By keef and annie hellinger, Dec 1 2021 14.13 pm
Day 161 - Thursday 3rd April 2008,Christchurch
After wasting 3+hours packing, unpacking and repacking stuff to be posted off to Craig, numerous U-turns on SH and 3 visits to the post office we finally got off to visit the city center. Parked up behind the Science alive on Moorhouse St and caught the free shuttle into Cathederal Sq. walked passed market, river Avon to Art Museum (lovely building) Colin McMahon stuff no good but Goldie and Gottlieb on old Maori’s ace,Art museum, cathedral and graffiti freeze for City of flowers (now complete).Slightly effiminant gent desk at museum.How long it takes to get a parcel off including guy I rang for shipping freight who said when I asked about personal effects ‘that as long as they were horses that was fine!!!’ hoho a horse merchant.Remember a couple of Kiwi speedway giants
Day 162 - Friday 4th April 2008,Christchurch
Day spent at the Botanic gardens and packing. See NSW (Oz) for Day 163 a flight day.
Day 163 - Saturday 5th April 2008,Christchurch to Sydney
Got up early, did the final bits of packing. Had scrambled eggs, checked out of our motel and went to Northwood Mall. Mooched around, K bought Opshop CD then we filled up with petrol and took car back to NZ rentals. Guy said he wasn’t expecting us and we would have to pay $10NZD for transport to Airport, we put him straight, but he did prefer to panic about picking up domestic passengers and drop us off early, still np as Christchurch is a very small airport, smaller indeed than Auckland. Nice flight over to Sydney and really clear as we landed.Coast line of NSW, busy inner city, pails anything in NZ into insignificance in terms of size.Met really nice and helpful Air NZ check in lady, who was surprised we could ‘do’ round the world with so little luggage,not much to remember, but catching the shuttle from Sydney airport to the travelodge, cnr wentworth & goulburn was fun as the thai guy tried to cram in every last space
Day 164 - Sunday 6th April 2008,Travelodge, Sydney
Gr8 day, see the piccies but basically did the tourist bit 2day. Went on the city sightseeing open topped bus firstly around the City route then out to Bondi, via SCG
and Fox studios. Ended up having a gr8 meal at Ice Cube on Darling harbour.Met lots of Japanese taking piccies everywhere.Gr8 walk on Bondi beach, spoke to Doug on MSN msg
Day 165 - Monday 7th April 2008,Travelodge, Sydney, Cnr Wentworth & Goulburn
Bit of a wasted day really but as bad weather not so bad. Got phone sorted but not vodem,wasted lots of time and bureaucratic nightmare,had to open a westpac bank account but still don’t know if it will get us thru the reqd 100 points for credit history, we will see in Tassie.World square, Irish pub and many vodaphone stores. Remember frustration oh and not a bad micro wave meal.
Day 166 - Tuesday 8th April 2008,Travelodge, Sydney
Gr8 day weather variable Got 3 day pass for monorail & light railway went to Darling harbour HMS Endeavour and Nat Maritime museum then onto the Imax to see the new 3d whales & dolphins Gr8 views of and from Darling harbour, we love Sydney Met Gr8 old Kiwi great granddad ex Navy on HMS End plus £15 paddie who was doing the same volunteer job. Alas Annie getting a really bad sore throat, really enjoyed the HMS endeavour.
Day 167 - Wednesday 9th April 2008,Travelodge, Sydney
Initially traveled by underground from museum to circular quay. Got the $16AD ferry ticket day tripper 2day and went to Watson bay, Manly & up the Paramatta river Had coffee/ ice chocolate at Risonni’s on Circular Quay at the end of the day Weather was mixed Sunny & Drizzle ranged from 18c to 24c.Lots and gr8 it was to, see the piccies, there were rather a lot of them. You will only get a limited set on the site.Met all the eastern European waiters at Doyle’s. Highlights:Seafood platter at Doyles Watson bay Annie rang Margaret and Brian at the end of the day,now used up all our Kiwi Vodaphone credit, Australian one working fine and online account set up. Our Westpac online banking will not work until we get out ATM cards (note write down the Handy card no 19 digits and BSB in our ‘little book of banking’ when we get them in Tassie + set up Vodem)
Day 168 - Thursday 10th April 2008,Travelodge, Sydney, Taronga Zoo/ Opera House
Taronga Zoo via Matilda ferries cruise and Swan Lake ballet at the Opera House ,Saw zillions of native animals. Enjoyed Express Thai nr World Square, gr8 meal and being exhausted by climbing stairs
Day 169 - Friday 11th April 2008,Travelodge, Sydney
Up not so early, used the last of our 3 day monorail/ light railway ticket to go to Victoria Galleries, Harbourside (Darling Harbour), Chinese gardens, Chinatown, Paddy’s Market, Lillyfield/ Rozelle Bay (ugh suburbs along with Glebe and Pyrmont),Chinese Gardens are superb, very tranquil,Met folk in Chinese restaurant in Chinatown,plus the ‘live’ tanks. surprised that we were the only non asian folk in Paddy’s market, its a great foodhall there for fresh produce.
2nd stay Day 226-228
Day 172 - Monday 14th April 2008,Huonville, Tasmania
Family tree day, completely today. Given over to reserach and discussion with Diana. used PC a lot. We stayed in all day with John & Diana. Most memorable was the Calel/ Solomon saga.
Day 173 - Tuesday 15th April 2008,Huonville, Tasmania
John & Diana took us into Hobart so we could pick up our hire car. We then visited Mt Nelson, Mt Wellington, City center Hobart and Battery Point and spent the evening with J&D.
Day 174 - Wednesday 16th April 2008,Huonville, Tasmania
Went to see Tasman peninsular including Port Arthur, Tasman arch, blowholes etc
Day 175 - Thursday 17th April 2008, Huonville, Tasmania
Visited Bruny Island,gr8 day Up early caught 9.30am ferry from Kettering and came back on the 4.30 one from Robert point and then drove around the headland up to Cygnet again . Loved Adventure bay, Clement link rd, Nebraska beach, oh and a whole lot more. We even saw the fairy penguins footprints and met an Ozzie couple at top of the 164 step lookout at the neck , we took their picture, they took ours. Most memorable was having an Eastern Grey Roo run out in front of our car on the Clement Link road
Day 176 - Friday 18th April 2008,Huonville, Tasmania
Quiet day spent with J&D, not much to report
Day 177 - Saturday 19th April 2008,Ranelagh to Strahan/ Queenstown , Tasmania
Off on our trip around Tassie. Up at 6 (nice to leave J&D) left by 7.10am Drove via SH1 & A10 stopping at Hamilton for an early morning pie and coffee Then thru Derwent River down thru Queenstown into Strahan and then back to Queenstown having filled up with petrol alongside the Targa Tasmania classic cars The whole area is packed out We paid $150AD (£70+) rip off for an appalling accommodation Silver Hills Motel.Most memorable Wall in the Wilderness gallery (hand carved wooden designs/ murals from Huon pine) at Derwent Bridge.Lovely drive.Wall in the Wilderness was superb, Fraser-Gordon World Heritage nat park, Queenstown, Strahan.Met lady in motel with Rally driver hubbie plus stewards who taped off every dirt track entry to the road from Strahan to Queenstown, in case they came out and bashed into the rallyall roads are closed from 5.30pm thru to 12 noon 2moro Both night and day legs.
Day 178 - Sunday 20th April 2008, Queenstown to Tullah , Tasmania
Got up about 8-ish, had a leisurely breakfast as Targa Tasmania was still on and all roads closed until 12. Finally left at 12 after nice lady told us about the roads reopening. Had to return as oops forgot stuff in the fridge (déjà vu for New Plymouth) Then onto Strahan again. Weather excellent. Had a good walk around edge of lake. Saw seaplane land. Not that much to see and do at Strahan although we went down to the old Railway. Then drove onto Zeehan & Tullah. Budget motel booked and paid for online with Innkeepers but Lakeside Chalets have no record. Budget place. Lots and lots of ‘controlled burn’ plus Zeehan, Rosebury & Tullah mining towns plus had a walk on Henty sandunes and saw the lookout, found our way back by my footprints, it was very confusing.Met guy with ute and caravan at lookout , I had to move the car as he couldn’t do a U-ey.Getting very fed up paying between £60-80 per night for frankly crap accommodation, very overpriced and someone trying to charge one twice is also not good news. Got a bit lost at Henty Dunes.
Day 179 - Monday 21st April 2008,Tullah to Smithton , Tasmania
Up early to see workman walk past our window. We were trying to look at Lake Rosebury from our chalet window and see the wombats (alas none) After arguing over paying twice lakeside Chalets Tullah ($80AD Budget) we sorted them out and Annie drove all 250kms today via Cradle mountain to Wynyard, Rocky Cape into Smithton Reasonably good weather again 22c and v sunny Stayed Bridge Motel ($99AD).Saw controlled burn, Cradle mountain Nat park, gr8 north coast along the bass straits highway.Met a welsh lady who served us in restaurant at motel who has been here 20 years and is married to a local fisherman. She got me vinegar to go with our huge flake fish and chips McCains is in Smithton.Nice bottle of Oxford Landing (eve). At Cradle Mountain as Annie said the wildlife was ‘one blackbird and some wombat poo’.
Day 180 - Tuesday 22nd April 2008,Smithton to Burnie via West point and Stanley, Tasmania
Out of Motel by 10, drove west to Marawah Beach via the Dismal Swamp which sadly was closed as storm had bought trees down over exhibits (i.e slide) Spoke to guy but had no confidence it would reopen the next day. Then returned along Bass Highway visiting various beaches, Stanley & the Nut (Ace), Rocky cape nat park, crayfish creek, Egcombe.West point from Marawah beach, next left is Argentina. The Nut plus from the top by Chairlift. Gr8. Guy in Burnie motel office who had played music in the ‘Trent Bridge Inn’ Notts when 19.Views from top of Nut, Stanley, Controlled burn that looked like Hiroshima (tassie carbon footprint ain’t good) Annie saw gecko/ lizard at top of the Nut. 5th Chairlift we have been on ($10AD both).
Day 181 - Wednesday 23rd April 2008,Burnie to Launceston, Tasmania
Out by 10 from our upstairs apt in the Ocean View Motel, drizzling. Drove down to Penguin lookout, no chance , too built up and Burnie Dockers AFL ground. Burnie is almost the pits but not quite. Filled up with petrol and drove out along Highway 1 to Launceston then diverted off onto scenic route via Penguin (a hoot) Ulverstone, Delamoire and Gr8 Western Tiers , then on into Sandors on the Park Motel 2 blocks up from CBD, Brisbane St. Loads of fake penguins, even adorning the bins. The Western tiers lookout where we had lunch and the lovely Pine lake boardwalkthat was superb but the weather changed just like that from sunny to cloud and cold.Western Tiers Gr8, Nice meal and brulee in Launceston Motel plus 2 pts of beer - Cascade (Hobart), Boags is from Launceston (and you can smell it) Probably as the tassie’s will tell you ‘the best beer in the world’. Pencil pines were wonderful.
Day 182 - Thursday 24th April 2008,Launceston, Tasmania
Laid in had brekkie in the room, Apricot weeties in a mug with milk, how we have learned to cope and peanut butter on Helgas (bread). Then walked into town, got stuff for k’s Jocks Itch, Vodaphone $29AD cap (gives you $130AD) and then bought pair of trus to replace those that had disintegrated. Had lunch in bakers 13 dozen of pies, cakes (yummy apricot custard) then off to wildlife park – Devil’s haven (ace) and Cataract gorge at twilight.River Tamar.2 wallabies wild in Cataract Gorge reserve One let Annie get real close Plus all the lovely animals at the Launceston Lakes Wildlife park.Saw skippy, baby echidna, and many lovely birds oh and dumbie the wombie who wouldn’t come out of his pad.Ate in restaurant at Sandors on the park (again).
Day 183 - Friday 25th April 2008,Launceston to St Helens, Tasmania
Anzac day, checked out of Hotel in Launceston, $340+AD, filled with petrol and drove down the A3 thru Scottsdale, Derby and the tin mine valley to St Columba falls , Pyengena.Saw Derby bank and radio station, Dunes and beaches of St Helens, St Columba falls and cheese tasting,Priscilla the beer swilling pig at the pub in the paddock, Pyengena.Keef did 5 laps of the indoor pool, watching Kev Costner movie and Anzac day oh and grotty Bayside motel that cost as much as Launceston and is really tatty.
Day 184 - Saturday 26th April 2008,St Helens to Swansea, Tasmania
HOORAY, we have now been away 6 months. Left 10am v sunny 22c Shopped at local supermarket in St Helen’s then drove thru all the East coast beaches Diana’s, Sumpter, 4 Mile creek, Denisons, Bicheno, Coles Bay.See the piccies of beaches and wineglass bay, ace.Met no one in particular, guy on bike and woman with van who were fishing at Denison Beach plus dipstick in car who roared onto Diana’s beach to avoid getting stuck in the sand.Gravel track to Friendly Beach , had to turn back and that’s not just cos we didn’t pay our national parks fee. Annie looked for Penguins in the Rookery from our balcony in the Waterloo Inn Swansea.good value $97.50AD Wedding going on. Loved Freycinet NP.
Day 185 - Sunday 27th April 2008,Swansea to Port Arthur, Tasmania
Staying in our cottage for 2 days. Four seasons ‘Summer’ cottage in Tarrana on the Tasman peninsular. Lovely place but one is sure paying for it at £92 a night.East coast very interesting. Maria island ferry from Timmburra. Gr8 road from Orford, v rocky and hilly. Whole area very dry with CRITICAL water warnings everywhere. Met Noreen owner of cottage whose son had died in Illinois and husband with cancer. Her little grand daughter Scarlet was cute. She helped us get the Heater / Cooler working Very overcast all day.Had McDs in Sorrell, 1st in Oz.good tea first we had been able to cook for a while.
Day 186 - Monday 28th April 2008,Port Arthur, Tasmania
Staying in our cottage for 2 days. Got up late had full cooked brekkie Raining hard initially then brightened up Spent the day chilling, watching TV, reading, PC, gentle walk, very relaxing.
Day 187 - Tuesday 29th April 2008,Port Arthur to Hobart, Tasmania
Spent from 9.30 to 3.30 at Port Arthur, excellent day in the convict colony. Rain am, sun pm did guided tour , boat trip to Puer Point (boys prison island) and Isle of the Dead (12000 buried on this tiny island) and walked round most of it, asylum, severe etc etc then drove back via Sorrell (got cash from Westpac) into Sandy Bay. Stayed at 429 motel (Hobart), upgraded to exec overlooking the bay all for $85AD a bargain Saw lots see all 78 piccies.Well highlights anyway.Met gr8 lady who did the tour, born in Tassie, traveled as a kid to Papua New Guinea and Qld, discussed family trees.Remember Port Arthur plus wild Rosella’s, beautiful colours
Day 188 - Wednesday 30th April 2008,Fly from Hobart to Perth, WA
V long day, sunny but 11c in Hobart Drove up Sandy bay road to Shot tower and back to dump off car Gr8 scenery Met Diana & John. Visited IXL jam factory / wood design studio in Hobart harbour (ace!) Then to Mures for lunch Ace again Then to airport, said long goodbye
Day 188 - Wednesday 30th April 2008,Fly from Hobart to Perth, WA
Mid afternoon-ish Then to airport, said long goodbye, flew to Melbourne, 4 hrs wait rang Mum then 4 hrs flight to Perth with 2 hrs western time was really 3am before we got to bed Hotel not good we paid $105AD to Discovery west it is $75AD if you pay yourself still only here short time and out for most of it .Planes oh and 27 dresses movie (crap).Met Granny next to me from Melbourne to Perth who hadn’t seen her grandchildren for 3 years. Loved Getting to WA but sad to leave Tassie, pleasant memories.
