Twitching? Me? No it was a spasm.

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Broke Rest Area, Broke

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Apparently Andrew was awake at 4.45am absolutely desperate for the loo and on 'Roo Alert'. We’ve found that on this trip we have both become really obsessed with nature.  It was always going to be about the nature – I had it drilled in to me from a very early age, my dad would take us on 15 mile walks looking at bees and birds and all kinds of other stuff, and there was always a nature programme on the TV.  Andrew of course had the ‘Animal Kingdom’ in the corner of the garden so we had both embarked on the trip not only with a sense of adventure but eager to see as much nature as we could.  It has to be said that Australia has far from disappointed us on that score.  We might even be teetering on the edge of part time Naturalism, though Andrew must have gotten confused with Naturism when we went to collect the van.

I got up at 6am all lovely and cosy wrapped up in the new duvet.  We had a peak through the curtains to see kangaroos everywhere, even some with tiny joeys hanging out of their pouches!  We quickly got up and took loads of pictures up close before we walked down to the beach for an early morning stroll.  Although it wasn’t raining it was still overcast so we decided not to stick around as we had talked about the night before, it would have been a wonderful place to have a few days on the beach in decent weather.   So we headed off down the gravel road that seemed to take us an age it turned out we were lost in the National Park following km upon km of gravel tracks (Andrew edit: this possibly isn’t true as we cannot take our van on gravel tracks!!!).

So we were travelling in the direction of Newcastle, the famous steel town further down the coast, towards our POI of the day, Blackbutt Reserve, home to Wombats, Koalas, Emus, Kangaroos, Snakes and birds, all for our complimentary viewing pleasure.  The weather was shaping up to be a scorcher which made the trip even more enjoyable considering the last few days.  I have to admit that we had a really, really good time.  The wildlife was fantastic and we were both mesmerised by some of the animals, instead of the other way round we were whipping kids in to a frenzy by getting to a enclosure and announcing "Wow" at the top of our voices to which kids would run over to see what all the fuss was about.  I even met some of the Sisterhood there who clearly shared my passion, check out that SLR!  We spent about an hour wandering around and I would definately recommend the place to anyone passing through.  No doubt if you pass through much of Australia you will see most of the animals here but to see them up close for nothing is a real treat.

From here we travelled in land via Maitland and Branxton through some of the most beautiful scenery to Singleton one of the main towns amidst Wine Country!  Well you didn’t ever expect us to miss this did you?  The opportunity for a real foodie extravaganza!  We have spent enough weekends in the company of our two main foodie mates, Damien and Sharon to know that if we didn’t sample the local fare that they would never speak to us again.  So we arrived in Singleton and made for the Tourist Information to see if we could book on a tour for the following day as we had enquired a few days ago but with lack of internet we couldn’t get access to any numbers.  Still we took the ladies advice in the TI and phoned James.  Unfortunately he wasn’t running another tour until Friday – 3 days off so we were left with no other feasible option than to do it ourselves with myself as the designated driver – now there’s a surprise.

We arrived at our lovely free campsite at Broke, slap bang in the middle of winery country and set up our stall.  We had a bit of a read and I blogged for a while then we decided to have a short drive around to get our bearings for the next day.  We were simply amazed by the amount of wineries and gourmet food companies in the region and apparently the Hunter Valley only constitutes 1% of all wine production in Australia.  We simply couldn’t wait for tomorrow it was a foodies dream.  We got back to the camp site and settled in for the night I cooked a great dinner of rump steak with potato salad which was quite delicious by all accounts especially with a few glasses of red.  Andrew hit the import strength gin shortly after and I went to bed with my book, strangely I had to heave him in to the van a couple of hours later he was so drunk, it wasn’t pretty.  Funny that only the other day he was taking the mick out of someone who had one gin and tonic and had to go to bed.  Note to ourselves: buy taller glasses and add more tonic.  Or just don’t buy import strength anything, ever again!
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