Sunday, July 24, 2005
Home at Last 17 July 2005
This is the end of our first trip – in many ways uneventful (thank goodness), but a wonderful experience. Jimmy (our Winnebago) has exceeded our expectations and quickly became our 2nd home. Looking back, we have camped at many enchanting spots – where would we settle down? The answer is we don’t know – they all have their beauty. Luckily, because we have the motorhome we don’t have to decide. While we enjoyed camping by the sea, the inland was more interesting and hospitable. We got the impression that much of the coast may soon exclude motorhomes, as all travellers are packed into McCaravan Parks. Anyway, that’s all until we head off for Victoria in September.
Sydney 15-16 July 2005
Watched the sunrise over the water as our motorhome faced directly to full sun, with the pelicans cruising lazily along. We then went for a long walk along the lakes edge within the reserve. After lunch, we drove through Sydney (which wasn’t as hair-raising as we thought), and on to Nells, where we had dinner with Peter’s brother. Next morning we caught up with our young ones. They live in the middle of Sydney – a great contrast to the peaceful rural settings we had stumble upon. Katie and Carl put on a lovely welcome lunch and even the two mums came. We took Grandma across in the motor home and she responded very positively to the ride, which were not sure would be comfortable in the back. She may even be able to have a short trip with us!
Wangi Wangi 14 July 2005
Drove into Newcastle to visit the CMCA HQ, and talked to the staff about our experiences. The CMCA has some exciting plans coming up to encourage councils to welcome motorhomes. We were going to explore the city, but instead ended up at Wangi Point on Lake Macquarie, which was a beautiful spot at the end of a reserve, right on the water. We were surprised to get a prime position on the edge of the lake and on our last night were surprised by the perfect end.
Nabiac 13 July 2005
Port Macquarie seems a more attractive town than Coffs, being right on the water and having a combination of riverfront and sea. Wandered round the shops, then drove around the beaches to Laurieton, and had lunch with the Pelicans on the lake. The sun came out and revealed a very beautiful place at Laurieton. Stopped at a roadside camp near Nabiac – although we shared the site with a number of travellers, it was a quiet night. Can feel the weather getting colder!!!!!
Port Macquarie 12 July
Drove to Port Macquarie and stopped for the night near the ferry at Settlement Point. This was a beautiful spot, right on the water, with a reserve to the rear. We were disturbed early in the morning by a horse trainer with a big horse float that he parked very close and clunked out his horse to run on the beach.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Clybucca 11 July 2005
Took Nell, Alf and Beryl down to the harbour. The winds had been blowing all night and the waves were crashing over the rocks. We watched a fishing boat struggling to enter the calm waters of the harbour. Said goodbye and headed south, stopping at a roadside camp north of Clybucca. Nice little spot with about 7 other vehicles. Some interesting other forms of travel there (including an old gypsy wagon) and photos taken. Moved on in the rain and grey skies to Kempsey. Peter had spent a lot of time here in the floods and looked at all the shops that he last saw covered in water. We wandered around and found an interesting antique shop and a fascinating pub that was obviously an old beautiful Commercial Bank. All the main features remain and instead of buying a drink, you feel like you should make a withdrawal! We stopped and had a decadent bacon and egg lunch in the van by the river on such a bleak day.
Coffs Harbour 10 July 2005
In the morning, we walked along the beach and were excited to see about 10 dolphins swimming along the beach. Then onto Coffs Harbour. Enjoyed walking around the harbour and walking up to the top of Mutton Bird Island. While we were there, the WIND came up!!! In the afternoon, we went to hear ‘That 1 Guy’ at a local pub. He played a weird electronic tube that he seemed to be able to turn into most types of instruments. We also saw Nell! It was great to catch up with Nell, who was holidaying at Coffs Harbour with Alf and Beryl. She was staying next door to the venue that we had planned to go to. It was an amazing coincidence!!!
Corinda Beach 9 July 2005
After saying goodbye to John and Jill (grapefruits in hand), we headed south. It is definitely getting colder – especially the minimum temperature. Stopped to have a look at Corinda Beach and decided to stay the night. This is a delightful campsite on a headland overlooking the beach. We arrived early for morning tea, followed by a great BBQ and a bottle of red wine. Needed an afternoon sleep after that! We chose an unpowered site for $10 that was fantastic, because we had the whole beach view in front. We did not leave until after lunch the next day because of the beauty. The temp during the day was 25 instead of the predicted 17. A very pleasing mistake.
