Another one of them roadtrips

The heat did come back to Tamworth after all the rain and the lawn looks a little less green than it did a while ago. I'm getting used to 30+ temperatures being the norm and try my best to not fall asleep in the afternoons, when the heat gets the most intense.
Isaac took a week off work at the end of November and went with me on a roadtrip around New South Wales to visit friends and family. It sounds a bit lame to say "we had a great time", but we did. Even the 7-hour drives were enjoyable, mainly because we listened to Thrive and Jeremy Camp on repeat, talked about everything under the sun (and things that are not), took scenic routes (even if they were detours) and stopped at random places of beauty.
First stop was a place you probably have never heard of; Grogan. Our friend Niki from the LTS invited us to come out to her dad's farm out there. We spent the days chasing sheep in the ute (pick-up truck), catching yabbies (crayfish) in the dams, eating lots of great food and taking an excursion to Temora (which was quite a lovely little country town). Just before we left, Niki's dad let me come with him for a lap in the header (harvest was on). It was more fun than I thought it would be, although I still think Isaac was more excited about me going than I was. All I could think of was (only Swedes will understand this reference) "Rädda Joppe - död eller levande!".
I really loved being out there, so thankful that Niki invited us out. My first time eating freshly caught yabbies (at least Australian) and seeing a mob (I've just learned that they're called mobs or troops - doesn't troop sound very grand?) of kangaroos leaping alongside the car.
Next planned stop was Wollongong, but we got detoured on the way there, due to a car crash or road works - not entirely sure what was happening. The detour took us really close to a sign towards Fitzroy Falls, which amazed us with being a gorgeous lookout over the waterfall and a massive gorge. It was breath-takingly beautiful, but the pictures can't show you what it really felt like.
A short stop at Robertson's pie shop gave us energy to tackle the Macquarie Pass, a windy road that in certain corners gives a friendly suggestion that you should slow down to 15 km/h. Almost killed the poor car we drove.

Arriving at Wollongong, we met up with Melissa and begun an epic hiking journey down the 27 km Coastal Track. The trail will take you through Royal National Park along the coast of Australia and could potentially be done in a day (we took 2 days, just to enjoy it more). I thought 27 km down the coast would be exciting for the first bit and then, when you're tired and want to get back home, you might get sick of it. That didn't happen at all (the tired bit did, but not the bored-of-scenery bit). I used up my whole memory card for my camera (which, admittedly, isn't very big), just because I kept getting fascinated by the changing scenery. We started of on snow-white cliffs high above the sea, crossed a few sun-drenched beaches, found a dam to cool down in, entered mist-clad hills and palm jungles, to find the hidden train station at Otford among kookaburra and lyrebird singing. It was probably one of the best hikes I've ever been on, even if it rained and we all felt miserable during parts of it.

Being a national park, the area was naturally filled with wildlife of all kinds, most of it still new to me. One of the highlights was a lyrebird putting on its show for a female. These birds are amazing in their repertoir; they can mimic literally any sound. It sounded like a cacaphony of birds; kookaburras, cockatoos, finches and all these birds I don't know because I haven't lived here long enough yet. Blue-bottles (or Portuguese Man-o-War) is still something I don't want to see alive up close. Isaac had some very close contact with a couple of leeches that decided his feet were the most lovely thing ever created. Something else that was a bit too close to his feet was this snake that we still haven't been able to identify. It could be a brown snake, but being from a country with no more than 3 snakes to pick from, none of them which will kill you (unless you're terribly allergic), I have absolutely no clue what this could be. It seemed quite content with merely giving us a dirty look and then move on across the path.
From our time in Sydney and Newcastle, I don't have that many pictures (see above-mentioned comment about running out of memory on my SD-card). However, it was not less awesome seeing Josh & Caitlyn, Susanna, Uncle Simon, Mitch and all the rest we met. At the YWAM Newcastle base, someone even gave me some Swedish candy (djungelvrål). I don't think she realised how valuable those little black liqourice monkeys are here. Another thing I found that I liked was, quite surprisingly, frozen fanta with ice-cream float. It's sickly sweet, slightly fuzzy and really cheap. I don't like McDonalds, but I must say that they did a good job with this.
Despite having to constantly refill the oil in the car (we went through 4 litres during the trip altogether), it was really enjoyable and it was great to be able to explore a bit of Isaac's state. I'm getting really fond of New South Wales.


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