• Route

    We will not post on this blog anymore untill we go on holiday again.  It will probabely be a while before we go so far again, but who knows what opportunities arise 😉

    This map is the complete route we took. We drove more than 3000 km and as you see we only covered a tiny bit of Australia. But the locals confessed that there isn’t a person who has seen it all or even most of it – though everybody agrees that it would be nice to see more.

    mapholidayroutetotal.jpg

  • Concluding observations about Oz

    Our trip back to the Netherlands went pretty smoothly and we are now home again, tired but satisfied.  We can look back upon a very interesting holiday in a very engaging place. The most obvious conclusion we can draw is that Australians on the whole are really nice people: Friendly, helpful, open and interested. As soon as they see you looking around searching, or with a map, they immediately ask if they can help you. Everybody will talk with you and ask questions, exchange experiences or give you tips.

    They are quite tidy too: everything there is very clean and there are free toilets everywhere – and you can use them all safely because the other users will leave them neat and clean. I’ve never had one without toilet paper and only rarely without soap. In the wilderness parks you will encounter the composting-toilets; a hole on top of a heap of fertilizer. But most people close the lid properly afterwards, so I only had a really stinky one once. Amenities at the camp-sites are clean and tidy too. Most camp-sites have a bucket and a floor wiper ready so you can clean your shower quickly after you’ve used it. I am afraid that most Aussies will be very disappointed when they come to Europe; you have to pay for toilets and you have a fifty-fifty chance of finding a clean one.

    The trucks you encounter are often bigger than the Dutch ones, and longer. Not broader though; everything that takes up more than half the road has a little truck labelled “Oversized” driving in front of it to warn the oncoming traffic. The lorries are also very elegant: most of them have a lot of polished chrome and even their hubcaps are usually polished till they shine like mirrors. On the road we also noticed that the cars are more colourful than the ones on the Dutch roads. Though Aussies are notoriously uninterested in dressing up as a fashion statement you see in their cars as well as their houses that they like bright colours. Roofs and walls are more often painted than not, especially with the wooden houses we found most common in the ‘newer regions’.

    Australians have their own lingo too. A lot of it is slightly old-fashioned English, so Tim had no trouble understanding it. A docket is a ticket/receipt, cordial is the kind of lemonade you have to mix with water (“limonadesiroop” in Dutch), a nursery usually is a place where you can buy baby plants (weirdly enough the protection they put around saplings planted by the roadside makes them look like a special kind of cemetery) , a doona is a duvet (“dekbed”) and usually has a sheet under it instead of a cover all around it, all kinds of suck sweets are called lollies, a box of wine is called a cask and coffee is ordered as a long or short shot of black, depending on how much water should be added.

    Like Americans, they tend to have very colourful and enthusiastic descriptions that can set your expectations slightly higher than is advisable. But since they DO have a lot of very beautiful and enjoyable things we will gladly forgive them for it. The only thing in Oz that bothered me was the water; tap water had a very chlorinated taste so you really had to buy bottled water (or cordial).

    We had to get used to buying our drinks before we went to a restaurant, but unless they state that they are fully licensed they really expect you to Bring Your Own. Quite often the “bottleshop” where you can buy the booze is conveniently close, so it is not a problem.

    Daily cost of living seems to be slightly lower than in the Netherlands. On average things are about 80% of what you pay here, clothes probably even less. You have to watch out with the money though. The paper money resembles the European kind; each value has its own colour and size and bigger is worth more money. Their coins are harder to get used to. The most valuable coin is worth two dollars, and is a tiny bronze coloured kind. The slightly bigger one is one dollar, but the biggest ones are silver and only 20 cents.

    School uniforms are the norm and most of them include a floppy hat. Ozzies seem to be so used to the floppy hat that they also wear it under helmets and hard hats. Tourists who unfortunately find themselves stranded without luggage should know that there are a lot of shops to buy second hand clothes. St Vincent de Paul was a charity shop we saw in almost every town in NSW, though we also saw Salvation Army shops (they look very slick and at first we thought they were a commercial chain) and private ones with names like Second Hand Sam.

