Thursday, March 19, 2015

Shark-hunting bear goes home - or at least tries to

Thursday, March 19, 2015

 The day dawned nice and red - and so were some eyes! Not from the crying but from the lack of sleep - seems the flight pattern changed and the planes came in to land - more or less over our heads - until the small hours!!

Not being in a hurry we stayed in bed for a bit - but eventually had to get up.  Saw the young lady from the 4wheel drive in the morning - she looked ok - if still very grumpy.  Hmmmm anyhow - we did what we had to do - breakfast and so forth - then actually packed our bags and cleaned up the Camper van.  We were ready by mid-morning - in no real rush but eventually decided it was better to drop of the van and head to the airport - so we closed doors and belted up and put keys in the ignition - and --- nothing.  WHAT?!?!?!?!
Pulls key out, re-inserts key and turns and - *cough* nothing.  Not a peep / sound engine noise - just - - nothing!

Mild panic rising!!

One call to the camping ground folks - who are only 10 km across the airport - who said to ring road-side assistance - who said - we send you a Mercedes mechanic - if he hasn't turned up in an hours time - please ring back.
I did contemplate jump-starting the van myself - but mid morning the camp-site was deserted - everyone must be out in town and even though the useless car manual pointed where things should be, the battery itself was in a completely different space (and found after a bit of detective work by the mechanic) !! 
The chap did turn up - right on an hour later.  He tested and jump started us - and long story short - the Battery is a dud!!  Just as well he came - and gave us a paper that made it all official.  Could not stop anywhere for top-up of Diesel so had to make our way to the rental place and explain the situation there.  They were good - waiving the fill up (around 20 Liters).

From there to Sydney Airport and unlike here in Christchurch we could check in our bags early - leaving us free to roam.  We then discovered there is a direct train link to the middle of town and we checked watches and decided we could make that - only to be thwarted by the train tickets - seems we run out of cash.
Ah well
Time to sit and relax at the airport and catch a plane home.
Time to wind up for Mondays work
Time to do last minute shopping at the airport.
Time to reflect on what we have seen / tasted /experienced.

First up - the wild life.
    We never saw a single shark on any watery course ( and those in a tank do not count) - so there went the hunt south
    We never saw a crocodile either - even though the Park/Zoo we visited had one on display - it must have been hiding!  Am told later that it is too cold for them south of Brisbane.
    We did not come across a snake or spider or any other harmful critter either.  We are sure they exist - it's just they made a biiiiig be-line around us!! Smart move on their part.
    We did see some interesting other wildlife (and humans).  The birds (the feathered ones) are so different and colorful and - yes - very noisy.  Mamabear in particular thrilled to have wild kangaroo skipping past our Camper-van on some occasions.
    ANTS - they are EVERYWHERE.  Literally. I kid you not. They have to out-number any other living creature in Australia by a factor of at least 10000.  In one camping ground we saw a regular highway of ants going up a tree to who knows what for.  They were going up in 4 lanes wide - AND coming down in two lanes! A 6 lane ant highway!!   No wonder the birds had a feast right next to our Camper-van!!  I contemplated taking a pic - but realized the small ants and focus and . . . . .
    Koalas - saw them only at the sanctuary.  Seems they have it best - sleeping most of the day!  Inspiring stuff.
    Possums - would you believe it - they are "protected" in Australia as a species.  Seriously?!  They are a major unwanted pest here in NZ - carrying TB and stripping the leaves of the trees and also raiding the nests of our native birds.
    Farming - inland before you get to the 'outback' is a lot of farmland - but we saw very little cow's or sheep, unlike in NZ where you see them everywhere.  The land is just soooo vast - I am sure they just spread further apart . . .
    Weather - we had fabulous sunny warm days - with Brisbane being almost too hot. Along with that come the extreme storms and we saw in Coff's Harbour how much the pacific can dump if it so pleases!
    Plant-life - you think Australia - dessert - right?!?! Gum trees and cactus!  It also has a rain forest!  It is naturally different to the one here in NZ - and I am sure different to any other part in the world, and yet it does exist! 
    Time -  we are so used to daylight savings and our sun setting at 9pm or later
during summer, and to sit outside at 6.30pm having our dinner in darkness - took some getting used to.
    People - very friendly and helpful in Brisbane - nothing was too much trouble and you felt very welcome.  This diminished the further south we got. 
    Food - some stuff just divine (especially some hunter valley wines).  And everything is larger/bigger/fuller then in New Zealand. Not sure if the warmer longer sunnier days have got something to do with that.  Also there is a huge variety of fruit due to its tropical climate.  If you love food - go there - it has an amazing range of color/taste/size available.
    Road-safety - we think we have it tough - wait till you met a traffic officer in NSW. . . . .
    Patriotism - I am sure NZ is just as passionate about their country as our Western Island cousins are about theirs.  They however seem to be able to show it more openly.  We saw more flags flying and represented in towels etc etc then  here.  Then again - we have the All Blacks, who needs a flag . . . . 
     Multicultural - Sydney in particularly was noticeable - so many people from so many different cultures.  One thing above that, that stood out - a casual observation Asians seem to be around 40% of the population.  Not sure if that bears out in their census data, as I said - it is just an observation, but as a ethnic group they stood out.

Anyhow - will we go back - probably?! When - who knows?!?!
First up we have a weekend in Tekapo (my Birthday treat) - then my sister is talking about coming out from Europe and we haven’t spent any time lately in our favorite spot - the Coromandel, and further, Mamabear really wants to spend a week or two in Cook Islands . . . .
Hmmmm we better win Lotto soon . . . . .

Anyhow - arrived home well after midnight and just fell into bed. 

Have fun

 bear print

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