Monday, August 10, 2009
Aaahhh, Myall Lakes!
Saturday we set out from Sydney for a weekend in Myall Lakes National Park, which is about 3-4 hours north of Sydney. It's a rural area near the ocean that reminded us of Monterrey and maybe coastal areas north of SF. The difference is that palm trees and eucalyptus are actually native. They live alongside ferns plus other plants and animals that have no place whatsoever in Nor Cal.
Saturday night after we settled in to our "eco cabins," Linda and I left to do some grocery shopping at the IGA in the nearby metropolis of Booladegah, 15 kilometers away over partially "unsealed track" (some paved road, some unpaved). It was dusk on our drive there, and I was on 'roo duty. Less then 10 minutes into our drive, I cried "Kangaroo! Stop!" And we both watched as a kangaroo stood at the left side of the road, ready to spring across. It was my first wild kangaroo! For about 20 seconds it stood there and then decided to hop across: boing, boing, boing, off into the woods on the other side of the road.
A few minutes later I watched another 'roo (Australians are big on abbreviating) hop casually along the side of the road. It was sublime and satisfying, seeing an animal relegated to zoos and the imagination in the northern hemisphere, as commonplace here as the deer back home.
Sunday morning we set out on an uneventful but lovely bushwalk in the area near our resort. Then we got some food and set out on a drive to a local beach, Seal Rocks. It wasn't long after we arrived that I realized that it may be the nicest beach I have ever been to. It was sheltered by low hills all around, so there was virtually no wind. The sand was as clean and fine as any I've seen anywhere*. During a break from kid duty, I strapped on my boots and scrambled up some rocks (the local kids were doing it barefoot) to the top of an outcropping between the beach and the next bay. It wasn't big, it may have been 50 feet high, but the view from the top reminded me of the high cliff in the movie "Cast Away," the whole continent suddenly seeming as wild and exotic as the desolate island in the middle of the Pacific. There was nothing between me and home except a lot of water and Hawaii, and I half expected to find a mysterious hatch or the recordings of a crazy Frechwoman.
Once I scrambled back down I found my kids were still happily building sandcastles and wandering around the smooth, coal-black rocks, collecting shells and sticks. It was perfect. It was the first time in a long time that a moment was flawless, me and a bunch of my favorite people happy and peaceful in this perfect place, and I wanted it to last forever. We were there for hours, but it seemed like minutes before we had to leave because the sun was getting low in the "winter"** sky.
*It's possible I've been to a nicer beach in Hawaii, but when you're in Hawaii, everything seems better, so it's hard to make a comparison. I really think Seal Rocks is the best ever.
**It's winter here, but it's a safe bet that the weather at Seal Rocks Beach Sunday was nicer than most summer days in Half Moon Bay.