    The bins I saw in most caravan parks were clones of the commune provided ones we use at home, except that they were almost universally green and the recycling ones were yellow. I found myself unexpectedly trained to throw only biodegradable stuff in green bins and had quite a hard time overcoming the Pavlovian reaction. Their recycle bins are mostly distinguished by a bright yellow lid. Sometimes they want you to put everything recyclable in the same bin (paper, plastic bottles, aluminium cans), sometimes they had different bins for different kinds of recyclables. But they did not have a special one for what we call “chemical waste”, ie things like batteries and toner. So you dispose of old batteries by throwing them in the general bin, and presumably the same goes for paint and nail polish remover and all other materials we have to collect separately in the Netherlands. Till I received our battery-charger again I used AA’s for my camera, but I must admit that I disposed of them by giving them to a waiter – the Pavlovian training runs deep.

    The mailboxes often were not familiar at all. We are used to very standard mailboxes. But in Oz they are less strict about what your mailbox should look like. Some people used (rusty) old milk churns or oil tins, I even saw a plastic bucket once. Others build houselike boxes with gable roofs and some were very creative. We should have a few photographs of those and will put them in an album on the photo page.

    Tim found many things in Oz highly familiar, “Old-fashioned British”. Marjolein liked their tidiness and structure: on every high bridge is a sign saying that it is forbidden to jump off it, even though, in most cases, you would be prosecuting a corpse. We both liked their cheerful pragmatism and easy-going tolerance. Aussies live and let live, perhaps because there is an enormous amount of room, if you do not like someone you can easily avoid them. We would love to go back and could even envision living there and fitting in pretty easily: as one Australian told us, all of them (except of course the Aboriginals) are newcomers.

  • Sydney, August 10th

    Assisted by the street directory we managed to get our luggage to my uncle’s place and the camper van to Apollo (the place we hired it from). Unfortunately we managed to get one of those rare specimens at Apollo; the unfriendly Australian. Tips about camper vans: fill it up before you return the van, because they charge 4 times the local price per litre (Tim went to another petrol station and returned the van a bit later). Don’t be nice and try to prepare the chemical toilet for them; everything has to be completely empty. Make sure you don’t stand sloped when you empty the grey water, because if something is left in the tank you have to empty it in a bucket and dispose of it elsewhere.

    We took the train to Circular Quay because we wanted to take the ferry to Manly one last time, as a goodbye to Sydney. It was late by then, so we sailed away in twilight, seeing the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge getting dark and then being lighted in the dark night. Sydney changed from huge modern skyscrapers in daylight to a vast darkness with a million lights. No pictures unfortunately: a moving boat is not the best place to take pictures of dark places.

    In Manly we took a cab to my uncles house, and went out to an Italian restaurant. My niece came after dinner with her bloke and daughter, which was really nice. We have corresponded with very irregular intervals since I was 12 and she has been to the Netherlands a few times, so it was really nice to see her here again. Her daughter and our boys got on like a house on fire (literally, lots of screaming and running away), so they had a great (but late) evening too.

    This morning we woke with the rising of the sun, as usual this holiday. We sorted out our luggage and packed everything as efficient as possible. We had to buy two new bags en route to carry the new buys to replace our missing luggage, and they are totally filled. Lost luggage will do that to you, but how we will get everything home is something I hardly dare to think about. We already had a hard time getting all bags from Haarlem to Schiphol and we now have a lot more to carry. The cab we took yesterday was a little van, and the bloke promised to be here at one to transport us to the airport, so that should be doable, and in the Netherlands we might commit some taxi-taking too.

    I’ll try to find the time for a concluding post with our observations and tips for other Australian tourists; the conclusion about our holiday is clear enough. We had a whale of a time and would love to visit again!

