The New England and the final run

Welcome to another of Australia’s roughest roads, The New England Highway.

After a rock and roll run we spent a cold and noisy night at Murrurundi where the trains and trucks kept busy for most of the night. Everything was frozen in the morning with a large ice plug ejected from the waste water hose. Our lights were dim last night as everyone must have had heaters on and the power supply was stretched.

Leaving at 9am we bounced our way to Armidale and set up camp at the showgrounds. Two nights there saw temps drop to minus 6 deg and a snow white landscape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keen to get to warmer climes we pushed on to Ipswich Showground arriving at 4pm on 1/6. With a low of 10 degrees and a sunny 23 degree day to follow we spent 2 days thawing out before heading to the Sunshine Coast and a friend’s property in the hinterland for the final camp on our round Oz trip.

 

 

 

 

 

Crossing the border into Qld

 

A most relaxing and enjoyable time with lovely rural views and warmer days and nights here. Thanks Mark and Sonja for sharing your home and family with us for our final week of The Journey and camp number 116.

43,500 klms since leaving the Sunny Coast in October 2015 we are finally back again, in what is still one of our favourite regions in Australia.

We have been in some amazing places, seen some of our country’s wonderful scenery, met some great people and made some lifelong friends. Memories are made of this!!

The Burrow will have a well-earned rest and a bit of TLC.

We are now house-sitting for 5 weeks in Buderim before becoming caretakers of a small farm north of Noosa.

I will sign off with another poem:

SETTING UP CAMP

THEY’D JUST ARRIVED IN THEIR MOTOR HOME AT ABOUT FOUR O’CLOCK

GRACIE MAKES HIM DRIVE ALL OVER LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT SPOT.

SPYING ONE BENEATH A TREE OUT SHE HOPS TO GUIDE HIM IN,

WITH WAVING ARMS AND SHOUTING SHE GETS HIM IN A SPIN,

AS A LOW HANGING BRANCH STOPS IT ALL WITH A BANG,

AND SHE BLOWS HER STACK LIKE AN EXPLODING MERINGUE.

“GET OUT YOU GOOSE AND GET UP THE LADDER

WHY DID I LET YOU DRIVE?”  YELLS  SHE GETTING MADDER.

A SMALL CROWD HAS GATHERED AS ‘AROLD GOT NOBBLED,

THEY ALL BEAR WITNESS THAT POOR  ‘AROLD  ‘OBBLED.

AFTER CHECKING THE DAMAGE HE GAVE HER THE KEY

AND SAT DOWN IN DISCOMFORT UNDER THE TREE,

WHILE SHE BACKED AND FILLED WITH PLENTY OF FIDDLE

EVENTUALLY PARKING RIGHT OUT IN THE MIDDLE.

ALL THIS HAPPENED OUT ON THE PLAIN NOT FAR FROM NULLARBOR.

‘AROLD SAT THERE WRACKING HIS BRAIN ON HOW TO EVEN THE SCORE.

GRACIE WAS DRIVING NEXT MORNING AS ÁROLD HAD SURE DONE HIS SHARE

I WONDER WHEN HE FINALLY REMEMBERED THAT THE BLOODY LADDER’S STILL THERE.

Eucla 2017 © TCD

Into Vic and then across the plains in NSW

12/5 Mildura again for two nights.

 

 

 

 

 

Driving across to Mildura we decided to camp again at Psyche Bends and as luck would have it got the same spot on the river bank that we had over a year ago. The road and tracks in were cut up after the floods earlier in the year. It is still one of the best camp sites with the birdlife as prolific as ever. We had 2 pairs of yellow spoonbills nesting across the Murray from us and the usual activity of fishing boats and river boats were always entertaining. We shopped and re-fueled in Mildura at the best fuel prices were have had in eight or nine months.

We are still able to confirm that SA and Vic roads rate as the worst overall in Australia with NSW and Qld not far behind.  On 14/5 and a cool morning we packed up and a rough rock and roll on our way to Balranald for lunch.

