A Travellerspoint blog

Tuggerah / Gosford

Another local day... it was nice but went by fast.......

sunny

Today was another local day

We left for some shopping at Westfield – Tuggerah. This is close to where Shari lives – maybe 10 minutes or so away. I will have to say that Australia has some amazing shopping centres. The prices may be high; but if you look around you can find some good bargains. Westfield - Tuggerah was a very nice shopping centre. We parked on top of the complex which was nicely appointed with parking canvas canopies. We entered the complex and went down an escalator that was a ramp versus stairs. This was designed this way to accommodate the trollies (shopping carts) that locked into the ramp for easy movement around the shopping centre. The grocery store and butcher shops were located in this shopping centre as we had seen in other locations. I’ve never been any where before where you see people pushing shopping carts around the mall!! We went to a store called Hot Dollar where we picked up some hot bargains. We then walked around the mall and went to the Escape Travel Agency. A gal named Karen waited on me and she planned the rest of my trip here in Australia. Nothing like procrastinating eh? LOL We had lunch at the Australian steakhouse called Hogs Breathe Café. I had a very nice prime rib lunch with a BBQ sauce. It was a big lunch but I ate every bite!! We also had garlic cheese bread for appetizer. They use that Tasty Cheese and that is just very very GOOD – especially when melted. Probably the test garlic cheese toast I’ve ever had. We walked around the mall some more and then went back to Karen at Escape Travel to get my agenda.

http://westfield.com.au/tuggerah/

Then we went to Gosford Hospital to see where Shari works in the department of Anatomical Pathology. I met some of her co-workers and got a tour of the lab. Shari wears many hats at her job between administration and actual lab technician. Imagine going to the hospital for a procedure and they take samples of your body for testing. This is what Shari does – they take the samples and cut it down on the slides, set the dyes, and analyze the samples. What was really cool is one of the pathologists kindly gave me a brief lesson on pathology and viewing the samples. It was really interesting and I view it as one of my great experiences on my trip so far. We had a really nice conversation about many things including activities happening in the states.

When we got back to Shari’s the weather was finally decent so we took a nice walk around her neighborhood. We went to visit her friend Lisa. Upon our return home, I repacked my suitcase to get ready for my early departure in the am for Cairns. The day went by quickly.. we had such a big lunch there was no need for dinner. But I did want to try the custard we had bought before our road trip so was anxious to try that. It was absolutely delicious!!! So, we come to the end of my visit with Shari and the girls.. It has been absolutely wonderful and I’ve had a great time. I got the girls each a box of tissues so they could cry on Saturday over my departure. (LOL) I didn’t buy them for Shari as I know she will be HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY to finally have her house and peace and quiet back. Shari was a fantastic hostess and I am extremely grateful to her hospitality. Shari has been a great friend; we met under a trying circumstance and she has turned out to be an awesome friend. Talk about making lemonade outta lemons. Lemonade ROCKS!

I leave for Cairns on Sat am for a few days; on to Airlie Beach after that for rest and relaxation on white sand and blue water…. The next phase…… it’ll all be over before I know it, but I’ll enjoy while it is.

Posted by cyntiast 03:32 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Bateman's Bay to Blue Haven (aka "home")

The end of the seven day road trip........

semi-overcast 15 °C

{UNDER CONSTRUCTION]

We had spent the night at Bateman's Bay. I was able to talk a walk around the area in the morning. There was a marina right down the street in one direction and shops, etc., in the other direction. It was nice to have fairly decent, but chilly weather to do some walking. There was a little sandwich shop near our hotel and I had an egg, bacon (which in Australia is fried ham), tomato, and avocado sandwich on a multi-grain roll - and I explain all this because (1) I've never had avocado on an egg sandwich and (2) it was an excellent sandwich!

We started our journey back towards Blue Haven.

The first stop was at the locations recommended by the motel folks. Depot Beach - we had the pleasure of seeing more kangaroos at this location. There was a caravan "camp ground" right where we parked and the 'roos were hanging around the cabins. We even got to see a joey in his mum's pouch that was cool. We walked down on the beach which had an interesting colored sand. Not quite dark like Ocean City sand; but not white like Caribbean sand. It was a combo of white and brown and black and very fine and soft.

We continued down to Pebbly Beach also recommended by the motel. We were told that there were pebbles of all sizes on the beach so we had this vision of no sand and all pebbles. As we walked down to the beach, there was a pavilion off to the one side with a group of folks gathered. There were these incredible red and blue tropical birds all around. Very cool The beach itself . it was a typical beach.... nice Aussie beach, but nothing that triggered what was so special about it re the pebbles. We did a short visit and then left to return to the highway. We were following the map the motel provided and we think that there were roads in the location not on the map.. we ended up on this bumpy dirt road that went on forever. Shari's poor little car! We finally did get to the highway much to everyone's relief.

