Category: Trips with others

Bateau Bay (Gosford) NSW

About Gosford

Located at the northern end of Brisbane Water, Gosford is the commercial and administrative centre of the City of Gosford which covers 1029 square kilometres. The sprawling city is at the heart of the New South Wales’ Central Coast. It attracts retirees, commuters and young families drawn by the mild climate, the ocean beaches, the bushland and forests and the easy access to Sydney by means of the Pacific Motorway and the fast electric train service. To the west the city is edged by rugged terrain and extensive state forests. The Tuggerah Lakes lie to the north. Although tourism now dominates it has a strong agricultural and industrial base with citrus orchards, chickens, fishing, oysters, vegetables, plant nurseries, cut flowers and forestry (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Bateau Bay Caravan Park

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.

Tamworth NSW

About Tamworth

Over the past forty years Tamworth has become synonymous with country music. It is now known as ‘The Country Music Capital’ and the combination of a Big Guitar, the huge Country Music Festival (reputedly the second largest in the world), the Country Music Hall of Fame and numerous lesser attractions, has ensured that the city can offer days, even weeks, of country music-flavoured activities. In spite of this apparent focus on all things country, the city has much more to offer.

There is the rich history of significant and gracious buildings; the importance of the surrounding agricultural area which produces wool, dairy products, eggs, poultry, wheat, lucerne and honey; the economic importance of cattle, horse and sheep studs; and the simple fact that, with a population of over 40,000, it is a thriving and prosperous service centre. It is, in fact, so large that it has become the most important service centre in the New England region with nearly one quarter of the city’s workforce being employed in the retail sector (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Tamworth Caravan Park

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!

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…

 

 

 

 

Tenterfield NSW

About Tenterfield

Tenterfield is a prosperous rural service centre noted for its impressive stands of deciduous trees which are particularly impressive in autumn. It is situated in a shallow valley 882 metres above sea-level at the northern end of the New England Tablelands and surrounded by rugged mountains and impressive national parks. The town’s main claim to fame, which is reflected in a genuinely fascinating museum, is that it is ‘The Birthplace of the Nation’. It was in the town, in 1889, that Henry Parkes delivered a crucial speech about the need for Australian Federation which led to the establishment of Australia as a nation in 1901. Today Tenterfield is surrounded by rich sheep and cattle country. As well it is known for its orchards and in recent times it has become an important cold climate wine area (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

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.

The Gold Coast – Helensvale QLD

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)…

Gold Coast Big4 Caravan Park

We finally reached our destination at the Big4 Gold Coast Holiday Park and settled in for 5 days (maplink). 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”.

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.

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).

Coffs Harbour NSW

About Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is a major coastal resort town noted for its banana plantations, its resorts, its mild climate and its fishing. It is beautifully located where the mountains tumble down to the seal. Although bigger than most NSW coastal towns (its population is now over 65 000), it is typically occupied by retirees seeking the warm north of the state and visited by holiday-makers.

The appearance of Coffs Harbour has not been enhanced by the emergence of high-rise units which remind one of suburban Sydney rather than a holiday resort. Nonetheless, it has a kind of glorious subtropical laziness attached to it while at the same time wanting to be considered a thriving city. Consequently the population rises dramatically in summer. The harbour became an important base for a large fishing fleet in the 1970s which is still very active. Tourism, bananas, fishing, timber and engineering now constitute the mainstays of the local economy. In recent years, seaside estates have been developed along 30 km of local coastline (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Roadtrip to Coffs – 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.

Coffs Harbour Caravan Park

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.

Port Stephens NSW

About Port Stephens

Port Stephens is a large, well protected, natural harbour which covers 134 square kilometres and spans the 24 km between the mouth of the Karuah River to the headlands at Mount Tomaree and Yacaaba Head at Hawks Nest. The harbour shoreline is dominated by tiny villages – Tahlee, Bundabah, Hawks Nest, Oyster Cove, Tanilba Bay. Corlette, Lemon Tree Passage and Tea Gardens. On the south-eastern shoreline there is a continuous urban development which stretches from Shoal Bay to Soldiers Point and includes Salamander Bay, Nelson Bay and the small township of Port Stephens. The “port” is characterised by small bays and the estuaries of the Myall River, Tilligerry Creek and the Karuah River.

There are quiet, white sandy beaches and scrubby bushland. Historically much of the land was owned by the Australian Agricultural Company (AAC) but by the 1950s it became a popular holiday resort destination and desirable retirement location for people from Sydney and Newcastle. Its great appeal was that it was under-developed and therefore modestly priced and pleasantly sleepy. Today there are exclusive accommodation options at Corlette and Nelsons Bay and the “port’ is and ideal place for recreational activities including game fishing, beach and rock fishing, sailing, cruising, boat and houseboat charters, bushwalking, horse riding, surfing, water skiing, swimming and parasailing (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Halifax Park Caravan Park

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.

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.

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.

North Narrabeen NSW

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

A day 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.