12th November – Sunday
It was time to leave this beautiful little corner of Australia, and we really loved this camp-site. We packed up and left around 11am, but not before Jessie added some fairy carpentry to a nearby tree. As we headed for Canberra Zach recognised the flat country littered with boulders from his school camp here years ago, – the same school camp that unfortunately Jessie had missed out on to do our trip, so I told her this was part of it. Just as Zach’s class had done a day trip to Thredbo from Canberra, so had she. Except she had one-upped him by getting to climb Kosciuszko. I told her this drive from Thredbo to Canberra is part of your school camp, so you’d better be looking at the scenery. As we approached the crest of the highway just south of Cooma we saw something small moving across the road. Maree’s first thought was that it was a baby wombat, but as we got closer and we slowed we realised it was an echidna. I couldn’t drive around it because of the crest and in the end I had no option but to stop. I didn’t want to kill the first (live) echidna we’d seen on our trip, and Jessie was screaming from the back “Stop Dad, stop, stop, stop!” I ended up having to brake pretty hard, without locking the brakes up, but it was a close thing with the sight of the echidna being lost just under the front of the car as we finally stopped. I just had to hope that the car’s behind me would also stop. I asked Zach and Maree if the echidna had moved off the road yet so I could move on out of everybody’s way. Next thing Zach is out of his door with his GoPro and the echidna is walking back the other way. Now the approaching car has to stop and the echidna can’t make his mind up which way he wants to go. Before you know it there’s half a dozen cars all stopped behind me, half a dozen cars stopped opposite, – all for the ‘which way am I going to go echidna show’. The lady from the first car opposite got out to help Zach who was trying to round it up, but every time someone got close it went into its defensive ball of spikes. By now Jessie had also hopped out and I went into spaz-dad mode worried she’d get hit by a car. Maree had also gotten out, as had the lady from the car behind us. No-one however was having any luck getting this attention seeking echidna off the road. The only solution was to pick it up, but everyone was worried about it’s spikes. Maree ran back to the car looking for gloves to no avail (where’s my gloves Zach?) The lady from the car behind us gave Zach some paper rubbish from her car, but that wasn’t enough. By now I’d moved off to the side of the road and was watching everything in my side mirror. The lady who had first pulled up opposite finally pulled a small towel from her car and was able to pick it up and move it off the road. My concern was they’d put it back on the side of the road it had come from, but now it was off the road everybody moved on. I was second to last to leave; the first lady opposite who had the towel was still there as we left. Zach asked Maree if she’d kept filming after he had handed her the GoPro? Unfortunately she hadn’t, so the only footage Zach had was his first few seconds from when he had got out of the car. We stopped at Cooma right outside a ‘closed on Sunday’ op-shop. We had stopped for a tea break though, not a shop, so as soon as Maree was done we headed off again. A little further up the road as we passed through a little town called Bredbo we could see a heap of parked cars and lots of people coming and going and though it might be a market. As we drove past we realised it was a Christmas shop. Maree and the kids had already been getting excited by the upcoming prospect of Christmas so of course I had to stop. We entered a magical fantasy land of Christmas decorations like we’d never seen before. Eumundi used to have a small Christmas shop, but nothing like the scale and range of this place, and it was packed with people and the shop was doing a roaring trade. My two minutes of wonder was over and I was now overcome by it all. I must have been coming down with tinsel-itus and just had to get out of there. To my surprise and relief Jessie and Maree followed shortly after. Jessie bought a Christmas outfit for our cat Dusty. That should be a “fun” time putting her in that and seeing how long it takes her to get out of it. Thankfully it was from the bargain bin (as they’ve obviously realised the futility of selling cat clothing). Our trifecta of excitement for the day was seeing an IKEA as we drove into Canberra, stopping for a cheap lunch of $1 hot dogs. Maree still managed a quick shop before going to our destination – the Canberra Exhibition grounds where we all enjoyed their nice hot showers.