Day 189 - Thursday 1st May 2008,Perth, WA
Got up late after very late to bed, 1am Western Time but 3am Eastern time (Tassie) Hotel not great 22c and sunny Made use of our time Walked thru town (lovely) went to Tourist Info (iCity in Oz, iSite in NZ) got stuff Then walked down to Barrack Jetty and got 2hr return ferry trip to Freemantle Lovely trip (see Piccies) Then caught Tram around Kings Park, got off at Murray st Went shopping for brekkie things in Woolies Then nice meal in Bobby Dazzlers.Met ferry crew and driver Real Ozzies plus Tram driver a hoot who embarrassed newlyweds.Remember Gr8 day, ferry and tram trip plus scenery. Roo steaks
Day 190 - Friday 2nd May 2008,Perth, WA
Nice hot day (24c) up earlyish cos of time diff from East coast. Had brekkie in Motel then walked into Murray St again via the various jetties and hopped on the tram Did the complete circuit, town, burswood area, jetty, kings park with various 10 min photo opportunities / leg stretch Very enjoyable Got back intending to get on Open topped bus they said it was gone, had lunch in Asian express (v nice and relatively cheap) then waited 1+hr still didn’t arrive Keef rang company and got stroppy when they said the guy hadn’t turned up/ had to leave early so got money back (hooray 2 free trips and a good evening meal) plus we had time to research our campervan trip. Visited Tourist info iCity , got loads of brochures to help start planning our round trip Perth, Wave Rock (Hyden) , Kalgoolie-Boulder, Esperance, Albany, Margaret River, Freemantle, Rottnest Island.definitely outback and needs treating with respect, leaving notes on Website. Met Guy in iCity, most helpful again. Remember Keef getting stroppy when they told us the bus wasn’t running, got all our money back $58AD, Meal in eve .
Day 191 - Saturday 3rd May 2008,Perth to Quairading, WA
Good & bad times with Britz!!! Got up early still suffering from 2hr jetlag. Packed and took stuff down to front of Mountway apts, which although budget were on reflection really close to the city center. Swan taxis (+61 131330) took us to 471 Gr8 eastern Highway (SH94) Britz, cheaper at $28AD than guy from Airport and further Hmmmm Britz in disarray, had a bit of a go after being made to wait 1hr for paperwork oh and our van not available, despite me having rung them the day before anyhow all ok in the end cos free upgrade gave us an automatic which is easier to drive and both of us can drive. Despite higher diesel prices.Then went to Midtown mall had lunch and did lots of shopping in Woolies Then set off for Quairading (half way to Hyden and Wave Rock). 150+kms nice drive, red dirt scenery and bush with ‘black boy’ (politically incorrect) trees. Campsite good and currently free Most memorable Getting free van upgrade
Day 192 - Sunday 4th May 2008,Quairading to Narembeen via Wave Rock (Hyden), WA
Nice long day Hot 28c at Wave rock Drove down highway 40 thru to Wave rock and then back part of it to go up to Narembeen ready to rejoin the Gr8 eastern highway to Kalgoorlie.Saw Wave rock plus a lot of red soil.Met guy at Quairading site who suggested a pub to visit outside Kalgoorlie cos wait for it there had been 2 murders there Hmmmm Oh and old aussie couple at Narembeen who gave us the once over. remember York, Midtown & Quairading. Young Brit couple who waited 5 hrs for their campervan and were supposedly going to Geraldton that day, not likely. Lady from Leeds working for Britz whom I gave some grief. Aussie in caravan at campsite (only other person) who ensured amenities were open for us Remember Wave rock, gr8 terayaki chicken evening meal cooked in our camper van
Day 193 - Monday 5th May 2008,Wave Rock (Hyden)to Coolgardie, WA
Been in Oz 1 month now. Up early cold night put heating on in campervan Left site about 10-ish 2nd day of not paying as no one about to pay. Visited Narembeen Town nice little historic plaques from gold mining days everywhere and some quaint old buildings (see the piccies) then drove 71kms straight (and I mean straight 2nd longest straight road in Oz after Nullarbor plain bit) single tar sealed with wide red gravel edges.only one road train, did WA travelers salute one nonchalant finger off steering column. Then at Merredin turned left onto Gr8 Eastern Highway 94 all the way to Coolgardie. Filled up at Roadhouse in Southern Cross and stopped at various places for tourist spots/ piccies Staying at campsite in Coolgardie (39km from Kalgoorlie-Bolder) $22AD not bad Dark by 5.30pm boo hiss Had a nice meal of 1st course: corn on the cob, Mains: spam, fried kumara, spaghetti followed by Cheese & Bikkies, saw RPF (Rabbit Proof Fence) No1 at Burracoggin, Yellowdine, Golden pipeline, Camels at Coolgardie, Road trains galore, met no one in particular,oh ozzie at Coolgardie campsite who sleeps out under the stars (cold) on a put-u-up bed, hoot!
Day 194 - Tuesday 6th May 2008,Coolgardie to Kalgoorlie - Bolder, WA
Up early-ish, v sunny and hot 31c although campervan said 38c at one point Annie did the washing 2 lots in machine Had a quick look at Coolgardie then drove into Kalgoorlie Lovely place still lots more to see went to Superpit and the Hall of fame mining museum Stayed at Prospectors Campsite $27AD, met folk in the next door caravan to us from Adelaide who have been travelling for 7 years and are from Kangaroo Island in SA They ran a store in Leanora and have been prospecting for gold They showed us a nugget they found. Remember the mines and the superpit
Day 195 - Wednesday 7th May 2008,Kalgoorlie – Bolder to Norseman via Kambalda West, WA
Up early, only cereal for brekkie Then went into town again, Woolies (food), iCity ,bank , post office (PC to Mum) then all the way up the historic Hannan St, and back again. Bought Tshirt and T towels We really like the feel of Kalgoorlie Then out to Bolder airport again to join the 11am tour When we came yesterday there was a private function so not on for the day Gr8 film and lecture then we saw the plane take off They do a gr8 job with v limited resources then drove down SH94 thru Kambaldi (where we had lunch) down to Norseman where we are staying at the Gateway campsite $23.50AD.Saw K-B towns, Skimpies (I wish), RFDS, Kambaldi new town, Norseman.Met folk from SA sheep station she was a governess, 10 people (oh and 40 aboriginals) on a farm the size of England. Plus Kiwi we gave a lift back into town who was born in Bromsgrove and lives in Hamilton, didn’t like the Oz landscape. Bad news from Belvoir, swietelsky only want to stay until June now, but hey hoe will continue to pester to see what they do for their £180 a month. Keef's first haircut since leaving the UK plus memorable meal and wine (home cooked) oh and played scrabble
Day 196 - Thursday 8th May 2008,Norseman to Esperance, WA
Good day (again) Showered had yogurt and croissants for brekkie then went off to look around Norseman. Camels, gold mine and great views from Beacon Point Lookout Then drove down highway 1 thru Salmon Gums, Grass Patch, Scaddan, Gibson past dried up salt lakes into Esperance. Wheatbelt change of scenery about Grass Patch But the major contrast from red outback to blue seas of Esperance was immense We like Esperance and twilight beach drive is ace, loads of beaches, saw lots of Road Trains, met Kiwi lady running campsite, nr beach $20AD.Remember Not so good Fish & Chip supper, worst yet! Beaches of Esperance and sealion showing off by Tanker Jetty
Day 197 - Friday 9th May 2008,Esperance to Jerramungup
Over 300k of driving Started out fairly overcast ended v sunny 26c had icecreams at Munglinup roadhouse, stopped off at Ravensthorpe for Tourist info and bottle shop Then on thru world famous (we think not!) Fitzgerald river Nat Park and onto J campsite ($23AD) Tame roo Priscilla we didn’t see but the gallah who said hallo On pc added money to MP3 RU and downloaded some new music Young Knives and Madonna, saw lots and lots of SH1, met guy with Rottweiler in next site.No water fill allowed at J campsite as dam only caters for 200 people oh and emptying the ‘potty’ for the first time, yuk and heavy,Jail at Ravensthorpe last used in 1962 and reminded me of a dunny
Day 198 - Saturday 10th May 2008,Jerramungup to Albany
Left campsite at about 11am after brekkie of yoghurt and bacon sarnies. Filled up with diesel in Jerramungup, $69AD took ages in shop only a queue of 3 but staff had an IQ of 3. Annie paid $4.65AD for loaf of bread WOW!!! Drove thru Gairdner, Boxwood Hill, Wellstead & Many Peaks (where we had lunch in a layby) into town Albany Nice place Drove round a bit then out to Torndirrup Nat Park, saw Frenchman bay (family BBQ but would be about to get wetGr8 granny down to kiddies, with camera on tripod) then blowholes (not windy enough) Tooks some interesting piccies then back to Acclaim campsite at Emu Point raining but gr8 weird sunset with rainbow. Ringng boys to use up Vodaphone allowance, saw lots but now back from the outback. Filled up with water which we were not allowed to do in Jerramungup
Drove to Middleton beach which has a LED sign saying BEACH CLOSED DUE TO SHARK IN THE AREA,loved Torndirrup Nat Park
Day 199 - Sunday 11th May 2008,Emu Point Albany to Northcliffe
Channel 7 news, great white at Middleton beach eats 37 year old teacher We were there at 3pm and again 2day It happened 7.30am y’day we saw the sign about beach closed but hadn’t realized someone had been eaten He punched the shark and poked his fingers in its eyes and a mother of 3 swam in to help him, Mrs Lucas (v brave lady).We did tourist route round Middleton, Albany (packed with shark spotters although we didn’t see much) then on thru Denmark (ocean beach had a walk) thru Walpole/ Nornalup nat park and walked the Canopy walk in the Valley of the giants (ace 40m high) huge trees Tingle trees (tingle meaning red in Aboriginal) Getting late so pulled into RoundTuit Eco Campsite ($25AD) Best site so far They raise orphan roos and there were lots of wild ones even in front of our van plus Alpacas, saw lots but roos especially great as so close to our van, met couple who ran camp site, lovely people, remember Great white shark / Roos/ Valley of the Giants
Day 200 - Monday 12th May 2008,Northcliffe to Margaret River
Drove into Pemberton (filled with diesel narrowly avoiding taking top of campervan off as low roof at garage) went to Gloucester tree (60m high Tingle tree with footrung lookout) Didn’t go in as $20AD and no time Then down SH1 missed turning ended up near Nannup (41 extra k) and onto Augusta Nice seaside place and Leeuwin point where Southern Ocean meets the Indian Ocean and lighthouse then up Tourist route 250 via various caves (didn’t go as mostly closed and running out of daylight) via Hamelin bay into Margaret River (wineries by the score) Camping in town site $24AD + $10AD deposit, hard to park on limited site (steep edge and tree) but did it. 22c 2day some rain again 3rd day running and getting dark now by 5.15pm, Annie saw 2 roos in winery , emus and one roo running along fence, all in all a good animal day, saw o one in particular apart from the roos,Mummy roo & Joey o/side our campervan in the morning (Ahhhhhh – see the videos and piccies), Sand blasting at Hamelin Bay, Wyre Estate Shiraz (Margaret River) $20AD Wonderfuland v drunk making! Oh and hummus and toast, chicken teriyaki & rice and Belgian choc puds (yum!)
Day 201 - Tuesday 13th May 2008,Margaret River to Bunbury
Left in rain Visited the town of Margs Then onto Prevelly beach back up Caves road along the coast seeing various bays and into Yallingup Incredible surf beaches V high waves then lunch at Busselton raining then sunny Quite cold 2day only 16c max 20c Did walk on beach and pier then onto Bunbury Bought wine M/R and blue cheese and other stuff in IGA Margs and Coles Busso Gonna have a good tea Did PC stuff Modem stopped not sure why. Annie did washing whilst we both tried to photo the green parrots flying round Eucalypt trees near our van, met no one in particular, saw lots of Japanese tourists. Remember than we are not gonna let our house for 2.5 months so loan to family & friends, plus big surf.
Day 202 - Wednesday 14th May 2008,Bunbury to Freemantle (Freo)
Up late. Showered, breakfasted on good coffee and croissants, then off to Fremantle via SH1 past Cape Bouvard, Mandurah (really speading waterfront properties) Safety beach, Penguin island, City of Rockingham into Fremantle. Drove around the town, v busy, interesting buildings however then out via south beach to our posh campsite (4 stars) at Fremantle village. Sat out for first time on table and chairs. Sunny and rainy 2day. Has been like this now for 4 days 15c at night same as Long Eaton today, max however only 19c. Saw lots of expanding Perth via cities (and train for commuting) up to 74k away. Met surfer dude at campsite who set up our Rottnest express trip for 2moro, off to see the Quokka.Campsite, best yet but $31AD per night.
Day 203 - Thursday 15th May 2008,Rottnest Island
Coach trip around island plus walking. Rottnest (rats nest because germanic sailors thought the Quokka was a giant rat). It is a holiday isle now. Forgot camera battery (still in laptop) so bought Rottnest Island book instead.
Day 204 - Friday 16th May 2008,Freo to Perth to Broome
Did all the clean up stuff on the campervan, left about 10.30am and went back thru Freo town Annie took a load of photos Then drove back along H12 to Perth, avoided going right thru the centre although only just by going on the North Highway and then off onto the right Highway to find the Gr8 eastern highway and back to Britz. Sorted good ish deal (£4600+) for 3.5 months campervan from Adelaide to Sydney via Queensland.Then taxi (mad git that Anne had to shout at) to airport, good Fish & Chips lunch then onto Broome. Really hot when we arrived at 6pm 33c taxi to Ocean lodge hotel. Saw Movie on free tv – "PS I love you" OK-ish! Met Lady in motel plus many more aboriginal folk in Broome and on the plane than we have seen so far. Remember Freo & getting campervan back in one piece.
Day 205 - Saturday 17th May 2008,Cable Beach, Broome
All day chilling by the pool at our Ocean Lodge hotel.Gr8 day some shopping which was HOT walking to Woolies 35c. saw sun, sun and sun V relaxing. Weird movie called the Raging of Placid Lake . Met guy in England footie shirt.Listen to loads of gr8 stuff on the iPod
Day 206 - Sunday 18th May 2008,Cable Beach, Broome
Another day chillin by the pool, cooked brekkie to start us off and then lunch by the pool with earl grey. Oh then caught bus ($3,50AD) to cable beach, walked and photo-ed and came back for meal and wine, superb day (again) in Broome. Saw sunsets by the score. Met bus driver. Loved CSN&Y, CSN & David Crosby plus cable beach sunsets, we absolutely adored cable beach, fab place, fab pictures, fab weather.
Day 207 - Monday 19th May 2008,Town, Town beach & Cable Beach, Broome
Hot day 35c. Got $10AD all day bus pass Visited the town, nice and small Lots of vagrant aboriginal buying booze only and some v drunk at say 2pm Shopped for #Tshirts Then had lunch in Aussie pub plus watched Eng Vs Blackcaps cricket from UK Then onto Town beach (not gr8 after cable) then shopping at coles and post office (postcards to Mum , Craig & Doug) then onto Cable beach by bus. Drinks at Sunset bar then back to hotel for a swim and get ready for meal in town. Back by 7pm on last bus then Chinatown taxi home for 8.30pm. Saw lots & met staff in restaurant very friendly. remember the weather £6 for a ¾ pint glass of Matso’s (local brewer) ginger beer but quite alcoholic. They did a mango beer but at that price gave it a miss , Meal at Som Thai and lovely bottle of Watershed Marg river SavBlanc ($17AD and reduced from $21AD) bought in bottle shop over the road.