Next stop was Jervis Bay. Per Shari, this is a "hidden secret" in Australia... a beach south of Sydney that offers the white sand and blue waters typically seen in Queensland. We went to the Green Patch Section (Booderee National Park). As we walked down to this beach, we noticed this family "playing" with these colorful lorikeets. We stopped to watch and the darling kids offered us sun flower seeds so we could join the fun. So we literally had birds eating out of hands and sitting on us. It was a lot of fun! Due to time, we had to end the bird time and walked down to the beach. It was a cloudy day, but the beach had the lovely white sand and the blue water. The beach was empty due to the chilly weather; it was a nice treat to see the beach. We ate lunch at the nearby Jervis Bay Supermarket and the food was decent for a good price. I learned here that the normal toppings for a burger in Australia includes tomatoes, lettuce, onion, and BEETROOT. I had not tried beetroot before so tried a sample and it was pretty good. I can see some menu back home needing to add this ingredient for a little variety...

Next was the Kiama Blow hole! Shari had been excited to show me this Aussie natural landmark. The town has done a nice job setting up viewing platforms for the blowhole. There is also a white lighthouse at the top of the blowhole. I liked that there were camping cabins right near the blow hole too; I would like to stay there maybe on a future trip; I liked the area in general.

http://www.visitnsw.com/town/Kiama/Kiama_Blowhole/info.aspx

Then we continued our long ride back home to Blue Haven. We arrived around 7:15 pmish.

Trying to get in "last minute" Aussie experiences .... just had a glass of Milo. It tasted pretty good - reminded me of fudge pops from back home.. apparently they don't have those here...

Posted by cyntiast 03:06 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Albury to Batemans Bay

More 'Roos today!

There was a bad storm over night that woke me up - RAIN (are we surprised) and WIND (are we surprised). By am it appeared the rain had stopped so I decided to take a walk thru the town of Albury. Of course once I started on the walk, it started to RAIN. LOL so had to shorten my walk and head back to the room. We lounged around and left around 10:15. I asked Shari if I could check out the local Target; it ended up with me taking an hour to shop around the local shops while she stayed in the car and studied her chemistry. The Target in Albury is quite cool; they have very nice dresses - reminded me of a nice department store! Of course I had no reason to buy another dress but was fun to window shop. Also checked out Rays Outdoor shop and stores in the local "centre".

After we left we headed on to the town of Wagga Wagga. This is where Charles Sturt University ("Uni") is located. The first stop was to the spot at the Uni where the kangaroos hang out. It was really cool to see about a dozen kangaroos hanging out. I even got to see some hopping about. It was really awesome! After that we went to the dining area and grabbed some lunch. Then we went to the library so Shari could finish her school work. We were there for a couple hours.. took me back in time when I was going to school and struggling with the difficult subjects.... de ja vu. Shari completed work as best as possible and we submitted in the "post" box on campus before moving on down the road.

Our next destination was Harden to visit Shari's friend (kinda relative via marriage) Pat. Shari always speaks very highly of Pat. She greeted us at the door with a funny greeting; something like "Get out of here". It was funny. We were running late so we were only able to visit about five minutes. We met Pat's friend, Laurie as well. Harden is a small country town where Shari use to live. Shari showed me the houses where she use to reside.

We continued down the road to Canberra to pick up Shari's girls. The scenery was all agricultural on the way there; we did pass thru a couple country towns. All these towns have similar styles; takes me back to what I imagine towns were in the 50's in the states. Of course Canberra is more city like being the Capital of Australia.

Another long drive as we continued down to Batemans Bay to spend the night. We pulled in at ten pm. We're chatting before going to bed. Girl chats you know - important to all gals around!

Posted by cyntiast 04:33 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Warrnambool, Victoria to Albury, NSW

Windy, windy, and windy… Did I mention the wind. I forgot to emphasize the wind for our travel the day before. The wind was horrific. My great friend Gloria can attest I HATE being in the wind, but we had no choice on GOR travel day.

