Kalgoorlie & NZ December 2016

Jude is back from her NZ trip and Tui is still working hard, now on his regular roster. We are still camped at George & Vicky’s and they looked after Tui very well in Jude’s absence. Thanks guys. Tui had a 3am start the day Jude left so we were up at 2.30.  Vicky took Jude to the train at 6.30 and so the big trip began.

prospectorThe Prospector, a high speed, state-of-the-art train, departs at least once a day from both Kalgoorlie & East Perth.  The 653km journey takes approximately 7 hours however we were a little late getting in.  The option was taken to disembark at the Midland Station as it was a bit closer to the Airport saving on the Taxi fare.  It is fully air-conditioned with large, well-cushioned seats. Some of the features include:

  • An on-demand entertainment system with personal music channels and new release movies
  • Power points for laptop computers
  • Full buffet service (cash only)
  • Toilet facilities
  • Special facilities to cater for people with mobility difficulties.

Some quite nice scenery on the way.

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Had to wait a little while for a Taxi, arriving at the airport just after Hayden & Tania (Jude’s son & Fiancee). The plane was delayed but fortunately the Pilot got us there on time, 6.05 am NZ time. A wet & windy day greeted us, with Jeff (Jude’s other son) picking us up from the airport. Straight out to see the Grandkids, so cool to see them again. Jeff, Amie & their 3 children live in the country on a few acres in Pukekawa which is about 55 kms south of the Airport. The area’s fertile soils are used to grow a range of vegetables, including onions, potatoes and carrots although Jeff runs a few sheep and calves.

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After lunch it was off to Brian & Trish’s to pick up the car that they had kindly let Hayden & Tania borrow whilst in NZ. After a catch up with Brian, Trish Bob & Janine (Jude’s sister) it was pick up Pizza for tea and back out to Pukekawa. After approximately 30 hrs with no sleep it was time for bed.

It was the annual Tuakau Kindergarten Duck Race the next day and Nana Jude would have loved to go but was too exhausted so just had a chill out day.

 

Jeff headed off to Rotorua next day to spend a couple of days with his brother and dropped Nana Jude off at Mercer to meet up with Janine & Bob in their Motor Home.  It was off to their daughter’s place to help her move house.  Annette & Paul live on the shores of Lake Taupo at a place called Kinloch.   Originally a sheep station, Kinloch later developed as a holiday destination with baches being built next to the lake,  it now has a mixture of permanent residents and holiday makers. The lake is used for trout fishing, water skiing & wake boarding.

 

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annette-paul-shiftAbsolutely Beautiful weather so it was back into summer clothes again.  Off to Taupo township to do a spot of shopping.  The mountain had a sprinkling of snow the week before so looked magnificent.

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After a couple of days it was off to Rotorua with Hayden & Tania to stay at the Resort at the edge of the Lake  A bit of a bypass to see the Huka Falls.

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Located just a few minutes drive north Taupo, this thundering 11-metre high waterfall is the most visited and photographed natural attraction in New Zealand.

The sheer volume of water flowing over the falls amounts to 220,000 litres per second – enough to fill one Olympic sized swimming pool in 11 seconds!

The Waikato River, normally up to 100-metres wide, abruptly narrows to just 15 metres as it crosses a hard volcanic ledge north of Lake Taupo. This causes a huge volume of water to collide and funnel through the rocky gorge, forming the spectacularly powerful falls and rapids.

Onto Sandra’s (niece) in Matamata for a Barbie. On the way we drove through Tirau.  Tirau is a vibrant little town set in the South Waikato amongst some of New Zealand’s most fertile farmland.  The Tirau community has claimed corrugated iron art as it’s own and now Steven Clothier’s works line the streets.

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Lesley called around for a catch up. So good to see you girls.  Next day Hayden & Tania set off to Tauranga to see friends while Jude had a rest day.  Pity no Bathers in the bag as there was a Spa pool.

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Friday it was time to head back to Pukekawa to get organised for Jeff’s 40th Birthday.  Hayden & Tania stayed in Tuakau with Carmel (a friend) while Jeff dropped Jude off at Janine & Bob’s.  They live in their Motor Home but have a little flat on the end of Bob’s shed and have been busy doing some additional work so now have a spare bedroom.

The Birthday Party was a blast. It was fantastic to see almost all of our Brother’s family, who past away last year, celebrating with us.  In fact there were only a couple of cousins that couldn’t make it.  The live band was great and most of us had sore feet the next day.  Food awesome, can’t beat home killed mutton!

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ma-2-boys-2A couple of fun presents.

 

Jude & her boys hadn’t been together for 10 years so it was great to get a photo, even though Jude could have looked better.  Lol!

 

 

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The following week was pretty much catching up with Janine & Bob except being picked up on Thursday afternoon by Robyn (friend) and taken out to her place for the night. We had a lovely Barbie with Kay (Robyn’s sister) & her husband joining us.  Been a few years Kay! Robyn & Murray have a farm in between Mercer & Mangatawhiri.  They grow Maize and graze cattle.

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The next day it was a drive to Pauanui, approx an hour and a half away as they have a beach place there and Robyn wanted to take some things down for Christmas and mow the lawns.  The town of Pauanui meaning Big Paua (abalone) in Maori is on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula.  The area is a popular holiday destination, with an estimated summer holiday maker population of over 15,000, and is popularly imagined as a resort enclave for Auckland’s upper classes – properties with views of the ocean are regularly sold for over NZ$1 million.

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Back to Janine’s, then next day was Ella’s (Granddaughter) 4th Birthday.  Janine & Jude drove out to Pukekawa to a fairy tale scene.  Set among the trees at the back of the block were tree stumps painted red with white dots to represent toadstools.  Pictures of fairies hung in the trees and everyone was given a magic wand.  I am sure all of the children had a blast.

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A few more days of catch up with Janine then out to lunch with Robyn & Kay on Wednesday. Great food , great company.

At that Tuakau Kindergarten each Thursday they have a Nature Discovery Day.  A group of the children go out and explore what Nature has to offer.  Hand feeding eels, climbing up banks with the aid of ropes and finding all sorts of interesting objects.  Jeff had the day off work to take Max & Ella and invited Jude to join them.  Everyone took along a sandwich to be toasted and they lit a fire, put a hot plate on top when the embers had died down a bit,  cooked them for lunch.  Delicious! Nothing like eating outdoors. Max had the job of making the children their Milo and the adults tea or coffee.  Good job Max.

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As you can see it was a little wet so borrowed leggings and coat were the order of the day.  A fun day but Nana Jude was pretty tired at the end of it.  Off for tea at the Papakura RSA that night with Janine & Bob and their Motor Home mates.  Great to see you Ray & Sue.

We were now the day before departure back to Perth.  Off to Pukekohe to do a spot of Christmas shopping while Janine & Bob stayed at home working on their project.  Not an easy task, couldn’t find a thing for Tui, so duty free Bourbon it was,  and didn’t really get what I wanted for others.  We had an impromptu family pot luck dinner that night for those who lived close by in Janine & Bob’s shed.  Sandra came up from Matamata with her boys and stayed the night.  Always a good time with that lot.

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Jeff, Amie & kids, Janine & Bob all came to the airport to see us off next day.  All in all a good trip however Nana Jude would have liked to spend more time with Max, Ella & Sam.

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Will really miss you guys!

 

 

 

 

It was after 11pm Perth time by the time we arrived at Hayden & Tania’s.  Not a very good nights sleep, then was dropped off at East Perth Train Station 3hrs early as Hayden & Tania had to work.  Got as far as Toodyay & the train was stopped because of a bush fire.

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Steam train at East Perth.

 

Finally arrived an hour and a half late.  So good to be greeted by Tui.

Christmas is fast approaching and Tui has started his 2nd night shift roster.  Unfortunately he will be working night shift for Christmas so it will be a pretty quiet one for us.

We would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas & trust that 2017 will be a great one for all of you.  Catch ya in the New Year.  Until then “Laugh more, live longer!

 

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Kalgoorlie November 2016

Yes we have left Perth!  The last week was pretty hectic.  The day before we went to Bindi Bindi, Tui got a phone call with the offer of a job in Kalgoorlie, thanks to our mate George.  A trip to Perth to have his medical and fitness test.  A very lengthy and tiring process.  Also had to apply for a Police Clearance.  Arrived at Pete’s and just parked up in the Driveway to the shed.  Great to be back there and reminisce.

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Quite a bit drier that an hour down the road at Kim’s place. Went to Ellenbrook for lunch on the Sunday for Pete’s Dad’s 82nd Birthday. Wow, has that place grown.  Lovely meal, a fun day.

Back down to Perth to Paul & Sue’s to wait for the Police Clearance and do a few things. We had a call from Tom & Gayle to say they were heading to Herron Point for the weekend with Russell & Julie so we decided to go too & catch up with them. Still no Police Clearance but we decided that we would head to Kalgoorlie after the weekend anyway.

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Always a great time with that group. The girls took a trip into Pinjara on Saturday and all had a pedicure and did a spot of shopping while the boys collected firewood.

