Susan Cowe Miller
Healing Health Holistically. Release and relieve effects of stress and trauma from mind and body.
Call Susan: 07917 680967

Australia 2016 Blog

I have decided to do a diary of my three week stay in Australia; a form of gentle, perhaps beneficial musings and ramblings.

Stress and teenagers - coral flowerDay  1 Australia 2016.

Three weeks in Australia visiting Rachel. Flight to Sydney via Dubai: well that was a great start. Whole row of 4 seats to myself so I made the most of it. Even managed a little sleep.

Watched Brooklyn and Carol: enjoyed Brooklyn and Carol left me a bit cold, mind you I was fast forwarding a bit so I could catch the on end. Direct flight as such to Australia so fortunately the transit in Dubai was fairly painless. I followed given instructions from flight crew on what to do , followed said instruction and soon was back on the same plane, My water was taken away from me so thirst will need to be put up with. Only a 90 minute stop over.

As if by magic I just noticed a water tap- Thank you! Now going to read yesterday’s newspaper.

Step 2 of journey. Flight form Dubai to Sydney and written after short spells of sleep within 22 hrs so might not be classy stuff. Big Bonus: Still no-one sitting in my row so 4 seats to myself. JOYOUS INNER CHEERING! I booked the flight through my friend Angela Guilfoyle of Travel Counsellors. She suggested a direct flight i.e. a refuel in Dubai and back onto same plane to complete journey. I was a bit concerned that those of us going on to Sydney may be asked to stay on the plane. Thankfully not so. I booked and paid for my seats for outward and inward journey about 2 months ago. Now of course I was lucky on this outward trip but it was bloody great. I could stretch out whenever I felt like it. Films: In the Heart of the Sea , Suffragettes, The Martian and The Dressmaker. I flew Qantas and the plane was fairly quiet, food was good and I did some walking around and stretching. Please note: Bring your own eye mask and toothpaste. (I did).

Interestingly we are delayed taking off from Dubai due to storms, thunderstorms. That surprised me. Maybe it is deemed dangerous.

I’m expecting to arrive in about three hours. Rachel says we’re going out to Bondi or Manly so that I don’t laze around. Hopefully it will help with tonight’s sleep. Last year when Herb and I were across we didn’t suffer from jetlag on arrival. I think it’s because you’re on a bit of a high when you arrive. I certainly had difficulty when I arrived back home getting my sleep back to normal.

No selfies as I look like I may be 80+

Till tomorrow. Day 2. The Aussie bluntness which usually makes me laugh was directed at me as I was trying to get out of Customs.  It was fairly painless at Passport check. Collecting the cases; a monster and a cabin size of Hold luggage, was painless too. But getting the final check with  Australian special Immigration card caught me out. I looked in the wrong part of my handbag for the paperwork, had to dig into the guts of my bag whilst negotiating the cases. After ‘Sheila’ had agreed that I had presented the correct information I asked if I could just go and get a trolley. Sheila  said ‘ No, just keep walking you’ve taken far too long and there’s a queue now’. I thanked her for her warm welcome to her country.


Coogee Beach

Coogee Beach

Off to Coogee Beach and Clovelly Beach. Love the beaches here. Bronte was nearby. Lovely names! I paddled in the sea and it was fairly cool. The air temperature was 30 degrees and quite humid so although my hair is short the curls showed themselves fairly instantaneously. I am learning to embrace their enthusiasm otherwise my 3 weeks will be ruined?.

I am fairly wrecked and my aim is to stay out of bed until 8pm.

Day 3

Slept beautifully.  Thank goodness cos was knackered when I went to bed around 8.45pm.  Intended catching up on ‘Happy Valley’ but found out that for time being I can’t get BBCiplayer. Double Bollocks. Used the fan as it was fairly hot! Key Point:To manage a hot night!

For menopausal womem and overheated men, women and children – a dampened face flannel around the neck , shoulders or back all night works wonders. On thinking about it, it possibly might be useful for those can’t bear another hot or overcooked  person beside them. Thus useful for keeping relationships in tact!

I used the wet flannel last year. Kate, Tom’s step mum suggested it. It’s bliss when you are over cooking. A good suggestion for menopausal woman too; screw embarrassment and go for comfort and relief. Now on train to Circular Quay and a little ferry ride over to Manly. Later today  Tom’s mum is doing a little picnic for us. She lives by a river so that’s the plan.

Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2

It’s a lovely ferry journey across to Manly. The Queen Mary 2 was in harbour,  just parked up by the bridge. It’s quite a bridge. Last year my Christmas treat from Rachel was a Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. It was super. So professionally well organised; fun, safe and really interesting. One of the questions we were asked was,

‘What chance did a worker who fell off have of surviving at the three different levels: top, middle and road/ rail level?’

Sydney Bridge Climb

Sydney Bridge Climb

If memory serves me right

1. Top level – not a hope.

2. Middle level – not much hope at all.

3. Road/rail level- a chance.


I had visited Manly at night on a previous trip ( missed the first site of the wonderful bridge because I had been entertained too well by Herb’s old business mate from years before. Yes, I slept in the taxi ride back over!) Manly really is lovely and the beach is terrific.

Shark Warning

Shark Warning

Even a shark had made a special appearance today and the sign was placed for all to see. Many tourists had Sefies by the post. Rachel had been snorkeling there the previous weekend. For such a country with magnificent beaches it is really pretty dangerous. There was also loud speaker announcements warning about the rip tide perils.

In the late afternoon Tom’s mother and David organised a lovely picnic for us by the river.The birds were entertaining as it grew dark. Cookaburras flying around.20160311_183108

Negative point

No kangaroo  and no koala.

Another early night for me. Fan, cold flannel and tonight I thought I’d see Happy Valley as I had signed up to YouTube with another email account. But it was failure again. Mind you my eyes were crossing with fatigue so I’ll need to wait to find out about Tommy and the cop.


Day 4.

I picked a great time to come out; a very sociable time for Tom’s family.

Today it was his stepsister’s Engagement Party. A big celebration at a Cronulla Surf Club. Beautiful beach to look out on.

Rachel has been very well accepted, supported and loved too I would say, by Tom’s family. That obviously is very important to me. There’s little else I need to know than that.  She is a very sociable girl and has made plenty friends.

Last night we just chilled and watched a film.