overcast 15 °C

Relaxed a bit in our room at Warrnambool before departing down the road. This was a basic travel day making our way back up to Canberra to pick up Shari’s girls. We traveled inland on Highway A1; mostly agricultural scenery on our way. Our first stop was in the town of Colac to meet up with Shari’s friend Sharrene from the “Uni” so they could discuss their organic chemistry course. I didn’t mention before that part of our travels has included Shari combining tour guide/fun with her studies at the Charles Sturt University – Beginning Organic Chemistry. She has been quite the diligent student starting her studies as soon as we reach our rooms each evening. Her teachers should be most impressed with her as she is trying her utmost to do well in this course. I wish I could help, but I just cannot offer her any knowledge or guidance on this subject matter. Anyhow, it was quite cute to see those two sitting in Shari’s car discussing their course work on Sharrene’s lunch break. Two dedicated students – Uni – pass these gals on EFFORT alone! Sharrene works at a meat packer plant. While we were sitting in the parking lot, I heard a flock of sheep bleeting in the background. I knew NOT to turn around and make eye contact as I knew the fate of these poor little guys…. Sharreen appeared to be a very nice gal; it was fun to meet another Aussie….. so when her lunch break was over we were on our way…
But want to back up a step for a minute.. on the way to Colac, we saw this HUGE HUGE long long LONG section of obviously hand-laid stone fence. My first thought was maybe this was something they had prisoners do as part of their chain gang activity. So we questioned Sharreen and she gave the same answer… I need to do some additional research on this and will update this post once I have more info..

After Colac, we continued our drive basically with few stops until we reached the town of Albury. We had made hotel reservations this morning before leaving our other hotel. We booked at the Best Wester Meramie Motor Inn off Kiewa Street. Somehow “something” happened with our reservation and we were upgraded from a standard from to a family room. It appears that the portion of the motel we are staying in used to be an old residence and we are staying in part of the house. Our Suite is huge! It has two bedrooms and a HUGE bathroom. HUGE!! We also have a very nice balcony area. And huge dining room table that can seat six people and a large gallery kitchen!! It is an older motel so a little dated; but fine for the amount of room that we have. I gave the Innkeeper a hard time (who ME?) about not handing us a milk when we registered as every other hotel has done; but it is already in our fridge! LOL Along with four slices of bread and vegemite and plum jam ( made Shari quite happy). What service!

The innkeepers are very nice; After we settled in our room, I chatted with them for a while which was fun. They gave me directions to walk to the local grocery store which I did while Shari commenced her studying. It was nice to get out and take a nice walk after all the car riding these past few days. Plus the weather was clearer here. Not cold. No rain. NO WIND. I love walking around the grocery store. I found the Kangaroo meat section this evening. Ewww!!! I wonder how many people really buy that at the market. Poor little roo’s. I had a fun walk; it was great to get out and stretch too. I like the town of Albury. Very nice!

Unfortunately the weather has not been quite favorable during my visit here. However, we obviously have no control over the weather so we’re not going to lose any sleep over it. Shari’s Mum so sweet as she is upset the weather was not better for me. Trust me – I am use to it! LOL

Ok, another calm night for us as we are dining in our “family room” with frozen dinners from the local Woolworths grocery store. I also bought a block of Tasty Cheese; but it doesn’t seem quite as sharp as what we had at Shari’s house. It was still good though. We will continue our drive tomorrow ….. Thanks once again to Shari for all the driving and tour guiding!!

NO WORRIES!

Posted by cyntiast 02:57 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Apollo Bay to Warrnambool – Victoria

Cold, cold, windy, cold, rainy, cold, windy, rainy.. did I mention it was cold?

rain 10 °C

We spent the night in Coastal Motel in Apollo Bay of the Great Ocean Road. It was a nice room and the innkeeper was quite nice when we checked in. The only issue was the expense of the internet. They wanted to charge $25 per computer for unlimited access. We thought that was a bit steep; so we worked smarter and did a lot of our typing, etc., before we logged into the internet and only used 1 and 2 hour accesses which was cheaper.

It rained overnight and is cloudy this morning. Took a walk on the beach and chatted with a man that had on a USA shirt. He lives near Shari and was also vacationing down here – his shirt was from one of his visits to the states. He recommended a few travel points and was nice to chat with. He said there was a bad accident on the GOR last evening after we had passed thru and they had diverted them down these dirt treks; so we were very luck. The GOR is a very windy, hilly road and the driver must pay clear attention – they are not really able to sight see safely. We ate breakfast in our room and then left for the next excursion down the GOR.

The GOR at this juncture takes you inland up and down “hills” – curvy – Shari was having fun Zoom Zooming along the roads. It seems odd that the ocean road for significant portions takes you a distance away from the ocean. LOL. A lot of agricultural area during this part of our drive.

Our first stop took us to Castle Cove when we got back to the water portion of GOR. Yet another spectacular view of the Bass Strait and the cliffs along the water. We saw some bicyclists in the area that were riding the GOR. The weather was falling rapidly with more chill and dampness. The bikers said they just put on a rain coat and continue their journey. Biking looked like fun, but they are dealing with roads with no shoulders, windy roads, hilly terrain, etc.