  • Lane Cove Park, August 9th

    Yesterday after dark the kids had a great time spotting possums. They tried to feed them leaves, which led to a little tragedy when one of them mistook Daniels finger for a carrot. But it is a small wound and after the initial shock it didn’t hurt much, so we only disinfected it and put a plaster on it. They then went spider hunting in the toilets, but fortunately they only found an innocent huntsman spider and only in the gents toilet section, so I am safe for now.

    The next morning we woke up with loud birdsong and beautiful sunshine, so we had our breakfast outside. Tim left his raisin toast alone for a minute and say a big black winged thief take of with it, and the kids got raided by lorikeets again, which is not a bad morning at all considering that you are in the middle of a big busy town.

    We packed everything and cleaned the campervan because we have to take it back this afternoon. We do hope to have time for a walk through this nice park though. If ever you need to be in Sydney, we would certainly recommend staying in a cabin here instead of a hotel; there website is www.lcrtp.com.au and their GPS cooridates are: Latitude 33° 47’19.56” S, Longitude 151° 8′ 34.14” E. They are slighty hard to find, we needed to buy a Sydney street directory to get here, but it is well worth the effort!

    I am not sure we’ll be able to internet before we leave (though I will certainly try to get to Circular Point where they had nice coffe and free WiFi), but we will fly tomorrow afternoon and hope to land in London at 7.45 and , Heathrow willing, will be in Amsterdam at 11h Saturday the 11th.

  • Lane Cove River, Sydney, August 8th

    We managed to get to Oberon without any problems, though rather late so we dined out in one of the local restaurants. Oberon is quite high, 1100-something-metres, and as a result rather cold in winter. We laughed at Australians complaining about the cold winter before, but this time I actually missed my gloves – that’s how cold it was.

    Which didn’t stop us from noticing that it is a nice small village; must be really nice in summertime and is close to some beautiful spots. We trundled down to the threadbare local hotel for supper, which was a very home-made T-bone with lots of veggos and curly fries. The toads were too stuffed with bits and bobs to do it justice. The bar next to us was inhabited by genuine lumberjack types with worn denims, ghastly woolly hats and battered brown teeth. The next day we went on to Jenolan Caves, we missed the view from the Kanangra Walls (which kind of goes with the caves) because it was an unsealed road and we weren’t sure whether we could make it after heavy rainfall in our camper van. It is famed as being very spectacular, so we might have tried it if we had plenty of time. But though we do not feel rushed we do want to stay on our schedule, so we decided to skip the visit.

    The caves were well worth the visit. It was a good thing that Tim was so much more at ease with driving our monstrosity; we couldn’t have made it down the small winding mountain road if he hadn’t – if only because my heart couldn’t stand the excitement of looking down into a ravine right next to me. The road was bordered by quite the frailest, most rotten wooden posts we have seen in a long time. They gave the impression that even the slightest error would send us and them tumbling into the abyss.

    But we managed to get down without incidents and were just in time for the tour through the Lucas Cave. It is one of their biggest cave, and in the largest room they even have concerts (because of the great acoustics) and weddings. It is a limestone cave and in millions of years the water first made a series of chambers when the mountain was under water. The water carved itself ever lower channels , but the constant dripping of lime-saturated water made huge columns, stalagmites and stalactites, fantastical, frilly lace-like decorations and little humps of stone resembling people or animals. They named some of them (the bride, the groom, the bishop) but there were plenty of others to name with something out of your own imagination. The boys were awed and spoke in whispers most of the time. The guide made a good show of it, plunging us into darkness occasionally and then dramatically lighting up the weird and beautiful shapes around us.

    We really loved the tour, but it is hard to photograph. If only because you don’t see the enormous scale of the caves. We were told that our tour had almost 900 steps on the stairs between sections, that should be an indication. We could have stayed there for days, but had to leave early in the afternoon for our trip to Bateau Bay. So we drove through the Blue Mountains, went past Sydney and arrived shortly after nightfall.