 

Called into Tom & Gayle’s in Mandurah so Tui could have a look at Tom’s garage door which on inspection needed a new motor.  Tom & Tui did a few other chores so we ended up staying the night with Gayle & Tom shouting us tea. Thanks Guys it was awesome.

 

On the road bright and early next morning so we could call into Russell & Julie’s and check out their Garage Door.  Lovely Breakfast thank you Julie.  This time it only took Tui a few minutes to fix so we were soon on our way to Kalgoolie. calaise-karalee-rocksTui had bought a 2000 Holden Calais from Paul as a hack for him to drive to & from work so after getting a few repairs done & getting it registered, Jude drove behind Tiki Tourer and the trailer to Kalgoorlie, some 657kms. Car went well but looking at the rear end of the trailer became a bit monotonous. We decided to have a break at Karalee Rocks, a free camp, 51kms East of Southern Cross & 177kms from Kalgoorlie. A 3-night maximum stay applies and you need to come equipped with firewood and drinking water but there are toilets and a Dump Point.

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The dam was built at Karalee in 1897 to provide water for steam trains using the Southern Cross to Coolgardie railway.   While we were there they were pumping water from the Dam to fill a Water Truck for the road works.

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The site was chosen mainly because of the granite outcrop; with rain the outcrop becomes a natural catchment area.  This enables the water to flow off the rock into the dam via a large semi-circular aqueduct of steel, hand riveted at each joint, which is still in very good condition considering its age and the natural harsh elements. To reflect upon the unbelievable manual labour and horsepower involved in this construction, is well worth the journey. An informative trail leads beside the old aqueduct, however we didn’t wander too far as the flies were real bad.

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A bit of a slow start next morning, then off to Kalgoorlie. After filling with water and a spot of grocery shopping we headed to George & Vicky’s.  Camped out the front of their place. We had intended to go to a caravan park but George insisted he could get us into the back in the weekend so with a rearrangement of vehicles and the grand kids play area we were in. Thanks guys.

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Finally the Police Clearance arrived so Tui was off to do his inductions.  He is working for Ausdrill and is servicing the Drilling Rigs in the Super Pit.  Ausdrill is integrated mining and energy services group providing exploration, mine develoment, surface and underground mining, manufacturing, energy and infrastructure services globally.

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Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) is the management company of the Kalgoorlie Operations for Joint Venture Owners Barrick Australia Pacific Pty Ltd and Newmont Asia Pacific Ltd. KCGM Operations include the Fimiston Open Pit (Super Pit), Mt Charlotte Underground Mine and the Fimiston and Gidji Processing Plants. The risk of working near voids has prompted KCGM, with partner contractor Ausdrill, to develop the long-reach drill and a remote drill to better and more safely navigate voids. The Super Pit is purported to be the largest open pit Gold Mine in Australia.

According to Wikipedia the pit is oblong in shape and is approximately 3.5 kilometres long, 1.5 kilometres wide and 600 metres deep. However we have heard it is now larger than that. A big hole!! Mining is via conventional drill and blast mining via face shovels and dump trucks. Around 15 million tonnes of rock is moved in any given year, consisting primarily of waste rock.

In order to recover the gold, the ore must be crushed, passed through a gravity circuit to recover the free gold present in some of the higher-grade lodes, and then subjected to flotation to produce an auriferous pyrite concentrate. This is then roasted at a small smelter outside Kalgoorlie-Boulder to liberate the gold from the tellurides.

He is now doing 11 days straight then goes onto a regular roster of 7 days on, 4 days off, 7 nights on, 3 days off.  It is good knowing when he is working so that we can plan to do things on his days off. Think we will be here a while.

A lovely surprise when our Mates Jen & Mick, who we met in MacKay, rocked up.  Once again George said we will get the Caravan in!  A bit of a squeeze but they made it.

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Tui had the weekend off so we took them up to the Super Pit and he explained a lot of things.  Of course the usual photos were taken.

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Called in to the Go Kart track where George and Vicky were doing a sausage sizzle.  Great track and it was interesting watching some of the Drivers doing their stuff.

Sunday the 6 of us headed to Broad Arrow Tavern for lunch, a ghost town, located 38 km north of Kalgoorlie on the Leonora Road.  Gold was first discovered there in 1893 which triggered a gold rush in the region. At its peak the town had 15,000 residents, eight hotels and two breweries as well as a stock exchange. Other facilities included a hospital, three churches, Salvation Army Hall, a chemist, two banks, police station with resident magistrate, a mining registrar, a post office, a cordial factory, six grocery stores and two draperies, and blacksmith and bakers’ shops.

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The tavern has made a feature of graffiti and the walls are covered with the scribblings of many visitors. Unfortunately we left the Pen behind.  Might have to revisit one day.  The beer is icy cold and the burgers are great, huge in fact. It is very quiet during the week but on weekends it comes to life.

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Well this has been a bit of a rushed Blog as Jude is off to New Zealand tomorrow for three weeks.  Catch ya next month.

Until then “Laugh more, live longer”

 

 

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Still in Perth September/October 2016

Well & truly overdue for an update so here goes! As you can see we are still in the Perth area. After 3 weeks of solid work on our house & garden, Tui was set to move back in when our Property Manager found new tenants.  It was great catching up with friends and thanks Justine & Tony for a lovely meal. We hadn’t quite finished cleaning out what we hadn’t used in Tiki Tourer & Trailer in the previous 5 years but the tenants wanted to move in early so down the road we went. However we have since had a big clean out of both the trailer and Tiki Tourer.

We parked up at Paul & Sue’s at Mullaloo and Tui offered to install their new oven for them.

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Well the renovations continued with cupboards around the microwave which was installed where the old oven was, kitchen family room and dining room painted, new wheels on glass sliding door.  Then it was onto the Office and Master Bedroom with walls painted and wooden floors installed.  We think the neighbours thought we had moved in permanently.

Took time out one Sunday and went 4 wheel driving with Paul, Sue, Kenny and Marzie (sorry probably wrong spelling). Sunny but cool. Suzi went pretty well but we lost clearance and got stuck in the big ruts in the sand.  Tui reckons a lift kit is on the cards.

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We had a lovely few days away.  Went down to Kenwick to Theron’s and he took us up the Swan River in his boat.  Although it was cold, once again the sun was shining and we had an awesome day. Thanks Mate!

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Called into a couple of wineries and bought some lovely Port.  Stayed with Theron & Christine for 2 nights then headed south to Herron Point just south of Mandurah, a spot we have been to a few times.  No power or water but only $7 a night each.  It was great to just chill out.

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Only a one night stay then up to Hayden’s as Tania was doing our Tax for us.  Thanks heaps Tania.  Jude also spent a weekend with them prior.  So good to catch up and Jude & Hayden enjoyed watching the All Blacks together.  Poor Tania said “oh no not two of you abusing the Ref””

 

 

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A couple of photos below driving up to Hayden’s.

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It was then time to head back to Perth.

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Back up Paul & Sue’s for a bit. Jude received a nice surprise as Tui bought a new hand basin for Tiki Tourer and installed it.  What a difference! No more rusty blemishes.

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Hooked up the trailer and headed North. The plan was to make our way up to Bindi Bindi and catch up with Pete, who Tui worked for when we first started traveling.  The decision was made to make our way up the coast stopping at Moore River the first night. This was where we tried out our Kayaks the first time before we started traveling full time.moore-river-campmoore-river

Next morning turned out cold, scrawly showers and strong winds.  Not very pleasant but we headed further up the coast on the Indian Ocean Drive.

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Called into Lancelin and bought a Pie each then up to the Cervantes turn off and across to Moora, which is only 40 mins or so from Bindi Bindi.  cervantes-to-mogumber

Really good Free Camp opposite the IGA with a Dump Point and water.

 

Just parked up and low & behold Topsy & Arie who now live in Moora, called in to see us.  Great to see you guys, you are always so much fun. Ooops missed photos again. We sent a text to Pete and he was away in Mandurah. Darn.

 

Our friend Kim has bought a farm at Mogumber, 30 mins south of Moora, so we set off there instead.  Really nice property and we had a great camping spot.

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It wasn’t long before Kim had an Air Strip mowed so Tui could go flying.

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Air Strip number one was a bit of a challenge.  Bit short and power lines one end and fence the other, also the odd tree to navigate.  Kim was back on the tractor to mow strip number 2.  Tui took some awesome photos.  There are a series of Motorcross tracks on Kim’s property that he leases out, pretty spectacular from the air.

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Tui also captured the dust of a truck traveling up a Gravel Road.  Time to pay Kim back with a bit of work around the farm.  The Garage Door boys making sheds out of old panels.

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We had a couple of days over 30 degrees and man did we feel it after temperatures well below 20 previously.  It was pretty short lived as we were soon back into Trackies and Jumpers.  The local Mogumber Pub has a free meal on Thursday nights so we headed down there with Kim. Not a flash meal but nice all the same and we got to meet some locals.

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Saturday night was the Bindoon Rodeo.  Greg rode up from Margaret River and Kim’s Partner, Kerry, came up from Perth.  It was so cold we all left early and went to the Bindoon Pub for Dinner.  Lovely atmosphere and meal.  Then it was back to the farm to light a bonfire.  Great night. Jude was all set to take some awesome photos of the fire, unfortunately the camera battery died.

