15th November 2020
How is it that when we were at work, days droned into weeks, months and years, yet in retirement, time passes so I can’t believe it has been a fortnight since our last coffee catch up? Are you well? How are you managing the seasonal changes?
If we were having coffee I ask my followers in the USA how you were? How is America today? Are you okay and how are you caring for yourselves in these torrid times? I’d tell you no matter the vote you cast, everyone is hurting and my heart goes out to you. Please keep yourselves – and democracy – safe.
As it’s later in the day I’m offering iced ginger beer or a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. No nibbles tonight. Sorry. Coffee catch-ups are for sharing and caring and this week I’m linking in with fellow-sharers and coffee drinkers over at Eclectic Alli.
Here Down Under we’re inching towards Summertime but I have to say, travelling further south it is cooler. No sooner had we crossed the interstate border from Queensland to New South Wales (our home state) than we dug the woolly rugs and jumpers out from under the beds.
When we caught up last, we were enjoying time on Bribie Island which was beautiful. It’s been a quick trip from there to here, a fortnight later, but let me back up a bit and share our final few days in the Sunshine State of Queensland.
Some of the last days in Queensland (QLD) were spent at Ipswich, a good-sized town well serviced and beautifully cared for residents and local council. Highlights? The Orion Lagoon in Springfield, a short drive from where we stayed at the Ipswich Showgrounds; the short ride on the Queensland Pioneer Steam train; lunch at Queen’s Park Cafe; and the waffle-cone double scoop ice cream we enjoyed while sitting on a bench watching a croquet championship match. Serious stuff, but as Basil pointed out, not a flamingo in sight …
Right before crossing into New South Wales (NSW) our final nights were at Girraween National Park, Castle Rock campground. With 17 km walking tracks from which to choose, we selected three of the less strenuous given the daytime heat. The 1.6 km Granite Arch walk had amazing rock sculptures along the way, plenty of wildflowers and of course plenty of happy-snapping time in and around the natural arches. We had fun.
If we were having coffee I’d tell you that we’re back in our home state of New South Wales (NSW) and that we crossed from Queensland (QLD) into NSW without incident, in fact, because the border, coming south, was open we drove straight through. For those heading into QLD it was the usual Police checks to ensure no visitors entered having been in COVID “hot spots” recently.
Right across the border is Bald Rock National Park, a short drive from the town of Tenterfield, where we pulled in at the showgrounds for three nights. Time to regroup and decide which roads to travel as we head east. It was also a time to spend time in the national park.
The weather for our walk in the National Park was drizzle and light showers and rather than a hindrance, the bush and rock formations looked surreal in the atmosphere, moody.
Because of the rock gradient and how wet it was underfoot, we decided against clambering up rocks and settled for a walking track around the rock. However, more than halfway around there were more rock surfaces to scale. We turned back. Despite the setback, it was a great few hours and the weather did clear enough to see the entire rock, for which the park is named.
On the way home, we stopped at the Tenterfield Bakery for curry pies, Basil’s French vanilla slice and a salted caramel macadamia tartlet. If we were having coffee I’d shame-facedly tell you I ate the macadamia thingee with not one thought of how much good it was doing me.
If we were having coffee I’d tell you that before setting camp today we stopped at the Sandstone Caves, north of Coonabarabran and did the 1.7 km walk. We loved this 60min walk around the caves and the outlook across the strict was stunning. The caves had beautiful colours, weather-worn exteriors and information plaques made an easy level walk well worth the small detour.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m excited about catching up with friends on a flying visit to our old stomping ground. That’ll happen in the next week and then we head further south to do more walking in and around the Blue Mountains. So our days will be busy with travelling between here and there, checking out campgrounds and taking in the sights along the way.
Finally, I’d tell you we’ve been on the road for 268 days and we are approaching the final days of our adventure. 2020 isn’t over yet and while it is tempting to wish it away, there have been many good moments too. I’m looking forward to seeing the lovely people who live in my village and reconnecting during face-face coffee catch-ups and seeing how they really are.
So until next time, look after yourselves, keep safe and remember that you are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.