Its way hot here-30 degrees. So ‘Down Under’ they are experiencing different climate extremes too. Sydney has had a run of something like 26 days with big heat and no rain. Rain due tomorrow!

Cheers for now and tomorrow it’s Sydney Opera House  – Great Opera Hits performance. WOOP woop!

Day 5.

Sydney Opera House treat.

Herb’s Christmas present was 2 tickets to the Sydney Opera House. When searching for what was on I spotted Operas Greatest Hits which plays for many Sundays December to April let’s say. Happily chose that one and half hour performance. Thank you Herb.

I have never been to Opera but do have some real favourite arias. And my favorite was sung magnificently: The Duet from The Pearl Fishers ‘Au font du temple saint’.  We did not have Placido or Andrea but we were entertained by top opera singers and it was just splendid.  The Sopranos were wonderful too. I am not a connoisseur of Opera but when opera singers sing some notes it does touch your soul and is very emotive ( almost a quote from ‘Pretty Woman’).No idea what they were saying but you felt the meaning.

Sydney Opera House t
Sydney Opera House t
Some local
Some local reprobate

We had a lazy morning and headed to The Opera Bar for a refreshment. Prosecco seemed apt so Rachel and I enjoyed that. I then brought out The Selfie Stick and fiddled about with it before negotiating the sun and managing to see what photo was going to be taken. I was offered help from a local guy; I was unable to refuse ? and he added a certain ‘je ne sais quoi ‘ to the photo.

My son Graeme and his wife Louise gave us our post Opera dinner as their  Christmas present to Rachel. All in all a good day!

Tomorrow I have a day to myself and may ship. I really am not a shopper but will have a go, then my aim is to relax in the park with a book, take some photos of parakeets and avoid rain which seems to be forecast.

Day 6

A day to myself.

I took it nice and slowly till 11.30 and I did what any decent mother might do:

Cleaned the kitchen (not that it needed it but freshened it up  – no criticism R.) Same with bathroom and washed the floors.

Did half hour writing, showered  and rushed for train (great service/ great prices) and sweated considerably – very humid and expecting rain.


Went into the huge Westerfield Mall for a coffee but it seemed to be lunchtime so went with flow and had a tasty sandwich and coffee. To cut to chase I couldn’t remotely be bothered shopping but without question it will be a paradise for those who do. Amazing designer names but to a person who shops when required  a walk to Botanical Gardens seemed much more attractive .

Till later.

Huge succulent

Huge succulent

I am now sitting in shade with my book – The Dandelion Years by Erica James.

This is what I’ve been looking forward to and if truth be known I was worried I’d  forgotten how to relax with a good book.  I’ve been very focused January and  February with work related goals I wanted to achieve.  I have to say I completed my tasks so left for this lovely break with no niggly crappy work nonsense  needing finished.

The Botanical Gardens lead round to the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge: as I heard Rachel say yesterday, ‘What’s  not to like about this?’



Ibis in the tree!

Ibis in the tree!

Herb will be disappointed as the parakeets stayed away although I think a storm is looming as the birds are making a Hell of a racket. This bird walked right passed me as I sat  under a tree.

On this other photo see if you can spot the ibis camouflaged in this rather splendid tree.

Useful Information.

Now on route home. I have to say I’m very impressed with the railway system. It seems quite cheap. I’ve been in and out of the city frequently since I got here.  So much so that most of my weekend travel was given as free. If you travel regularly there is a bonus of free travel at weekend. Definitely some bonus is given.

I’m cooking tonight and then preparing for a Girl’s Road Trip. We’re off for a couple of days to Port Stephens. It’s a holiday/vacation spot.

Cheerio for now.

Day 7

Koala Bearrs nearby

Koala Bearrs nearby

10.10am. Beginning of Road Trip to Port Stephens- a holiday area three hours north of Sydney.

(BTW- delay in posting due to lack of wifi when away)

The rains started and it’s still humid but almost cold today ?; certainly a temperature I prefer.

The ‘Dove’ kind of fake tan should have been started a month before I got here, the two weeks worth I thought would be enough hasn’t really done the job. So my legs still look fairly pale. No worries.

I’m being driven out of the city as I type just now. So I will ramble a bit about my father. (slow traffic out of city).

My grandfather on my father’s side, a good man who I never knew worked for several years in Canberra as a mining engineer in 1920s. My grandmother took my father, I think aged 6, out to Canberra to join him. His sisters aged 10 and 4 had died of Scarlet Fever in Scotland whilst their father was in Oz so that’s why she joined him. My grandfather had never seen his youngest daughter.

Some folks think they’ve got issues. Are we a molleycoddled society, expecting much and giving little?  Oops I’m on holiday-back to my musings. ?

My father had very fond memories of Australia and my family house where I grew up in Scotland was a bungalow called ‘Brindabella’, named after the Brindabella Mountains near Canberra.

They only stayed 3 or so years as my grandmother’s  sisters made her feel so homesick that they had to go back to UK. My grandfather was apparently very well thought of and could have been greatly involved in the growth of Canberra and perhaps even Government duties; it was a time of speedy growth as Australia grew as a country.

Back to the journey- (slow out of city – add one hour).

Port Stephens.



Lovely resort.  Really nice.  The Pacific Blue resort quotes itself as having the biggest/longest swimming pool in Australia. The pool goes round the whole complex -500 metres long. We swam round it and here’s a photo of me reading, managed to snatch a few moments.

I really enjoy swimming and hope to get into the sea tomorrow.

We smartened ourselves up and got a taxi to take us to The Maverick; a good bar by the numerous yachts in the port. We ate in Sienna’s a very  popular Italian restaurant: fun and very good staff. An extensive menu with a great selection of specials. Portions of really good food was served which we did our best to eat. We failed to finish. The restaurant was heaving with two big parties of people- and the rest. It all ran smoothly and the banter was good.

The one local taxi service was able to get us there and back (thank you!) and I bet their takings this evening  pays for something worthwhile – run off their feet they were.

And Yes I am hoping a Restaurant review guide or book/ travel site  may employ me to critique standards around the world.  (Think big Susan!).

We watched a film when we got back, although I slept through half of it – title- Everest. Pretty good though.