Project number 2.  Erect the Patio.  Kim had this given to him, massive.

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Had a second night at the Mogumber Tavern for tea.  Jude met a lady, Noleen, and got talked into going to the Mogumber Library next morning to meet the some of the ladies of the district that have a coffee morning every Friday.  After coffee they all headëd to an open garden but unfortunately we were heading off to Bindi Bindi so it was back to Kim’s to pack a few things away. Kim had killed a couple of sheep so Jude had to rearrange the freezer to fit it in.  Thanks Kim, very much appreciated.

Finally made it to Bindi Bindi.  The weather has heated up again.  More about this in the next Post.

Until then “Laugh more, live longer”.

 

 

 

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Heading Back To WA – July/August 2016 – Part 2

Well over 1,400kms had now been traveled, just under 3,000kms to go!  It is a big country!  Across the South Australia Border, having Tiki Tourer checked for fruit and vegies!

South Australia Border 2South Australia Border

Over the MurrayAlong the Murray

We then drove through Renmark.

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Just before Waikerie Tui spotted an awesome free camp , Holders Bend, right on the banks of the Murray.  Seven Day Camping time limit.  So peaceful we didn’t want to leave.

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Tui feeding Pelicans

Tui had fun feeding the Pelican’s.

Waikerie is well known for citrus growing and gliding, as the flat dry terrain provides good thermals. Waikerie hosted the 14th World Gliding Championships in 1974. Tui was really keen to fly the Murray in his Microlight but once again the weather put a stop to that!

There are several Locks on the Murray River and as we approached Blanchetown we noticed a sign Lock 1 so turned off to have a look! Lock 1 was completed in 1922.  Torrumbarry weir downstream of Echuca began operating in December 1923. Of the numerous locks that were proposed, only thirteen were completed; Locks 1 to 11 on the stretch downstream of Mildura, Lock 15 at Euston and Lock 26 at Torrumbarry. Construction of the remaining weirs purely for navigation purposes was abandoned in 1934. The last lock to be completed was Lock 15, in 1937. Lock 11, just downstream of Mildura, creates a 100-kilometre long lock pool which aided irrigation pumping from Mildura and Red Cliffs.

Each lock has a navigable passage next to it through the weir, which is opened during periods of high river flow, when there is too much water for the lock. The weirs can be completely removed, and the locks completely covered by water during flood conditions. Lock 11 is unique in that the lock was built inside a bend of the river, with the weir in the bend itself. A channel was dug to the lock, creating an island between it and the weir. The weir is also of a different design, being dragged out of the river during high flow, rather than lifted out.

Lock 1 Murray RiverLock 1 Murray River 2

Clare Valley 1As we had never been through the Clare Valley Region we opted to take the inland road through some lovely little towns. The Clare Valley wine region is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions, best known for Riesling wines. It lies, approximately 120 km north of Adelaide. The valley runs north-south, with Horrocks Highway as the main thoroughfare. No we didn’t stop at any Vineyards!!

 

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Port Pirie

Back to the coast at Port Pirie.  We didn’t venture right into Port Pirie but took a little detour to the coast before heading to Port Augusta. We were now on roads previously traveled but it is good to revisit familiar ground at times.

 

Port AugustaWe stayed in behind the Central Augusta Football Club where they have set up a Motorhome Park for self contained vehicles at $7 a night. We had decided to support the Club and have dinner there, however we picked a night that they didn’t have meals.  Pizza delivery instead!!

This photo was taken as you approach Port Augusta.

Kimba was our next stop to empty our tanks and fill with water! There is 7 metre tall statue of a big Galah beside the highway marking halfway between the east and west coasts of Australia. Unfortunately we didn’t get a photo!  Kimba Apex Lions Park free camping area is located right in the centre of Kimba and next door to the local swimming pool. The park has a picnic shelter and electric barbecue area along with nice shaded areas. The park also features an Apex playground and toilet facilities. The great scenery around the park makes this an ideal place to stop. They do ask for a donation.  Bit early in the day for us to Camp up.

Kimba Free CampKimba

CedunaArrived at Ceduna around 4.30pm and Jude had found a free camp on WikiCamps, Wittelbee Reserve.  Looked and sounded really good. We were however a little worried when we started driving out there as it turned into a gravel road.  Then the track in was looking a little narrow and we had no idea if there was anywhere to turn around once we got in there!  All good though, and we had the place to ourselves.

Wattelbee ReserveWittelbee Reserve Ceduna

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We usually fill up at Penong but as Tiki Tourer was getting a bit low we decided to fill at Ceduna then top up again at Penong.  Did a bit of a Tiki Tour and took some photos of the windmills, which pump water from the Anjutabie water basin.  The town and the surrounding district is so dry that the underground water is supplemented by rain water and water which is carted by truck from a reticulated water supply connected to the Tod River pipeline some 15 kilometres east of Penong. This is really the beginning of the Nullaboor Plain.

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Lunch was at the Nullaboor Roadhouse where we had a really nice burger.  We took a photo of a scale model of the old “station/garage and Whale that stands in a prominent position outside the current Roadhouse. The new Eyre Highway is a highway that links South Australia and Western Australia via the Nullarbor Plain, allowing easy travel between the two locations. It became open to the public in 1942, creating a convenient route for travelers to get from the southern to western portion of Australia. The last unsealed section of the Eyre Highway was finally sealed in 1976.

Old Nullaboor RoadhouseNullaboor Roadhouse

Driving the Nullaboor takes in magnificent views of the Great Australian Bight.  Lots of free camps and although cold & windy we camped at a great spot overnight.  Another of those places when Tui would have liked to fly his Microlight but the weather prevented that yet again.

Tui on the edgeGreat Australian Byte

WA BorderOver the WA Border!  Very strict at this border patrol and although Jude had frozen onions, they were confiscated.  Luckily she had cooked up all other vegetables and had no fruit.  Honey is not allowed either!

 

 

 

Nullaboor90 mile straight

90 Mile Straight, said to be the longest straight stretch of road in Australia: 145.6 kilometres, between the small roadhouse communities of Balladonia and Caiguna. A big day driving and we had intended to get to Kalgoorlie, however we got to Norseman and decided to Camp up for the night.  Once again on WikiCamps we found that there was Free Camping at the Norseman Sports ground.  Good spot! Sorry no photo!

KalgoorlieArrived at Kalgoorlie before lunch, did some shopping, dumped our tanks, filled with water.  Then as our mates George & Vicky were busy at Go Karts we parked at Centennial Park till they arrived home.  This is another Free Camp we have stayed at before and is right in town.

Parked up outside George & Vicky’s for a couple of nights.  Awesome to see you guys!!

Jude had opened the trailer for George & Vicky’s future son in law to have a look and heard hissing and a smell of gas.  On investigation the screw that is tightened when the gas Bottle is filled had come loose.  Very lucky!  It would have been a big boom had it gone up!  We took the Gas Bottle out for a day just in case and left it behind!  Tui had it in one of his overhead cupboards and hadn’t shut the cage door.  We traveled all the way to Southern Cross, over 200kms, before we checked the contents of the trailer and not a thing had moved!  Good driving or what?

Back in PerthArrived back in Perth right on peak hour but had a good run through the Roe, Tonkin & Reid Highways.  Tui’s Mate had a roast ready for us so we camped there the night. Thanks Paul & Sue for your hospitality. As you can see by the fire it was STILL cold!!

 

Back to our house next morning and we were shocked to see that everywhere we looked work needed doing!

Broken FenceFence Removed

Back fence by the pool replaced, painting, oven cleaning, gardening etc. etc.  Thanks for the help with the fence Paul!  Hayden (Jude’s son) and Tania came and visited us the first day.  Great to see you both!!

It has been full on with working all day on the house and we have also managed to catch up with a few of our friends.  Jude has had another birthday since we got back.  Thanks for the pressies guys!  Tui handed Jude $50 so down to Body & Soul in Kinross for a pedicure! Nice!

Jude's pre birthdayPizza’s at Paul & Sue’s the night before and a quiet dinner at Roma in Kinross just the two of us. Then a Sunday session at Theron’s in Kenwick with Hayden & Tania coming for lunch. Very cool!

 

We had resigned ourselves to moving back into our house then our Property Manager found tenants.  Mixed feelings!  Now camped at Paul & Sue’s till who knows when.  Still need to do a few things like change the Suzuki to WA plates etc.

Well it took 2 weeks to drive back from Grafton and we were cold all the way and it is still cold in Perth!  Next time it will have to be a summer trip!

Well that’s about it for now!  Until next time “Laugh more, live longer!”

 

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Heading Back to WA – July/August 2016 – Part 1

Missed doing a Blog last month so thought it was about time we brought you all up to date!  Once again it was sad to say goodbye to awesome friends in Grafton & MacLean!  A few reasons why we decided to head back to WA, 2 houses still empty, maintenance issues on a couple of houses and Tui had enough of waiting times for loading & unloading and not getting paid for the stand down times. Pretty stressful too when you don’t know your way around Brisbane!  He has a few stories to tell!

