Crab Art

The weather continues to be just stunning, with more people now out enjoying it.

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The water is still like crystal.

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Surfers are starting to catch a few waves.

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The dogs are digging for Australia.

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The Blue Tongue lizards are just enjoying some sun, trying to warm up.

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The pippies are feeding on the beach.

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And the crabs are busy making some incredible images in the sand.

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Tiny crabs living in the sand well above the low water mark are being inundated by the very high tides and having to clean out their subterranean living quarters after each high tide.  They roll sand into tiny balls, smaller than a pea, push them to the surface and then roll them away from the opening of their tunnels.

They leave each ball where there like but after a while the balls start to make patterns that are fascinating to view and try to interpret.

Heather sees an eagle in the one above, Roger is sure that it’s Africa.

The crabs are difficult to spot in the open, but here is one seeking cover.

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Here we may have a tree, perhaps a head of broccoli?  On a sea theme, a bunch of kelp?

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This one might fly if its right wing grows a bit more.

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There are larger crabs on the beach, but they’re still quite small.

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Heather has a new hat to wear to the beach.  It has a floppy brim so into the wind makes it a bit hard to see where she is going.

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Thankfully there are small holes in the brim so she hasn’t had any accidents.

Catching Up

We are still having a great time at Peregian, in perfect weather and conditions.

We have taken the opportunity to catch up some friends who live in SE Queensland.

Helen and John live in Nambour and we drove out to their house and on up to the Hinterland behind them for lunch.  The Hinterland is part of the Great Eastern Ranges corridor of hills and mountains that stretches 3700 km from Victoria to northern Queensland above Cairns, and generally provides good views of the coastal plain between it and the sea.

This day the view was a bit hazy, with controlled bush burns under way to reduce the risk of bushfire in the coming summer.

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No matter, we had a good time catching up with Helen and John who moved up here from Melbourne nearly 10 years ago.

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They are both well and enjoying themselves up here, really haven’t changed much since the last time that we saw them in 2010.

We went to Le Relais Bressan for lunch, a French Restaurant which is a favourite of theirs for a very nice lunch indeed.

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It was good seeing John and Helen again, we’ll try not to make it another 7 years before we catch up again.

Another day, we drove down to Redcliffe, a northern suburb of Brisbane to see another of Heather’s friends, Eleanor, who we also hadn’t seen for many years.

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Eleanor’s husband has passed in that time, but she is very well and active in the area.

Redcliffe is situated on Moreton Bay and has a good beachy foreshore which is well used by locals and tourists.

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The Bee Gees grew up in the area, and the local council has established a ‘Walk of Fame’ that honours their lives and careers.  Some local residents have criticised the council for their ‘waste of money’ but we thought it was excellent and well worth the visit.

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Their music is playing in the background, and there are a lot of old photos and videos of the group as they grew up and developed their talents.

There is a bronze statue modelled on them as they first appeared on Bandstand in the early 1960s.

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There is another statue of them as they appeared at the height of their popularity.

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We had a good day seeing Eleanor again, then back to Peregian.

We are still walking on the beach every day.  The water is beautifully clear, but it’s a good thing that we’re not here for the surf.

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We saw a container ship passing in the shipping channel, the ship’s hull was below the horizon so there were just all these containers seemingly out there floating on the ocean.

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Very unusual.

There is a full moon this week so the tide is quite high and of course, the fishermen all come out at dusk.  They do pretty well too.

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So life is good at Peregian.

Sunshine on the Sunshine Coast

We have been staying at Peregian Beach on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast for nearly a week now and the weather has been great.  Mid-teens at night, mid-twenties each day, it has been sunny and beautiful.  We have had some overnight rain and not much wind.

We drove from the Gold Coast through Brisbane for about 3 hours, to the Sunshine Coast and started looking for a place to stay either side of Coolum.  We settled on an apartment in Peregian just north of Coolum.

This leaves a lot of Queensland above us but we have stayed in this area before and love it, so we may just stay here for a while.  We have found the sort of weather that we like and there is a lot to do here.  Cairns is as far north of us as Melbourne is south.

