Posts



Briagolong (Vic)

We had planned to travel from Marlo to home in Melbourne but got a call from our niece, Kate, who was visiting her in-laws, Trevor and Robyn, at Briagolong (maplink). We were invited to drop in and ended up staying with Trevor and Robyn for the night.

We were taken on a tour of the district discovering some great places such as the Blue Pool swimming hole (maplink), which the locals flock to every summer and just down the road to the Froam Campground – nice freecamp spot. We finished our tour of “Briag” at the historic RSL Log Cabin.

We headed off to home on the next day to complete our 6,500 km trip – what a blast it was!


Marlo & Cape Conran (Vic)

We selected Marlo as the last stop of our trip (maplink) as we had not been there before and had heard so many good stories about it, so booked into the Marlo Ocean Views Caravan Park for 3 nights.

First thing we discovered upon arrival was the welcoming party of millions of mosquitoes. It was real bad, with plenty of “deet” filled spraying of exposed body parts. Marlo is at the mouth of the mighty Snowy River and the estuary opening had just been opened; 1st time in about 8 months. The backup of fresh water in the estuary was apparently the cause of the mozzie plague.

Took a drive out to Cape Conran Coastal Park to check it out. A beautiful place with some a nature walk along the coastline at Sailors Grave (maplink). The boat ramp at Salmon Rocks (maplink) was a pretty dangerous looking spot with heaps of massive kelp over the jetty and beach.


Tathra (NSW)

We left Ulladulla for Tathra (maplink) for 3 days at Tathra Beachside Caravan Park (owned by Frankie J Holden).

We stayed here in 2015 and loved it; so just had to call in to see how it had recovered after the devastating bushfires in March 2018. The caravan park was only slightly damaged but 69 properties were destroyed with 398 being saved or untouched.

We did some exploring, finding…

  • the old Tathra Wharf, which we fished off with the kids about 25 years ago. It looks exactly the same as it did back then
  • a beautiful cove called Kianinny Boat Ramp, which was very serene
  • Merimbula for lunch at the old Merimbula Wharf followed by a cuppa at the Bar Beach Cafe overlooking the Boggy Creek estuary

Narrawallee and Lake Conjola (NSW)

When our kids were little we always took them to Narrawallee on hot windy days for a swim. It was always sheltered and the water was shallow for toddlers. We headed down to check it out and the small town has grown a bit and now they have the Playgrounds General Store at the carpark – coffee’s all round. Otherwise it is the same picturesque inlet it was 20 years ago.

The other place we frequented in the old days was Lake Conjola, up the coast a bit from Ulladulla. Once again it was as beautiful as it used to be. The caravan park has certainly improved a lot and we marked it down as a future place to stay. You really need a boat or canoe at this location to take in the area. The new raised boardwalk provides a great way to explore the Conjola headland with views out to Green Island.


Nelligen (NSW)

Dropped into a nice little town near Batemans Bay called Nelligen (maplink), which is located where the Kings Highway (road from Batemans Bay to Canberra) crosses the Clyde River.

We had lunch on the side of the river while watching eager young fisherman trying their luck at catching some Bream.


Pebbly Beach (NSW)

One of our favourite beaches on the south coast of NSW is Pebbly Beach with it’s friendly kangaroos and other wildlife. It is in between Ulladulla and Batemans Bay (maplink).


Mollymook (NSW)

Merrisa’s mum and step-dad lived in Mollymook (part of Ulladulla) for about 15 years and we had spent many holidays there. They owned the Biltaange Holiday Flats. So it’s always nice to drop in to see how much it’s changed.

Mollymook Beach would have to be rated as one of the best on the NSW South Coast; so I went for a swim there each morning, in-front of the Golf Club.

There was a school of Bream there each day so I took my underwater camera down one morning and captured a short video; check it out…


Ulladulla (NSW)

It was ANZAC Day when we made the trip from Bateau Bay to Ulladulla (maplink) and we planned to skirt around the western side of Sydney using the motorways. We plotted the course on our car GPS but actually did not take too much notice to the southern end of the route until we found that we were to travel through the Kangaroo Valley.

This would normally be a beautifully scenic drive but not when you’re dragging a 8 metre, 2.8 tonne caravan! Plus the other factor we did not consider – most of the country town’s main streets (eg Bowral) were closed for ANZAC Day marches, so we were detoured through the back streets, once again a lot more difficult when dragging a massive caravan behind you.

We finally made it to one of our favourite locations in Australia, Ulladulla Holiday Haven Caravan Park. Merrisa’s mum and step-dad lived in Mollymook (part of Ulladulla) for about 15 years and we had spent many holidays there.