3 Monkeys 2First of all a bit of a follow on from the last blog on our last days at Grafton.  Jude & her two mates, Tricia and Lynne somehow got the name tag as the three wise monkeys so Jude made them both a sign so they wouldn’t forget her! Hey! Hey! We’re the Monkeys, graphic of the 3 wise monkeys, with their names underneath!

We thought we would have a farewell Dinner with Jeff, Debbie, Brooke & Paul, so drove up to MacLean to the Bowling Club and stay the night with Jeff & Debbie.  Well Tui got the Bowling Clubs mixed up and Brooke & Paul were at the Yamba Bowling Club and we were at the MacLean Bowling Club!  Sorry we didn’t get to see you guys!

We went to Bill & Lynne’s for farewell drinks and nibbles to say goodbye to the Glenwood Tourist Park Crew!  Great night, Jude was a bit over whelmed as the girls bought her a beautiful horseshoe charm for her bracelet. Tricia's Blanket Out shopping a couple of weeks before, Jude told the girls if they would buy wool she would crochet them a throw each.  Tricia decided on a Pink Baby Blanket for her granddaughter and a Blue one for her Grandson.  As we had planned to stay a year that wasn’t going to be a problem, however plans change.  Jude managed to get the pink one done before leaving and forgot to take a photo, but had to post the Blue one and then onto doing Lynne’s throw. Thanks also to Susan & Alan for being great Managers of the Park! We will miss you all!

Set to Leave GraftonIt only took a couple of days to pack up and give Tiki Tourer a good wash. Then everyone waved us off!

 

 

 

1st stop to check load1st stop 2

First stop to check the load was the Lollback Rest Area.  All good in the trailer! Quite a nice spot! Our first hill was the Gibraltar Range.  Tiki Tourer handled it well although we did notice we had more weight in the trailer.  The Gibraltar Range is a in the Northern Tablelands region of New South Wales. Some very nice scenery!

Gibraltar Range 1Gibraltar Range 2

First overnight stop was at a free camp, The Mother of Ducks Lagoon in Guyra, a town situated midway between Armidale and Glen Innes on the Northern Tablelands on the New England Highway, New South Wales. The Free Camp is on the edge of the Golf Course a nice little spot.

Mother of Ducks LagoonMother of Ducks Lagoon 2

Everyone had been telling us about the steep hill (Moonbi Hill) coming into Tamworth and we were warned to put Tiki Tourer into low gear.  Well it was steep but nothing we couldn’t handle.

Moonbi Hill 2Moonbi Hill

It was a pity we were traveling through this part of the country at this time of year as every January they have the Tamworth Country Music Festival which has always been on our bucket list!  The 10-day event now attracts 55,000 visitors to see 700 performers (including buskers) at 2600 shows across 120 venues. It’s one of the world’s biggest country music festivals.

TamworthTamworth 2

GunnedahLunch stop was at Gunnedah, quite a nice little town, a significant producer of cotton, coal, beef, lamb and pork, and cereal and oilseed grains.

 

 

 

Another Free Camp night at Hickey Falls, set off the highway so you have limited traffic noise.  Just before Gowang on the Newell Highway. There is a short walk to the Hickey Falls.  It is large, sealed and has plenty of trees to act as shade. Not that we needed shade as it was still cold!

hickey fallsHickey Falls 2

A bit of a late start next morning with heavy rain. Got drenched walking to Hungry Jacks in Dubbo to get some lunch only to be told that they weren’t doing counter orders  only the Drive through, a bit difficult in Tiki Tourer so up the road to MacDonalds it was!  Lots of flooding, in fact according to the radio we were probably lucky to get through!

Flooding Dubbo 2Flooding Dubbo

ParkesNext overnight stop was Parkes at the showgrounds.  The normal $20 a night.  Parkes has had an important role in the scientific community. In addition to local research conducted at the radio telescope, Parkes scientists have assisted NASA for several missions as a Southern Hemisphere relay and communications station. (The movie The Dish was based somewhat loosely on the role the telescope played during the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing.)  Once again we didn’t go and see it as the weather was miserable!

Tuis friend BalranaldTuis other friend

2 birds

 

A quick stop at Balranald to grab a pie for lunch and take a couple of photos!

 

 

Our Mate Jen was working and staying at Kyalite, not far from Tooleybuc so we did a bit of a detour and camped behind the Tooleybuc Sports Club for the night. Free if you are self contained but if you use power it is $20 a night. Jen not only joined us for Dinner but camped on our couch the night.  So cool to see her! Meals were great, a good place to stay!

Jen TooleybucTooleybuc Sports Club

Its facilities include a restaurant (bistro and a la carte`), an auditorium, several rooms for conferences and a supervised children’s room. It also provides external facilities for members and visitors, a nine-hole (twin tee, grassed greens) golf course nestled along the banks of the Murray River, an all-weather tennis court, an eighteen hole mini-golf complex, Basketball Half-Court, and Tiff Dwarf grass bowling greens.

Tooleybuc Bridge 2Tooleybuc Bridge

The beginning of us seeing parts of the Murry River.  The Murray River is Australia’s longest river, at 2,508 kilometres in length. The Murray rises in the Australian Alps  draining the western side of Australia’s highest mountains, and then meanders across Australia’s inland plains, forming the border between the states of New South Wales and Victoria as it flows to the northwest into South Australia.  It turns south at Morgan for its final 315 kilometres, reaching the ocean at Lake Alexandria.

Into VictoriaCrossed the Border into Victoria but not for long!  Pulled over for a few photos at Boundry Bend, a small town in the state of Victoria. It is near the junction of the Murray River and Murrumbidgee River and is located about 50 kilometres east along the Murray Valley Highway.

 

 

Murray River Boundry Bend 2Murray River Boundry Bend

The weather was still really cold so we opted to stay at the Burong Caravan Park just before the bridge into Mildura and right on the River, so we could have the reverse cycle going on power. Our most expensive nights of the trip at $30 a night which wasn’t too bad.  Really nice camp with lots of space, although we were told it gets packed in the summer! Mildura is a regional city and the largest urban centre in the Sunraysia region, which has a population of more than 50,000 people

Mildura Camp site  Houseboats Mildura

A lovely couple parked next to us, that were traveling in a trailer sign written “Get off ya Couch” The Great Australian Couch Tour!  Inside is a massive Red couch, bed and a tiny kitchen.  Michael is a Poet. He says: “This giant size, old, discarded red couch has become the huge symbol of my Life Participation Program – Get Off Ya Couch,”

“By sitting on the couch, getting to hear storytime and have your photos taken, your donation helps provide the opportunity for me to get it to the next town to spread the wholesome, non-religious, non-political message to Australians to Get off Ya Couch… and join a club…become a volunteer, donate to a charity, play a sport, walk the dog, fly a kite or tell the kids a story. No matter how slow you go, you will still be lapping everyone on the couch.” Awesome idea!  They go to lots of markets and other venues. He recited a poem about Kiwi’s and Aussies, brilliant!

The PoetGet off ya couch set up

The Suzuki came out of the trailer for the first time and we ventured into town to the Markets and had Tui’s favourite “Eggs Benedict” for lunch. We quite like Mildura, if it hadn’t been so cold.  Tui looked into hiring a houseboat to go up the Murray so that is now on our “Bucket List!”

As we said before it was a lovely Park so to finish off “Part 1”  here are a few more photos.

Mildura CP 2DSCN3604

MilduraPaddle Steamer

Dump Point Mildura

 

 

Best Dump Point set up we have ever seen!!

 

 

 

Hopefully it won’t be much longer till you get Part 2 of the epic trip back!!  Until then “Laugh more, live longer!”

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Grafton – June 2016

Wow! The month is nearly over and we are over half way through the year already!

Dinner McLean TavernTwo important people we missed off the last Blog were Paul & Brooke.  We met them when we were in Mossman, they now have a block of land and are building a house, not far from Maclean, out towards Iluka. They came to visit us when we were camped on Woodford Island and we met up with Jeff & Deb for Diner at the MacLean Tavern. Great to catch up Guys!

As we said in the last blog, next stop Grafton.  Unfortunately the Bank Balance was looking rather low, and Jeff suggested Tui try for a job at Jim Pearson Transport, which is a highly renowned transport company throughout the east coast of Australia. They have a base in Grafton and move large quantities of freight between Brisbane and Sydney. Our plan was to head to Port Hedland in WA as there was the chance of a good paying job, however that was an on again off again affair.

We left Tiki Tourer and the trailer at a Truck Stop 2kms from town and took the Suzuki in the see where the best place would be to base ourselves.  Of course the first stop was to check out the local Aero Club!!  It appears that Tui will be able to leave his Microlight in a hanger there.

South Grafton AirfieldAero Club House

Thanks to their Web Site for the photos!

The club has existed in some form since 1930 with a short break during WWII. Apparently they have a get together every Friday evening at the clubhouse where visitors and guests are welcome along with club members. Annually in August they host a “Wings and Wheels” open day where a variety of vintage, classic, sports and touring motor vehicles and aircraft and their owners get to mix and mingle and display their pride and joy. They also host a “Jacaranda Muster” in conjunction with the world famous Grafton “Jacaranda Festival”. The highlight of this event are the complimentary flights provided for the Jacaranda Queen and participants over the city to view the Jacaranda trees in full bloom. This event is held in late October.

