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Published: November 6th 2007
Riverwood Downs 001
Riverwood Downs premises seen from our cottage
Early rise today as we had to be out of the appartment before 10 am. More difficult to pack our suitcases already after one week. That isn't promising!
We took a taxi to pick up our rental car which turned out to be much more expensive because we decided to buy of the liability of 10000 $. We managed to get out in the traffic and out of Sydney without great difficulty, what a relief!
We took the Pacific Highway towards Newcastle and it took us 2 hrs on a partly scenic drive to Raymond Terrace where we stopped to have lunch and bought groceries for the next couple of days. We fell for the fresh fish in Woolworths. It took us another hour to reach Riverwood Downs where we arrived at 3.45 pm and immediately spotted 2 Kookaburras and 1 dead and 1 living Wallaby
Welcome to the bush land. We cannot use our mobile phones here but sometimes it's possible to get an internet connection in the reception.
It was great weather when we arrived but it soon started to rain and we spent the evening getting settled in our new home for
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Tine sitting on our cottage terrace
the next 4 nights.
Woke up early because of the incredible noise from all the birds and the possums running on the roof. We see parrots, Kookaburras and all kind of unknowns, one that sounds like a sheep.
Nice and sunny weather and you could hardly see or feel that it had been raining most of the nights. Paul started the day with some bird spotting and checked the river for Platypus, there is a family living just at the river bank under our cottage, but they are not easy to see.
We decided to stay at Riverwood Downs to relax and enjoy the surroundings. We walked along the river bank and Karuah river and ended up swimming in the river in some rock pools. Tine and Eskil are quite convinced they saw the beak of a Platypus just before it entered its home in the river bank. The river was nice and cool and not too cold. Everywhere there a lots of dragon flyes in red and blue and many water dragons (small lizards). Back to the cottage for lunch and then the weather suddenly changed and it started to pour down and we had
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Our rockpool in the mountain river
some nice thunder and lightning.
Wrote a mail or two from the reception. Freja and Eskil started on their log books and Eskil managed to do 4 pages in his math book. It is a bit difficult to start doing school things. The children, especially Eskil, are enjoying this very much and he is extremely enthusiastic about all the exciting animals, trees etc. He suddenly discovered that he enjoyed drawing and he made a very nice drawing of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Freja, funny enough, doesn't miss school either, but would be very happy to receive some mails from her classmates or comments (thank you Tania and Nikoline for yours) or be able to chat with some of you guys. Perhaps on Sunday morning or on Fraser Island where the time difference will be 10 hours. She also misses having her own space and they both miss their mormor and of course Frida.
Today we planned to go to Gloucester Tops. A spot in the Barrington Tops National Park.
We left at about 10:30 am on what turned out to be a long day.
On our way back to
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On our flooding way to Gloucester Tops
the paved road Paul ran over a 1½ m long snake that quickly went back into the bushes (we later found out that it probably was a very agressive and venomous snake). Not long after this we saw two birds fighting, we thought, but they were trying to scare a very big lizard (1 m). The lizard ran across the road and up a tree, probably going after their nest and eggs.
We stopped at a very small general store along the main road, where a nice lady made us some ham sandwiches and we bought water, gas, ice cream and other essentials.
From home till we got to Gloucester Topa turned out to be a 2½ hours drive. Firstly, through soft grassy hills with cattle and horses everywhere, flooded bridges that had been built to allow the river to run over them while they were still accessible for vehicles. We saw a large amount of lizards in various sizes from very small ones till some about 40-50 cm. One was right in front of the car but when Tine tried to get out to photograph it, it raised itself on its hind legs and ran of. That
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Family shot near waterfall at Gloucester Tops
looked really funny and we were all reminded of a tiny dinosaur. Everywhere around us there are many birds and especially the parrots are pretty with their bright colours in red - green - yellow, and in the rainforest we saw some in an amazing blue, just like taken out of a crayon box. It was rather cool in the rainforest in some places and there was this wonderful smell of eucalyptus. The forest there is mostly made up of gum trees, but there was a part consisting of arctic beech, which actually grew in Antarctic earlier on, a bit hard to imagine.
Had a walk to Gloucester Falls - a bit disappointing. Saw wallabies and another snake that was eating a small lizard on the way back. Bought some groceries ín Gloucester and were recognized as being from out of town. Finally returned at about five. A bit tired. Freja and Paul went to get in contact with people from home and Tine started cooking. Eskil found the telly and discovered that Lilo and Stitch was being broadcasted later, that was a treat.
Watched some telly and went to bed.
Tomorrow daylight saving time begins which means
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Eskil floating in the mountain river
that the time difference to Australia will be 10 hours from now on.
Had a cold night again. Eskil has discovered that there is an electric blanket under the sheet so he's begun sleeping with this on.
