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March 20, 2011

Roadtrip to Port Stephens and a little sandboarding...

Day 10 (Wed Jan 5) Reptile Park, Port Stephens

Today was the day for our one and only day trip out of Sydney.  We were hoping for good weather because we were going on a dolphin watching cruise up in Port Stephens.  Our first stop was at Reptile Park.  Now don't get me wrong, Reptile Park was fun but it seemed like a place where elementary students go on field trips and it was our 50th time going to an animal park in Sydney.  We did get to pet koalas, definitely one of the highlights of the trip.  They are not fuzzy and cuddly like you would think.  There hair is very coarse and they do not like to be held at all.  We also got to see crocodiles and wombats.  We got to feed kangaroos that were hopping around in the open and had close encounters with some wild emus.
After leaving Reptile Park, we headed up to Port Stephens.  We ate lunch at a little restaurant that boasts the best fish and chips in NSW (New South Wales).  It was very good!  You could tell this was a tourist town somewhat like Wisconsin Dells because it costs $3.00 for a candy bar (even with Australian inflation this seemed high for us Americans).  We got on our boat to watch the dolphins and the weather had taken a turn for the worst.  It wasn't bad weather but the sun had gone down and it was a bit chilly.  We got to see some dolphins but the boat was very crowded.  The highlight of the trip came next.  We got to ride in a boomnet!  This was pretty much the equivalent of extreme tubing.  The lowered a large net that resembled a fishing net on the back of the boat.  As the boat was still moving forward at full speed, you could climb down into the net and sit in it.  The water was FREEZING but it was so much fun.  The waves would splash up and you could feel like you were almost flying out of the net.  Only a handful of people actually got in the net but the people who didn't were missing out!  We came out bruised and burned from the rope but it was one of the most fun things I have ever done.

After leaving Port Stephens, we went to another beach.  Here we got into 4WD vehicles and rode around on the sand dunes.  I felt like I had been transported to the desert.  We stopped at the largest sand dunes I have ever seen and got to learn how to sand board.  You ride on a board that resembles a small sled.  It is about the size of a snowboard but you sit on it instead of standing.  It was very fun but resulted in a lot of sand in my swimsuit!  We got back on the bus after that and traveled back to Sydney.  It was a good end to a very fun day!

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