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Rachel & Kieron’s Travel Diary

Monday, 04 Aug 2008

Location: In the van, NSW, Australia

MapAfter a fantastic night of uninterrupted sleep and a lovely hot shower we got ready to set off again. Kieron had his first shave in a week and went from swarthy pirate to fresh faced youth in a matter of minutes! We headed to what the Lonely Planet guide described as a natural phenomenon. An underground coal seam that had been smoking for thousands of years and was set to smoke for thousands more. We were both intrigued and, despite Keith telling us it wasn't worth bothering with, we headed for it. All we can say is that Keith is a wise man. A candle could produce more smoke than Burning Mountain! We did enjoy the 5km walk to the mystical site and Kieron spotted his first kangaroo. A little deflated, we carried on our journey and decided to drive through the early evening to Port Macquarie. We expected the 200km drive to take about 2 1/2 hours but, yet again, the map didn't illustrate fully the horror that lay ahead. With Atko at the wheel and Goldberg sucking down Toohey's we navigated the Oxley Highway. I can only suggest you try and find it on Google Earth and observe the steepest inclines, declines and sharp corners first hand, through the thickest forest imagineable - then imagine it in the pitch black. Throughout the entire journey (4 1/2 hours) we could see lightening illuminating the width of the sky ahead and you can imagine our delight when we arrived in Port Macquarie, the epicentre of the storm. Thankfully the rain had stopped and we managed a take out lasagne before falling fast asleep.