At 4 o'clock just as daylight begins every bird and other animals wake up and make the most tremendous noise. It is hot, hot, hot, today and Freja and Eskil were not interested in going anywhere. Went to the river to take a swim. It had risen maybe 15 cm because of all the rain and the current was much stronger than two days ago.
Eskil is drawing and Freja is writing, unfortunately, not in her log book. We just heard from Nikoline that she is getting a new English teacher again. S...
Paul got restless and took a drive to Dungog 28 k's away, and a storm has started here.
Tine has just checked the finances (shouldn't have done that). And now she will buy herself a proper cup of coffee. The poor thing only gets nescafe the whole time.
We will have to pack again tonight for the next stop of our journey
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Our nightly possum guest
that begins tomorrow. Maybe we will have a bit more to write later on.
After dinner Tine and Paul went out on the terrasse overlooking the river and turned on the spots just to see what it looked like. Tine had a chock, because when she turned around a possum was sitting right next to her with big glassy eyes fixed on her. It must have been our nightly visitor trying to enter Dancing with the Stars and practising on our roof. It looked very cute and was obviously used to having humans around as it didn't seem to be scared of us. Eskil and Freja also thought it was really cute.
Woke up early to go and look for morning Wallabies. Didn't have much success. Had breakfast and finished packing. Checked out at about 10 and left for Sydney to catch our train towards Brisbane.
It was very hot 35 degrees and we had some difficulty driving in Sydney, since the map we had of Sydney unfortunately didn't have all the one way streets. Paul had a bit of 'fun' when he suddenly found himself driving in the wrong lane!!! But as there was
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Train scene between Sydney and Brisbane
no traffic coming against us, everything went well and we reached the central station unharmed.
Tine, Eskil and Freja were dropped off with the luggage so we could check that in while Paul dropped off the car. When the train arrived we all entered our 1. class sleeping compartment (that was a first!!!). Joy all over, plenty of space - cool - our own toilet and shower and we were handed a small snack with crackers and cheese some dip and life saving water. Luxury. Actually, we were going a bit back and forth here, since the train would go in the same direction as we had just come from, but this was partly due to the order of planning and also because we wanted to give Eskil the train experience. And it turned out not to be such a bad decision. Everyone enjoyed the comfort of the train and the route of the train was very different to the one we had just travelled by car, much nicer. We had a wonderful ride, a not so great dinner, a beautiful sunset and thought we were going to have a great nights sleep. But - this must have been
the noisiest train on earth. The brakes were so squeaky that even with the earplugs provided by the hostess, it was very hard to fall a sleep and stay that way. Buggers!
Were woken at 5.10 with breakfast. We were all feeling a bit woozy as none of us had slept very much. It was a bit ridiculous to be woken so early especially since the train was running half an hour late and we wouldn't be in Brisbane until 7 o'clock NSW time and 6 QLD time. We had just put the clock an hour forward and now we could put it backward again because they don't have daylight saving time in QLD.
Eskil managed to sleep again and woke up just outside the station. Quickly found a locker and had a coffee and juice. Went outside into Roma Street Parklands and took turns taking a stroll around the park. Very nice, but highly artificial. saw some big lizards they seem to be everywhere.
Went back to the station to get our luggage and something to eat. None of us had any desire to eat the train food again. Checked our luggage in all
the way to Hervey Bay (by the way we didn't have to be bothered with our luggage until it arrived in our hotel room - that was nice). Ate our lunch on the platform and could eventually boards our train after a 5 hours wait.
Nice to be in a cool train again. Eskil immediately fell asleep and slept for about 2½ hours, lucky him. The rest of us relaxed and got to see music and Lyrics with Hugh Grant to pass time.
And the train was sloooooooooow. sometimes down to 48 k per hour with the result that we were 30 min late and the coach driver was very uncooperative and couldn't care less if we missed our ferry to Fraser Island, which we did. It had left on time even though the knew the train was late and we were there 10 min after normal departure time. This meant a 3 hour wait and that we wouldn't arrive at Fraser Island before 8 pm instead of 5 pm.
We got quite pissed off. They could have waited the b..... 10 min. Luckily, we weren't the only ones to get angry, but little did it help.
We had to pass time in the harbour. We had a drink while looking at Fraser Island in the horisont . Eskil and Freja went to look at some shops after 4 days in the wilderness with nothing to buy and Paul and Tine just sat and did nothing.
Had dinner at the Hervey Bay Boat Club. Good prices and ok food. Picked up our handbaggage - the rest they took care of and could at last take the last step towards Fraser Island.
Nice trip - very dark and lots of stars. Could very clearly see the milky way but only the upper two stars of the constellation The Southern Cross it is too early in the year for it to be visible early in the evening, it is only possible to see it in the morning.
And at last Freja and Eskil could have the swim they had been promised for so long. The centre pool was heated so it was lovely warm and they stayed in it for about three quarters of an hour.
Totally exhausted we all went to sleep at 10 pm.
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