Monday 12 January 2009 – I had breakfast in a nice little park in Yea. It was very interesting as there was a large wetlands area with walking tracks (Darryl went to check it out while I ate), but also for the display on plant fossils in the area, and a footpath which was a geological timeline.
We were heading up to Mt Buller, and stopped on the way at a little creek-side picnic area. The March flies were relentless, and I am sure we killed at least 30, but still they came! Darryl was thrilled to find plums and apples growing wild. Although the fruit was very small, it was sweet and juicy, and he picked all the ripe ones he could find. The Mt Buller alpine village amazed us, with huge apartment blocks (quite a few for sale), very expensive houses, and a lot of off-season maintenance and new work being carried out. We were able to walk to the 1805m summit, which had fantastic views, as well as a fire lookout station. Lake Buffalo was a busy spot with boaties and skiing. We were looking for a camp-spot and were quite disappointed that it wasn’t allowed, so ended up in a pretty, shady picnic area at Rose River.
Tuesday 13 January 2009 – I was hoping to go to the top of Mt Buffalo, but the entry fee just for a look was not worth it, so we had to just admire it from a distance. Over the next mountain range was an excellent lookout of the 1987m Mt Bogong. This was on the road up to the alpine village of Falls Creek, which was very uninteresting, especially made bleak by all the huge dead trees. They had been killed in fires some years ago, so many, in fact, that the dead black bark has fallen off, and what remains is silvery white 'skeletons'...it was very eerie. We turned around and headed back down the highway, stopping on the way for a short walk in to Fainter Falls – a pretty little diversion. Back down out of the highlands we started to experience the 40oC heatwave which was hitting Victoria, and after all the cold we had been experiencing, his was a big shock to the system.
We made it as far as Gundagai NSW, and chose the riverside caravan park as far from the highway as we could get.
Wednesday 14 January 2009 – We were woken b y huge flocks of white corellas landing in the riverside trees. We headed for Sydney, diverting to Fitzroy Falls National Park for lunch. This as a very commercialised, and busy, spot. We walked through the rainforest walk to the falls, which were not flowing well. Further on, the 'Twins Falls' were both completely dry. On returning to the car, though, we were thrilled to see a huge male Lyrebird scratching in the undergrowth. Although he did not display his tail he was just magnificent. I never thought that they were so big! Our trip into Sydney was by the 'scenic route' as we travelled through Canterbury and Bankstown. We crossed the very attractive Anzac Bridge and Sydney Harbour Bridge, eventually finding our way to meet Donald (a cousin on my Anderson side), and his wife Margaret. I had really been looking forward to this meeting for the 12 months or so since I had found him, and it was fantastic. Donald's resemblance to the Andersons on my side of the family, and their comments about my similarity to one of Donald's aunts made the whole thing fall into place. Donald had some wonderful stories and memorabilia from his branch, but the piece de resistance was a photo of our common ancestor, William Henry Anderson, taken in 1897! I had never seen a photo of him before, so this really made my day. This visit ended all too quickly, so I am looking forward to still catching up in the future we headed out of Sydney on the Pacific Highway, and made it to Darryl’s aunt (on the Walsh side) and uncle, Pat and Don at Lake Macquarie.
Thursday 15 January 2009 – It was lovely to have time to chat to Pat and Don, and Pat made m a really delicious breakfast and fresh fruit salad, and scrumptious scrambled eggs, while Darryl took the opportunity to kayak on Lake Macquarie. Then it was time to hit the highway, and we drove to Sawtell, a little holiday town just south of Coffs Harbour. The heat during the drive had been oppressive and relentless, so it was great to book into a green and shady caravan park. The reason we had opted for this lace (which I had previously never heard of) was that Darryl's cousin Mandy and her family were on holiday there. We had a lovely evening catching up on all the family news, and, once again, it was over far too quickly.
Friday 16 January 2009 – The caravan park was full of birds – we were woken by scrub turkeys running around, but there were also Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos, Ibis, Magpies, Ducks, and native Pigeons. It as a shame to leave such a lovely setting, but we had another long drive ahead of us.
At Tweed Heads I wanted to visit the crematorium to see the resting place of my maternal grandfather Victor Sidney Anderson. His ashes are scattered here and, as an ANZAC, he has a war graves plaque. A navigational misdirection given by me meant that we went down the main street of Coolangatta – not good for Darryl, but very interesting for me to see, all the changes as I hadn't been there since the mid-70's.
It was then travel north and west and we ended up at Spicer's Gap National Park. We both felt a strange sense of relief to be back in Queensland – we talked about this and I think it is partly being back in familiar territory, partly because we had been away so long, and partly because there is always a nagging feeling that elsewhere you might just be inadvertently be breaking some law or breaching some etiquette...
Saturday 17 January 2009 – An early start took us to the Fassifern Valley Lookout, through sub-tropical rainforest, and to views of the volcanic mountains of the area. Bare Rock was particularly striking, but I couldn't get a clear photo. A lot more driving north took us to Cordalba, to visit our friends Anna and Otto. On the way there were clearly storms building up in Goomeri, Ban Ban Springs and Biggenden, and soon after arrival in Cordalba there was plenty of lightening, thunder and heavy rain. It was a lovely evening spent cooling off with Anna and Otto in their immaculate pool, being serenaded by 100s of frogs.
Sunday 18 January 2009 – Darryl had to visit the farm as the new tenants had reported a leaking pipe, so he dropped me at Rhonda and Phil's. On his return we drove to Gladstone to see his parents, Eileen and George, and Kerry, Elizabeth and Anthea also called around to say hello. Anthea is doing really well, she was able to transfer herself from the wheelchair into the car, she recently walked 20m with crutches, and is swimming 30 laps a day! We arrived home around 7.30pm and saw Shane and Marc in the evening.
Woohoo! It is really nice to be home. There won't be any more posts for a while (please let me know if you want to be taken off the list, and apologies for the messages sometimes coming through more than once...I think it was to do with tardy internet connection..)