I’m feeling the need for a recap so here it is, ready or not. We arrived in Australia via Air New Zealand around 6:00 P.M. on Sunday, April 11th and we stayed with Margaret and Bruce Rossiter in Wallacia, New South Wales (NSW) until Saturday morning, April 17th. (We met Margaret and Bruce while camping in New Zealand and they invited us for a stay.) On Saturday, after picking up 4-year old Jade and 2-year old Isaac (their youngest son Darren’s children, mum is Tammy), we then drove a couple of hours north to visit their oldest daughter Bronwyn and her two sons Kym and Sam. When we arrived Sam was playing soccer, so we caught the tail end of his game. Sam is 13 years old and quite a good soccer player not to mention an acrobat on the trampoline and scooter. Kym is 16 years old and has recently received his learner’s permit for driving. He also plays soccer and referees for both boys and girls. On Sunday, Kym made $70 for four and a half hours (3 games) of soccer. I thought that was a great way for a 16 year old to make a bit of spending money. It is definitely better than working in a fast food restaurant!
When we broke out the atlas that evening we had the boys find North America and then showed them where we lived in Paradise, California. We then traced the ten states we rode through on our triple bicycle from July to December last year. (Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Southern Illinois, Kentucky and Virginia) To try to make a connection for them I said, “You know how you have Kentucky Fried Chicken here? Well, Colonel Sanders is the man who founded KFC and he was from Kentucky. Mike and I both actually worked at KFC when we were about your age.” They thought that was pretty interesting. Then we had to reminisce about those lovely brown polyester uniforms we had to wear! Hey, I was able to earn my gas and clothes money so I didn’t mind the poly!
Gregory really enjoyed having kids to hang out with. They kicked the soccer ball, played on the trampoline, played a bit of soccer on the PlayStation (he doesn’t have one of these at home so this was a real treat) and we had pizza for dinner! It was delicious. On Sunday, Gregory borrowed a scooter and we had a walk along Tuggerah Lake just down the street from their home in Kanwall. (This is near the towns of Gosford and The Entrance around two hours north of Sydney. Gregory picked hibiscus and other flowers for Jade and I and we spotted a wide variety of birds including a Kookaburra, Shag, Pelican, ducks and others. We also got our first look at a spider in Australia. It was enormous but Margaret and Sam assured us it was just a “common garden spider” (Golden Orb Spider) and nothing to worry about. When we got back from our walk Bronwyn showed us an Absolute Statewide Pest Management “card” (flyer) from their “termite specialist” with a listing a variety of spiders in the categories of: 1) Deadly and Dangerous, 2) Toxic (Poisonous) ~ Painful Bite, and 3) “Low Risk” Spiders!
During our visit, the whole lot of us had a grand time swimming and boogie boarding at Norah Head (Soldiers Beach). It is an exquisite beach just minutes from their home and we went both Saturday and Sunday afternoons. We love the beach and it won’t be difficult getting used to this every day!
Saturday night was our first night in our camper and we were snug and cozy. Gregory loves having the top bunk all to himself and it is wonderful for Mike and I to be in a bed with linens and a duvet and quilt (compliments of Margaret and Bruce). In the morning we did find quite a bit of condensation dripping from our fiberglass hi-top and learned a lesson about leaving the upper-windows open.
We hesitantly said good-bye to our new friends and drove off on Sunday afternoon to make our way north along the New South Wales (NSW) coast and drove only a short distance up to Swansea Lake. We camped in our first holiday park in Australia and were lucky to camp next to a large group of kids on their last night of a two-week holiday. Monday was “pupil-free” (teacher day) so they were able to extend their weekend one more night. The kids kicked around a soccer ball and they loaned Gregory a bike, which he rode along the shores of Swansea Lake as the sun was setting and putting on an impressive display. Their were numerous pelicans out on the water so this was something new and interesting to see. It was a picture perfect, serene setting.