TRIP 46 (cont'd)
COBRAM - FORBES - COONABARABRAN - MOREE - TOOWOOMBA - MAROOCHYDORE
Finally, on our way again, heading north to thaw out. New wheels on the R.V. and the now almost new RAM ready for a month away.
Stayed the first couple of nights at the RACV Cobram Resort. What a great spot, heated pool, gym, cafe and lots more.
Then headed up the Newel Hwy to Forbes for a night then stayed a night at Coonabarabran.
Stayed at the Gwydir Thermal Pools Caravan Park in Moree for 2 nights. We've already thawed out with temperatures in the low 30's already.
TRIP 40. DECEMBER - MOVE
The Town House is sold and we've moved to what we hope is only a temporary location while our new home is built on the Mornington Peninsula. We're staying at Wantirna Park for the time being.
It's a comfortable enough location,although around the time we moved here, the almost 300 permanent residents were informed that the park was closing in 2018 and they'd all have to move. Read story here.
A work trip back up the Hume to Sydney. Stopped overnight in Goulburn, then on to the Big4 Nepean River park in Penrith for almost two weeks. A nice park, great friendly staff and importantly, quite close to the work project at Featherdale Wildlife Park.
Stopped off at the Euroa Caravan and Cabin Park on the way home. Suspect this could be a nice spot to vegetate for a few days, on the banks of the Seven Creek.
TRIP 37. MAY - WAGGA WAGGA - TAMWORTH - COFFS HARBOUR - BALLINA - KINGSCLIFF - BYRON BAY - KEMPSEY - FORSTER - SYDNEY - YASS - BEECHWORTH
A month away, retracing parts of the east coast we've traveled before, but adding a few new port of calls.
Then on to Dubbo, staying at the Dubbo City Holiday Park. Got a great drive through site (plenty of them). Very good facilities and a brand new ablution block (May 2016).
Next stop was Tamworth. The Paradise Tourist Park is right on the edge of town, just a short walk to shops, restaurants etc.Must get back to Tamworth, look like it's really worth exploring.
Day 4 saw us head north to Armidale, then through the Cathedral Rock National Park. The road from Dorrigo down to the coast was an interesting challenge. Van brakes wound up, and holding 3rd gear most of the way. But so picturesque.
The Parks Beach Holiday Park was our home in Coffs for a couple of nights. A great spot, beautiful park and just a short walk to the beach. A slightly longer walk to the marina and the Coffs Harbour Fisherman's Co-op. Huge King Prawns for dinner. Lovely reflections on the Coffs Harbour Creek on the walk back from the Marina.
Ballina was our next stop for 3 nights. The North Coast Holiday Park at Shaws Bay was a modest park on the river, but lovely walks along the boardwalk and not too far to walk into the main township.
Up the coast a bit to our favourite spote at Kingscliff. Right on the beach front at Kingscliff Beach Holiday Park.
The park is closing in January 2017 for a very contentious major makeover, and we're worried it won't ever quite be the same. It will be smaller, so fewer sites and one can't help feeling some of the ambiance will be lost.
Our camp site is a stunning spot, and Kingscliff itself has everything you need, from restaurants, to pubs, from supermarkets to clubs.
Glorious sunsets, falling asleep to the sound of the surf, close to heaven on earth!
After 9 wonderful nights parked at Kingscliff, it was just a short hop down the coast to Byron Bay, where we spent 3 nights at the First Sun Caravan Park. Not cheap, but a great spot.
Tourists sit along the beach to wonder at the amazing sunsets.
Byron is probably best known for its 'alternative' hippy lifestyle. And that is obvious to see, but it's much more, with bars, clubs, cafe's and great beaches.
We found a wonderful cafe serving gluten free treats. One visit wasn't enough.
Heading south now, we stopped off at Kempsey on the way to Forster. Kempsey was just a one night stopover at the Sundowner Caravan Park. Only 5 or 6 can sites, but a couple of good drive through ones which suited us fine. Dinner at the local RSL was not a great success, which was a real shame.
