In Australia, rather than try and see/experience the entire continent/country, we contented ourselves with a visit with our very
good friend, Denise Johnson and her family. After spending two months driving all around the comparatively small country
of New Zealand, we made no attempt to see more than a microcosm of the only country that is alao a continent.
We have been very fortunate to have been close friends with “Denny” for almost thirty years and this was our first chance to
visit her two sons and their families. Denny and her husband Billy lived next door to us in Sausalito on those occasions they
were not staying in Australia, or traveling around the world. Billy passed away a few years ago at the age of 86. Billy and
Denny’s led a life that we greatly admired. Perhaps they were the inspiration for the somewhat nomadic life we have chosen
to follow in the past few years.
We spent a delightful three weeks with Denny in her apartment in the Elizabeth Bay area of Sydney.
Denny lived in a penthouse overlooking a beautiful park and the posh yacht harbor, Rushcutter’s Bay
We knew that Sydney was a beautiful city, but were not aware of the flocks of tropical birds. As Denny is a well known soft
touch among the various bird communities including Cockatoos and Rainbow Lorikeets, we always had visitors on the
seventh floor balcony.
We did take one trip outside of Sydney. That was to the family ranch some two hundred kilometers south.
Exeter Farm has been in the family since 1838 and is currently run by her son Owen and his wife Kate. It is a working
ranch, but unfortunately there was a drastic drought during our visit. They were forced to take their cattle “on the road”.
This meant traveling for hundreds of miles looking for grass adjacent to the Australian highways.
In addition to Denny and her family, we also were offered hospitality by friends we had met in New Zealand, and friends we
made while in Sydney. Here Trish used one of her favorite tricks and left our guidebook on the bar. Craig, sitting next to us,
took the bait and struck up a conversation with us. Soon he invited us to an incredible New Years Eve party in his penthouse
apartment overlooking Sydney Harbor and the spectacular fireworks display.
We also spent a day with him sailing and picnicking on the bay.
Our stay of three weeks was too short, and we definitely plan to return again to see Denny and her family and experience
more of this marvelous country.