Travelling around Australia in a motorhome. A story of our travels starting from NSW then through Queensland, across to Northern Territory and Western Australia, then to South Australia, Victoria and finally across the seas to Tasmania. We have enjoyed everywhere we have visited and look forward to setting off again in our motorhome.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sydney 23 - 25 January 2009

Got down to Sydney late Friday and camped at the Lane Cove NP, while we caught up with Peter’s mum. She was staying at a nearby hostel and we were keen to find out how she liked it – a ho hum report, but excited to see us. It was strange being in the rat race of Sydney after the quiet of the countryside. The next morning we went to see Katie and Carl in hospital. Natalie was also there having flown down from Lismore to be at the birth. There were a few complications and Katie had to stay in hospital and “await developments”. After what was an indeterminately long wait, Xavier James Pritchett was born on Sunday afternoon – a healthy 2.56kg baby boy - 46cm long, dark hair and 3 weeks early. It all started to go pear shaped on Thursday morning, ending in a caesarean. Disappointments are now forgotten as he is healthy and safe. Both parents have not slept since Friday night so exhaustion is the current status. We have just seen him and looking forward to our first cuddle tomorrow!
This is the end of our trip and the end of the blog for the moment. We will catch up with you next trip.

Sydney 23- 26 January 2009

Got down to Sydney late Friday and camped at the Lane Cove NP, while we caught up with Peter’s mum. She was staying at a nearby hostel and we were keen to find out how she liked it – a ho hum report, but excited to see us. It was strange being in the rat race of Sydney after the quiet of the countryside. The next morning we went to see Katie and Carl in hospital. Natalie was also there having flown down from Lismore to be at the birth. There were a few complications and Katie had to stay in hospital and “await developments”. After what was an indeterminately long wait, Xavier was born on Sunday afternoon – a healthy 2.56kg baby boy. Photo is on the way.

Coraki Night Life

Coraki 21 January 2009

Wandered down the river to Coraki, another small riverside village that Peter remembered from when he was working for the SES. Are there any northern river towns that don’t flood! We set up camp on the river and had a wander around the shops and ended up chatting to John, who ran a 2nd hand shop. His family had lived there for generations and he had the junk to prove it, however in amongst the debris, were some astonishing antiques that delighted us both. We were charmed by the village and decided to stay a few days, when we got a phone call from our very expectant daughter. Even though the baby was not due for 3 weeks, she had complications and advised us to hurry home. We set off for Kempsey that afternoon and after an overnight stop at the racecourse hurried down to Sydney.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Cheap Dig at Byron Bay

Lismore 19 – 20 January 2008

Said goodbye to Kerrie and Di and drove straight down to Byron Bay. Peter was not keen to visit as he remembered the tourism of the place. But it was more than 20 years since Heather had been, so it was on!
As the council doesn’t welcome motor homers, unless they pay up to $70 a night at a caravan park, we certainly found it unpleasant! Parking on all the beaches is limited and parking metered. Even the light house is $7 to park! The place is very tight so we parked away from the main area next to the sports field and disconnected the car. We were parked only a few minutes when a lady from across the road came off with a very rude rant about us parking there. Seems that the town hates tourists and are very edgy and unfriendly. It is not working well at all. The shops were a bit of fun and Heather enjoyed her time in a little Bali environment! But it is full-on with young schoolie type teenagers and back packers with foreign accents! We headed for the water at the most southern end of the immense beach and really enjoyed the crystal clear water and warm water. Of course we did not even contemplate staying and drove on to Lismore and parked outside of town next a field of cows!
Up early and into town. Contacted Natalie about meeting up and finding out how Miriam was going with the new baby Elijah. We enjoyed a café morning tea with Natalie and Miriam’s partner Nathan and poured over the lovely photos of Elijah who was just a week old. Miriam came home from hospital at lunch time and we got to visit for a short time in the evening. Mother and baby looked serene and our cuddle of a new baby was a lovely reminder of what is to come in 4 weeks! We went out for tea with Natalie and really enjoyed our time together. We had a really interesting discussion about aboriginal issues in Alice Springs! Love you Natalie!
Settled in at the Lismore Showgrounds for a very peaceful night!