Surprise at bedtime

At bedtime, I went into bedroom and I have double bed with clothes laid on a single bed; but tonight a cockroach was on the single bed too. It skiddaddled behind the  pillow.  Boy that kind of wakens you up when knackered.  Really put me off a treat.  It was big, yucky and took me back to Doha years when occassionally we spied one in the house. It’s no good chasing the buggers as they run very fast and can be the stuff of nightmares.  Rachel was sympathetic and said I could share her bed as long as I promised not to snore.

Cheeky pup.

After 10 minutes I went to bed believing that the horrible ghastly thing had fled the room.  Working in the belief system and understanding the power of the mind I knew that it would either screw me up or it was manageable. So I dealt with the mind chatter as best I could ( a quick reimprinting that the pesky creature had gone and I could relax and sleep as best I could). It worked ?

I did however keep the door open to help it escape should it be watching me as I type! They are indeed very bold, fairly indestructable  and grossly ugly beasts.

I hope to sleep.  I knew Herb would have his uses if he were here.  He would gallantly search and destroy. I would ask and he would do. However I expect he’d probably suggest I do what I did and be asleep way before me.

It worked and I slept well. When I got up to go to loo in middle of night I banged the table before putting on the light to frighten it and to avoid my seeing it if the pest was still sculking  around.

BTW.   Needless to say: no koalas spotted.

Day 8

Rain, Massage and relaxation.

Photos later-problems

Big rain today so we drove around the bays; Shoal Bay, Fingle Bay and Nelsons Bay. Pretty but seen on a wet day is never quite ideal I expect but it’s obvious why it’s a very popular holiday area. Being sensible girls we took advantage of the impressive rain to treat ourselves to some Therapy. Rachel opted for Reflexology and I had an Aromatherapy Massage.

The Kiwi couple who ran the tidy and very pleasant little unit did a grand job. I told my lady about the hilarious Tracey Ullman TV programme and the comic sketches set in the Massage Parlour. She then told me of another sketch about a therapist just going out to replenish the Gold Star Mud which she was using : she went out to the backyard and dug some out of the garden. We had a good laugh.

Rachel and I both felt that our therapists did more than expected. I certainly appreciated the level of massage I received. She also recommended a particular audio which aids the winding down an active brain before falling asleep. I wrote it down on the leaflet which I have duly left at the apartment. I will try to find it- YouTube meditation – something-delta!

We had a swim around the block when returned to the apartment which was delightful. Then the sun chose to come out so we sneaked in a drink at The Maverick Bar by the Port. Dinner was a fratatta, nice and light, (we had been stupidly greedy at lunchtime and added chips to our more than adequate sandwich) and we watched Black Mass with a not quite so gorgeous Johnny Depp. Dozed off before it ended.

No cockroach sightings tonight although I did leave the door ajar should any wish to escape, and no I wasn’t concerned that a new one might venture in.

Day 9


*having difficulty with photos just now- will add later.*

This is a post mainly about the Shark and Ray Centre. The website is worth a look as my photo techie issues are slowing things down .

We had a swim before breakfast, cleaned, packed and did some more sightseeing.

But before  the drive back we had a lovely experience which won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

Irukandji The Shark and Ray Centre .

Do check out the link. This was a fantastic experience for many reasons.

The fish are rescue and you can really see the educational benefits to a set up like this.

When we arrived about 60 Primary Year 3 or 4 children were just leaving. ( now that was a bonus). I suspect they only observed or possibly fed the small rays.

We choose the top price option, maybe £20, for fully kitted in wetsuit, choice of long legs or shorts. At this point my enthusiasm wavered and I asked for the long legs. The chap (he is the man in the main photo in the water tank) suggested that you can only feel the rays and sharks touching you and gliding between your legs if you have the shorts version of the wetsuit.

I agreed.

So Rachel and I got kitted out and got into the big tanks with very beautiful and quite affectionate, maybe just greedy,  little to medium sharks and Rays.

I was cross with myself because I then became somewhat wimpy.  I grimaced and closed my eyes for the first 10 minutes as the creatures brushed past, swam between my legs but I soon was successful in feeding them.  The sharks are fed quite easily as you just place your feeder stick just under their mouth.  The rays are a tiny bit trickier as you have to get the feeder under their face as their  mouth is underneath.

It was a real experience. Also the big ray was brought to us as we crouched down at the side of the pool, hands by our sides; the ray glided side on over our body as she followed the guide who was coaxing her with food. It seemed quickly and professionally done. Enjoyed it.

We then were moved along to a protected area.  We punters although still in the water, were protected by a mesh barrier while Fiona our guide fed some much bigger sharks. They were gentle and calm and although rough to the touch, quite beautiful and non scary.  We were of course educated about the Why  sharks occasionally attack.

  1. We are in their environment.
  2. We can look like seals dressed in wetsuits – a main food for them.
  3. We can look like turtles when we are on surf boards with legs dangling -another food source.

We were then taken to the tank with ALL the baby rays. My oh my are they cute, friendly and hungry. We had great fun as we were confident and laughing and enjoying.

Journened home afterwards and had a good nights sleep and a shower- none at the Shark centre!

Day 10

Meeting an Aussie #WOBS and a Friday Girl’s Night Out.

Susan & Claire #WOBSdownunder

Susan & Claire #WOBSdownunder

Claire Takacs and I are members of an online Networking group called WOBS: Coaching and Mentoring and we are meeting today in city centre at The Rocks. My friend Claire Godwin started up the WOBS group; basically an apparent lack of Women Speakers was what motivated Claire into action.  Women On Business Stage is a Facebook  group with a difference.  It is a very supportive and informative group and members have what I would call a sense of trust with one another.

You can

  • ask a question and experts freely chip in with their nuggets.
  • ask for critiques or advice on your post or statement.
  • express vulnerability on occasion without feeling exposed or foolish.

On a Wednesday there is a three hour window to self promote. There is Zero Tolerance for any sneaked-in promos at other times which I think we all like and appreciate.

Check it out on Facebook.

So I’m on the train

(look back for my big enthusiasm for train travel here) and meeting Claire.  She had interviewed me maybe a year ago so we have ‘met’. Claire was/is doing a series of interviews with women who have changed professional direction when over 50.

Claire and I spent a lovely few hours in a Bake Shop Cafe where we ate lunch and chatted endlessly about family, work and the WOBS with whom we know and interact.

