|We were looking forward to getting back out to the coast and headed for Port Stephens, a cluster of three small towns on a peninsular of land surrounded by beaches.
We stayed at Samurai Beach Backpackers and it was absolutely beautiful. It was set in the middle of the bush and was a group of small cabins dotted around in the forest connected by walkways. In the centre was an outdoor "bush kitchen" and BBQ/campfire area.
We were sitting on the deck one evening when a little Possum poked his head out of a whole in the eaves of our cabin. Gill was immediately smitten, especially after he ate a biscuit from her hand and just sat there eating it and watching us.
Another day we saw a baby Koala bear sitting in a tree from the deck of our cabin, though it was quite high up so the photograph hasn't come out too brilliantly.
The owner also had a couple of pet Pythons, which he brought over to our cabin and was happy to show us. He asked Jim if he wanted to hold a snake at the same time as he placed the bloody thing round his shoulders. Very strange experience to have this Python wrapped around your neck - especially while the owner was explaining how strong it is and how it suffocates its prey by choking them.....!
Port Stephens itself is quite a beautiful place. Anna Bay, where we stayed, has a long, patrolled surf beach backed by huge sand dunes. We booked onto a sand dune safari tour and were escorted through the sand dunes on a huge 4 wheel drive truck that was able to scale what seemed like almost verticle dunes a couple of hundred feet high.
Although we'd have liked to have stayed on a bit longer we decided to keep moving on after a few days. We'd recommend the backpackers to anyone who finds themselves over this way in the future.