Up early again and into town for remedial massages! Lovely!

Byron Bay Beach

Currumbin 17 – 18 January 2008

Left Woody Point early with plans to visit Peter’s cousins. We had a lovely morning tea with Dianne in south Brisbane and caught up with all the family goings on. It was good to stay connected but it reminds us how quickly time is passing. We stopped at the Winnebago dealer and looked over the new Winnis. DROOL! But it also made us appreciate some of the features of ours which is reassuring.
We then moved on to visit another cousin of Peters, Kerry, and Kerry’s wife Di. They have bought an old canal house on the Gold Coast and are doing it up. It was surprisingly peaceful and not very dense. Being an older canal development the properties were well spaced out and Kerry and Di’s home looks down the canal across to NSW mountains and hills. They have big plans and blew us away with the progress they have done in 6 weeks! They expect to do the rest in the next 6 weeks! It’s interesting to observe a different mind set to approaching a project. Peter gave Kerry a hand to paint the outside and we caught up with family stories. They provided great barbequed meals both nights on a new BBQ that had an amazing array of facilities that would nearly substitute for a kitchen!

Redcliffe 13 – 16 January 2008

We stopped at Redcliffe, a northern section of Brisbane on the water across from Stradbroke Island. We arrived about 6pm and had only just stopped when a lovely lady from a group of motor-homers in a small rally invited us to their BBQ which was minutes away from being ready. We really enjoyed it and participated in their raffle winning two gifts! After tea we went to explore the place and were surprised to find it to be very attractive. We really began to enjoy the area as we explored the foreshore. The sense of Kiama and Manly was reinforced by the lovely sea breeze that even made the evenings feel cold! There are a number of nice surrounding suburbs on the water too. We took our morning tea, lunch and dinner by the water. The BBQs were great and the settings very pleasant. We discovered a great swimming pool on the beach that was a large resort style pool. It is huge and very enjoyable to swim in. The water was warm, clean and salty and we managed to swim twice daily and stretch out our aging joints. We decided to free camp on the water at the boat ramp at nearby Woody Point on the last night and watch the sunset. It was very beautiful and so good to be right on the edge!

Redcliffe Beach

Glass House Mountains 12 January 2008

After a relaxing morning at Maleny, (and a big day polishing Winnie), we said goodbye and headed down to Glass House Mountains again, travelling via Peachester. This turned out to be a lovely windy road that meandered down the mountain, past old dairy farms. It was a bit tricky trying to find a spot to free camp but happily returned to the parking at Ngungun Mountain for the night. In the morning Peter dropped off the trailer ram to a local mechanic to fix and we went for a few hikes around the local mountains. After very helpful maintenance work on the ram we travelled off to Brisbane.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Nambour Square Headed Lizard

Maleny Valley

Monday, January 12, 2009

Getting ready for Grandmotherhood

When did you last see a 4 Square Shop?