    The next day we woke in a very different climate again. It was a nice and sunny day, the heated pool was accompanied by a heated spa, the beach was still lovely so a good time was had by all. At lunchtime my aunt arrived to have lunch with us and hear all about our adventures in Oz. When she left my uncle came to visit and see all photographs, and was kind enough to offer us another night of hospitality in his house in Sydney. A good thing, since I had just discovered that our flight back wasn’t on the 9th, but on the 10th. We called to see if we could have the campervan for another day, but that would cost us 288 dollars plus camping fees. Oops.

    We rumbled on down towards Sydney, slightly downcast by the approaching end of our holiday and the prospect of plunging back into the urban tangle. Fortunately Marjolein found a nice stopoff at Australian Reptile Park, a very nice zoo that succeeded in both hitting the boys buttons with exciting presentations of big snakes and huge animatronic spiders and also providing a beautiful bush-walk with flowering trees and waterfalls. There was a very cool reptile-show with some tremendous lizards and baby alligators (apparently they are Australia’s largest alligator breeders) and the boys got their picture taken with a boa constrictor wrapped round them. Having attempted to feed them to the Dingos on Fraser island and now snakes I expect that we will find child protection services waiting on the doorstep at home.

    There was also a Lost World of Reptiles exhibit with talking mummies and lots of turtles and big snakes. Daniel was thrilled by a gigantic sermonizing Egyptian statue with a crocodile head and glowing red eyes. It was of course surrounded by real crocodiles and laid down a solid conservationist message while blowin smoke out of its nostrils…

    Another exhibition was about spiders, with a wall full of different tarantulas, a cheerful display about the two really deadly spiders that live here in Australia and what to do it they bite you: in the case of the funnel-web spider you have seventy two minutes to get help before the venom kills you… This was rounded off the previously mentioned fifteen metre wide animatronic red-back that periodically reared up, hissed and snapped its mandibles at us.

    We all had a fine time and set off rather later than expected. We were rather dispiritedly heading for a camp-site near Sydney when Marjolein had a brainwave and navigated us towards a camp-site inside Lane Cove River, a small National Park on the edge of the city. Her maps ran out of detail as we closed in on it and entered suburbia, but we got some directions from helpful Aussie cyclists (Aussies are strikingly kind to random tourists and have helped us on our way lots of times) and bought a city map from a service station. We finally got there just as night was falling. The boys were overjoyed (they like National Parks unreservedly since we stayed in Tooloom and Warrumbungle), rushed off into the gloaming and came face-to-face with a possum, that gave them a look in the eye and then took to the trees. They spent some time possum-following and Daniel even got a nip on the finger from one that he was trying to feed leaves to. We took advantage of the surrounding city by ordering in pizza and all was right with the world.

  • Orange, August 5th

    Ah, the evil empire struck again: the MacDonald Cafe (or Macca, as they want you to call it) has wireless internet here. So we can have nice espresso, the kids can play, and I have 45 minutes to quickly upload the latest posts and photo’s – if I manage it in that time, there are a lot of photo’s…

    This morning we left Dubbo in grey and wet weather, and drove on to Wellington for the caves. During our break in Wellington, because the cave-tours wouldn’t start for another hour, we read up on the caves in NSW and spontaneously decided to skip these and change our route. Flexibility-R-us at your service…

    We are now on our way to Oberon, a bit past Bathurst, because we want to see the Jenalon caves. They have nine limestone caves and they are supposed to be really great. We will then go on to the entrance, where we will be the 7th. On the road we might, if we feel like it at that particular moment, visit the zig-zag railway and the glow-worm tunnel too, but we have no fixed route planned.

  • Dubbo, August 4th

    We don’t think much of this caravan park, but at least it really is close to the zoo. We walked there this morning (about 1 km) along the ‘Tracker Riley Cycle path’, where we were regularly confronted with little commemorations of great deeds done by this tracker. When we are home we have to look him up on the Internet, I’m curious now!

    At the Zoo we rented an electric cart, because we thought that walking would be too hard for the boys, especially Falco, since they already had walked quite a way to get there. But with hindsight walking would have been easier, since you had to get out of the car every 300 m and had to walk around the areas where they kept the animals. Than you had to get into the car again, put all the seatbelts on, and drive the next two or three hundred meters.