Day 208 - Tuesday 20th May 2008,Geikie Gorge Trip
Up at 5.30am caught new tour bus with Adam to the Gorge via Willare Roadhouse, Old Boab Tree, Fitzroy crossing (old & new) then the gorge. Trip by boat with Bill our indigenous guide, remember the 4 skins (aboriginal trad wisdom) ..boat trip, crocs, meal at road house very late back 11pm long day but a good one. Saw freshies and a whole lot more. met too many folk but Adam and Bill (guides) and couple from Sydney who had crossed the Nullarbor and had 8 weeks in WA. The whole day was gr8 eating boab fruit The views, everything, splendid trip well worth it
Day 209 - Wednesday 21st May 2008,Broome to Darwin via Kunanarra by Airnorth
Up 8-ish packed made sandwiches Taxi to airport left about 3.40 (20 mins late) Flew 1hr to Kunanarra deplaned 30mins then 40mins to Darwin taxi to Barossa street V close to city center Lorraine (lovely lady) met us.Saw River Ord, Lake Argyle.Met nice lady taxi driver, lots of info on tropical plants in Broome. Lorraine Swan in Darwin (and she had seen Elton John live in Darwin the week before). Remember Kunannarra, flight and Darwin (a big growing city)
Day 226 - Saturday 7th June 2008,P/Boro (SA) to Broken Hill (NSW)
Day 210 - Thursday 22nd May 2008,Darwin
Walked into town, about 12ish then Hop on hop off bus, with drivers mum present $60AD saw most sights Stopped at Sky city casino had some drinks by the infinity pool then walked over to the Mindil Beach Sunset market (ace) Darwin is a nice city better than we expected.Loved the Mindil Beach Sunset market,Loads of folk at market which we went to in the eve and watched the sunset across the beach,Mindil Beach Sunset market, spray can artist, eMDee band, sunset and many many revelers (5k+),
Day 211 - Friday 23rd May 2008,Darwin
Went by taxi to the Museum & Arts center, spent about 2.5hrs there V interesting especially the Cyclone Tracy stuff then walked back in 33+c heat to bus stop where drunk and his even drunk aboriginal partner told us about buses Caught no4 into City center Did shopping My BNT Mosquitos shirt, Annies Tshirt and perfume plus food shopping 4 Ghan trip Then back to Unit 1, 4 Barossa st, Larrakeyah to chill ring Chris & Mum Thai meal Massaman chicken and 2 bed not too late after packing. Loved My NT rugby shirt, sweetheart the croc.photo of of ‘Tracy you bitch’ car a treat from cyclone experience in museum
Day 212 - Saturday 24th May 2008,The Ghan, Darwin to Tennant Creek via Katherine
White Cockatoos,Brummy bus driver in Katherine, 2 ozzie ladies in seats behind us on Ghan , Loved the Red North, long journey with very little sleep after a very early start.
Day 213 - Sunday 25th May 2008,The Ghan, Tennant Creek to Alice Springs
Moored up at Tenant Creek (John Flynn – 1st RFDS) from 1.30am to 6am Noone allowed out weird station no platform Neither of us slept that well in our Day/Nighter seats but gr8 trip Lots of red soil as we moved thru to Alice Springs by 11.15am 26c Caught shuttle to hotel had to wait 35mins to check in (not best pleased) but Uluru trip receipt had been faxed by Vaitor.Saw 5 red roos, 2 to keef, 3 to annie. Met 2 ladies behind us on red kangaroo (steerage class) cabin R seats r13-14 daughter in Esperance son in Darwin oh and Sid the Sloth He and his girlfriend slept (supposedly) all 27 hrs. Remember the Ghan, Annie slept for 2.5 hrs when we arrived at Aurora A-S hotel (v good with pool) deluxe room. Henley on Todd (boat race with a difference, no water so they have to carry them with their legs thru as though the River Todd had water in it which it does for very few occaisions a decade, let alone a year. Loved the the soil getting redder and redder as the Ghan travelled south.
Day 214 - Monday 26th May 2008,Alice Springs
Now been away 7 months,1st day on round Alice bus ticket. Telegraph station. Hot , Lovely views over Alice and trip round.
Day 215 - Tuesday 27th May 2008,Uluru/ Olgas trip from Alice Springs
Very long day 19hrs Got up 4.50am (having stayed up previous eve to see England thrash the Kiwis at cricket 2nd test) 1000k (625m) round trip. Just a very special day back in bed by 12.30am having washed our feet and red dust.Saw Mt Connor, Uluru & The Olgas, plus we did 3 walks.Met Brian the guide, pint sized ozzie who was v friendly but it was his first day guiding.Loved Uluru but really the whole day We had sparkling wine and a picnic as the sun went down over Uluru Really strange colours on the rocks.
Day 216 - Wednesday 28th May 2008,Alice Springs
Up late after long trip yesterday. Had brekkie (full English) at the Red Ochre Grill attached to our hotel, the Aurora, then showered, caught 2nd day on the Alice explorer out to the Old Ghan Museum (gr8 fun) then back into Alice and the Todd mall. Did Didgeridoo lesson booked tickets for evening show. Nice 3 course meal in restaurant Barramundi & Ginger, Steak/Fish&Chips, Pear & Apricot strudel & homemade ice-cream all for $38AD reach. The food at the hotel was very good value. Met Andrew Langford – Didge show, which we both saw and practised didge playing, fun but hard especially circular breathing. Sounds of Starlight Theatre.Plus no one in particular apart from drunk Aboriginal lady who wobbled into restaurant (sad) and security called the police.
Day 217 - Thursday 29th May 2008,Alice Springs to Adelaide
Up 8-ish Had gr8 cooked brekkie, then over to see Andrew and bought a Didge. Very pleased with it, made by aboriginal between Katherine & Darwin. Had it mailed home with free booklet. Then sent Craig note to say it was on its way Checked out of Hotel about 10.15 took longer cos I thought we had paid, we had not. Then shuttle bus ($34AD) to airport V nice airport Then flew to Adelaide Shuttle bus to Rockford. Not bad room although had to ask for 3 bits of maintenance Supposedly an upgrade and view of river Torrens, maybe!Annie took loads of gr8 piccies out of the plane of the Simpson & Mackay deserts and Lake Eyre.Met Andrew Didge man , plus yanks on shuttle bus to hotel in Adelaide who were very loud & opinionated. See SA for next day.
Lots of driving 2day, overcast and windy/cold initially but warmed up. Only about 16c Very desolate landscape with a few Roadhouses and abandoned dwellings but the rivers ran with water and a red hue The Indian pacific railway line kept us company most of the way 300+k in all we have done over 18k miles since being away X-ing the border was fun No fruit/veg bins as we had expected having frantically used everything from SA up we needn’t have bothered Camping in Broken Hill for 2 nights Interesting town Went to Woolies to get loads of stuff and Westpac in Argent St (Silver?) to get cash Had nice Pork Korma for tea.Very desolate flat landscape with hills on the horizon (Barrier Ranges) plus 4 emus and countless wild goats.Vastness of the scenery, just imagine it in 45+c (no thanks) v desolate landscape
Day 218 - Friday 30th May 2008,Adelaide
Up earlish, showered, cereal in room then onto Adelaide Explorer tourist trip at 10.30am in King William St City tour thru N, E, S & W terrace plus a bit further out. North A the best Lots of piccies incl Sir Don Bradman and Adelaide Oval. Then went out to coast at Glenelg Only had 20mins there time to see beach and grab a sarnie.Lots to enjoy,Adelaide is ‘older’ than Perth and free settler built We liked many of the older buildings and parks. 22c and sunny.Met Annoying ozzie from Canberra who never stopped talking or contradicting the poor lady driver. Remember Indian meal opposite Rockford, Hindley St. New place had south Indian tikka & real samosas starter, rice&lentil pancake filled with chicken & pots with clamer (veg curry sauce) and coconut sauce, mango ice-cream (homemade) all for £26 for both of us. Ace! We will be back
Day 219 - Saturday 31st May 2008,Adelaide
Up very late Then off to rooftop pool and sauna at Rockford Hotel Roof open and v sunny Had to use sunscreen spent about 3.5hrs getting nicely roasted Then showered and walked into Rundle Mall to get books and maps for rest of trip Plus a bottle of Wolfblass (Riesling) and stuff for Tea oh and had Nandos for lunch. Did lots of Chillin, met lady in Haigh’s choccie shop with gloves.Remember not much apart from the words ‘chillin and someones gotta do it’ ace read in eve and watched movie Elizabeth with Cate Blancett.
Day 220 - Sunday 1st June 2008, Adelaide
1st day of Winter and we spent most of it chillin by our Rooftop pool at the Rockford 23c and v sunny again Then went to Curry house opposite for a final meal.Meat Thali and Chicken Korma respectively A good new place Then back to pack and retire early.Loved the winter sun, met really friendly guy in Curry house who gave us free poppadums.Did Mums DVD video intro.
Day 221 - Monday 2nd June 2008,Adelaide to Tanunda
Checked out of hotel at 10 Caught taxi to Britz in Don Brad drive and paid for and picked up our home for the next 105 nights A Britz Elite Much better bed and driving than the other one but not so much storage or room Drove out to Elizabeth, odd as first manual in about 5 months. Did shopping in mall (Woolies) and got cash out of Westpac ATM oh and had lunch in food hall Then drove onto Barossa Valley had a look around bit of tasting and then bought gr8 bottle of Gramp’s (name of JC first Lutheran owner) Shiraz Up market wine price not too bad at $17AD Best wine we have had yet Stayed at Tanunda Family parks site.Jacobs Creek and Grant Burge Wines (5th gen).Barossa valley and the bottle of Gramp’s.
Day 222 - Tuesday 3rd June 2008,Tanunda to Clare
Left site at 10.30 Issue with hose, alas had to nick an attachment than someone had kindly left around. Drove into Tanunda, nice town, posted DVD to Mum. Did some shopping for pillows and a table lamp Then off to Mengler Hill lookout, superb views across the Valley Drove round most of Barossa then onto Clare arriving just at dusk many Riesling vineyards in Clare valley (all Lutheran).Lots of vineyards including Barossa Valley estate, Penfolds, Seppeltsfield Rd, Seppelts, Wolf Blass (alas Rockford & Bethany which were recommended to us just too expensive at $45+AD).met Wolf himself, touched me on the shoulder and talked to me, I shall never wash my shirt again.Bought 3 bottles.1.5 JC Shiraz reserve , JC Riesling and Penfolds Koonunga Hills, Drank 2 and had steak, hic!
Day 223 - Wednesday 4th June 2008,Clare to Quorn
Left about 10.30am Bit of a rush again Filled up with diesel and got some milk. Diesel only $35AD for ¼ tank, Better than the other Campervan Then drove off thru many little townships, mostly farming, including Gladstone, Laura (home of the sentimental blokebought pie and apricot slice from home of North Ice-cream) , Mt Remarkables Nat park, Goyder’s line, Horrocks pass, South Flinders range, semi arid lands up near Pt Augusta on A1, Old Ghan railway then Quorn for the night Annie did some more washing.Had to wait for 2k goods train in foothills of Flinders Range. 3 Roos on campsite, numerous Galahs and Rosella’s oh and gr8 sunset. Met Bronwyn at the campsite who told us about Quandong pie (we will try 2moro). Flinders range ace! remember the run down house at Gladstone and the sunsets at Quorn
Day 224 - Thursday 5th June 2008,Quorn to Hawker
Been in Oz 2 months 2day! Up about 8.30 Had full English left about 10.45am Had a good look around Quorn V interesting little place Bought Quangdong pies from café and some cobs for lunch Then started in drizzle driving to Wilpena Pound Alas heavens opened , very wet Mud desert rivers run so decided to stop at Hawker Big 4 campsite Hub of the Flinders Did laptop, read, cooked and chilled.Rain and lots of it for us we have been very lucky This is only our 2nd days rain in Oz We had about 4 ½ in NZ. Met campsite owners who had only moved in from Brisbane 4 weeks earlier.Remember rain and roads awash, semi arid desert, quangdong pie and bush melons.
Day 225 - Friday 6th June 2008,Flinders Ranges
Lovely day in the national park and Wilpena pound, saw loads of wildlife, 20+ emus, 50+ roos, 2 wedge tail eagles and numerous other birds, up early bought petrol in Hawker weather improved throughout the day and positively hot and sunny by late afternoon, i.e the clouds cleared off the ranges Drove from Hawker to Wilpena pound 57k stopping at every lookout on route Annie drove back to Hawker then I drove to Peterborough where we camped for the night Nice campsite Very windy at night though and thus cold. Saw the magnificent Flinders Ranges Nat Park.Lots of roos, many ozzies who didn’t pay the A$7.50 to go in the park, we did so felt smug but ripped off, still for what we saw it was well worth it.Loved The wildlife and the views
Day 227 - Sunday 8th June 2008,Broken Hill & Silverton
Pissed with rain all day! (can i say that here, YES, just have!) Got up late showered and had cooked brekkie Then we went off to Silverton – Ghost town about 25k from Broken Hill Cos of the rain some of the ditches were starting to flood .Luckily although red dirt on road still easily passable Visited Museum, saw Mad Max landscape Then came back to BH did bit of Tourist route Up Pat Keenan’s lookout Tourist Info then off to Silver City Cinema to see new Indiana Jones movie (v good) and back for Corned Beef hash and check on roads for 2moro.Saw wild camels. Met most unhelpful lady in Tourist Info.Silverton was gr8 as was its Museum.
Day 228 - Monday 9th June 2008,Broken Hill to Mildura (Victoria)
Left in heavy rain after sorting out camp loo (ugh!) Drove part of Tourist Route (TR) round Broken Hill Took some piccies Then shared driving along Silver City Highway 300k to Mildura just across the Victorian Border via Wentworth Nice campsite for 2 days Apex family park Booked Melbourne paddle steamer trip on Murray river $50AD.Saw 3 emus, 2 roos, 2 wedge tailed eagles, countless wild goats & 2 swagmen one on a bike (with dog in pannier), one on foot Both had cowboy hats, boots and one was carrying a saddle as well as his swag (sleeping bag). Junction of Murray & Darling rivers at Wentworth (which was a nice town).It pissed down most of the way and was 16c. Had Mainland creamy blue cheese & bikkies, fruit juice, apples and old gold roasted almond dark choc 4 lunch in a Outback lay by, deserted. See day 229 under Victoria next.
3rd stay Day 253-273, See Queensland for 273
Day 229 - Tuesday 10th June 2008, Mildura, Paddle steamer trip on the Murray
GUp late, had cooked brekkie, went on the PS Melbourne paddle steamer thru Lock 11 on the Murray up past our campsite, v relaxed and pleasant journey in nice sunny weather 16c,Saw lots of the Murray river.Met Captain of boat, brief chat. Loved the whole boat journey We almost missed it It was just leaving the dock and we had to step on over the ropes $50AD.
Day 230 - Wednesday 11th June 2008, Mildura
Up late again (naughty campers!) Very sunny 17c, went into town Had a good walk around up Deakin (the main street), pie in Hukey’s then ice cream sundae whilst sitting outside in the sidewalk chairs. Then drove around tourist route and saw the various new expanding housing estates. Visited camp shop for 2nd time, had to get curtain things (from Spotlight) then cap for water that had (we assume) fallen off somewhere between Broken Hill and Mildura. Then returned to site new plot overlooking river for T (chicken Satay and rice).Visited the town. Met Odd couple from Adelaide in Millard caravan who tried at least 4 sites she with a toaster to check electrics (weird) the plug attachment is different.Mildura we liked, and the olmpic sized swimming pool, which we didn't have time to go in alas.
