A Travellerspoint blog

Port Macquarie

Incorporating Kate's 30th birthday!

semi-overcast 14 °C
View Mark and Kate's 12 month holiday on MarknKate's travel map.

We got to Port Macquarie the day before Kate's birthday so we could spend some time looking into suitable spots for her birthday pampering.

Our campsite was right on the breakwater, a really lovely spot when it stopped raining...which it didn't very much!.

Kate's key criteria for what would be a pretty lowkey 30th (we're both gonna celebrate our 31st in style next year!) was CAKE and we found a pretty good one...

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Budgets put aside for the day it was restaurants all the way! Brekkie at the pancake place, lunch at a little cafe and dinner at a great Thai place - all this after Kate had been facialed and manaceured to perfection!

The highlight however was a freebie. It had stopped raining for all of 10 minutes so we figured we'd walk along the breakwater to the beach...we weren't alone though, several schools (or is it pods?) of Dolphins joined us just metres away playing in the small waves along the breakwater. It didn't stop there, as we headed back we spotted what looked like a small family group made up of mum, dad, junior and tiny baby! - so GOD DAMN CUTE! Didn't have the camera unfortunatly but totally made the day even more memorable.

Wrapped it up with a screening of the new Batman movie, very good and highly recommended...two thumbs up.

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Posted by MarknKate 16:50 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Coffs Harbour

sunny 18 °C
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Hands up, we perhaps should have read up a little more on some of the stops we'd picked cos Coffs Harbour was a tad of a let down!

Perhaps it's because it had the word "harbour" in the title which put both of us on the assumption that it would be rather upmarket and nice, it wasn't... Bogan*-ville, Australia! (http://www.bogan.com.au/definition/index.php)

That said it had some rather good surf spots, but a swell had come in and was a little large for my liking so wimped out...another spot not surfed and another week goes by without the new board getting wet :o(

One thing that has surprised both of us is just how green and lush the countryside generally is. In many places along the route it could easily have been the rolling hills and fields of the UK.

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Posted by MarknKate 16:44 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Byron Bay

sunny 17 °C
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I was really looking forward to getting to Byron but can't help feeling we arrived maybe 10-15 years too late...

I'd read about an ex-hippie/Boho little town, and whilst it tries very hard to retain some of this character with the odd alternative shop, healings, meditation etc, it's now in the minority surrounded instead by surfing chains, mainstream stores and run of the mill cafes and obligatory take away joints.

You can still just spot what it must have once been like with some of the older generation wondering around in tie-die ensembles, dreads and barefooted, but the uber cool backpackers and beautiful people now out number them 100:1. A real shame...

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Posted by MarknKate 16:41 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Welcome to Miami...

Surfer Paradise

sunny 20 °C
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I'd heard/read mixed reviews about Surfers Paradise and was a little apprehensive as to what we'd find there. Speaking for both of us I'd say Kate and I were pleasantly suprised!

We stayed just down the coast in Miami Beach and whilst the Gold Coast from here on down prefers skyrise towers and neon lights we must have hit town around a good time of year as the streets and beaches weren't overly busy.

Pretty much the first order of business was to find a whale watching trip which we set out on on our second day in town.

The whale season begins around June and runs to November, around a 1000 or so hump back whales head north from the cold arctic waters to give birth and "get busy" with each other, we'd missed the main pod's heading north but there were still plenty around in the waters - some still going north others now heading back south.

Whilst we got lucky and spotted four whales (or the same two twice, we're not sure) the buggers were apparently sleeping and not up for much acrobatics! My suggestion of throwing in a small child to get 'em going fell on deaf ears so we were left with two rather lethargic but still awesome whales bobbing around with the odd tail slap. My photo's don't do them justice i'm afraid, by the time you've brought the camera up to take the shot the buggers have either dived down or you're left with a shot of what looks like a shiney rock...the memories are fantastic however and something we're keen to do again later in the year.

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From Noosa down surfing begins in Australia, at least it's supposed to - in Noosa it p*ssed it down and now in Surfers Paradise it seems we'd arrived in the middle of a flat spell! Undetered I was keen to hunt down a board to see me through the rest of the Australian leg of the trip.

Surfers is not short of surf shops (I guess hence the name!) and after several fruitless searches and with Kate getting more and more bored with the process we headed to an out of town retail park where a manufacturer was selling direct. I had planned to buy second hand but brand new from this place was cheaper than some second hand ones I'd spotted so I purchased my first ever brand new board! Man, it's a great feeling...just need the waves to pick up so I can get her christened, that said it does look real 'pridy' all shiney and new with no wax on.

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  • **for those that care, she's a 6'4" fish, swallow tail with three fins***

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Posted by MarknKate 20:29 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Australian Oddities

The bizarre and the interesting of the Australian way of life.

4. Zuchinnis are courgettes.

Posted by MarknKate 20:28 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

North Straddie

sunny 21 °C
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Off the coast of Brisbane is North Stradbroke Island. Never ones to pass an Island trip up we headed across for a two night stay.

Straddie (as the locals refer to it) was beautiful, stunning clear blue waters and between June and November the best spot for land based whale watching. We took a walk along the cliffs and weren't disappointed, sighting not only whales in the distance but also dolphins up close and also manta rays - the water was so clear and vivid blue that it literally made your eye's go funny after staring into it for more than a minute or two.

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Posted by MarknKate 20:26 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Brisbane

semi-overcast 14 °C
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After experiencing the pleasure of some home comforts we cracked on to Brisbane where we were also going to be house guests, this time of my cousin in law (or something) and her husband, Nicole and Tod.

Nic and Tod live out in the burbs of Brisbane in New Farm, in a gorgeous recently renovated Queenslander house with stunning view of the city and the Story bridge.

Brisbane was our first major city since Singapore and was great. A really nice city set along side the river with great shopping and a really good buzz to the place.

We spent the first few days ambling around the city centre and the arty South Bank and using the water taxis to get us to and from places. Definately a place we'd like to come back to and explore in more depth...

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Posted by MarknKate 06:24 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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