Driving Down the South Coast

We drove over two days from the Gold Coast to Sydney through some beautiful scenery and small towns, stopping occasionally to drive up to a view point or for food or gas. We spent the night at a small beach town called Port Macquarie. There was what we’d call an RV park just up the path from the hotel along the river where it met the beach with every spot taken. Hundreds of kids played in a open grassy area and a small skate park. Almost in all cases they weren’t with their parents or grownups which itself was unusual and refreshing. The breakwater along the estuary is lined with boulders along the path and every boulder is painted with some sort of a message. Family names, memorials, we-were-here, wisecracks – they made for fun reading.

At Port Macquarie Vivian and Evan found a beautiful giant ficus tree to climb on the way to dinner. As they climbed higher, especially Vivian, I gently reminded them that coincidentally today, December 28th, is exactly one year since Vivian fell out of a tree in New Braunfels and broke her arm. Seems ages ago.

Speaking of trees, at several places along the highway we saw a lot of forests scorched by the recent fires. We couldn’t see or smell smoke but this stretch between Brisbane and Sydney had a lot of active fires. Australia is a huge country and even a small section of it is a lot of ground. We checked websites for information about highway closures but everything was good. This was before the Australian bush fires was international news and the mortality numbers were low. There was some news coverage about the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, vacationing in Hawaii instead of being at home in Australia even as local often volunteer fire fighters battled hundreds of blazes.

Along the highways we saw a lot of signs warning drivers against fatigue. This is unusual. In the US any PSA messaging along the highways usually is focused on drunk driving. They even have signs directing drivers to rest areas (stopping bays) that had “Driver Reviver” stations. We got curious and checked one out and found a nice food truck serving great quality coffee. I bought myself an espresso and drove on feeling much revived.

As we neared Sydney we also approached the end of our great Australian road trip. Though we flew between Perth, Melbourne, and Brisbane, we had a car at each of those places and have covered a few thousand kilometers of Australian highways. We turned in our car in Sydney airport and got ready for the urban part of our trip. In Sydney we’ll use public transport and Ubers.

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