A couple of people have said that I had kept this trip quiet and that it was quite a surprise. Well, I suppose you could say that, although in the last email I sent out to my 'list' I did say I was planning on a trip here to visit with Eleanor. Heck, you don't HAVE to read my emails! And to those who didn't realise that Eleanor was here, same thing applies, same email. Speaking from my lofty situation of never forgetting anything (!!) I can remind you that after gaining a law degree at Nanterre University in Paris she is in the final semester studying for a masters in International Law at Sydney University. She wants to work with an NGO in the field of Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.

It's Barry who first caused me to think I should give a comprehension test after each of my emails. Boy, I'll bet that would whittle the list down a bit.

After the wombat another friendly visitor at my campsite in Kangaroo Valley was this little chap. I don't know what he's called but he seems to be from a friendly breed. I've seen several similar visitors at other camp sites I've called at.

I mapped out a circular route the next day, returning to Kangaroo Valley for the night. It rained in the morning but cleared up while I was lunching at 7 Mile Beach, photo below. 7 miles of beautiful beach! You could probably get the whole population of NSW (about 4 million) on that beach.

Here are some facts to stun you with knowledge. The entire population of Australia is about 20 million. Of this about 20% live in NSW. They also say that 80% of Australians live within 30 minutes drive of the sea. I forget the size of Australia but it is comparable to the entire size of the USA. So once you get away from the coast, Australians are pretty thin on the ground.

I returned to my campsite, exactly the same spot as before, after following a route including some superb views. As I've mentioned before, superb big views just don't work on photographs especially when it's a touch hazy. Just imagine some nice views, with big hills and a lake in the distance. You'll not be far wrong.

I forgot to mention my museum visit of the day before, Kangaroo Valley Pioneer museum. They only have 300 full time residents in the valley and considering that, the museum was superb. There are 1200 more who visit their holiday homes from time to time.

I also forgot to mention that on the way down the day before I had sampled - well, eaten, actually, not just sampled - a pie bought from the small shop boasting 'The World's best Pies'. It was pretty good,I'll give them that.

Writing so long after it happened I've had a tough job remembering what I did the day after I left Kangaroo Valley. I remembered the night stop, at a lookout 8 km down a dirt road, with a few 'no camping' signs around. I didn't think anyone would bother me, and they didn't. It blew a gale during the night, the wind was whistling around. Of course, being at a lookout I was on top of a hill, which didn't help. I heard on the radio that in Tasmania, a long way to the south from here, there were 20,000 people without electricity after this same storm.

Well, I looked up the maps I have left and realised I went to Nowra. (I gave my best maps to a couple I met some days later, who lived in Dorset, only about 50 miles from Romsey, where I used to live in the UK) Now, I don't remember Nowra at all, except that it was a pleasant sort of place, and that I went to the Fleet Air Arm museum. Not unexpectedly it was full of naval airplanes with lots of info about landing on carriers. One admiral was quoted as saying, it's only the first 600 landings that are a touch nerve wracking, after that you get used used to it.

After leaving my windy lookout I drove down the coast, taking a couple of photos of beaches.

There's dozens and dozens of beaches like these.

Then, I had been told, kangaroos lived by Pebbly Beach so I diverted to Pebbly Beach. So, guess what I found! About 15 in the first photo.

They were much smaller than the ones I had seen before. Probably slightly different species. The ones I saw before, but didn't photograph, must have been close to 6 feet tall and were very solidly built. Almost cow sized. Hit one of those at speed and even huge bumpers (fenders) wouldn't save you. Actually the front of my van is all stove in, maybe it was one of those creatures that caused it. You can just see that on the photo I took a couple of emails back, but the photo was cunningly sited so that the damage was not to obvious.

I snuck down a side track for the night, and wasn't troubled until morning.

Best regards

David Barker
Currently in Australia, exploring New South Wales

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