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Our apartment is about 50 metres from the surf beach, about 2 km south of Peregian Village.  It’s a short walk to the beach and the water’s edge, on a made path through the scrub and pandanus trees.

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Again, the beach is in excellent condition not having had any winter storms.

Looking south towards Coolum at low tide –

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Looking north past Peregian towards Sunshine Beach and Noosa Heads –

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Looking back at the coastal dunes, our apartment is behind the trees –

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We have been walking on the beach every day and love it.  There have been a few days of good surf with plenty of surfers, but also some paddle boarders on the quieter days.

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Why not take the dog for a swim?

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Luckily there didn’t seem to be any sharks around.

Our apartment is on the second floor of a 3 storey block.  It does have water glimpses and we can hear the surf which is very soothing at night when all is quiet.

We do have good views to the west.

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We will be staying in the apartment for 3 weeks and may just stay in Peregian for longer, we’ll see.

We have had a good look around the area between Maroochydore and Noosa this week, re-acquainting ourselves with where everything is and getting our bearings.

Sunshine Plaza in Maroochydore is the largest Shopping Centre in the area but it’s very casual and different from most Shopping Centres.

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All the major stores and lots of choice for eating.

Another day we went to the markets at Eumundi, then on to Noosa for lunch by the Noosa River.  This is looking downstream towards Noosa Heads.

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At the mouth of the river, there is a channel for boats to go out to the sea and on the other side, Noosa’s North Shore, with more beach, only accessible by 4WD vehicles, and about 50km as the crow flies to Rainbow Bay and Fraser Island.

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There is currently a property for sale just the other side of the river mouth – https://www.realestate.com.au/property-house-qld-noosa+north+shore-126069406

31 hectares of beachfront land, a large, modern two storey house so unique that it can’t be valued.  So it’s open to offers until September 11, better get your offers in.

Here’s the beach at Noosa looking south to the Noosa National Park on the headland.

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It is very nice but we prefer Peregian.

Speaking of Peregian, the beach was getting busier later in the week.

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Lots of surfers, walkers and their dogs, but you wouldn’t call it crowded.

Kristin, Tim and Alex came to visit for the weekend.

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We did the Eumundi Markets again, lunch at the Pier II restaurant on the Noosa River at Tewantin and plenty of time on the beach.  We just couldn’t keep Alex out of the water.  All too soon they had to head back home but we had a good time with them.

 

On Queensland’s Gold Coast

We have had nearly a week on the Gold Coast, in beautiful winter weather and have had a great time catching up with Roger’s daughter Kristin, her mother Sue, husband Tim and son Alex.  We stayed with them, looking after Alex on Thursday and Friday while Kristin and Sue went to Sydney for a funeral.

We went to the beach a few times and it was in the best condition that we have seen it for a long time.  Often there are winter storms that affect the shape of the beach and the sandbanks close to shore but now the sand is perfectly shaped and the water is like crystal.

Looking north towards Surfers Paradise from Broadbeach.

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There is a dredge working in close grooming some of the remaining sandbanks, moving the sand towards the beach.

Kristin’s family has a rag doll cat called Yunie who is quite affectionate at times.  Sometimes she’s just a splat-cat.  She makes herself comfortable on whoever is closest at the time.  She likes to have her legs splayed over something.

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We’ve been walking Alex to and from school while we’ve been here.  The route is alongside the Nerang river, which must have some fish in it if this guy’s on the ball.

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One day Alex rode his bike to school for a special treat, boy did we have to run fast to keep up!

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We love visiting the beach while we are here, especially when the weather is so good.

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We’ve had no rain to speak of since we left Melbourne which is good for us but  isn’t good for the country. Now is when we should be getting a lot of rain.  The temperatures are from low teens to mid twenties, so we have been making the most of it walking on the beach.  That’s about 10° warmer than Melbourne and makes a lot of difference.

We saw the dredge in action one day.

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We couldn’t work out why they were moving the sand closer in but it was impressive to watch.

On Saturday we all visited Alex’s Karate class as he was being graded for the first time.

