Bunya and Bay of Plenty Break

Greetings, we are back in the saddle after spending much of October in Australia and New Zealand on our first break from Arawa (after 6 months).  We flew out on the 8th October from Buka having an uneventful dry trip up from Arawa on the Thursday with Murray. ( We had seriously considered travelling up on the Wednesday in case of poor weather but in the end the opportunity of a free ride without a squash was too tempting and we gambled on the weather – and won!

Nothing too memorable about the trip down to Brisbane via Port Moresby but we were met in Brisbane by John and Trish Shuter (who met at Rosie and my wedding- she a cousin, he a school friend- he had also flown to OZ from South Africa on the same plane that took us to Auckland  back in 1977) who whisked us off to their home in Anstead to the SW of Brisbane for the night and on to the Bunya Mountains – a few hours drive NW of Brisbane. There we met up with Charles Shuter , who was a particular buddy of mine in school, and his lovely wife Alison and some friends of theirs to stay in a cottage that they had hired in the Bunya mountains Reserve for a long weekend.

The Bunya mountains are a sanctuary for the Bunya tree – a large ancient tree species that reminds me of the New Zealand Kauri and South African Yellow wood – but it isn’t a Podocarp nor is it a pine. It does have large cones with nuts that the Aboriginals in Australia valued highly and many of the trees have notches up the side that were cut by them to help gain access to the nuts

The Bunya mountains were relatively high,cool and wet with a commanding view over the surrounding plains – much more like New Zealand that tropical Queensland and certainly Bougainville and we soon had the fire going in the cottage . Charles soon showed he still had the fire burning in his belly ( or rather in the cottage) swinging a fine stroke with the axe! Also the birds were pretty spectacular – and quite tame.

The last of this batch of photos shows (from left) John Shuter, Canadian friend Lauren, Rosie,and Trish,Charles and Alison Shuter who will be known to some of our regular followers.

The weather was pretty miserable, as can seen from the clothes, but it held off raining on the Saturday long enough for us to explore the paths through the forest park that is quite different from what I would call typical Oz scenery – not a gum tree in sight!

After a very pleasant weekend away hob-nobbing and reminiscing about old times, we  returned to a rather sodden Brisbane. Queensland had experienced an extended period of rain and there was extensive flooding in the hinterland.

John and Trish safely deposited us at the airport in time for our flight – which was delayed by about two hours so our scheduled arrival in Auckland at 12.15am became about 2.00am. The “Luxury Shuttle” we had organised to take us to Tauranga was patiently waiting , so we arrived at Moira and Dennis’ home at about 4.00am – a little frayed at the edged!

We spent a very pleasant two weeks in the Bay of Plenty catching up with friends and family, based at Moira’s home in Te Puna Tauranga

and returned to Papua New Guinea without incident at the end of the break without incident, this time to Kimbe in West New Britain –  which will be the subject of  further posts .

We received one final reminder of Bougainville in the funny little guest house in Port Moresby – a painting hanging on the wall

Note the dark skinned Bougainvillean in the tree , the redskin PNG soldier (one shot in head) plus the Australian.

Take care – until the next posting!

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