A Pearl of a Day.

Pick up at 8.20 and we were on our way to Broom Airlines. Our substitute trip to Horizontal Falls was on.

There were two groups of 4. One being our group the other another 4 from Brisbane.

Our flying mosquito

Our two pilots introduced themselves – Michael and Bayley, a couple of young mavericks who looked like they’d just hurried from bed to be there!

No safety talk. Just a ‘listen carefully if I tell you something’ and out we walked to the plane. Or a mosquito as I referred to it. Tiniest plane I’ve ever been on. And quite old looking. Oh well we trust our Top Gun pilot.

Chris up front with our pilot

And with a quick tuneup we were off and away. It was a beautiful day. Clear blue skies, not a cloud and no wind – perfect.

We all had our headphones on with a little mic to talk to Michael and each other.

The colours below were wonderful

We flew over a crocodile park, a meat works, lots of trees, aboriginal communities.

We continued north over Derby and into Horizontal Falls. Stunning blue waters, the tidal rush between the 10 metre wide rock faces were making a surf like effect. This was where the jet boat hit the rock face.

The twin entrances at Horizontal Falls.

We saw the pontoon and houseboat we were meant to stay on.

Pristine water with pontoon & houseboat

We circled around and around taking in the beauty of this place. So many little islands. This cluster of many islands is known as the Buccaneer Archipelago.

We double backed towards Cygnet Bay. This beautiful area is home to the pearl farm that produces some of the most valuable pearls in the south seas.

We landed at a little red dirt airstrip and were collected in a small bus and taken to the pearl farm for a tour and lunch.

Cygnet Bay Pearl farm began when Dean Brown headed north of Broome in 1948 and started pearling. His son Lyndon Brown was the first non Japanese to culture a pearl.

Now it takes the provenance of each pearl very seriously. They can tell you the location found, size, lustre, blemishes of each pearl. They run a very impressive business.

Our guide Stephen has worked for the company for quite a few years and is passionate about this industry.

He took us through the steps that are needed to have a good pearl. It takes several years of caring for the oysters to help them grow a good pearl.

He opened 3 oysters before he found a pearl.

We then had a lesson in identifying the features of a pearl. Lustre, shape, colour, size, surface. Each one plays a part in the value of a pearl.

We moved into the gallery shop where I took my time to find something that ‘spoke’ ’ to me. Find something? I did. For my 0 birthday later this year. ……… all shall be revealed later.

The shape of the pearl determines its value

We had a lovely lunch in the little restaurant upstairs overlooking the beautiful bay.

View from the restaurant

While Jill and I contemplated a swim – as nice as it looked we decided not to get all wet for our trip back. We decided on a Prosecco instead to celebrate my purchase.

We headed back to the red runaway and in the blink of an eye Michael had us up in the sky.

We followed the coast back and marvelled at the colours and the effect the huge tides have on the coast line and the sand and mangroves.

We flew over two islands with iron ore mining being carried out.

As we headed further south we saw a few campers with their 4 wheel drives. How remote they are. How lucky they are to have these areas to themselves.

The colours of the tidal waters is amazing

We flew over our resort and a few minutes later we landed.

A perfect trip.

Back at Cable Beach we headed to the pool for a swim and a cocktail before our second flying treat for the day. A trip to the local outdoor theatre Sun Cinema an outdoor theatre. Tonight the movie was ……Top Gun: Maverick. What a great movie to finish off our flying adventure.

We sat in canvas deck chairs eating pizza sipping a beer under the clear skies. Twice planes flew overhead – so appropriate to the movie!

Waiting for the movie.

We all loved it. Even Tom Cruise.

The A to Z of Gorges & Swimming Holes

We decided to give ourselves a slow morning after our walk yesterday. So it was a sleep in , breakfast and a little reading on the grass outside our cabin. The early morning horse riders were returning as I sat enjoying my book.

Yesterday Emma Gorge. Today Zebedee Springs. Located an easy 10 mins drive from The Station at EL Questro we headed off at around 10. The early birds go at 7. We’d heard that as it closes at 12 we should go a little later as people start to leave.

Closed in the afternoon.

Good decision. Apparently there were two tour group buses there this morning.

Zebedee is made up of a series of thermal pools. After parking it’s a short 1.5km walk into the springs passing through very tropical Livistona forests.