Further south and cooler, we spent a couple of nights at Forster, right on the marina. The view out the back of the van was great, whether watching the local fishermen come and go, or just enjoying the beautiful sunsets.
The local pelican community enjoys watching the fishermen too!
Down to Sydney for 5 nights, a mixture of business and pleasure. Stayed at one of our regulars, the Lane Cover Tourist Park. Was a shame to have to pack the shorts and Tee Shirts away, but the cool weather hit, and we would have been quite happy to head back north, rather than head home.
We broke the trip at Yass, then spent a night in Beechworth. Very cold, but it really is a great old town.
Pizza and a beer at the Bridge Road Brewers is a must.
A wonderful month away. We will remember it by the amount of work that had to be mixed in with the pleasure. But work never seems as much of a chore when you're away touring in the R.V. May be a lesson there for what semi retirement might look like.
TRIPS 35 & 36. MARCH - TOOTGAROOK
We enjoyed two long weekends, Labour Weekend and Easter, back at one of our favourite spots, Capel Sound at Tootgarook. Being able to camp right on the foreshore, makes this spot really special.
The Rosebud Kite Festival on the Labour Day Weekend is always fun. Seemed to be a bigger and better event this year. Over the Easter Weekend we had our daughter & son-in-law join us for a few days. They pitched their tent and we extended the outdoor area with our 3x3 marquee. Really enjoyable.
What a spot!
TRIP 34. FEBRUARY 2016 - SYDNEY
Another largely work trip up the Hume to Sydney.
TRIP 33. FEBRUARY 2016 - PHILLIP ISLAND
This was largely a work trip, but always seems less work related when in the R.V..
We stayed at the Beach Park Tourist Caravan Park, which was a great spot. You don't get the water views, but it's only a very short walk to the beach and the facilities are very good. I did have to trim the tree slightly to get in, but that was easy.
The work took me out to Seal Rocks on the Wildlife Coast Cruises vessel, Kasey Lee. If you've not done this cruise, I would recommend it. I was surprised just how many seals there were and how close the skipper was able to get us to them.
TRIP 32. JANUARY 2016 - SYDNEY
After a lengthy 'injury break' we're back on the road. It was a quick few days trip up the Hume to Sydney to catch up with family and squeeze in a little work. We pulled out of Melbourne on the Thursday afternoon, and stayed overnight at the Lake Anderson Caravan Park in Chiltern. New owners have recently taken over the park and are already making improvements. A nice stopover option.
We then spent most of the Australia Day weekend in Sydney, staying at the Sydney Tourist Park in Miranda. They've been doing some upgrades to the park, and you can certainly see where the money has been spent, with quite a range of concrete slab sites available. Not all of them are easy to get on to, but we managed eventually. The rest of the park however leaves a lot to be desired. They desperately need more Toilet/Shower facilities and as for the state of some of the permanent sites . . . . . .
They have a number of frangipani trees around the park and they were in full bloom.
Stopped in at the Gundagai Tourist Park on the way home, as we've done a few times before. Large open drive through sites make this an ideal (almost halfway) stopover between Sydney & Melbourne. A meal at the Gundagai District Services Club is always a good idea.
TRIP 31. SEPTEMBER - BLAIRGOWRIE
Was time to get the R.V. out of moth balls, even if it was only for a couple of nights away. Having hibernated through the coldest winter in 26 years, it was great to have a lovely warm weekend. Tried the Stringer Foreshore Camp Ground at Blairgowrie. A lovely spot, with some sites having uninterrupted views over the bay.
Had to take this shot of a gorgeous old van being rented out by Happy Glamper. Was certainly the big and the small.
TRIP 30. MAY - PORT MACQUARIE - BYRON BAY - KINGSCLIFF - NAMBUCCA HEADS - PORT STEPHENS
Our longest trip (both distance & time) saw us head north, away from the winter chills of Melbourne.
Made a short evening hop to Benalla. We stayed at the Benalla Leisure Park, (a good stopover with grassed drive through sites), then on to Sydney for a few days. As always in Sydney, stayed at the Lane Cove River Tourist Park.
