It's nice to have a break from the holiday parks every now and then, and we had that in mid-North Coast when we were able to stay with longtime family friends. We literally set up camp in their horses paddock - power and water connections into the horse stable and all. The horses kept us company and did really well to have us there, with Dusty and Maxie following them around, climbing the gate to pat their noses, stirring up their feed while they were trying to eat. It really gave another unique learning opportunity for Dusty. How many 4 year olds can say they took a week long internship learning the care and feeding of horses in nothing other than a horse paddock? Dusty learned so much that week he insisted that HE knew the best way to dress, feed, and care for horses and the owners had to learn from HIM. Generally he knew his stuff, too! So even though we'd moved on from the amazing South West Rocks coastal town to a rural country property, we were again happier and loving the experience.
Our friends were such generous hosts and to despite our begging they wouldn't give us any property jobs to help with, so we were left to relax and sightsee for the whole 7 days. So, so lovely of them. So we spent a lot of the week sightseeing from the car, starting in Port Macquarie.
Port Macquarie region is just full of trade, horsey properties, good shopping centers, historical museums, wineries and even a zoo. There really was so much to do that we felt overwhelmed. Maxie discovered that he loved running down the rows of grapevines.
Dusty got Tim back...
We supported the Douglasvale Winery (run completely by volunteers) by buying their wine and port, and taking some fresh garden herbs off their hands too. They have the most diverse range of fruit-bearing trees, and are totally excited by visitors so they can share what they've learned / are learning about traditional techniques in their restored historical garden.
Another day, while I spent the morning on the computer, Tim took the boys to the zoo. Heaps to see and many animals to pat including this friendly dingo and koala...
We learned from Tim's mum that her late-father (Tim's Opa) had helped to build parts of a theme-park called Fantasy Glades in the '70's, and so we set out for a day trip to show our boys the artwork by their great-Opa. We eventually found the park and crawled under a fence to get in, totally confused by the website directions, and then we realised it was closed for refurbishments. Amazing place and it will be really special to see it opened again one day.
Port Macquarie is another one of Australia's beautiful country-feel places with stunning coastal lookouts.
I have to admit though, I was not enjoying myself as much as I should have, because I was worrying. We had the opportunity to leave our dog, Siah, with our friends on their property when it was time for us to move on - and while we knew it would be a good idea for all of us to let him stay while we continued traveling without him, it was a very painful decision. We love our boy dearly.
So after much indecisiveness and a good amount of sobbing by me, we packed Siah's goodies and left him with a lot of hugs and kisses with friends we trust and love. He was more than comfortable and really relaxed, and we knew it would save us just that little bit extra stress while on the road, plus meant we could fully devote ourselves to our children and their safety, so it really was the right thing to do. Since we left him there we've seen photos of him tucked up for sleep in front of the TV. I'd like to think he misses me as much as I miss him, but it's hard to know these things with dogs isn't it?
Beautiful boy. When we drove away there was no way I could stop within 100klm because I knew I'd want to go back and get Siah the next day (maternal instincts! Tim had no feelings whatsoever!) so we just kept drivin', and drivin', and drivin'... 'Keep on going, Tim...' I kept saying...
And you'll just have to wait for my next blog to see where we ended up... So stay tuned :)
Until next update xo