Family reunion in New South Wales (part 1)

Sunday afternoon (4th April) it continued raining….hard… we had a lazy day completed by a Netflix film called The Judge. Great movie, thoroughly enjoyed it.

Monday it rained on and off all day. We headed out for breakfast but found everywhere completely rammed with queues out of the doors so, instead, popped into the Marina Village IGA and got some crusty rolls and some fresh ham and enjoyed that instead once back on board. During the afternoon we cleaned and tidied up before welcoming Steve and Jo for dinner – we had another fun evening.

Tuesday it was raining again, hard!!! Pretty fed up we just stayed down below like hermits throughout the day and evening.

Wednesday morning and we were up pretty early and headed out for a coffee which was nice, now that the Easter crowds had gone home. We then checked out of the Marina feeling quite sad to leave, we had thoroughly enjoyed our month in Sanctuary Cove, just such a shame that the weather stopped us fully utilising the facilities!

At around 11ish we slipped away into the Coomera River for the trip north back to The Boatworks. We arrived in squally showers with strong winds but made it into the slip without any difficulty. Once we were fully secured we headed to the laundry and the cruisers’ room to do some more Netflix downloads while we waited for the machines to finish. Finally all done we headed back to Morphie to get out our cases and start packing

Thursday we were pretty busy. We had breakfast at The Galley then got busy packing for our trip to New South Wales. We then picked up our courtesy car and headed back to Sanctuary Cove to meet Steve to borrow his car. Again, so very grateful to both Steve and Jo in lending us their car, otherwise our trip would probably have been cancelled yet again as the hire car pick up was in a Queensland covid hotspot.

I then headed to Westfield for some last minute bits and bobs – including a hair cut – and met Richard back at the boat. Finally we were finished packing and had dinner in the cockpit watching the thousands of fruit bats flying somewhere to roost for the night. Amazing sight.

Friday morning we packed the car and were on the road by 6.50 am with a trip of 800kms (497 miles) ahead of us. We were going to be sharing the driving so I did the first leg and picked up lots of traffic on the M1 heading south towards Southport. Once we were clear of Southport the traffic thinned out until we reached the border with NSW where it got a bit busier again. As we hadn’t been in any Queensland hotspot regional area there were no border restrictions at all so we sailed through. And then the roads just emptied and we had very little traffic at all.

At about 9.30 am we stopped for a break and some breakfast before moving on. Some nice sights along the way and also surprised at how some people stack their cars – not sure they would get away with this in the UK!

The next stop was just after 12 to swap drivers, then again at 2.30pm by which time the traffic had picked up a bit again as we got closer to populated areas and arrived at our destination around 5pm. Was lovely to pull up and the whole family came out to welcome us.

We had a lovely evening catching up over a few cold ones and a Chinese. Fantastic to see how much the boys had grown up since the last time we had been here (November 2019) and despite being in Australia since March 2020 this was the first time there was any certainty over the interstate borders remaining open to make this trip possible. All very exciting!

Saturday morning we awoke to the very sad news about the death of Prince Philip, so we watched some of the subdued TV coverage for a while. We then went out food shopping at the huge mall at Erina Fair before returning to the house to rest. We had asked the boys to put together a list of everything they would like to do in their school holidays and we had quite an interesting selection to choose from. So Hayley and I sat down and planned the time we had together before we shared our news with Jack and Adam – they were very excited! We also caught up with Budd the dog who had grown a bit since the last time we had seen him….can’t believe he is still only a 19-month puppy. He is huge and you certainly know it when he decides to sit on you LOL! Oh yes and Velvet the cat tolerates him pretty well too…..

Later on we had a BBQ with the biggest prawns ever! This was followed by a family movie night – which was a Jurassic Park film. We didn’t stay up too late as we were still weary from the day before.

Sunday morning and we headed out to Soldiers Beach, Norah Head. Although the sun was out the wind was pretty fierce and felt quite chilly but we enjoyed sitting around watching the surf and surfers whilst walking the beach while the boys played happily in the sand dunes. There were some surfing competitions on too and loved watching the really small kids having a blast in the waves (with those in the competition being tagged by an adult). Later on we headed to the Craken cafe for fish and chips before returning home for a lazy afternoon. Great start to the trip so far…and lots more adventures to come….

Hope you are all OK at home and enjoying the easing of restrictions. Catching up with family and friends must be a great feeling now that it is possible. Although we have been living a ‘normal’ life here in Australia for the last 13 months just seeing family again after such a long time is pretty special so I can relate to how you must all be feeling. So it must be time for more Koalas to make you smile….