Alex has been having Karate lessons for about 4 months, working at the first level with a white belt.  Here he is sparring with Jake who he has known all his life.

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The class worked hard with their kata and drills and then they were individually graded.

Sensei Mark said that Alex had progressed well in his Karate skills and awarded him a grading 2 levels above his original white belt.

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A hard, exhausting day for Alex.  He is enjoying his classes and putting in a lot of practice at home. The physical training involved is making him a lot stronger and fitter already.

The next day we went back to Dreamworld on yet another great day.  It was hard to take a picture of this ride, Heather and Alex were moving too fast.

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We walked and rode around the whole park, doing many of the activities and rides, then into White Water World where Alex and Heather did lots of water slides.

We went through Tiger Land, the tigers were taking it easy but that’s ok, we had seen their show before.

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Another splat-cat.

The freshwater crocodiles were also taking it easy.

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On Monday, with everybody going back to work and school, we set off again for our next stage – the Sunshine Coast.

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We left Port Stephens on Sunday and drove up to Old Bar to visit Heather’s cousin Nancy and her daughter Sue, and her daughter Sienna who live there.

Sienna is in her last year of high school and has several projects nearing completion for her final grades. She has made this globe entirely by hand, of timber.  The individual pieces have been cut and shaped, assembled, sanded and stained.

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The outlines of the continents have been routed and small holes drilled and fibre optic cables have been installed so that it can be used as a mood lamp at night.

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It looks terrific Sienna, we hope that you score well with it at school.

Nancy is well and happy and is well attended by her dog Diamond and Sue’s dog Georgia.

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On Monday Sue and Nancy flew up to the Gold Coast so we headed off after taking Diamond for a walk on the beach.

We drove up to Scotts Head to check out some holiday accommodation that we will be using at Christmas this year.  It looks like it will be quite comfortable and only about 100 metres from the beach, quiet today but it will be busy at Christmas.

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Here is the beach where Adrian and Amber were married in 2004.

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We had intended to spend the night in Scotts Head but have had a slight change of plans and needed to get to the Gold Coast by Tuesday so we pushed on to Nambucca Heads for lunch, and had a good look at the V Wall which stretches along a breakwater by the mouth of the Nambucca River, with the rocks being individually painted with artistic graffiti and messages by locals and tourists.

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Some are messages, some are memorials, but they are all colourful and bright.  Wally, of ‘Where’s Wally’ fame manages to appear several times within the hundreds of artworks.

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We drove on through Coffs Harbour and past Grafton to spend the night at Yamba.

Here is the morning view across the mouth of the Clarence River, lots of surfers out on Tuesday.

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We drove on through Ballina passing the Big Prawn on the way.

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We stopped for lunch at Lennox Head on yet another beautiful day.

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We passed on through Byron Bay.

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We made it to the Gold Coast in the afternoon, just in time to go to Alex’s Karate class (sorry pics not allowed).

We will be here through the weekend, staying with Kristin, Tim, Alex and Sue before pushing further north next week, so the blog is nearly up to date now.

Into Northern NSW

We are a bit behind with the Blog, having too much fun.  After our time with Mick and his girls on the weekend of July 16, we stayed for an extra day on the Monday while Mick went to work.

Living locally is one of Roger’s nephews, Nathan with his family Tammy, Layla and Jade.  So we visited to say G’day.

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Nathan is the Ranger at the Killalea State Park, on the coast just south of Shell Harbour, and a beautiful place it is too.  Nice rolling land, leading to beautiful beaches, very natural and well protected from adverse conditions.

This is Farm Beach, a light offshore breeze blowing on the day with several surfers taking advantage of the light surf and great weather.

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We drove back to Wollongong along the Princes Highway, through Albion Park, alongside the small airport there.  We noticed that HARS, the Historic Aircraft Restoration Society’s Museum was open so we popped in for a look and thoroughly enjoyed it.

There is an enthusiastic group of mainly volunteers that restore many of the old planes that are there and conduct tours through them.

