Australia trip report
Mar 11, 2016
On February 23, 2016 Darla and I flew from Auckland, New Zealand to Melbourne, Victoria on the southern coast of Australia. We were met at the airport by our hosts, Norm and Norma Womersley, pictured here overlooking the coastline in their hometown, Warrnambool. They are pictured in the front row of the picture below.
They drove us around Melbourne to see some of the city itself. From there we drove about an hour’s drive west to the city of Geelong, where we had our first meeting that evening. There were about 28 people who came, and I taught on the Restoration of All Things in relation to the Two Covenants.
We spent the night in a hotel in Geelong, and the next day Norm and Norma drove us to their house in Warrnambool, taking the scenic route called the Great Ocean Road. As we approached the coast line, the weather turned rainy and foggy, so we did not stop to see the Twelve Apostles (islands) that day. Like our own city of Chicago, Warrnambool is known as the Windy City. This seemed to fit well with my discernment that New Zealand is a manifestation of Passover, while Australia is Pentecost.
How would you like to live in this house overlooking the coast? It looks like the main house is on the ground, while the building on a stick is a recreation room or perhaps a small guest house.
The Twelve Apostles are actually 8 islands standing along the coastline about an hour’s drive from Warrnambool. The just discovered another 5 “drowned apostles” about 50 meters under water about 6 kilometers off the coast. I prefer to think of these apostles as “hidden.”
Though we drove past them the first day, we returned the next day when the weather was perfect.
On one side of the tourist lookout we see most of the Apostles, including some that fell recently.
On the other side of the lookout are two more Apostles.
Directly in front of the lookout is another that has a tunnel carved by the waves.
The coastline itself is lined with cliffs overlooking beaches.
They are beautiful on a nice day, and they provide great places to swim.
Today it is easy to walk down the stairways to access the beaches, but in the past, these cliffs were treacherous to ships. When the winds blew from the south, the ships would often be blown into the cliffs, and there was often no way to escape up the cliffs.
In fact, most of the coves were named after a shipwreck that occurred there in the past, and there are old cemeteries nearby for those bodies that could be found.
We had six meetings at Norm’s house in Warrnambool with 21 people in attendance. We had enough time to develop various biblical concepts properly and to answer questions.
Norm and Norma also took us to the nearby collapsed volcano. When the rains come, there is an island in the middle of the cauldron. When we saw it, there was only a little water.
It was so good to get to know the people over a week end. When we only have one meeting in any location, we do not have time to do anything but teach. It is always more enjoyable to spend time talking with people over lunch and in between meetings.
The meetings concluded, and on Monday, February 29, Norm and Norma drove us back to airport in Melbourne. We boarded the plane about 6 pm and flew to Auckland, arriving about midnight (after losing two hours’ worth of time zones). We called for a shuttle to go to the hotel where we stayed overnight.
On March 1st the next morning at 10 am, we checked out of the hotel, and Lynley picked us up to take us into town for the day. Our flight to Los Angeles did not leave until 11 pm, so we were able to spend the afternoon at the Maritime Museum in Auckland. Lynley had work to do, so she left Darla and I to enjoy the waterfront and the Museum by ourselves. We had a great time learning some of the history of New Zealand from the 1700’s and 1800’s. Life was tough in those days, and the boat trips from Europe were long and dangerous. It makes us appreciate the technological advances of modern life.
Even so, the flight home was a bit grueling. It took 11½ hours to fly from Auckland to Los Angeles, and then, after a 4-hour layover, another 3 hours to Minneapolis. We landed in the Minneapolis airport about 11:30 pm the same day that we had left Auckland. You might say that the trip only took a half hour, but our bodies told us differently. Keep in mind, too, that we had already spent a day in Auckland before even boarding the plane at 11 pm.
They say when you travel with the sun (going west), you don’t have much jet lag, but when you go against the sun, the jet lag is brutal. We have found that to be true. The trip to New Zealand only required one night to feel refreshed in the morning. It is more difficult to recover from the return trip as we head east. After this trip, it took us about five days to recover fully.
Yet we were very happy with the way that this trip went. We met many new people, while building deeper relationships with those we had known earlier. It is gratifying to meet those who have a hunger for the word and the various aspects of the Gospel of the Kingdom. At the same time, we were able to learn the history and to see the natural beauty of both countries.
This ends our trip report. Hopefully now I can begin preparing to continue my series on the book of Revelation.
Dr. Stephen Jones