Well, our time in Australia is up, I wrote most of this post with Jena’s help on our 14 hour flight to Vancouver. Sorry its long but its the last one! There was too much to see and do over the last week to spend that valuable time on the computer. Part of me wishes we had more time, there is certainly a lot of Australia to explore yet, but… like it always is after a big trip, it will be good to get back home. We had an amazing trip, saw and experienced lots of great things but we’re definitely looking forward to being home and seeing Ellie, Spook and our family and friends.
So, since the last update….. After we got to Byron Bay we checked into a great hotel, got some groceries and then chilled out for the evening. On Wednesday, June 13th we had an excellent day exploring Byron Bay. The weather was mostly cooperative and in the morning we hiked along the coast to Cape Byron lighthouse, stopping off at the most easterly point in mainland Australia. The surf was very high with huge wages crashing on the beaches and headlands. That afternoon we explored the shops in town and then found a spot on the beach and watched the sun set over the surfers playing in the waves.
On June 14 we left Byron Bay and headed inland for a night. We stopped off at Bellingen for a picnic lunch along the Bellingen River before continuing up the narrow, winding road to Dorrigo. We did a short hike through the semi-tropical rainforest and took in the Skywalk viewpoint in Dorrigo National Park which provided us a treetop view of the surrounding rainforest. We stayed in a small countryside B&B for the night .
We woke up on June 15 to sunshine – a nice change but disappointing that we had to spend it driving. Before leaving Dorrigo we took a short hike to Dangar Falls and then hit the road south toward Gosford. We stopped in Port Macquerie for lunch along the beach and took the scenic Lakes Drive along the way to make the 7 hour trip a bit more enjoyable. A cheap hotel in Gosford gave us a place lay to our heads for the night before dropping off the car in Sydney the next day.
We arrived in Sydney in the rain on the morning of Saturday, June 16. I was glad we had left driving in busy Sydney traffic till the end of the trip after I had already racked up approximately 5700km of driving on the left side of the road. The GPS did a wonderful job getting us right into the heart of downtown where I dropped Jena, Isaac and our large pile of stuff off at our apartment style hotel before returning our car to the rental depot a short walk away. We were lucky enough to find a small serviced apartment, right in Potts Point which is walking distance to nearly all the major sights in Sydney. As an added bonus our 9th floor window had an awesome view over Sydney harbour including the opera house and the Sydney harbour bridge! After settling in we took a walk through the rain to check out the Art Gallery of NSW, not super high on our list but close, free and out of the rain.
The weather finally cooperated for us with sunshine for the next three days in. We did lots of exploring around probably walking ~10km each day. On Sunday we took the ferry to Manley, looked around some shops and the beach and then took a long and sometimes confusing, but scenic hike along the shore and over the headlands to north heads which is a view point over the entrance to Sydney harbour. The view was great but I think most people drive! We took the ferry back to Sydney and relaxed for the evening.
On Monday we left our apartment early and walked around the botanical gardens to the opera house and Circular Quay. The Rocks historical area is here as well so we explored the museums, historic sights and shops there, then walked out onto Sydney harbour bridge for a view of the harbour. After lunch we headed into downtown Sydney to look for a candy store for some Australian licorice which I’d heard was quite tasty. There are some great shopping areas, lots of historical buildings and excellent candy and chocolate stores in the centre of Sydney! After buying about a kilo and a half of licorice (6 different flavours) we headed back to our apartment for the evening.
On Tuesday we took Sydney transit to Bondi Beach, walked along the Bondi to Coogee beach clifftop coastal walk for some great scenery and whale watching (Jena saw one breech!) and then made our way back to downtown Sydney. We looked around the shops in the Queen Victoria Building, had lunch and then walked to Darling harbour to visit the National Maritime museum. It had been a busy last few days so we left by mid afternoon and walked back to Potts point and our apartment for an early evening. We had some serious packing to do to get all our stuff condensed to a point where we could carry it all on our backs again!
This morning we were up early to check out and catch the shuttle to the airport. We lucked out and managed to get a middle seat for Isaac again despite a nearly full flight. He was very well behaved again and the flight to Vancouver was uneventful. Customs and the short flight to Edmonton went smoothly and my dad was there to pick us up from the airport, Thanks! Now we’re home, starting to unpack and even though the weeds in the garden and the grass in the backyard are reminding me of the Australian rainforest I’m looking forward to getting out there. Spook is also very happy to see us! Enjoy the pictures.