Final Stay Day 231-240 in South Australia
Day 231 - Thursday 12th June 2008, Mildura (Vic) to Murraybridge (SA)
Up early, showered breakfasted and on the way by 10am Posted Mums card in Mildura on route Then across the border via Yamba (fruit fly inspection for fruit and veges), Paringa, Renmark (went for a walk and inside Tourist info site, watched film on 1956 Murray flood 38’ 1“), Berri, Karoonda and into Murraybridge where we are staying at Long island caravan park by the marina. Weather gr8 to start, sunny and hot, raining by the time we arrived. Was in shorts all day but still warm.Both reading books fast, soon with have finished the 3 extra we got in Adelaide.No one really unless you count the lady who came onboard to check our fridge at the border x-ing and the 3 Indian guys at Renmark lookout who were trimming the vines. Remember the Pelican at Renmark
Day 232 - Friday 13th June 2008,Murraybridge to Aldinga Beach via McLaren Vale
Went on M1 towards Adelaide, then to Hahndorf (odd twee German tourist place, but with gr8 houses) , Mt Barker , Adelaide Hills (could be the peak district with Littlehampton and Macclesfield) then into wonderful McLaren Vale and onto camp at Aldinga Beach. We tasted.d’Arenburg lovegrass/ laughing magpie.chapel hill; mclaren vale shiraz 06, the vicar06 and 18 year old port bought 1 d’arenburg and 2 chapel hill, 1 mvshiraz 06 and port oh plus we saw the rosemount estate, met Brit who ran campsite, real Londoner part of balmy army (cricket supporters). As I spoke London he gave us the prime site. Remember Shiraz plus lovely country views, booked kangaroo island trip to take campervan over 3 days £365 including 10% discount.
Day 233 - Saturday 14th June 2008,Aldinga Beach to Cape Jervis, Fleurieu Peninsula
Got up reasonable time, had shower, breakfast , did campervan ‘essentials’ and left site. V sunny / drizzly so a gr8 rainbow The whole day was a bit like that Got burnt whilst having coffee & banana muffins on bench outside at Normanville Beach (Annie fed sparrows) then wet when driving 10 mins later.Saw Aldinga beach with rock sand dunes (did a little walk, the climb back up was steep), S? beach were we drove around the smart 2nd holiday homes, Normanville, Second Valley, Cape Jervis (diesel real steep here1.90 , worst 1.93 (Hawker), best 1.71 (Paringa)) Saw 4 roos and white cockatoos at Cape Jervis plus our ferry. As we had already booked our Kangaroo Island trip rang the 2 campsites to ensure we get in. They said now empty as winter Found we gotta jettison all potatoes (quarantine) rang Craig in eve to tell him about David’s visit to 143. Loved wonderful, lush and undulating Fleurieu peninsula
Day 234 - Sunday 15th June 2008,Kangaroo Island
Travelled by 9am ferry over to Penneshaw Kangaroo Island (KI) Smooth as anything and sunny had to reverse campervan up ramp and into hold which wasn’t easy Channel 9 making Postcard travelogue on the boat Arrived and had a look around Penneshaw then American river, Kingscote (Reeves point), Emu Bay, Seal Bay, Visconne Bay and stopped at Western KI caravan site for 2 days, nice site,had a chat with ferry guy who said that ferrying was his winter job and he was a fisherman normally.Loved the Koala walk.Diary continued
Day 235 - Monday 16th June 2008,Kangaroo Island
Stayed most of the day at Western KI caravan site Had cooked brekkie V sunny Then watched Cuddles (our personal friendly Koala) who shinned up a tree outside our campervan and was there most of the day, admittedly after his 4 course eucalypt dinner, asleep! Afternoon / Evening went into Flinders Chase Nat park ($16AD) and saw Remarkable rocks and Admiralty Arch and lots of burnt bush, reasonable sunset. Saw Cuddles, met couple at Remarkable rocks for piccie taking swapping, him from Perth, her US.
Day 236 - Tuesday 17th June 2008,Kangaroo Island
Up early, another sunny day although v windy Had one last walk around the Koala walk in the park and saw 4 more Koalas Then drove down to visitors center in Flinders Chase Nat Park and then on round Western Hwy thru Paradana into Kingscote for lunch at the Ozone hotel.Saw a few things, burnt trees, dead echidna, wallabies, koalas, seed pods, met Chef at hotel and other simpering apologists! Worse Fish & Chips ever!!!! Asked for them to redo they did but still no better hake (ugh!) they offered us complimentary meal but we walked out
Day 237 - Wednesday 18th June 2008,Kangaroo Island to Victor Harbor
Stayed at Brownlea Caravan Park outside Kingscote. $25AD Up late had breakkie mossied around a bit and then left about 11.30 Just started to rain Drove about 45k to Penneshaw and set up camp overlooking Hogs bay for the 2hr wait for the Ferry. Had lunch and read after a little walk around reversed back onto Ferry Much better this time and had a somewhat bumpier crossing as rained the whole time Got off and drove onto Victor Harbor (a city – much bigger than we expected) 12000 people Stayed at family park £25AD. Saw sheep truck next to our van Alas we had left the window open so some nice smells on getting back to mainland. Met a whole lot of sheep,note Harbor mispelt as that’s the way the original oz official spelt it (oh dear!).
Day 238 - Thursday 19th June 2008,Victor Harbor (VH) to Milang (Lake Alexandrina) via Middleton & Goolwa
Left VH campsite at 10.30 Went to Bank and Telstra shop in town as well as Tourist Info site.Saw Victor Harbor, Granite Island including Horse drawn tram (Thomas& Carmel were the horses that drove us.Thomas@horsedrawntram.au.com etc), Port Eliot, Middleton (and kite surfers) Goolwa (and steam engine brewery, bought 6 assorted beers) and round Murray river termination in Lake Alexandrina to Milang where we stayed in the Oz parks caravan park on the shore ($19AD).Nice lady in iSite VH who had been to England Told us the 2 whales (southern right) we had seen in Backstairs passage between KI and Cape Jervis was in VH y’day (damn).Windy walk on cliffs at Granite island
Day 239 - Friday 20th June 2008,Milang to Mt Gambier via Princes & Southport Hwys
A day spent chasing rainbows, much sun and much rain but quite chilly. Left Milang, Annie drove 270+k, Keef 180+k so a long days drive, indeed further than we expected. Drove via Langhorne Creek, ferry at Wellington, Meningie, Policemans point, salt creek, Kingston SE, Robe, Beachport, Millicent and into Mt Gambier. Staying at Central Caravan park, run by Scots lady $22AD, saw lots of Road. Larry the Lobster @ Kingston SE (Naff caff), Old wine growing area (v thick stems) and Younghusband peninsula sand dunes/bank and lakes Lots of Chinese in coolie hats trimming grapevines plus Asian lady at beach port selling artic trout by the edge of the road.Met poor couple in caravan site next to us who like us couldn’t find the office had their plot 33 nicked and then got drenched setting up, we were inside looking on.Mac’s Fish & Chips @ Robe, flake in corn batter Ate them by the beach yummy Finished On Chesil beach audiobook on iPod, rubbish but made us both chuckle at how pompous Ian McEwan is. Took vey few photos but mostly of ferry crossing on Murray at Wellington.
Day 240 - Saturday 21st June 2008, Mount Gambier (SA) to Ararat (Vic)
V sunny when we got up about 15c Left town center caravan park and went up to Dormant volcano crater lakes (valley, leg of mutton (dry), and blue) drove around them all then Annie found a strange tree fruit (need look it up but similar to one on savaii) then drove out and over the border into Victoria.Met Scotch lady who ran the Mt Gambier Central site, been here for 30 years. Loved the lakes @ mount gambier.
Stay 3 Day 240-253
Day 240 - Saturday 21st June 2008,Mt Gambier (SA) to Ararat (Vic)
Then drove out and over the border into Victoria thru Casterton (diesel $1.90AD, expensive, lucky to get as closing sat lunchtime), Hamilton (shopping in Safeways $100AD, which is a subsidiary of Woolies), and whilst getting dark (time change to AET) thru Dunkeld, Glenthompson (NOTE everything is Scottish here in Grampians) , Willaura and into Ararat in the dark (Gold town) vaguely near Ballarat Stayed at Family park (nice) £22AD. Saw Grampians in the distance and some old interesting towns. Met . 3 old ladies (knitting bobble hats) at Casterton Tourist info Nice lady gave us both a stick pin (mine map of oz, Annie a roo). Lunch at 4pm (naughty)
Day 241 - Sunday 22nd June 2008,Ararat, Victoria
Mixed day weather wise, sunny & cold & drizzly Did washing then went off to explore the town Got back at dusk Nice day.Saw J ward in Ararat goal, notorious! , Views of Grampians, Ararat & Pyrenees from One Tree Hill plus Gum San (tribute to Chinese miners who founded Ararat).Great guide for J ward (Keith) who we chatted to for ages, even showed us names register to ensure none of our relies had been in J ward (Lowlights guy who was 108 and had been institutionalized for over 60 years – William Wallace, plus 2 other ‘celebrated’ cases Joey Clancy, in from 13 and guy who was a self harmer and managed to kill himself with a biro (ugh!) all v depressing), met nice ladies in Gum San.Loved views from one tree hill.
Day 242 - Monday 23rd June 2008,Ararat to Port Fairy via the Grampians Nat park
Cold but mostly sunny day, approx 14c Filled up with diesel at Ararat and drove on tourist route thru Moyston to Halls gap (v touristy) then Mount Victory road steep and windy then back to Halls gap, onto Aboriginal center and thru the Nat park back to Dunkeld, Penshurst (past Chatsworth) and down v farming C-road to A1 (Princes Hwy) and Port Fairy where we are camping at a Family park , swish loos, $28AD but lots of mossies Gr8 day view wise .Boroka Lookout, Reed Lookout, walk to the Balconies, Mackenzie falls (although we chickened out after so much walking already) and went to see the nearer Broken Falls All ace views. Met lady at Port Fairy campsite who had been to Nottingham forest in 1987. Japanese at all lookouts (jumping photos) Couple from Ararat campsite who seem to follow us thru the park (left their caravan behind in Ararat). Remember wonderful views in the Grampians, trying Tawny port from Chapel Hill winery with Mexican meal in eve
Day 243 - Tuesday 24th June 2008,Port Fairy to Warrnambool
Raining in the morning (and most of the night) Went into town did some 2nd hand book browsing bought 3 then shopping in IGA and bought 2 bulbs from backstreet mechanic for campervan Then off to explore Port Fairy Quaint old shipping harbour Managed a good walk along old wharf in sunshine Then out to Griffiths island causeway and south beach Raining again Then we headed off to Warrnambool TI site plus booked into Flagstaff hill (light & sound show in eve) $51AD similar to Sovereign Hill show at Ballarat 13 years earlier only much much better laser show projected on water wall and story about Loch Ard shipwreck rather than gold mining. Nice evening Walked up hill from campsite. Campsite cost nothing as owners not there. Would have been $A27 which is expensive. Show plus drove out to Logan Beach whale nursery but pissing down so turned around and went back and had a look at old wharf before checking into campsite. Saw 2 bicyclists who were in a tent, poor souls! Met then again at Port Campbell.Too much Chapel Hill port sent us to sleep early!
Day 244 - Wednesday 25th June 2008,Warrnambool to 12 Apostles and back to Port Campbell
Gr8 day, Gr8 Ocean road, in our humble opinion one of the world sights! Very sunny but windy Went to Logan Beach whale nursery, saw mother southern right whale and her calf (spectacular) alas camera not really good enough but binoculars were. Serious waves for surfers. Then bank in town and off to the Great Ocean Raod (GOR) Warranambool was where Doug had to go into hospital for tetanus injections all those years ago (13) Then Hopkins (Doug) falls , Bay of Islands (pboro) , Cove bay east, Bay of Martyrs, the grotto, the arch, Port Campbell, Loch Ard gorge, 12 apostles..HOORAY!!! and gr8 sunshine.The best views ever! GOR!!!!! especially the 12 Apostles saw way more this time than we did in 1995 but it is now much more built up.
Day 245 - Thursday 26th June 2008,Great Ocean Road
Been away 8 months 2day! Up early-ish really bad night with wind and rain rocking the campervan Severe weather warning Did cooked brekkie plus all the van things and we left the site at Port Campbell by about 11 Drove back to Loch Ard gorge area Did 3 new viewings then back to 12 Apostles then Melba gully (couldn’t go, dirt road) Laver Hill (motel we stayed in 12 years ago), Apollo bay and Kennett River where Annie saw Koalas,Loch Ard wreck point, Blowhole, Thunder Cave and a whole lot more! The GR8 Ocean Rd is SUPERB!!!Saw lots of Japanese tourists doing stupid things especially the guy who lost his hat at end of 12 Apostles viewing spot and leapt over the fence to retrieve (mad!) whilst his pals took piccies of him Oh and coach driver who almost hit us after drifting across the middle line Too many Aussies drive on that line! Wind and rain at 12 apostles we got drowned! 5 Koalas in Otway Nat park (park behind Kennett River campsite)
Day 246 - Friday 27th June 2008,Great Ocean Road
Kennett River. Spent about an hour walking around the campsite ‘spotting’ the wildlife 4 Koalas & many birds Ace time (see the extensive piccies which tell the tale) then on down the GOR. So wonderful we had to keep stopping. Pattons & Mt Defiance lookout etc Lorne saw cockatoos, Fairhaven the sign for GOR (built by WW1 vets) then lunch at Torquay after looking in on Bells Beach (no surf) Then lighthouse at Aireys inlet then thru Geelong (Kiaranda Park, go Cats go!(ozzie rules footie team champs)) and up to Macedon, where we camped in family park ($25AD) with budgies in cage We were more or less the only folk there and cold as in Mountain ranges.Old car (RR?) just happen to go under the GOR sign as we arrived oh plus wonderful views down this stretch of the GOR, Met oOnly lady in campsite from Swan Hill whose husband was from Port Campbell
Day 247 - Saturday 28th June 2008,Hanging Rock
Left Macedon campsite about 11 Cold at night!!! Drove thru Woodend to Hanging Rock (Mt Diomedes) Climbed to the summit Took 1 ½ hours return Gr8 views Keef in real pain on return left knee Had to create a walking stick out of eucalypt branch to aid descent On reflection grade 3 strenuous not wise to do again! Then drove onto Bendigo (ok) and visited Mitchelton vineyard at Nagambie Lakes Gr8 lookout tower and art collection Print labels from artwork Bought 3 (2 Preece & 1 Mitchelton reds) Stayed at new Nagambie Lakes campsite (showers best yet).Met Essex boy manager at Nagambie lakes campsite who let us stay for free (saved $30AD) cos Annie mentioned Stanford le Hope (he came from Southend in 1981).Tried to buy a copy of Picnic at Hanging Rock but they had run out. Our i/net research showed the last missing chapter has some rubbish ending about extra-terrestrials and them getting stuck in rock cave , twaddle good job editor took it out!
