Australia, Opal, and Mosquitos!

Two of our club members Leslie Neff and Larry Hoskinson take frequent trips to Australia to visit friends, go rock hounding, and enjoy the natural beauty of the country. Here is a little write up from their last trip- enjoy!

 

Landing in Sydney after 14 long hours, we felt we had come home. We stay with friends who live in Terry Hills, a Northern suburb that is a 20 minute drive from the ocean and fronts on Karengai Chase National Park where we get to ride their horses. Our 2004 Subaru Outback was waiting for us. David works at the largest auto auction house and knows what we need so arranges our vehicle shortly before we arrive.

The weather was absolutely beautiful and we spent our first full day there on his 30″ Sea Ray touring Sydney Harbor looking at all the stunning homes and land features. We dropped anchor for a picnic lunch in a small harbor next to Sydney Harbor National Park. David has lived most of his adult life here so he knows all the gossip about the incredible homes.

We took off heading west. The unusual rain has completely changed the landscape of the whole country. A green and lush scene was completely out of context. The drawback was a tenfold increase in flies all day and clouds of mosquitoes all night. Very strange for a mosquito-48547_960_720.pngdesert. A 3 day ride with a short stop at Victor Harbor, SA, a very historical port located in wine country and then ending at Coober Pedy SA. While mining has changed due to job competition from the gold mines, we were still able to find some nice stones either walking around the tailings in the day or black lighting after dark. We were lucky enough to be here for their annual Opal Festival featuring a parade and a day of fun events culminating with fireworks.

Heading back East we stopped in Yowah, Queensland and visited our old friend Eddie McGuire. Yowah is much less a desert and many of the days Eddie took us in a different direction and we went for long walks looking for stones. A town of about 100 people, there is currently a cafe located in the town tourism center that is open a few hours a day. Other than that you just plan ahead and bring food to cook, luckily we stay with a good cook with a nice kitchen! The town has bore water that comes up warm and they let it sit to cool down.

Leaving Yowah we head back to the coast near Brisbane. Once again staying with friends there and on the Gold Coast (where we got to visit a very large animal rescue group) we end up at Bryon Bay, the most Easterly point in Australia and one of our favorite towns. Each day we took a walk to the Lighthouse and saw dolphins, whales and turtles, down in the ocean below our walk. One day we ran into a small group of motorcycles that were taking off on a cross country tour, through the desert to the West coast. Until you have driven the outback you don’t realize how adventurous this trip is. Better them than me.

Coober_Pedy_Opal_Doublet.jpg
Example of Australian Opal.

A slow drive down to Sydney for some more horseback riding, selling our car, and visiting downtown and trying to pack all our suit cases without going over the required weights. We ended up arriving at the airport early so we could weigh them officially and move stuff around, but we did make it with only 65 lbs of opal!

 

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