We had a really nice lunch in the Beach House Pub (formerly the Royal Hotel, established in 1840). And what a great outlook from the outdoor dining area.
We headed further north to spend a weekend with friends at the Byron Bay Luxury Beach Houses. (Stored the R.V. at a local caravan park)
This is a stunning property on the main road in to Byron Bay, and only a short walk from the beach or township.
Our next stop was just a little further north at Kingscliff. As you can see, we camped right on the waters edge at Kingscliff Beach Holiday Park (part of the Twead Coast Holiday Parks group). This is now one of our favourite locations. Whilst the amenities are a little old, they are clean and well serviced. But the location has to be very hard to beat.
Kingscliff boasts stunning surf beaches, a gorgeous river inlet, clubs,pubs, restaurants and is only 15min from Coolangatta airport.
The weather was great and the sunsets along the beach were pretty amazing.
A great spot and we'll be back for sure!
When we stayed in Byron Bay a few days earlier, we took a look at the First Sun Holiday Park, and liked what we saw. So headed back to Byron Bay for another couple of nights. What a magic spot, high above the beach, overlooking the ocean and only a 2min walk to the main township.
Whilst Byron Bay is perhaps best know for its 'hippie culture', it far more than that. Great beaches, wild coastal outcrops, and great restaurants, pubs & bars.
We enjoyed several walks along the beach, including a couple of hefty treks up to the lighthouse at Cape Byron. It's an active lighthouse located at the easternmost point of the mainland of Australia.
All too soon though, it was time to head back south. Hard to pull ourselves away from this stunning coastline.
We made a couple of random stops as we headed south. The first was at Nambucca Heads. We tried a couple of parks. One night at the Foreshore Caravan Park and another at the White Albatross Caravan and Holiday Park.
The foreshore park is a smaller park on the banks of the Nambucca river. Clean, tidy and just a short walk to town. A very viable, lower cost alternative.
The Albatross Caravan Park is large, and beautifully set out, right on the breakwater. We camped on the lakes edge and enjoyed walks back into the township and along the breakwater and local beaches. A really nice spot.
The sunset over the lake from the back of the R.V. . . . . serene!
Our next random stop on the way home was at Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stephens. We stayed at the Big4 Koala Shores Port Stephens Holiday Park. The shot below was taken out the back window of our R.V. What a beautiful outlook in a really nice park.
As we head back to reality, we stopped off in Sydney for a night and then a night in Gundagai. It was sold cold there that the water froze in the hose. Had to swap hoses to get water into the van. Certainly a brisk start to the day, and another step in the acclimatisation process between Kingscliff and Melbourne.
Our final night was at Heathcote. (needed to stock up on some good reds).
3½ weeks of very enjoyable travels.
TRIP 29. APRIL - BEECHWORTH
We spent a wonderful, extended weekend with friends in Beechworth. Stayed at the Beechworth Lake Sambell Carvan Park. What a great spot, with just a short walk to town. Beautifully maintained park, excellent facilities and wonderfully helpful staff. Highly recommended!
Saturday was ANZAC day. Attended the Dawn Service and despite the heavy rain, the locals support was incredible. Hard to believe it was 12mths since we were in Gallipoli for the Dawn Service there.
Beechworth is a lovely old historic town. The old, buildings, lovely bush walks, wineries and eateries. We tasted some of the many treats at the famous Beechwoorth Bakery, two days in a row! Another must is the Bridge Road Brewers Pizzeria & Bar. Wendy made the big statement, "best gluten free pizza ever"!
Evenings were spent around the fire with a glass or two . . . . or more, of red!
Enjoyed a lovely dinner at the local George Kerferd Hotel. A step up from the normal pub bistro that's for sure. Just as an aside, saw the biggest 5th wheeler ever in the caravan park.
TRIP 28. EASTER - APRIL 2015
The Easter weekend gave us another excuse to head down the Mornington Peninsula for 4 nights. Stayed on the Capel Sound Foreshore. Not as good a view as we've had in the past, but a relaxing few days.
