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!
First 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. 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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Next 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!
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!
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.
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.
Crossed 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.
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
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 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.
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!”