Australia: Part 3 – Central New South Wales (Gosford to Sydney)

How is it that over a month has passed since my last post?! Real life has returned in the form of school lunch making, homework assistance, extra curricular activities and one thing after another before falling over with exhaustion at the end of the night. Most evenings I don’t even have enough mental energy to speak coherently never mind write coherently. So that’s my long explanation for my absence and forewarning about the timeliness of future posts. Now that I have absolved myself sufficiently of guilt, I can share the last part of our Australian adventure…

We continued to head south through New South Wales, making a few stops in the Gosford area before travelling south to Bouddi National Park and finally Sydney. We did take a detour inland to Canberra but despite it being Australia’s capital, there’s very little to share from our stop there. Although it was in Canberra that we managed to pick up a couple pairs of long coveted Blunnies (a.k.a. Blundstone boots).

The Gosford area

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We decided to stay the night at a campsite in the small town of Patonga outside of Gosford. Patonga sure was pretty but there was nowhere to buy groceries and the town had only one restaurant. Made our dinner choice pretty easy.

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Our campsite in Patonga. Thankfully we still had beer in the campervan fridge. Not a bad spot for a pre-dinner drink.

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And we got to enjoy this early evening scene while having that drink.

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The next day we headed to Brisbane Waters National Park to checkout ancient Aboriginal rock engravings ranging from 200-2000+ years old. Here’s the morning view from the top.

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The rock engraving sites are easily accessed off the main road although spotting the sign for the site was a challenge. At the site, there are engravings of people and animals (kangaroos, fish, etc.). The kids are pointing to an engraving of a man wearing an elaborate headdress with a boomerang in one hand and a shield in the other.

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After checking out the ancient Aboriginal rock engravings we headed to the Australian Reptile Park which was on the kids must visit places after scouring the guide book.

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Australian Reptile Park has been involved in the collection of snake and spider venom since the 1950’s for Australia’s antivenom program. All of the venom for Australia’s antivenom program come from the work of just two guys who get snakes and spiders to try to bite them all day long. How do these guys explain to their mothers what they do?

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Along with reptiles and arachnids, Australian Reptile Park is also home to cute and cuddly animals like this wombat.

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And no visit to the park is complete without watching the crocodile show. Hard to see how big this crocodile is with it mostly submerged but trust me when I tell you it’s MASSIVE. This nice zookeeper, dangling a partial chicken carcass to tempt him, was definitely intimidated. At least she has a big stick and Blunnies to keep her safe.

Bouddi National Park

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Continuing south from Gosford we headed to Bouddi National Park, one of the most breathtaking national parks in Australia. This is saying alot as Australia is the land of beautiful national parks.

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Ready for our walk!

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There are several walks to choose from. We chose the incredible Bouddi Coastal Walk.

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Out of this world rock formations

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This walk was so beautiful that I just couldn’t stop taking photos

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Beautiful Bouddhi

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We made sure they didn’t stand too close to the edge

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The cutest little beach was at the end of the coastal walk

Sydney

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We left the rugged natural beauty of Bouddi and headed to the city life of Sydney. View of Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.

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No visit to Sydney is complete without taking a trip on the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly which offers amazing views of the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour and of course Sydney itself.  Here is a view of the famous Sydney Opera House from the harbour. Did you know the Sydney Opera House is a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

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This rain shrouded view of Manly was also captured from the ferry.

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No Nemo or Dory, just a couple of cute kids

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The “shells” of the opera house

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Walking through the historic area of Sydney referred to as “The Rocks”

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There was no question we were going to have lunch and a pint at the Lord Nelson, the oldest pub in Sydney.

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Strolling through Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens

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A view of the city at dusk taken from the seawall of the Royal Botanic Gardens

Australia has hooked me with its beauty. There is no doubt that we will be back for more. We were fortunate to see as much as we did. Choosing to travel by camper was definitely the right choice for our family and made all our stops possible. It got us even more excited for our upgraded ride for our travels in New Zealand. Coming up next!

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Our ride and our home for our incredible days in Australia

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Australia: Part 2 – Northern New South Wales (Byron Bay to Valla Beach)

From Brisbane we headed south, leaving the state of Queensland and heading into the spectacularly beautiful state of New South Wales. In northern New South Wales we made stops in Byron Bay, Red Rock and Valla Beach. Each one was pure eye candy!

Byron Bay

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Cape Byron Lighthouse at Cape Byron State Conservation Area. It was from here that we had the magical experience of seeing humpback whales breaching and pods of dolphins riding the surf.

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Byron Bay

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Tallow Beach at Byron Bay

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Alot of time was spent doing this

Red Rock

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Although Red Rock is a tiny hamlet of a few hundred people, its got a caravan park where you wake up to this.

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Best kind of morning!

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Beach at Red Rock

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The rock for which the hamlet is named after.

Valla Beach

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The sand was so fine, it squeaked when you walked on it.

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In her element

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One of our favourite activities…looking for wildlife!

More of spectacular Australia coming up so hang tight!

Australia: Part 1 – Brisbane and the surrounding area

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since we have returned home. Now that the children have started back to school, I’m finally getting around to writing about Australia. Honestly, it’s taken so long just because I didn’t know where to start. You see, Australia caught me off guard. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to seeing it like I was for some of the other places we visited. I thought it wouldn’t be able to compete with the exotic beauty of Southeast Asia. Boy, Australia proved me wrong. It completely blew me away with its beauty during our journey along Australia’s legendary Pacific Coast from Brisbane to Sydney. Having finally sorted through the THOUSANDS of photos I took, I’m finally ready to share our Australia adventure with you.

Our first stop was the city of Brisbane, the capital of the Australian state of Queensland. During our brief stop, we visited the City Botanic Gardens and took a walk along the Brisbane River.

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City and river

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Riverfront by the botanic gardens

We also took a jaunt out into one of Brisbane’s suburbs to visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the world’s oldest and largest koala sanctuary. It’s also where it’s possible to hold a koala and hand feed dozens of kangaroos.

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A mama and tot enclosure where there were half a dozen mamas and their babies

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A koala kindergarten class

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When it was our turn to hold a koala and take a photo, the only koala willing to come was one of the heaviest males. Isabella had to brace herself:)

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You not only get koalas at Lone Pine, you get to pet and feed as many kangaroos as you like

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A mama and baby. And yes, the baby was as soft to touch as it looks.

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Had them eating out of his hands

From Brisbane, we took a day trip with friends out to Lamington National Park, where this happened…

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We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into when we bought that dish of bird seed

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The face of both terror and joy

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A moment of calm amongst the madness

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Going to Lamington is not only for the birds but for this

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And trees that are this much bigger than boys

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And walkways that take you through the tree canopy

Want to know where else we visited in Australia? Stay tuned!