Thursday 27th October, (Wellington).

We have now moved on to Wellington, between Dubbo and Orange, and will be here for a week or so. We have some friends, Kay and Adrian Boyer, that are here, hence the reason for coming this way. We met Kay and Adrian earlier this year at Roma and several stays after that, as they seemed to follow us, when we were on our way to the Sunshine Coast. Kay’s mother isn’t real well so they have been settled in Wellington since not long after we met them, to keep an eye on her.

One of our longest trips yesterday moving here, being about 300Km, and we are hopeful that we don’t do trips like this very often. We were both rather tired last night and it probably had a bit to do with the fact that we had travelled the day before as well. We haven’t done a lot of travelling for a fair while and it probably caught up with us.

One thing we are going to have to get used to again is the amount of insects around. We had forgotten that there were so many flies etc when one goes inland, and that is certainly the case here. We have had to upgrade our insect prevention somewhat to combat them, we will see how it all works tonight. The electric unit I placed in the annexe a little earlier appears to be doing its job, but later in the day will really tell.

Friday 28th October, (Wellington).

The insect repellers are obviously working as we had an insect free night in the van last night and didn’t even have to use the spray. It does make a difference not having insects inside crawling all over yourself all night.

I had my little walk around town today doing my usual thing by taking photos, and was quite surprised to find the town is actually larger than I thought it was. It is quite a neat town with some good looking gardens in the town on the river edge. No doubt Linda will want to go for a walk around the gardens one day so I didn’t bother taking any shot there today.

News of Kay and Adrian: with them being here for several months looking after Kay’s ill mother it now seems that Kay’s father is not well either, having taken some sort of bad turn yesterday, so they could be tied down here for some time to come.

Sunday 30th October, (Wellington).

We haven’t done a great deal so far while here, except for Linda working on her calendar that she wants to produce as a Christmas present for several people. We have been rained in today, which is another good reason for not doing much. Linda is getting quite good at using her laptop as she is now getting quite a bit of practice. Her now using a digital camera has also been a big step in her learning.

We are now thinking of changing our travel plans a little, as Linda is now looking forward to getting to Melbourne to see Narrelle and Matt with them being there now.


Tuesday 25th October, (Singleton).

With a fine looking day, weather wise, saw us make a move today to Singleton. This trip was not without its little happenings though. We have had an overheating problem for the past few weeks and it came to a head today with severe overheating. In the five years of travelling it was time to use the RACT for the first time, so we gave them a call. We were at East Maitland when we finally decided that we had to stop, and the NRMA, we are in NSW, came there to see us. I explained to the mechanic that I considered that the problem was the thermostat and he sort of agreed. I could kick myself because after having overheating problems for several weeks I should have picked a lot earlier that this was the problem. The mechanic removed the thermostat, cut out the faulty centre of it and replaced it until I got a chance to replace it with a new one. The main problem with this job though, was that one bolt, holding the cover, removed most of the thread in the hole. A longer bolt was provided by the mechanic to get me by until I could repair the damage.

We then decided that we would stop at Singleton, mainly because the old thermostat didn’t seal the cover and we had a small leak, so at least a new thermostat had to be installed. I couldn’t get the hole repaired while here so it will have to keep until later. The new thermostat was fitted and the longer bolt seems to be holding well enough so this should get us by for now, and hopefully until we get to Melbourne.

The main reason for not waiting here to repair the bolt hole is because we consider that the caravan park we stopped at is ripping us off by charging us $25.00 per night when we think this is about at least $5.00 over priced, and the RAC book showed it at $20.00 anyway, so we decided that we would not stay any longer than one night out of principle.

Old Bar

Sunday 23rd October, (Old Bar).

The weather did clear on Friday afternoon and the awning was dry, so here we are at the moment at Old Bar, on the coast just east of Taree. We moved yesterday and the trip was about 250Km. I am still a little concerned about the car and the oil pressure. The trip yesterday was on a rather warm day and being rather humid, and the temperature was rather high for most of the trip. Due to the high temp the oil pressure was very low. I am now wondering whether the synthetic oil I used at the last service may normally thin under high heat, or if the engine is starting to show massive signs of wear. I am also considering the fact that the oil pressure has been doing strange things for a while now, and has only been showing constant low pressures since the service at Maroochy. Perhaps the cleaner that was inserted during that service has actually done its job and cleaned out the system and the gauge is now reading the actual pressure. I guess I will have to see what happens over the next week or two when we move inland and meet different air conditions.

