Port Macquairie

33 Days in the Wilderness Day 20

We set off a 7,30 am.  Our first stop is Port Macquairie, to the Koala Hospital.  Port Maquairie is set above an idyllic bay.  Again beautiful sandy beaches, flowers and trees.  The streets are wide and tree-lined and most of the housing is one level.  The Koala Hospital project was set up by an Englishman 26 years ago and is run totally by volunteers.  They receive no government funding and all monies donated go to the care and well being of the koalas.  Several of our party adopt Koalas and we all give cash donations as well as buying photographs and cards.  We are supplied with tea and biscuits which they have no permission to charge for so we drop money in a tin. We meet a party of schoolchildren visiting the Hospital as part of a school outing.

The hospital’s biggest need is antibiotics as Koalas suffer rampantly from VD.  The staff treat the Koalas and get them free from disease then they could have a visitor come in overnight and the Koalas will be infected again.  We saw many Koalas up in the trees although they were mostly sleep.

The coach takes us through Port Maquairie but we are told it is mainly a retirement area and there is not much work.

We travel on to Raymond Terrace which is the main shopping town for the area.  We have lunch with Breeda in the mall.  It is now very hot and we have photographs taken with Breeda before we board the coach.

Breeda is dropped off outside a restaurant to await the arrival of her aunt.

We travel through high mountains that have been cut through to get road access.  The valleys are very green and lush,

We drop Milene and her husband, the only Canadians on the trip, off at North Sydney to await the arrival of their family.

The traffic is becoming denser and as we swing around one corner we see a group of children playing cricket in the school playground.

Most of the rest of our party are dropped in Central Sydney adjacent to Hyde Park.

Maureen and I are dropped off with Colette and Bernie at the Bayside Hotel.  We are disappointed with the hotel after the standard we have been used to but the view of Rushcutters’ Bay is superb.

I phone Trudi and she arranges, with her friend Kay,  for us to be collected around 8pm.  The Bayside is at completely the other end of Sydney from where they both live.

Trudi and Kay pick us up and take us to dinner in the Rugby Football Club.  The food is great and reasonably priced,  The Club has three floors and a band is play 60s rock and roll music on the level we are on.  There are gaming machines on all floors and roulette tables and other horse racing games tables.  We each lose a dollar on the one arm bandits.  We watch members use the ATM machines set on each floor and return to the gaming machine to lose more money.

We set off out into the night and find Sydney is much like London at night as it is still as alive as during the day.  The girls give us a whirlwind tour around the city which is well spread out, lush and green with many one way streets.

My great disappointment is the stick insect thinness of Trudi.  Her large eyes are almost luminous.  Her cheek bones and nose are prominent and there seems to be no flesh on her at all.  She is sick.  I feel like Desperate Dan beside her.

348 miles