After a week of constantly checking weather reports for various area’s we had the same conclusion..rain. Now we don’t like putting tents up & down in wet weather so we were really hoping the all knowing weatherman might change his mind at the last moment, we should have known better..nope.still rain. Friday night saw us debating once again where to go, & if we should go at all. In the end we agreed to phone Nelligen Big 4 caravan park to see if they had any cabins available, there is a large river & they have a boat ramp so we thought we could do some recon for later use with the boat.you never know!
The Gods where against us.all booked out, we tried 2 others until we found that there was 1 cabin at the Clyde River Caravan Park . We booked this & decided to go to the South Coast camping & caravan show , Visit Mogo Zoo & see the attractions down south & as we were in a cabin we didn’t have to worry about the soggy ground & the promise of wet weather.
Early Saturday morning we had a phone call…ooops the caravan park had some how double booked! So they have made arrangements with a sister park at South Durras called Lakesea Caravan Park, which is only 10km north of Batemans Bay, so we weren’t too concerned. We packed up, fed the animals & where on our way. It rained on & off the whole way!. We found the Caravan Park fairly easily , it reminded me of Merry Beach with all the trees along the road, & booked in.
We had a cabin facing the lake (Durras Lake), it had a nice deck with tables & chairs to sit on , Inside was a open area which included a kitchen, dining table ,lounge with TV & DVD player, 2 bedrooms & a separate bathroom. The cabins are each named after native wildlife and ours was called the Eagle.
After unloading all our gear we drove into town to find the show, The lady at the park said there were signs everywhere..did we see 1.no not at all..no signs at all but we did see a heap of cars parked off the road & guessed that we were in the right area. After finding a parking spot close by, we paid our entrance fee & wandered around, found a place selling BBQ sausages & steak for lunch.we were a tad bit hungry by now. We saw the Jet tent which we have been eyeing off, caravans, camper trailers & all sorts of goodies, even though it wasn’t really big or have much 4×4 stuff (mainly caravans) the afternoon passed quickly. No rain, just kept threatening to. We all agreed (after a lengthy discussion & driving around looking for some where) to get pizza & take back to the cabin & heat up rather than go back to the caravan park, get changed & go back into town again.
We ordered our Pizzas & Brendan also wanted some Prawns from the shop next door, so we ordered 1/2 a kilo for an appetiser.
We got back to the caravan park, there were lots of Kangaroos eating in the grassy area’s in the park & next to the road. Brendan went to play in the playground & David & I thought we’d have a drink on the deck & relax a bit before we reheated the pizza and ate..oops The kitchen didn’t have an oven, only hotplates & a microwave..oh well we’d do something with that later. We had a quick walk around the park (the Kiosk was closed. & David needed milk for his coffee) ok, there is a corner shop in South Durras, so we jumped in the car & drove around to find it.just as we pulled up the owner came out with a sign saying “closed “…luckily he let us in & we got some milk! David gets cranky when he doesn’t get his caffeine fix 😉
My, ingenious, husband came up with the idea of using the frying pan with a bit of water & placing the pizza boxes over top to heat up, it actually worked pretty good even if the boxes got a bit soggy. After tea & cleaning up we all had a nice hot shower & started watching Brendan’s movies.
Brendan & I were on the lounge, David was in the bedroom when we heard a bang outside..we all rushed over to the door & found a mother & baby possum had somehow removed the lid off the garbage bin & were eating our left overs.we took a few photo’s & then they ran over to a large tree out front of our cabin. David went inside & Brendan & I watched them for a bit longer, I took a piece of crust over to the tree & the mother came down carrying the baby to get it.took a few close ups & left them to it..About an hour later another bang, this time we had a kangaroo & the possums were back..a few more photos and closed the bin again..yep another bang but this time there was a guy shooing the possums away ..do not encourage the possums they make a mess !!! Finally we all went to bed, but thanks to a strange bird call ( not kangaroos or possums this time) which was really loud, right on dawn, we woke up really early, but eventually went back to sleep for a few extra hours.
After cleaning & packing up we had Macca’s for Breaky before going down to Mogo Zoo—-hmmmmm-do love the zoos.!
We walked in & right at the entrance the first keeper talk was on.Silvery Gibbons, cute & very agile, the Female is the dominate & you could tell she was really bossy & when the keeper gave the male a grape she decided that she wanted that one as well, even though there was plenty on the ground- it got pretty rough!.