Old Bar is a very small town and would be a nice place to sit for a while and rest, as there is not much else to do in the immediate area. I guess it could be a nice base to look around the Taree area, which we haven’t done yet. We had a look at the caravan park at Taree on a visit to the city today and decided we would be just as well off staying here.


Wednesday 19th October, (Sawtell).

We are still rained in so we decided today would be a better shopping day than tomorrow, and we may get a little look around tomorrow if it is a bit finer.

We had a discussion with some fellow campers yesterday as to where we intend going when we leave here, Bulahdelah, and there response was “why would you want to go there, there isn’t even a caravan park there”. I then showed them that there was and they then convinced me that this is a town that people just pass through. We have taken this to heart and decided to stay somewhere else, Old Bar. We will take a bit of notice of Bulahdelah next time we are going through there and see what we did miss.

Friday 21st October, (Sawtell).

We are still rained in at Sawtell and have had to book in for another couple of days as it is too wet to pack up and move. If we were moving to somewhere and planning to stay for a week or so it wouldn’t matter so much if the annexe was a little damp because we would be getting it out again on the same day. Our plans for the next couple of stopovers are for a couple of days only so it won’t be worth putting the annexe up, hence it must be dry before we pack it up and store it. It is forecast to fine up for the next coupe of days so we should be able to move tomorrow, if we want to get up very early, or Sunday.


Monday 17th October, (Sawtell).

So much for all the things we were going to see while here: It has rained since being here and is forecast for more until we are due to leave. We will see what happens on Thursday, rain wise to see whether we pack up or not, and then decide if we will stay for a few more days or not.

We do intend going to Dorrigo and, or, Urunga while here rain or shine as there seems to be scenes worth the trip. Dorrigo has an air walk that we must see.

We have booked another trip for Linda to go home for a week at the end of December so she can see the kids as we will not be going home for Xmas. We do then plan another trip early in the new year.

Tuesday 18th October, (Sawtell).

The sun shone through again today so we went for a drive up along the Waterfall way, the highway to Armidale. The specific towns we went to see were Dorrigo and Bellingen, and also Urunga on the coast. There is a couple of lookouts and a skywalk in the Dorrigo area that we intended to see, and were not disappointed. The whole area is so green and dense with rainforest, probably a better type of rainforest than one would se in Queensland. The skywalk was not as spectacular as we expected, but it was not disappointing either, still giving some spectacular views. We had the idea that we could spend some time in the Dorrigo area as there are quite a few National parks with many walking tracks. The problem is that we would have to stay at Bellingen because the road up the range would be a little steep and windy for the caravan. Bellingen, and its caravan park seemed like quite a nice place so it was decided that when we are next in the area with some time to spare we could spend some time there.

We also went to Urunga for a look as we had heard a few stories about it, and we had only passed through there on our travels up and down the coast. This is another place that is a must visit area when we have some time. The caravan park is close to the coast and is a very good looking park.


Tuesday 11th October, (Sawtell).

We have now moved about 200Km south to Sawtell, just south of Coffs Harbour, and not without incident. Yet another tyre destroyed itself today, or at least we detected it before it totally destroyed itself. We are now wondering what the problem is, I will have another talk to the so-called experts at Beaurepair tomorrow when I take the faulty one for replacement.

Friday 14th October, (Sawtell).

An eventful couple of days have just passed, with reloading laptops, and getting new tyres for the caravan.

It has been a bit of a learning exercise for me in reloading my old laptop for Linda’s use. I originally intended to configure it for logins for each of us, but some software we wanted to load is old and obviously not 100% suitable for XP and would not run on any other logon but mine. This was unsuitable for Linda so I decided to remove logons; now Linda will have to get used to the old directory tree I have adopted. Hopefully this should not be too much of a problem, time will get her used to it. All seems to be up and running now though, with the exception of the things Linda will find I have forgotten to load.

I had a big discussion with Beaurepairs about the van tyres, a female was the other party but she did seem to have a fair idea, and the solution was to change to Olympic Trojans. These are supposed to be a better tyre than Goodyear or Dunlop but time will tell I guess. It was reassured to me that there was no fault of mine whatsoever in the tyres failing, but I could not get an answer as to why they kept failing. I received different stories about tyre brands again that demonstrates that stories vary depending on whom one is talking to. Some previous Beaurepair staff think that Dunlop tyres are rubbish yet this woman swears that Dunlop are the superior tyre, so who knows. So long as they keep replacing the faulty tyres when needed I guess we will just have to see how these new ones perform. It is ironic, to a degree, that the tyres I have now used are the same brand recommended by the Beaurepairs in Ingham when I originally had problems, but they did not have any in stock. It seems that if these new tyres are the answer that our problems could have been overcome several years ago.


