Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Grafton to Bribie Island

Friday December 5, 2014

Well, after this unexpected stop at the motel in Grafton and the overcast sky in the morning it's probably time to go home.

The TV woke me again at 6 am, which didn't do much good to me after a bad night with little sleep, so I tried to freshen up with a shower and breakfast.

I sent a message to my house-sitters that the bad weather had prompted us to come home earlier and we would be back later in the afternoon.

We left at 8 am and made good time, even though it was still raining.  Just out of town I received a phone call from the motel staff that we had left behind our thermos, so we returned, picked it up and were on our way again.

Nothing exciting happened after that.  Our caching days we had to forget about.  We just kept driving and after a quick lunch along the road we were back home on Bribie and, after some relaxing and shopping, we finished our trip with dinner at the RSL.

If you have a good look you can make out all the icons I placed on the map in Google Earth.  They reflect the route we have taken on our trip.

See you around next time.

Nabiac to Grafton

Thursday December 4, 2014

I am awake at 6 am.  Too early, so I read till 7 am.  The usual happens after that: breakfast, dishes and packing up.  We leave a 9 am.

An hour later, still south of Taree, we stop for a cache, but this is a DNF.  We've looked long and hard, but it has eluded us, so we drive on.

Four Mile Fiend DNF

Four Mile Fiend
This is  picture of the place where we thought the cache would be hidden, but since others have found the cache after us I am not so sure now that we were looking in the correct place.

We move on and have to leave a few caches, because it's not always easy to stop in time, certainly not with a van that's a bit harder to handle than a sedan car.  The next one on the list is

The Donut

The Donut

This cache was a nice contraption, a piece of pipe worked into a block of concrete which looked like a rock.  It was an easy find though, so we were happy to be able to sign the log. 

On our way back from the cache it started to rain and... it wouldn't be dry again until we reached home.  Well, almost.

Since it was a rather cool and overcast day we went into MacDonald's nearby for chips and an apple pie.  We left at 11.15 am without a stop at Port Macquarie, since we wanted to try and outrun the rain. 

We stop at Kempsey for groceries and fuel for the van and keep moving again.  The rain gets heavier and by the time we reach Grafton it's coming down by the bucket loads, so we book into the first motel we come across, just before all hell breaks loose.  A huge thunderstorm!  

Espana Motel - Grafton

Since we cannot cook dinner or go out to get something we dine on bread and soup.  It fills us sufficiently and after that we sit down, relax and watch TV.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Old Toongabbie to Nabiac

Wednesday December 3, 2014

We wake up at 7 am after a fairly hot night.  Temperatures are rising relative to our northerly travels.

We have a shower and breakfast and talk a while with Helen until it is time to leave.  Helen has to go to a meeting at 10.45 am.  We say our goodbyes and leave.

Helen and Patricia

We are aiming for a picnic area past New Castle, but after all the roadworks this rest stop from our old book might not exist anymore.  We cannot find it and drive on to Ourimbah where we stop for lunch. I didn't make a note of the rest area so it is only an approximation.

We leave at 12.45 pm and drive on till we find a stop where we want to pick up a cache.

Stop, Revive Survive and Cache

Stop, Revive Survive and cache

This was a relative easy cache to find, although an unusual an tricky container as you can see from the pictures. Patricia found this one.  We also had to use stealth, because there was an elderly couple sitting at the picnic table, but we didn't want to let this cache go.  Anyway, we logged it and were on our way again.

Our next stop should have been at Ayers Rock Roadhouse (#118 - S32 36 58, E152 04 48), and I don't know how we missed it, but we did.  Looking at Google Earth it became clear why this roadhouse had such an unusual name. Look at the big rock!

Ayers Rock Roadhouse
We keep going for a while longer till south of Taree we discover a small caravan park at Nabiac when we need to fill up fuel.  It's as good a place as any other, so we book in for the night.

Caravan Park at Nabiac

At this quiet spot we take some time to read a bit and I get my sudoku book out.  Later we try to download some caches on our GPS.  It works for Patricia, but not for me, but that's not a big deal. We are planning to have a few caching days on the way home, since we have plenty of time to get back. We're in bed by 9.30 pm.

Heathcote to Old Toongabbie

Tuesday December 2, 2014

No sleeping in today.  Patricia turns on the TV at 6 am.  The blessing of having a TV in the van!
So, I go and have an early shower after which we have toast for breakfast.

As we are going to visit an old friend of mine, the one that used to live around the corner, we leave early.  It's peak hour time and not as quiet on the road as it used to be some 33 years ago.  I am glad we're no longer living in this busy area.  We don't need to go far, only to Miranda, but it takes a fair bit of time.  I'd wanted to go to the shops for a bunch of flowers, but there is no way we can find a parking spot, so we leave that idea.

