Published: March 15th 2006March 11th 2006
On the weekend of March 4-5, we took off up the coast for another exchange teacher gathering. This time we were travelling 3.5 hours north to Port Macquarie. We were lucky enough to be able to take Friday off school for the trip up the coast, but the weather didn't cooperate and it was really quite a gloomy, dreary drive all the way.
We stopped at a fairly secluded site called Seal Rocks. It was great to get out of the car and just hear the waves crashing on the beach. No other sounds... just water, incredibly powerful water. We didn't see any seals and as soon as the heaven's opened up we jumped back in the car.
Another scenic drive took us off the main highway and through Forester (pronounced 'Foster') and several small sea-side towns. Once again, the weather wasn't very conducive to sight-seeing :(
After arriving and settling ourselves into a hotel in Port Macquarie we thought we'd do some shopping... rain gear would probably be a good idea. Like many stores down here, the main mall... on a Friday night... closed at 5:00! We grabbed a quick bite and strolled down to the waterfront
Here they come!
to enjoy the local scenery. Unfortunately we got caught in another downpour and returned to our hotel room absolutely drenched.
On Saturday morning, we met up with all the other exchangees at Town Beach. We were taken on a short tour of some key areas of town, all travelling in a long convoy following the car with the Australian flag out the window! We saw a small lighthouse, a koala hospital and sanctuary (the only one in the world), and a church built by convicts. Tom and I headed out on our own for an afternoon walk in a rainforest centre and then tried again to find some rain gear... no luck. I don't think there's such a thing as a raincoat here! In the evening, we gathered at The Old Butter Factory - a small hall where they provided us with dinner and we had fun watching everyone learn to bushdance.
On Sunday, we met up with everyone again at the Billabong Wildlife Park. It was smaller than our Reptile Park, but we were able to get up close and personal with the Koalas. What soft fur! Tourists are no longer allowed to hold Koalas here, but
we were allowed to pet one of the older ones. Most of the Koalas were sleeping (20 hours each day) - and some of them had fallen asleep in the most uncomfortable positions!
Since we actually had to teach on Monday, we headed home early in the afternoon. A quick drive down Highway 1 right back 'home'. It was another good weekend. It's still great to get together with other exchange teachers and share experiences. We're definitely not alone in our adapting to the new enviornment and all the change it brings.
There are more photos below