    The park was really nice. Not great, no must-see, but it was nice to see animals in a more natural habitat and they had enough animals to keep us happy the whole day. Being Australian they had about five times the area to play with that a European zoo would have and they used it to house extensive groups of obscure (and not-so obscure, i.e. Buffalo) herd animals. Of course, they also had Lions and Tigers, heards of Rhinos etc. and all their animals had an extremely healthy glow, unlike the slightly threadbare ones you sometimes see at home.

    Throughout the zoo were earnest posters assuring you that there were not merely a garden of rarities but also an essential partner for conservationists, repopulating the wild etc. The impact of these was somewhat tempered by other posters mentioning that you could also, for a considerable price, hand-feed the giraffe (good chance to get slobbered on apparently) and the Sumatran Tiger (small, beautiful and delicately stripy). Hmmm. We also had to laugh about the warning posters we encountered regularly; with all the dangerous animals in the zoo they mainly warned against the magpies who in their breeding season (August-October) can get quite aggressive when they think they have to defend their young.

    There was a fine show in which the something-or-other monkeys got their lunch (yes, bananas) and did some truly impressive howling and leaping about. Our monkeys enjoyed it very much and stopped howling and leaping about for a while in order to watch. I made a little video and will post it when we are back; it really is quite amusing.

    The weather had cleared too, which helped, though the wind still made it pretty cold. We have definitely left the warm North behind. Daniel gave us a little scare: when playing in the playground he landed very hard on his back and stayed down, complaining of bad pains in his lower back. After some comforting he proved able to walk and we concluded that he had just had the wind knocked out of him and bruised a hip-bone. We walked, very slowly, down the Tracker Riley path to the Dubbo Bowling Club and had beers and cokes until their Bistro opened.

    Clubs like that seem to be an Australian phenomenon: they have good, rather conventional British-type food, extensive bars and rooms full of one-armed bandits. They are clean, bright, safe places where we can fill the kids with calorific goodness and all you need to do is fill in a “temporary membership” form. The monsters ate well, particularly Matthijs who devoured an adult portion of Spaghetti Bolognese, followed by a plate of corn on the cob, apple-pie with ice-cream and three cokes. We cannot decide who’s childhood he is most like: I have vivid memories of shocking adults with me appetite at about that age and Marjolein was able to eat like a space-time discontinuity until we started having the children.

    With a couple of beers and a full meal, cooked by someone else, inside us and the monsters comfortably rounded all was well with the world. Daniel was now much, much better, but red-cheeked from a day in the cold wind and quite floopy. Everyone needed a good night’s sleep: we are off to the the Wellington caves tomorrow.

  • Dubbo, August 3th

    This morning was really great. We woke with the sun in Wurrumbungle Park and immediately went for a morning walk through the herds of kangaroos and wallabies. The boys worked some more in their gigantic tree while we whipped up breakfast. One of the many great things about the park is that in the middle of the wilderness they have powered sites so we actually had microwave porridge and toast as desirable breakfast options. I might import the tradition of toasted raisin & cinnamon toast into the Netherlands; I really like it, especially with salted butter.

    We then drove to another part of the park and walked the Canyon Picnic Area Nature track. If anybody who reads this ever visits the park, which I highly recommend, they should also do that walk. You have to be a bit agile, since it involves some climbing over rocks, but if you can do that you have a relatively short walk (a little over 1 km) with a lot of diversity and encounters with beautiful nature scenes. Like all the park walks we have seen so far it was very well signposted and had erudite little information posts at regular intervals. We all loved it!

    We dropped in at the visitor centre to pay our park dues and picked up some Wurrumbunleabilia (t-shirt for Tim and books for the boys) and after a tiny detour to walk to Whitegum lookout we drove back to Coonabarabran and onwards to Dubbo. On our way we saw that they actually build a planetarium on scale along the roads there – which means that you encounter small and big planets on various roads, where they are positioned (and sized) in accordance with our real solar system.

