This week brought about the end of our time in Australia, over all too quickly. I feel we have only just touched on this enormous country in 4 weeks, and have really enjoyed the different wildlife, the beautiful beaches and the warmer climate. Although after a total of 10 weeks in a campervan we are all in great need of a bit of space from each other and hopefully a break from some of the bickering that inevitably comes about when living in such close quarters. With lots of driving time and resting, the kids have all read masses of books, completely engrossed by the adventures of Percy Jackson, although schoolwork has been somewhat lacking on this leg of the trip, apart from times tables practice on the road and a small project on rainforests. Continuing on from New Zealand, we have mostly focussed on the topic of conservation which has been very relevant both in the rainforest of North Queensland and further south with the loss of eucalyptus for the koalas. It has made me start thinking about how few birds we have at home in comparison to here, and how few wild animals, and I have started to notice for the first time how little natural space we have in the UK, that hasn’t been developed in some way either for housing or for agriculture. We certainly don’t have many forests left! I think that seeing it and experiencing it first hand has increased awareness not just for the kids but for Ben and myself as well, and I am certain we will be much more proactive in supporting global conservation projects on our return to the UK. I imagine this seed will only grow as we venture further into South East Asia.
We began the week with a walk up another hill, this time Mount Coolum, to see the views of the Sunshine Coast. Despite doing less walking in Australia than we had been used to in New Zealand, everyone powered up without any difficulty and we enjoyed looking out from the top. We spent the rest of the day just hanging out at the lovely campsite we were staying in at Tewantin, near Noosa, sorting out the campervan and repacking our rucksacks, swimming and playing cricket and enjoyed our final barbeque of the trip.
Having failed spectacularly at seeing any of the famous Australian wildlife actually in the wild, apart from kangaroos andcrocodiles, we decided to spend our final day at Australia Zoo. We all enjoyed seeing the Australian animals and doing the Summer holiday Christmas treasure hunt. Particular favourites were the wombats, one of which was taken for a walk on a lead and stroked by Cara, the incredibly cute koalas and the fantastic crocodile show. The kids have been playing crocodiles and zookeepers ever since! We stayed our final night just a few km away from the zoo, north of Brisbane, conveniently located for getting back to the airport the following day. I finally saw a snake for the first time, just in front of me on the path as I went to the toilet at our campsite. It looked harmless enough, but I was a bit jittery all the same, and made Ben accompany me on future visits just in case!
On Wednesday we all bid farewell to Australia as we caught our 5th aeroplane of the trip so far, bound for Bali. Australia was brilliant, but I am so looking forward to finally experiencing some different cultures and starting the ‘backpacker’ part of our travels. Indonesia here we come!