With that out of the way it was a stop at Bunnings, BCF etc. etc.  Looked at a Caravan Park on the Gwydir Highway, but it was too small to get our big rig into.

Lunch Village GreenHad lunch with Jeff & Deb. Next stop Glenwood Tourist Park in South Grafton.  Just down the road from Jim Pearson Transport and not far from the Aero Club. Low & behold the Managers come from Tui’s home town, Taumarunui so we hit it off right away.  Back to get Tiki Tourer & Trailer.  We told Susan & Alan (the managers) that our Rig was big but I think they got a bit of a surprise when they saw how big!  We have a lovely big site and I have only a couple of steps to my Pizza Oven.

 

 

Glenwood Tourist parkGrafton Site 1

The first Saturday we went to Paul & Brookes for tea.  They are currently renting a place with a magnificent view of the ocean in Tamba.  We decided to take a change of clothes and stay the night so we could have a few beavies!  Great night guys, thanks.

Poppa Tui's Truck

Tui set off for Jim Pearsons Transport.  First off was a driving test to make sure he could actually drive.  They are big B Doubles and not that easy to back but he soon got the hang of it.

Next in the process was a trip to Coffs Harbour for a fitness test. With just over an hours drive Jude went along too.  Tui’s appointment wasn’t until mid afternoon so we drove out to Wooli on the way to have a look.  A bit off the main road but only a 36min drive from where we are camped.  This secluded beach is surrounded by Yuraygir National Park and offers a story book setting for rest and relaxation.

Wooli Beach 1Wooli Beach 2

It forms the northern sector of the Solitary Islands Marine Park which protects the estuaries, beaches and islands from the Sandon River to Coffs Harbour in the south. The Wooli  River can be negotiated for around 20 kilometres by canoe or boat. Kangaroos, emus, black-necked storks, brolgas, kingfishers, parrots and all manner of wildlife abound along the banks. It is a favourite for fishing  & picnics with good spots  from the beaches, rocks (the breakwalls are popular) or deep sea where local fishing charters are available into the marine park.

Wooli river mouth 3Wooli from estuary 2

Back to the main road and onto Coffs Harbour.  Coffs Harbour was the hub for a thriving banana industry. One of the biggest attractions is the Big Banana, one of the first of Australia’s Big Things (it celebrated its 40th birthday in 2005), the World’s Largest Banana celebrating the region’s best known export which has now been superseded by blueberries as well as tourism and fishing.

Coffs BlueberriesBig Banana Coffs

There is a massive amount of road works on the Pacific Highway and eventually it will be a 4 lane highway all the way from Brisbane to Sydney.

Road works to Coffs Harbour 3Road works to Coffs Harbour

A stop off at a cafe for Tui’s Eggs Benedict for lunch which wasn’t the nicest.  Jude’s eggs had runny whites after specifically requesting they were well cooked.  There is was a mad dash to find Tui some new boots before his appointment.

Coffs lookout 2Coffs Lookout 5

On the was back we went up to the Sealy Lookout.  The Lookout and the Forest Sky Pier sits within a flora reserve in Orara East State Forest – part of the amazing state Forests of the Coffs Coast. It is only a 10 minute drive from Coffs Harbour up through banana plantations – it’s open to vehicles during daylight hours, and is free. The Forest Sky Pier offers magnificent coastal views over the city of Coffs Harbour and up and down the coastline. There are walking tracks through rainforest, ranging from one to three hours, and picnic tables and toilets are provided. Coach parking is available.

Coffs lookout 1Coffs Lookout 4

With that completed, Tui had to travel to Port Macquarie for a 3 1/2 day induction.  They put him up in a Motel, Jude stayed with Tiki Tourer.  The very first day on his way to the induction a guy in a 4 x 4 Ute smashed into the back of him.  Poor Suzuki looked really sad, with the back door smashed in, window shattered and the spare wheel stoved in.  Not a great start! Tui had to tape up the window to get by until he returned to Grafton and sort out a Panel Beater.

Poor Suzi 2Bashed Suzi

Just over a month later we got Suzuki back!

It was a full on course and by the end Tui’s brain was scrambled!  He is now working full time and has some really strange hours.  Sometimes starting as early as 1.30am, 5.30am or even has had a couple of 9am starts.  It is not unusual for him to be away 14, 15 or 16hrs, depending on wait times for loading and unloading.  Jim Pearson Transport specializes in the transportation of FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) and large volume goods including packaging supplies and other raw materials to leading retailers throughout Queensland and New South Wales. Tui mainly drives from Grafton to Brisbane and goes to a wide range of places, Woolworths, Coles etc.  Quite a challenge when you don’t know Brisbane well.  He can tell a few stories!!  Passenger terminal the other day! He said on facebook he just might stow away!  LOL!

Passenger TerminalPassenger Terminal 2

Jude has made a couple of really good friends, Tricia & Lynne. As Tui takes the car to work everyday whenever someone is going to town Jude gets a lift.  Pretty lucky!  The girls go shopping at least once a week and of course a compulsory coffee at Coffee Club!  Tricia was setting off to Evans Head, about 1 1/4 hours from here, and 11 kilometres east off the Pacific Highway from Woodburn,  to meet up with a couple of friends for lunch so asked Jude to go.

Lunch at Evans HeadRiddle of the week

The Evans Head Holiday Park (formerly known as ‘Silver Sands Caravan Park’ ) has almost 600 sites and is located within walking distance of all the local town amenities. The town has two supermarkets, two butchers, a number of clothing stores, and other eateries who cater for the tourist population. Whilst the population is less than 3,000 people that number swells in holiday periods.

The girls all started walking everyday and Jude was enjoying the exercise.  Firstly Tricia had a medical issue and couldn’t walk then a few days later Jude was changing the sheets on the bed and slipped, putting a big gash in her shin, from the wooden base of the bed.  Thank heavens for great people in the park!  Tui was at work so Lynne’s husband Bill took her to Grafton Hospital to get it stitched.  Back to the hospital today after over a week and  it is now infected!  Fingers crossed it will come right!!

UlmarraUlmarra Pub

The girls also travel to Ulmara on a regular basis only 15mins away.  Firstly Tricia has found her favourite Book Shop and secondly they have awesome coffee in a quaint Cafe attached to the Tavern.  It is a small town on the south bank of the Clarence River, population of approx 446 people .  Some beautiful old homes.

Lynne & BillLynne & Bill often have a fire at Happy Hour so a couple of times a week Jude goes and has a drink with the girls.  When Tui is home he comes too. Not late nights, usually back at Tiki Tourer by 6pm at the latest.

Last Wednesday 8 of us (including the Managers) went out to the South Grafton Club for tea.  Great company!  My Salmon was beautiful but I think Tui’s steak was a bit average.  Good prices though!

It is a bit of a worry with the downturn in WA with 2 of our properties now vacant!  Anyone know of someone wanting to rent please let us know!!  We are both feeling the cold having been in Queensland so long.  Had to drag out the NZ winter woollies!!!

Well don’t know how long we will be here so will just have to keep you posted!

Until then “Laugh more, live longer!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Maclean – May 2016 – Part 2

Well here we go with Part 2!

The day after doing a Tiki Tour to Brooms Head we had a lay day.  Jeff had given Tui a contact for an Air Strip so he decided to do a bit of maintenance on his Microlight, and gave it a run around the showgrounds minus the wing. He got some strange looks!!

mirolight ServiceGiving Microlight a run

Palmers Island/Yamba Airport (according to google) is only 9.5kms from Maclean.  It is known as the McIntyres Airfield and is privately owned.  Bob McIntyre keeps the strip immaculate and is a lovely guy. The strip is so long Tui can take off and land 3 times before getting to the end!

Airstrip signAirstrip 2

Arriving fairly late in the afternoon and as we had the use of a hanger with landing fees at $10 a day, Tui set the wing up ready for the next day.

Getting the wing readySetting up wing

Unfortunately because of council regulations we could only stay there overnight. Leaving the trailer and Microlight there, it was back to the show grounds after Tui had done a couple of flights.  Great to see him up in the air, enjoying himself again!

Airstrip siteAirstrip Clubhouse

Nearly readyTui ready for take off

For the next few days Tui drove out to the Strip to do his flying, taking Jeff for a joy ride one day.  Weather was fantastic and he got some lovely aerial shots which we guess most of you have seen on facebook!

Aerial view 1Aerial view 3

Aerial view 7Aerial view 5

It was then time to pack up the Microlight again and as we had done our 3 nights at the show grounds, it was back to our spot on Woodford Island by the Boat Ramp for one last night.  We spent just over 2 weeks in Maclean and absolutely loved it!  It is a really friendly town with lots going for it!

Telegraph poleOne of the most distinctive, and overly Scottish symbols are the numerous Scottish tartans which have been painted on the base of the Telegraph poles.  There is so much more that we didn’t get to see!  A must place to revisit! Thanks Jeff & Debbie for showing us around!  Quite sad when we left!  However next stop was Grafton which is only 37kms south.  Yep moving really fast!!

 

All good things must come to an end and with the Bank Balance looking rather low perhaps it’s time for work again!!  Still not up to date and a short Blog this time.

