It involved a lot of lounging around, a little bit of local travelling, a little bit of family goodness and a lot of good food.
Behold our mighty Easter Cake! It was a delicious carrot cake baked up by my mum and then decorated by myself and Isobelle with cream cheese frosting, sugar flowers, jellybeans and those perpetually confused-looking chickies.
I arrived Wednesday night which is a day earlier then I had originally anticipated getting out there, but I put in the wrong day on my train ticket and after realizing this mistake decided it really wasn't worth the hassel trying to get it changed and just rose to the challenge of getting my schoolwork done in time!
Traveling by train by far is my favorite way to travel, and CountryLink so far is the best experience I've had on a train hands down. It's a beautiful and modern train with just enough space for someone of my small size to get comfy. (It also helped on the way up it was -very- empty so I had space to stretch out across two seats too. It was packed coming back though and I still found it a comfortable trip!) Not so great dining car and food though, but I suppose that's to be expected with any travel service.
By far the best thing was the view. Our train snaked through some drop dead gorgeous countryside. I had brought along all sorts of school work and readings with the intention of hammering out a good chunk of it on the trainride but oh no. Pretty much my entire ride northwards was spent with me staring out the window.
This was my favorite little bit of wimsy. (sorry for the window reflection) A beautiful rainbow schoolbus and a HUGE tree. This property is very rural and acres and acres of farmland surrounded it. I can only imagine it takes a bit of an effort to get rural kids in to school. I wonder if this property had the school house or perhapse the property owner had a second job of picking up and dropping off the local kids morning and afternoons. Or if it was just a colorful bus used for some other purpose!
Thursday was spent on a little whirwind tour of the Coffs Harbour offered museums for one of my classes. I had scheduled to go and visit the Bunker Hill Cartoon Gallery, the Coffs Harbour Regional Historical Society and Museum, the Coffs Harbour Regional Art Gallery and the Coffs Harbour Botanical Gardens. On Thursday we got to the first three.
Some delicious hot cross buns and tea were indulged in on Good Friday followed by a day of complete and utter relaxation!
Saturday Mum and I walked down to Saltwater Restaurant for breakfast. Saltwater is simply, hands down, a fantastic place to eat. Since it's just down the road from us it's become a family tradition to eat there for breakfast (if you ever happen to find yourself in the Coffs Harbour area go to Saltwater at Emerald Beach for breakfast and try their pancakes! You'll thank me later. Hell, I'm not even a big pancake fan and I find them to die for. Pretty much everything else they make is delicious as well. You can't go wrong!)
Afterwards we drove up to Grafton and met up with my sister and the two girls. We visited the Grafton Art Gallery which really is quite beautiful if a bit on the small side. They have some amazing etchings in their galleries as well as hosting a traveling exhibit of prints from Papua New Guinea. Very beautiful stuff. The Gallery also has a beautiful little courtyard and cafe where we had lunch.
Mmmm... Fairy bread and chips. What more could you ask for lunch?
It was raining off and on so we decided to do some road exploring on the way back. We passed by a sign for Wooli on the way up and we decided to go and check it out! The drive out to the small town took a lot longer then we were expecting, but what we found when we arrived was really something spectacular! It's a tiny little strip of a penninsula that's mostly holiday homes.
On one side you have the Wooli Wooli river and their mangroves:
Including on the other side one of the biggest sandhills I've ever seen(!)
See the little boat with a fisherman in it? How awesome would it be to slide down THAT hill?
And less then one city block away from the river you hit the ocean!
They even have boat rentals for this great large, flat boat that Mum seems to think we can maneuver grandpa onto, so we'll certainly have to see about arranging a family fishing trip out this way sometime in the future.
Easter Sunday started with a slow, lazy morning for me while mum went off to church with Gran, then mum and I went to the Botanical Gardens where they were celebrating Harmony Day! Put together mostly through Amnisty International it was a celebration of local culture with lots of displays of Dance (from bellydancing to Sudanese dancing!) and activities such as face painting. Also the local "SCA" (Coffs Medieval Guild) was there and put together a cute little village and showed off period activities such as spinning, knitting (hee!), embroidary for women and chainmaile, sword fighting and armor for the men. We met My sister, brother-in-law and the two girls there and Isobelle and I ended up going on a long walk through the back of the gardens. It really is a gem of a place with winding forested pathways and interesting trees:
and even lead back to a large pond full of lillipads and ducks:
Unfortunatly it's also mostly mud as the water level is very low but the ducks don't seem to mind!
It was very nice and the rain stayed away which was even nicer. We ended up taking Isobelle back home with us where she and I decorated the cake (see above!) and then we all headed over to granny and pa's where we enjoyed a nice easter lamb dinner.
I gave the girls their rabbits before dinner and I'm happy to say they went over well! Both seemed to enjoy their buns very much! Phew!
Isobelle had a sleep over at our place that night and didn't even mind waking up early the next day to take me to the trainstation.