Port Macquarrie

Trip Start Jan 28, 2008
Trip End May 27, 2008

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Where I stayed
Mercure Hotel

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Is it March 8th already?

Not that I've forgotton you foks out there. By the way who is out there? I note there's been a lot of hits on the blog but I don't know who it is. I've got some e-mails from Rollie and Cindy and a couple from the kids and my sis. Who else is out there? We'd love to here from you.

After changing rooms in Manly (because there was no room for them in the inn) we took off to Sydney on the Jet Boat because the ferry wasn't working. We saw one in the middle of the harbour, glad we weren't stranded on it.

After a stroll around the ferry docks and the famous Opera House we visited the Sydney Botanic Gardens (lots of exotic trees, some flowers and hundreds of flying sqirrels (which are really big bats). There's a debate on what to do with them as there are so many clinging to some trees that their nails chew off the bark and eventually kill the trees which is not good news for a Botanic Garden. On the other side the Save the Bats proponents say that man has taken away their natural habitat so it's only fair that they roost in the gardens. Afterwards we settled into a delightful lunch at the harbourside. Seems like we're always eating doesn't it. It's not true. We often drink.

We took the 2 hour On/Off Tour bus of the Sights of Sydney then parted company. Cheryl took a separate bus tour to the famous Bondi Beach and million dollar homes whilst I went to the Acquarium. Cheryl saw the surfers while I saw their nemesis...really huge sharks, as well a manta rays Groupers and lots of cora reef fish. The sharks were at least 10 feet long and really need an orthodontist. Teeth everywhere in all directions. I wouldn't want to be attacked by one of those. The rays were at least 6 feet wide. The platypus was hiding.

We caught the ferry back to Manly and got photos of the Opera House from the water with the sun gleaming off the water.

We were warned to wait until after rush hour and found our way north to Port MacQuarrie. At the advice of the Info Centre we booked into a new hotel with a special rate. We're glad we did. We got a lovely room at the Mercure Hotel with a view in the distance of the river bay, the headlands and the Pacific Ocean. A walk along the boardwalk yielded a view of a pod of dolphins playing at the gap and a close view of the surfers ignoring the dangerous current warning. While we were checking out the view from the rooftop we met the owner of the hotel, Grant, who invited us for free cocktails in the lounge. We had a great discusion with the General Manager and our fellow guests and then a scrumptious dinner. By the way ALL of the staff at the hotel were very friendly, and helpful. Probably the best staff that we've encountered on our trip so far. If you're ever in Port Macquarrie this would be the place to stay. The staff convinced us that there is much to see and we agreed to stay a second day.

Mar. 6th- A bit of aa sleep in then we set out just out of town to the Billibong Wildlife Centre. We arrived just in time (only twice a day) for the Koala Presentation. The koalas, who spend up to 22 hours a day sleeping in the trees, awaken in time for the show. The keeper brought out Casey, the new reigning stud with 5 females carrying his babies. Casey seemed to enjoy the attention alowing all 25 or so of us to stroke, pat and photograph him. He felt a little like a deer a little bit wirey but not rough.

We walked through the rest of the wildlife centre and saw spider monkeys (not native to Australia) emus, cassarowarys, parrots and lots of beautiful birds and crocodies and snakes. Of course we saw kangaroos and wallabies even white ones. We even got to feed them but dropped the food when the emu threatened to take our hand off along with the food. A thoroughly enjoyable visit.

On the way back we dropped into a local vineyard (I wonder how many hundreds of vineyards, thousands maybe, there are in Australia). Another delightful lunch al fresco with a summer rose to top off a thai salad.

Back at the hotel we took time to soak up a bit of sun (hadn't stopped for that since Roratonga) and a swim and turned in early for an early start to continue north the next day.

Friday March 7th- one week left in OZ and so much more to see. Because we spent an extra day in Port Macquarrie we drove further, another 500 km, to Tweeds Head near a place called Surfers Paradise. I can picture a motel or disco called Surfers Paradice but that's the real name of a town. Dinner at the RSC which stands for Returned Service Club which is like a Legion. It's as big as the RA in Ottawa and makes lots of money, not mine at the slot machines, off-track betting, and poker tabes. We had an all right meal at the smorgasborg )sp?) there and an interesting talk with fellow travellers at the hotel.
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