We really did chat as if we’d  known each other really well for years. We also did a #WOBSdownunder video by the Bridge.

I walked back to Central Station with Claire from Circular Quay. Quite a stroll in the heat but for Claire who walks a lot it was fine. At one point I asked if we were nearly there yet!

A lovely afternoon.

The Evening: a bit of a night.

Wendy Cleary! Rachel and me

Wendy Cleary, Rachel and me

Rachel and I went out with Wendy, Tom’s mum. We went to Cronulla Sailing Club.  Busy and sociable and well,  it was easy to order bottles of wine. We ate there thankfully and somehow decided not to go home at closing time (which is quite early actually) but managed to fit in a couple more bars. We did get home because I wakened in the morning after an uninterrupted sleep ( not usual) lying in a bizarre spot on my bed, shockingly with Tablet and phone far too close to my head. Dreadful quite dreadful however my make up was off and cold cup of tea sat on the bedside table. It had been a bit of a night. Apparently I’d  chatted to Herb too. Next time we spoke he seemed fine so no harm done.

No more to say on that fun evening.

Day 11

A Star Parrot at The Grounds

A Star Parrot at The Grounds

So-a nice and slow start to the day after the Friday night before!  A couple of Anadin- just in case, and off for Brunch at a real cool place called The Grounds to meet one  of Rachel’s good friends.  It has little markets and little animals and a large pig which gets taken for a walk.  Trendy and fun.

We returned to flat;  and the others were dropping in at a friends birthday party that evening so I was allowed to stay in and bliss- I just chilled and watched TV. I watched Top Gun and just loved Tom Cruise in it. Really liked him in those days.  Who didn’t? ! Must be something wrong with them if he didn’t get at least 8 out of 10!

Day 12

A Brunch to celebrate Tom’s birthday.  Herb spotted the present we gave Tom in the super Bosham Walk (UK): a glass/tankard etched with a rugby player, running with the ball.  Hope he likes it.

We met his mum, David, Tom’s sister Marnie and her boyfriend Lachlan.

Little meditations/visualisations in the classroom.

Several of Tom’s family are teachers and I had a really good chat with his sister who is an infant teacher.  Without me bringing up the subject she talked about little meditation sessions she does with the children- little visualisations and she said she loves what the kids say about what they see or the places they go.  I think it’s marvellous that doing things like that seems to be so much more normal/acceptable to do over here.

National Park 

Wattamolla Falls

Wattamolla Falls

Afterwards Rachel and I headed off to The National Park. Weather a tad disappointing but again lovely views and some exercise along coastal paths. We didn’t see the very large lizard which presented itself to us last year. However we walked to Wattamolla Falls: and kids and brave adults jump from a high height into the pond/sea. (think I’ve got that right).

I’ve obviously accepted that I am not going to the gym for 3 weeks so am happy to do much walking and sightseeing. I am occasionally doing some Pilates stretches but my dedication to exercise and I have to say Tapping and good sound Inner Protection practice does not take priority.

(I’m writing this on the train into Sydney Day 12. I love going into the city to wander).

Evening Netflix discovery

In the evening I managed to catch a great series on Netflix – Jack Taylor with Iain Glen – he plays an ex-copper turned  Gumshoe! set in Galway.  That’s keeping me entertained.

Now into the 2nd half of the holiday.  If memory serves me right the 2nd half usually flies. Let’s hope not. Lots of goodies to come: a 5 day trip to The Northern Territory and Kakadu National Park.

Day 13 – Chill Day and Day 14-Bondi Beach Coastal Walk

Yellow Daisy

Yellow Daisy

A day to myself which is great.  A time to catch my breath, do some chores to earn my keep, make a simple dinner and post a blog.

I went into the city  to try to get a present for Herb. I managed to buy a little rucksack and a casual shirt for me. Oh and I took some photos at the Park again. Hope I sort the techie nonsense from earlier.

Why is it so difficult to buy for men?

I wonder if I could get away with a fridge magnet? What you reckon?

Day 14

I am fortunate to have visited Australia three times now. When your children go adventuring it seems rude not to go visit them. Graeme spent two years in Australia. He spent six months firstly in Tazmania pruning or maintaining eucalyptus forests. He met his Irish wife Louise when in Sydney . Herb and I had a grand adventure in 2010 meeting up with them in Noosa whilst touring the East Coast of Australia.

Holidays afterwards for several years until our honeymoon/Rachel Australia trip last year, were lovely trips to visit family in France in an attempt to get over the big bucks spend. (Last year Herb and I came out to visit Rachel and were treated to wonderful hospitality as we stayed with Tom’s father and Step mother Kate).

Anyway Bondi Beach was missed on those occasions.  It’s actually not the simplest place to get to with  public Transport!

And it wasn’t easy to get back to Rachel’s car by bus today either. So we taxied back in an Uber taxi – a different taxi system which seems to be popular and cheaper than your normal taxis.

Glam Puss at Bondi Beach

Glam Puss at Bondi Beach

Our Beaches Walk.

We started at Coogie Beach and followed the coast path to Bondi.  Beaches and Bays on the 5km route were

Coogee Beach, Gordon’s Bay, Clovelly Beach, Bronte Beach, Tamarama Beach then Bondi Beach.

It really was most enjoyable. The temperature was ideal about 22° and a bit cloudy.  So no grumpy hot and overcooked 50+ lady moaning.  It was great and we had a little snack of baramundi and chicken parmi.

Water in restaurants and bars

The restaurants, cafes, bars here all have drinking water in bottles or on tap with glasses so that folks just help themselves.  So bloody civilised. Anytime I want a glass of water in a pub or cafe in UK I feel like a cheapsape not not wanting to buy a beer or coke or something.

The rest of day was spent doing quiet normal stuff and catching up with Jack Taylor.

Day 15

Cronulla. Ross and Tom’s Birthday Dinner.

I picked a good month-plenty celebrations.

My day usually starts once Tom and Rachel have departed for work;  7 – 7.30 am.

I get up and try to do an hour (usually seems to take double) to get my Evernote Post which I usually write when on a train or having a choicewritten on my phone, onto my  Playarea on my website.  Herb set this up for me ages ago so that I can make as many revisions as I need on my Posts without folks knowing how fairly crap I am at it.

