From New Zealand, Port Macquarie on the map seemed like a good place. Not as hot as Brisbane, good rainfall, within striking distance of Sydney. Not too big, not too small. "Good fishing", everyone would say. At Margaret and Keith's in Hamilton I met Jan and Francois, who lived there. "It has a great arts and cultural centre", they told me. Yep.
So when the time came to move on from Cairns I put word out and yes, Jan did need a house sitter in December, and also in February. An opportunity to try out the town, see what it would be like to live there. Next stop, Port Macquarie.
Packed up the car again (doesn't take long), off south. This time with Jess the bear for company -- thanks, Annie Jean!
Six and half hours from Brisbane.
Matt rode up from Sydney just after Christmas. Yes, on his bicycle. Here he is at the lighthouse at the well-names Lighthouse Beach.
So began an epic road trip - Port to Melbourne, exploring the beaches and small places along the way, including a drive around the Hunter Valley.
New Year's Eve we were in Sydney (local fireworks only), and we spent a couple of days at Thredbo. Matt rode up to Kosciusko.
I stayed in an apartment in East Melbourne and pretended to be a Brunswick local, sipping soy flat whites at pop-up garage cafes.
I revisited the lovely people at the Peter Macallum Centre, and went through the usual stuff - camera up the nose, finger down the throat, all good fun. Nothing unexpected there, and so life continues. Yay! The streets of Melbourne have never looked so good.
Back on the road again. just me and Jess-the-bear-not-a-rabbit this time. I drove back to Port via the coast, stopping off at many of the smaller country towns just a bit inland, and camping along the way, even a couple of nights of car sleeping. Yes, there are still service stations with free hot showers.
I indulged at Readings in Hawthorn on the morning of departure and along with my coffee bought a talking book to ease the byways, The Rosie Project.
And so, back again in the small town of Port Macquarie. And an enthusiastic welcome from Sasha.