Sunday 9th October, (Ballina).

I haven’t written anything over the last couple of days because I have bought a new laptop and I have been busy getting it up and running, these are the first new words on the new machine.

We had a trip to Lismore on Friday, where I bought the new laptop, and were quite surprised with the scenery of the area. It was the greenest and lushest landscape we have seen in quite a long time. It was unusual to see such a large city, one much larger than we had anticipated, built on and around such hilly terrain. It seems to me that the original town was built in a valley surrounded by all the hills, and further expansion saw the city expand over the hills. One reason we visited the city was to decide whether we would visit for a stay sometime in the future, and I think this would be a certainty. One small problem though, was the caravan parks in the city do not look suitable enough for our needs, with the exception of one on the southern outskirts. I should make a report in my caravan park report.

I am quite surprised, although I shouldn’t be, that firing up the new laptop went as easily as it did. I did have one small problem with naming the machine, my logon name and registration name. It seems that one cannot use the same name for more than one of these things so I ended up having to use a logon name of ‘Ron’. This caused a minor problem of having a slightly different file directory for my document files so when I copied files from one machine to the other some tools have to have their data storage updated, no real hassle just time consuming. I dare say that I will remember this for the future.

Another year of Bathurst is over with me sitting and watching it all day today, and an interesting race with its dramas it was.

A car service to replace that suspect oil and a little look around here and we will be ready for another move on Tuesday.


Wednesday 5th October 2005, (Ballina NSW).We gave up on waiting for our mail to turn up and have now moved on to Ballina NSW about 200Km south of Brisbane.

We, or at least Linda, haven’t stayed At Ballina before although we have been through the town on a few occasions in our travels up and down the coast. I think that on our first visit to the town something must have happened that turned us off the place. Then a couple of years ago, Nov. 2003, when I was travelling south on my own because Linda had flown home, I stopped at Ballina for a visit and decided it was quite a nice place. Last year we didn’t stay here because we were checking out small coastal towns, smaller than here, and while at Evans Heads we had a trip into Ballina and Linda also decided that it was quite a nice town. Hence we have stopped here on this trip, and Linda is already saying that she wished we had moved down here a week ago instead of staying in Brisbane for the extra week. We are both liking the idea of all the walking/bike tracks close at hand in the district, and intend putting them to full use while here.

I had a learning experience with digital TV reception today: Some channels have only recently began transmitting in this district, and one of them, NBN, was tuning into but had no audio. I found a contact number for NBN Lismore and rang them to enquire as to why, and was confronted with a female receptionist? that obviously had no real idea about any sort of transmission problems. I received stories such as, “Some people are having problems with receiving audio, one problem is that we are transmitting on the same channel as analogue, channel 37, go back to where you bought your set top box and ask how to fix it”. To start with they do actually transmit on different channels, analogue on 47 and digital on 37, but her answer to this was “Some people receive analogue on 47 and some receive us on 37”, this to me is a complete bunkum story. Anyway I had a look at trouble shooting with the STB instructions under no audio and found that NBN here are transmitting more than one option of audio and it is defaulting to the wrong one, so after I changed to what the book said all was ok. I will remember this for possible future occasions.

Thursday 6th October, (Ballina).

So hot today, hit 40 mid afternoon according to the radio. It’s not as humid as it was in Brisbane, but this is still very hot. I had a bike ride yesterday and found once again that I am a little out of condition. I am hopeful of getting in a bit more riding while here, but it will have to cool down a little.


Sunday 2nd October, (Brisbane).

We filled in most of the day yesterday with a ferry ride up the river through the Brisbane city area. The City Cat is the local ferry service that does the job, although there are several other services that do similar cruises, but this one is included in all public transport services. One could get a day pass and catch a bus into the city and use the same pass to do the river cruise at a cost of about $5.00 per person, depending on how many zones. We chose to drive to the eastern end of the river and just catch the ferry at a cost of less than $5.00 per person. The trip was very much worth it and we enjoyed it thoroughly, it gives one a very good perception of the city area. I took over 200 pictures on the trip and had to start to limit myself or I may have run out of room on my storage card. I also had the idea of putting some of the shots here but could not chose which ones.

It is Sunday today so it will be our usual relax and do not much day. I do have a little PC work so between that and watching a little car racing on telly my day will be easily filled in.