Kinka Beach came with a high recommendation. It was a little out of the way, but we thought it would be worth it. When we pulled up it was like waa, waa, waaaaa. The campground amenities were fine enough, the jumping pillow and pool made up for the dated bathrooms, and we were excited to check out the beach before it got too late. We had to dart across a busy road ("busy" being a relative term in rural Australia) to a beach that was much more baron than beautiful. It was a huge disappointment. Instead we enjoyed hot showers and hunkered down for date night as the rain poured down. Date night on the road consists of closing the curtain divider and letting the kids watch a movie while we stream "The Pursuit of Happyness" on Jason's phone, which loses reception every 10 minutes or so. Date nights on the road also consist of spontaneously pulling over to eat oreo cheesecake with plastic forks in the comfort of our upholstered bucket seats while the kids eat popsicles behind the polyester curtain divide. We also turn the music up and sing (well, mostly I sing. and it's always off tune) after the kids go to sleep. The only music we have is Jason's itube play list, which we played on repeat and has now become the soundtrack for our trip. Whenever I hear Ugly Heart it brings me right back to those midnight drives in the wide open spaces of Australia. So....where was I? Oh yeah. I really wanted to see a crocodile in the wild. I mean, when you think of Australia, you think of crocs. And kangaroos. And Koala Bears. But crocs definitely make the top three. I had found some rivers and swamps that claimed to be inhabited by crocodiles. My excitement quickly turned to uncertainty as we drove close enough to read the warning signs and the idea of trekking the kids through a crocodile infested swamp all of the sudden didn't seem like the brightest idea I've ever had. Rookie tourist mistake. But then I remembered seeing a sign for a crocodile farm and that seemed all sorts of safe and comforting. the Koorana Crocodile Farm was perfect. The owner runs the tour and he is a real life legit Crocodile Dundee. He wrestled and captured every crocodile on that farm (although the wrestling part consisted more of a sophisticated metal pole and noose then actual hand to claw combat). If a croc poses a risk to the public, he is the guy they call. His stories were quite entertaining and we learned more about crocodiles than any episode of Wild Kratts could ever teach us. Maddox, being the information sponge that he is, soaked it all up. And then at the end we bought crocodile pie and ate it for dinner. Along with pizza. But we all tasted it. Except for Ryder. It tasted like chicken. Except nothing like it.
winner, winner, chicken dinner. ewww.
The next day was a long travel day. The kind where everyone is cranky and on edge. They had seen all 5 of the movies we brought at least 10 times each and even with all the space they somehow managed to elbow, poke and kick each other repeatedly. And the luxury of being able to take potty breaks on the road didn't fare too well when I was helping Ryder and as we were walking to the bathroom a kangaroo hopped right in the middle of the road. Jason slammed on the breaks and the socks on our feet made us slip and slide the entire length of the caravan, ending in a crumpled heap of tears. No more walking in a moving vehicle. Lesson learned. We could all use a break, some fresh air and a chance to stretch our legs. Jason found the perfect hike, the Two Story Cave in Cania Gorge.
The exposure on this picture is bad, but you can see the kids up top on the second story of the cave, it was pretty cool.
Apparently we weren't the only ones occupying the cave. Hashtag bat cave.
The next morning was nothing short of a dream. Ryder woke up with the sun to use the bathroom and when I peaked out the window I saw this. I quietly slipped on my shoes and wandered through the dew damp grass and enjoyed this moment of beautiful silence. Every day should start like this.