Maleny 8 – 11 January 2008

Well Maleny turned into a 7 day stop! It is a place we love and felt relaxed and COOL! We drove in the car for two long drives through absolutely beautiful green cattle and dairy country. Not many big towns as there are quite a few big 10% and 12 % gradients on the roads to take you up and down the countryside. Glad to leave the motor home in the showground by the creek. Stopped at the Kenilworth Dairy to try some of their famous cheese – Peter didn’t think they were as good as the ones in Tassie.
The mountain views are really huge. Quadruple what you see around Jamberoo. They stretch out all directions including back to the coast and into deep distant valleys. The weather was cool and grey with heavy showers on the two day trip days with bouts of heavy mist from being in the clouds! We drove down the mountain to Nambour to pick up the mail and noticed a big increase in warmth and humidity. Very pleased to get back to our mountain retreat. Nambour is the central town with all the facilities for the district. Not overly interesting except for the many colourful trees and shrubs. We saw a magnificent old pink frangipani in a front yard that made me realise I was not in Kiama! Queensland is blessed with huge red poincianas, bright orange tulip trees, and dense deep coloured crepe myrtles, yellow blossom trees draped in brushes of blooms, lots of normal big bloom white frangipanis, red leaf mango trees and lots of dahlias in big bright colours.
Back in Maleny we have enjoyed the atmosphere in the town which had quite a bit of live music. The local co-op café is very community spirited and full of life. We went into listen to the music and were entertained by an enthusiastic local, Evan, who was enjoying the young music and desperate to dance asking all the girls! He was 86, (recently widowed and missing his wife), who was immaculately dressed with a bright red hand knitted vest. He managed to get someone up to dance and you could only admire his big happy beaming face and his dancing ability - much better than ours! The “informant” said he was a regular! Our friend Judy will appreciate that we thought of her happy Dad, Ron, who is was buried this week whilst we watched this fellow.
We visited a dairy and Peter bought a litre of non homogenised Guernsey milk with thick clotted cream on the top that prevented you from pouring it! Oh well, back to the Lite White!
Settled back for a quiet catch up day on Saturday before going out to see the movie “Up the Yangtze”, only to find that it was booked out!!
Back to the sound of water of the creek! One week of it! The sound is permanently etched in now! Hopefully easily remembered when one wants to dream of such things! Our heads are full of great resources for relaxation sessions!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Fresh Ginger

Maleny 6 – 7 January 2008

Woke up to the view of the Glass House Mountains and had breakfast with Mark and Jenny. We then had a closer look at the ginger crop and Heather picked a small sample of ginger which is still a bit young but fresh!
We travelled through a few nondescript country towns on our way to Maleny. Suddenly we were on a really steep road going up for ever! When we arrived we fell in love with this cool heavenly place. Maleny has interesting shops and a strong sense of community. Maybe a bit too focused on tourism but it certainly makes you want to stay a while! The humidity was gone and the temperature about 24! Feels like high mountain retreat with wonderful plants and gardens. Happily settled at the showground next to a babbling creek! Beautiful sound all night long!

Sunrise at our Campsite

View from Mt Ngungun

Glass House Mountains 5 January 2008

Travelled along to Glass House Mountain and surrounds. Impressed by the agriculture and tropical fruit for sale along the way, from the avocado, macadamia, ginger and pineapple farms. The Mountains are remnants of volcanic cores and obviously must be climbed, so we set out to hike up one that does not require ropes and abseiling abilities - Mt Ngungun! It was not too bad except for the very rough steep rocky section that tested our mountain goat skills, with a long section better labelled as a dry water fall! The view were really worth it as we sat on the very top and were surprised by how much agriculture and development was going on below.
After our much appreciated shower we realised that we had problems with our plumbing system and so we headed to a hardware store to buy a plunger and some wire. It took some work to clear but as we were finalising it, a friendly farmer (Mark) invited us back to his place to stay the night. When we arrived, we found that he lived on a ginger farm, with magnificent views of the Glass House Mountains. It was near 360 deg views with the major peaks in front and all the green of mixed farms set in front. It was one of those moments! Thanks Mark and Jenny, Nanna, the three kids, the German backpacker and the new puppy, what a sunset!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Beachmere 4 January 2009

We left pretty little Toorbul and made our way to a slightly bigger town, Beachmere, which has been developed and modernised, loosing lots of its charm along the way. We parked at the outskirts of the town near the Caboolture River at the boat ramp. It’s pretty and quiet so far! The Blue Bottles on the sand are huge (their bodies are 15 cm and the tentacles look like big beans!) Not swimming here!