I then paste onto main website and add my photos.  Sometimes this is straightforward- sometimes it buggers me up. I transfer it from my phone to my Tablet. Don’t have Laptop but I’m happy enough with the procedure  so that’s fine.

After doing that I chase my tail to get showered, breakfasted and OUT.



I am off to Cronulla. I’d say it’s a fairly smart town and beach area. I may swim but I’d prefer to swim with someone with me- the sea is fairly rough and I seem to have turned wimpy.

I also have to pack today for  a 5 day trip to The Northern Territory. Sadly it’s  still the Wet Season; I had hoped it would stop early for me. But No. Kakadu National Park shows 38° and storms.  So perhaps a dramatic Crocodile Sunrise Tour.   Assuming we get there at all.

Australia Airlports strikes.

Strikes now till God knows when. My flight back next Wednesday might be interesting.  I shall have to visualise a lovely return flight back as off today.

Because I am unable to post on the actual day, I am on holiday ? I am hearing about the shocking and sad Belgium attrocities today. My prayers  go out to all.

And as a result

I am writing this on a 2 train journey.  I have just swapped trains and at the station, police with pistols, checked our rail cards so added security today at the station before the airport.  Will see if there is police at the Beach resort.

No. So it was a station just before airport. N.B Just found out that police are always at that station Wolli Creek, pronounced ‘Woll I’

This was delicious!

This was delicious!

Bought a couple of pressies and enjoyed a cappuccino and agorgeous lunch at Zimzalas. Roasted carmelised pumpkin and corn zuccini fritters and crispy zuccini flower filled with riccotta and persian feta and romescu sauce.

I loved every morsel.

Swimpond/crashing waves

Swimpond/crashing waves

I didn’t swim. I was hopelessly envious of those in the water but without Herb or another decent swimmer I wimped out.  The marvelously glorious beaches are just a bit too awesome and have collosal waves.

??I will probably mention now that my reports from Northern Territory may be in statement or note form.

I really am looking forward to N.T. and posting as I go along. And I can tart them up later for professional purposes. Also the oomph will just not be there I expect.

The family

The famil

A Thai restaurant in Gymea Bay.

A real family occasion. Ross and Kate, Tom’s  sister Marnie and Lachlan, Tom’s  step sister and Fiancé Alex,Tom, Rachel and the visitor- me.

The family circle is close and there are lots of these gatherings.  Comforting for me to feel Rachel is very well thought of.

She is a hard working girl,  she can party hard and lives life to the full.  Hope her energy levels last.

**I will probably mention now that my reports from Northern Territory may be in statement or note form. I would like to get the posts out without  having to wait till I’m back in UK on 31st to formalise.**

I really am looking forward to N.T. and posting as I go along. And I can tart them up later for professional purposes. Also the oomph will just not be there I expect.

Sent from my Samsung device

Day 16


Writing this on our flight to Darwin. (I am editing it 5 days later back at Darwin air port. We had no real wifi whilst away. I also say that some content may be dodgy due to intense heat and humidity and an attitude of- Susan has gone native?).

We had no difficulty with regard to our flight; due to the Belgium airport horror the Australian Premier asked the airport staff not to strike for the sake of a potential  weakness in national security. So the strike for the time being is cancelled.

We caught the rush hour train to Sydney Domestic Airport. Traveling at rush in the suburbs is very manageable. We were not squashed like sardines.

A couple of things I noticed at the airport about security. It is a domestic flight and you are allowed bottles of water. Also liquids and creams are not asked to be presented.

 Next stop Darwin.
And arrived. And do you know what?

It’s bloody hot! 35° and humid. Took me back to Doha. Walk out of a hotel and your sunglasses stream up.-  can’t see a bloody thing. Actually Doha wasn’t too humid but I do remember the first time my glasses steamed up.

Our hotel is good. The Vibe Darwin Watetfront.

Our first room presented 4 insects which needed killing. We reported this to staff and we had our room changed. We  now have a waterfront view and have not spied any beasts.

The Wave Pond  is just outside our hotel which is very few and handy.  ( 4  people in it when we were in). We had a good go at that. Huge waves but less intimidating than Cornulla yesterday. Great fun and we had huge rubber rings and we got thrown around fairly safely. A real blast.

A meal at The Char

Barramundi, mussels & prawns

Barramundi, mussels & prawns

In the evening we went to a restaurant which a friend of Rachel had recommended: The Char. It has a certificate for being the top restaurant in The Northern Territory. And chose the barramundi which Liz said was the best she’d eaten.



It was delicious, the staff certainly know their stuff, the wine was good and the price was of course appropriate to all these factors. A treat.

I think I have decided I fancy more treats.

There are many restaurants and bars considering Darwin is a small city.


Darwin suffered badly with bombing during the Second World War and with a cyclone in I think 1974. It has been rebuilt and keeps much of its Colonial quality.

Government House Darwin

Government House Darwin

We  went back to the hotel via the Government area. Very colonial.

We pick up our car tomorrow and head into Kakadu National Park.


Day 17.


Kakadu National Park:World Heritage

Kakadu National Park:World Heritage

Kakadu National Park: Girls Road Trip.

 It actually started with a bit of Herz car nonsense.We arrived at Herz Darwin City Centre bright and sharp at 8am.
I only have the desire and energy to relay this willcar hire escapade with bullet points.

Good Friday and all shops and 99% breakfast bars closed. Australia embraces its National holidays: 99% close down. HERZ is attached to main shopping Mall and has its door on the main street. The Herz shop had no Air Conditioning because everything in the Mall is shut- no doors in or out of Mall therefore the A.C. is OFF. The Herz lady -very professional but concerned she’ll be unwell due to no AC. Lady sorted paperwork for car; No Access into Mall to get lift to hire car on 8th level.

So we walked up the first four levels to get to internal lift inside Mall Car park, (hope you’re still with me). Got in lift-(hire car on 8th floor) lift door closed and would not go anywhere. Thank Christ doors opened otherwise only death as Mall closed for Easter, so we walked back to street level. (34°) and Rachel and I stayed put!

Lady then went back up 8 floors and brought car.
It really was that bad. But let’s move on and hey, No Worries.

First Treat.

First Crocodile.
Our first Crocodile

Our first Crocodile

Once we drove out of Darwin we stopped after an hour at Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve where we witnessed Rangers collecting a trapped croc. in the Wetlands.