We were joined by our daughter and son-in-law for part of the time which helped make it even more special.
TRIP 27. MARCH 2015
It's only a long weekend (labor day), but 3 nights away in the R.V. and it feels like you've had a break. Spent the time at Capel Sound on the foreshore, being lazy, a short bike ride, a walk along the beach and as always, too much food and wine (if there is such a thing).
The photos say it all.
TRIP 26. JANUARY 2015
We spent Australia Day Weekend at St Leonards on the Bellarine Peninsula, staying at the Bellarine Bayside Holiday Park at St Leonards. The best features of this location are a) the waterfront camping and b) the super friendly fellow campers. Had a great few days, although work called us back to Melbourne a bit earlier than planned on the Monday.
Enjoyed a lovely Happy Two Hours with fellow campers. Thanks Don, Wendy, Bronwyn, Lindsay & Mat, Denise, Graham, Pete, Sandra & Molly. Thanks Don for the chilly/garlic mussel recipe.
TRIP 25. DECEMBER 2014
This trip was almost all work with a major installation at Sydney's Luna Park. We traveled up the Hume to Sydney, staying overnight at the Goulburn South Caravan Park. Quite a sizable park, with modern, clean facilities and very friendly staff. Always good to get a drive through site so we don't have to unhitch the R.V.
This was probably the longest single day of travel we've done, but we did it easy and feel we could probably do the Melbourne to Sydney trip in a day if we wanted/needed to.
We settled in to the Lane Cove River Tourist Park once again. Third stay here. It's a great spot to stay, so close to the city, good amenities and train station just a short walk away. After two weeks here, the roof of the R.V. needed more than a wash, but it's worth it to be parked in such a fantastic surrounding.
My friend and colleague Tom, stayed with me for the duration of the project we were working on. We also had family join us for a BBQ, which was FANTASTIC!
Lynton did the drive back to Melbourne Solo, staying overnight at the Holbrook Motor Village. We'd stayed here before, but the place has seen some improvements. A highly recommended stopover spot.
TRIP 24. NOVEMBER 2014
We spent Cup Weekend back down at Tootgarook. It really has become one of our favourite weekend getaway spots. Partly because it's only 60min door to door but also because it's a stunning spot, right on the waters edge. There's something about water, watching the ships, the pelicans etc.
As can be seen from the photo below, we were almost alone when we got there on a stunning Thursday evening, but sites around us soon filled up. Made an extra long weekend of it, returning home on the Wednesday.
TRIP 23. OCTOBER 2014
A return visit to the Heathcote Food & Wine Festival. With over 45 of the local wineries represented, there was certainly no shortage of great wines to taste. While the region is best known for Shiraz, we got to taste some really great Cabernet's and Viognier's.
One of our favourite boutique wineries in the area continues to be the Mia Valley Estate Winery. Norbert & Pam Baumgartner have a delightful property in the Mia Mia Valley. Well worth the trip to visit and taste.
As you can see to the left, plenty of space to park the rig.
TRIP 23. SEPTEMBER 2014
An early spring weekend break camped on the Rosebud foreshore.
TRIP 22. AUGUST 2014
TRIP 21. MARCH 2014
Another stunning long weekend at Tootgarook made even better with family staying with us and great friends visiting.
This truly is a glorious part of the world.
TRIP 21. YASS - SYDNEY - COWRA - WODONGA - FEBRUARY 2014
Another trip up the Hume to Sydney for a bit of business and a bit of relaxation. Broke the trip at Yass, staying at the Yass Caravan Park. A small park, modest facilities but very easy to access drive through sites. In Sydney, there's only one park for us and that's at the Lane Cover River Tourist Park. Spent the week there.
We headed west over the Blue Mountains, through Bathurst and on to Cowra. Stayed at the Cowra Van Park. What a great little spot, excellent Management, lovely shade trees. A very pleasant place to stay.