Tigers were next, they were Sumatran, 2 x females & 1 male named Larry, all in individual cages, they had huge paws, were quite vocal & liked to rub up against the fence at the keeper (like household cats do) they weighed around 90kg & are actually the smallest of the tigers, Siberian tigers weigh around 330kg!
Opposite the tiger enclosure was a tawny lion pack, the male & 1 female were right down the back sleeping ( usually sleep for 20 out of 24 hours) another female came up really close to the fence while we were there, & just sat & watched.
Otters were the next keeper talk & Brendan really wanted to see this.but we just missed it.spent too much time looking at the tigers. The otters we still very playful and were out in the enclosure swimming & running around so Brendan got to see them at least.
On our way around to the next keeper talk we saw, Golden Tamarin, Cotton top Tamarin, Pygmy Marmoset ( smallest monkey of all) Red Panda, Gibbons ,Giraffe, Ostrich, Zebra, Fenec Fox, Brazilian Tapir, Meerkats & Deer which you could feed through the fence- and they all seem really hungry & didn’t hesitate to eat from your hands.
My very favourite animal of all..the Snow leopard was next.what.he has a Swedish girlfriend visiting.and he is not available for viewing..it’s not fair! all I can see is grass rocks..woe is me
The Timbavati White Lions were the next keeper talk, There was 1 male & 4 females in a large savannah looking enclosure. The keeper fed them small amounts of meats to get them to stand up against the fence. They get fed every 3-4 days large amounts of meat like horse legs etc still intact with the bones. The male has to be fed separately because like in the wild the female will hunt the food but the male gets fed first.he doesn’t share well.They are not albino but a really light shade of blonde (not the usual tawny colour)- needs 2 recessive genes to make this happen- very unique.
We made our way around to the Siamang which is a type of Gibon not a monkey- they were so cute, they walked on their feet like we do, had the long arms like the Orang-utans, They are the largest of the Gibon family and are black in colour. The babies were chasing the ducks away, picking up left over food, running & playing on the ropes. While mum & dad were having a lie down in the sun, one of the babies decided to then jump & play on mum & dad, then they wrestled for a while..reminded me of Brendan.so human like. While we sat and watched them Brendan had a little picnic stop, sitting on the rocks overlooking the water fencing off the Siamang,- we saw eels swimming around.
We saw Spider Monkeys, Ring tailed Lemurs & Black & White Ruffed Lemurs- they each had their own separate islands & very pretty quiet until a keeper came out into the water in a little dingy.they all started running around after that !
Next, was the reptile enclosure.Iguanas & large snakes were the theme.the Iguana’s were cute in a dragon sort of way- there was a Green one & a Rhinoceros one, but the snakes..yuk..Brendan enjoyed them though.must be a boy thing!
We were on our way back to see the tigers again, & found the juvenile Red Panda’s running around their enclosure chasing each other, there were 2 enclosures next to each other & there were 2 Red Panda’s in each ..we spent a lot of time here watching them & taking photo’s ( I wish I had seen them earlier- I seemed to spend hours trying to get a photo of the adult ones which I think deliberately were lying down in the back of the trees, so you couldn’t see them properly)
We had a late lunch, then waited for the last Keeper talk of the day.the Serval…Medium sized African wild cat.we were the only ones there ! The keepers actually went into the enclosure with the 2 cats on display as they had been hand raised, The mother & brother & sister in the next enclosure were not.They meow not roar, they also purr & can jump 3m in height , they have eye camouflage on their ears & have the longest legs of the cat family – compared to body size, the usual weight is around 16kg.
A quick stop for Brendan to again see & take another photo of the Otters, we then left Mogo Zoo
We decided to go out to Nelligen to have a look at the Big4 caravan park anyhow. There was still no vacancies unless you wanted a powered tent site, but the lady at the front desk buzzed us in so we could have a look around for next time.The reception was very fancy and the grassy areas were really green & well manicured – muddy in a lot of areas but with so much rain that’s to be expected. There was a cool kids water play area, heated pool & 2x pillow jumping areas, (Brendan was really disappointed we couldn’t stay) General cabins & cabins which overlooked the water, all in all it looked pretty nice.
As we couldn’t stay the night we decided to made our way back home today rather than Monday- Brendan can now go to school Monday instead!
Over the June Long weekend, after Brendan got the all clear about his appendicitis scare, we went on a TLCC trip down to Deua National Park.