Day 248 - Sunday 29th June 2008,Nagambie Lakes to Melbourne
Short day went into Nagambie bought lots of fruit and eggs , gr8 value $5.30 then drove down to Melbourne took just over 1 hour via Seymour where we stayed 13 years ago, think we recognized the Motel Got into Big 4 campsite in Coberg after visiting Lalor (between Epping & Thomstown in the City of Whittesea) Arrived at campsite about 3-ish. Did washing Had tea Watched really odd 1960 DVD with James Brolin in it set in Capetown (Haha), saw Lalor and 18 Derrick St where Keef lived as a kid
Day 249 - Monday 30th June 2008,Melbourne
A wonderful day out in Melbourne The place has really come on in 13 years walked 15 mins Picked up West Preston to St Kilda tram (112) into Collins St in the city used the free City loop tram and trams 70/48 to get around Got back to campsite at about 9pm.Saw Greek quarter, Flinders St station, Federation sq, Yarra river, MCG, Immigration Museum (in old custom house) & new docklands area.2 meals out, Greek at lunch in Tsindos (yummy) and Moroccan at MeccaBah on New Quay Docklands the eve Annie had a Monkey Business cocktail. Weather not gr8 cold and windy with a few spots of rain.
Day 250 - Tuesday 1st July 2008,Melbourne to Mornington
Late up, showered and left by about 11 Very stressful days driving thru Melbourne, Alas our map not quite good enough V sunny initially which gave way to some (limited) drizzle getting cold 13c made it 2 St Kilda after 2 false starts Then onto Elwood and saw where Keef used to live walked down Pine ave to shops bought some lunch from bakers delight (nice) then saw beach, high waves Then drove down coast.Baumaris etc etc Nepalean way (Highway 3) to Frankston and Mornington Did shopping in City of Frankston at Seaford. Got cash from Westpac bank machine in Mornington Saw beach Had 2 Apricot Danishes. Then back to Frankton to get 2 bits of foam Stayed at Mornington campsite $28. Saw the wild coast. Ladies in Mattress shop (v helpful) Lady at Rubber & Foam shop (ripped us off 50c, joke!). STRESS can become a 4 letter word when u are driving thru Melbourne. Trams are an added distraction trust us, we know , Saw Keef’s old house
Day 251 - Wednesday 2nd July 2008,Mornington to Sale via Gippy Hwy & 90 Mile Beach
Left by 10.20, Keef had to do the yuccy loo changing job how I’ll miss that NOT! Went into Mornington to post Mums postcard, got some more fuel ($180.5 cheapest yet!) and then traveled on thru Tabbah, Leonortha, Yaccam, Woodside, Stokeside down to Seaspray on 90 Mile Beach, then Golden beach, Paradise beach , Longford into Sale. Fairly long days drive. Annie did the long bit between L & end of 90 Mile Beach. Mixed weather sun and very strong wind & rain gales max 14c had lunch at Woodside Joined Top Tourist campsites at Sale $25 (just like Family parks) we are now members of 3 chains Note the South Gipplands Highway is shortened (as everything is) by the ozzies to Gippy Hwy (and on the signs). Saw 90 Mile Beach plus saw 2 huge sea eagles, one of which alas had a baby lamb in its grasp! Met hippy couple in camp kitchen at Sale. Bald gardener with shorts, moustache and boots/sox combo at Mornington site.Enjoyed 90 Mile Beach – is a little cold & windy (Antarctic cold)
Day 252 - Thursday 3rd July 2008,Sale to Mallacoota
Big days drive thru very varied scenery 320k. Saw port of Sale, got petrol then went via Bairnsdale, Stratford-u-Avon, Lakes Entrance(LE), Orbost (and the Snowy River) Cann River (more petrol) then thru the Croajingolong Nat park to Mallacoota where we camped at the Swampgully caravan park (family park $20 with discount) Cold and windy day 13c some sun, saw Port of Sale, Wood carvings @ Lake Entrance Marine parade, Pelicans, gr8 views from LE lookout before the town, Orbost wooden hut.Gr8 fish and chip lunch (our fave Flake) at Lakes Entrance the town of which is quite touristy, loved pelicans (lots) @ LE
Day 253 - Friday 4th July 2008,Mallacoota (Vic)to Tathra (NSW)
INDEPENDENCE DAY!!! Brilliant day Weather superb and warm 17c plus oh what wonderful views in Victoria’s Wilderness parks – Mallacoota & Gipsy Point (M & GP) were lovely. So peaceful,so scenerific, so lucky we are! Roos chillin' on the grass. Got up early braved the cold shower (10mins to get water to run hot!!!) then had cooked brekkie whilst watching a Kookaburra near our van Then to M & GP then back thru Genoa and on over the border into NSW We have left Victoria for the last time.
Day 253 - Friday 4th July 2008,Mallacoota (Victoria) to Tathra (NSW)
We have left Victoria for the last time had lunch at Eden beach (alas scene of recent dad who killed himself and kids, there have been a few whilst we have been here! Sad!) then on via the Sapphire Coast Highway thru Merimbula (shopping in Woolies & port/ beer from Bottle shop) into Tathra. Staying in family park $28 am right on the beach went for a late walk after Annie had done the laundry (cheapest machines yet $2 a wash!).Met Guy in woolies who was v friendly and chatty, looking fwd to his weekend off. Memorable Sun & Scenery.
Day 254 - Saturday 5th July 2008,Tathra 2 Batemans Bay
Up showered, breakfasted and gone by 10.30am Saw Tathra old wharf, walked thru memorial gardens (dead golfers) watched dolphins from T,Head lookout point whilst chatting to Irene & Liz. Drove on thru Sapphire coast scenic routes to Bermagui, Tilba, Central Tilba, Camel Rock, Mystery Bay into Batemans point (which is v touristy) Staying on Top Tourist site Cost $26 Not the gr8-est site too cramped weather good again for 2nd day 18c.5 gallahs (pink & grey parrots), 1 roo, heard bell birds (clear as a doorbell), dolphins and may have seen a platypus plus scenery, bank of red wildflowers.Met Irene (Canadian from Montreal who met and married her ozzie husband , nurse, in Scotland and lived in Aberdeen, which she loved) and Liz (born in Bradford) Both residence of Tathra. Nice ladies, younger than us Chatted with them for over and hour whilst we watched the Dolphins playing in the bay.Remember Dolphins in Tathra bay, weather
Day 255 - Sunday 6th July 2008,Bateman’s Bay(BB) to Shoalhaven Heads
Up 9-ish very sunny again hit 19c 2day left site at about 10.30am BB is big drove thru the various beaches stopped for a walk thru the reserve onto Surfside, almost completely deserted. Then on thru tourist route 4 as listed below eventually joining the Grand pacific drive at Nowra and staying at Shoalhaven Heads campsite Top Tourist expensive $29 plus 20c coins for 3mins shower , 1st such in Oz bad news.Surfside beach BB, Basin View, St Georges Basin, Sanctuary Point, Jervis Bay Nat Park, Hyams beach (gr8) and Bouderee Nat park (although at $10 to travel 5k down gravel roads we declined and went to the visitors center instead). Met guy with blue ute opposite who had occupied our camping slot when we arrived (bad news!) quite pleasant worked out of Goulburn as a lorry driver delivering fridges. Annie and I reckoned he was at the campsite with his piece of fluff (well mutton dressed as scrag-end).So hot Keef back in shorts and Tshirt. Annie in skirt Pelicans and 2 brightly coloured Rosellas. Squeaky sand at Hyams Beach, officially one of the whitest sand beaches in the world. Just loved the oh-so-wonderful Hyams Beach in Jervis bay Nat park.
Day 256 - Monday 7th July 2008,Grand Pacific Drive (GPD)
Shoalhaven heads, Seven Mile Beach, Gerroa, Gerrigong, Werri Beach, Kiama & Blowhole (weak on the day as not big swell in sea or blowy) Shellharbour, Port Kembla yuckindustrial, steelworks etc) Wollongong (fairly big) Lunch at Bellambi, Bulli, Sea Cliff Bridge, Coalcliff, Bald Hill lookout, Otford lookoutthen into Sydney thru Royal National Park Couldn’t find a campsite, looked in Cronulla (southern suburbs) so stayed in motel at Sutherland. Nice to watch mindless TV (US cop junk!)CSI Mon thru Fri! Saw lots, although spectacular in places the GPD is no where near as good as the GOR, met guy swimming in outdoor pool at Shellharbour who wanted to take our piccie, cold or what. Brewery in Woolongong that couldn’t sell me bottles of ale as didn’t have a license, how bad is that. In the end didn’t get any as had to go to drive thru bottle shop.
Day 257 - Tuesday 8th July 2008,Botany Bay & Blue Mountains, Camped at Katoomba
Up and out from out Motel by 10 despite Asian cleaner knocking at 8.30 & 9.30 She got a cheery P**S O** from us. Then drove down to Botany Bay at Kurnell which is where James Cook first landed. V interesting. Then back out thru paradise ave and kingsway to Princes Hwy and Highway 6 (Heathcote rd) towards Penrith. Almost stuck with toll freeway M75 where only e-tags accepted i.e no cash Then thru Campbelltown to Penrith filled with fuel Now takes about $50 for ½ a tank. On M4 to Katoomba after nice lunch in Silver Spur (Steak chain) on outskirts of Penrith went to Echo point, great views of 3 Sisters, Jamison Valley, Solitary Mt, Orphan Rock, Katoomba falls and a few Cockatoos last 4 from Reids Plateau which was opposite our campsite Walked up there late in the eve. Saw lots but the oh so wonderful Blue Mts. Sunny in Sydney, v cold at Blue Mts 4c at 7pm and biting winds. Met Ozzie couple with 2 daughters who took our piccie at Reids plateau, Blue Mts.Some real angry unfounded grief from 2 aussie drivers cos I was doing the speed limit on single lane and they couldn’t get past (didn’t really understand what else I could do) apart from accept them as arrogant b’stards.
Day 258 - Wednesday 9th July 2008,Katoomba to Lithgow taking in Blue Mtns & Jenolan Caves
Real cold night Left by 10 sunny so went over the road to see 3 Sisters, Orphan etc in sunlight What a difference from y’day then onto Blackheath and a different view of the Blue Mtns from first Evans Lookout then Govetts Leap Lookout, then on thru Mt Victoria (high), Hartley, Hampton and Jenolan Caves Got out about 4.30 and drove to Lithgow where we camped ($25) Started about 10c ended about 1c we need head north quick.3 gr8 views of the Blue Mts from Katoomba falls, Evans lookout & Govetts leap lookout. Plus Bridal Veil falls and the Pulpit then Imperial Cave tour ($40 with discount) at Jenolan Caves Parked alas in 3rd car park so 30min walk down (steep) luckily got a lift back up as Keef’s knee hurting by then (even after taking pain killers).Met guide for cave drop at Jenolan who gave us a lift back up at the end of the day. Amazing SNOW in Oz as we drove back up from Jenolan caves about 4.30pm The guy at the caves said Katoomba had had 2cms and in Lithgow campsite the lady said they had had some in the morning
Day 259 - Thursday 10th July 2008,Lithgow 2 Narabeen, Sydney North Shore & FRENCHS FOREST
Left by 11 after kerfuffle with gas cylinder Got petrol, asked to pay for 2 lots I said no Very cold again overnight (poss 2c) way better by the time we got to Sydney Long drive thru suburbs Not too bad apart from once getting lost on Pennant Hills Rd (HW7) After Lithgow, Bell, Mt Tomah (gr8 scenery thru Gr8 dividing range) Bells Line of Rd, Kurrajong Heights (gr8 long distance view of Sydney CBD) and Wollemi Nat Park then Richmond, Windsor (now suburbs of Sydney in our opinion) into Baulkham Hills shire then Chatswood, FF , Dee Why, Colloroy and camped at Big 4 Narabeen lakes campsite (20% discount winter, normally $45, expensive but good) May stay here when we come back to Sydney at the end. Saw about 150 km of gr8 scenery and fruit trees, apple pie a speciality, plus where Annie used to live and work. Met guy at Lithgow campsite who sorted out the gas container, $10 for ½ tank. Nice lady from Tassie (Cygnet) at Sydney campsite. Loved taking Annie back to where she lived and went to school for 4 years-ish in French’s Forest. Fish & Chips at Dee Why beach. Pics of Myers (ex Grace Bros, 49-51 Albert St, Chatswood) 148 FF Rd West and High School.
Day 260 - Friday 11th July 2008,Sydney Narabeen Lakes to Anna Bay Port Stephens
Left by 10 Did dump station (luvly NOT!) the to Pittwater/ Palm Beach/ Whale Beach (superb) drove back thru Sydney suberbs to Pymble (not 2 bad) then up Hwy1 to Nat Hwy 1 and lots of motorway (or equivalent ) Got off at Gosford (nice harbour) where we filled up with petrol and ate at our 1st Red Rooster (not bad) Drove around Tuggerah lakes inlet, the entrance, Norah head etc Really really nice, saw lots and met lots of Pelicans being fed at the Entrance Oh and some gr8 houses at both Palm Beach and Norah Head. Remember DVD from campsite that was reg 4 so couldn’t watch on laptop, watched laughably bad early 70s Leslie Nielsen movie instead (Power Kill).
Day 261 - Saturday 12th July 2008,Port Stephens peninsular
Had a cooked brekkie went to see Nelson Bay , Anna Bay and Stockton sandunes (Port Stephens area , gr8) then lots of driving up Pacific Hwy via Taree to Edgewater Holiday park ($24) in Port Macquarie where we stayed the night.Saw lots of motorway.Met a guy who ran out of fuel in front of us in Taree ‘almost made it to the servo’ Horrid Russian at Top Tourist park in Port Macquarie who off handedly said she had no slots. F1 powerboat championship in town this w/end. Remember getting hot, 20c Had picnic lunch in lay by on Hwy1. Loved Anna bay.
Day 262 - Sunday 13th July 2008,Port Macquarie
Brilliant warm sunny day,we are supposedly now in spring About 21c Spent another night in PM Gr8 place left campsite at about 10.20am Went along to the Koala Hospital. Saw cuddlies, Beaches and tropical plants plus 2 rabbits outside our van at Top Tourist site ($26).Met ex Airline pilot who worked as a volunteer at the Koala Hospital Most informative V sad stories about Billy, Birthday girl and a few other Koalas. Remember Beaches of Port Macquarie (7 of them) plus getting table and chairs out for 1st time in 6 weeks. Sat outside and on Flynn beach. Even got some minor sunburn.
Day 263 - Monday 14th July 2008,Port Macquarie 2 Kempsey
Left site at 9.45 am and drove off up Oxley Hwy to Billabong wildlife park Ace place Initially sunny then cold then sunny then rain, weird day After lunch in town shopped at Coles on the outskirts then drove to Kempsey (45k) and stayed in not so gr8 site (K Tourist Village) $25 Limited T as still full from lunch.See the many piccies but it was a gr8 wildlife day Oz has so many unique and interesting animals. Remember all the animals but especially the baby joey and Clancy oh and a huge lunch in town in the pancake house
Day 264 - Tuesday 15th July 2008,Kempsey to South West Rocks via Tourist route 12
Very relaxing day. Tried recording kookaburra vocals at Kempsey Tourist Village camp site but they would not oblige. Left site at 10.30am went 5km up Pacific Hwy 1 to Fredericton (Fredo) and bought some of their world famous (?) pies, v good Had Buffalo, Beef & Burgundy, Chicken-Chilli-Honey, and 2 lemon meringue pies They also do emu,croc, roo etc may call in again on way back v good then returned to outskirts of Kempsey to get tourist route 12 to Crescent head the longest right hand break in the world, ideal for Malibu longboardssee surfer dudes that we are. Spent quite a few hours here paddling and chillin on the beach Really hot morning 23c with winds developing afternoon. Left here about 4pm and drove alongside river to Southwest rocks where we are staying for 2 days in Top Tourist park overlooking the McLeay River, fish jumping everywhere. Saw Gr8 surf beach, good waves, nice scenery alongside river drive. Loved Ozzie pie fanatics at Fredo’s pies oh and 2 Marilyn Munroes. Met Clancy, Stu the park guide, Eddy the dingo. Remember "Matthew tonight I will be.." plus sent next Newsletter to everyone Belvoir tried to closed down the case. Not having it!
