Wednesday, 28 August 2013


Monday saw us awake at 4.30, leaving the house by 5.30 and leaving the airport at 8. Auckland to Sydney. 3 hours.

Emerging from baggage claim, we immediately recognised Robyn. It had been 20 years since we had last seen each other and she had her back to us, but we still knew her straight away.

How is that good friends never seem to change?

So a quick coffee was needed first to calm the cheek-stretching smiles which split our faces and recover from the breath-crushing hugs.

Then a whirlwind tour began. Back to their house in Sydney's spacious suburbs, lunch, then a drive through the National Park, marvelling at the gum trees and the birds.

We were ecstatic to see kookaburras. Then huge cormorants. And sighting of white cockatoos was completely thrilling - the first time. After we'd seen - and heard their distinctive screech - again and again, we realised they are as ubiquitous as crows. Or maybe even sparrows. Borderline tiresome, after a while.

Still, the bird sounds, and glimpses of brightly coloured parakeets, were wonderful, especially the whip bird, where male and female answer each other with whip-like calls.

We drove up to Bald Hill, a headland on the coast, watching the paragliders and hangliders slope soaring. The coastline, cliffs interrupted by beaches, stretched beyond our sight.

Australia is VAST.

Winding down the hill to the Sea Bridge, gracefully balanced above the shore, hugging the curves of the cliff.

Then along to a quiet beach - and ice cream - before heading back to meet more of the family.

20 years of growing up, marrying, jobs, grandson...a lot of life.

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