Beginning to Explore

We are through our first full week in Australia, and Eric and I have both come down with a bit of a cold. After a couple trips to the pharmacy, we‘re on the mend. We’ve still been able to get out and about to explore though – hiking trails, Marsupial Park, meat pies (sort of like Runzas, but different), Manilla, and the bike shops/mountain bike park.

Flagstaff mountain here in Tamworth has several great hiking trails to choose from. The area reminds me of the Colorado foothills, but with red dirt like the Moab area of Utah. The different hikes offer some steep climbs and rocky terrain, which we haven’t done in awhile, so my calves were screaming after two days in a row.

On the Flagstaff Mountain trail.

Marsupial Park is sort of a park/zoo. It’s free and has a great children’s play area and walking path around different natural enclosures that showcase some of Australia’s native animals like wallabies, kangaroos, emus, and other birds. The birds here are what always surprise me – so colorful, and very noisy – think American birds turned up full volume, times 1000. Even though the ones we saw were in enclosures, I’ve seen all the same types flying around town – cockatoos, galahs, lorikeets, rosellas, etc. It’s a fun change from the black birds and robins we’re used to seeing – it’s definitely a bird watchers paradise. One ironic thing about the park was that there was a “wild” kangaroo (not in an enclosure area) hopping around with a large joey in her pouch! Very cute.

Meat Pies are a lot like chicken pot pies at home, but actually good. Most bakeries around make them and you can stop in to pick one up for a quick bite. I equated them to Runzas because meat pies have more of a bread/croissant like crust as opposed to a pie crust. Not a health food for sure, but yum.

Meat Pies!

Manilla is a quaint town about half hour drive from Tamworth. It’s known for being a fishing community (when they are not in drought) and for paragliding from Mt Borah. We stopped in the visitors center there and the lady was full of great information about the area and country. She gave us a little history lesson about the US army bases along the northern coast near Darwin, and how the US and Australia became stronger allies during WWII. Australia was also attacked by the Japanese during that time, something I either didn’t realize, or remember touching on in school when we learned about WWII.

Tamworth has an excellent looking mountain bike park with a number of beginner to expert trails. Eric is chomping at the bit to get out on a bike, and we have visited almost all the bike and outdoor stores in town so far…Didn’t feel up to getting on a bike this week with our colds though.

We’ve made some headway with a plan for our time here. It’s shaping up like we will be doing a great Australian road trip from Tamworth to Perth in November/December! No real details yet, so more to come. Oh! And Eric got his first haircut by me this week…..turned out pretty good thanks to a little guidance before we left from Stacey. (Thanks again Stacey!)

Eric’s first haircut by Heather!