I was saddened to read on the news of the death of Malcolm Douglas. He was the original crocodile man, adventurer, explorer, crocodile shooter and lately conservationist. He wrote some wonderful books about his exploits, perhaps the best known being “Across the Top”. Anyone who has been to Broome will have probably visited his crocodile exhibition at Cable Beach or his new park at 12 mile. He was one of the real characters of the top end although lately he had become somewhat reclusive.
Friday was our last full day in Sydney and we headed off to Pyrmont to visit the Sydney Aquarium. This was a great aquarium, as well as a myriad of small tanks holdings various fish and invertebrates they have two large tanks. One is the shark and ray tank which has two perspex tunnels through it, the other is the tropic tank full of tropical fish. I tend to get rather blasé about such things having spent so much time diving in the tropics however Vicki had never seen anything like it before and she was entranced, in fact she reckoned it was the best part of our Sydney visit.
In our ten days in Sydney we had only visited two exhibitions that we had had to pay an entry fee for, the National Maritime Museum and the Sydney Aquarium both well worth the money, specially at pensioners discount rate! The rest of the time we just walked, rode the rails and ferries and generally explored the place.
Arriving home Friday night I started the car to ensure it would start after ten days of sitting idle, it was a bit sluggish but did start. However all packed up and ready to go Saturday morning it was obvious we had a battery problem and probably required a new starter battery. Called the NRMA and it only took them about twenty minutes to arrive and confirm our starter battery was in fact stuffed (technical term meaning battery no good). The battery was about five years old so it had passed its “use by date”. Anyway $235 and a new battery and terminals later we were ready to depart Sydney.
It was easy leaving Sydney, we used the M2 and M7 motorways with our etag beeping happily as it past beneath the toll points. We were making for Berrima but had completely forgotten that heading north we had found the free camping area at Berrima closed. Apparently the good citizens of this town don’t like people camping and spending money in their town. Around 50 kilometres SE of Berrima was a free camping area at Bendeela so we made for this. Came past Moss Vale and called into the markets being held in the showground to buy fruit and vegies.
This camp is great (Camps5 NSW 595). When we arrived we had to stop at a security check point so we imagined we would have to pay but no it was just to inform us that we couldn’t take pets in or have fires. The camp is on the Shoalhaven River and is on land controlled by the Sydney Catchment Authority. It is great that they allow camping on this land as most catchment authorities simply lock the land up. This camp is very popular with canoeists and can get rather crowded at Christmas and Easter.
Its a beaut sunny day and we will probably stay here a couple of days to recover from our Sydney travels. Lots of wild life and birds. Coming in the security guy had told us not to be surprised if the caravan shook during the night as wombats tended to get underneath and scratch their backs on the suspension. I thought he was pulling our leg but sure enough several times during the night this happened. In fact going outside after dark you had to be careful not to trip over a grazing wombat.