The rocky pools are a little oasis at the end of the walking trail. A series of pools they are surrounded by palms and vines.

We slipped gently into the pools and made our way to a spot where we’d enjoy a soak in the warm water. It was very shaded and tranquil.

I lay back into the water running over some rocks from a higher pool. It was bubbly. Putting my ears under I could hear the water bubbling and running.

So therapeutic.

Beautiful Zebedee

After 45 minutes of soaking we emerged feeling rested and a little covered in the fibres of the plant life edging the pool. A cold shower would be good but a bottle of cool water poured over my head prepared me for our lunch at the Emma Gorge resort about another 20 minutes away.

Emma Gorge is part of El Questro and although the accommodation is glamping it’s lovely. Everything is just a bit more upmarket than the campgrounds and The Station cabins where we are staying.

Where we are is much more family oriented.

Lunch was delicious and we headed back to The Station for our afternoon naps before another swim in the waterhole just near our cabin.

We just have to do Amelia Gorge and we’ll have covered the A to Z of Gorges.


Glorious Emma Gorge Walk

I have to admit to feeling just a little apprehensive about the Emma Gorge walk. We’ve heard all kinds of reports about it.

My sister did it a few years ago and said it was challenging. Other people we’ve met on our travels made comments ranging from ‘its very difficult’ to ‘take your time and you can do it. ‘

I was only worried about my arm that I broke back in Dec and is still recovering and wouldn’t handle a fall and Steve’s new knee 6 months ago.

But we did it! Nice and slow with lots of scrambling up and over rocks, rock hopping over creeks, and a steady climb.

We left the Emma Gorge resort around 8.30 with plenty of water , a muesli bar and a bag of lollies. We walked through grasslands, started to gently climb and then got to the scrambling stage.

We passed the turquoise waterhole.

The reward was a swim at the falls. It was magnificent. Beautiful clear water, a waterfall that massaged your back if you positioned yourself underneath it correctly and the perfect temperature for cooling.

The walk back wasn’t as bad as we thought. All downhill and hard in the knees but we were quicker than going up.

Perhaps this sign was just for us!

We went straight to the cafe for a delicious iced coffee!

Hair wet with sweat! And a delicious drink

We got back to The Station at El Questro which is about a 25 min drive away and had another swim in the waterhole just near our cabin.

Water not as clear but a beautiful setting.

The afternoon was spent relaxing and reading before our pre dinner gin, a bbq dinner, music and a game of cards before an early night.


Our cabin behind the paintings.

Magical Lake Argyle

Today we had an easy drive of about 80km to Lake Argyle. If you are planning on coming to Kunanurra you must plan a night or two at this beautiful relaxed place. There’s a big campground and a number of cabins. We’re in a cabin. It’s modern well equipped and views to the lake.


There’s a beautiful infinity pool, restaurant bar and lots of lawn and picnic areas.

We arrived in time to do the Ord River Bush Tucker morning tea with Josh, a former New Zealander. He greeted us and we headed off in his orange safari van. We made about four stops and each time Josh pointed out some of the plant life. First up was the pink Turkey bush we saw at Litchfield. A natural repellent it smells lovely when crushed and rubbed on. Throw a bush on your campfire and you have no mosquitoes.

He then pulled up a piece of spinufex grass and rubbed in the roots. It was so sticky. The aboriginal people used it as a glue. Now it can be used in making condoms. Hygienic and environmentally friendly. Not sure how it would feel!

The brightly coloured yellow flower of the kapok trees has caught my attention. Turns out it’s an edible flower a bit like butter lettuce & so perfect in salads. It also is a great indicator of the life cycle of the fresh water crocodile. When it flowers the soft fluffy kapok can be plucked off. Used in pillows and stuffed in blankets perfect for use by Aboriginal people and the early settlers.

Kapok flowers

The Boab tree is very eye catching up here. It’s different to the bottle tree. The boab is native to Madagascar but found its way to the northern part of Australia. Found between Broome and Timber Creek it has a very hard nut & when broken open has a yellow spongy fruit than can be eaten. A little bit of orange sherbet flavour but spongy. Like styrofoam Josh told us. He was right.

Last stop was the bower birds bachelor pad. So cute. He knows how to attract the ladies. He has all silver, white and green things in his nest. So attractive!

