To give a brief synopsis of our trip - have a look at this map of Australia - find Sydney, then follow the road down the coast until the bottom, go across to Melbourne, up to Ballarat & Bendigo, then cross through Albury to Canberra, then back home (near Newcastle). That was roughly our trip.
We finally left after several hectic days of packing - Pete got home from work early, we threw the last few things in and set off - a whole half an hour away to my Mum & Dad's house in Cessnock! It was my Mum's b'day so we wanted to spend some time with her before we left. We had dinner with them and stayed the night in their yard.
Up early the next morning, and then we left Billy behind while we started on our holiday - on purpose! Pete & I drove down to Sydney, got the van set up in the caravan park and then went to the Opera House to see a Bell Shakespeare performance of "Anatomy Titus Fall of Rome". I'm still not sure if I liked it or not - it was very gory & confronting, but better than I was expecting!
Meanwhile, Mum, Dad & Billy caught the train down to Sydney where we met up with them after the performance. We took Billy, and Mum & Dad caught the train back home. (Thanks again to Mum & Dad!)
We left the van park pretty early the next morning so we could head from Sydney down to Wollongong. The traffic was pretty light fortunately and we made it without incident. We settled in at the van park and then headed off to the Nan Tien Buddhist Temple - it's the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere. It was built not just as a place of worship but also as a place to educate people about the Buddhist faith.
We booked in for the guided tour - $4 each for an excellent tour that lasted about 1.5 hours! We were shown through the 2 temples, the pagoda and the museum, as well as around the outside, and had a lot of the symbolism explained to us. I thought it was one of the highlights of the trip - I really enjoyed it, learnt heaps and was left wanting to learn a lot more.
The next day we drove to Kiama after a fairly late start, booked in to the van park & headed off to Minnamurra Falls. The rainforest walk took about 1.5 hours - it was all on paved tracks or boardwalks but it was quite steep in places! It was really pretty but like most places was suffering due to lack of water.
On the way back, Billy & Pete were slightly ahead and I heard a chattering in the bush alongside the track. I stopped to investigate - and was really excited to see a lyrebird! I didn't get a very good picture of him though as he was hiding (as they do!), but I was still really stoked..
We did go for a look at the blowhole in Kiama - but it was such a nice day, it wasn't blowing! It's very pretty around there anyway.