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January 27th 2011
Published: January 27th 2011
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Birthday GirlBirthday GirlBirthday Girl

Thought to be the oldest known koala, now residing at the koala hospital in Port Macquarie.

Thursday 20th January – From Countryside to Seaside

Sadly, we say goodbye to wonderful Tamworth but not without a final musical fix:

Golden Guitar Showcase – Early morning sets by three bands at the Golden Guitar venue and we then had enough CDs to keep us going on the long road to the coast. For the record we liked The Wilson Pickers and McAlister Kemp.
A long Road to Port Macquarie – A long, slow and slightly treacherous route through the mountains took us back from the bush to the coast at Port Macquarie.
Coastal Run – Great to stretch the legs alongside some of the prettiest secluded beaches we had seen for a long old time.

Friday 21st January – Kicking Back in Port Macquarie

A relaxed day taking some time out for R&R:

Beardie No More – Away from the facial hair capital of OZ and it was time to find the razor – the good ol’ boy look had to go!
Koala Hospital – Time to visit the poor little Koalas that had met bad luck out in the wild – most being fixed up and returned, with some staying as permanent features
Pacific HeavenPacific HeavenPacific Heaven

Miles of soft white sand, but just the right consistency near the water to make running a delight. This shot is a bit crowded - mostly having the beach to yourself.
(including, allegedly the oldest known koala at 25 years old).
Harbour at Dusk – A pretty little harbour with evening sun glistening off the rippling water – very romantic…

Saturday 22nd January – Rainforest, Run and Fishtales

Travelling up to Sawtell (near Coffs Harbour) for a smaller, more intimate beach experience:

See Acres Rainforest Centre – A guided walk along a 1.3k boardwalk through subtropical coastal rainforest (gert lush).
Died and Run in Heaven – The most spectacular run so far: 10k including both ways along a 1.5 mile sandy beach, with barmy early evening sun, cooling sea breeze and the sunlight playing on the breaking pacific waves. It really doesn’t get much better than this.
Dinner at Fishtales – Delicacies from the ocean at this heaving local hotel, bar, restaurant and entertainment venue, with fish that tasted much fresher than anything caught as far back as that morning.

Sunday 23rd January – Smooching Around in Sawtell

A quiet wind-down day in the pretty little coastal village of Sawtell:

Swimming Update (swimmers see below) – The third day of swimming practice in a row and starting to show signs of waving, not
Only in OZOnly in OZOnly in OZ

Clearly Aussies are too subtle and have a problem getting the message across...
Jaws Revenge – Simon gets the last laugh with shark and chips from the local takeaway – not so scary now eh!
Beach Bums – Beach accessible directly from camp site, so would seem rude not to wander over and paddle in the Pacific as the sun drops in the sky. Temperatures at this time down to bearable 20s, so long strolls in order help the fish and chips go down.

Anyone who is aware of Simon’s grand plans for multiple triathlons in the 2011 season might be concerned at whether he’ll drown at the first hurdle – I know he is! Swimming now includes regular full laps of a 25M pool, if a little close to expiring by the end. One attempt even saw a quick turn-round and a second length completed. An open water tri is probably a bit of a stretch right now, but we live in hope…

Monday 24th January – Sawtell, Woolgoolga, Ullmarra, Yamba and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Travelling morning to the quaint little town of Yamba:

4* Muffin – Stopped at Woolgoolga for a muffin like manna from heaven – in fact if a certain
I'm OffI'm OffI'm Off

Deborah does a Reggie Perrin at the beach in Sawtell - still, looks tempting doesn't it?
Mr Michelin had been there, he would likely have invented a 4* category and instantly awarded it to the Bluebottle Café.
Saltwater Pool – Some kind soul generously dug a 25M pool out of the rock for us (see pic), so it would have been rude not to give it a go. Base was sandy, with water murky and apparently a scary sea monster in the deep end…
Ribs ‘n Sausies – Simon’s BBQ skills start to take on new dimension with huge spare ribs cooked to perfection – building up to the prawns!

