As the saying goes, “all good things come to an end”, and today is our last full day on Hamilton Island. We leave midday tomorrow, on our long journey back home.
We have a two hour flight back to Sydney, then an overnight in an airport hotel, before heading back to Heathrow, via Dubai; this time courtesy of QANTAS, so no on-board shower, and probably no wifi, but should still be comfortable.
I think one detaches onesself emotionally, when it is time to return to normality, so the mood here has been slightly melancholy over the past day or so. To jolt us from our torpor, we went on a full throttle jet ski tour this morning, which was tremendous fun, once we were comfortable with the controls. Then back to the hotel for one last stint by the pool, one last unwise exposure to the baking sun and one last beer.
On the beer front, my only regret is that I have not discovered an Australian beer that I like more than Fosters or Castlemaine XXXX. Australian friends back home confided in me some time ago that Ozzies keep the good stuff for themselves and export the rubbish to us Brits. With this in mind, I spent the first two weeks of this holiday, diligently trying as many local brews as was sensible. Alas, I didn’t get on with most of them. They seem to have the appearance of lager, but with the aftertaste of the harshest bitter.
I am convinced that amber nectar is out there somewhere, but I have not discovered it. I actually like Fosters lager back home, and not actually seeing much of it here, my betrayal, if I could call it that, has been to stick to familiar European lagers like Heineken or Becks.
[Maybe beer is like chocolate. Our favourite is Cadbury’s dairy milk, and yet it is probably full of sugar and fat with very little in the way of cocoa solids. A connoisseur would be unimpressed.]
Our wine choices, though, have been almost exclusively Australian – and delicious.
The food has also been delicious. We have tried foods we have never tried before and have eaten fruits that just cannot be found at home. I have loved all the food except for one fish – the Barramundi. I could not get on with it, and yet it seems ubiquitous, especially in Sydney, where it appears to be the Australian equivalent of cod or haddock when served battered with chips. Barramundi aside, we have tried all manner of fish, I had never heard of or which are unavailable in Europe, such as reef fish, jewfish, spearfish and “bugs” ( which are like large sweet langoustines).
I have to confess that, overcoming my qualms (having adored Skippy the Bush Kangaroo as a child), I even ate Kangaroo meat in the Blue Mountains. It was delicious – a bit like venison. Apologies to any vegetarians or fans of Skippy out there.
This is a wonderful continent, and in our three weeks here, we have barely scratched the surface of things to see and do. We would love to see so much more, but we have neither the time nor the cash.
This really has been a once in a lifetime trip for us. So enjoyable and so memorable.
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