We arrive at Mien's at about 9 am.  Seemingly early, but elderly people (she's all of 90+) are awake early and looking forward to a visit.  Any time is never too early.  As usual I have forgotten to take photos, but a few days after our visit Mien sent me some pictures of an outing with her son and daughter-in-law, so I will post one of them here.

Mien and I talked about old times this time, while Patricia played games on her mobile phone.  A few cups of coffee and much chatting later it's time to take our leave.  Too soon!

We left at 12 pm and make our way to Old Toongabbie via Heathcote Road.  Two hours and a lot of traffic-related stress later we arrive at Helen & David's place: friends of Patricia's.

David and Helen

This time it's Patricia who does all the talking and meanwhile I finish a book that I'd been reading.  After dinner I start a new book till it's time to go to bed.  We have been invited to stay for the night and we sleep in the pavillion.

Bomaderry to Heathcote

Monday December 1, 2014

We're up early and hooray, I can have a shower!  Then we try and wash all the clothes we've got and since it's not raining there is a chance we can get everything dry before we have to leave.

While the machines do their job I do some reading and sudoko and go for a walk along the river where I take some pictures as we have been allowed some extended time to get the washing dry.

Shoalhaven River

Then, at 11 am, we leave for Kiama, a place I really want to visit, because it was our first outing after we arrived in Australia in 1980.  We were then taken to the Blowhole, a tourist attraction that still exists.  

We arrive at 12 pm and after lunch we go for a walk to the Blowhole and of course I take lots of pictures. 


Kiama Blowhole

Kiama Lighthouse

Kiama harbour

When we come back from our walk, after a nice chat with a young man from New Zealand who has come to live in Australia, we enjoy some quiet time with a cup of tea and nuts (as I don't eat biscuits). The weather has turned beautiful again and it's a shame we have to leave so soon again.

It's 2 pm and we are on our way to Heathcote.  We arrive there at mid afternoon only to find that there are no spaces left at the caravan park. Luckily Patricia can be very persuasive and the girl at the reception finds us a spot next to a vacant cabin.  We're happy.  Although we don't have power, we do have toilets.  The caravan park is teeming with little rabbits, but they are too camera shy to sit still long enough for me to take a picture.  They are very cute though.

While it is still early Patricia opts for a rest and I go for a sentimental walk.  In 1980 we rented our first house in Heathcote, so I set out on foot to walk into town as well as to the railway station where I want to find a cache.  Well, the cache I didn't find, but our old house I did as well as the house of Mien, an old friend of us from Heusden, who used to live just around the corner for a number of years.

Our old house, somewhat changed since we lived there

The girl guides hall across the road

Bella Vista street, going down very steeply

A new addition to Mien's old house

The granny flat at the back

The front of the house

A tree lined street

Our boys' primary school

Entry of the school

A new overpass over the Princes Highway

The garage on the corner

When I come back from my walk there is an icecream van at the park and Patricia feels like buying one, but it is one of those home icecream vans that doesn't sell by the piece.  She buys a packet of six and decides that it's too much for us since we don't have a freezer.  She offers one each to two little children close by (with permission from their mother of course) and we eat one each.  After dinner we eat the other one, but too much icecream (one of them almost molten doesn't agree with me and I have to make a beeline for the toilets.  Luckily I brought charcoal tablets on the trip and I am soon over the cramps and the rest.  This is the second time after eating icecream, so I'd better be careful in the future. 

When I am feeling up to it I do a bit of bookkeeping (keep the budget in check!), read and go to bed.
It's been a real good day.

Batemans Bay to Bomaderry

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Of course, on a morning when we really would like to sleep in for a change, the ranger knocks on the door early to collect his money.  So, we pack up early and have our breakfast (toast) at leisure.  After we've cleaned the dishes we go for another walk to the beach and leave at around 10.30 am.

The plan was to go back to Batemans Bay, as this was on our list, but Patricia is good at changing plans, so she wants to push on to our next destination.  An hour later we pass through Ulladulla and since we are in need of groceries we stop at the parking lot behind a shopping centre.  After we have stocked up on groceries we walk through a lane way with market stalls, but most are packing up because of a threatening storm.  (It has been overcast all morning and been raining on and off.)

Our next stop in the afternoon is at Sussex Inlet where a friend of Patricia's ex-husband lives.  He'd  asked her to say hello, so Patricia gives his friend a ring and agrees on a time to meet, although we have to go to Falls Creek, a bit further down the track...