By now we were ready for morning tea! Delivered by his mother we found it set up in a little park. Made with local ingredients – it was delicious. We hadn’t had breakfast so were ready for it.

Delicious morning tea.
The coffee cups done by an Alice Springs Artist

Back to the resort and ready for a swim. What a pool. It makes you feel like a movie star!

The swimmers!

A little sit on the verandah of our cabin looking at the view before heading off at 2pm for a cruise which would last until sunset!

Cameron our skipper took us over about 20% of the total area of the lake. It’s that big. We were in the boat for 3.5 hrs! and didn’t nearly cover it all.

We saw a few wallabies. But I was hanging out for the star of the show. The freshwater crocodile. Or freshies as they are called. With 30,000 in the lake surely we’d see one up close.

Cameron showing the lake and giving us the history.

We weren’t disappointed. We saw several freshies. Sunning themselves! Looking very relaxed. Not at all menacing.

One freshie came up close. We fed bread to some spotted archer fish. Or spitting fish. They spit on their prey. We explored the lake. and as the sun was getting ready to set we stopped……. got into the water and had some fun. We swam, bobbed on noodles and watched as the scarlet sun disappeared. Topped off with a glass of bubbles!

It’s so good to share this experience with friends. It was wonderful.

We reboarded the boat and watched the last of the sun.

Such a great sky.

Couldn’t resist a smooch!

We motored back to the dock in the dark. We were all on a high.

When we got back to the resort we passed some very happy fishermen. They’d had a successful fishing trip. They offered us some silver cobbler fish to cook but we headed to the very lovely casual beer garden and had a BBQ.

A game of 500 completed a beautiful day.

Farewell Lord Howe

We’ve been here seven days but it feels much longer. I think because we were digitally removed from the world we totally rested.

No phones, wifi, tv, emails ……..

It’s quite refreshing. Try it sometime.

Our last morning was beautiful. Sun shining & water glistening. The quiet ….

Most of the friends we made over the week were leaving today. The airport is busy with four flights in and out. We exchanged email addresses and promises to keep in touch. Perhaps swim together next year.

After breakfast we visited the family cemetery next to Pinetrees Lodge. They have a long history with the island.

Pixie a 5th generation died in 2010

Walking through the little cemetery connected me to the family. They are a close family who care about Pinetrees and treat all guests as friends.

The present owners / managers of Pinetrees are Dani – daughter of Pixie and her husband Luke. Along with their two daughters Elsie and Pixie they continue the tradition.

Each guest is gifted the beautiful cookbook The Lord Howe Island Cookbook.

This beautiful book tells the story of the island and the families.

It’s a great read and is full of the recipes of the food we enjoyed so much this week.

Thank you Pinetrees and LHI for a wonderful week of memories. We’ll be back.

Readers I’m off to the Adelaide Writers’s Festival for a second year. Watch out for my posts.

Saturday …..my last chance to ramble at LHI

I hadn’t done any of the longer walks here so decided to leave Steve to rest a little after his morning swim and head off.

I was on my own and Lindy the helpful activities adviser warned me to be careful on the slippery tracks. Especially going downhill.

I headed off for Transit Hill which climbs up behind Pinetrees, winds along the ridge and then drops down to Blinky Beach , then swings back along past the airport.

Of course I missed the arrows at the turn off for Transit Hill and continued up the hill I was already walking. It came out near the path to Middle Beach.

The track going up was leafy and damp and so quiet.

Wonderful old Banyan Trees
On the ridge overlooking Middle Beach a poignant memorial

I passed the solar farm and continued gently sloping up to Clear View. A wonderful outlook towards Ball’s Pyramid. The weather today is beautiful so you could see the Pyramid in the distance.

I returned along the same track back down the hill and joined the Transit Hill track. It started off gently with a timber walk over the rain runoff, then became a track of steps. Climb, climb, climb. I passed some people who again warned me about the slippery path down the other side. They had turned back!

The track looked back over Pinetrees to the lagoon

I went up to the lookout and joined two men there to see the plane take off. There are about 4 planes a day in and out. The wind was good. The plane revved it moved down the runway and after a good ten minutes of revving with no take off the plane ended up back at the little terminal. A mechanical fault?

View from the lookout
The boat returning from Ball’s Pyramid. A much smoother trip than ours yesterday.

