Monday 5th December
One thing I forgot to mention is that a couple of months ago I bought a DOD 600 which is an in vehicle HD video recorder, GPS logger and vehicle Black Box. I have not had time to install it until this week. I could get the recording light to um err light but could not view the results. After a bit of research I believed that my laptop does not have the latest Codecs programme. I searched the Web, found a Codec download and suddenly I can see the results of the HD video. The video not only records what we see through the windscreen but also stamps the date and time, stamps the GPS co-ordinates, stamps the vehicle speed and vehicle direction every second. When the results are viewed on a laptop, not only do we see the video but we see a Google map tracking and all the stamped features as well. In the event of an accident the camera locks the recording as a black box feature.
Today was cold and windy with patches of rain drops.
The CAT scan revealed nothing of any real consequence. It is probably a residual of the torn cartilage injury from almost 12 months ago.
We have the all clear to go “on the Wallaby” tomorrow.
The CO-PILOT was busy all day making lasagne and a baked mango cheesecake (with additional taste explosion of slices of brandied cumquats) It is Chris’s mother, Regelyn, birthday and the CO-PILOT wanted to bring a gift.
Tuesday 6th December
Today is the tomorrow I referred to yesterday.
We left Noosaville around 11.30am a good two hours later than I had hoped. It rained, on and off all day. We travelled down the Bruce Highway, linking up with Pacific Motorway and the Gateway Motorway and Tollway until we reached Yatala. We found the Showmans Guild of Australia Club set on a couple of acres of ground in an industrial area. The Guild allows all financial members of CMCA with a self- contained vehicle to camp beside their cricket pitch and football field for $10 per van per night. All club facilities are available including bar and dining room, toilets and showers although the ablutions are closed when the club closes, usually around 9pm. There is no garbage, no dump point, no water, no grey water discharge and no power. It is a little isolated but only 20 minutes from Woodridge where we went to visit grandson Chris.
The GPS got a good workout for the first time in 6 months and I must say has been very helpful especially getting into and out of Woodridge at night.
The cheesecake was so good we ate most of it this afternoon.
Hmmm! Maybe she should have made a few cheesecakes and put the brandied cumquats to good use.
Sadly there is no room in the fridge or freezer for such luxuries.
Wednesday 7th December
It rained all day and was the coldest December day in Brisbane since 1960.
The CO-PILOT daughter, Alecia, called via Skype phone from Somalia where she is working as a nurse for the International Refugee programme with Medicins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders). The CO-PILOT was overjoyed that she can now call Alecia via Skype on the iPad but only in the afternoons when it is 6am in Somalia and Alecia has a few minutes before catching the bus to the refugee camp.
The CO-PILOT went ten pin bowling with Chris and Regelyn while I travelled to Fairfield to discuss a possible house sit for three months commencing end of March next year. After dinner we drove around the burbs looking for houses with outrageously large Christmas light displays. It was a probably a little early in the month for many houses to be lit up. At one house I fully expected to see Chevy Chase standing on the front lawn. By 9.30 pm we said our goodbyes and Happy Christmas to Chris n Regelyn
and drove back to Yatala in heavy rain. Once again the GPS kept us on track and we were soon tucked up in our cosy cocoon and drifting off to sleep to the sound of rain.
Thursday 8th December
YeeHar and Whacko the Didlio.
We have made progress today.
The day started out grey, wet and cool. A gauze like haze hung in the distance whichever way we looked.
We hooked up TERIOS in the rain and were on the road by 9.30am. Once we crossed the NSW border our mobile phone clocks jumped ahead an hour and the Bruce Highway became the Pacific Highway and the north coast of NSW beaches beckoned.
This area has had a lot of rain over the last couple of weeks. The creeks are all flowing swiftly and the fields of sugar cane and other crops are all standing in water. Water is puddled everywhere we look.
We stopped near Wardell at a roadside Rest Area to make lunch. The area had about a dozen chooks and roosters , living, we understand from talking with other travellers, on the scraps and handouts given by travellers.
The traffic noise was tolerable only as far as eating lunch was concerned. No way could we stay here overnight. I had planned to stop at freedom campsites or Rest Area’s listed in our Camps 3 and Wanderers Mate books.
The CO-PILOT called Alecia via Skype and got through after several attempts. Communications in that part of the world is a bit iffy.
We checked out several Rest Area’s including those at Woodburn and New Italy. All were beside the highway and therefore traffic noise would be a problem and there were no dump points to empty our cassette toilet. We were approaching Maclean and I was prepared to stop at a caravan park for the night when we saw a sign to Iluka and as neither of us has been there before turned off the highway and followed the signs. On the way we saw another sign to the NSW National Park at Woody Head and decided that was for us. We were surprised the fee was a $7 admission for the vehicle and $14 each to stay the night which would work out dearer than a caravan park but with no power, water or garbage service. However the location was just special and as we had driven this far and I wanted stop, we um err stopped. The lady at the NP office waived the $7 fee as I am a pensioner. She also suggested we apply for a parks pass which is free to pensioners and will give us free admission to all NSW parks except Kosciosko.