Cowra itself turned out to be a little haven and we'll certainly be back. We sampled a range of Windowrie Wines. The cellar door forms part of an old flour mill that was built in 1861 from local granite and has been superbly restored. A few bottles of their 2010 Family Reserve Shiraz found their way into the wine fridge.
The Japanese Garden in Cowra is stunning. It opened in 1979 and recognises the relationship formed between the people of Cowra and Japan, a relationship going back to the Cowra Prisoner of War Camp in World War II.
We once again broke the trip home with a stay at the Wodonga Caravan and Cabin Park.
TRIP 20. TOOTGAROOK - JANUARY 2014
Back to what's becoming a favourite place that's not too far from home. A lazy Australia Day weekend, short bike rides, walks on the beach, lunch with great friends and lots of wine. What more could one ask for?
TRIP 19. TOOTGAROOK - DECEMBER 2013
How lucky were we to strike such a stunning weekend (although it did blow up on the Sunday). We camped at the Capel Sound Foreshore at Tootgaroook. Another example of a million dollar view for $39 a night.
A few of the regular seasonal campers were setting up their semi-permanents, made us very jealous as we'd have loved to stay ourselves.
There's something about being right on the waters edge. The view seems to constantly change, whether it's the ships going by, the pelicans coming and going or the myriad kite boarders scooting by. The ubiquitous glass of red never far away!
TRIP 18. CANBERRA - OCTOBER 2013
A quick four day trip to Canberra for business. We stayed at Carotel Caravan Park, a good site without being spectacular.
We broke the trip home with a stay at the Wodonga Caravan and Cabin Park. What a treat. A beautifully maintained facility, gorgeous rose bushes and manicured gardens.
We traveled up to Heathcote for the 2013 Wine & Food festival.
We stayed at the Queens Meadow Caravan Park, a poorly marketed council owned facility right in the township. Turned out to be a great little spot, and just a short walk from the Show Grounds where the annual Food and Wine Festival was held.
It was also a chance to test out our new satellite dish, sourced from iTechWorld in Perth. A bit nervous punching a couple of holes in the side of the main slide (we originally only wired up for a single lead, std definition box) but all worked a treat. Leads fed into an HD Foxtel IQ box.
Got a perfect parking spot, right opposite the Rose Cafe in Kilmore on the way home. (not always easy to find a suitable park) A perfect little stop over for lunch.
TRIP 16. PHILLIP ISLAND - AUGUST 2013
A wet and miserable weekend but still one of our favourite places.
TRIP 15. MANSFIELD - JUNE 2013
The beginning of the ski season, but no snow, so Mansfield was busy. What a delightful spot to spend a few days. Cool crisp mornings, lead to sunny, almost warm days. Queens Birthday Saturday sees a fairly large bush market set up in the township.
Mansfield sits at the foothills of the Great Dividing Range and caters for the many visitors heading to the ski resorts of Mount Buller or Mount Stirling.
We wondered about whether we'd find someone able to do gluten free Pizzas. We needn't have worried, as the folk at Mansfield Pizza were sensational . . . . as was their pizza.
We stayed at the High Country Holiday Park, which was just a short walk from the township. Very convenient.
TRIP 14. DAYLESFORD - MAY 2013
A soak in the mineral pools and a mega expensive massage at the Hepburn Bathhouse, plus some lovely walks around the lake made for a restful weekend.
TRIP 13. LAKE EPPALOCK - MARCH 2013
Labor Day Weekend, spent at Lake Eppalock Holiday Park. With 2.5 kilometres of sweeping lake frontage, it's a fantastic location for water enthusiasts and lots of fun for the kids. If you're not into ski boats, it's a short drive to the many wonderful wineries of the Heathcote area.
Owners Peter & Leisa Rose have been investing on park improvements since they took over around 18mths ago, and the positive signs are certainly showing.
TRIP 12. INVERLOCH - FEBRUARY 2013
We just spent a few days parked in the wonderful Big4 Inverloch Holiday Park adjacent to Andersons Inlet.