By now my red face had recovered and as I was setting off one of the men said I didn’t look right for a walk – my silver FRANKie 4 shoes, stylish hat and painted nails. I decided to take the hard route down.

In fact in wasn’t hard. It was slippery but I took it carefully and eventually ended up at Blinky’s Beach. It is a beautiful spot. There are waves here and the surfer man staying at Pinetrees tells me it’s a good place to catch a wave. He was out there in the distance enjoying some waves. And unlike most beaches he was alone. No crowded surf break.

The final walk along the airport road was hot and boring. Except for the farm with the Dorper sheep. These unusual sheep from South Africa shed their own wool. No shearing involved. The ones here are not for wool – but for meat.

I arrived back thinking Steve would be wondering where I was. He was about to send out a search party but as he joked with our beautiful French waitress if would involve too much paper work. Nice.

We had lunch on the deck for a change. No picnic or bbq for us. It was delicious. Fish cake with a tomato basil salsa.

We walked off lunch, heading to the pontoon beach for a swim then to the jetty to watch the fortnightly shop unload. What a spectacle.

Loads of crates where being fork lifted up to the town. The PO staff were there receiving the crates and helped by a dozen children who were unloading the crates.

Saturday is busy ! More cars than I have seen all week. All collecting parcels from the shop

Box after box of wine from Dan Murphy’s made its way into the PO storage area.

I wondered what they were paying the kids. Turns out they got a packet of lollies and a can of soft drink! The kids looked very happy.

Island life for locals particularly kid looks idyllic. There were a handful of kids we recognised from the schools Discovery Day activities all splashing around and jumping in from the pontoon. Others were riding bikes. Others helping unpack crates. Saturday bliss.

We enjoyed a bubble on the deck of the Crooked Post. A small pub / bar with a great verandah overlooking the water.

View from The Crooked Post

Sundowner drinks were a very friendly gathering. It’s amazing how you bond with others staying at a place like Pinetrees. You can mix in as much or as little as you want.

We joined AnneMarie and Greg again tonight. They are from Wollongong and we’ve shared many chats and laughs with them this week. We finished the night with Greg offering to order & pay for the cheese plate. Such a love gesture as that is what it was – the cheese plate is complimentary!

Lovely Lisa wishing us farewell.

Ball’s Pyramid near LHI

We woke to torrential rain. Would our plans be spoilt?

Half our friends were doing the difficult Mt Gower climb. Others were joining us on the boat trip to the iconic Balls Pyramid.

The weather (mainly wind) has been so bad that the trip has been constantly cancelled over the past few weeks. The rain definitely put a dampener on it but after a quick phone call – it was on!

Balls Pyramid is composed of nearly horizontally-bedded lava flows, the remnants of a volcanic plug formed in a former vent of a volcano. It is about 21 km from Lord Howe and is 551 m high and 1 km long.

Steve decided to swim the distance to the jetty to save him the 2 km walk. I walked in the rain. But by the time I got there at 7.30 it was clearing.

Steve came swimming in much to the amusement of our fellow travellers! He climbed up the jetty steps, dried off, got changed into dry gear and we all boarded the boat.

He needn’t have worried about dry clothes. The rain started! Out came the rain jackets and for me a poncho as well. Our seats at the back near the open sided boat meant we got not just the blowing rain but the spray as the boat hit wave after wave.

We cruised along the coast past amazing rock formations. you can see how choppy the water is!

A half an hour into the trip I was seriously wondering why I had come. It was so tough and soooooo wet.

The trip was nearly aborted but the captain decided we looked hardy enough to press on. So at the end of LH we headed towards Balls Pyramid 22km away in open water. Luckily the rain stopped, the sun struggled through and it was a lot more comfortable.

A dolphin accompanied us to Ball’s Pyramid

We could see the rock rising out of the water shrouded in clouds. In 1964 as a 20 year old Dick Smith along with some friends sailed to LHI and attempted to climb Balls Pyramid. They didn’t make it.

It was successfully climbed a year later by some Sydney climbers.

Dick Smith returned in 1980 and made it.

Finally made it.

The sun shone through just as the snorkelers entered the water. I couldn’t resist so I got in with no wet suit. It wasn’t too cold and I found myself swimming along with big yellow fish and even spotted a shark. It was just a smallish Galapagos shark. Nothing to worry about.

Adjusting my mask with a small stack behind me.