    We were fortunate that we stayed dry during our stay in the NP, because it now started to rain seriously. Our lunch stop at Gilgandra was also welcome as an opportunity to rest from the hard drive in miserable weather. We even hesitated about staying in Dubbo; what fun is an outdoor zoo if it is too rainy to see anything, even if some animals are crazy enough to stay out in the open?

    But two different locals told us that it should clear up tomorrow, so we decided to take the gamble and stay with our original plan. We drove to Dubbo and parked ourselves in one of the last available powered sites of the holiday camp – we had forgotten that the weekend starts today.

    Our little booklet had informed us that they had internet here, but unfortunately that turned out to be wrong. We will have to find an opportunity to post our new logs and photo’s when we drive on, which will be coming Sunday earliest since we will stay here for two nights to enjoy the zoo to the fullest. Sunday 5th we still plan to visit the Wellington caves and than move on to the Entrance and Bateau Bay to hopefully see my aunt(s). That’s a pretty long drive for one day, so in all likelihood we will arrive there on Tuesday the 7th.

    In other news: they called today to tell us that they wanted to deliver the last piece of missing luggage to us. Apparently it is the bag they tried to deliver when we stayed a day in Foster/Tuncurry, but it took them two weeks to conclude that it had missed us. With that in the back of my mind I preferred them to send it to my cousin in Sydney instead of trying (for the third time) to get it to the right holiday park. So we can take Falco’s and Daniel’s bag unopened back with us to the Netherlands on the 9th…

  • Wurrumbungle NP, August 2d

    Today we didn’t have a great start. The kids woke up grumpy but improved their mood by playing Frisbee with the freebies they were kindly given in Tenterfield. Uploading our previous reports and photo’s took me (Marjolein) more time than planned – sometimes it is hard to even glance at all the other weblogs of friends who are travelling far from the Netherlands for their holidays.

    So we departed later than planned – and got thoroughly lost in (tiny) Armidale. Their University is nice, but the third time we, fruitlessly, tried one of the roads leading around it (it turned into a dirt track) we liked it a lot less. We were on a schedule because we planned to end the day 350 km away in Warrumbungle National Park.

    Eventually we found the right highway and decided to sacrifice our espresso-stop at the Evil Empire in order to get back on track. However the cunning Evil Empire tempted us again in Tamworth (Australian Capital of Country Music; we are bombarded with Capitals these days) so we went for an efficient solution and got happy meals for the kids and nice espresso and focaccio sandwiches for us and ate them on the go, which meant we still had time for a stop-over in Koala-Capital Gunnedah.

    Finding the Visitor Centre took quite some time and when we got there it was closed for half an hour. But again it paid off to persist, we took a little walk and where still there when the nice lady returned to her office. She recommended the Waterway Wildlife Park, which happened to be on the right highway for our final destination today. It had a similar intend as the Oakdale farm we visited three weeks ago, but was slightly more amateurish. It provided us with some great photo-opportunities though, as you can see in the new album on the photo page.

    We than rushed to Coonabarabran, where we had to leave the highway for the Warrumbungle Park. The weather turned cloudy and dark, with a few spatters of rain, so by the time we where there (we entered the park a little after four) all dusk loving animals where up and about. Which meant we have to drive really carefully, to avoid hitting one of the crossing kangaroos. Till today we probably saw more wildlife splattered against the tarmac than walking around and we would really hate to kill one of the animals we came so far to see.

    Driving (very slowly) into the park we saw mobs bounding away or surveying us with that curiously haughty look ‘roos seem to have. We rolled into the camp-site and the boys rushed off, elated at being able to stretch their legs at last. They were even more delighted with the boulder-strewn creek at the bottom of the camp-site and utterly ecstatic with the huge tree half embedded in the opposite shore, whose roots were woven into a ready-made elven fortress, which they busily improved with stone walls and windows. Meanwhile we walked quietly across to the other side, relishing the stunning scenery of rainforest and massive volcanic bluffs and moving quietly past mobs of grazing Eastern Grey kangaroos. There we found a vast meadow covered with grazing emus and just stopped to take it all in.