Bateau Bay (Gosford)

Neil & Sharon recommended we stay at Blue Lagoon Beach Resort in Bateau Bay (near Gosford) and it did not disappoint. We were extremely lucky to get in as it was right in the middle of school holidays and the park was chokkers. The drive down from Tamworth was full of traffic snarls as people tried to get somewhere else on the motorway (maplink).

Would definitely stay here again.


Nundle Chinese Gold Festival

We were really fortunate to be in Tamworth on the same week-end that the Nundle Chinese Gold Festival was being held. It celebrates the village’s rich gold mining history and the many Chinese who were drawn there to seek their fortune.

There were Chinese dancers, magnificent dragons and many street and food stalls. It was perfect weather and a great day was spent immersing ourselves in some of the local history. Held every Easter, it is really a great thing to do if you are in the area.

Nundle is about 60km south of Tamworth (maplink).

Here are some videos we took of these amazing performers…


Tamworth NSW

Tamworth was not all that enthralling. We arrived following our trip from Tenterfield (maplink) and checked into the Big4 Paradise Tourist Park. The first thing we noticed was some of the local kids starting a series of fires in scrub-land next to the park; apparently an ongoing thing with fire brigades etc involved.

We went down the local visitor centre and the person we spoke to said that there was really nothing on except the “Nundle Dragon Festival” otherwise Tamworth is a pretty boring place (that’s what they said!)

Looks like the only time to visit Tamworth is for the Country Music Festival held each January.


Tenterfield NSW

Today we left the Gold Coast behind us and headed inland to Tenterfield. It was a big drive as we had to travel up the infamous Cunninghams Gap; a pass over the Great Dividing Range between the Darling Downs and the Fassifern Valley in Queensland. We were glad that we were taking the uphill route and not downhill as the toll on your brakes would have been significant (maplink).

Arriving in the lovely town of Tenterfield we checked into Tenterfield Lodge and Caravan Park for a one night stay. We asked the park owner about any interesting drives and he suggested taking the scenic drive out to Mount Mackenzie.

The drive was mostly gravel (along Kildaire Rd), using the map the caravan park gave us, but the scenery is incredible with huge granite boulders and heaps of wildlife. Totally recommend this little tour. We ended at the Mt Mackenzie lookout which has panoramic views over the valley taking in the Tenterfield township.


A day in Springbrook National Park

A solo trip by Neil to check out the Springbrook National Park visiting several locations with spectacular views of waterfalls valleys all the way down to the coast.

Springbrook is a mountain and plateau area, in Springbrook National Park, Queensland, Australia. Bush trails lead to Springbrook Mountain. The park is part of the Gondwana Rainforest, home to wildlife including koalas and rare birds. Make the trip if you get the chance; just try to pick a nice clear day (I was in the clouds for a lot of the time & it rained).


A day on the Broadwater

Our great mate Laird lives in Main Beach on the Gold Coast and we always drop in for a visit when in town.

Laird took us on a cruise up the Broadwater in his beautiful boat for a picnic on the western side of Wave Break Island (maplink). We were joined by his daughter Steph and her boyfriend, Brayden, along with their 2 dogs Ommie & Mr Bikk. A great spot well frequented by heaps of people.

Wave Break Island was created in 1985 as part of the Gold Coast Seaway construction. It was established to protect the western foreshore of the Broadwater from waves that might penetrate the new, permanently stabilised “seaway” entrance between the Nerang River and the ocean.


Gold Coast Big4 Caravan Park

We finally reached our destination at the Big4 Gold Coast Holiday Park and settled in for 5 days. What a fantastic park with great amenities (even has a fish tank in the toilet block); only drawback was the location right next to the M1 Motorway which was very noisy. We started on one site then moved to a much better one (out of the mud).

Our friends Louis & Cheryl drove down for dinner, which was great to catch-up on how life has been going since we last met.

We also celebrated Neil’s birthday with our travelling buddies Neil & Sharon while on the “Goldie”.


Road trip to Gold Coast

The trip from Coffs Harbour was rather arduous with the M1 Motorway under construction from Woolgoolga to Ballina; made even more difficult by torrential rain for most of the way.

The new Harwood Bridge over the Clarence River (near Yamba – maplink) is an engineering marvel. The bridge was still under construction when we crossed over the river on the old bridge, which puts into perspective how massive the new bridge is. Check out some photos below (from the web)…


Coffs Harbour

We absolutely love Coffs Harbour and have stayed here quite a few times. This time it was at the Big4 Park Beach Holiday Park near to the harbour. A nice park in a great location with fantastic amenities. We travelled here from Port Stephens via Port Macquarie (maplink).

