winter wilson

Tractor tours and a slice of paradise.


Kip has got the hang of this AirB&B thing, we’ve just spent two nights in a beautiful place by the side of Lake Macquairie for about the same price of a special deal in a very basic hotel back in the UK.

Lake Macquarie is Australia’s largest coastal saltwater lake, an aquatic playground perfect for a family holiday. Not my words – I lifted them from the visit NSW website, but I wouldn’t argue with them. It’s huge, very warm, great for swimming in and very salty.

The weird thing is this place is just down the road from Toronto. We’re playing in another Toronto in September, I don’t see us wearing tee shirts and shorts for that one.

From Toronto to Upper Lansdowne and a slice of paradise pie with Helen and Al. We played Upper Lansdowne community hall on our last trip, but due to a geographical error (Dave) we had to leave straight after the gig and drive overnight to perform at a festival the following morning. The night before the gig last time we stayed with Helen and Al in their gorgeous place out in the bush. We hit it off with them immediately and it was shame we had to leave so soon. We had no intention of having such a short stay this time. As with Wayne and Gial at Humph Hall, when Al and Helen confirmed the gig they also invited us to stay as long as we liked – thank you, thank you, thank you.

We arrived on the Tuesday afternoon and we all went to dinner at their neighbours’ (about six kilometres away). We were discussing plans for the next day and decided to walk, scramble and climb to the top of Mount Olive (insert relevant Popeye joke here).

This involved some serious planning and careful consideration. At about 7.30am following morning we were joined by Al’s mate Chris and the assault on the summit began at about 8am (it would be too hot by 10am). As I’d only got sandals I reluctantly agreed to wear socks with them to stop my feet getting scratched to ribbons. This only a couple of days after taking the piss out of Wayne in a previous blog for wearing socks with sandals (to be fair he wasn’t hiking up Mount Olive).

Okay so we cheated a little bit, but it was good fun. Al suggested riding some of the way in the bucket of his tractor. You do not get offers like that everyday.

The tractor could only go so far, there was still a decent amount of hiking, slipping, climbing and arse bouncing to be done. It was well worth it, the views were stunning. After three days in the delightful company of Helen and Al and several of their friends it was time to head off. It stung a bit to say goodbye, this is a very special place and very special people.