Australian beaches, reptiles, and the best B&B

We knew it would happen. Our magical week in the Sydney area had to end. The Riverboat Postman tour was spectacular, but we may have saved the best for last. Please keep reading to learn about the final two days of our trip and the Australian beaches, reptiles, and the best B&B ever.

Blue Gum Cottage On Bay

18 Kallaroo Rd.
Bensville, New South Wales 2251 Australia

The magical Blue Gum Cottage On Bay is about an hour and a half from Sydney, and we booked this B&B at random based on its distance from Sydney; the stellar 9.8 – 10.0 reviews on, reasonable price, and because it seemed to us to be a relatively remote and obscure location.

Australian beaches, reptiles, and the best B&B

We believed Bensville would be a great place to meet and interact with residents and learn a bit about life in Australia, rather than from only tourist attractions and big city sights. Best plan ever!

Interacting with others is what we enjoy most about our travels. We have stayed in many B&Bs and made many remarkable friends at these B&Bs, including other guests and hosts. Denise and Peter, our hosts at Blue Gum Cottage, are at the top of our list of extraordinary people we’ve met.

Australian beaches, reptiles, and the best B&B

Our B&B experience at Blue Gum is a treasured memory we will have forever. We spent three days in our queen-sized guest room with a garden view, but we also had use of the entire house! I cannot remember feeling so welcome and comfortable so quickly before.

Australian beaches, reptiles, and the best B&B

Denise, a retired teacher, is an accomplished photographer, and Peter paints beautifully, plays several musical instruments, and performs with a band. It is remarkable how they manage such a beautiful home and B&B, engage in all their activities and maintain total calm and serenity about them.

We were blown away when Denise gifted us one of her exquisite photographs of an Aboriginal woman’s hand and the basket the woman was weaving. Peter gave us a magnificent painting he created of the Three Sisters from the Blue Mountains. Such generosity!

What a magical evening we had with our new friends! Peter’s paintings are displayed here.

If you are ever in the Sydney area and do not reserve a few days at this B&B, you are missing one of life’s special moments. We enjoyed the stellar views of the bay, the delicious and beautifully prepared breakfasts, and, more importantly, our time with our remarkable hosts.

Nearby beaches

Denise recommended three nearby beaches, each within 15 minutes of our B&B. We intended to visit just one, but since it was, once again, a rainy day and we didn’t want to sit or walk on the beach in the rain, we drove to all three!

MacMasters Beach

Steve parked on the street and walked down the steps to the beautiful golden sand. Despite the cold rainy weather, a group of surfers was out in the water not far away, apparently oblivious to the weather. We watched two beautiful dogs racing in and out of the water and playing on the beach.

Australian beaches, reptiles, and the best B&B

Small blue bottle jellyfish corpses littered the beach in this particular area. The recent rains and huge surf washed them ashore. We avoided stepping too close since they can still sting even though they are dead. The intelligent dogs also knew not to get close.

Australian beaches, reptiles, and the best B&B

Copacabana Beach

Copacabana and MacMasters blur together into each other, although a lagoon separates the two beach areas. Just like MacMasters, this beach looks like a perfect beach for families to enjoy. I expect it is a busy place on sunny days.

Australian beaches, reptiles, and the best B&B

Both beaches are off-leash areas for dogs which can only increase their popularity.

Terrigal Beach

Our third beach, Terrigal, is about a fifteen-minute drive from MacMasters and Copacabana. Terrigal is a top-rated beach along this coast, as is the trendy seaside community of the same name. Unfortunately, the relentless rain kept us from walking out onto the beach or through the town.

Terrigal has excellent swimming and surfing areas, although the water was marked unsafe during our visit. Surfing must be pretty good here because we discovered a large surfing school. We also found an excellent boat ramp and harbor. Picnic tables are also available in this area.

The Skillion

The Skillion in Terrigal is a local landmark with an easily accessible lookout. Hike to the top to experience amazing views of the coastline.

Australian Reptile Park

Pacific Highway
Somersby, NSW, 2250

I never thought I would willingly go to a reptile park – no, not ever. We drove past the sign to this one several times, and each time Steve said he wanted to go there. Well, he was driving, wasn’t he? We went there.

Australian beaches, reptiles, and the best B&B

I am astonished to report that this park was genuinely unique, and I am pleased we stopped in here. There are reptiles, of course, but this park has many other animals; kangaroos, koalas, Tasmanian devils, birds, and, oddly enough, American alligators.

This park is perfect for school children’s field trips and family outings. We may have been one of a few of the only senior couples in the park without our grandchildren, but what an enjoyable visit. We, along with the school-aged children, learned quite a bit about wildlife in Australia.

Both Steve and I watched a life reptile demonstration, and now I know how to handle these poisonous snakes and spiders we might encounter. I also learned not to be so afraid of these creatures.

Australian beaches, reptiles, and the best B&B

There are multiple displays and animal and bird exhibits, similar to Featherdale Wildlife Park, just more geared to reptiles.

The Australian Reptile Park is close to an hour from Sydney and has received many awards through the years. The park has a restaurant and picnic areas for families to use. A family outing here is sure to be a huge hit.

Time to go home

After seven memorable days, our adventure came to an end. We spent three nights at a Holiday Inn Express hotel, another three nights at the incredible Blue Gum On Bay B&B, and one final night at the luxurious Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Sydney.

Australian beaches, reptiles, and the best B&B

One last Sydney harbor sunrise from our hotel window before we fly home.

I have mentioned the relentless rain several times in these Australia posts, and although we most definitely would have preferred sunny warm weather, how can rain possibly be a problem if we are in Australia, for goodness sake? Not complaining.

The rain did slow us down and prevented some activities. A few tours and sightseeing spots were missed; it was chilly rain too, but no one melted in the making of this trip.

To the airport

We got to the airport for our early afternoon flight with time to spare, boarded our flight, and settled in for the incredibly long journey. We’d made a similar flight once before, Brisbane to Houston, and it was so long and took forever. This flight seemed much quicker and easier.

Australian beaches, reptiles, and the best B&B

We crossed back across the International Date Line and were home from our long 13+ hour flight by 10 pm Houston time on the same day we boarded our jet so many hours earlier. Jetlag is a remarkable thing! It would be at least four weeks before either of us was certain what day or time it was.

Where to next?

Australian beaches, reptiles, and the best B&BAustralian beaches, reptiles, and the best B&BAustralian beaches, reptiles, and the best B&BAustralian beaches, reptiles, and the best B&B

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