section of coast) some very inviting swimming beaches, clear waters, and surrounding forests.  North Durras appeared to be largely run by the park authorities and is famous for kangaroos on the beach.

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Monday 12th May

We left Narooma (not before walking the boardwalk there to check out the fish once more before doing so) and headed to Batemans Bay hugging the coast and tourists drives as much as possible.  Checked out some beaches along the way with the most significant being a stop in Malua Bay (Just before getting to Batemans Bay).

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We arrived at Batemans Bay about midday and found accommodation in cabin at one of the caravan parks and at only $51 per night it was small, clean, basic, almost brand new and a real bargain!

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Sunday 11th May

We were able to organise a fishing trip on the inlet with “Calm Water Fishing” which ran fishing trips on the inlet and we were very excited by this.  I have never seen as many fish in an area of water like this in my life.  Narooma must surely be some sort of fisherman’s heaven.  However, we were only able to catch a few bream and an octopus from our morning’s fishing expedition.

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Besides fishing, Narooma also had a netted swimming beach and some reasonable surf beaches.

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Saturday 10th May

On the trip from Merimbula to Narooma we stopped at Tathra which had another ocean facing wharf.  We were amazed to see so many fish swimming beneath the wharf.  The water was crystal clear.  Tathra was a small town with a nice beach and it would have been great to spend some more time here but we wanted to keep moving.

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We also stopped at Bermagui and thought we might stay here for a night, but quickly decided to head to the bigger town of Narooma.  However, we did stop long enough to take a picture of the blue pool at Bermagui, and also had time to eat at the local fish and chip shop which was really excellent (best fried calamari I can recall in a long time).

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We arrived at Narooma and although not overly impressed initially we found some reasonably priced accommodation which had a wonderful view out to the Wagonga inlet at Narooma.

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Friday 9th May

We went for a morning walk along the boardwalk around a section of Merimbula Lake (inlet).  It was excellent timing (tide was in) as we could see numerous fish swimming in the shallows amongst the Mangroves.  We then headed to see the fish being fed at the aquarium near the Merimbula wharf.  The wharf is an ocean facing pier and quite high up.  We could see many schools of fish, and stingrays swimming beneath the pier.  In the afternoon we went to the surf beach but it was a bit cold so we didn’t stay for long and returned for a swim in the heated pool.

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Thursday 8th May

Tried to arrange for a tour of the Mallacoota inlet but the tour didn’t operate due to lack of numbers as we were the only customers for the day.  Met an ex employee of BSSC (Dalon?, wife Jo? and young child) now employees of MLC at Mallacoota as we were having coffee and waiting for our clothes to dry in the local caravan park laundry. 

Then headed to Merimbula stopping in Eden.  Eden had a nice beach where we watched a school group learn to surf as we had lunch.  Made a brief stop at the Eden Wharf, which was clearly a busy fishing boat terminal. 

Headed to Pambula where we briefly stopped to check the surf beach and then to the nearby Pambula inlet. The surf was pretty flat and if not for the water being a bit cold at this time of year it appeared like an inviting swimming beach.

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The photo above shows the beach at Pambula stretching in the distance to Merimbula.  The inlet (just around the corner from the surf beach) at Pambula was very tranquil with red scoria coloured rocks, white sand and crystal clear waters.  Like so many other beaches around here – I wished it was warmer!

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We arrived at Merimbula late but in time for Zaren to have a brief swim in the heated pool at the caravan park at which we were to stay.





Day 1 to Day 3 Melbourne, Cape Conran, Mallacoota

7 05 2008

 

Wednesday 7th May

Headed to Mallacoota and arrived about midday.  Had planned to head onwards, but decided to stay a night.  Had a look around town and a few of the local beaches.

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Tuesday 6th May

Stayed another night at Cape Conran, but had to move out of our cabin as it was already booked by a school group!  Hence moved to a retreat tent site with all linen included.  Power went out at the same time we were trying to get dinner ready, have shower and get ready for bed.  Cooked under torch light, ate next to an outside fire and missed the shower as the automated pumps weren’t working without electricity.  We slept well!  During the day we had visited Yeerung river and Yeerung Gorge.  Zaren enjoyed running in and out of the shallow water of the Yeerung.  Also walked around the rocks and rock pools of “Sailors Grave”. 

Around Cape Conran (7)

Monday 5th May

We had an enjoyable drive from Clayton with only one short stop in Sale for lunch. Arrived Cape Conran Coastal Park 4.30pm Monday 5th May 2008. The park office had closed at 4.00pm! No problem our booking was on the board and we found our own cabin, which was ready for us. We had time for a quick visit to the beach (a must do on the first day of a coastal trip) before we got the fire going and tea ready.

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No mobile phone access and perhaps not surprisingly the location was not covered by Telstra Next G wireless Internet access – so much for our recent purchase of a Next G device and associated service for use on our holiday.