Beachmere Sunset

Toorbul 2 - 3 January 2009

After 8 hot days at the festival, we awoke to a cloudy morning and a more normal temperature. After saying goodbye to a few new friends including the Austrians, we stopped at the pretty town of Woodford. In the lovely little fruit shop with lettuce growing in boxes to be picked and sold fresh, the music suddenly came on very loud, the decorative lights turned on and the shop owner came out with a microphone and Elvis hairdo and burst into two Elvis songs. He was a great singer and the shoppers all stopped and clapped as he bowed and turned off the lights and then everyone went back to buying fruit and veg. He obviously loves Elvis and the décor on the walls suddenly made sense.
We decided to head to the coast for relief from the heat. However we made a few mistakes with navigation and ended up at the closest town, Donnybrook where we stopped by the water for lunch and a swim. We then moved onto the next town, Toorbul, a small isolate coastal village opposite Bribie Island and only 60km from Brisbane. There was a nice council caravan park that was very new, clean, well spaced out and quiet. We were very surprised to get in and enjoyed 2 nights of power and a chance to get all of the festival washing and dust out of our system. The weather remained cooler and very liveable!

Street Scene

Farewell Performance

A Bird in the Bush

It ain't half hot Mum!

Woodford Folk Festival 25 December 2008 - 1 January 2009

Xmas morning was shared with 2 groups of travellers. Our Austrian acquaintances included 3 young people with a little 22 month girl, Annelie. We searched our van to find a gift and came up with two small toys, a card and 3 cappuccino bags! They responded with a bowl containing an apple for food and growth, garlic cloves for health and a nectarine and sachet of jam. The other couple (that we called our 5 minute friends) gave the Austrians and ourselves half each of one of their home grown pumpkins complete with a red bow! After wishing everyone a Merry Xmas as they left, we settled down for a traditional Xmas lunch. Heather did a great job of making it a festive meal, but we did miss our families. It was very warm but as we had power we resorted to a little air conditioning. Cleaned up and decided to get onto Woodford!
The gates opened for camping at 2pm and when we arrived about 2:30pm we found huge queues snaking in - on Xmas Day! The festival did not start until 27th and we thought we were pretty early! The campsite went on for miles (over 15,000 people in the site) and it was very hard to find a spot to camp. We toughed it out and squeezed in fairly close to the festival entrance, which turned out to be a bonus as it was easy to go back for food, drinks and a rest. Everyone was very close to each other and we thought that it might be too noisy but it was fairly quiet. What an amazing festival – this is more than a folk festival. As well as all types of music, there was dance, theatre, arts, poetry, comedy, debates, street theatre and puppetry, info talks and lots of workshops on numerous gardening, health and happiness issues.
All the days were very hot and it was hard to get relief from the heat. The locals complained too. Most evenings received the relief of a tropical storm of rain and thunder /lightning.
The organisation of the festival was incredible – there were 2,000 volunteers and over 120,000 people attending. Having been involved in running a number of performances and festivals, Peter was in awe of the logistics needed to run such a smooth festival. Whilst the festival was crowded, it still felt good. There are lots of spaces and lovely places to sit and recover. There were 20 venues for people to see acts, as well as numerous cafes and bars. The food choices were amazing and some cafes had very inviting décor. There are many shops - the majority were women’s clothing, but also lots of odd interesting ones. New Years Eve was a buzz, with lots of extra exuberant young people coming in. They had a particularly lovely event at 11:30pm where everyone lights a candle (they gave out birthday cake ones that lasted well over 5 mins). Sitting around the pond with all the lights and candles reflecting was a particularly beautiful experience. The silence was amazing as suddenly we could hear all the tropical night insects. On the final night, NY’s day, they hold a closing ceremony in a huge natural amphitheatre. There are fire performances and a mass choir, ending with the burning of a large edifice each year. This year, they constructed a big windmill with turning blades. There was an amazing storm with sheet lightning all around the sky as everyone settled in and it felt rather uncomfortable about so many people out in it but it just came to the edge and left. The lightning nearly upstaged the performance. It rained and cooled down a lot and we went on to seek out our final performances. It felt sad to leave and it reminded us of the last moments of the Easter Show, as we watched the stalls pack up and the numbers dwindle in the dark.

Hanging out for a Henna

Singing The Blues

Chilling in the Chai Tent