We saw them, from a distance, tape its mouth, cover its eyes and legs, then they brought it back to land and allowed us few tourists to touch and take photos. Another very welcome experience. Think they were taking it to a Croc Farm for tagging and whatever. I think many go on to be handbags.

Vital info for overcooked, foolish or any tourist:

Crocodiles Rule in Kakadu

Crocodiles Rule in Kakadu

CROCS: No.1 on Food Chain in Northern Territory. Do not ignore road signs!

Once we set off again Rachel and I had been talking about asking Angels and Guides to help us in enjoying our day. Well I mentioned it and I also told her about a phrase I use, when I remember:

How can it get better than this?

You mustn’t say- ‘It can’t get any better than this’- because that phrase stops the flow. (Thanks Sharon King)

Second Treat.


Aboriginal Rock Art.

To prove this point of ‘ How can it get any better?’ our next outing allowed us to see something quite spectacular. I was the one who saw it first and let the rest of the group know too. It happened on our Nourlangie visit.

Nourlangie: “World Heritage listed area with extensive Kakadu birdlife, Aboriginal art galleries, rugged escarpment”. I have to say that the intense heat and murderous humidity nearly made me opt out of a 1.5km walk to see the Aboriginal art. Rachel urged me; so I did it. Just hoped she wasn’t trying to finish me off! 37° 80-90% humidity.

The official guided tours are not available on the days we are here. But we met up with 2 private tours. A handful of people not masses of them. This is still the Wet Season so few tourists; very busy in Dry Season when temperature and humidity are better. We listened in and heard marvellous facts and stories.

The stories of the art work, cave paintings and drawings, done during countless millennia, overlaid by more paintings again over thousands of years was quite fascinating. Aboriginal history is amazing. Aboriginal culture is one of the Earth’s oldest cultures. I haven’t time to write here but their drawings I think are the earliest ever recorded.
Have a read at the link above.
I easily sensed a true connection that I was in Sacred Space.
And I won’t delve into the treatment of the Aboriginees since civilised society discovered their existence. Other than there is little to be proud of.

To my sighting.

Black wallaby

Black wallaby

We opted to do a climb to a Lookout and nearby I spottted a black wallaby. The Guide was fairly gobsmacked and told everyone to look as he had never seen a black wallaby in his 4 years as a guide in this area. It was perfectly happy to be about 30m from us; just went about its business.

We drove on afterwards and checked in at Collinda Lodge, had a pleasant swim and ate dinner. The little complex is good, basic but good.

The food for dinner was fairly basic-stuff easily put together and reheated. Not great. We had choice but my fish and chips had a sense of deja vu – like Findus from years ago. Plus expensive but they have the Monopoly as nowhere else within half an hour.

An early start tomorrow- 5.30 rise for Yellow River Sunrise Cruise. Looking forward…….

Day 18

Yellow Water Sunrise Cruise. Ubirr

Yellow Water Billabong

Yellow Water Billabong

This morning is our Yellow Water Sunrise Cruise and we have to be up at 5.45am.

We managed that quite easily because somehow my phone and Tablet decided to change time. Earlier, on arrival at Darwin airport I had changed my phone and recorded a time of one and half hours behind Sydney.

My  alarm went off and when I came out of the shower Rachel quietly told me that it was 4.15 on her watch. To add insult to injury a large cockroach was by my bed wall. Rachel suggested I belt it accurately with my shoe. I wimped out . It may be under my bed. Ah well- No Worries as they say here.

Two kind of cheesed off bunnies we were and Rachel was forced to wander round to a closed reception to check what on earth time it was:  very confusing and as this is supposed to be the high point of our trip we really didn’t want to cock it up.

Enough now. So I’m writing this at 5am in morning while Rachel is snatching her extra hour’s sleep!

We don’t have wifi here so………Postings of this experience will be a little late.

Yellow Water Sunrise Cruise.

The trip sets off from where we are staying: Coolinda. Others staying up territory need to journey at least half an hour to get to the boat. Our Guide and Shipmaster was an Aboriginee/Kiwi New Zealander and he gave us our safety instructions. He was matter of fact and simply told us that the Salt Water or Estuarine Croc is top of the foodchain here. Take no chances. Observe the signs. If you are foolish -you die. (He spoke his words as an Aboriginee and shared many of the Aboriginee words with us).

I’m not sure if it is easy to take on that reality. You listen and do what you’re told at basic level. The concept of being eaten alive by one of the world’s most dangerous creatures e.g. by standing at the edge of a billabong, out of your car on the edge of the road between swamp land or in a supposedly deemed safe water swimming hole, is fairly hard to comprehend.

Beauty ay Yellow Water, Kakadu

Beauty ay Yellow Water, Kakadu

We set off and witnessed the dawn and the billabong coming to life. To be honest I didn’t really know what a billabong truly was so here’s a quote from Wikipedia; a billabong. It fills up during the Wet Season. It is stunningly beautiful.  Birds, beautiful lilies and lotus flowers, thousands of snakes of which we saw none, and crocs.

We eased through the billabong,  marvelled at its beauty and into Yellow Water where we witnesssed Nature at its best.


Crocodiles were fairly scarce. The Dry Season seems to offer many more crocs and birds as they seem to come and assemble together to get to water. Fighting dwindles as they merge together; in survival mode I expect.

One passenger found our first lazy croc. Quite a big boy lying under a tree. Our boat bounced forward over tree roots to get a better look. It stayed put; we had a good viewing.

Five minutes later another boat captain told us that the prize croc,  I think called Maxie, was over by some trees. Indeed he was.

Maxi Yellow River Croc

Maxi Yellow River CrocMaxi the croc.PHOTO

He came out to see us.

He slowly came out from his camouflaged spot and came towards us. He came right up to the boat and, hugging the boat, he swam past. He seemed to be the length of the boat, but was actually about four metres+. No aggression. Our Guide told us that Maxiethe croc, was comfortable with us being in his territory. He knew we were not a threat and he probably wasn’t hungry. That was why he sidled by us languidly. These creatures are prehistoric, here since dinosaur time. How incredible is that? For those interested there is a gruesome video of  Maxi killing another crocodile on YouTube.  For most of you- Pass!

Crocodile skills.

