August 27, 1999 - Near Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

The day started in Lakes Entrance with a small meal at the hotel (which came, for a change, with the room) and a doing a bit of laundry (which, for some reason, we were not charged for). The breakfast was quite good and after that was over, after we were waiting for the laundry we walked down the street, looking in various stores. Mother picked up a few more postcards which she has been sending almost every day. Think she is running out of people to send them too…What is our fourth cousin twice removed's name (never mind address)…?

I picked up some more film, though I have been letting mother take most of the pictures (she seems happy to do so). Don't see any reason to take two pictures of the same thing…

We proceeded through the town, past the fishing boats, out to the highway. The Prince's Highway which stretches all the way up to Sydney and, perhaps (?), beyond.

We essentially drove all day, passing by Snowy River National Park (made famous by the movie The Man from Snowy River) which was very beautiful. Most of the day it rained but it did stop near towards the end though we did not see the sun at all. We passed through many mountains and forests, seeing kookaburras and other exotic (to us) birds along the road.

We stopped briefly for lunch, simply picking up some fruit and snacks at a local 'general store'. We have seen many of these in the various smaller towns we have passed through along the highway. It is rather odd to see these towns which look very similar to smaller towns you see in the Canadian west: very small, one main street through the 'town' with various small shops along the street with diagonal parking on the side. There is typically a small petrol (gas) station, a 'general store' (though in Canada they would be simply a 'store' or 'grocery store'), a small bank and a tourist souvenir shop (which all are present in the small towns here).

Many of the roads off of the highway we travelled were dirt (or simply two ruts through a field) – very remote, I suppose.

We stopped again at a place called Bega just over the border in New South Wales where we learned, while filling up our gas tank, that there was a 'famous' cheese factory in the town which had a good shop and exhibit so we went off in search of it. We found the factory at the end of a road right off of the highway and it was quite well done. We took a look at the cheese-making process (looking at the large vats in which the cheese is created and the machines that create the blocks of cheese to be eventually cut into smaller pieces) and a building that housed a small shop and a much larger exhibit about the history of the factory and how cheese is made (and a gift shop on the second floor). Quite well done (the shop allowed you to taste each of the cheeses they made, and purchase, of course, though the cheese part of the shop was much smaller than the area for normal snacks – sandwiches and the like). We picked up a few pieces of cheese, finishing one of them before we had travelled 50 km.

We continued on, eventually getting into the area of Sydney. We had been told to try to stay at Bondi Beach which is right near the main city area. Through a bit of trouble getting lost, we eventually found the area only to find that there is a big football game in town this weekend so all hotels are booked. We gave up and headed back out of the city along the same way we came in since mother had noticed a few motels there.

We are staying at a hotel that is not terribly fancy at all – much less than last night, and much more expensive. I am not terribly happy with the place, though it is late and we need a place to stay…perhaps tomorrow in Sydney will be better.

⇒ Continue to August 28, 1999 - Blakehurst, Near Sydney, New South Wales, Australia