Caught up with friends Dave & Julie from Sandy Beach and did some day tripping around the area…

  • Woolgoolga – lunch at the Blue Bottle Cafe in “Woopie”. We always come here for the corn fritters – yum.
    • Woolgoolga is also famous for the Sikh Temple and has the largest Sikh population in Australia.
  • The Big Banana – a photo op not to be missed
  • The Forest Sky Pier situated at Sealy Lookout up in the hinterland above Coffs with stunning views over the town and coastline
  • Red Rock Headland and the Corindi River estuary. A truly beautiful spot and a future stopping point on our travels for certain.

Stop off at Port Macquarie

We dropped into Port Macquarie on our way to Coffs Harbour to check out the sea wall next to the caravan park. This is where we panted our wombat graffiti on one of the sea wall rocks; which is a bit of tradition for visitors to the area. To our amazement it was still there, 7 years later.

In 2017 Hastings Council (Port Macquarie) passed a by-law banning any future rock-art along the section where our rock is, so it looks like it’s there for some time yet – woohoo! It’s opposite 17th Avenue in the Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park, if you’re ever in the area.


Port Stephens – Inner Light Tea Rooms

The Inner Light Tea Rooms are an absolute must when you are in Port Stephens/Nelson Bay, especially on a sun-filled day like we had. The views are spectacular and the lunch is fantastic.

It is a short walk up the hill from the caravan park (maplink); you can drive but parking is a bit of a premium.

The tea rooms are part of the Coast Guard & Marine Rescue facility, which is operated by trained and qualified volunteers, 24 hrs a day; 7 days a week; 365 days a year, monitoring 27MHz, VHF and HF marine frequencies, emergency and calling channels.


Port Stephens – Birubi Beach

Birubi Beach was such a lovely beach to visit – thanks to Neil & Sharon for recommending it. There are so many things going on here like, 4WD tours, Camel Rides, Surfing or just a great lunch spot at the Crest Cafe.


Port Stephens – Halifax Park CP

We headed out of North Narrabeen toward our next stop at Halifax Holiday Park in Nelson Bay (Port Stephens) stopping off for a seniors coffee at Macca’s in Gosford (maplink). Here for 4 nights.

Halifax Holiday Park is located in the ideal spot; walk to town, go for a swim or walk up the hill to the tea rooms above the park.

We stayed in this park back in 2015 and it was smashed by a category 2 super storm which literally tore the town apart. We were fortunate to get out unscathed but others, like our neighbours, were devastated when a tree fell on their car (total write-off). Glad to see it back to normal.


Around Sydney

We’ve been to Sydney sooo many times but you will still always find something new and interesting in this wonderful city.

As mentioned in the previous post; we really struck it lucky with Narrabeen Lakeside Caravan Park. The views from the park were fantastic and you could just walk over the road to the beach.

We caught up with friends on Neil & Sharon’s at The Collaroy in Pittwater Road (maplink) for a great lunch overlooking the beach. For those with a 70’s clothing styles, the restaurant is owned by the “Merivale Group” from the House of Merivale & Mr John days. (check out TripAdvisor for reviews)

Off to Summer Bay to check out the home of “Home & Away” (maplink)

Then another lunch at The Newport (maplink) which is a group of eateries overlooking the Pittwater harbour. A spectacular place to sit, eat, drink a few beers and take in the view. A definite new favourite for our future visits . (check out TripAdvisor for reviews)

Finished our day trips around Sydney with an afternoon tea at the Bella Vista Cafe on Sydney’s North Head (maplink) with glorious views over Sydney Heads and back to the city.


Narrabeen Lakeside Caravan Park

Traveled up to Narrabeen Lakeside Caravan Park via Sydney from Gundagai which was one of those forgetful “car GPS goes haywire” types of trips; going up one way streets and then over the Sydney Harbour Bridge when we should have gone through the tunnels. As they say – “we took the scenic route” and arrived 20 minutes behind our travelling buddies.

Once settled into this beautiful caravan park (maplink) we really started to enjoy the view of the lake and the serenity of the place. Caught up with some friends as well while we were there. We even had some nosy ducks coming around each day and we finally weakened and gave them a bit of a feed – naughty I know but they were really funny; check out video below


Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory

This morning we said our farewells to our extended Bailey family and now the tour group is down to 2 caravans with Neil & Sharon and Neil & Merrisa.