    Nightfall came quickly, but with a strong afterglow, and the few Aussies also in on the site lit camp-fires and barbies. The boys stayed working on their hideout until it, and they, were almost pitch black. Then we dragged them away for Sphag Bol and bed. Final event of the evening was out group trek into the utter, moonless darkness in search of the toilet, navigated ably by Marjolein. There an Aussie trickster deity had hung a vast, leggy spider right in front of the ladies: another opportunity for me (Tim) to prove myself worthy of my “Manly” hoody… Tomorrow we plan to do all the walks we can manage with toads in tow and then trundle off to Dubbo, but I think we could easily spend a week here.

  • Glen Innes to Armidale,August 1th

    Glen Innes is a really nice town. The celticness of it makes Tim grumble a bit (as a half-Irishmen he feels that he has a right to frown at everything that is not originally Celtic), but it made me laugh. We had an interesting discussion comparing the Celts with the Aboriginals; both the indigenous population of areas that were conquered and oppressed, mainly surviving in the regions that were less important for the economic prosperity of the conquerors and both having to fight to keep the old traditions, culture and language alive.

    Of course the discussion continued talking about merging cultures; how should you do it if you are the foreigner/conqueror/immigrant and what can you expect from people coming to live in your own region. The Celtic Aussies apparently feel no need to be assimilated and feel that they can be very Australian and still be proud of their Celtic roots. They even make it into an economic asset! A healthy attitude as far as I am concerned.

    In Glen Innes as well as in Tenterfield you can see that these are older towns. The centres have a lot of houses that are build in a more ‘European’ style, often with proud displays of the year they were build. Tenterfield is actually the place where Sir Henry Parkes gave the ‘Tenterfield speech’ in 1889 that eventually led to the Australian Federation in 1901 (as Tim mentioned in his post).

    Between Tenterfield and Glen Innes (where we slept last night) we encountered the ‘Bluff Rock’. A huge granite boulder near the top of a mountain, where in 1844 a tribe of Aboriginals were thrown down by locals after killing a shepherd.

    One of the locals. Eduard Irby, wrote in his diary about the events:
    “The blacks saw us coming and hid themselves among the rocks. One in his haste dropped poor Robinson’s coat so we knew we were onto the right tribe. If they had taken their heels they might have got away, instead of doing so, they got their fighting men to attack us. So we punished them severely and proved our superiority to them.”

    In our holiday camp we actually saw a wallaby foraging between the rocks. I assume it was a brush-tailed rock wallaby, since it seemed to be quite fond of the big boulders on the camp site. If you really see them, you notice that they actually have a head that’s very different from a kangaroo head, and ears that are a lot smaller.

    When we got up this morning we first toured through Glen Innes again, since it really has nice buildings to look at. Difficult to photograph though, since they put the coloured lights right in the middle of the street so they would always be in your picture.

    Afterwards we drove to Guyra and headed off to the east there, to see some falls. The Ebor Falls were quite beautiful, and since they are fed by a spring there was enough water. The Wollomombie Falls however depend on the rain fall and it has been quite dry the last weeks. So that turned out to be a search for the remaining bit of fall. The granite walls it cascades from are still very imposing though, and the Wollomombie Gorge a few hundred meter further showed this valley with enormous granite walls that made you feel quite small – and caused some vertigo too.

    We are now landed in Armidale, where we will spend the night. Tomorrow we aim to have lunch in Gunnedah, koala capital of Australia, and we want to sleep in the Warrumbungle National Park. The next day, August 3d, we will hop over to Dubbo where we will stay two nights to explore the zoo. The current planning is to visit Wellington, where they have caves, on the 5th on our way to Bateau Bay where we hope to arrive the 7th and hopefully can meet again with my aunts. The 8th we go to Sydney and I will try to arrange to have dinner with the relatives there, and the 9th we will fly home again. Of course we might change the planning on the spot if circumstances warrant that, but it is nice to have a general idea about where and when we want to be this last week.