We continued up GOR and then detoured past Lavers Hill to the Otway Fly Tree Top walk. This is a paid privately owned activity where you walk thru a rain forest and up on a walkway that puts you in the treetops. The weather unfortunately was getting colder and starting to spit rain. We did the walkway which was interesting; but unfortunately we did not see much wildlife. They were smart and staying in the dry and warm. This whole idea of building a stand / walkway up in the tree tops is quite novel; I wonder if something like this exists back in the states.

http://www.otwayfly.com/

After Otway Fly we tried to go to see Triplet Falls; but it was over an hour hike to get to the falls and we really didn’t have that luxury.

http://www.visitvictoria.com/displayobject.cfm/objectid.000C90FC-6970-1A62-88CD80C476A90318/

We did the return trip back to Lavers Hill and continued down B100 Great Ocean Road (GOR) – again we are in the country area. Large sprawling agricultural areas with sheep and cattle. Feels very remote. One interesting feature I’ve noticed in the rural is the mail boxes. They are absolutely HUGE. Typically they are huge metal containers or empty metal milk containers hung to service as a depository for mail. I would love to know more about these mailboxes. Was only able to capture picture of one; please refer to the pics.

We stopped to enjoy the views in Princetown – again the Ocean.

The next stops include Gibson Steps and the infamous “The Twelve Apostles” located in the Port Campbell National Park. The weather was rapidly turning colder and windy. We parked at “The Twelve Apostles” visitor parking and walked under the GOR to the nicely built viewing areas. It was so cold and windy that it did distract from the beauty that surrounded us. The rain started as well which made things more miserable. We were tough and tolerated the elements to get some photos. Once you walk the opposite direction from the surf and “Twelve Apostles” there is farmland with cattle grazing; a totally different demographic view of the area just a 180 degree turn away. The vegetation on the walkway was very nice.

Next stop was the Loch Ard Gorge. The weather had lifted a bit here and was more tolerable. We walked down steps to the bottom of the Gorge. I thought it was the perfect place to get a pic with the Frederick Magazine so I started to run up the stairs to grab it out of the car. At that point the weather changed and the rain started to pour. So I had to abandon that idea – which bummed me out. It would have been the perfect pic for the Frederick Magazine.
Continuing down the road, the next stop was the Razorback view. There were structures in the Bass Strait named the Razorback, and salt and pepper, and the Three Sisters. As with all the other stops – it was very breath taking. We continued to battle the weather elements which was unfortunate.

Next was the London Bridge Arch view… Bay of Martyrs, Bay of Islands.. there are so many stops they start running into each other….. It is all gorgeous and spectacular even in the awful bad weather. You just have to experience it to understand.

The GOR is an absolute must I believe for folks wanting to know what they should include in a trip to Australia. This is especially true for the outdoorsy type people. We did the GOR in two days basically from start, but this can be extended easily if you take the time to do the bushwalks and extended touring.

We have ended our day by traveling all the way to the town of Warramboll, Victoria – the end of the GOR. We’re staying at a nice accommodation locally owned called Atwood Motor Inn. The Innkeeper recommended we dine at the Victoria Pub (hotel). We took her advice and we were not disappointed. A short walk from our room; we got to the pub before there was any crowd. They hand you a menu and ask you to order at the counter and then they deliver the food to your table. The menu was large and the decision difficult; I wanted soup after such a chilly day plus to try some of the other food including the “salad garnish” bar they were offering with entrees. I chose the soup chicken and vegetable and the small portion of blue grenadier, chips, and salad offering. I passed on the chips (French fries – I think I’ve had too many already on this trip). The soup bowl was absolutely HUGE. Shari had told me the food portions in Australia were small, but this soup bowl size was quite contradictory. It was a shallow bowl, but huge nonetheless. It was also absolutely delicious. My fish dish was delicious as well. The salad garnish bar had hot vegetables such as green beans, corn, sweet potatoes (mashed), scalloped potatoes, broccoli with some type of red sauce; as well as some cold pasta/potato salads. The meal was one of the best I’ve had here so far. I made sure to compliment the chef and I think he was pleased.

We went back to our rooms very happy to have unlimited internet service for the evening. How did we survive before the internet and cell phones??? I really don’t know! LOL! We’re watching a funny Aussie show called “newsweek” that reminds me a lot of “What’s your Line” with Drew Carey. There is still a lot of talk about that Hey Hey show and Harry Connick reaction. The next show on TV is called “Little Britain” – quite comical and spoofs Americans. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/littlebritain/)

My fingers feel swollen this evening; maybe from too much salt consuming or too much cold or too much inactivity even though we did walk trails today. Go figure. It’s all good. The trip really is going well I believe; I am sure Shari is exhausted by doing all the driving, but I really do appreciate. She really did enjoy driving the GOR with the hills and curves; it was challenging.

Tomorrow is a travel day as we work our way back up to Canberra to pick up the girls and then eventually make our way back to Blue Haven to Shari’s house.

Posted by cyntiast 04:17 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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