We headed off to Junee (maplink) to check out the Junee Licorice Factory. What a hidden gem this place is, located in the old flour mill of Junee. We enjoyed a beautiful lunch in their cafe. They also have a fantastic array of goodies to be purchased.

After lunch we took a stroll thru the motor museum, which is a bit tired but still worth a look.

Here is a video about the Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory…


Gundagai & Bailey Farewells

After the short drive from Tumut, we arrived at Gundagai Cabins & Tourist Park for our final leg of our 19 caravan Bailey journey.

After 14 fantastic days of travel, exploration and making of new friends it was time to have our final dinner at the Gundagai Services Club with a private function roomed booked. It was really like a “last dinner” with us all arranged around a large “u-shaped” table.


Road to Gundagai – Adelong Falls Gold Mill

Leaving Tumut we took the last leg of our Bailey trip to Gundagai (maplink); stopping along the way at the historical Adelong Falls Gold Mill site.

The Adelong Gold Rush began in 1852 with the discovery of alluvial gold at upper Adelong. The Adelong gold field was declared in 1855 and reef gold was discovered in 1857 in the hills above Adelong .The  Reef ore was processed in the ore crushing mills along the creek. The biggest and most important of these mills was the Reefer ore crushing machine built by Scotsmen William Wilson and William Ritchie, which remains for all visitors to view from the platform or wander through to interpret how reef ore was processed.


Tumut – Blowering Dam

One of the power generation points of the Snowy Mountains Scheme is the Blowering Dam. We took a drive out to check it out, with a walk along the dam wall and a visit to the power station outlet.

There are numerous camping spots along the shore and it was well and truly utilised with hundreds of campers. Have noted it down for a future trip.


Tumut – Indigenous Talk

Today we had a fascinating talk from Shane Herrington who is a ranger from the Wiradjuri Aboriginal Community.

Items covered were bush tucker, the didgeridoo, creating fire with fire sticks, boomerang throwing and a walk through the local wetlands.


Tumut

The drive from Cooma to Tumut (maplink) was a fairly short one passing through the plains where wild horses (brumbies) run free.

We stopped off at Yarrangobilly Village Campground for a break and it was very rewarding. This would be a perfect overnight stop for anyone travelling the Snowy Mountains Highway, with a lovely stream running nearby.


Cooma Hydro Centre

A visit to the Cooma Hydro Discovery Centre was really informative.

To begin with we discovered that all of the Snowy Mountains Hydro scheme is managed through this facility. They also allocate pricing on the available power via a bidding system by the electricity retailers who use the snowy scheme. Learn more from the SnowyHydro website.

The Snowy Hydro story is absolutely amazing considering that it designed and built from 1949 to 1974.


Cooma Historical Jail

A visit to the historical Cooma Jail is a must when in town.

A very informative tour was provided by a current inmate. The inmates undertake training and provide the tours as part of their rehabilitation and road to release. Our guide, Tom, was a top bloke who knew a lot of the history of the jail, which dates back to 1788.

The jail has a very long history dating back to the first fleet and is still an operating correctional centre – find out more on Wikipedia.


Cooma

We left Mallacoota today for the scenic drive up through the great divide to Cooma (maplink), the largest town in the Snowy Mountains. The weather was brilliant and the views spectacular with a few challenging stretches of road, but we all arrived safely in Cooma.

It was a bit of a squeeze for our large convoy of 19 caravans at the Cooma Snowy Mountains Tourist Park, with some of us having to dig to level our vans. But all good, we enjoyed our stay at the lovely park.

Of course, we had the standard happy hour after we had all settled in with plans being made for the remainder of our stay.


Mallacoota

The next stage of our Bailey caravan “Mountains, Rivers & Seaside” journey took us to the lovely seaside town of Mallacoota (maplink). It was a windy road in with the Bailey’s bunching up a bit on the road.

Booking into the Mallacoota Foreshore Holiday Park saw our 18 Baileys + 1 settle in for 2 days.

We were booked into a cruise on the MV Loch-Ard which is a timber motor vessel over 110 years old. This was a very leisurely (10knots) cruise across the lake checking out Allen Head and the historical Fairhaven buildings; feeding some Sea Eagles along the way.

The caravan park was quite full and we were pushed up the back which was a shame as we didn’t have water views but there were plenty of local kangaroos around to take our interest.


Lakes Entrance – Wyanga Park Winery and Lakes Cruise

Whilst the Fishing Charter was on the remainder of our group travelled off to Wyanga Park Winery (maplink) for a bit of a tipple, some tasting and beautiful lunch in Henry’s cafe.