It didn’t start well, as the side rails, that had only been installed on the Wednesday, at TJM Wollongong, were found to be barely hanging on. We were only on dirt roads for about 15min!The front mounting bolts were showing about 6mm of thread in the gap and the rear bolts were only
hanging on by the barest amount. Just imagine if the front had dropped, the car could of cart wheeled!
They had, obviously, only been
hand tightened! ( Apparently TJM didn’t think this justified reimbursing my installation fee, as I was fobbed off on the weekend with a promise to ring me on the Monday… I’m still waiting .
I bet you can’t guess where I’ll be telling everyone NOT to go to, for their 4wd gear )
So after crawling around in the dirt to install the rails, properly, we headed off towards Braidwood.
Plenty of river crossings, some steep tracks, and some very cold nights saw out an enjoyable weekend.
David & I decided to get a massage from the Melasti Spa, outside the Melasti hotel ( 2 up from ours) we had been told really good things about it. Brendan stayed to play in the pool with a few friends he had made from Perth.
We were taken into the waiting room through 2 very large solid timber doors, very posh.was like another world.completely different to our previous massage…We sat on the large lounge chairs waiting for our masseuses & perused through the service guide as to what we could have done .. the prices on the sheet were double that of what we paid before ! You could buy special masks & oils, from the reception area (where they did the feet massage) they were displayed very nicely. There was a huge variety of treatments you could have ranging from foot massage, facials, stone massage etc ..we were even offered a romantic spa for two.in chocolate !
David & I were taken to our room, together, where there were 2 tables next to each other. we stripped down to our underwear & lied down, when you looked down though the hole in the table there was a container which contained various flower patterns to look at,( a lot of small things made a huge difference). The lights were dimmed & soothing background music was played while massaging. so much different from our previous massage.The one negative I have is that we were coated in oil, they gave you a towel to wipe it off but we really needed a shower.An hour later we headed back to have our shower & check on Brendan.
We decided to head back to the shops for some last minute spending , stopping to say goodbye to Tony & Yudah along the way.
Back at the hotel we changed into our cosies & headed straight for the pool.was so humid , had sweat dripping everywhere! We ordered some drinks & some lunch to eat while soaking in the water. While we were waiting for our 2nd plate of chips to be served, a storm came,really dark clouds & strong winds, blowing the umbrellas over..lightning flashing..& the rain that fell was so heavy & cold ! In less than 2 minutes the walkways were all under water again -about ankle high , the kids were sliding down the ramp ways which looked like waterfalls, the pool had overflowed & water was every where. All the adults were soon out of the pool up into the restaurant. We finished our lunch in the restaurant which was marginally drier & then made a mad dash for the room.
Off to Waterbom park this morning, we hailed a taxi & it took around 3/4 hour as traffic was heavy due to a fire in the middle of Kuta. We handed over our entrance tickets & were given an E-bracelet ( you pay money & it electronically calculates what you have spent – acts as a credit card because they don’t use other currency in the park. We hired a locker & towel & headed out. The grounds were really beautifully – green & lush with pools kept in immaculate condition. We found 2 banana lounges near the pool bar & claimed them, then were off to try the boomerang ride, Brendan & I rode together, 5 flights of stairs later we hopped on our double tube & went down – going round & round ,then a steep drop which flicks you over to another slope much like a ski ramp. Brendan & David then went on this again, then Brendan was ok to go by himself. Next ride the Boogie, you lie on a mat & slide down the ramp. Then the Macaroni & River raft, this one finished at the lagoon where you could float around the circuit in the tubes.
Brendan made a friend – Jarrad from Perth & went off, with him, doing all the rides again.
Morning sleep in before a leisurely breakfast..inside today as it is still raining, but only lightly. We left Brendan playing in the pool, as the temperature is still hot, while we went shopping yet again – this time for shoes for Jarrad & Chris, we went to every shop along Garlic lane & of course no one had the ones they wanted, finally in a back ally we found some, but not in the right size! luckily the store owners really wanted a sale, we waited for around 20 minutes while they located some, agreed on the price (130,000rp ea for 5 pairs), finished our sale (with extras for David & me) & started to walk back to the hotel to pick up Brendan, stopping occasionally to look at a few other bits & pieces.
We met Scott & Fiona on the way to collect Brendan from the pool & arranged to go out for tea at 6.30.