Until next time, “Laugh more, live longer!”

 

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Maclean – May 2016 – Part 1

Wow! It has been a fairly full on few weeks!  Once again heaps of photos and it is going to be hard to choose which ones to put on this time.

Birds 3Following on from our last blog, after spending time with Tui’s brother we stayed on at the Pine River Showgrounds for almost a week.

As mentioned Tui was concerned about the weight of the trailer.  We found a Public weigh bridge not too far away and got a bit of a shock, too heavy for our liking!! !  If a trailer weighs more than 4.5 ton you have to have air brakes.  Had a couple of guys look at it and we would be up for a considerable cost!  To cut a long story short we upgraded the hitch on Tiki Tourer and figured worst case scenario, Jude would have to follow in the car. Also had some issues with air leaks in our suspension and brake boosters.  Tui spent hours trying to locate the problem.  After replacing height adjusters, still not fixed.  More about all that later!

Di Jude & Tui 2Dianne & Ray paid us another visit and we went to the Lawnton Tavern for tea.  Lovely food, good price and of course awesome company! It was in walking distance so managed to walk off a bit of our indulgence.

It was then time to start heading south.  Really disappointed we didn’t get to catch up with Sandra & Nev but with all the hassles and Tui wanted to get the other side of Brisbane before the weekend traffic.

As we had been to the Gold Coast several times we just made a bee line down the Motorway/Freeway, not deviating until the Byron Bay Turn off.  Finally crossing the Border! Yeeha another State at last!!

Heading towards Gold CoastNSW Border

A couple of tunnels along the way!

TunnelTunnel 2

We decided to take the Coast Road from Byron Bay to Ballina.  A headland adjacent to the town, is the easternmost point of mainland Australia. Driving in we thought we had made a grave mistake as with a narrow road and lots of traffic it was a bit of a mission to get Tiki Tourer & Trailer through but we made it!! Couldn’t get to the most Eastern point in Tiki Tourer!

Byron BayByron Bay 2

Clarkes Beach Byron Bay 2Clarkes Beach Byron Bay

The first industry in Byron was cedar logging from the Australian red cedar. The timber industry is the origin of the word “shoot” in many local names – Possum Shoot, Coopers Shoot and Skinners Shoot – where the timber-cutters would “shoot” the logs down the hills to be dragged to waiting ships.

The drive down the coast was hassle free and a pleasant drive, taking in Lennox Head where we grabbed a pie for late lunch! The village has grown considerably in recent years and remains ever popular with beach-goers, sea-changers, and holiday-makers.

Coast Byron Bay to Ballina 2Coast Byron Bay to Ballina 3

BallinaDrove through Ballina which was established in the 1840s on the northern shore of the Richmond River. We were now approx 600 km north of Sydney and 189 km south of Brisbane. The Richmond River was an important transport route for the region for the first 100 years after settlement. The river and its estuaries abound with marine wildlife and provide for recreational fishing and water sports.

MacLean Yamba Sign

The plan was to stay at Yamba or MacLean a couple of days to catch up with Jeff, Debbie & Brooke & Paul who we spent time with when we were in Mossman.   They now live here.  However as you will see this time frame has been extended, a lot!

 

First stop was the MacLean Showgrounds.  What a beautiful spot, right on the Clarence River.  In our Camps 8 Book & Wiki Camps it states, Toilets, showers, power and water, which would make it up to Caravan Park Status. However because of escalating Insurance costs there are now no showers or power.  Can’t complain though as at $10 a night it is a pretty good deal.  Maximum time allowed is 3 nights but you can go away for a couple and come back which we have done a few times now.  Met up with a couple of Kiwis with a big Bus, Wayne & Maureen, that night and had a very long Happy Hour!!

Clarence River MacLean ShowgroundsMacLean Showgrounds 2

The popular Maclean Highland Gathering has been held for over 100 years  We just missed it! Participants and bands contest traditional Scottish athletic and cultural competitions, such as caber tossing, highland dancing, band competition, and bagpiping. The “Maclean, The Scottish Town In Australia Association”, is a community group which was formed in 1986 works to promote Maclean’s strong Scottish origins. The work of this committee over the years has ensured that Maclean now has national and international recognition as ‘The Scottish Town’ in Australia.  Its industries are tourism, sugar cane production, farming and river-prawn trawling.

MacLean main StreetLookout MacLean 3

The Clarence River is amazing with some 101 islands and 95kms of navigable waterways. MacLean is the base for a fishing fleet with Sea Mullet & Prawns being netted in the River.

Clarence River MacLean 2Sunset MacLean Showgrounds

We had heard a lot about Yamba, which is at the mouth of the Clarence River. so we headed over to have a look. Beautiful place, totally different atmosphere to Maclean.  The town economy is strongly based on fishing and tourism, but has a diverse range of influences, due to the ‘Sea Change’ phenomena and the large number of baby boomers who are starting to retire to the warmer climates.  People swim in the ocean at Yamba all year round, and in fact the water is often warmer in July than it is in February due to a warm current finding its way down the coast at that time.

Yamba 2One of the Beaches Yamba

Yamba Jumping off rocksYamba boasts eleven beaches within the 2464 postcode. Whiting, Turners, Yamba (Main), Convent/McKittricks, Pippi, Flat Rock (Barri Point), and Barri (known locally as Dump Beach). Nearby beaches to the north include Woody Head, Iluka Bluff, Back Beach (Iluka), and to the south Green Point, Spooky, Angourie Bay, Angourie Point, Back Beach (Angourie), Shelley, Caves, and Plumbago. Also watched kids jumping into the sea off the rocks.

Yamba LighthouseView Yamba Lighthouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yamba Lighthouse also known as Clarence River Light

Dianne hold told us that we must go to the Pub as the views were spectacular.  We saw a sign Yamba Tavern and thought that must be it.  Sent her a photo and were told wrong Pub!!  However the views were good and we decided to have some wedges for lunch while we were there.  There is a resident school of Bream at the Yamba Shores Tavern.
These fish act more like piranha with the bread that is being fed to them. They push their heads clear of the water to get to the bread. Pure torture for a fisherman as you can’t cast a line in their for them.

Yamba TavernFish Yamba Tavern

Back around to the Lighthouse area where we found the Pacific Hotel that Dianne was referring to.  She was right, spectacular views.

Swimming Pool Yamba BeachView from Pacific Hotel

Back to the MacLean Showgrounds! We had looked into the cost of Caravan Parks in Yamba but they put their rates up really high for the ANZAC long weekend and it was only a 20min drive back to MacLean. Finally got hold of Jeff & Debbie and went up to their place for coffee the next morning.  Jeff now works on the radio towers so he took us to Woodford Island which is accessible by bridge to show us one of his Towers. Great view!

View from Jeff's TowerJeff at work

With our 3 days up at the Showgrounds we decided to try and find a free spot onSite opposite Boat Ramp Woodford Island.  It is formed by the Clarence River where it splits into the South Arm and North Arm at the small village of Brushgrove then reforms at the town of Maclean. The island covers 37 square kilometres.

Parked on an old Cane Pad right opposite the boat ramp where the fisherman enter the river.  That turned out to be a great decision!!  First night there we were given Sea Mullet.  We had to fillet and clean them and had fresh fish for tea.  It was delicious!! Not at all like the muddy Mullet in NZ.

Filleting free fishJude filleted the 1st 2 then Tui was given more by another fisherman so he filleted them.  Had fish in the freezer as well.  Bonus!!

 

Mud crab

 

Next morning along came another fisherman with 2 huge Mud Crabs.  They had a couple of claws broken off so no good for selling.  Out came the little cooker, Tui cooked them and Jude did the shelling.

 

 

 

Cooking Mud crabsCooked Mud Crab

Jeff & Debbie were going to Grafton the next day so asked if we would like to go for a drive.  Approx 44kms from Maclean, Jeff took us on the Ferry, through Lawrence instead of the Highway, .Lawrence 2

Lawrence Ferry 3

What a lovely little town with a great Tavern.   Apparently you can free camp behind the tavern with showers provided for $2.  Great reviews on the food there too. As Jeff had to visit another site it was onto another Ferry, which put us back on the main highway.

Ulmarra Ferry SignUlmarra Ferry 2

Had a bit of a tour of Grafton then to a Club for lunch. A very pleasant day.  Thanks Guys!

Grafton BridgeLunch grafton

After spending 4 nights at the Boat Ramp it was time to empty our tanks and fill up with water so back to the showgrounds. We were a bit sorry to leave that spot.  We saw quite a few Prawn Trawlers working on our last day.  Didn’t get any though!

Jetty's Woodford IslandTrawler Clarence River

Another 3 night stint! Jeff decided to take Tui up towards Tweed Heads to give him a hand to cut some trees etc at one of his Towers so Debbie and Jude went for a drive to Brooms Head. We first went into Yuraygir National Park and had a look at Lake Arragan & Redcliff camping areas, to the north of Brooms Head.

Lake Arragon 2Lake Arragon 3

$11.50 per adult per night. $6 per child per night. Child rates apply for children aged 5-15 years only. Children under 5 years are free of charge.  During NSW & QLD school holidays and long weekends a minimum camping fee of $23 per site per night applies. On top of that there is a park entry fee.

