1st stay Day 163-170, for 170 see Tasmania, flight only.
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 226 - Saturday 7th June 2008,P/Boro (SA) to Broken Hill (NSW)
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 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 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 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
Up about 8.30am Showered Breakfasted and then caught bus outside campsite into Manly No 155 Got 2 x day pass for buses, trains and ferries Gr8 value $16 each! Had a coffee and Gloria Jean’s on Manly Wharf then caught Jet cat across to circular quay Walked around passed Opera house , Bennalong Point to QE2 gates and Royal Botanic Gardens Then walked thru it out to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, then back again round to have lunch/ t in Wolfies. Alas Wolfies Grill closed so went to Italian Village (ace) $145 (approx £78) for 3 courses and drinks and a table with Opera House directly in front then walked up into the Rocks and back to ferry and bus ‘home’ Got back about 8-ish Pitch black Not many street lights and asked kind bus driver to tell us when to get off for Lakeside park NarabeenBeaut day, hot and sunny all day with nice cooling breeze off harbour Guess 22c bed at 1am after sorting out route back to Britz near airport Alas Sydney is all e-toll roads which means you can’t even use cash, nightmare. We reckon gonna have to do 30+ k extra, saw lots see the piccies plus Possums on campsite gate post. Met lots of folk especially Mrs Angry with the loud phone on the Manly Ferry back and bloke at gate with torch who pointed out the possums oh and American couple whom we traded photos (i.e we took one of them, they took one of us) with whilst in the Gardens.Just a lovely day, shame it’s possibly our last time in Sydney Still the best city in the World. NOT TRUE back in 2013 and you can never say never
Day 323 - Friday 12th September 2008,Sydney (Narabeen Lakes)
Lovely hot sunny day again with cool breeze 23c tried sorting out Parcel sent from Alice with Oz Post via phone (131318) Had to go down to PO in Narabeen to fill out a complaints form Now been 16 weeks lady tried to assure us, lets hope she is right Then drove up and parked in the surf club car park and walked along Narabeen beach, paddling (alas probably for the last time in Oz) Didn’t cross river as it came out into the sea as too fast and deep then went back to campsite and sat out on chairs with table Went possum spotting at night. Saw Beach, River , lakes Met guy from Adelaide (and Yorkshire) in next caravan Been in oz 36 years.Last paddle, hopefully sorting out parcel with oz post and luvverly sunshine!!! Boy how we are gonna miss that
Day 324 - Saturday 13th September 2008,Manly
Got up 8.30 Scorcher of a day First gr8 day of spring in Sydney 29c and v sunny 25c at 6pm Caught bus into Manly ($4 each each way – nice bus driver let us off one fare as we didn’t have change) Bought strawberry smoothie from Wharf, went to look where Anne used to live in Manly 6 or 9 Gilbert st (now gone but no 13 original) then went for walk along beach, packed , Corso packed , surfing and beach volley ball. Then looked in shops (too expensive) then had a gr8 meal in the Bavarian Bier exchange on the Wharf overlooking the harbour. Both had Veal and Claire valley white for Annie and a stein of Spaten Munchen for me. Rolled back on Bus, saw Manly beach in sun and throng! Met Len & Di in next door caravan. Downer (again) Barclays who screwed up and cut off our cash
Day 325 - Sunday 14th September 2008,Sydney (Narabeen Lakes) 2 Holiday Inn (airport)
Up at 8 packed final things Had breakfast Rained all night and hard, weird after previous days heat Got rid of rubbish, left leftovers in Kitchen for other campers – books, food, lamp etc Then after one final dunny man act we went off up Mona Vale road (Hwy3) across the Ryde bridge then down Concord road onto the Parramatta Rd (hwy4) and straight onto Hwy31 into Broadway (old part of Sth Sydney, close to city center) then out on Regent / Boundary to Gardiners and the Britz office. Returned van caught taxi 500m to Holiday Inn (cnr of O’Roidan & Bourke) $14 bit of a rip but no other way with so many suitcases. Saw Airport and enjoyed a bit of luxury at hotel.Gave our home back after 105 days, sad but nice as well, good to get the luxury of space etc in our Holiday Inn Hotel, Sydney airport, room 522 Nice meal in restaurant then went to bed early to try and sleep as up early, not easy as so hot Met no one – canned telstra modem (although still had to sort out in UK 3 months later)
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