Following lunch the group returned to Lakes Entrance for a leisurely afternoon cruise on to Paynesville the lakes with Peel Lake Cruises and the fishing charter people got back just in time to join them. A very relaxing end for the day; naturally followed by happy hour back at the caravan park – cheers!


Lakes Entrance Fishing Charter

I’ve been busting to do a fishing charter for ages and the opportunity finally came along at Lakes Entrance. Four of our group booked into Far Outing Fishing Charters and out we went “thru the notorious Lakes Entrance bar” in the dark (5.30am) – a little bit scary but we survived OK. Eight people in total plus skipper and deck hand.

We had a great day out in Bass Strait, travelling approx 25km South West of the entrance. About 40 decent size Snapper we caught along with heaps of Port Jackson sharks (I caught 2). Back to port at about 1:00pm and the crew cleaned and filleted the catch which was then shared out among the team. A nice feed for all, that’s for sure.


Lakes Entrance

Leaving our free camp at Cobungra the Bailey “caravan of caravans” headed off to the Lakes Entrance Recreation Reserve and Camping Ground on the Victorian Gippsland coast (maplink) with heaps of winding roads and plenty of steep downhills along the way. Plenty of hot brakes and blackened front wheels on the Landcruiser from brake dust.


Victoria Falls Campground, Cobungra freecamp

Following the mountain drive over the top of Mt Hotham we arrived at a “free camp” location at Cobungra (maplink). The campsite is known as Victoria Falls; an historic site of Victoria’s first large hydro power supply, built in 1908 for Cassilis goldfield 20k to the south-east.

We just squeezed our 19 Bailey vans into the campground, probably destroying the quiet amenity for the only other caravan in the campsite.

A great campfire was established and we were all totally enjoying ourselves; Liam ran his drone (video below) around taking some great shots and videos, then the heavens opened and we all took shelter in our respective vans – end of the singing.

One of our group, Liam, took his drone up (1st time) for a great view of the campsite…


Road trip over Mt Hotham

One of the most challenging caravan trips we have ever undertaken was taking the Great Alpine Road from Bright (Vic) over the top of Mount Hotham to the Cobungra Campground at Victoria Falls (maplink).

The drive was rather taxing on some of the vehicles with some suffering over heating, so we just took our time for a rest for both the vehicles and drivers; south of Harrietville at a wayside stop called B500.

As we crested Mt Hotham we drove through the Tunnel of Love (see photos) built to give the rare and endangered Mountain Pygmy Possum safe access across the road.

A lot of steeps ascents and descents and super sharp bends caused issues for some vehicles with overheating etc; but our Toyota Landcruiser 200 performed the task extremely well.

Here is Merrisa’s video of the high country as we crossed the top of Mt Hotham…


Bright – Mt Buffalo & Red Stag Deer & Emu Farm

Today we had a self drive to Mount Buffalo for a bit of a look, stopping off at the 110 year old Mt Buffalo Chalet (maplink) for a nice group photo, with morning tea in an old stone building perched on top of a cliff – spectacular views of the valley below.

The group then moved on to have a quick look at Lake Catani before travelling onto the Red Stag Deer and Emu Farm (maplink) for lunch. Here we were treated to a talk by the owner on the history of the farm and how it has progressed to where it is today.


Bright – Mt Beauty, Bogong Hydro & Falls Creek

Our second day on the Bailey Rivers, Mountains and Seaside trip took our group up to…

  • Mount Beauty – a small town in north-eastern Victoria, Australia. The town lies alongside the Kiewa River, at the junction of the Kiewa Valley Highway and Bogong High Plains Road.
  • Bogong Hydro – for a tour of the power station and a talk by one of the volunteers about the history of the place and the town itself.
  • Falls Creek for lunch at Easy Eats cafe
  • Drive out to Wallace’s Hut ( built 1889 ) for a look at a traditional high country cattleman’s’ hut

Back in time for tomorrow’s briefing and happy hour – what a great day had by all who went!


Bright – Wineries, Breweries & Vintage Cars

What a wonderful start to start our travels with our group of Bailey caravan buddies.

Staying at the Bright NRMA Caravan Park we began with a briefing session on the Friday arvo followed by dinner in the park. Then our 1st day involved the following activities…

On the way back into the caravan park we checked out some of the 70 Vintage Cars (circa 1900) which were in Bright for the weekend participating in the RACV 2019 1 and 2 Cylinder Rally.

We all then gathered together for happy hour at 5:00pm for a few drinks (of course) and a sing along. What a great start to our trip.