Inverloch proved to be a great little stopover for a long weekend. Nice Cafe scene, but a bit short on great restaurants with sea views.
Great spot to walk along the beach, especially at sunset.
TRIP 11. ROSEBUD - JANUARY 2013
Australia Day Weekend, back on the Rosebud foreshore. Here we are perched on the Dromana Foreshore, what a place to stop for lunch. Million Dollar View and free parking.
RIP 11. CAPE OTWAY- NOVEMBER 2012
Went back to Bimbi Park at Cape Otway for a few days, business combined with pleasure once again. Our first trip with the new D-Max (although we did take Boss'nMe down to Rosebud recently for family to stay in recently.)
It truly is a fabulous spot, Koalas in the trees, great walking tracks, ocean beach and lighthouse not far away.
Came back to Melbourne via the Great Ocean Road, and handled it like a dream.
TRIP 10. HOWLONG- JUNE 2012
Queens Birthday weekend, back at Howlong Caravan Park, for the Rutherglen Great Wine Walkabout. Can't believe it's 12months since we made our first trip in the R.V. to Howlong.
TRIP 9. NAGAMBIE - MAY 2012
Planned to spend a week at the Nagambie Lakes Leisure Park, but sadly had to cut it a bit short due to a few issues with both the car and the R.V. All sorted now. What a great spot though, we'll be back.
TRIP 8. PHILLIP ISLAND - APRIL 2102
We parked right on the beach foreshore. A million dollar view for $34 a night!
We'll be back, as it's a comfortable short drive from Melbourne, and a beautiful spot as you can see, and Cowes is a great little town.
TRIP 7. CAPE OTWAY - MARCH 2012
Lynton stayed at Bimbi Park, Cape Otway, where he built a photo system on their new Rock Climbing wall. A unique chance to combine business and pleasure . . . . and it certainly was pleasurable staying at this fantastic location, hosted by Frank & Katrina Fotinas.
Bimbi Park is one of those hidden treasures, sheltered under the Manna gums of Cape Otway.
It's a place where you can truly camp under the koalas.
TRIP 6. ROSEBUD - MARCH 2012
Enjoyed the Labour Day long weekend camping on the Rosebud Foreshore.
TRIP 5. PHILLIP ISLAND - DECEMBER
Managed to combine business and pleasure with a few days on Phillip Island.
TRIP 4. SYDNEY - OCTOBER 31 to NOVEMBER 12
Four on board up the coast, with a night in Lakes Entrance, Merimbula (Melbourne Cup Day), Batemans Bay and Kiama. Joined by Sister & Brother in Law (Colleen & Max) for first few days. What a blast.
What a magnificent spot at the NRMA Merimbula Beach Holiday Park.
Parked almost on the cliff top, on the way up with a beautiful view out to sea. Lots of seafood cooked on the Webber washed down with a Marlborough Sav Blanc (of course).
On way back down the coast, stopped off at Ulladulla for a couple of nights. Stayed at the BIG4 Bungalow Park at Burrill Lake.
Spent three more nights at Merimbula on the way back down the coast. What a spot. Our favourite so far. Even watched the Whales swim by from the R.V.
A stunning view through the back window of the R.V. (left)
TRIP 3. WAGGA WAGGA - OCTOBER 14 to 17
A great long weekend with friends.
TRIP 2. SYDNEY - JUNE 24 - JULY 3
A much longer journey this time to Sydney. We stopped off at Gundagai on the way up, and Holbrook on the way back. Both are perfect stopover points to break the 900km trip.
Stayed at the Lane Cove River Tourist Park in North Ryde. A beautiful spot, highly recommended.
This also proved an opportunity to mix business with pleasure and we even held a business meeting in the R.V.
Parked overnight at Holbrook. Just a taste of the types of settings I'm sure we'll enjoy over future trips.
TRIP 1. QUEENS BIRTHDAY WEEKEND - JUNE 10 - 13
Night 1 at Painters Island Caravan Park in Wangaratta
Night 2 & 3 at Howlong Caravan Park, Howlong NSW.