Day 265 - Wednesday 16th July 2008,South West Rocks
Spent all day at the campsite (TT) relaxing reading and doing washing Initially sat out after cooked brekkie but then found it too cold so came in. Tried to get a DVD but region 4 did spaghetti & beef mince sauce for T with our favourite Mainland Creamy Blue & Tawny Port.Saw the river and @ sunset.Met no one apart from all the fisherman at the site. Reading ah what a luxury Annie did email to Brian & Gina BLOODY HELL Insel Fehman hotel in Samoa have billed us thru Visa 8 MONTHS LATE (thought we’d got away with that one for £85).
Day 266 - Thursday 17th July 2008,South West Rocks to Nambucca Heads
Changed loo (as Annie said ENJOY!) left campsite Went down to see SWR beaches There are 4 of them but the small surfing one is in our humble opinion the best Then onto Trial Bay gaol (named after the brig Trial which was stolen and sank) Then Arakoon and Gap beaches down to Smoky Cape Lighthouse (named by JC) then tourist route 14 thru Stuarts point/Grassy head/Scotts Head (all in yarrabini NP) – not as good as tourist route 12 although all beaches good Then onto Nambucca Heads Gr8 views from JC lookout and arrived campsite about 3 (having bought a load of booze from Liquor store in town) Had salad lunch outside on table and chairs, v sunny but soon dipped below hills was 23c 2day and after y’day a gr8 day weather-wise.Saw 2 Captain Cook Lookouts with ace views One at Smoky Cape Lighthouse and the other at Nambucca Heads.Remember Salad outside Buying local produce (Avoes & kiwi fruitavacados were 25p each) plus finding out what the red deciduous tree we like is.Coral (Erythina) Tree
Day 267 - Friday 18th July 2008,Nambucca Heads 2 Darlington Beach
Nice and sunny all day, drove not too far up past Coffs Harbour to Darlington beach big 4 campsite Initially staying for 2 days Nice site $35 a night.Saw various beaches, Sawtell, Bongil Bongil Nat park (but no Koalas), lots of roos, Coffs Harbour, The big banana (yuck!) and Darlington beach site,met couple from Crescent Head,terry (shop keeper) and his wife (nurse) chatted for quite a while they invited us over for a beer, we declined as had none to offer in return. Remember reading and lots of hot sunshine and amazing tropical plants.
Day 268 - Saturday 19th July 2008,Darlington Beach campsite
Gr8 day 2 showers superb weather and a gr8 meal in the eve at the campsites restaurant. Started with brekkie outside in the sun, melon: croissants and real coffee then ALL DAY reading round the pool with the occasional dip to cool off V hot and sunny 24c got sun burnt a bit, even tho used loads of sunblock! loved the pool & the sun.Met lady in restaurant who told us about a liqueur Madeira coffee.Finished CRISIS by Robin Cook (Keef) Started triple Agatha Christie (Annie) Oh meal cost $114 included 3 courses, bottle of sav blanc and 2 beers and 2 liqueur coffeesgarlic Turkish bread , Seafood basket (A), Steak (K), lemon & lime cheesecake (A) Macadamia/ Mango pie (K)
Day 269 - Sunday 20th July 2008,Darlington Beach campsite
Not as gr8 a day as y’day but still pretty warm in places 20c Sat out reading after going for 2k walk on Corindi beach, fun. Flora & fauna plus gr8 beach, tried some dumb japanese-type photos to prove we are younger than we are, alas failed with the jumpshots! Met again the 2 aussies terry (supermarket mgr) and his wife (nurse) from Crescent Head who work in Kempsey and were on hols here for 4 days, very pleasant. Talked to Doug via voicecall over i/net very clear and fast.
Day 270 - Monday 21st July 2008,Darlington Beach Campsite
Got up about 10, dirty stop in beds but we were up late last night on roo watch. Our friendly ma, pa and joey returned again 2night for the 3rd day running our campervan pitch must be their site Anyhow had cooked brekkie then went for a walk on Corindi beach again V sunny and hot 23c but windy then back Did some washing and went swimming and in the spa and read round pool. Most relaxing Had veal & veggies with Avo starter (50c) and cheese & bikkies pud with Rum & Bundaberg (A)VB bitter (K) to wash it down, gr8 day Shame we have to leave 2moro.Gr8 beach here named corindi beach. Met couple in Spa from near Gosford who were on hols. Remember Roos at our door!
Day 271 - Tuesday 22nd July 2008,Darlington Beach to Ballina via Grafton, Casino, Lismore to Ballina
Sunny when we left campsite (sadly) after 4 days, really enjoyed it there. Cold and overcast when we arrived in Ballina, saw lots of farm land, a few beaches and some older style towns. Met Ozzie from Coffs harbour who was working in Tweed Heads and motelling it in Shelly Beach Ballina. I’d stopped him to ask about the strange ‘bread fruit’ style palm he didn’t know what it was but we had a long chat about places we had each been to, especially in NZ. Remember Avo trees.Loo water running out Refilled in Lismore after sussing what was needed.
Day 272 - Wednesday 23rd July 2008,Ballina to Tweed Heads
Out by 10, grayish , wet and windy day went along the tourist roads (mostly) apart from Pacific Hwy (1) when we had no choice ending at Family park in Tweed Head just over the bridge Expensive for what it is ($33 but hey it’s a touristy area).Saw Lennox Head, Suffolk Park, Byron Bay incl Lighthouse (posh houses or what), Cape Byron, Brunswick Heads, Pottsville, Hastings Point, Kingscliff (v up and coming retirement / seaside area) into South Tweed Heads and cinema to see mamma mia (ace) and shopping at Coles. Enjoyed Hastings point waves, immense plus bought 3 new reading books,post mortem & blind faith by Ben Elton and the quest by Wilbur Smith
Final stay Day 310-326, See Queensland for 310 & Singapore for 326
Day 273 - Thursday 24th July 2008,Tweed Heads 2 Labrador, Gold Coast
Awful weather rained all night & day, hard so cut our loses and went to Harbour Town shopping mall for some retail therapy (bought boys & Phoenix stuff from Rip Curl) oh and went to Reading Cinemas to see X-files movie (ace) Staying at Treasure Island park Big4 Biggera Waters. Much movies & rain.$35 per night for Big4 site and we are in for 2 nights (forgot to get our deposit back, DOH!)
Day 274 - Friday 25th July 2008,Treasure Island campsite Biggera Waters Nr Surfers Paradise
Wet all night Dried up in the morning some sun and some overcast Decided to stay in did the washing DVD for Mum etc Reading, Chillin etc etc Off to Surfers 2moro Sorted out trip to see Peter B& family,Sun came out again hoorah, saw the campsite, Harbour town mall and Woolies
Day 275 - Saturday 26th July 2008,Surfers Paradise (SP)
Gr8 weather Left Biggera waters after 2 days Forgot to collect our $20 deposit, blast! Did loo stuff etc went to SP via Southport and had a choc milkshake in HRC 18c sunny Camping at Aspley (North Brisbane) for 2 days as near the Birtles home in Warner. OK site nothing grand but also convenient for train at Zillmere. Main Beach, Burleigh Heads, Miami, Isle of Capri, high rises etc. Met Surfer dudes and guy in Hard Rock Cafe (HRC). Remember HRC Tshirt the only one in Australasia but guy said those in Sydney & Melbourne were due to reopen in 2009. Police had cordoned off the bank area in Aspley as some foolish hoods had tried to dynamite it,they used too much explosive and in the end got away with nought but one guy almost blew his leg off police lorry had metal ATM on it!
Day 276 - Sunday 27th July 2008,Brisbane
Sunny to start with Visited Peter & Lorraine Birtles and their kids Alex (12) & Victoria (16)(daughter out) and had a very nice BBQ and chat They bought their land 8 years ago and built their house and pool Plus have beach house at St Agnes nr 1770 in QLD Had a gr8 chat really like them left about 3 having arrived at 1130 on the dot went to ATM nearby first Then came back to the campsite having first checked out Zillmere station b4 our trip into CBD 2moro Got table and chairs out and read in hot sunshine for about 1hr 20c 2day although lunch on Peters veranda was in the shade, liked Warner where they live is very out in the bush, liked seeing peter again.
Day 277 - Monday 28th July 2008,Brisbane
Up at 7.30am (wow!) Overcast Drove down to Zillmere station on City Rail and caught the train into Central Brisbane, spent the day in town Got Cheap off-peak tickets Zone 3 ($4.80 each, good value considering it was 25mins and 12 stops in – way easier than driving) Got off at Central station and crossed over to Anzac Sq (Ann St) and bought 2 all day Hopon Hopoff tourist bus tickets ($50 for 2) Great way to see the city 1 ½ hour trip went round once fully then got off at stop 4 Riverside Had lunch in Jade Buddha then hopped on the City Cat and went down river Brisbane and across to South Bank Had a nice stroll along here Sun came out but brisk wind made it v chilly Guy on bus said constant temp in B 21-29c, not true way colder than that with wind Eventually re-boarded bus at Gray St SS and back to stop 19 Central station Returned to Zillmere and drove out of B to Sunshine coast past Steve Irwin Way to Caloundra Finally got in at 4th site after Annie (thankfully) rang ahead Why was it so busy no-one could say and apparently not cos its nearest to Australia Zoo, saw City Beach with lifeguards Weird. Gr8 views from both Mt Coot-tha lookout and Bougainvillea way, met helpful lady at restaurant. Complained about Annies teriyaki chicken (all grissle) Got new meal (gr8 chicken) free plus 2 flat white so good value lunch, must try it again (not really!) Took loads of pictures, bloody tourist!
Day 278 - Tuesday 29th July 2008,Steve Irwin’s (SI) Australia Zoo Beerwah
Gr8 day at the zoofed elephants which we haven’t done b4 oh and a whole stack more see the pictures and video Full day , left after 4,15 and went to see the glass house mtns briefly named by our hero JC, saw loads esp animals of all sorts, baby tassie devil on lead (help), met Steve Irwin impersonator Michael, and Monty & Weipa the crocs
Day 279 - Wednesday 30th July 2008,Caloundra to Maryborough
Hot day again, 23c sunny, bit of driving Went to see beaches at Caloundra, filled up with fuel and then set off to Maryborough, tried ringing on route to book site but phone lost signal No worries as space when we arrived and nice helpful guy who told us about market , buildings, steam train etc etc to see in Maryborough $22. Saw
Ettamogah pub, big pineapple, buderim ginger , nutworks, met a few folk.Remember ginger & cinnamon bliss ice cream, possibly the BEST ice-cream ever! Plus 1kg of hickory macadamia nuts for $23 gr8 value plus we tried all flavours until keef told off by lady for not using the tongs (naughty)
Day 280 - Thursday 31st July 2008,Maryborough to Bundaberg
Yet another hot day, 26c spent whole morning in Maryborough Lots to do, nice town and way better than Lonely planet made out Then went to Hervey bay (we will be back for whale watching when they arrive) Shelly & Torquay beaches plus marina then onto Bundeburg via Childers on the Bruce Hwy Stopped in Big 4 campsite $27 with discount Nice quiet tropical site A did washing We had spam, couscous and sweetcorn 4 T with passion fruit yoghurt and dark fruit cake for afters,saw lots.Mary river, Mary Poppins, old houses and store.MB is GOOD! Then Fraser island from Hervey bay, mud crabbing, pineapples, sugar cane. Market in town bought stuff including pineapple ($1.50), met Mary Poppins, PL Travers,had no idea she was from QLD, lived most of her life in London , remember Sun, sun and more sun, MB and Brockwurst in market. Annie remembering Childers pub with swing cowboy doors Childers was only a one pub township 40+ years ago, now big
Day 281 - Friday 1st August 2008,Bundaberg to Benaraby (just below Gladstone)
Another v hot and sunny day About 28c and we both had heat stroke headaches (alas) drinking lots more water which should help Visited Bundaberg Rum & Bundaberg Drinks Ltd (home of the ginger beer) Bought Doug a shirt (hope he likes it) plus 6 assorted drinks. Not interested in the Rum place although it had a nice old QLD building Then visited Agnes Water and 1770 then onto Benaraby. camping Big 4 empty $29 Had a 30min wait standstill on Bruce Hwy just outside Benaraby as road train off road and overturned Apparently happened 2 days ago and they were taking load off as couldn’t upright it.Used public dump station in Bundaberg then did tourist stuff in Bundaberg Cook 1770 (only a Lieutenant then), met lady from Abingdon in Bundaberg Rum Ltd who had been in Oz for 21 years (still no accent tho), saw Lorry overturned. Lizard on road (large) and lots of roos at 1770
Day 282 - Saturday 2nd August 2008,Benaraby to Mackay via Rockhampton
Another hot day 24-26c tried out the aircon for the first time in the vans cab, cool! Had a nice walk around Rockhampton, nice place then lots of driving in heat, guess 350-ish k 2day arrived at site in Mackay but couldn’t get a power site so ended up on yucky site, tourist village Luckily only one night, saw Tropic of Capricorn (TOC), somewhat over touristy Annie said was much understated back 40 years, met 2 students taking photos in Rockhampton, enjoyed Crossing the TOC
Day 283 - Sunday 3rd August 2008,Mackay to Airlie Beach (Whitsunday shire)
Another hot sunny day, 26c left site at 9-ish horrid site pleased to go. Went and saw Mackay marina, beach and drove on breakwater Then saw 5 of the 31 beaches it boast Some were v v good and we went for a paddle on 2 saw some very interesting tropical plants see piccies Then onto Proserpine for lunch and into Big 4 Airlie cove site for 3 nights Expensive at $39 per night and not as good as Darlington Beach site. Did go for a swim (cold) and read books in sunshine from about 4pm Get dark slightly later this high up. Remember the beaches around Mackay ace after thinking Mackay wasn’t all that much i.e quite industrial, how wrong we were.
Day 284 - Monday 4th August 2008,Airlie Cove Campsite
Spent all day on site and boy was it relaxinggenerally chillin reading books, mags and listening to musicoh and we booked a day trip to Daydream island on the Whitsunday isles 2moro.4ft+ female goanna just next to our campervan plus mountains sunshine and lots of big green ants that we think bite, but not sure. Met nosey Germans in next campervan. Loved seeing the goanna at close quarters plus our pair of friendly bush turkeys
Day 285 - Tuesday 5th August 2008,Daydream Island, Whitsundays
The most wonderfully romantic place and day,no more to say See the piccies lots of them Idyllic plus whole day cost about $200, Oh so much, see the piccies, met bloke with ozzie wife from Hull who ran a restaurant in Penrith Sydney called the ‘Major Oak’ he had obviously been in showbiz as introduced a whole stack of 50s ‘names’ His wife drank green cocktails, loved Everything..gr8 trip, gr8 weather, gr8 lunch, gr8 company, gr8 swimming, gr8 fish ahhhhhhhhhhhhh
Day 286 - Wednesday 6th August 2008,Airlie Beach, Whitsundays to Townsville
Up early 7-ish washed and ‘decamped’ by 8.45 a record Did the dunny then drove down to Shute Harbour (nice) and onto Bowen rejoining Bruce Hwy 13k on from Proserpine Visited Bowen, interesting place but not gr8 beaches, then thru Home Hill, Ayr to Townsville.Saw the big mango @ Bowen and the 2nd naff thing in one day the big Brolga @ Townsville Tourist Info (TI). Met no one in particular apart from our ozzie pal with grey hair and outback beard who seems to be following us around (mackay, airlie beach plus asked us about trip to daydream whilst supping his alcopop from his cooler and now he "reckoned" townsville) , bought a Baz Lehrmann T-shirt in Bowen from the Australia movie. Remember Mango ice-cream Buying fresh fruit and veg produce at Bowen plus making a lamb rogan josh that will probably last for 3 meals.oh and gr8 views from Flagstaff Hill lookout at Bowen.