First we saw a Qantas Boeing 747-400, City of Canberra, which was the first (and only?) 747 to fly non-stop from London to Sydney in 1989, a 20 hour journey.  Roger remembers travelling on this plane between Sydney and London in the 1990s, though it did stop in Singapore on those trips.

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The plane was donated to the Museum in 2015 when it was retired from service. They invited the pilots who did the record London-Sydney trip to train on a simulator to be able a to land it safely at the airport which is far too small for it ever to take off again.  A major achievement.

Many of the aircraft were military, here’s Heather getting comfortable in the cockpit of an F-111.

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Some of the restoration work that HARS does is on planes privately owned by other people.  Here is a Messerschmitt from the 1930s being restored for a private owner in Europe.

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HARS members will fly it to the owner when it is ready for delivery.

There are a lot of DC3s, a DC4, Piaggio, Vampire, Caribou, Orion, Convair, Mirage, Sabre Jet, and Roger’s favourite, a PBY-5 Catalina, a large flying boat also from the 1930s.  Their  Super Constellation is away at the moment but will be back soon, and John Travolta has decided to donate his ex-Qantas Boeing 707 to HARS when they can find the $400,000 it will cost for the fuel to fly it there.

Heather looked at home in the cockpit of a Bell Huey Helicopter from the Vietnam War.

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We spent much longer than we expected at the museum, in the care of a young but very knowledgeable guide named Tom, then just beat Mick home from work.

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The next day, Mick went back to work and we moved on through Sydney and on towards Queensland.

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We caught up with some friends in Sydney on the way through, then over the ‘coat hanger’.

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We fought our way through the Sydney traffic and made our way to a motel for the night on the Central Coast area near The Entrance.  The motel wasn’t great but the local area is always good.

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The local Pelicans get fed every day at The Entrance but we missed it that day.

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Maybe these guys did too.

So last Wednesday, we went on to Port Stephens just above Newcastle, where we rented a town house at Soldiers Point for the rest of the week.  Here is the view from our bedroom. We love the natural beauty of the area.

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The outlook faces west so we were looking forward to some good sunsets.  We didn’t plan on strong westerly winds to be blowing straight us which were uncomfortable but we still found plenty of sheltered beaches and coastal attractions in the area.

This view facing east from Soldiers Point towards the Nelson Bay township.

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Roger met some very tame Pelicans on the breakwater at Nelson Bay Marina.

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Fingal Bay beach was so sheltered that some other people were out enjoying the beautiful weather too.

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At the Marina at Soldiers Point there are several sculptures that are interesting.

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This one is called Bubble and Squeak, a dolphin mother and young and was made by Mike Van Dam.

The sculpture took 250 hours to make, weighing 60kg.  It is made of 240 metres of 4mm marine grade stainless steel chain, with more than 12,000 links.

One day we saw these Pelicans just riding the winds, completely effortless and beautiful to watch.

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We did get some good sunsets over Port Stephens, though you can’t feel the wind in the photo.

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We had a good time in Port Stephens but on Sunday we moved on for the next part of our winter escape.

 

Through to Batemans Bay and Wollongong

We awoke in Eden to this view out of our window, the sea mist over Twofold Bay.

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We set off after breakfast  driving north up the Sapphire Coast.  We drove into Ben Boyd National Park and walked through the coastal scrub.

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We were looking for the Pinnacles, a formation of red clay over white sand said to be over 65 million years in the making, exposed by water and  wind erosion.

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Very impressive.

There are a lot of termites active in the park, with some large nests on display.

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We went through to the beach at the north end of the Park, beautiful and completely deserted.

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We drove on past Pambula and through Merimbula.

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On to Tathra, arguably the most dangerous beach on the coast, though not this day.

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We passed through Bermagui, nice beach , again deserted.

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The port at Bermagui is well  protected with mostly leisure boats moored there.

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Unfortunately we drove over a grassy hump and made contact with it, popping the side skirt off the car.  It didn’t break but some holding clips did so it will need a panel shop to put it back.

Narooma’s moorings are on a large river estuary and stretch for several kms.

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We made it safely to Batemans Bay for the night, finding a nice motel across the road from Caseys Beach.