Once the decision was made to stay we set up in our campsite, the sun came out, most of the clouds rolled away and the remainder of the afternoon was spent at the beach.
We would both like to spend a few days here but at $28 a day is too expensive. It does highlight that we may have problems finding accommodation as we travel south. Caravan parks are likely to be booked out due to the school holidays.
Friday 9th December.
Queensland schools close today and according to the NP lady the campground is booked out for the rest of summer. In fact even after school holidays the park is booked out every weekend all year round.
Re-joining the Pacific Highway we drove into Grafton where we crossed the dog legged bridge over the Clarence River.
With both black and grey water tanks emptied and full fresh water tanks and few groceries on-board we continued south towards Woolgoolga but took a left hand turn before reaching the town, “just to see where the road would lead”. We ended up at a place called Mullaway Beach where we decided to stay for the night on the dunes overlooking the wave and wind swept beach.
Across from WWWGO was a man sleeping beside his car on the grass. Near him was a white Angora rabbit with about 7 kittens. They all waited patiently under the shade of the car for the man to wake and resume their journey.
About two hours later they were gone.
Coffs Harbour council have built a wonderful cliff edge walk which meanders into a boardwalk through sub-tropical jungle to South Mullaway Beach.
We enjoyed the walk and the vista along the coastline. Woolgoolga can be seen in the distance.
We dined on stir fried veggies and chilli Tofu while serenaded by the sound of the constantly crashing waves. In fact we fell asleep to the oceans eternal music.
Tonight, when about to boil the kettle, we ran out of gas (LPG). The last time we filled an LPG cylinder was 23rd August. That’s pretty good economy for a 9Kg cylinder. We use it for cooking at least twice a day and while on the road it also runs the refrigerator when are parked without shore power (240 volts).
Saturday 10th December
Today was a good day.
Today was a not so good day.
After leaving Mullaway Beach and driving into increasingly heavy rain we drove into Sawtell for a look see and were impressed by the community.
We could stay here a few days or even weeks but we can only camp at a caravan park and they are waaaaay too expensive, especially at this time of year.
Next we travelled to Nambucca Heads where we lunched at a place called Swimming Beach Creek and afterwards took a walk along the beach. I was intrigued by the geology of the cliffs and the layers of different material which seems to have been laid down over a long period of time and then at some stage pushed up and tilted on its side.
Some Google research is in order.
That’s the good part. Finding a camp spot for the night was the not so good stuff.
We decided to drive to Macksville then turned off the highway and travel a pretty (with steep hills and lots bends) valley to a place called Taylors Arm where reportedly it was THE PUB which was the one which inspired Gordon Parsons to pen the song A Pub With No Beer which most famous recording was made by Slim Dusty in 1959. www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/s/slim_dusty/a_pub_with_no_beer.html
Incidentally Slim Dusty lived in the Kempsey area, not far from Taylors Arms. Have a look at http://www.pubwithnobeer.com.au/barry.html
We had planned to camp here as it was advertised in our book as motorhome friendly with showers and toilets for a gold coin donation.
Hmmm! The campsite was across the street at the cricket oval and a game was in progress. The grounds were all soggy from the rain and the only dry part where we could drive through had trees with low hanging branches. In drier conditions it would have been nice to stay and soak up some of the local historical ambience. We had a beer at the pub, looked at all the historical photos and newspaper cuttings then elected to drive back to Macksville and look for a place to spend the night.
Hmmm. Every Rest Area we visited along the highway, from Macksville to Kempsey had No Camping signs or too close to the highway . We tried to stay at the Kempsey Showgrounds but they are closed. After looking at and rejecting a nearby van park and finding Crescent Head van park was $36 a night we parked in a car park at the back of the Showgrounds beside the football fields. The spot is a bit isolated and apart from a group of teenagers who walked past on their way to wherever, we were not disturbed and had a peaceful sleep.
Sunday 11th December
The day dawned bright and sunny. On the suggestion of brother Allan and friend Tony J we backtracked 26 Klms to Hat Head for a day visit.
Lovely spot and the day area is within a caravan park. The town is worthy of a longer visit but at $42 per night for the caravan park would have to wait for the low season before we could stay there. Even in the low season the fee is $26 per night. We had lunch and a look around then down to the beach for a bit of a surf.
Ummm. In reality only the CO-PILOT went in the water and it was more of a dump than a surf.
We kept a close eye on a big black storm which was building up somewhere to the northwest.
We decide to bake a chicken and a pudding and when they were near done, turned off the gas, packed up WWWGO and drove back to our spot behind the showgrounds and beside the football fields to spend another night. The storm finally broke on us as we were eating dinner and the rain bucketed down and was so loud the TV volume could not keep up.
Another quiet night on the carpark.