May 11, after breakfast, we headed toward a town called Kurri Kurri. It wasn't very far. Why stop in Kurri Kurri? This is why:
After Kurri Kurri we went on to Newcastle. We stopped at the home of Helen and John. Helen was an exchange student at my high school 46 years ago! I had seen her once about 25 years ago. It was fun to catch up; John cooked us some steaks on the barbie, also they gave us a short tour of their town. Newcastle has some beautiful beaches! It is so great to have an opportunity to share with a resident of the place one travels to. That was one of the big perks of our trip to Europe a couple years ago: time spent with residents of the places we visited. It's a unique way to learn about and enjoy the country. So we really appreciated this chance to see Helen and John, as brief as it had to be.
We had a longish drive to our next stop, Port Macquarie, NSW and arrived in the dark. Our hotel was tucked in a funny little corner, hard to find. But it turned out to be one of my favorites of the trip. It was also situated in a beautiful spot. The town had these koala statues all over, similar to the Charlie Brown statues we had here in Minnesota several years ago. Here's sunrise from our hotel room, and some koalas:
Have any of you ever had ice cream for breakfast? I did!
After that delicious brekkie, my second fondest wish of the trip was fulfilled. Can you guess what it was?
I loved that place, and I was amazed at the stories of the koalas they rescue. After they are rehabbed, they release the koalas back into the bush, if possible. Handling a koala is not allowed in New South Wales; I would have loved to touch him but was happy to follow their very sensible rule. For the funding of the hospital they rely on donations from people who "adopt" a koala. I adopted one after arriving home and found that it is much cheaper to do it via e-certificate rather than through the mail. And the U.S. dollar exchange makes it even less from this end. What I thought was going to cost me $55 ended up being a little over $28. If you are interested, check out their website, here: Koala Hospital.
My two fondest wishes have been fulfilled; I was feeling very lucky and still am. Please come back for more stories in the next chapter!