Redcliff Beach MacLean 2Redcliff Beach MacLean

Brooms Head is one of those unique beachfront villages that are becoming rare. Originally known as Cakora Point, the name Brooms Head was first used in 1870 when a broom thought to have come from the wreck of the schooner ‘Eureka’, was washed up on the beach. These days many locals affectionately refer to “The Broom” as their favourite holiday destination.

Brooms Head 2Brooms Head

Right on the Beach is the Snack Shack.  Debbie had fish and chips, Jude Opted for Calamari. Very nice!

Snack ShackDeb brining lunch

As this Blog is getting rather long we think a part 2 is in order, maybe in a few days or so! Keep an eye out!!

Until then “Laugh more, live longer!”

 

 

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Brisbane – April 2016

Well we thought we had better do another blog as the photos are mounting up!

While we were staying at the Show Grounds in Maryborough we decided to do a bit of a Tiki Tour in the Suzuki.  We did a loop road, first stop Toogoom, for a late Breakfast at Goody’s, then called in a saw friends Kerry & Joe who have a home there. The seaside village of Toogoom is just 15 minutes drive from Hervey Bay.   It is a popular spot for birdwatchers due to the variety of feathered creatures that nest and breed in the area, plus windsurfing or kayaking. Apparently if you want to try your luck at fishing and crabbing, head to Beelbi Creek.

Toogoom 3Toogoom Breakfast

Off to Hervey Bay, which is widely known as a site for observing humpback whales. Whale-watching boats operate during the July–November migration season. It’s also a hub for tours to nearby Fraser Island, which features beaches and a rainforest habitat for dingoes and other wildlife. A waterfront esplanade links the city’s marina with beaches offering calm waters for swimming.

Fraser Island MapHervey bay 2

By the way the Crocodile isn’t real!

Hervey bay marinaHervey Bay not real

River HeadsWe then headed up to River Heads. The town is built on a narrow peninsula surrounded by the Great Sandy Strait, the mouth of the Mary River and the mouth of the Susan River to the west. Barges and ferry services run daily from River Heads to World Heritage-listed Fraser Island. Unfortunately we just missed getting a photo of the Ferry.

 

Back to the Maryborough Show grounds for the night then as we had never been up around the Bundaberg area we decided to head back North a bit.  Drove through Bundaberg and on to Bargara Beach which is 13 kilometres east.  It is considered to be a satellite town of Bundaberg, with only sugar cane fields separating the two centres.

Bargara 2Bargara 3

It was so lovely there we have heaps of photos!  Tui couldn’t resist the urge for a swim!  The water was beautifully warm & Jude was really tempted to walk back to Tiki Tourer and put on her Bathers!!

Tui swimming BargaraBargara 5

The plan was to go 20kms out of Bundaberg to free camp at Avondale Homestead Tavern, however as we were crossing the bridge Tui spotted caravans to the right.  It didn’t look like your average Caravan Park, and looked more like a Free Camp, right on the River.  Riverdale Caravan Park was a lovely place to stay with affordable rates.  The Managers are awesome people and made us feel so welcome we did consider staying on a permanent basis with Tui looking for work. However after a few days we decided Tui still needed more of a break.

BundabergBundaberg our spot

It was here that our new awning went out for the first time! Love it!!  The 2nd day we decided to drive up to Agnes Water and 1770. Having a look at Avondale on the way up. Not a lot there except a few houses and of course the tavern!

Avondale 2Avondale Homestead Tavern

Approximately 70kms later we arrived at Agnes Water, which was reportedly named after a coastal schooner, the Agnes, lost at sea in 1873.  As well as the surf beach, Agnes Water is intersected by rocky headlands and has a stream behind the coastline. It has a commercial centre with numerous shops, professional offices, a medical centre, and two apartment blocks.

Agnes Water SignAgnes Water Surfies

Being school holidays it was really busy and it was a challenge to find parking.  Just as well we were in the Suzuki!! The Surfers walking out to the break looked like little ants!  We drove down to Chinaman’s Beach, a steep grade!

Chinaman's BeachChinaman's Beach 2

Situated about five kilometres north of Agnes Water, its name commemorating Captain James Cook’s first Queensland landfall in May 1770, is the town of 1770.  A tiny town surrounded on three sides by the Coral Sea and Bustard Bay, a huge part of Australian history and an explanation for its strange name.  Originally known as Round Hill, after the creek it sits on, the name was changed in 1970 to commemorate the bicentennial of Cook’s visit and has become a historic landmark on the Australian map.

1770 #2Paddle Boarders 1770

We had a late lunch at “The Tree”.  Very nice. With a lovely view!

Lunch venue 1770Lunch view 1770

Stopped at a lookout before heading back to Bundaberg.

Lookout 1770 #2Lookout 1770

The views from our site in Bundaberg were lovely.  At night lights shine along the banks of the Burnett River and by day it is quite interesting seeing the activity on the river.

Bundaberg view across riverBurnett River from Park

The area lays claim to the internationally renowned Southern Great Barrier Reef, Mon Repos Turtle Rookery, Bundaberg Rum, and the famous aviator Bert Hinkler.  It is in the heart of a rich sugar and horticultural belt supported by a growing manufacturing sector. In fact, Bundaberg produces one fifth of Queensland’s sugar crop and the city is surrounded by a green sea of rich sugar cane and many farms growing Australia’s finest small crops. Even the main street of Bundaberg is pleasant.

Bundaberg Main St 2Bundaberg Main St

Off we headed in a southerly direction again, driving through Childers, a pretty place, 52kms south west of Bundaberg, through Gympie and out to a little place named Ponamo, where we camped at the Show Grounds. Only 140 kilometres north of Brisbane and approximately 30 minutes driving time to Noosa Heads on the Sunshine Coast. Beaut place to base yourself whilst exploring the Sunshine Coast.

Ponamo showgrounds 2Ponamo showgrounds

First port of call the next day was a Tewantin Forest Reserve.  Only a 500m walk to the lookout but all up hill.  Jude soon realised how unfit she was. It offers great 360 degree views to the popular Noosa coast and lakes.

Tewantin Lookout 2Tewantin Lookout 3

Jude walking Tewantin trackHorse made of wood

Driving back down the access road we saw this amazing horse made from wood.  Wouldn’t cost anything to feed!!  The Noosa River forms one boundary of the town Noosa, the headlands of the Noosa National Park another. Tewantin and Noosa Junction create a continuous urban area at the northern end of the Sunshine Coast.  The beach at Noosa Heads has remained a popular tourist attraction since the 1890s. The Shire’s tourism exponentially grew shortly after the Second World war.

House Boats for HireHeading to Noosa

Canals NoosaNoosa Coast

Noosa BarNoosa Beach 2

Sunshine Coast is a metropolitan area and the third most populated area in Queensland. Its urban area spans approximately 60 km of coastline and hinterland from Tewantin to Pelican Waters. The estimated urban population of Sunshine Coast as at June 2014 was 297,380, making it the 9th most populous in the country. It was quite difficult to distinguish one place from another and to remember which photo goes with which Beach as they appear to meld into each other.  We opologise if any of the captions are a little off but they are in order of when the photos were taken.

Driving along coastCoolum Beach Sign

Coolum BeachHigh Risers

Alexandria Headland BeachMaroochydore marina

Looking North 2Surveying the Scene

ColoundraContainer ship

A lay day next day and time to get the washing machine out.  Thank goodness that didn’t get broken when it fell out of the cupboard when we had the Trailer incident! Next stop Pine Rivers Show Grounds in Lawnton, a Northern Suburb of Brisbane. We picked this spot as it was the closest to both Dianne & Ray’s home (Jude’s ex sister in law) and also Tui’s brother, Haut & Kerry’s place. We had been trying to get down to see both of them for some time also Tui wanted to get the springs checked out on the trailer now that we are carrying extra weight.  The Caretakers here are awesome!  On a Saturday they have markets so we couldn’t get in till 3pm, parked up, had another late lunch then onto our spot. The very next day Dianne paid us a visit and took Jude out for lunch.  So cool catching up, it had been a few years.

Off for a drive to Bribie Island the next day which is the smallest and most northerly of three major sand islands forming the coastline sheltering the northern part of Moreton Bay. The others are Morton Island and North Stradbroke Island. It is 34 kilometres long, and 8 kilometres at its widest and is linked to the mainland by the bridge below. A lot of places around this Brisbane area seem to really focus on Canal living and it reminds us a lot of the Gold Coast. Calm waters one side and a slight swell on the other!

Canals Bribie IslandBridge To Bribie Island

Woorim Bribie Island

Further south we went into Deception Bay in the Moreton Bay Region and explored the Redcliffe area down to Woody Point.  It was cool watching the Skydivers land exactly where their markers were.

Moreton BayMoreton Bay Sky Divers

Lunch at RedcliffeRedcliffe

Tui had seen an ad on the Internet “Blocks for sale with the use of an Air Strip” at Gatton, near Toowooba.  So next day off we set in Suzuki to have a look.  Set the GPS to avoid Toll Roads so did some interesting Zig Zagging through Brisbane.

