After that it was only a short trip to Jervis Bay and a short wait for the Dophin Cruise. (We got some fish and chips before heading on to the cruise) We were on the water for about an hour before we could get close to a pod, and the cameras weren't fast enough in some cases. (Dolphins avi file)
Afterwards it was a quick trip to the bottle shop and then on to lunch.
We then stopped for lunch at a nice quiet spot near the beach. Nick and co supplied the food and we had a great barbecue with lots of vegetables, fruits, salads and drink. It was one of the best barbecues I'd had. Most of the Chinese that had come on the tour were a bit shocked as they'd never eaten anything without rice before. Most of my asian friends have no problems skipping rice every now and then but these travellers had obviously only just arrived in Australia (they were using an interpreter) and had never done it before! It was like they were addicts going through withdrawal because there was no rice. Even Nick, who has been a tour guide for a long time, seemed a bit taken aback by this. So, if I ever run my own tour group I'll make sure that Asian travellers know that, if they're going to get the full Aussie experience, rice is nowhere near the menu!
It was actually a late lunch and things got dark pretty quickly. Afterwards the tour took us to our hotel room.
After freshening up the group headed in to the dining area of the hotel for dinner. Then, after this, Nick took us on a wild mystery tour in the dark! We went out into the scrub to see wombats in a field as well as some koalas and kangaroos. Everyone was excited to see native animals in their natural habitat in the lights of the bus! Pity my camera couldn't take night photos!
We also got to see the stars. In the city, smog and the reflection from city lights obscure most of the stars so that you can only get to see the brightest. In the country, in areas where it is pitch black, there are so many stars in the sky that your jaw drops at how interesting they look. It was a beautiful sight.
We decided to head back as a very important thing had to be done. It was agreed that some of the guys would join Nick for a beer or two at the pub, while wives and girlfriends rolled their eyes!
The pub was in Nowra near our hotel room, and it turned out to be a blue collar pub with a rowdy dance party happening upstairs. Not meeting anyone's gaze and just ordering beer was the safest thing to do if you happened to be noticeably liberal or white collar looking.
The next morning we were up bright and early. A quick stop at the Jervis Bay shops for fish and chips, and a look at the trinkets they had for sale, then on to Kangaroo Valley. On the way Nick took us on a couple of walks through the national park, as well as a few beach walks. Unfortunately the weather wasn't that good this weekend so it was umbrellas and raincoats for everyone.
Nick took us on a really interesting walking tour that culminated in a pile of dirt and broken shells which seemed to be part of the landscape. We had no idea why we were taken off the beaten track to this secluded spot until Nick explained that for thousands of years this mound was the fish scaling place of the aborigines. Generations upon generations of various tribes that had lived in the area had left their shells, scales, fish parts and other biodegradable rubbish here until it had actually become a prominant feature of the coastline.
The National Park walk a bit later took us past a river and a waterfall but with all the rain we couldn't enjoy it that much. We eventually made it to the souvenir shop which sold some great souvenirs at National Park prices.
Kangaroo Valley was a quiet, peaceful little tourist stop. There were other more adventurous options but no one on the tour wanted to do any of those. The Valley contained many shops selling souvenirs and trinkets but we ended up just buying some icecream and interesting looking lollies. (Kangaroo Valley shops avi)
Actually there were so many varieties of money wasting trinket shops that girls love and guys hate. Outside one shop, one of the other guys and I rested on a seat specially made for men like us - called the 'Bored Husbands Seat'. Very apt.
I'd bought a wide brimmed hat to wear before I went and decided that it would be given to Nick with tips in. After passing it around I handed it to Nick who was quite gobsmacked at the generosity. With all the hard work he put in, the fact that the fee we paid was quite cheap compared to other tours, and because he showed us a lot more on the tour than most people would, I thought it was the most appropriate thing to do. And the others on the tour tended to agree. The hat was quite heavy when I handed it too him!
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