We encountered some heavy traffic on the way

Then we lurched our way to Hay to a good free camp at Sandy Point Reserve on the Murrumbidgee river.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We passed cotton farms and aerial spraying and saw plenty emus on the plains across to Hay. A nice hot shower at the Hay info centre was most welcome and we felt that we could mingle with people again! We followed a B Double loaded with cotton bales and arrived at one of the several cotton gins in the district where acres of bales are stacked in the open awaiting processing.

 

 

 

 

There was plenty of firewood at Sandy Point and we had another couple of camp oven meals. The walks along the river are good and quite easy going and there are a number of red gums almost ready to be washed in with the next flood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our next stop was Temora where we had planned to camp at the showground. The circus was in town and it was booked out so we headed into town behind the refurbished historic railway building and camped there for the night with a wet departure on the 19th .

Arriving in Jugiong, and back on the Murrumbidgee, we were greeted with water in the van near the door and around the airconditioner. We set up camp, between rain showers, in the show ground reserve and experienced about 4 month’s rain in one night and further leaks in the van. Fining up to a mostly sunny day enabled us to start the drying out process.

 

Superb Fairy Wrens abound here and are coming right up to our feet. We have counted 16 different bird species here and wake up to a morning chorus plus evidence of nocturnal visits from possums.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visited the refurbished hotel for a drink and chat to the owners and had a morning coffee at the café. These businesses have transformed Jugiong into a destination stop for heaps of people with the main street parked out on the weekend.

23/5 we left Jugiong in clearing fog and arrived at Poplar Caravan Park at Camden where we stayed for 6 nights leaving on the 29th after Jasmine’s birthday on the 25th and surprise party on 27th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We enjoyed our stay and time with family and thank them for their love and hospitality. The chariot now has its seats in the back again and a repack was necessary before we left Sydney.

North from Port Lincoln

1/5/2017

The weather has turned much colder with rain squalls and drizzle as we left Port Lincoln and drove up the coast to Louth Bay where there were a couple of sites in the 5 site camp. We convinced ourselves that we wouldn’t enjoy fishing in the cold and wet. As the forecast was for more of the same we headed straight to Whyalla and a good camp overnight behind the Weeroona Bay Football Club.

 

We were given a friendly welcome and a lovely farewell with a package of home cooked goodies for morning tea on the road.

 

 

 

We enjoyed it all on the way to The Brinkworth Travellers Rest which was good value at $12/night for power, water, wc and shower. We had a restful few days there and enjoyed walks around the historic railway town and surrounds. The nights were cool at 4 degrees but the days were lovely.

 

 

 

 

May 5th saw us on our way to Renmark where we set up at Plush’s Bend on the Murray. It is a truly lovely spot and for the first time for a while we were able to eat outside as it was nice and calm. Plenty of birds here with V formation of some 50 or so pelicans flying over, plus swamp hens, ducks, eagles, hawks, heron, darter, galahs, kookas, magpies, butcher birds, minas, egrets and more. Many of them performing for us as we enjoyed breakfast on the riverbank.

 

Caught freshwater shrimp in our traps and fished for the rest of the week the our only success being carp and a few scrawny redfin.

We had a good look around Renmark which is very attractive along the riverside.

Our camp neighbor was Gary from the Gold Coast and his dog JB ( Jim Beam). JB enjoyed the carp heads and was obviously a discerning foody as he left the rest of the body.

A drive across to Berri produced our first “Aldi shop” for some time. We relished a lamb roast followed the next night by an Old Sod pie both a la camp oven.

Nights and mornings became quite cold as there were frosts in the area although the days were nice and sunny. We warmed up in the mornings thanks to the warmth from our gas oven for 20-30 minutes.

 

From here we head into Victoria to camp again on The Murray at Psyche Bends near Mildura