Yes raining again, it hadn’t let up all night. We had breakfast & decided we would taxi it in to Kuta, as we hadn’t been there yet. The taxi ride took about 10 minutes & cost 30,000rp. As we got to the entrance a man came up to us with a promotion, we opened the ticket, I won a T-shirt, Brendan got a free Waterbom park ticket & David could win $1000, all we had to do was go for a 1/2 hour drive to Nusa Dua & listen to their sales pitch. We said ok as it was still raining heavily & we hadn’t been to that part of the island. We didn’t even get to see the hotel, it was for members only, like a time share thing & cost $A8000. Of course David didn’t win with his ticket. We were taken back to Centro, the shopping complex, where we were originally & continued to have a look around. David looked at Oakley sunglasses but they were similar prices to home & in the centre they do not bargain. We had lunch on the top floor food court at a place called Lada, Chicken satays’ all round. Note to anyone coming this way .do not use the toilets…extremely dirty! We finished looking around & as the rain had stopped walked the beach way back to the hotel.
On the way we saw a Balinese ceremony, where hundreds of Balinese were dressed in white, Chanting & walking down the street from the beach. We stopped at the Hard Rock Cafe for a picture of Brendan with the Big Surf Board, he was a star, once we had taken his picture, 5 other tourists ( Japanese etc ) wanted photo’s with him as well.we should have charged!
A Balinese taxi driver grabbed David’s arm and tied a leather bracelet onto it, and said it was free & for good luck. Brendan has it now ;-).
We woke to an overcast morning, had an early breakfast to be ready for pick up at 8.30, for our Bounty day cruise . We were met by our driver & taken to Benoa harbour at Sanur, about 45 minute drive, where we boarded the large, bright yellow catamaran (holds 700 people / peak time around Aug/Sep). We had a photo with some of the staff, found some seats on the middle level & had coffee & cake while we waited to leave. The fist few minutes were ok, as the water was still calm & we moved to the upper deck where we found our Chinese shipmates bopping to the loud dance music being played. We were looking at the small villages being past when I felt decidedly ill, the water was a lot more choppy, this was not good as we still had 1/2 to go before we arrived at the pontoon. I sent Brendan downstairs to get a few plastic bags – yes I felt that bad.just shoot me & get it over with!. While I was moaning & groaning about dying a painful death , one of the ships cruise directors came over to check on me & started talking to David. We arranged for David to do a scuba dive for $US50. We finally reached the pontoon, which is a water playground. We went up to the top level & found 3 Banana lounges to sit on, which overlooked the Banana boat rides . I didn’t feel any better yet !.Our concierge friend came over & arranged for towels & a locker to put our gear.
Had breaky in the hut & were ready at 8.15 for our white water rafting day. We were met by Tony, from MBA, at the lobby who introduced us to our driver Mr Dewa, we also had 1 more person from another hotel – Andrey from Russia. The car trip was for about 1 1/2 hours & the roads further to the East had road works. As we approached the drop off point you could see Mt Agung – another active volcano – we would be rafting on the side of it. We were let off at the starting point & were given life jackets & helmets to wear. Our rafting guide,Noman, went thru some instructions with us & we set off – 16km of rapids. David & I were in the front with Brendan & Andrey in the middle, the guide at the back. The first few km were ok, with a few places you had to duck down low otherwise the trees & vines that came over the side of the river would get you, we went under a few bamboo bridges where you had to lie down flat backward or get taken out, on the 3rd one I got hit in the side of the arm & on the top of the life vest but was ok. We stoped half way at a large waterfall for a break, we all went up and sat in the lower pond & had a few photos taken. Back into the boat for the next section which included a 4m drop, the guide prepared us in the correct sitting positions & we went over, you got nice & wet. The guide liked to use the cliff walls as a steering measure & we heard a lot of the command BOOM, BOOM, which meant brace yourself we will be hitting something! & we did constantly – usually in the front where David & I sat. Brendan found out how to use the paddle to splash David & we had a constant battle of who could wet each other the most. We stopped again at a narrow section of the river for a swim in the currents, where Brendan went under the front of another boat & his helmet filled up with water, causing it to pull against his neck- he was more frightened than hurt, I think the guide, Noman, was more worried than us when he started crying, so when we assured him Brendan was ok he decided to climb up the wall of the gorge & jump into the river – showing off for Brendan plus taking his mind off crying. We had about 4km to go & started to look around at the scenery more, we noticed a beautiful blue kingfisher.
After breakfast David & I headed out to find a printing shop & left Brendan to play in the pool. We didn’t find the shop that we were looking for but bought a few other bits and pieces from other vendors.
