Way too early for my liking, we had to get up and go to the airport. Hopefully we would sleep for a bit on the plane. Classic us, we had to run to the gate to make it in time. At 6:05 we went up into the air, and I could finally relax.
Arriving at the tiny airport of Newcastle, we started the drive up North. With three of us in the back, and surfboards strapped on the rooftop, it was a very cosy ride.
Once in Nambucca Heads, we found out we were to stay in two beautiful houses next to the beach. Here we met the family friends that were living there, plus two other families.
After we were assigned to our room and dropped our stuff, it was time for a walk on the beach. Strolling along the rocks, a stunning little paradise. We saw very few other tourists. Apparently this spot is well sheltered and there are never many tourists.
Underneath the rocky bits, lay a natural dug out cave. Back in the day a fisherman drowned in here because the tide came up. As we walked in further for a better ocean view, thousands of flies launched themselves from the ceiling and made us run back towards the water.
I was told to throw sand to make them fly up. The brown ceiling seemed to come alive with movement as the numerous insects took off.
That very first evening we all sat at the porch with an ocean view, for a traditional Christmas dinner. Roast pork, turkey, vegetables, and a table filled with Christmas crackers.
Early morning, the living room was stuffed with stockings, ribbons and boxes covered in shiny wrapping paper. One of the guests had put on an inflatable Santa suit and handed out all the packages to their receiver.
With the fans and the continuous fresh breeze from the Oceanside, the heat was bearable.
Another massive dinner was served. I had my first oyster experience and to the oyster-lovers delight, I wasn’t a fan. After opening another handful of crackers, I went for another walk on the beach. The long stretched shore was almost empty, and the sky coloured in beautiful pink and blue shades.
Amongst our Christmas pressies, we got given an inflatable mattress to go and float from the Creek into the ocean at Valla beach. At the start we had to paddle a lot, because the wind was blowing the wrong way. However, the closer we came to sea, the stronger the current became. The shallow places got you stuck, but the rip would still pull the mattress out.
A little rest and then it was time to go to Dorrigo and have a swim in the Dangar waterfalls. The falls had beautiful cold and clear water. Even the dog dared to take a dip. The challenge was to get behind the waterfall, and sit on the rocks.
This was one of my favourite places. Unfortunately we left really soon again, to go to the Never Never creek. I loved the name, but we would soon find out that this little stream was nearly dry and swimming was not really possible. Instead we dipped our feet in and passively watched the dog, chasing after pebbles thrown in the water.
In Nambucca heads is a big sort of pier, called the V-Wall. All along the side, painted rocks surrounded the pier. The paint displayed all kinds of stories. Travelling, families, nationalities, and even memorials.
The water on either side of the wall had such a clear blue colour, that it looked very inviting. All of us had a little swim before we packed up again.
In the night the sky was enchanted with stars and constellations. I went down to Valla Beach and sat on the sand that was still somewhat warm from the daylight. A shooting star took a good 40 seconds to go from one end to another and left me dazzled.
Gosford and Sydney
After three days in Nambucca Heads, it was time to make our way down again. One moment in the car I felt a little tickling sensation on my foot. To my horror I realised a cockroach the size of a tennis ball was crawling towards my toes. Though I tried to keep my composure – I didn’t want the car to crash – I couldn’t refrain from screaming and we pulled over. It took several attempts of pushing and pulling the seats back and forth, as the cockroach was running in circles to get away from the bottom of our shoes. It ended up leaping out of the car half crushed, poor fellow.
One thing I desperately wanted to get off my bucket list, was New Years Eve in Sydney. As a child, I saw the Harbour Bridge and Opera House on Dutch television when counting down to midnight.
In 2016 I was finally going to see it live. We took the train to Sydney, and walked towards the centre. Apparently barriers separated different areas, and once full it would be closed to access. I couldn’t believe our luck, when we walked into one of the premium spots at around 7:30 pm. With only a few people in front of us, we were able to have a good look at the Opera House for the first set of fireworks. For the second set we stood on a slight hill, where the view was magnificent.
I have never seen such fireworks in my life. Not only did the sets go for 8 and 12 minutes, also they were launched from 7 different barges on the water. The boats anchored in the harbour were lit up. The last seconds to midnight were magical, as spectators counted down. All sparklers lit up the air, as they were released on the beats of the music. Colours, stripes, circles, and even shapes like love hearts and clovers illuminated Sydney. What a way to start the New Year.