Gold Coast

Thursday 28th February, (Gold Coast).

Not much to write about our stay at Woopi as, earlier indicated, we didn’t do much there but relax, and we enjoyed it immensely.

We moved on Wednesday and decided to have a stop over at a small place called New Italy. There is a business set up at the rest area, or the rest area is set up where the business is, and there are toilets shops and phones available at the site. We selected this site from a new book we bought giving locations of rest areas and campsites. If I have mentioned this book before I am again going to say that it looks like we will get a lot of use from it and it won’t be long, I’m sure, that it will pay for itself.

We discovered an obstacle we will have to learn to overcome when stopping over at rest areas as we seamed to have picked up quite a few earwigs last night, we didn’t see any while there, but they certainly showed up today. So it will now better to be prepared to pick up insects of whatever kind.

We are now at The Gold Coast, camped at a caravan park just north of Surfers Paradise. We chose this spot because we have an old friend to visit who lives at Surfers, and the park we chose is surprisingly cheap, being a big 4 and in this area.

A typical problem occurred with us today that would have been easily overcome if we had put a little thought into the occurrence, yes we moved into Queensland today and didn’t realise until TV watching time when the programmes weren’t as per the guide that daylight saving does not exist here. Linda had already started to put tea on so the result was after adjusting clocks we sat down to tea an hour early, I am sure we will adjust easily enough.

Woolgoolga

Monday 25th February, (Woolgoolga).

We had intended to have a relaxing time while here, and we have achieved it very successfully. When it hasn’t been raining, or at least looking like it, it has been too hot and muggy to do anything anyway.

One thing we have noticed here, one thing impossible to not notice, is the line of roost trees for all the Parrots along the edge of the park. The long row of pine trees are home at night for hundreds of birds, which are very noisy for about two hours before dark with them getting louder towards dark. A bit hard to handle the first evening here, but one ends up happily putting up with them as it is a sound one does not hear very often anywhere.

A move on Wednesday will see us moving closer to Surfers Paradise, maybe with an overnight stop on the way if weather permitting, or a night or two at another stop like Ballina, or maybe Byron Bay. A decision tomorrow night will reveal which will be the case.

Woolgoolga

Thursday 21st February, (Woolgoolga).

Linda’s 50th birthday today and I think she was a little disappointed that there were not a lot of people around, whom she knows, to help celebrate. Things were made up for somewhat by speaking to Narrelle last night and getting a couple of SMS’s today. She was expecting a card from Nell but as yet it has not turned up, Nell was a little late sending it though, and she did send two emails, one to each of my addresses, to make sure she at least received something.

I received an email from Jerry the Pom, an old workmate, and it is so refreshing hearing from at least one of them, probably especially CCHHEEII, as it is enlightening to see how he actually writes exactly like he speaks. Following is an example extract from his mail:

Ron   —-good to see over your Xmas break down here—-Looking sooo  well.  Some people must hate you.  AND  AND   your  transport  vehical.  Looked the part and may it keep pulling you and Linda along.   OK- yesterday was BIG storm  BIG time.  Today  early  was so cold–  even I hate you…..  thanks for your big  Email  effort to all of us, very well done.

It was a demonstration today of why we make no steadfast travel plans, as we sat down today and discussed where we should go after leaving Brisbane, and we have now changed our so called plans as follows. We had planned earlier this year to do the full lap of the big island but having to be back in Brisbane for Christmas, 9 months would not be any where long enough to go to Darwin, south to Perth and return to Brisbane, so earlier we had decided to travel to Darwin and possibly back to Cairns and then south back to Brisbane. Today we seem to have now changed those plans, as it seems a waste of time and distance retracing our path from Mt Isa to Darwin and return, so it now seems we may only go as far as Mt. Isa and then back to Cairns. One reason for this change is the fact that Narrelle and Matthew will most likely be back in Aust. for the wedding of one of her friends in September and she indicated that it would be nice to meet up with us in Cairns, or somewhere around there, while they are here.

It would be our thoughts then to travel from Brisbane, after Christmas, down and across to Adelaide, and then possibly up the middle via Alice Springs to Darwin and then south to Perth in time for the next summer, being about 12 months. Then from Perth across the Nullarbor back to Adelaide and then consider where to from there, probably Cairns for winter, Ohh!! look at those miles.