Back onto the boat and with dolphins swimming alongside us it was a smooth trip back. We went around the rest of the island stoping at the base of Mt Gower.

The side of Mt Gower. It doesn’t look easy to climb!

Oh those poor climbers. Today was not a good day for climbing what is known as a fairly difficult climb. Part of it has ropes that you must use to pull yourself up.

Today we met John, a swimmer from Sydney, who had the bruises to prove he had done the climb.

We arrived back fairly dry so stopped for coffee at Anchorage, one of the few restaurants here on Lord Howe.

We’d missed lunch at Pinetrees but they very kindly got us a bowl of the Asian style broth with chicken. Delicious. We had two big bowls so shared with Graham & Gail who we’d met on the boat. Poor Gail was not a good sailor. It was so rough she needed the sick bag so thoughtfully provided !

An afternoon swim and then it was drinks time. Time passes easily on island time.

We met some more lovely people at sunset drinks. Jenny & Bill from Glebe. Lots of fun.

Sunset drink anyone?

Dinner was once again amazing. The nicest Japanese style eggplant. Yum.followed by swordfish for me pork belly for Steve.

Dessert was a crème caramel with citrus served with a smile by Lisa.

Our new friends Graham & Gail left a little Cherry Ripe chocolate on our placement. A thank you for sharing our lunch. Lovely Swedish Lisa laughingly called them grandma chocolate- they don’t need much chewing!

Congratulations to Helen , AnneMaree, Greg and several other brave souls who made it up Mr Gower. It can’t have been easy.

Fun & Games on LHI.

Breakfast followed by a few games of the word game Banana Peel! That’s a different start to the day!

Games are a good way to get to know people and the Melbourne friends like their games and they always invite us to join in.

I followed up with another few games of backgammon with Tony. One game s spectacular win. The next a spectacular loss!

I joined the eco tour of the lodge. Led by Cameron it is a great part at Pinetrees Lodges daily working life. The gardens have gradually been redesigned by Cameron who seems to be a man of many talents. Very in touch with the environment he talked is through the garden, water collection and usage, the electricity, food provisions, staffing and general running of Pinteees. He was so engaging and knowledgeable.

Cameron head of grounds & gardens.

Suddenly it was nearly midday and our lift to Neds Beach was waiting.

Carol our driver volunteer took us on the regulation 20km per hour short 10 minutes drive to Neds on the opposite side of the island.

We snorkelled around the coral with the large blue fish. We spied lots of other coloured fish – no wonder as there are 450 species and 90 types of coral. Steve even had one nibble his toe.

We shared our delicious fish & steak BBQ with Phil and Jo – a couple of scientists now nursery owners from Wagga. So much fun and so interesting.

Steve and Phil rule the BBQ

Another swim and snorkel then a rest under the trees, reading before our longish walk back to Pinetrees. These longer walks are difficult for Steve but he does it ! We had intended to stop for drink at The Crooked Post for a drink but it had a sign saying closed for Discovery Day.

Discovery Day is a big day here at Lord Howe. Feb 17th celebrates their discovery in 1788 some 234 years ago by and named for Admiral Lord Howe by Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball of the British navy. The island was first settled in 1834 and became a supply station for whalers.

There are now about 350 people. A small 3 teacher school. Many of the families are 5th generation including the family who still run Pinetrees Lodge.

What a program.

The celebration involves a fun sports day on the cricket oval adjoining the school. There are running races , sack races, three legged races, oldies races….. you name it there is a race. There is a break for dinner – which usually involves a big fish fry!

We called in and enjoyed a beer while watching the little kids do their running races, & sack races, urged on by parents and friends. This involves almost everyone on the island. I saw Cameron from the Pinetress eco tour. His two young children attend the school which has around 30 students. When they reach high school they either get home schooled or fly away to boarding school.

A crane with lights so activities could run late.

It’s looks like a fairly close knit community though like all small places it would have all the usual problems.

We stayed until the Dinner break – a bbq / fish fry in the school playground and went onto our own delicious dinner on the deck. Tonight a seafood bisque and strangely I broke my fish habit and had the confit duck!

Tomorrow a boat trip to Ball’s Pyramid- something Steve has been so keen to do.

Snorkelling on Lord Howe

Heavy rain so a slower start.

Steve still enjoyed a swim with the swim crew. They are all the Melbourne people who did the swim week with Trevor Hendy last year.