Day 287 - Thursday 7th August 2008,Townsville & Magnetic Island
Up about 8, gr8 sunny day again 28c and hot sun Drove down into Townsville along Ingham Road (9) to Castle Hill Lookout, v steep and windy but oh what views of TV and MI then back down into the strand (water front) parked up van all day $5 then caught sunferries ferry to MI 11.30am trip $29 each plus all day bus pass on MI cost $6.20 each so a gr8 cheap day out on a Barrier Reef island (honeymooners go here, although v different to Daydream island) Back on 4.25 boat and back to Westwood campsite 12 k north of Townsville. Saw (All on Magnetic Island):Nelly Bay, Arcadia, Gregory bay, Horseshoe bay, Picnic bay,the last was the best Paddled here, walked the length of the beach and read in the sun whilst watching flying fish (silvery) and a guy snorkeling with a harpoon and float with fish capture box attached. Met drunk ozzies, bad news, remember drunk ozzie and I mean drunk driving mokes and scooters, bad news plus keef driving like an ozzie and overtaking and turning on the inside, better not do that in the UK!!!
Day 288 - Friday 8th August 2008,Townsville to Rollingstone via Saunders Beach
Up about 8.30am Breakfasted and left site by 10 having pre booked 3 nights at the Big 4 Rollingstone beach site about 60k further up the Bruce Hwy towards Cairns Drove to the strand, walked along the beach front to the pool and had a nice swim Then retail therapy and off for lunch at the very nice Saunders beach Then onto our campsite and yet another swim V hot and sunny again 2day 28c, saw sea water pool @ townsville, the strand, river, botanic gardens and a great fabric shop (spotlight where Annie became a VIP member). Met danish? family that we last saw at Darlington Beach with teenage daughter and very young son.
Day 289 - Saturday 9th August 2008, Rollingstone
Day spent chillin Not a good night sleep wise for Keef, had nice brekkie of croissants and sat outside reading / listening to music with the table and chairs near the lagoon next to our van Alas this was after we’d been for a walk on the beach and done the washing ($3) and seen sign the signs about crocs We are well and truly in salty territory After reading and great smoked salmon salad lunch we chilled by the pool The pool here is ace It’s a RESORT and probably 2nd to Darlington Beach, saw Croc sign/ beach/ pool, met Germans, French oh and the odd ozzie plus ice-cream lady ringing her bell round the site selling prawns and fresh fish (mangrove snapper & reef fish), little budgie outside our van was fun in the eve.
Day 290 - Sunday 10th August 2008,Rollingstone
Whole day chillin and v nice it was to. Up late 9.30-ish had brekkie and read paper all about Olympics Then over to the pool and a dip followed by more chillin hard work but hey someone’s gotta do it 28c hot and sunny with pleasant wind off the sea. No crocs today! (or any other for that matter but sign at campsite a warning) Rang and booked 1 day Fishery falls (Cairns) and 3 days Cairns Crystal sites.Saw the pool, the sea and sun,lots of sand flies that seem to like Annie but not Keef (hooray!). Salad, listening to Led Zeppelin & CSN (&Y) on ipod, heard guy at the pool cheer cos ozzies had got their 1st gold in the swimming pool (beijing Olympics)
Day 291 - Monday 11th August 2008,Rollingstone to Fishery Falls
Left about 10 after being the dunny man. Poor Annie very badly bitten by sand flies so lots of tea tree cream used to soothe. Drove up coast 320k with a few detours All in all a very nice day Stayed at FF campsite where we stayed 13 years ago Very much changed, new pool but winner of best gardens V Tropical, saw Cardwell, Hinchinbrook island, Tam O’Shanter NP, Mission Beach, Dunk island, Innisfail, Tropical fruit winery at Murdering Point, met lady in Winery, v nice let us try the lot plus nutty guy who sold us the bananas ($1 for 1 kg, $2 for papaya (big)) who spoke with a plumy British accent who said “my mother was taken up the Khyber Pass by a British army officer” too much info really, hard to get away from him. Remember seeing all the gr8 islands and having a drink in the Fishery Falls pub and watching Tom Daley in sync diving on Ch7 Olympics big screen
Day 292 - Tuesday 12th August 2008,Fishery Falls to Cairns
Slightly overcast day today but muggier First since we have been in the Wet Tropics Left FF by 10 Drove to Gordonvale, 1st place we visited 13 years ago as needed bank (aboriginal guy with budgie on his shoulder) Not changed that much but bigger square than we remember and huge Sugarcane processing factory Then on into Cairns walked along the board walk, into harbour, past new lagoon , nice new boardwalk and off up Spense st to Hogs Breath Cafe (HBC) then down Grafton back to Esplanade and our Campervan Arrived at campsite – crystal cascade about 3pm read and chilled oh and drank copious amounts of Passion fruit wine (yummy) from Murdering Point winery. Tourist Info(TI) , Board walk, The Pier, Lots of high rise hotels and apartments (cairns is now a big city), CBD, Cafes & Bars, Fruit bats and some sun only 26c 2day Westpac to get out some dosh plus filled up with fuel So much cheaper in QLD with Coles/woolies 4c off voucher about $1.63 a litre,met Irish waitress in HBC, ranjit the crooner (we didn’t go but heard him) aweful,apparently had played with Glen Campbell, Helen Reddy & Barry Manilow - really! Went to Hogs Breathe café (HBC) for lunch V good and value wise also 2 beef wraps with hickory sauce, HBC curly fries & salad, followed by Mud pie/date pud and washed down with beer/ fruit juice All $60 (i.e £30) Nice Campsite v tropical , some new plants we haven’t seen before
Day 293 - Wednesday 13th August 2008,Crystal Cascades Campsite, Cairns
Up late, cooked brekkie then off to Kuranda for the day. Very good day, sunny again although some strong winds. Barron Gorge NP & Falls, Surprise Creek Falls, Lake Placid, Gr8 tropical plants, Cannonball tree, Butterflies especially Ulysses Blue,met no one in particular Annoying UK couple next door with 3 kids and one crying baby. Loved the sweet perfume smell of the plants of the Cannonball tree. Seeing Kuranda again Aussie Butterfly Sanctuary
Day 294 - Thursday 14th August 2008,Crystal Cascades Campsite, Cairns
A day of 2halves. Spent morning at site doing washing, reading, getting sunburnt (K) and then after a dinner of lemon pepper tuna salad wraps and mini bananas washed down with ginger cordial we went off on an expedition to see Lake Morris and the Copper load falls dam 16k thru the Isley Hills wet Tropics up very windy hilly roads not ideal for a 6.6m campervan but what a view.Some gr8 views of Cairns & the Wet Tropical Forest up Lake Morris rd,Ozzie drinkers at Rednault.girl in IGA said there were 300 males in the pub, must have been pint and sausage eve cheap, Dark Equador magnum ice creams at lake Morris, exchanging 10 books in Cairns ($20) for 4not a gr8 deal but we can’t carry them
Day 295 - Friday 15th August 2008,Glengarry Holiday Park, Port Douglas
Left Cairns about 10.30 Went and visited various beaches on the way up to Port Douglas (PD) and the AJ Hackett bungee jumping Then along coastal road, ace views past Rex Lookout and Hartley’s creek crocodile farm (v different from 13 years ago) to Port Douglas Aim to stay here 4 days and see Daintree, Mossman, Cape Trib & PD itself,Trinity beach, Yorkeys knob (much built up after 13 years), Clifton Beach (good) & Palm Cove (posh & expensive, similar to Noosa Heads),Very clammy and overcast for much of the day. Gr8 views along coastal road, similar to Great Ocean Road & Big Sur (US)
Day 296 - Saturday 16th August 2008,Did lunch in Port Douglas
Up about 9 washed did the dunny stuff etc on the van and then drove into Port Douglas. Hot & Humid 28c and 48% humidity no wind Parked up along the front WOW has PD ever changed in 13 years It is now a massive thriving tourist metropolis with resorts everywhere A shame really walked up main street then had lunch.
Flagstaff Hill Lookout, 4 mile beach, Marina, Wharf, Church Shops, restaurants & resorts, met French waiter who told me ‘le red emerald feesh is orf’ so had to have Gold Based Snapper in Thai tamarind curry with macadamias Annie had Tempura reef fish with spiced coconut sauce and garlic mayo. 2 drinks, Ace meal and posh sea front restaurant $67 not bad and brits in next campsite from Yorkshire who had emigrated 2 ½ years ago Victorians escaping the winter, Gr8 meal Gr8 weather loved 4 mile beach.
Day 297 - Sunday 17th August 2008,Cape Tribulation
Named by Mr. JC again we had a wonderful day on Cape Trib See the pictures lots of them Not quite as hot and sultry as the previous day Indeed we shut the windows on the campervan at 11pm and turned off the aircon. Mossman, Cape Trib, Daintree River, Wonga Beach. met Solomon Islander (drunk) at ferry crossing at Daintree on the way back Claimed to be descended from a sugarcane plantation slave, loved all the lovely beaches and rainforest
Day 298 - Monday 18th August 2008,Daintree
Overcast and not so muggy. 25c went back to Daintree river x-ing to do a 1 ½ hour trip on the River train, gr8 fun Then onto Daintree town (not burnt down as far as we could see) not much there though Then back thru Mossman , down towards gorge, stopped as Aboriginal community area and back to site to read Did some shopping in Mossman Woolies,saw Crocs, lots 4 females 1 juvenile and Scarface, king of the patch 52 yrs old and the one we saw last time, met guides on boat, Japanese doing photo salutes Female Aboriginal drunk in road back to their ‘ghetto’ just outside Mossman (sad), salty crocodiles, tree snake, brahma cows
Day 299 - Tuesday 19th August 2008,Port Douglas 2 Cooktown
Up, showered and gone by 9.30. Started muggy and overcast, then got v hot & sunny, then real tropical winds whilst ascending some of the mountains and at campsite in Cooktown. Good journey arrived at about 1.30am This is as far north as we can go in QLD The rest is gravel road and mostly shut in wet season up to Weipa on the Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape York and the Torres Straits Islands, 150k south of Papua New Guinea ,saw bush lots of it and much burnt plus a yellow sunbird at site in Port Douglas. remember wind that rocked the campervan,wax gum/ palm fruit,said goodbye to Swiss guy (he and his wife been in Oz 22years, sold up in Brisbane, been traveling 18 months and now having a house built on the coast nr Childers) plus UK guy from Yorkshire been in Oz 2 ½ years
Day 300 - Wednesday 20th August 2008,Cooktown
Drizzly and windy day but at least it now doesn’t get dark until 6.30pm (prev 5pm) Wind so strong overnight it shook the c’van. Went into Cooktown for the day, nice time with lunch at the bakery and a bit of shopping in the IGA,James Cook (JC) Museum, JC Statues / Plaques (3 in total) Monument, Statue of the gr8 man and cairn where he beached the HMS Endeavour for repairs after holing on the reef off Cooktown, met old guy in campervan behind who suggested beach & museum (we will go 2moro) and Fisho man. Now been away 300 days plus Annie did the washing and it dried in the rain, honest the wind was so strong! Guy at reception said this is typical Cooktown weather (Hmmm it says they have 7hrs of sunshine a day). Not long after we were back a brit was eaten by a salty when he was mud crabbing in the Endeavour river, the warninsg are everywhere, poor foolish soul.
Day 301 - Thursday 21st August 2008,Cooktown
Lazy day really, little hotter and mixed sunny / overcast but NO rain 26c went up Grassy hill (Cooks lookout) about 2/3rd then dirt track Went to Finch Bay (nice) Botanic Gardens, Bakery (pie and banana cakenot as good as Nadi Airport) then back to site for lunch Then off as far as the tar sealed road would take us north of Cooktown, about 22k past Marton and beyond Endeavour River crossing ,loved all of this + Cooktown airport (sweet) lots of tropical plants plus the lovely smell of Bush Mrytle + termite hills saw 6 roos at Botanic gardens and 1 in the wild near Marton (presumably named by JC after area of Middlesborough, his hometown), Annie made fresh lemon from bush lemons loved campsite mangoes
Day 302 - Friday 22nd August 2008,Cooktown 2 Atherton
Didn’t sleep so well, far too hot Up at 7.15 and showered etc and ready to go by 8.50am Went back thru Blackrock Mts to Lakeland where took photos of development road up to top Cape York (dirt track alas) and flocks of noisy white cockatoos Then onto Mareeba and Atherton. High roo count 2day plus one light brown dingo after roadkill. He was a little too fast to photo Did about 350 k and got to Atherton by 3.15pm including shopping, fuel and post office (sent 2 DVDs to Mum) Hot humid and overcast in Cooktown (blowy as always) but cooler in Atherton,Coffee world, roos on golf course at Mareeba, red rooster dinner, lovely tropical hut for BBQ by pool at campsite in Atherton, met guy on golf course at Mareeba popped up again 3 caravans down at our site in Atherton,hoots.’take a picture of you taking a picture of the tourists taking a picture of the roos on the golf course’, loved Roos on golf course
Day 303 - Saturday 23rd August 2008,Atherton 2 Charters Towers
Up at 7am (and it’s a hols, my life!) left by 8.30am Drove initially up over hills & rainforests of Gr8 Dividing range and past QLDs highest Town then via Kennedy Development road Hwy1 (single track tar mostly on top of wide gravel road) thru to the Lynd Junction on HWY40. HWY1 split at savannah way then onto Normanton & then onto NTs (the road round oz) so slightly less busy for us on what is called the Gregory Developmental rd We were well and truly in outback QLD Went thru (and stopped at for lunch and ice-cream respectively) Greenvale Road house and Bluewater springs roadhouse Got to Charters Towers at about 4-ish had driven 550+k today and reasonably warm Stayed at Big 4 site went to Drive in movie in eve Only 1 of 6 now left in QLD.Saw cattle droving, road trains, miles of outback roads, kids and adults in backs of utes with duvets, pillows watching drive in movies,Poirot, Hastings and the Big 4, got cracked windscreen from stone from road train, best loo paper in our whole trip oh and our 1st drive in movie saw double bill of Kung Fu panda and The Incredible Hulk Had fish & chips, wine, beer, rum and coke sweets galore Gr8 eve and all for £3.75 each WOW and the stars
Day 304 - Sunday 24th August 2008,Charters Towers
Up late, warm day but not humid Had bacon sandwiches Visited lookout walked town center Annie had done washing and alas broke big toe nail V painful Went to Charters Towers hospital to ‘have it sorted’ stayed 2 night in CT campsite to cut down the daily drivingCharters Towers Lovely old buildings At the goldrush had its own stock exchange 30k people and called itself the WORLD no need to go anywhere else for anything else, saw nutter cowboy / dangerous if you ask us Must have been the town loony, ugh Annie had to go to Charters Towers Hospital to have her busted big toe nail cut off
Day 305 - Monday 25th August 2008,Charters Towers to Emerald
Up at 7 Travelled over 500k 2day mostly on the Gregory Development road which apart from 20k was all normal 2 lane road if a little bumpy in places Not much township wise on the road Went thru Belyando Crossing roadhouse, Clermont (Blair Athol) both mining , Capilla into Emerald (both sunflower production seeds and oil) Interesting trip Staying in Top Tourist Lake Maraboon site ($27),Dried up rivers, brahma cows, brolgas , cotton fields, sunflower paintings, boab trees and at the campsite the friendliest rainbow lorikeets and Major Mitchell cockatoos, met camp site owners (gay couple) who did the evening sing song, note we did NOT attend but heard it,Hmmm, remember with fondness Annie feeding the lorikeets 2 Brolgas flying past our windscreen (close)
Day 306 - Tuesday 26th August 2008,Emerald Gem Fields
Left site at 10-ish having tried to coax the Lorikeets out with some melon, alas it didn’t work V Hot and sunny day 2day 25c Went to Emerald for a look around the Cattle market (fun), station, 2 fabric shops, bought some Koala buttons, Botanic gardens (not so hot) then shopping in Woolies (£10 for 50 glucosulphamine tablets, 4 times UK price) then drove onto Anarkie (yep pronounced that way) and Sapphire – did fossicking at Pats Gems gr8 fun found 13 sapphires which we keep for $8 bucket of WASH.saw loads see piccies, claim sites at Sapphire amusing,met cowboys at steers sale (emerald peak downs municipal sales yard) , all v friendly. We have now been away 10 months, loved finding 13 sapphires
Day 307 - Wednesday 27th August 2008,Willows Gem Fields
Up late, had cooked brekkie Read a bit then hired prospecting gear from the campsite $10 then drove off past the township limits past the cattle grid and set up ‘camp’ Bloody hard work and blistering sun – 27c (oh and we didn’t find any sapphires) but had a go for about 2hrs Then back for a shower etc before relaxing reading and tea (beef schnitzel, new pots & carrots ) ,Kookaburras, the diggings, met lady in campsite who ‘sold’ us the prospecting gear, loved Diggings, email from Craig, Margaret and John & Diana
Day 308 - Thursday 28th August 2008,Willows Gem field 2 Roma
Up at 6.45am Gone by 8.15am Visited Rubyvale, Anarkie (and Saphire again) Stopped briefly to shop in Emerald and get fuel ($1.53 incl the 8c off coupon, cheapest yet in OZ) Then on down Gregory Developmental rd to Roma thru Springsure, Rollerston (where we had lunch) and then a v long stretch with NOUGHT to Roma Nice site at Roma with lots of bottle trees (now are these Baobabs?).Wildlife count Emus=2, Wallabies=2, Roos=1, met no one in particular, miner with long grey beard & hair in Rubyvale,remember some of the ‘architecture’ in Rubyvale plus a plethora of naff ozzie icons!