I wonder how long these plans will last.

Woolgoolga

Wednesday 20th February, (Woolgoolga).

I have not written a great deal lately as we have gotten a chance to just relax for a while, which means not doing much.

We have left Forster and moved on to Woolgoolga, a sign outside the town says “A hard place to say, a nice place to stay” and although we have only been here for a few hours it seems to be correct. We did have a look down here last year while we were at Coffs Harbour and decided then that we must stay here sometime and that is what directed us here this time.

It is finally a pleasure to be in warmer weather. We have now moved a fair way north so it is naturally going to be that way. We have experienced a fair bit of wind, as at the moment, and the occasional rain but at least it is still warm.

We travelled a fair distance today, about 300 kilometres, which would normally be further than we would prefer, but Linda wasn’t happy with the idea of having an overnight stop on the way, as she did not like the idea of travelling tomorrow on her birthday, especially being her 50th. Now that we only plan one more stop on the way to Brisbane and we have two weeks from today to be there, we decided that a stop over for a week at this location would be the order of call and we can now get into the travel habits that we would prefer by staying for at least a week wherever we stop.

I am sure we are going to enjoy our stay here. The situation of the caravan park is close to shops and the beach so the car can have a bit of a rest this week, as apart from a trip to Coffs Harbour and maybe whatever there is to look at, there will be no need to use it. The pushbikes should get a fair bit of use while we are here.

The Entrance

Saturday 16th February, (The Entrance, Forster/Tuncurry).

We did end up having some good weather, at last, and enjoyed it greatly.

We found this Island of Tasmania, complete with Pelicans.

We have now moved on to Forster/Tuncurry, about 200 kilometres north, in the Great lakes area just south of Taree.

We will have about two more stops before we finally head into Brisbane.

Sunday 17th February, (Forster/Tuncurry).

Had a look around at some lookouts in the local area and found a couple that provide good to spectacular scenery, it is a pity that it was so windy though, which made it very hazy.

It is easy to tell that we are further north than a couple of weeks ago, when the wind still blows and it rains occasionally, but it is sooo! warm.

We recently received contact numbers and email addresses for an old workmate, Denis Bowden, who received a redundancy at the same time as I, but he was the one who had to stay at work a little longer and do all the organising to make sure the rest of us got away. He and wife have gotten the caravanning bug as well and are also on the mainland. I have been communicating with him and hope to bump into them somewhere on our travels. They are also heading up the east coast but they don’t have a schedule to keep, as we do at the moment, so we are moving up at a faster rate than they are. Never mind, we will see them sometime.

The Entrance

Wednesday 13th February, (The Entrance).

A look around the area was the order of the day. The weather not being very good again today means we will just look for good photo taking areas so we can go back on a fine day and get some good shots, hopefully.

The area has some very good scenery to offer, being rather hilly and right on the coast, with some good lookouts. Some we didn’t visit today with the idea of doing those on a finer day. The forecast is for fine days to follow, but I’m not saying that I trust the forecast.

The Entrance

Tuesday 12th February, (The Entrance).

The Entrance is our choice of stay for the next few days. The Entrance is situated only about 100 kilometres north of Sydney, just north of Gosford.

Our time in Sydney was just as we intended, very relaxing. We did go out for tea one night with Sue and invited her around to the van for tea the other nights; this was to prevent her from dragging us out every night. Normally we wouldn’t have minded going out but it would not have been in keeping with us just sitting around.

Linda did go shopping with Sue on Sunday, and didn’t enjoy the experience at all as Sue is one to have money to spend, and did, and Linda was just left feeling out of it as she does have to watch her budget.

We did at one stage accept that we may have to stay in Sydney for a few days as the weather forecast was not good, but New South Wales keeping up with their standards got it all wrong again and it has been reasonably fine, except for the wind, so we were able to move on.

We may have chosen the wrong caravan park on this visit, as it was quite full when we arrived and we were only left with the last sites to be normally allocated, obviously. There is nothing really wrong with the park; it is just that it would have been nice to have a choice of a better site. We are stuck behind a great big palm type bush, which is blocking our TV reception but a move of the aerial to the front of the van has somewhat overcome the problem. We are getting pretty good reception but it should be perfect.