Grafton 8 July 2005
We drove along the highway, through many small villages that front the Clarence River. This was very interesting to Peter, as he worked up here for the SES during a number of major floods. It seemed surreal to him driving through towns that he had last seen underwater. Stopped at Grafton to see old friends – Jill and John, who have been living in Grafton for 19 years. Heather caught up with all the gossip with Jill, while John cooked a wonderful meal flavoured with kaffir lime and served in a lovely room lit by many candles. John is a great cook – a man's work is never done!!! We had one of the bargains of our trip when we came across a 2nd hand book sale- we bought about 50 books for $10! This should keep us in reading material for a year. We think we will have to keep on travelling just to read them!
Friday, July 08, 2005
Wardell 7 July 2005
Drove onto NSW – straight away the roads seem to get worse, (but hey - who cares, at least we can play football)! What was interesting was seeing surfers again - because of the reef, there is hardly any surf on Queensland beaches. We slowly drove down the coast stopping at all the beaches and spent the afternoon at Brunswick Heads. When it was time to camp, the first spot was closed, the second was too crowded and so we went onto a small village called Wardell, an old sugar town.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Gold Coast 6 July 2005
Said goodbye to Di and set off for the Gold Coast to see Kerry and Diane – the last of the cousins. They have a lovely big house on an acre and are well set up. In the morning, Kerry took Peter for a drive and showed him around the area. Caught up with Troy (their son) in the afternoon and then set off south.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Brisbane 3 – 5 July 2005
We checked out a free campsite at Petrie – very nice spot, including hot showers. Then onto Brisbane, where we booked into a camp site near the city and went to see our friend Ingrid, who was singing at a pub at Stones Corner. Brisbane was difficult, after country driving and Peter had to keep a close eye on the bridge heights, as we are nearly 4 m high. On Monday, we went to Samford to do some family history. Luckily, the Fitzgerald family seem to have owned most of Samford, so there was lots of information on the Fitzgerald and O’Neill families. We then took some photos of the graves at Nudgee. We had dinner with Diane, Philip and Jill, who are Peter’s cousins and caught up with family gossip.
Caboolture (Abbey Medieval Fair) 1 – 2 June 2005
We drove down to Gympie, which we had previously visited with Nell and Joan. As far as we can make out, Peter’s grandparents and his father lived in Gympie, where they owned a pub at Glastonbury. We stayed overnight at the Abbey, outside of Caboolture so we could attend the Medieval Fair. This was a fantastic festival, well organised and a lot of fun. As well as the usual entertainment, there were about 15 clubs, representing all aspects of mediaeval life. They set up displays, living in tents for the weekend as knights, fair maidens, Vikings, Saxons, Celts, balladeers, tinkers, tailors, and yes – candle stick makers (not to forget the village idiot)! It is amazing how they have recreated every aspect of medieval life – their clothes, music, food and housing.
Poona 30 June 2005
The morning was foggy, but pretty with kangaroos grazing in the cloud. Up and on to Maryborough, where we bought some lovely fresh fruit at the markets. Then onto Poona where Peter’s cousin (Jan) lives. It was good to catch up with Jan and Ernie. Poona is a small village that only gets crowded during holiday periods and Jan loves living there right on the beach.
Near Angus Waters 28 June 05
Stopped at Gladstone for a pub lunch. Enjoyed the harbour park in the rain. Gladstone has a large port infrastructure to handle the local aluminium and coal industries that gave it a glum appearance in the rain. The CBD is on top of a hill surrounded by industrial sites and the mud flats. While it contained a number of large hotels and motels, there were many vacant shops and it had a deserted air. The art gallery was more interesting, with a wonderful section devoted to some interesting aboriginal art. There was a bit on Gladstone the British PM, including one of his bags and a statue of him from Hyde Park in Sydney. We explored some beaches on the way out but the rain was starting to set in. We found a quiet corner out in the middle of nowhere, over looking fields of crops with one other motorhome. It was a very wet night but we are always very comfortable and can retreat to our books or watch a movie.
Raglan 27 June 2005
Drove to Yeppoon and had a look around at a few antique shops. Stopped at the Raglan Pub / truck stop overnight and had a few drinks with the locals. Hot showers etc, for the price of a drink. Had a crazy conversation with a young dairy farmer who worryingly argued black was white - even said that Dairy Farmers is a N.Z. Company (!!!!). Had a few drinks, took one in hand and drove off on a very long journey. Scary such people driving on our roads!