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.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Home 28th April 2011

We decided to return home via Braidwood, as Peter was told that the road was now much better and had been sealed (hint- never take advice from a toothless man named Draino). Stopped at Queanbeyan and had a look around – while certainly an authentic town after Canberra, it also appeared rather run down, with boarded up shops and sparse streets. Then onto a pretty little village called Bungendore, which reminded us of Berry – wouldn’t like to visit it on a weekend – standing room only! After lunch we set off for Braidwood, only to discover that the road was still a muddy, slippery, windy and rocky road that we remembered from yore. It was only after we got to Nerriga that the road improved and we could breathe easily. We got home tired and wet just before dark, but very happy to have gone to the National Folk Festival.

Campbell soaring to new heights

Wongawilli in full flight

Canberra, National Folk Festival 22 – 27 April 2011

Having stocked up on essential provisions such as wine and beer, we settled in at the folk festival. There are about 55,000 people who visit it over the 5 days, and most of them seemed to be camping next to us! However you soon get to know your neighbours and everybody helps each other out. The opening night concert was held in Budawang, which holds about 1,500 and it was packed. The next 4 days have been a whirl of music, songs and dancing. There are about 12 venues going continuously and it is impossible to see all the groups that interest you, so you just ‘go with the flow’. We did catch up with some old favourites, such as Margaret Roadknight, The Bushwackers, Wongawilli and The Larrikins. As it was the 45th anniversary festival, they also had a tribute concert for the musicans that played at the first festival, including Phyl Lobyl, who is one of our neighbours. But this is not just a nostalgia trip – it was great to see so many young people here, enjoying the music and playing on stage. It is a fantastic atmosphere just walking around, with lots of interesting stalls and street theatre, including our old favourite – Campbell the Swaggie. Peter is now on the organising committee for the Illawarra Folk Festival and was full of admiration for the way this festival runs so smoothly, with no hitches so far. He has been attending the early (frosty) morning sessions with his autoharp; while still a beginner, he enjoys playing in a group (Heather thinks it’s because it drowns his awful playing).
On Tuesday, we set off for our volunteer role – cleaning up after the festival. While not a challenging role, it gave us the opportunity to enjoy the festival without rushing off to do a volunteer duty. After another exciting day of cleaning up, we caught up with Jon, an old friend of Peters, who shared a house with him in Armidale. Jon has had an eventful life and is now enjoying his retirement by playing in a blues band.

Canberra 17 – 21 April 2011

Filled the fridge with ice and continued onto EPIC where the National Folk Festival was being held. Settled into a camp spot and we were surprised how many people were already there. We also discovered that there was a water leak and the electrics weren’t working! Went down to the War Memorial to carry out some research on Peter’s dad, who was in Darwin when the Japanese bombed it, however we will need to go back again to do some more investigation. The next day we investigated how to fix all the issues. Peter fixed up the leak and booked Jimmy in to check the fridge and electrics. Wednesday was full on getting the problems sorted out and while there is still some electrical work to be fixed, the fridge seems nice and cold! In the evening we wandered over to a session to hear some beautiful singing. Everybody had to take turns at singing, however as we are both tone deaf, Peter read some poetry and then told some stories about his father’s misadventures in the bush – seemed to go down OK. On Thursday we walked around their botanical gardens and enjoyed the wildflowers that were out – amazing considering how cold it is here. We then visited Peter’s cousins – Peter and Phyl. We caught up with all the family gossip and just when we were leaving, Carmel arrived with Betty, who we hadn’t seen for years.

Peter at the War Memorial

Burradoo 16 April 2011

After an eventful start we set off through the rain for Canberra. While we have been looking forward to seeing the National Folk Festival, we had quite a bit of stress in preparing for our trip. We had ongoing problems with our fridge, so we took it to the local Dometic dealer – Best Country Caravan Repairs who said we needed to replace the cooling system - $1800! We said OK, paid a deposit and expected to get it installed the next week. Nothing happened so I rang him up and after 2 days of ringing got onto him. Sorry, hasn’t been ordered but will do so now and expect it in 2 days. Another week passes – this time 4 days to answer phone - sorry still chasing it up! By this stage the trip to Canberra was next week, but we were assured that it would be ready early next week and he would ring me. Next week he didn’t ring, so after only 1 day of ringing I got an answer. Sorry, they can’t find it – it is somewhere on the road but expected the next day. In desperation I took the motorhome up and left it there – no worries, it would be ready by Wednesday. On Thursday I rang all day and no answer, so I drove up to see what happened. They were still working on it but ready soon. When I asked why he didn’t answer his phone, he said he was too busy to answer!
Unfortunately it didn’t stop there – 1 day to go and we put the fridge on gas, only to find it wasn’t working! Back to the repair guy who spent a few hours fixing it and said it was right to go. Loaded up the fridge and set off through the rain, stopping at Burradoo for the night, only to find (yes you guessed it) the fridge wasn’t working again! AAAAHHHHH!