One of our main reasons for stopping here, apart from the fact that we bypassed it last time, is to visit an old friend who lives at Gosford. I haven’t seen him for quite a few years, except for when we were on the same boat to come over here in Jan. 2001, and I am looking forward to catching up with him again.

Sydney

Saturday 9th February, (Sydney).

Well the weather is still not favourable so we decided against an over night stop on the way and are now in Sydney.

We have met up with Sue (sister) already and she has so far organised a night out for tea and a shopping trip for her and Linda tomorrow. Other than this we intend to have a very restful stay here without venturing very far at all.

The length of our stay here will purely depend on the weather as we have decided that we are now close enough to Brisbane to change our plans to suit us and move where, and when we please.

Canberra

Thursday 7th February, (Canberra).

We ended up going direct to Canberra and hope that we don’t very often make a trip like that again, to far, too long, too hot.

I believe Linda is very impressed with Canberra, she was heard to say, “Look at all the things to do here, and most of it is free”. Two days are obviously not going to be enough time here, so we will definitely be back some day, unless we decide to stay here a bit longer.

As was probably expected we are back to cheap fuel prices, isn’t it typical that the pollies would look after their own welfare, not that any of them pay for anything here though.

The weather forecast is still not good, but I hope it will be good enough for a good look around tomorrow.

Friday 8th February, (Canberra).

A rather disappointing day today, spoiled by weather, or should I say weather forecasts. After Linda had done the washing we decided to have a go at looking at some lookouts with the forecast for afternoon showers and thunderstorms. As we drove to a mountain east of Canberra, which boasted great views of the city and surrounds, it started raining. The views from the lookout would have been very good except for the rain and cloud cover, so it was no good taking photos. With us deciding a return trip would be the order, it would be an idea to leave photo taking until then.

We then decided to just have a drive around for a look and after visiting a shopping centre we heard about, Tugeranong Hyper mart, then return home where Linda would feel better off being in the thunderstorm. During our travels we ended up at the Telstra tower, a gigantic tower on the western side of the city also boasting spectacular views. It turned out the only good views to be seen would be from the tower and, even though the weather had cleared somewhat but with some black clouds still hovering, we decided that it would possibly be a waste of time, and money, to go up the tower to take photos if it were not fine, so we will also do it on upon our return.

A further drive around and we found ourselves at the shopping centre, shopping centre; this was not just a shopping centre, it was a township made up of shops, humongous, every conceivable shop one could think of. We were there for an hour or so, and we didn’t have any shopping to do, and hardly saw any of it.

It was now about 3.30pm, almost too late to do any more looking about, and would you believe the weather for the past couple of hours had been fine and sunny and it looked as though it was going to be like it for the rest of the day, and so it was, so it turned out we could have had a good days photo taking but was ruined because we listened to the forecast. One should have remembered that forecasters in New South Wales could never get it right, to my experience during our travels.

We don’t have time at this stage to stay any longer so the only option is to return for a longer stay at some later stage. We will be moving on tomorrow toward Sydney with an overnight camping stay somewhere half way.

Albury

Wednesday 6th February, (Albury).

We are at our usual place of stay at Albury, and although this park is quite satisfactory next time we visit this area it might be time to check out another just to compare.

The weather didn’t hold out so it was necessary to run the generator yesterday morning for a couple of hours to boost the batteries a little for when we need them in future.

Linda has done her birthday shopping for Narrelle and while here I decided to visit the Telstra shop because this is where I purchased the new CDMA mobile. My intention was to just bring to the attention of the manager the problems I have had and express my disapproval of what has happened and the she was very cooperative indeed. She assured me that if I didn’t receive any satisfaction with Bendigo then I could contact her and she would endeavour to assist where she could.

It is off again tomorrow toward Canberra; possibly with an overnight stop somewhere about half way, unless we decide to go all the way, probably depends on the weather more than anything.

We visited Narrelle’s in-laws again today and as usual it was great to see them again and for them to see us again. Mark wasn’t there today, but Kaye and Lorne were and we had a long chat, or at least a friend of theirs visiting did.