So today was gonna be a long day as we planned to drive from Coffs all the way to Sydney. Based on our estimate, the ~530km drive would almost take 7hr or possibly even longer 'cos we were planning to stopover at Forster (which our friends had strongly recommended). Hoping to start our day earlier, we were the first at breakfast. The breakfast area was lovely with full ceiling to floor windows and from where we were seated, we had a fantastic view of Diggers Beach - basking in the golden rays of the rising sun.
The buffet spread was great and tasted delicious. And while we were eating, a little Kookaburra decided to perch itself on the window railing. We realised it must be a regular "customer" seeing that it looked so at ease and not afraid. Then one of the waiters approached it gently with a piece of ham and the Kookaburra just took it from his hand and then flew off. It was an interesting sight for us indeed.
After breakfast, we decided to take a quick stroll to the beach. Along the way, we caught sight of several more Kookaburras, perched high on the trees.
As we left the hotel, I remembered reading somewhere that there would be a farmers' market on in Coffs on every Thursday. The problem was we haven't the slightest idea where the market was located. So we just drove around the town centre and we actually found it without much difficulties. So we parked nearby to check out the market. There were just a row of make-shift stalls selling fresh local produces. I must say all the fruits, vegetables and home-made pies and cakes looked really fresh and yummy.
Coffs bananas which colors looked so vibrant!
Fresh spring onions which were much bigger than the ones we see in Singapore.
We also spoke to a sikh stall owner who was selling what looked like really huge samosas. He happened to be a immigrant settling counsellor and he was telling us to go and live in Australia as the quality of life is good there. He said it ain't that hard to obtain permanent residency there....although that wasn't exactly what we have heard from others.
Anyway, we hit the road again after spending some time at the farmers' market. It took us ~3hrs to reach Forster. RG must have been quite exhausted having driven so much without a break....so we decided to find a nice spot at J Holland Park to just sit down for a little picnic. We always brought along with us in the car some cookies, bread/cakes, chips & drinks....good for a little picnic as and when we felt like it. The food items also came in handy whenever we wished to lure the birds/animals to us so that we could get a closer look at them.
The water at Forster was a deep shade of aqua-green and really clear such that you could almost see to the bottom of the reserve. There was a big flock of pelicans and seagulls nearby who were eyeing our food. They swam to us as soon as they saw us throwing food bits into the river. I managed to get a few good shots of the beautiful birds.
The detour to Forster probably costed us an additional couple more driving hours..but it was worth it 'cos the reserve and lake were really quite pretty.
We thought we would be done with beautiful beaches when we left Gold Coast but we found more nice beaches in Forster. And they were much less crowded as compared to those in Gold Coast.
If the natural beaches weren't enough....we even found a man-made infinity pool with fresh seawater which was probably a safer option for little kids to swim in 'cos the waves could be quite big.
After enjoying a short break at Forster, we continued on our way to Sydney which was probably another 4hr drive away. Our next stopover was at Raymond Terrace where we had lunch and stretched our tired legs. Lunch was horrible asian takeaway 'cos we wanted to save time.
We were nervous about driving to Sydney 'cos we were worried about getting lost or going on toll roads without realising it and getting fine for it. Luckily for us, we had brought along our old Sydney street directory which was still very much relevant. In order to avoid having to drive into the city, we had booked our accommodation in North Sydney. We managed to find our hotel - Rydges North Sydney without much difficulties. We had only booked Rydges for 1 night as we had wanted to stay at North Sydney Harbourview hotel but it wasn't available on that particular night of our arrival. The Rydges room was A$162 for a parkview room and it included garage parking. Our room was overlooking St Leonards Park and it was nice to see all the green...quite a change from the coastal views that we have had for the past couple of days http://www.rydges.com/hotel/0/RNNSYD/Rydges-North-Sydney.htm
Because it was already quite late, we decided to just drive to the nearby McMahons Point near the Lavender Bay for an evening stroll and to enjoy some views of the harbour bridge and opera house. There weren't many people there, unlike other touristy spots where you get to view the two sydney icons...we were able to spend some quiet romantic moments at the park, watching the bridge and the opera house light up as the sky turned dark. But I felt really cold as the wind was really chilly and I wasn't warmly dressed. As a result of that, I caught a cold almost immediately and I started to spike a fever. Thank god I brought along flu medication.