Brisbane avoiding toll roadsBrisbane driving through

On the other side we spotted a sign Wivenhoe Dam so decided to have a look.  Stopped at the information centre at Ferndale and spied the sign below.  Better taste those pies!

Pies Just ok

Well they were quite nice but we didn’t think that they were the Best Pies in Australia! Took them out to Wivenhoe Dam for a picnic lunch!

 

 

 

Wivenhoe Dam signWivenhoe Dam 2

Wivenhoe Dam is South East Queensland’s largest water storage and is the main supply of water for Brisbane and the greater Ipswich area. It is also a very popular recreation destination. It has a total storage capacity of 3.132 million megalitres.  At full supply level, it will hold 1.165 million megalitres, or about 2,000 times the daily water consumption of Brisbane. There are 2 camp sites on the Lake, one with power and one with only water.  Lumley Hill Camp 1-2 People $18.00/Night, Extra people $7/night each, Children 1-4 yrs free
Maximum of 10 People per site (6 Adults)
POWERED SITES: 61-63, 71-73, 84-87, Extra $7/Night/Site for Power
Captain Logan Camp same fees no power fee.

Wivenhoe Dam campWivenhoe Dam camp 2

Each camp site had it’s own fire pit and wood can be bought from the office Friday – Sunday. Driving through the Lockyer Valley we came to Gatton which is the largest town and business centre of the Lockyer Valley.  The area is primarily agricultural, with vegetables making up the majority of crops.

Lockyer ValleyGratton

After visiting a local Real Estate office we headed to the outskirts of town to look at the “Airpark”  The houses on the Estate are built around an Air Strip. The block we looked at for sale was over 1,700sq mtrs and you build your house and hanger.  We understand that there are covenants and regulations on what you can build with corporate fees to pay to use the strip.  Bit over our price range we thought as the houses looked pretty flash but a great concept.

Tui on the stripLot for sale airpark

The following evening we set off to have a Barbie at Dianne & Rays.  A lovely 20min drive from where we are camped.  Beaut spot, great night and awesome hosts.  Thanks Guys.

Drive to Dianne'sDianne's

Fantastic views all the way to Moreton Bay on a clear day.

Dianne's views 2Dianne's views

Barbie nightDianne & Ray

Off to Tui’s brother’s the next afternoon.  Once again avoiding toll roads and we left a little late striking traffic congestion.  A three car nose to tail right beside us!  We decided to stay the night so Tui could have a few beers.

Driving to Haut'sStory Bridge

Great excitement that night as Saelem, Kerry & Hauts 14yr old, qualified to compete in the open raw Powerlifting nationals.  A huge achievement!  Well done!

Saelem Weight Lifting CompQualifying

Thanks for the awesome tea Kerry! So good to catch up with you guys!!

KerryTui & Haut

A bit slack with the photos, should have taken a full family one! It was a pity Kerry & Daytona had to go to work the next morning and Saelem off to school, however we went out for breakfast with Haut, Tui having his favourite Eggs Benedict, and chatted till lunchtime. On the trip back we decided it was easier to pay tolls!!

Tui is a bit concerned about our weight on the trailer so is trying to find a Public Weigh Bridge to check it out.  No idea how much longer we will be here so you will just have to wait until the next blog!! Phew it has been a long one this time!

Until then “Laugh more. live longer!”

 

 

 

 

 

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Out of Mackay – March 2016

Wow!  Last day of the month and finally doing another Blog!  At last the wheels of Tiki Tourer are moving!!  Feels so good!!

New awning onOnce again we seemed to be waiting for our awning!  After contacting 3 companies we finally found an awesome company in Mackay.  Custom Unique Trimming in Shakespear St are a very professional company that actually care about their customers and do an excellent job. We are very pleased.  Thank you Paul & Regina!  Still to get a photo of the awning out.

 

Prior to leaving Mackay we had 500mm of rain in 4 days.  It was a bit of a worry that when the awning was ready we weren’t going to get Tiki Tourer out!  However we had 3 days of no rain prior to taking it to get the awning done! Sweet!  Then we parked up at the shed.

The wetMackay rain

Goose ponds flood 2Goose ponds flood

Tui had another birthday and it was a very low key affair!  Just the two of us, roast chicken and of course a birthday cake.

Birthday timeCutting the cake

At last it was time to go!! trailer all packed, hitch up time and out of there! Yippee!

Hooked up ready 3Hooked up ready 2

We never got away until lunchtime and we headed to Emerald so that we could catch up with our mates, Don & Sydnie.

Peak Downs Mine 2Peak Downs Mine

We did a few back roads that we hadn’t done before and man these Queensland roads are rough, very bumpy!!  Arrived in Emerald after 6pm staying at the free camp by the river and Don & Sydnie came down for a few drinks. Then we got Pizza for tea.

Next morning the 4 of us headed off to spend a bit of time traveling together.  Just got the other side of Blackwater, approx 80kms and the trailer came off Tiki Tourer!  Very lucky!  Thank goodness for strong safety chains & a strong bumper!  With the rough roads, the 4 bolts sheared off the Tow coupling on the trailer. Big hole punched in the front of the trailer and a bent bumper. A bit of a quick fix and back to Blackwater to an Engineering company to get better bolts.

Trailer mishapPatching trailer

Off we set again and made the decision to go to the Neville Hewitt Weir.  Beaut spot! Right near the town of Baralaba, this campground is on the Dawson River.The campground is large, level and mainly grass with plenty of shady spots (or sunny ones if you need solar power). There is a boat ramp, and the area is popular for fishing and skiing. Southern Saratoga and Barramundi are popular target species and some decent sized catches can be had near the weir. Golden perch and Yellow Belly are common in the Dawson River.

Camping with Don & SydnieNeville Hewitt Weir

All too soon it was time to say goodbye to Don & Sydnie.  They were staying at the Weir and we were heading South East to see Mates Gavin & Vanessa.  Stopped off at Biloela to see Paul & Christine  Ironmonger.  They are Kiwi’s too and are working at the Discovery Holiday Park.  Biloela, the main town in Banana Shire, is in Central Queensland’s Callide Valley. Providing services to nearby Callide Coal Mines and Power Stations and the Park provides accommodation for the workers. It offers something for everyone, from camp and powered en-suite caravan sites, to self-contained cabins and rooms for corporate clients. We were very tempted to stay!  Perhaps next time!! Great to see you guys!!

More bumpy roads and we decided to stay at a free camp, the Ceratodus Rest Area on the Burnett River.

Burnett River Only 11km from Eidsvold, quite pleasant flat grassy circular rest area, easy access and plenty of room to park. It wasn’t flash but there was covered picnic tables, free Barbecue, flushing toilets and a water tank but a sign says that the water is not suitable for drinking. Rubbish bins are also provided and dogs are welcome too. The sites are suitable for all sized caravans and motorhomes and there is a maximum stay of 20 hours.  The site is also home to some historical information and the relocated old Ceratodus railway station.

Ceratodus Camp siteCeratodus Free Camp 2

Next morning it was off to Oakhurst (just out of Maryborough) to stay with Gavin & Vanessa, stopping off at Gayndah which is on the Burnett River and the Burnett Highway Gayndahpasses through the town. Gayndah, in the Capricorn region, is one of Queensland’s oldest towns. Founded in 1849, it was once competing with Brisbane and Ipswich to be the state’s capital. Main Street’s heritage buildings and landscaped gardens illustrate the long history of the town, which is now central to a rich citrus-growing industry.

 

Gavin & Vanessa have a lovely spot of 9 acres we think it is. The GPS tried to send us down some wild roads but after phoning them we finally found our way.

Gav & Vanessa's 2Gav & Vanessa's

A lovely few days!  They took us for a drive around Maryborough the first day.  This is a city located on the Mary River, approximately 255 kilometres north of Brisbane. The city is served by the Bruce highway. It is closely tied to its neighbour city Hervey Bay  which is approximately 30 kilometres  northeast. Together they form part of the area known as the Fraser Coast. Tourism plays a significant part in the economy of the city today. Maryborough is the self-styled Heritage City of Queensland and holds heritage markets each Thursday. The city has many preserved 19th and 20th century buildings including the General Post Office and Customs House.

Maryborough Court HouseMary River 2

Aussie HotelHad tea at the famous Aussie Hotel.  Great value! $10 for all you can eat Buffet, huge selection and lovely food. Thanks to the aussiehotel.com.au web site for the photo.

 

FencingTui drinking Gav's Beer

Tui gave Gavin a hand with some fencing. Great job guys! Then it was time to set up the tap on the fridge for the home brew beer.  It was great to have a splash in the pool and fresh farm eggs from their chooks a real bonus! Thanks guys!!

Gav & Vanessa's 3Vanessa's chooks

Really great to kick back for a couple of days!  We are now at the Maryborough Showgrounds.  Pretty good deal $18 a night (maximum 2 night stay) with power, water, toilets and showers.  Only us and 1 other caravan here tonight.  Pretty quiet.

Maryborough Show Grounds 2The plan tomorrow is to do a bit of a Tiki Tour in the car around the area.  Then head off, to where? We have no idea!!

A bit of a rushed Blog this time but we were determined to finish it by the end of the month.

Until next time “Laugh more, live longer”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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