My last post mentioned (briefly) that I was shortly off to New South Wales, firstly to take up a practical legal training placement in a community legal centre, and then for a much needed holiday once my studies were complete. My placement and the following break are now sadly past – we have since returned home – and while it is, of course, lovely to be back in dear old Melbourne, I feel I should make a few posts about the trip, partly because it occupied two months of my time, and also because the mid-north coast of New South Wales is surely one of the most gorgeous regions in the world, and certainly one of my dearest favourites.
The legal centre at which I was worked was located in Port Macquarie, a town approximately 3.5 hours north of Sydney. It’s a very lovely place, and we had a lot of fun wandering around the various walking tracks whenever I had a spare hour. Sadly, spare hours were few and far between as in addition to working full-time at my placement, I also had a great deal of coursework to complete, but we still had time to explore a few of the town’s several beaches and meander through the Kooloonbung Creek Nature Park and it’s lovely trails and board-walks (though don’t try the latter unless you are A-okay with flying foxes, as there are plenty to say the least!).
When I wasn’t working a the legal centre, most of my time was spent up in Crescent Head. Compared to Port Macquarie, Crescent Head is tiny (though technically, at around 1200 people, it’s tiny compared to nearly everywhere) but having spent a great deal of time there over the years it’s very close to my heart and a thoroughly lovely place to laze through the summer. It’s small, but it has two beaches and an estuary for swimming, excellent surf, gorgeous views, peaceful trails through the forest, rockpools, caves, a wonderful bakery, and more or less everything else you could possibly need for an idyllic time.
We were lucky with the weather this time around (unlike that time when we got flooded in for a week and had to
start eating the elderly and infirm spend most of our time inside) and for the most part had sunny days well suited to swimming, wandering, and day-trips (though more on those later).
We also had good luck on the critter front! There has always been an amazing range of wildlife in the area but the town outdid itself this year, especially in terms of reptiles.
The resident blue-tongue lizards were tamer and more complacent about photographers this time around. And we had the sweetest little visitor slither his way onto the balcony of the house.
(any non-Australian readers, please be reassured – I know that we have a certain reputation with regard to snakes but this little fellow was very small and at any rate, non-venomous)
Also, if this guy isn’t the most handsome little kookaburra you’ve ever seen, I will eat my (faded, well travelled and no doubt pungent) hat. I just love their comically huge heads!
I didn’t manage to get a photo of the monitor lizard that had scaled the telephone pole near the beach, much to the dismay of the resident bird-life, but I did very much appreciate his determination! Nor did I manage to grab a picture of the very charming eel that we encountered in the rockpools one day, or any of the roving octopus that we saw commuting between low-tide puddles. Maybe next time. I am a fan of next time. While there are many places in the world that I have been and will probably never return, there’s a definite joy in returning to a place year after year and really getting to know it well. It’s a privilege, for sure, and one that I feel very lucky to have.
That said, it’s important to find time for variety, as even in the places you visit regularly there’s nearly always the opportunity to try something new. As we did, though that is a tale for the next post.