Steve talked the swimmers into swimming out and around the little island known locally as Rabbit island. they were very happy with that swim.

I stayed and learned to play backgammon with Tony. He patiently showed me what to do and of course with his guidance and some lucky throwing of the dice I won. Second game not so lucky. But I like the game.

We took our picnic and walked the foreshore towards the boat sheds. We were going on a snorkel trip at 3. The weather cleared and we took off. We had a great glass bottom boat with Dean our captain. He was very knowledgeable and made a great effort to get us into a good area out of the wind for a snorkel. I was pleasantly surprised.

After terrific snorkelling in Galapagos and at Lady Elliot Island I was pleased to see so many beautiful coloured fish. And a little Galapagos shark. Also a turtle and a big manta ray. The trip was with compliment of Pinetrees. Thank you very much!

Saw a few turtles.

I forgot to mention our visit to the weather station near the airport. We went with Peter from Chase ‘n Thyme Tours. Twice a day, every day of the year, weather balloons are released simultaneously from almost 900 locations worldwide! This includes 30 released in Australia . The balloon flights last for around 2 hours.

We were there in time for the 10.15 release.

And away it goes. It’s quickly released then floats up and away quickly.

Dinner was great. We shared again with Greg and Anne Maree. Lots of laughs.

Fish again for me and scotch fillet in a beautiful jus for Steve. Dessert a semifreddo with nut praline. Delicious.

Exploring Lord Howe

Steve set out at 7am for a swim with some of the other keen swimmers.

They swam to the pontoon about a 1.5 km along the lagoon – and back! I had a walk following them along.

Back in time for breakfast we had to be ready for pickup by Peter from Chase n’ Thyme tours. I. booked a few weeks ago. It is about 2-3 hrs and Peter has a 12 seater van and takes you to as much of the island as possible.

Chase ‘n’ Thyme

It was a perfect orientation to the island. The history and geography. Peter is married to a 5th generation local and he’s lived here for 30 years.

He took us to the south of the island and pointed out the features including the two Norfolk Island pinetrees that act as a navigational guide to boats entering the lagoon.

Pinetrees mark the lagoon entrance.

There are pine trees all over the island and are really regarded, by the head gardener at Pinetrees, as a pest. Their needles drop and leach the soil. They don’t break down easily and also germinate causing more trees to grow! But they are here to stay and certainly look attractive.

Mt Gower in the background.

We drove up to Neds Beach where there is a good coral reef close in – so is a must for snorkeling.

Then to the top of a hill and saw the solar farm. It and the Tesla batteries were provided at a huge cost by the NSW Govt. The power source is proving very valuable and has improved the cost of power to the island.

We saw the jetty where once a fortnight the supply shop arrives with the order for the resorts, restaurants and locals. It is a very popular day in LHI and occasionally due to very bad weather it is held up and everyone suffers. It’s also the reason why everything on the island is very expensive and planning for goods has to be thoroughly done.

Peter dropped us off at the pontoon area. This is the Main Street where they are a few shops and a restaurant, PO, local hall, a small bar called The Crooked Post and a general store. All on short hours! You must plan your visits to be between 10-12 and 2-4. Or miss out. Mind you the Crooked Post opens at 3ish or so the sign says!

Pinetrees has delivered us a bbq. This is part of their lunch options. A picnic , a bbq, or lunch on the deck.

Today we chose a bbq and after getting the woodfire going enjoyed our sausages. Next time I’m opting for fish! It comes with vegetables to grill, salad. All the trimmings. Even a beer or wine!

We packed up and left the picnic basket under a tree for pick up by Pinetrees later. We walked back via the coastal walk and enjoyed an hour rest before another swim.

The dinner was once again delicious. A Japanese style eggplant entree then fish for me and pork belly for Steve.

Steve had met Damon from Sydney. He’s here with the family for his mother in laws 70th. They have the Banyan Cottage. It looks great for a family celebration getaway.

Check out the Pinetrees website and see the Banyan Cottage. Just lovely.


We are now used to no tv, no wifi, no phone. no contact.

Tony from Melbourne is going to teach us to play backgammon. Lessons start tomorrow!

We’ve met a few people now and enjoy chatting with drinks or sharing dinner.we seem to be the only people from Brisbane. Lots from Sydney and Melbourne.