Australian Adventure (June 19 - 20, 2013)

40 Days Down Under (Day 6 & 7)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013
***Happy Birthday Jenny***

Today was an on again off again rain day, but we still went to Lake Macquarie to the Caves Beach. It was fun to explore a few of the caves while low tide was still out.

We continued our coastal drive and detoured on the Great Lakes Way for a more scenic drive making sure to stop a few times - for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and simply because a canoe or some other picturesque scene caught our eye.

Our final scenic stop was a quick one at 9 Mile Beach. This was a pretty neat beach, as it required us going through a very lush path surrounded by bushes, grass, and trees to see the turbulent beach below.

We called it an early evening and decided to stay overnight at Lakeside Resort Forster (Family Parks). This caravan park had a great amenities block with arcade games, billiards, air hockey, an expansive trade-a-book section, tv room, bbq, inside kitchen with grill plates, toaster, microwave, oven, and kettle. Top that with clean bathrooms and large, lush campsites with a variety of local birds, and you have a winning location.

We went into town to pick up some protein to go with our pasta, and Kris cooked it up in the camp kitchen. We spent half an hour in the tv room using the hour of free wifi given at reception before calling it a night and retreating to the campervan.

We were lulled to sleep by the rain splatting on our camper roof.

Thursday, June 20, 2013
I definitely woke up feeling warmer and having slept better than the night before. We're learning tricks (like Kristy should sleep in her thermals layered under her pjs and that we should each get our own comforter since the camper came with two).

That lovely rain that makes everything around here so fresh and green caused us a bit of a delay this morning. We were stuck on the campsite. We had to be towed out by a worker at the park and his tractor.

At least our morning doughnuts were tasty.

We detoured off of the highway to go to the town of Harrington. They have a long breakwater and some very artistic totem poles. I thoroughly enjoyed the individuality of each of them.

Next up was the cutest little white lighthouse ever. The Crowdy Head Lighthouse offers gorgeous 360 degree views of the ocean.

We knew we wanted to go to the Koala Hospital for their 3pm walk and talk tour, so we went to the Port Macquarie library for free wifi in the interim.

We got to the Koala Hospital just in time to hear a wonderful volunteer speak of the hospital and their practices. He told us about each of the koalas currently being rehabilitated or treated and their prognosis.

Things I learned about koalas today...
*At the Koala Hospital, female koalas have their right ear tagged since females are always right. Males get their left ears tagged.
*There are smaller koalas (with finer, grayer fur) in NSW than in QLD - even though they are the same species.
*Fur is gray when the koalas are younger and turns browner as they age.
*Males usually only live to 15 with females outlasting them by 3 years. (Oldest known koala was named Birthday Girl and was a permanent resident of the Koala Hospital. She lived to be 25.)
*All four of the limbs of the koala are the same length so when they land, they land on all four paws.
*Biggest koala killers are dogs, cars, and chlamydia. Chlamydia causes a problem for koalas called wet bottom, and this can cause blindness, infertility, or death. Luckily it can be treated with some antibiotics. (You know if a koala has wet bottom, because their bottoms turn brown instead of the usual speckled gray/white.)
*The koala hospital is glad to only have a few permanent guests. They aim to heal/rehabilitate the koalas and release them back into the wild.
*The koala hospital keeps a board showing all of the koalas at the park and details about them.
*Koalas don't drink water. All of their sustenance comes from eucalyptus. About 65% of what they intake is water, quite a bit is poison, and the rest is food. They spend about 20 hours a day sleeping, as they simply don't get the required intake of calories to do much else other than eat.
*Koalas can swim and run quite quickly.
*Koalas are lactose intolerant. In fact, the Koala Hospital's oldest permanent resident is a fellow named Barry who has scoliosis. He was inside being given soy milk from a syringe when we got there. He doesn't do well in the cooler weather.

On the day we visited, we were welcomed by a wild koala who'd come to visit the hospital. He was hanging out on a tree. They suspect the koala will move on tonight.

One of the permanent residents, Kaylee, lacks a back leg and an eye. She gets around well regardless.

They have several young juveniles at the park currently. They were abandoned and have been rescued. They plan to release them next year. They were beyond adorable! I could have stared at these cuties for days.

At one point, two of the males started play fighting with each other. One even grabbed the other koala's head.

It was so fun to see them play and climb up and down the trees!

After the Koala Hospital, I'd planned a stop at the famous Fredo Pies in Frederickton. This place is just a little roadside stop on the old highway. After asking about the best non-spicy chicken pie, the owner recommended the Chicken Mornay pie. It had white meat chicken and a wonderful creamy cheesy sauce. Super delicious. She also gave us free sausage rolls to try. After I ordered a pinwheel, similar to a cheese stick with tomato sauce, she gave us a second free. I could seriously eat my weight in them. We also ordered an apple pie and grandma pie (pumpkin) for dessert.

Kris - ever the adventurous eater - got a kangaroo pie and a lamb with mint pie. His favorite was the sausage roll. We also got a Fredo Pie bib for a certain youngster to arrive soon and two free bumper stickers. This stuff was tasty. Highly recommend the Chicken Mornay and pinwheels!

We arrived into South West Rocks after dark and checked four different tourist parks (all closed) before finding out that we could use an after-hours phone to call the night manager to check us in to the South West Rocks Tourist Park (Top Tourist Park). This tourist park has great amenities and super clean bathrooms with shower curtains in the shower area. Plus, we get a discount when showing our JUCY key fob.

Kris and I played ping pong before showering and calling it an evening.

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