Pretty Port

Trip Start Oct 03, 2011
Trip End Dec 25, 2011

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What I did
The koala hospital
Lots of lovely beaches
Sea Houses Rainforest

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Sunday, December 11, 2011

After an amusing Greyhound journey spent listening to our driver curse every other road user, we're dropped off in the centre of Port Macquarie, and advised to bide our time as our hostel would be sending a bus for us. Excellent! 5 minutes later and we're outside the door of our very nice accommodation, complete with well equipped kitchen, free internet, cheap laundry and a swimming pool. Unfortunately, by the time we'd sorted out laundry and a food shop, it had started raining, so we didn't benefit from the swimming pool but instead made the most of the free games room and films - can't beat a bit of Colin Firth in the King's Speech!

The next day was a bit overcast, but we set out on a coastal walk, taking in Town Beach, and watching some surfing and trying to figure out what is classed as good surfing, other than just not falling over too much. The beaches really are stunning, and we carried on our walk, taking in lots of viewpoints and finding out about Port's history - it was initially set up for convicts who had reoffended and there were lots of good lookout points to stop any boats from landing in case the convicts tried to make an escape onto them.

After lunch gazing out over blue seas, it started to rain so we headed inland to check out the koala hospital - the only hospital in the world that solely caters for koalas. Koalas are mainly in hospital for 3 things; being hit by a car, being attacked by a dog, or suffering from 'wet bottom' which unfortunately is the equivalent of HIV in koalas. There were a variety of long term and short term resident koalas, with one poor animal having no eyes, which seemed a bit strange! However, there was no doubt that they were all very well cared for, with devoted volunteers looking after their every need. It felt strange, having recently been in such poor countries, to hear that the koala hospital needs $200,000 Australian dollars a year to carry on it's good work - an amount that in Cambodia would have changed hundreds of lives. But, change of country, change of perspective, we can't deny the koalas are unbelievably cute and cuddly, even if - horrors - we learn they aren't actually bears!

It starts throwing it down again, so we beat a hasty retreat to the hostel, where making the most of the free games Amy learns the finer points of Air Hockey, and lets Michael win at pool.

The next day has us up bright and early, catching the bus down to the Sea Acres Rainforest which has a boardwalk winding it's way through the trees at a variety of heights. As we're some of the first people there, we're given a free guide which is pretty cool. We learn all sorts about trees which we promptly forget, but the most notable is the strangler fig, a tree that starts as a seed pooped out by a bird onto another tree, which then drops roots down to the ground, stretches up to the light, and eventually wraps itself so strongly round the original tree that it kills it, leaving a complex mix of holes and branches crossing and re-crossing over each other. What a horrible tree!

We take another walk up the coast, and establish yet again that Australia is a very beautiful country with a heck of a lot of beaches. We make our way to the bus stop as we have - cleverly we think - arranged for our hostel to drop our bags off before we're due to catch the Greyhound on to Brisbane. A nail biting 20 minutes later, the bags show up 5 minutes after the bus, as everyone is still queuing to get on - no worries!!

Next stop? Byron Bay.

Lots of love,

Amy & Michael xxx
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