Tuesday 25th January – Byron Bay (Venice Beach on Tranquilisers)

Quick trip from Yamba to the surfer-dudie hangout of Byron Bay – we fitted right in (not quite):

Byron Bay – Hmmmm, an interesting variation on the Aussie theme, with a lot of people trying hard to be ultra-cool/surfer-dudie. Reminded us a little of Vegas, so take it all with a huge pinch of salt.
Big Swim – Simon manage a full length of the 50M pool without drowning. Aussies refer to front crawl as freestyle but little style was in evidence on this occasion. Still, building to the 750M needed for
Fit Bloke on BeachFit Bloke on BeachFit Bloke on Beach

Shot of random on Sawtell beach - looks like he might be sucking his stomach in a bit - it's those Aussie pies m'lud.
the first sprint tri.
Camping – Might have escaped your attention that Deborah has been camping for the last 2 weeks! Now a fully-fledged member of the shared-amenities brigade and well into the idea of making (yes literally making) your bed on a daily basis, or better still supervising proceedings…

Wednesday 26th January – Australia Day!!!

A full day in Byron Bay and an opportunity for cafes and restaurants to add an extra 10%!t(MISSING)o the bill:

Australia Day – Nice of the Aussies to make such a fuss of the anniversary of an Englishman landing at Sydney’s Circular Quay, especially after having just handed back the ashes. Who says the Aussies aren’t Pom-lovers really!
Massage/Facial – An hour of deep relaxation (with intermittent pain), just going to prove that 5 weeks off does little to ease the head, neck and back tension – perhaps another 7 weeks will do the trick?
Barefoot Running with Clothes Optional (runners see below) – Ran out of time before running out of beach on this stunning 8 mile out and back run along Belongil Beach (usual stuff; balmy sunshine, sea breeze, pacific breakers, blah, blah). Just shorts and shades
RS4 or Winnebago?RS4 or Winnebago?RS4 or Winnebago?

Any remaining doubts as to what to buy to replace the A3 are now well and truly dispelled. Look at the size of that thing!
for this run, although I hit the "clothes optional" section at mile 3, upon which a young lady half my age suggested that I might "strip it down", subsequently clarifying that I should "get my shorts off"! In the interest of good taste and aerodynamics I declined - nice to be asked though...

Barefoot running - Quite a liberating running experience but should break yourself in gently or you are likely to suffer from:
1) Calves - running shoe heels are generally thicker than the soles, so running without tends to stretch the calf muscles and clearly over distance this starts to cause strain; and
2) Toes - running on sand is lovely underfoot but it is also the basic ingredient of sandpaper for a reason, so can have the effect of sanding off those soft skin parts, notably the underside of your toes.

Thursday 27th January – G'bye to the Van and Get Ready for NZ

Drive from Byron Bay to drop off the van and get a final head-down in OZ before an early flight to Christchurch:

Surfers Paradise – Quick stop for coffee and cake along the beautiful beachfront in Surfers Paradise.
Not Content with the Pacific Ocean...Not Content with the Pacific Ocean...Not Content with the Pacific Ocean...

...Someone just had to carve a 25M saltwater pool out of the rocks. A strange swimming experience.

Brisbane – A sad farewell to the van and a short stay in Brisbane before flying out. Sleeping in a real bed again is a disproportionally exciting thought...

Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12


Look at the Meat on That!Look at the Meat on That!
Look at the Meat on That!

Look at the meat on those ribs - nearly as much as on Simon's.
Masterchef - Yamba EditionMasterchef - Yamba Edition
Masterchef - Yamba Edition

A genuine artist at work. To be fair, must be relatively straghtforward as all efforts seemed to be tasty and non life-threatening.
Who are those People on my Beach?Who are those People on my Beach?
Who are those People on my Beach?

Australia Day brings the hordes out to enjoy the awesome weather and fine beaches in Byron Bay.
Watever you WantWatever you Want
Watever you Want

You can pretty much get whatever you want at Byron Bay, although unusually Simon wasn't offered any elicit substances this time (he just has one of those faces)...
Simon Tries to Blend in with the LocalsSimon Tries to Blend in with the Locals
Simon Tries to Blend in with the Locals

Unfortunately this attempt was somewhat undermined by the lack of shoulder-length curly blonde hair and vacant expression, but good effort nonetheless!

27th January 2011

Port Macquarie
I can't believe you went to Port Macquarie! I thought I was the only person under the age of 50 ever to go there!
28th January 2011

Hi Deborah and Simon Looks like you are having a fantastic time. Pictures are great - like the one about the litter! Did you see much of the floods in Aus? Will watch your next instalments with interest. Deborah - would you mind if I share this with Aude and Sarah as they were asking about you? Not much happening here, although weather has turned cold again, so you are best off where you are! Bye for now Sharon
23rd February 2011
Simon Tries to Blend in with the Locals

Yeah! Real beds!

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