They can rear up only needing a small amount of body kept on the ground (catching birds from trees); they can burst with speed not giving a human any chance if standing by a river or canal. They can appear from nowhere.

Care and observation is advised when driving on the road. The roads we drove along basically has Wetland on either side which is inhabited by snakes and crocodiles. If you break down, go out for a look, walk back to God knows where for help, chances are high that nature will cause you big grief.

You must respect the animals in the territory.

Our Guide told us that most crocodile killings are 90% due to stupidity, 10% bad luck. He told us a story of a local boy’s encounter.

Last year a boy was celebrating his 21st with friends. They were out in the open by the river. After much drink the boys bet birthday boy to swim across the river.

This is foolish.

Birthday boy had a go. He got to the other side. He was relieved and buoyed by his success he plunged in to do the return. He got half way and was grabbed by a crocodile. Killed.

I can’t stand stupidity. I must check out this story. I don’t believe it was a good story for the tourists.

Seeing our big croc was the highlight of course. As said there seem to be many, many more crocodiles and birds to see during The Dry Season. Drawback: many more tourists.  Good point : weather is a bit kinder. I can’t say too much about the birds but enjoyed watching them. The facts about the birds were interesting and it was lovely seeing them flying around or sitting in the trees.

The trip was a great experience and afterwards the passengers all had breakfast at our Resort.

Rachel and I retired to our bed and I had the best hours sleep ever.

Warradjam Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

Midday we set off to have an adventure which I was a touch nervous about, however we popped into the Aboriginal Cultural Centre a mile down the road before our drive through floods.

We watched a great long video detailing a huge amount of information about Kakunda. I finally bought some place mats and coasters. That’s what I wanted.


Ubirr drive in Wet Season

Ubirr drive in Wet Season

We always knew this trip was in the balance. Many, very many of the off-road roads are still closed due to flooding. Our road had only opened the day before. We’d had rain last night so chances were high it would be closed. It wasn’t. It was just at the acceptable height- 0.4+ metres. 0.5 is the decision point I think.

To be honest although our car was an All Wheel Drive I was not convinced it would do the job. We had been warned about what to do, how to drive through the substantial waters, and what not to do.

I told Rachel that we must roll the windows down a bit because if we ballsed it up (Rachel was driving) and got stuck we needed air (38°). You cannot escape out of the window because the crocodiles will get you.  (as I’m writing I’m wondering if they would -50 -50 maybe?); we were suitably fearful and it was difficult to fully comprehend that death lurked close by.

Rachel managed beautifully. We watched the two cars in front sit and wait and then JFDI. We did the same. Rach said that the water pressure seemed to try to raise her driving foot up so she had to add more pressure to keep the speed. There were two floods and the 2nd was a bit more testing. No  room for wimping. You commit and go.

Ubirr Savannah, Kakadu

Ubirr Savannah, Kakadu

Ubirr: Our Walk to what looked like Lion King Savannah.

Again I wasn’t that keen to do a 1.5 km walk with climb. Very bloody hot. But we started it, observed Aboriginal Art on rocks and started the climb. I rebelled quickly and sat with some Germans who were discussing the -quote- the marvellous Cronulla beach!!.

Rachel popped back down and informed me that it was only two more minutes and well worth my while. So come on Mum!

She was right. The view was like a view Simba from the Lion King had. Quite magnificent. My photo won’t do it justice I expect.

You are recommended to go to Ubirr to see a sunset which you won’t forget. Due to the heat, lack of cover, full exposure and imminent rain we missed the sunset. Those arriving on tours an  hour later would miss it too because the rain did come.

We knew or were fearful that the rain would make the road back to Coolinda impassable.

We were safe, crossed the flood and drove home in daylight.  Again I was nervous of driving back to the hotel in the dark because you are warned of buffalo, donkey and kangaroo which can certainly cause accidents.   Animals rule!

Showered and choose Starters for dinner which appealed more than main courses.

What a wonderful two days.

Day 19.

Florence Falls, Litchfield National; Park

Florence Falls, Litchfield National; Park

Return Darwin: (via Litchfield National Park-cancelled).

Off on the road again and the plan was that we were going to take in another National Park, Litchfield, on the way back to Darwin. The drive from Coolinda via Litchfield back to Darwin is a 4hr+drive.

After covering two and a half hours we sensibly decided not to venture into Litchfield Park. To add a further 3 hours seemed a stretch too far. Rachel was doing the driving and she was game initially, then decided against Litchfield. That was to prove a good decision.

Adelaide River Railway Heritage Precinct.  The few places of civilisation, mainly a World War 2 Railway and Train tourist spot was closed. EASTER MONDAY! Very little was open.

Adelaide River Train Heritage

Adelaide River Train Heritage

Fortunately the toilets were open! We climbed over the barrier, found the toilets and as I was about to leave the cubicle I read the sign on the inside of the toilet door – Please close the toilet lid; beware snakes going into toilet bowls.

The lid had been up when I went in and I had checked to see how clean the toilet bowl was, it but the snakes comment made me rush out and fasten my shorts properly outside.

A little supermarket/tourist information place was open after we’d been on the drive back for two hours.

We had intended visiting Florence Falls in Lichfield National Park IF the road was free from floods.

It is a 250 metres of steps down to said Florence Falls where you can swim. As the very helpful man from the Supermarket/Tourist Office, who reminded me of the actor Walter Brennan with a long wispy beard, said ‘It is also a 250 metre of steps climb back up-and no swim!’

I said to him that I wasn’t going to do the Waterfall Challenge. I knew my limitations; it was 38° and humid.

He then told me that a lady had to be air-lifted yesterday out of the Waterfall ascent due to heart problems. I expect she maybe had a heart attack. I don’t know what people think they are doing behaving foolishly like that.

I then told him that I could possibly get away with it but had no intention of testing!

Anyway, Rachel decided that actually the drive back was still considerable and going 50kms into Park and returning those 50kms out was not really necessary. Relaxing in Darwin for a couple of hours seemed a better option.

I didn’t argue.


Joey sighting

Joey sighting

Yippee very lucky to witness my first Joey whilst driving today.  I finally saw a wild kangaroo running along the road. They are not easy to spot at all in the wild. Another Tick. ( Sadly I didn’t take this photo).