Our view in the morning was nice but it started cloudy and stayed cloudy for most of the day.

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We drove up through Ulladulla and Mollymook, which have changed a bit from our memory, though still very nice places.  We found a rare rocky beach on the north  side of Bannisters Head, looking towards Narrawallee Beach.

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Then we drove around to the beach, looking back at the headland.

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Again deserted, shame we were still in the shade.

We went through Nowra and back to the coast at Shoalhaven Heads and along 7 Mile Beach to Geroa which is on a hill.  The beach down here is where in 1933, Charles Kinsford Smith took off for the first commercial flight to new Plymouth in NZ in his plane the Southern Cross.

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Apparently the beach was wider in those days.

We stopped off at the blowhole at Kiama but it wasn’t working at the time.  This is the view looking south across the Kiama Downs.

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We drove on to Shell Harbour where Roger had done a lot of snorkeling in his younger years.

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From here it was a short drive to Mick’s place in Wollongong where we stayed for the weekend.  His house isn’t far from the Port Kembla Steelworks.

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They seem a lot less active than the last time that we saw them, apparently they are being scaled down in preparation for closure in a few years.

Mick and the girls, Ella and Lily, arrived soon after us and we had a good weekend catching again.

Bacon and pancakes for breakfast – a big hit.

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The weather wasn’t great but we did get out for shopping and checking the area which is new to us.  We thought that we would walk out onto Windang Island but the wind was cold and it would have been a long walk so we went and played in the park instead.

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The girls helped Heather clean some stains off a mirror at Mick’s house.

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It was a riot but they had fun and the mirror did get cleaned.

All too soon the weekend had passed, we drove the girls up to Sydney on Sunday night where we had dinner with Nadine and left the girls before heading back down to Wollongong.

There is a good lookout above the ‘Gong placed between the sea and the coastal mountains – impressive at night.

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We’re off to Eden

We set off for the warmer weather up north last week, the first part of our trip through Gippsland in Victoria, into New South Wales and up to Wollongong to spend the 1st weekend with Roger’s son Michael and his 2 daughters.

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We could easily drive this in 1 day on the inland route but we chose to take the coastal route and break it up into 3-4 hour drives.  Much more relaxing.

On our 1st day we went from home to Lakes Entrance in Eastern Victoria.

We passed through several of the Gippsland towns, mostly busy and seemingly prosperous.

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Out of the city, we saw how the working dogs travel.  This truck was carrying a load of live sheep and the Kelpie couldn’t wait to get back to work.

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We made good time to Lakes Entrance, the town is round to the left, the lake stretching away to the right.

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The town’s foreshore is bristling with pier and pontoon moorings for the many boats that stay or visit, many large motor boats and yachts as well as fleets of coastal fishing boats and tour boats.

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This yacht was being moored for a couple of days, the tidal drop would be interesting, a bit different to mooring CK on the canals.

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The fishermen were just going to work, they work the tides and were heading out on the evening tide.

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We had booked our Motel for the night through Trivago (Expedia) and that was all fine.

There is a large sand bar across the inlet from the town and we went for a long walk the next day.  Firstly we walked along the surf beach towards the entrance channel.

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Here is the entrance, we are looking west across the channel towards 90 Mile Beach stretching away into the distance.

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The was a strong outgoing current here with the tide and a group of seals were just hanging about taking advantage of any fish that found themselves in their way.

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We set off late morning to make our way to Eden looking at more places along the way.

We crossed the border into NSW and arrived in Eden mid-afternoon.  We checked out a few motels and found a good one at a good price so checked in and had a quick look around Eden.  Trivago was showing the room for about $10 more than we paid.

Eden is also a fishing and tour boat port with some large ocean going boats based there. The port is very sheltered from the weather, opening onto the large Twofold Bay.

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Eden was pretty quiet, not a lot of locals or visitors out and about.  We went to the local Fishermen’s’ Club for dinner.

The coastline here is a lot different to the Victorian coast, smaller beaches with headlands at each end.  Most of the beaches on the East coast are like this.

