Australia Day 4

Today we got a late start, but met up with Margaret who Mom has met at some of the conferences she plans. Margaret drove us around the Northern Suburbs of Sydney. Our first stop was Chowder Bay and Balmaral where we got the first of many great sights. At Balmaral, we met up with Margaret’s son who runs a kayak business. He was super nice and before we knew it we were off again.

We headed to one of the highlight tourist areas of North Sydney called Manly beach. We got some fresh fish and chips (we picked the filet and they battered it) and then carried it to the beach where we dined with the seagulls and people watched. It was a gorgeous day – just a bit of clouds and some sun. After an hour or so, we hopped in the car again. We stopped next at North Point – an amazing lookout point at the entrance to the Harbour. A couple of photos later and then we were off again.

Margaret offered to take us to her weekend house farther north in Palm Beach. Well not exactly Palm Beach. Her house is in a National Park across the bay from Palm Beach in an area called The Basin. The only way there is to take a ferry or water taxi. This means if you live there everything has to be brought it and your trash, etc. have to be carried out. Since we were only having tea, we just picked up some milk and headed across. It was a nice relaxing place off the beaten path. We all decided that we should come back on another trip and spend a nice long relaxing weekend there. While we were sipping beverages (I opted for a lemon soda) various wildlife came for a visit including the famous meat-eating kookaburra. It was a wonderful visit and we all hope we could visit again soon. We then headed back to Palm Beach via water taxi and then hopped in the car. Margaret took us to the actual Palm Beach where many celebrities and other high profile people have huge multi-million dollar homes. There is also a spectacular lighthouse which I wanted to visit, but we needed to head back to town for Mardi Gras!

Once we arrived in the city we freshened up a bit and then headed down to Oxford Street for the big celebration. It was a mass of people – definitely a mixed crowd for a supposed Gay and Lesbian event, and everyone was having a great time. The choice views were from hotel balconies, but alas we don’t have the hookups so it was street level for us. Lots of smarter people brought crates to stand on for the parade and then at the end left them for the street cleanup people. Mom and Gary headed back after the parade and I stuck around for a bit. I decided to go into one club and had to wait in line for two hours. The people next to me in line kept it amusing and eventually I made it inside. Typical club, nothing special. I spent most of the time having a couple of drinks and people watching. Around 3am I headed back to the hotel and managed to see two fights on the street and managed to overshoot the hotel by a couple of blocks. But by 4am I was in bed ready for a new day! The Harbour Bridge is tomorrow.