A shorter day today for our final approach to Sydney with frequent stops to enjoy the sunshine. The day could also be subtitled ‘It had potential’. After leaving Newcastle, our first outing was to Catherine Hill Bay, chosen specifically by Stephen for its photographic potential. Apparently, the abandoned coal jetty was voted one of the best locations for photography in Australia. It certainly had potential but perhaps was not the best playground for three youngsters.
With hungry tummies, we approached a little lake and seaside town called Budgewoi (pronounced: your guess is as good as mine). Google Maps promised a smorgasbord of food options despite the size of the place. We arrived at the hamlet wary, but needn’t have worried because as we turned the corner, there was indeed an impressive range of culinary options. We opted for one of two fish and chips (a choice justified by a Geocache in the area specifically referencing the shop). Let me tell you, if you and your army are ever in the Budgewoi area, be sure to call in. They have enough food to feed you and then some. Delicious too, by the way.
John seemed to want to stay longer in this idyllic hamlet, throwing himself head first into a gaping puddle after lunch. This required a top to toe change of clothing and received a bemused look from a local pelican for his troubles.
Finally away, the smaller coastal roads took us through Brooklyn, where someone Stephen knew lived. She was not in town but was able to text through some local ‘must do’ gems including driving along a few kilometres of unsealed road to get to a great vantage point under a steel rail bridge. Unfortunately, after driving about 500 metres along the road, we encountered a locked gate. With fence on one side and bay on the other, I then had to reverse along the unsealed road, back to the main road. Notch another site of much unexplored potential.
Mid afternoon saw us driving into the northern suburbs of Sydney. We purposefully chose accommodation in outside of the CBD as we didn’t want to contend with the traffic and parking problems that plague Sydney. The plan was to commute each day on their double-decker trains, which we knew the kids would love.
Our accommodation was perfect. It was situated in Lindfield, a leafy, affluent north shore suburb about 30 minutes train ride from the CBD. Listed on Airbnb as a bed and breakfast, it was actually two bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchenette within a family home, with the owners providing an impressive breakfast every morning in their dining room.
We were feeling nervous about letting our three children loose in a stranger’s house but Carol and Alan put us at ease, providing ride-ons to play with in the garage and plenty of toys in the bedrooms. This made the place a little more homely. And the kids repaid them, with exemplary behaviour. It can happen occasionally.