Day 309 - Friday 29th August 2008,Roma 2 St George via Surat
Up reasonable time, left just b4 10am Then went into Roma for a look around Visited Westpac and drew out some money and closed our account Town had a good outback feel but not quite so classy buildings as Kalgoorlie. Annie bought 3 really good fabrics in huge higgledy piggeldy store in Roma ($175) We visited tourist info and the site of the Big Rig Roma is famous for Gas & Oil K bought a class (?) stubby cooler then drove on down Caenarvon Hwy to Surat Had lunch here of our fave C&B’s and visited township and Cobb & Co museum Weather mixed hot but for the 2nd day running heavy rain Clears the air though! Wildlife count Emus=1, Wallabies=1, met lady in westpac bank in Roma who had lived in London and was off on hols for 3 weeks with her family to South Island, NZ we traded info V pleasant Plus old lady in Roma TI , remember being told off by campsite owner for running grey water, 1st time in 88 days Cobb & Co museum in Surat (v good and interesting) Reopened tap just outside of site
Day 310 - Saturday 30th August 2008,St George to Lightening Ridge via Dirranbandi & Hebel on the NSW border
Very hot day 29c+ Went into St George, drove along St G terrace and Balonne riverside Then visited Emu Egg carving studio ($6 for both) Got diesel ($1.60v cheap) and shopping in Foodstuff .Then about 260k driving to Lightening Ridge. Met greek guy with Emu eggs Lunch at Hebel riverside and surprisingly NO wildlife and met
Capt birdseye loudmouth / boring words from WA who never stopped talking plus nice scotch couple who have lived in Sydney for 20 years.Highlights Getting Annie her black opal necklace in Lightening Ridge plus lamb, mint & rosemary sausages from award winning butchers in St George. See NSW for next day
Day 311 - Sunday 31st August 2008, Lightening Ridge
Very wet day and previous night Only 14c unheard of for LR which is generally hot & humid. Gravel roads and others flooded We did a 3 hour Black opal tour which was great fun saw loadsmost routes around the diggings/ dwellings (well hovels) is by colour coded old ute doorsbizarre In the afternoon we fossicked in the mud A lot easier than sapphire digging.Hot springs baths, diggings plus a whole lot of hippies / eccentrics and hippy houses Quite like nowhere we have seen before has to be visited to be believed.Met American lady who did the Black Opal tour plus odd hippy couple her US/ he oz who do the Black queen plays (based around their collection of old gas lamps) Whacky backy or what? Oh plus old bearded miner (on diggings) who waved at us whilst hanging up his long johns in the rain. LR has a very high ‘mental health problem’ limit.Remember the tour plus doing the digging in front of the TI center Muddy or what as opal is found in clay we think we did quite well but only having our ‘pieces’ looked at will prove it. Sherman the teddy with sunnies has to be seen to be believed.
Day 312 - Monday 1st September 2008,Lightening Ridge 2 Bourke
Up at about 8 Checked out by 10 (after using palette knife to squeeze our van out from our rather over friendly next door neighbour) Went and had another look around LR in the sun. Bought some pressies in Opal shop and Annie did some more fossicking at TI Had our ‘gems’ valued at shop, most alas black or grey Potch (boo hiss) Then 290 k via Walgett into Outback NSW and Bourke Stayed at the Mitchell Campsite ($26 incl on suite) V nice site Wildlife Count: 1 skink, 9 emus, 1 tortoise/terrapin, many wild goats, Colorful birds LR: Bottle house, Hot bore water baths Brewarrina (slums and takeaway that was dodgy costing $9the road signs asked you to spend $20 in their town) why most folks just haired thru Bourke Wharf, River Darling, Town and TI/Shops.Met guy next site to us at Bourke from Adelaide Hills who had hit a carcass in his 4WD and therefore had to stop in Bourke. He reckoned dangerous Indigenous place, not that bad in our book Certainly not like Brewarrina where we stopped for lunch, everything with metal shutters, huge aboriginal population (note made Boro look like a picnic). Remember Bourke: Pop 3000 and shire is the size of Denmark (wow)
Day 313 - Tuesday 2nd September 2008,Bourke 2 Dubbo
Up at 7 Showered in our private on suite, good site The folk next to us had already gone Left about 8.45am went and took some piccies of town, bought stubbie cooler and award winning pies ($8for 2 way expensive!) Then onto Dubbo (400k total) via the straight (199k) Mitchell Hwy to Nyngan, then on via Nevertire, Trangie (had lunch here and bought some nice cakes in bakery) then Dubbo Weather good 26c and sunny (again).Wildlife Count: 13 emus& 4 chicks (alas didn’t get to photo) Colorful birds & a huge eagle perched roadside on a road kill roo. Remember Hotel Nyngan plus disused railway line all the way from Bourke to Nyngan oh and 3 coach ,loads of school kids visiting from the Port Stephens area Dubbo has a good zoo & old gaol Dubbo is a city and has 39k+ pop It is only 4 hrs drive from Sydney but we are going back up.Alas some very thin cattle that looked like they were starving and the herdsman on a trials bike had let them loose on the main Mitchell Hwy as there was at least some grass there
Day 314 - Wednesday 3rd September 2008,Dubbo 2 Gunnedah via the wonderful Warrumbungle NP
Up at 7 had been v cold overnight central NSW is apparently famous for hot days and cold nights esp at this time of year Left about 8.45am Did some quick shopping in Coles Dubbo and got some fuel Now $1.87 in NSW way more expensive than QLD Then drove onto Gilgandra had a look around Visitors center Then onto WNP, breathtaking see the piccies The Whitegum lookout walk especially Then across into New England, NSW (nice landscape & colours esp the flowering yellow oil seed rape against the brown sun dried grass) and into Gunnedah, Koala Capital of the Worldhaven’t seen any yet though Staying at Top Tourist site here ($20) Wildlife count: 5 emus, 16 big red roos, 5 feral goats (they were shooting them from copters during our visit to the Warrumbungle NP) and 3 wallabiesnot alas the rare bushy tailed ones.Met guy from Victoria in Dubbo whilst washing who had taken 8 weeks off work, got as far as Mission beach and had to turn back His daughter lived in Mildura.No one else really. Remember the absolutely wonderful Warrumbungle NP A real highlight oh and as spring the bright yellow of the Wattle , Dubbo hugely disappointing.Ranger (cop?) in Gunnedah who was gonna book Keef until he discovered he was a Pommie Tourist for parking campervan the wrong way roundwhilst going to Westpac ATM for cash. Alas some very thin sheep that looked like they were starving
Day 315 - Thursday 4th September 2008,Gunnedah to Armidale
Linda's birfday. Up about 8 Washed and breakfasted for the heavy Koala spotting day ahead. Went into Gunnedah Called in at Tourist Info and talked to Steve the full time Koala spotter Supposedly up at 4am spotting he gave us a long list of sightings and good spots both in and out of town Apparently there are about 5000 in the town So we set off and drove to all his certain locations NOT ONE After 2+ hours we left town almightily disappointed but happy we had at least seen these wonderful creatures in the wild on KI, SA and at Kennetts River on GOR, Vic. Then drove onto Tamworth thru Liverpool plains along Oxley Hwy Stopped here briefly for Red Rooster lunch and a quick look at the Country & Western Museum (outside only)its what Tamworth is famous forthen on across the Great Dividing range (v hilly and huge bolder rocks) thru Urella (home of bushranger or was it whacker?, Thunderboltsimilar to Ned Kelly but supposedly not so nastyand if you believe that) into Armidale. Shopped at Woolies, camped at Top Tourist site on outskirts $26. rained a lot. Saw Koala’s NOT!!!! No Koalas oh and Steve the Misleader! Guy at campsite in Armidale who was a Doc of Linguistics at the NSW New England Uni here He was nice chap and v interested in Pom accents Plus told me Ozzies do have accents i.e those from around Adelaide have a Pommie one, hee hee! We renamed Gunnedah the World Capital of NO SHOW Koala’s
Day 316 - Friday 5th September 2008,Armidale 2 Darlington Beach
Staying at DB campsite again for 3 days. The best site in all our travels. Site D6 this time (was D8 last) just outside the pool Up and gone by 10 V wet day all daymost of the New England and North NSW Coast was floods. Traveled along the Waterfall hwy , most appropriate although most were off down gravel tracks so not accessible, especially in the wet did about 260 difficult kilometers arrived about 2.30pm. RAIN & FLOODS:Armidale,Dorrigo, Sherrard falls, Guy Fawkes river, Bellinger River (burst its banks big style), Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga (Indian area 2 mosques), Darlington beach, met guy from Grafton , next pitch, regular annual holiday for son from Vic (Byron Heads) and daughter from Qld (Atherton).had a lengthy chat with him about crocs, snakes and his trip by 4WD to Cape York (v hard).
Remember ace pies in Dorrigo, being back at our fave campsite
Day 317 - Saturday 6th September 2008,Darlington Beach
Day of Chillin, just SO relaxing! Up late, had cooked brekkie Then Ozzie guy next door gave us his copy of the Weekend Australian which we read all day Annie did some washing Weather mostly good with several shower spots We brought washing in a one point and then put it back out again then guy gave us copy of The Sydney Morning Herald Papers here cost about $2.20 Had spag bol and chilled again, saw the sun and 2 newspapers, bliss! Met nice old guy in next caravan who seemed to have throat cancer Chatted for a while he had taken his young family to UK and Europe in 70s His wife was off back in Sydney saying goodbye to their daughter and family who were off for 3 weeks to UK Son in law worked for Ernst & Young, funded business trip then she was gonna fly up to Sunshine coast to meet him.Loved Chillin.....
Day 318 - Sunday 7th September 2008,Darlington Beach
Another fine day in DB 24c and v sunny Got sunburn despite now ‘all over’ tan Spent day reading papers and books V relaxing after dinner of wraps went for a stroll on Corindi beach, bit blowy and tide much further in than last time we were here then back out to main road and water lily lagoon, saw Roo family that were probably on our plot last time. Lorikeets and loads of banksias and other colourful plants, met a few folk from the site down by the beach plus helped guy who gave us yet another paper with his caravan hitch up. Loved just spending more time at our fave campsite and sad that we are leaving soon
Day 319 - Monday 8th September 2008,Darlington Beach 2 Diamond Beach Near Forster-Tuncurry
Up at 7.30 Showered, Brekkied & watched the duck and ducklings. Then set off for F-T via Coffs harbour, Fredo’s pies, Port Macquarie to Billabong to buy a 2nd Koala, then along the coast road to Laurieton we hadn’t done before thru Lake Cathie, Bonny Hills, North Haven and the Ocean Rd finally rejoining the Pacific Hwy just beyond Laurieton then onto our Big 4 campsite at Diamond Beach. Great facilities, pool but lousy sandy unleveled site at $30 per night Staying 2 nights before moving onto Sydney gets dark down here about 5.45pm bad news reasonably sunny today 22c.Saw baby ducklings (ahhhh).Met really old lady with the shakes in campsite who couldn’t work the mouse so I showed her how to use a bit of plain paper as a mouse mat. On plot 254 (rubbish) so moved. Remember finally getting thru to Australia post (cheated after 2 booked phone backs, hit the VIP/Expensive service and got thru..parcel left oz 5/6now check in UK)
Day 320 - Tuesday 9th September 2008,Diamond Beach
Got up 9.15am Showered Had bacon sarnies for brekkie and cereal (ah luxury!) Then went for a walk on the beach just in front of our campsite. Note the campsite is empty. Us and one other Gr8 facilities but really poor sandy, sloped pitches Beach nice then came back and read all day K finished Marker by Robin Cook, A finished Rage by Wilbur Smith. Had lamb steaks for T yummy.Saw galahs in flight, the beach, and on beach (deadly & dead) puffer fish. Remember walk on beach, good weather if somewhat windy 24c
Day 321 - Wednesday 10th September 2008,Diamond Beach 2 Sydney (Narabeen lakes) via Forster-Tuncurry
Drove along 2 loop roads we had not been along when we first went up the NSW coast, then thru Ku-Ring-Gai Chase NP and down HWY3 Mona Vale rd into Narabeen and the Big 4 lakeside camp site we stayed at b4 We are here for 4 final days in Sydney Weather warm and sunny, 23c but chilly at night.Saw Forster-Tuncurry, nice sea lake, Booti-booti NP, Myall lakes NP, Pacific Hwy/freeway (1) and loads of road widening (poor Koalas!), Gosford, Terigal, Avaco Beach, Copacabana beach, Woy Woy, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase NP and Bobbin Head, Narabeen. Met guy at Diamond beach campsite who said he was off to UK for 1st time in 3 years time to visit Dundee where all his rellies came from.Stopped at Stanford Forster retail park to do final food shopping in Woolies and bought an additional suitcase in K-Mart ($29.99 + lock $2.99), getting thru Ku-Ring-Gai chase NP and not paying the $11 as offices closed plus just making campsite at 5.50pm it shut at 6pm (phew!!!!)
Day 322 - Thursday 11th September 2008,Sydney centre