In the meantime we look for a campsite and find Alamein Caravan Park (#605 - S35 10 23, E 150 35 21).  Since the office is unattended we have lunch in the car park after which Patrica tries again and books a site for the night.  Then we go and get LPG for the van.  Patricia changes her mind yet again and we return to the caravan park for her to go and ask for the money back, which is given without a problem.  

After a short drive we stop off at the friend's address. We're offered a cup of tea and Patricia spends a good hour talking about old times and then we move on. 

We'll be driving through Nowra, a town where Patricia used to live, but she's not really interested in having a closer look as it is mostly raining now. We did drive past HMS Albatross though, the place where Patricia used to work when she was in the navy, and via BTN Street (where P. used to live) till we are past the river at Bomaderry where we look for the caravan park which we have in mind for our overnight stay.  It's soon found and booked and we have a place for the night, with power. There's a laundry as well, so we'll do our washing while we are here, if the weather gets better.  It's still raining, though, so the meal is cooked in the tent.  

Shoalhaven Ski Park (#597 - S35 10 23, E150 35 21)

Since we have power we watch TV after dinner. 

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Bega to Batemans Bay

Saturday, November 29, 2014

After an early start we passed a road stall again with cherries for sale, which, from memory, must have been near Bodalla.  Since Patricia is very partial to them (not that I dislike cherries...) we stock up and drive on to our coffee stop, which is in Moruya.

We arrive at 10.15 am and discover a nice spot in a small park (Apex Park) dotted with wooden sculptures, and as we later discover, these sculptures are everywhere.

We have coffee first and while relaxing at the picnic table I look in my GPS if there are any caches around.  If there are? Plenty! So, we decide that it's time to have a caching day, but first we walk around and have a look at some of the shops.  We stop at a coffee shop for a vanilla slice!

Then it's on to the first cache, which is across the road at the parking lot of a shopping centre.

Park and Grab

Park and Grab

An easy one as you can literally almost get it from the car if you stretch your arm far enough into the guard rail!

Next we walk to the library to find another cache, but on our way we still see sculptures and other interesting items.

Then the cache:

Double Tap

Double Tap

This cache was quite interesting, not only because it was hidden in a library book, but since it was at the library I thought the librarians would know about it.  So, when they asked me if they could help me I told them what I was there for.  Geocaching?  What is that?  said one of them, but lady nr. two knew all about it, because she had a family member who was 'into it'.  Little did I know that they had never been informed about a cache in the library, so I had spilled the beans!  Together we went in search for it and it was sound discovered in one of the (former) library books.  After the fun and more chatting we left in good spirits to find the next one.

On our way we saw this monument, dedicated to the granite quarry workers, I believe.  Some of the granite has been used to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

   A few streets further down we look for the cache.

Park It

Park It

Park It was an easy one, although we discovered that it was on the corner of a B&B where we had been in full view of the visitors on the balcony.  Hopefully they were more interested in their morning papers than in us...

The next cache was a bit further away.  It was hot and we stopped off in a shaded area to enjoy an ice cream before moving on to the next cache in the van.

Albert Stewart Park

Albert Stewart Park

In the above picture Patricia is placing the cache back in its hiding place.  This one took a bit to find, -under- the bridge and in an akward spot, but Patricia found it nonetheless.

And the last one in town before we got too hungry:

Gundary Park Skating

Gandary Park Skating

While Patricia was looking underneath the bridge I kept an eye on the GPS and stuck close to GZ. If this was sheer luck, I don't know, but I spotted something in the grass next to the yellow sign and, bingo! 

We had done well and since it was way past lunch time we got into the van and were on our way to the closest picnic area, which happened to be on the other side of the bridge, just outside town.

Lion Park Moruya - DNF

Lion Park Moruya - DNF

We had our lunch at this picnic area on the river.  A beautiful spot.  After that we went in search of the cache, which we didn't find.  The clue was that we had to climb onto the table, but it was nowhere to be found.  After checking a few weeks later it appeared that we had searched in vain.  It had disappeared...

By the time we had lunch and searched for the cache it was just about 3.30 pm, so time to move on.
We had planned to stay the night at the Depot Beach Campground (#614), but for some reason we ended up at Pebbly Beach (#613 S35 36 23, E150 19 33) instead. Both are in Murramarang National Park past Batemans Bay.

As we have arrived quite early we sit down and relax after having set up camp.  I read a bit and we have 'happy hour' after which we go for a short walk to the beach and enjoy the sight and the company of the kangaroos. Next we have dinner and afterwards we go for another walk until dusk.
Then it's time to return to the van.

Our secluded camping spot

A cute marriage proposal on the beach.  The path and viewing
platform were all lined with candles.

Pebbly Beach as seen on Google Earth
A perfectly secluded beach, as you can see from the above picture.

We spend the rest of the evening watching the DVD Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.