Saturday, 19 May 2012

Seal Rocks

We continued down the coast and went to a place called Diamond Head, which was supposed to be good for surfing. There wasn't much going on and the surf was all messy and rubbish so we carried on. We went to Forster-Tuncurry, which is the two towns of Forster and Tuncurry joined together by a big fat concrete bridge. This was another of those places with wonderfully designed tourist magazines telling you it's the best place in the world, but it was just another town and we weren't persuaded to stay. Gosh, we're becoming place snobs. What if we're just impossible to please now? We were thinking maybe we should just go straight to Sydney. I told Zappa that at some point I had decided I wanted to go to Seal Rocks. I could no longer remember the reason, and there was no mention of it in our remaining tourist propaganda, but I just knew I wanted to go there. So off we went.

On the way we unexpectedly started skirting round the Great Lakes (we were previously wondering where they were!) and they were beautiful! So peaceful, and in the late afternoon light they just looked gorgeous. I didn't take any pictures as we were moving but in case you're desperate to see it, here's someone else's photo:

I was getting tired and the light was going, it was clear we had to stay somewhere as we probably didn't have enough time to get back to Sydney at a reasonable hour. We agreed we'd come back and stay in the Lakes if Seal Rocks was rubbish.

We found the road that led to Seal Rocks with my expert map-reading, which turned out to be a track with the biggest potholes we'd seen so far. We didn't hold out much hope for it being amazing, let alone have anywhere we could stay. I started to feel guilty about insisting we come all this way to this random place for no remembered reason. But when we got there, it was incredible.

Perfect, peeling waves - the best surf I've ever seen - in the most beautiful setting everrr. And then - look right - there's a campsite!

 The second bay

 Zappa got straight on a sunset surf, and absolutely stunned me with what he can do now. He always talks the surfing talk but when I come to watch he just stands there - until today. He was doing proper turns and everything! I was so proud of him!

 Pelicans provide patient company for the fishermen

I am SO in love with this place, it's already my favourite place in Australia so far. You know how sometimes you just know something is just right?

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Crowdy Head

On of the places on our list to go to was Crowdy Bay National Park, as it featured in a touristy magazine and looked amazing. I'd already looked up the campsite we'd be staying in and was looking forward to it.
In Australia, some places have been entirely taken over by old people. Entire towns. They are eerie places. Everything is immaculate. There is at least one pharmacy on every street. The only animals around are little hairy rats on leads. All socks are blindly white and are pulled up to mid-calf. There is ALWAYS a bowls club, usually with tons of people playing. There are newly built, toy-town style 'shopping villages' with carefully replanted shrubs, where tumbleweeds go to get their sardines. Harrington, where the campsite was, was one of these places.

The, er, church, at Harrington's deserted shopping village.

We drove on through to Crowdy Head and found a seafood wholesaler, a lighthouse and a nice little surf break, nothing inspiring enough to stay for more than a day, but we went up to the lighthouse and Zappa gave the break a go.

I saw a cookie monster in one of those claw machines and wanted it and Zappa won it for me! That's proper boyfriend stuff that is. However he came wearing a hideous basketball outfit so I am making him a jumper. This and watching some of Zap's wipeouts kept me amused.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Port Macquarie

We've got ourselves another cabin, this time we're in Port Macquarie. Our place is just a few minutes walk from Lighthouse Beach, which I LOVE.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

South West Rocks and the Doctor Who Loo

Continuing our stroll south, we have a couple of places we wanted to go, either because they had been recommended or we’d collected tourist information magazines about them, making them look amazing. South West Rocks had been recommended to us as the most beautiful place in Australia by a friend, so we were keen to get over there. When we got there, it was like a tiny Newquay without the surf. A billion places selling chips and ice cream, Holiday Inn style motel/hotel things, a full caravan park next to the beach, fat pink tourists everywhere…the beach was perfectly pleasant, but…maybe we’d got the wrong part of it, I don’t know. The most exciting part of it was when I visited a public loo, which was a small white box with a rectangle that looked like a door but there were no handles. I peered at it suspiciously at it and walked round it restlessly. An old couple walked past looking amused. ‘What do you suppose I do?!’ I asked them desperately – I was desperate.

‘Oh, I think you press that button,’ the man said, pointing at a brushed steel panel with subtle raised circles on it. The door slid open slowly. ‘Blimey. It’s like something off Doctor Who,’ I said. They chuckled and carried on.

Once in the loo pod I had to work out how to close the door. I concentrated and located a DOOR CLOSE button. It didn’t work. I pressed it a few times, nope. Desperate, I pressed the DOOR OPEN button, and the door closed. Now, did the door close because it’s just a bit slow, and might open at any second because it got round to acknowledging the OPEN button? I waited, then couldn’t wait any longer and took my chances. It stayed closed. I had to find the FLUSH button and then had to hold my hands under the automatic soap, water and air dispensers, which refused to give me soap or air. I pressed the DOOR OPEN button again and ran out before it could make me jump over any more hurdles like completing a customer satisfaction questionnaire about it.

When you’re desperate for a pee and you’re in holiday mode, full and drowsy after a large portion of chips and ice cream, you don’t approach a loo with the mentality of someone about to undertake a maths test. And anyway, what is wrong with a door handle and a sliding lock? A mechanical flush, pressing the soap dispenser? A flush button and a broken soap machine is hardly more hygienic. I just thought it was mad. All that electricity and electronicickery for the same thing made much more annoying. Buy the kids a ping pong table instead.
Blossom's token tourist picture at South West Rocks

Saturday, 5 May 2012


 We’ve said goodbye to Bellingen and the wonderful people in it, and started to make our way slowly and relaxingly south. We’re now in a place called Crescent Head, well known for its surf break, a lovely right hand point break perfect for longboarding.

We’ve been having warm, sunny days and chilly nights so we’ve treated ourselves to this cute little cabin:

We LOVE it. It’s all woody inside like a little log cabin, and it’s got everything, including a heater! Ahhhh, I am in heaven. Zappa gets up at dawn and checks the surf from the verandah, I have a lie in. After a leisurely breakfast, Zappa goes for another surf, I read a book. And so the day goes on. It feels proper holidayish.

We met a lovely Canadian called Colin who told us of his travels and sang us sea shanties. He worked at a bar in King’s Cross in Sydney for a while, and once a week they held Trannie bingo, a very popular night, which sounded very bitchy and exciting and I immediately decided I wanted to go. It's on the to-do list.

Friday, 4 May 2012

In Search of England

I've been downloading Radio 4 podcasts.

Zappa bought me my first box of teabags in 6 months and I told him it was the best present ever.

I wanted to buy the vintage Union Jack draped over the back of this sofa.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Swamp Hen

I went and fed some of Zappa’s bread to the swamp hens. I feel I have made good friends for life but also, I learnt some interesting swamp hen facts:

Despite moving quite like chickens only more slowly, they fly really well.

Even though they could just eat the floating bread like ducks, they catch it in their beaks and use their feet to eat it with. Like a knife and fork – yes you could just stick your face in your plate, but no, you use your knife and fork to eat it with.

They talk in Erdu.