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Time to Meet Old Friends

Written on: Wednesday January 31st, 2007

A journal entry from: The Winter of 2006/2007

From the Prom we headed inland and the countryside began to change, it became much greener and more undulating a pretty drive to Lakes Entrance where we would spend two nights. IAs we were staying two nights Roger decided to put up the awning we'd rented for $100.  Well what a farce that was, it barely covered the entrance to the van and was basically a tarpaulin with some ropes, poles and pegs.  On the second night he had to get up at 3 am to take it down as the wind was blowing so hard.  We'd also rented chairs which were $12 each rental and saw some for less than that to buy in KMart. 

We?d been in touch with Margaret Curran who lived two doors from us in our first house in England, Margaret and her husband Adrian and their two boys emigrated to Australia a year before we left for Canada and we haven?t seen each other since but have kept in touch each Christmas. Margaret and Adrian now live in Merimbula in New South Wales and our plan was to visit them there but as it was the Australia Day weekend they were going to Melbourne to visit their son. However they were passing through Lake Entrance and we arranged to meet for lunch there. Lakes Entrance is a popular holiday spot for Melbourners, it?s about a four hour drive and the weather is a bit more predictable than the Melbourne weather.   We stayed at a campground just across the road from the Lagoon which had a bridge leading to the surf beach.   Once we set up camp we walked over to the beach and settled down with a book for a couple of hours. It was that night that we saw the full comet for the first time. The next day we had a long walk around Lake Entrance and then met up with Margaret and Adrian at the local McDonalds. It was great to see them and catch up on years gone by we had a couple of hours with them before they had to hit the road for another four hour drive to Melbourne. That night we were able to take a two minute stroll from our campground to watch the Australia Day fireworks.  

The next day we drove along the coast to Margaret and Adrian?s Merimbula it?s a very pretty place, an inlet, unfortunately it was very windy, we had a walk around but got blown around a bit.   As it was the long weekend I?d prebooked the campsite and had been given a special deal of $38, I was told the site was usually $65 for that night ? definitely not worth that much.    Long weekend almost over and children heading back to school after their summer holidays we were heading up to Jervis Bay but stopped at  various points along the way.  When we're travelling one of the questions I ask myself is "could I live here", cities are a definite "no"  and most places don't quite match up to our life in Penticton but occassionally one will feel right.  One of these was Gerringong, it was a quiet place with a super beach and the surrounding countryside was beautifully green.  Another spot along the same coastline was Kiama which also had a nice quiet town feel to it.  Their boast was a blowhole which were able to watch.  Apparently the "blow" can reach up to 60 metres but while we were watching it probably only reached  20 metres, still impressive though. 

We expected the RV sites to get cheaper now but at Huskisson in Jervis Bay the RV site was $40!!   It was OK but we still hadn?t stayed at a campsite which was as good a value as the first one in Adelaide. Jervis Bay is a popular holiday area though, again very pretty.   We spent an hour on the beach but it was too windy and we got sandblasted so as we were out of supplies we took a walk into town and were horrified to find that most places were closed ? this is the middle of the summer in a holiday resort!!   We ended up finding a small store that was just about to close so we grabbed some frozen meat pies and some peas and warmed them up in the microwave.   Most campsites either have a swipe card or keys for the showers and laundry and you usually have to pay a deposit to make sure you take them back.   The Huskisson RV site was the most expensive deposit at $20, so imagine our dismay the next morning when we discovered that the swipe card which we?d placed on the open ashtray had slipped in behind the console and we couldn?t even see it. Twenty minutes later, we?d just about dismantled the ashtray and surrounds and retrieved the card plus $3.20, some gum and old receipts which other people had lost.  Great!!,  we were already below budget for the day.  

That morning we made an attempt to drive close to the coastline but although the map showed the road as running along the coast, there was always dunes or bushes so we couldn?t see the water. Just south of Sydney the map showed another road running close to the coast, based on past experiences we almost gave it a miss but we?re glad we didn?t, this was the most fantastic piece of coastline we?d seen so far. We climbed to a point with a super view and there were hang-gliders taking off from the point.  

Now it was time to tackle Sydney, we?d already seen Sydney centre in 1999 so we were going to concentrate on the northern end and decided to head for Manly which is the nearest northern beach. Going through Sydney was a bit traumatic as there are bridges and tunnels and everyone knew where they were going except us. However we made it and arrived safely in Manly only to discover there were no campsites so we had to drive a bit further out to Narrambeen. This campsite was even more expensive $45 a night but it did have a beach within walking distance and once again was on an estuary. Had another go at sunbathing/reading on the beach but gave up again as the wind was blowing so hard.   

Friends of ours from South Cave where we lived in England were visiting their son in Sydney so I gave them a call and we arranged to meet up the next day. Chris and Dave have been to Sydney a number of times so know the area quite well and were our tour guides for the day taking us to the northern beaches in their son, Andrew?s, car. We visited Manly Head, Palm Beach, Whale Beach, and Avalon Beach. Had a great walk along Palm Beach and then crossed over a headland and walked back along the estuary then stopped for lunch. It was smashing to catch up with Chris and Dave who are just the same as we remembered them.