Tonight we stayed in the Palm City Resort, Darwin and it offered reasonable self catering should that be desirable. A lovely pool and easy access for bars and restaurants. ( Last time I got blisters walking in the heat).

Dinner was at Rorkes  in Darwin: very nice- trendy and well run. Enjoyable night.

Unfortunately Rachel was fairly unwell in the middle of the night. Vomiting and very dizzy.

So just as well we decided against the Waterfall. Dehydration creeps up on you and is most certainly an issue here. We kept being told that if you are out in the heat for an hour you must drink at least a litre. And if you go out for much longer- 3 -4 litres.

Locals appreciate this. Good old common sense. Surprisingly not everyone is blessed with it. And with regard to swimming in Waterholes which are deemed safe, swimming is still at the individuals own risk!


Day 20.

Back to Sydney.

Rachel was fairly seedy and took it very easy.  She managed a little breakfast so I do think it was dehydration rather than a bug.  The dizziness alarmed her bit. Strangely she didn’t seem to feel nauseous when dizzy.

Darwin Mandorah Beach

Darwin Mandorah Beach

Anyway I was finally able to drive the rather lovely 4 wheel drive around Darwin to view the sights.  This Darwin beach on the North of Australia is calm and tranquil, and certainly the beaches by Sydney are surfing beaches. Odd that I haven’t ventured in to the sea during this holiday. And I must have been tired or distracted with Rachel because I didn’t take a photo of Darwin Beach. This too is borrowed.

I then drove to the airport and the flight took off bang on time. Tom came to collect us and that was The Girl’s Road Trip ended.

Day 21.

Newtown, Sydney

Newtown, Sydney

Newtown. And Thank you!

Last day.

Up at 7.30 when the workers left and did two hours blogging. I have been writing my notes when on trains and sometimes in the car; processing them when I have wifi.

I then took an hour and half to organise packing. I do hope it’s quick to finish tomorrow also that I am not over weight. (No lie it was 29.9 when weighed at airport for return journey!) Ridiculous.

A good idea.

For those who take too many clothes and items on holiday, (you know the kind of thing I mean – when you hear yourself say, ‘I’ll just take that, just in case’), do yourself an enormous favour – Just don’t do it!  That’s what I will attempt next holiday- honest!

I came here with a ridiculous 27 kilos. I’m allowed 30kg.

I have used maybe a third of my clothes. I think I forgot that I would be able to wash my clothes rather than look out for laundrettes. When oh when will I ever stop that nonsense?

Newtown. Well worth a visit.

Newtown. Interesting part of Sydney!

Newtown. Interesting part of Sydney!

I met Rachel briefly around lunchtime near her work : Newtown. Very trendy, touristy, health shops and good cafés; a bit like Camden near KentishTown where Rachel lived in London. Well worth a visit.

Next time I visit I will spend longer there. The health shops and Naturopath centres were super.

It has really opened my eyes to see how EFT, Matrix ReImprinting and Reiki is much more acceptable, well known and used regularly by many of the folks here. More Marketing required: never ending!

We are eating tonight at Ross and Kate’s.The family regularly gather together there to eat once a week. Ross does a BBQ and Kate the delicious accompaniments!

A lovely couple of hours. Thoroughly enjoyed the Pink Champagne Kate!

So my time is finally finished.

AND a huge Thank you.

Tom’s family once again showed me great kindness and hospitality. Thank you Ross and Kate, Wendy and David. Tom’s sister Marnie and his step-sister Sophie and their partners: lovely people.

Thank you Tom for accommodating me in the lovely apartment you share with Rachel for my three weeks visit. I think it all went OK? Very much appreciated.

I met some of Rachel’s friends and enjoyed their company enormously. And I met Claire Takacs a Facebook friend and we thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon.

Rachel my darling girl.

She kept me busy, organised much, prevented boredom (as if I would be bored!) and we had a great time away in The Northern Territory; a first and we got on marvellously. Quality time.

So to all my Aussie friends, those who care for Rachel, those who showed me great kindness, hospitality and a bit of the Wild Side; Thank You very much! And Wendy, if David has another trip over to UK, drop me a line and we’ll try to meet up!

Au revoir. Xx

(Photo courtesy of Caroline McCreadie).

Day 22.

Homeward Bound: A full flight on Qantas.

When I switched on the Breakfast News this morning my heart sank.

The Australian Airport staff have resumed their strike action. Buggar.

I tuned in during the morning for updates.

Outcome: when Rachel helped me at the airport, the check- in staff were desperate for customers. It had been perhaps busy but whatever Striking was going on it was not affecting Departures at that time. I was able to get through customs easily. Fingers crossed for the rest.

The Plane took off on time and I have finally finished my #Australia2016 postings.

I had Luxury on the journey out from London to Sydney: 4 seats in the middle section of the plane- all to myself which was  JUST GREAT.

The journey home was different. Not a spare seat. Full. However I must say I was still able to sleep, the journey was very good and I cannot complain ( actually they missed our row when the final food was served just before arriving in Dubai to refuel- I did ask for a cup of tea eventually when I realised what had happened, and the staff were fast into action). Qantas:  I can recommend.

With regard to  #Australia2016 all I need to do is transfer the last 3 days and add photos. I’ve enjoyed this additional activity to my holiday. It has taken a bit of time but not enough to cause any problem.

And I am open to offers on becoming a holiday blogger, a tester of restaurant food, a critic on hot spots to visits. Please, Do Ask and I will be happy to consider!

Final Note.

I really enjoyed my adventure and am now ready to focus on life back in the UK. I will keep myself busy and try not to miss my beautiful, talented and very kind daughter. Thank you Rachel. Xx

Whilst away, Herb ran the Bed n Breakfast . He got an excellent review from one guest so now we have a 9.1 on Well done Herb! Big hug for you Xx

Here is our website and our AirBnB link.




I will see my gorgeous little grand daughter, Ava, who is 7 months old. Babies are just super at this age so I am keen to see how much she has changed. I have my son and his wife living fairly close by. Mind you, I think they would like to try Australia again too.

My cats, well I wonder if I will get any response from my gorgeous boys Bramble and Marmalade.

Bramble and Marmalade

Bramble and Marmalade

Live for the moment; life can pass you by.


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Liz Merritt
We all enjoyed your talk immensely,so thank you!
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