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1 lone fisherman on the beach, it’s still pretty cold although the weather is fine.  We’ll have to keep moving!

Back Home, Catching Up & Moving On

We have been back in Oz for a little over 1 month, an early priority was meeting our newest young Grandson, Ashton.

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The King Parrots have a new chick that came around for a visit and a feed –

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We had a week away down on the Mornington Peninsula, the weather was cool but fine so we were able to have to have a good look around.  This is Cape Shank –

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We stayed at a Timeshare Resort and a good friend Trish came to visit so we played some mini golf

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We visited lots of attractions in the area.  One was a nursery specialising in native plants and sculptures, this pelican a good example.

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Trish took us for a ride on the Arthurs Seat Eagle gondola ride with fantastic views over Port Phillip Bay, on a hazy winters’ day.

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It seems that some of the Star Wars folk have found the Peninsula a good place to live, although the Xfighter and R2D2 look a bit worse for wear.

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We drove over to the Darnum Musical Village for a day out with our Probus Club, an amazing collection of antique musical instruments mostly in working order.

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We had a good time down there, despite the cool weather.

Sunsets over the bay –

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We watched a crew derig an old Couta boat at Sorrento.  These are sailing boats that were used for fishing in the bay about 100 years ago, although they are mostly used for pleasure sailing these days.

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The other side of the Peninsula faces Bass Strait which has some good surfing beaches.  There was a good steady 5-6 ft swell running at nearly every beach that we saw, although not many surfers.

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We arrived home to find yet another new addition.   Oreo is Warren and Mae’s new dog, 3 months old and very cute.

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July has been a time for Birthday parties for us, 6 of us Cancerians have celebrated in the winter weather and it has been fun.

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It has also been cold

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So we’re heading north for the rest of the winter to warm up a bit.

Please stayed tuned

Wind up Time

We had a good day on Thursday, sunny and fine and we were able to do most of the outside jobs on CK.  We had an engine and gearbox service, cleaned the complete outside ready for the next Owners to board, did a lot of our packing and did do some inside cleaning.  We also swapped over our car for a bigger one, and started packing our gear into it.

Jo and Stuart were back in the marina aboard Norma Jean, so they came over to dinner again.  It was good to see them again before we left.

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On Friday it was raining again but we cleaned our waste tank out and filled with diesel fuel, finished our cleaning and packing up, by which time, the next Owners Karoline and John arrived.  We had a good chat with them and then we were off back to Springhill near Evesham in Worcestershire and our good friends the Bomfords.  We are staying with them for a few days before we head off back home.

The woodpecker is still hanging around, he’s very well fed.

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On Saturday it was fine again.  Marion and Jonathon were hosting a wedding reception in their barn, so it started out a good day for it and although rain was forecast, it did stay clear for the celebration.

Hector the lawnmower was already on his rounds when we arose.

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The barn was laid out, decorated and ready for the 112 people attending.

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The wedding cake was on show.

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The wedding went very well and the people attending were well behaved, causing no trouble and they seemed to have a terrific time.

We managed to get over to Strensham Lock to see Holly and Rob who had helped Heather when she had the accident with her thumb 2 years ago.  They are planning to move to Australia and are going through the applications at the moment.  Good luck guys, it was good to see you again, and we look forward to seeing you next in Oz.

We found this little bat which was in a bit of bother.

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It was a lot smaller than the bats that we are used to.  We checked back a bit later and it had gone, hopefully flown away to somewhere more comfortable.

On Sunday we helped clean out the barn and set it up for the next wedding next week.

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The tables have gone and it’s nice and clean here, now a different set of tables are in place ready for fine tuning by the next wedding party.

Working clothes today.

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Later we caught up with Sally and Tom whose house we sat with their cats at the start of our trip this year, while they were away on holidays.

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They and their cats are well and it was good to see them again.

Everything is calm for the moment at Springhill.  Thanks again Marion and Jonathon for having us back, we look forward to seeing you again next year.

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Tomorrow, we are driving down to London and flying home again.  We’ve had another good trip and enjoyed our time over here again, but it will be good to get back home.

Cheers for now, Heather & Roger