Changed money over.rate 8,250rp/$Aud.
Found sarsaparilla drinks at the mini mart.yes I had to buy a few, 7,000rp each
We came back & got Brendan out of the pool & watched “how to train your dragon” movie while it was really hot 12-1.30ish. Another swim in the pool, drinks ( yes more Toblerone. am becoming an addict) & chips at the swim up bar.
Then, once again, hopped out ready for another walk. We bought some more shirts (Brendan’s Bintang Singlet Top) & shorts, & found the road we needed to go on for David’s printing place. We checked out a few art galleries. Then we stopped for a massage on the way back 180,000rp for 1 hour (for all of us),we were all in our own little stalls and every now an then one of us would call out making sure everything was ok, It wasn’t the best massage, but was ok .although I don’t think we will go back to them, will try elsewhere. David also had his hair cut.
Back to the hotel for a quick shower (about the 5th for the day) then off to Poco Loco Mexican restaurant for tea.was nice , David had the Burrito, Brendan Texas chilli & corn chips & I had chicken quesadilla, cost 194,000rp. Brendan was shown a magic trick by one of the staff & was entertained for a good ½ hour. While we were eating a storm approached, and Brendan kept commenting on the lightning strikes, we had a bit of rain but luckily it stopped for us to make it back to the hotel without getting wet..then a huge downpour came for a few hours.was really loud & heavy.
Day trip to the volcano Mt Batur
After breakfast we were met by our guide & driver. The first stop was to see a traditional dance called “Bali Barong & Kris dance” in the town of Batubulan this took about 1hr. We were given a program to read which told us a basic story of the dance & even though they sang & talked in Balinese you could still get the gist of it.much like opera. The costumes were colourful & interesting. & was very energetic. We took heaps of photo’s.
The next stop was at a silver jewellery factory, we were shown the different stages of how they made earrings etc & were then taken in to the showroom where you could purchase any of the jewellery or figurines.unfortunately I don’t like silver, so we didn’t part with any money here but it was interesting.
We then travelled to Cheluk, where we stopped at an old guest house, with large grounds & a nice pond area which was located next to a really green rice paddy where we tasted some traditional deserts ( sort of like a ball donut) with a nice cold drink.
Next stop a Coffee, spices & orchid village, Sribatu where we wandered around the pathways seeing all the different fruit trees & plants. We came to a designated area where we were served a selection of coffee, hot chocolate & tea’s to try, cant say that I really liked any, but David didn’t mind the ginger tea. We then walked up to an area where we could see & smell the different spices in open containers & try some of the fruits such as lychee, Jack fruit & snake fruit which were grown here. Then once again we were taken to a little shop where you could purchase goods – we bought some bali coffee- not the animal one !. (Apparently there is a coffee produced on the island that is collected from the droppings of Mongoose, after they have digested the beans, and is said to be quite expensive..YUKKKKK)
We stopped at various bends on the road to take some photos of the volcano, & were constantly harassed by ladies trying to sell shirts & sarongs etc.
This is an active volcano & our guide pointed out where the steam & gases from on the side were escaping You could really notice a very large area where the lava had travelled from the last eruption (1963) it was all very barren.
The clouds were now coming over quickly. We eventually stopped for lunch at a restaurant at Kintamani ,where we viewed Mt Batur from the window while eating a smorgasbord lunch, there was a huge variety of traditional food to try & was really quite nice.
We had a large storm & the rain pelted down before we left & all the roads were once again flooding.
The next stop was Temple Sebatu (Holy Spring Water Temple) where we all had to wear a sarong skirt before going into the grounds. It was really beautiful, built against the side of a mountain, everything was lush & green. There were lots of ponds & fish (kept Brendan occupied) as well as the usual worn statues covered with moss.
The last stop, on the way home, was to view the Rice paddies at Tegalallang, They go all the way down the side of a large mountain,.It was really huge & everything was sooo green – very picturesque. David, Brendan & the guide went out to take some photo’s & ended up going down into some peoples house which was also a store, they didn’t buy anything though.
We finally arrived back at the hotel after a very long day & said good bye to our driver & guide. We quickly changed & went in search of another restaurant to try out. We ended up having dinner at Warung Patrick Mexican restaurant- wasn’t too bad, thankfully it was only around a couple of bends from the hotel.thank goodness as we had already walked for miles during the day ! We all slept extremely well.