On the road to retirement – Sunday 29th January 2012


To Mercury Bay! John, avid readers will remember has been reading the diaries of Captain Cook and his travels discovering New Zealand and Australia. You will be pleased to know he has read Robinson Crusoe and The Origin of Species (by Charles Darwin), after this, but Cook’s diaries have been pertinent to much of our travels and today even more so!
Mercury Bay was a prime objective! To observe the transit of Mercury across the sun from this new land in order to establish the longitude of New Zealand and as a consequence where you could find it again on a follow up voyage.
Our prime objective was simply to find a pleasant place to lay our heads. As has become our habit, we choose our destination just a few days prior to our need. This way we are constantly able to adjust our plans to suit. Whilst the location is usually spot on, the actual establishment is pure luck. We choose through availability and price!
Atearorea Lodge is just outside Witianga. It feels like a cross breed, somewhere between a motel and a bed and breakfast. I cannot fault the friendly and helpful owners. Our room is just big enough to house two enormous single beds and the en suite. There’s s small cupboard for the fridge, kettle and a shelf for clothes.
I’m beginning to wonder why motels and any accomodation do not realize that it is good to unpack our clothes. I really do not want to live out of a suit case. Simple drawers, maybe a few hangers – they make me feel at home.
Down the corridor is a communal lounge with another, much larger cupboard, which is a kitchen, but although it has a fridge/freezer for guest use, it only has two portable style hot plates and a microwave, and no sharp knives.
It is inhabited by old people at present. Mostly retired couples on holiday but the lovely granny character who welcomes us is very kind. However, she adds to my feeling that I have finally made it into retirement.
Wandering around town, we stumble upon The Carvery, and enjoy a well cooked roast dinner for under $20 each.

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A rest and a great leap South 21st and 22nd November 2011


Brian has been a wonderful host. He recounted the preparations required when they announced the cyclone. Each year, everything to be battened down, external shelves cleared: it takes a week, but that’s all you’ve got before it comes. All along the coast we have heard’ and seen evidence of the chaos and damage a cyclone can cause from the one that hit Australia in February. It took Brian a week to clear up, despite his precautions.

That unusual sound we heard at Magnetic, did indeed come from Flying Foxes, or Fruit Bats. But what an idiot I am! The name tells you they don’t need ultrasound for locating insects. They don’t eat insects! They eat fruit! The constant chatter, a cross between Punch and Judy and Mickey mouse voices,is them arguing about who should eat the best fruit.

We have so loved Coral Point Lodge, at Shute harbour, that we spend a whole day doing nothing but relaxing there and admiring the beautiful views.

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But the time has come to make a move South. Suddenly we being to feel a deadline! We want to be in Melbourne by early December to meet with a friend’s parents and be handed over a house for a month! So we sit for 7 hours in a Greyhound which takes us to Rockingham.

Movies in Greyhounds are sporadic and at the whim of the driver. Luckily, our driver picks a good one to pass the time, The Bourne Identity. To our amusement the Greyhound gets sick and needs two new batteries. Sure enough a van with “dog doctor” turns up to oblige.

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It was an half hour walk to our motel in Rockingham. Although along main roads, the pavements often gave out and, pulling our cases was hard work. The motel was out of the movies! Crinkled up dirty carpet, lack of any plates but a microwave provided, and a plastic shower curtain that Psycho would be proud of. Still the sheets were clean and we arrived at 7.45 and had to leave by 5 next morning. Making breakfast in mugs was a hoot!

Onwards South, we are actually making some movement along our map of Australia. Hooray!