Aus Update 33 - Morissett to Wauchope

<Paula>  19-Mar-2007 to 25-Mar.  We have headed north meandering our way along the coast.  There is just beautiful beach after beautiful beach, with a few amazing very large lakes thrown in.  The first place we stayed was in Myal National Park, Korsmans Landing campsite.  It is situated on the inland side of the lake and we were amazed at the abundance of wildlife.  We were first greeted by some large grey kangaroos grazing at the campsite.  Next came a huge goanna that decided to check out all the campsites and when he saw us he just sat and watched for ages before wandering off into the bush.  After dark we were greeted by some bright eyed bushy tailed posums playing in the tree next to us, then along came an owl, who sat on the branch nearest and watched us for the longest time.  I guess all the locals were coming out to see the side show that had come to town.  These pictures are of the lake that was about 20m from our campsite.

 A couple of things of interest that we stopped to look at were firstly the Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse (where I saw my dream house).  The lighthouse was interesting but even more interesting was the amazing lighthouse keepers house and the incredible view it had.  The lighthouse was built in 1875 to aleviate the continual shipwrecks along the coastline. It went automated in 1997, which I thought was quite late.  It is one of very few lighthouses that has an external staircase up to the light.  Apparently it's orginal light was some amazing feat of engineering technology, but I was distracted with the house and it's incredible view. Some pictures must now be in order, it was hard to fit the best of the house and the view in the same picture but I am sure you will get the idea.

Another place we visited in this Great Lakes area was a place at Pacific Palms township called Green Cathedral.  We weren't quite sure what to expect but is was a church sanctuary in among the palm trees.  Very well kept area the pathways were swept neatly, they meet every Sunday at 10am.  A  congregation has been meeting here since the 1920's.  As you sit in the pews you have a beautiful view of the lake behind the speaker, it reminded me alittle of the stone chapel in the South Island (NZ) that looks out over a lake with Mt Cook in the background.  We can't remember the name of the place, if you have been there you will know what I am talking about, it is the one with the statue of the dog.  Anyway back to Pacific Palms, here are some photos.

We then moved onto Forster, like most towns on the coast a great holiday spot with lots of cafes, galleries and holiday accomodation.  We stayed in the council caravan park on the beach.  On the west coast and in South Australia in coastal towns we would often see caged swimming areas around or off a jetty so people could swim safely, although there were still plenty of warnings.  Here in Forster we saw the first of many more sophisticated versions of that, a tidal swiming pool on the beach. A heaps better idea.

We stayed in Crowdy Bay National Park at Kylie's Beach, not so many of the ground animals but plenty of the feathered varieties.  They were really cool the way they didn't make much noise at dawn but rather chattered all day.  It was really nice to listen to.  Kylie was an author who married a recluse farmer that farmed Diamond Head, behind Kylies Beach.  He built her a little hut that she could come and stay in to write, you can walk to it and camp overnight in it if you wish.

<Chris> Boiling to death on the coast, we decided to head inland and try our luck. We were heading for another national park called "Tapin Tops" and spent an amusing/frustrating day gettting there. We plugged the place into the navigator, but were frustrated on several occasions by roads that turned out to be private property, a bridge that was currently being replaced (no detour, just shut the road). We had tried just about every road out of a little place called Hannam Vale before we stopped to sit outside the general store there and eat our lunch. We chatted with a friendly local farmer, who had never heard of the place we were trying to get to. Talk about sheltered we thought, it's somewhere within 50km's of here - but it did turn out he had been to NZ.

"Tapin Tops" turned out to be a lovely spot. Totally deserted, and poorly signposted (we weren't sure if we'd found the appropriate camping area even once we'd got there). Way up high in the hills (mountains probably, >1000m) it was a lot cooler and we enjoyed a good nights sleep.

We left "Tapin Tops" on Friday morning continuing the tourist drive "8" that we had eventually joined yesterday afternoon. It took us past the Ellenborough Falls, which were a single drop of close on 200m, pretty impressive, and I'm sure when there's a greater volume of water it's even more amazing.

In the afternoon we arrived in Port Macquarie where we planned to catch up with our friends Nigel & Prem the next day. After numerous games of phone tag, we did eventually manage to get in touch with them and planned to meet at church the following day. We were absolutely amazed to see their children Skyler & Share who had been like 4 & 2 when they left Auckland. Prem brought a picnic and we went out to the  coast after church. For some reason, we seem to keep forgetting to take the camera and the only photo I have of them was taken on my phone, who's screen I couldn't see very well in the bright sun. What I'm building up to is, sorry guys for the not so well composed photo, but I'm sure lots of folks are wondering what you're all looking like...

On Saturday night we went and stayed at Nigel & Prem's place. It's a fair hike out into the countryside, but a lovely spot to live. Remember what I was saying about forgetting to have the camera with us? Well, sorry, no photos of their awesome place that Nigel has built. We did remember however to take a shot of the 4wd service centre that he has setup in Wauchope. Anyone recognise a colour theme?

And that was it for another week. Next week our trip through the "Waterfall Way" to Byron Bay and beyond...