We’re on the road again. It’s been a while since we’ve had that feeling of freedom in our van and enjoying the rambling lifestyle. Boy, we’ve missed it.
We left Tweed Heads on 15/12 and headed down to Boorowa to see Emma, Graham and the kids. It’s been a while since we’ve seen them so we’re making a quick trip to see then before they head off to Tasmania for their Christmas holiday.
We decided to travel down by the coast road (Pacific Highway) instead of our usual inland route. It was probably an easier route but not necessarily shorter and definitely not cheaper as we got hit with $62.74 in road tolls. A bit much we thought!
Our first overnight stop was at Bulahdelah golf course. A “by donation” stop next to the highway but with little road noise over night. Then on to Lake Wallace, out of Lithgow. This is a great spot, huge area with basic toilets and showers, dump point and potable water. There’s a play area for kids, off lead park for dogs, tracks to walk or cycle along and fishing in the lake. We got talking to a couple of locals who were fishing and we managed to snag a free rainbow trout which made a lovely meal for the both of us. I gave the guy a tub of our home made soup in return and he was more than surprised and he doesn’t usually get something back for his gifts. What goes around, comes around, we say.
We had a couple of nights at the lake and the morning we were due to leave, Chris noticed our batteries were not charging as they were supposed to. My brother, Roger had put a new solar panel regulator in for us to get better solar charge. As we had been on power all the time we were at Tweed we were not aware that this was not working. After a discussion with a fellow camper and a bit of fiddling on his part, he replaced our old regulator and things were back to normal again. The new regulator was no good! Sorry Rog, you are going to have to send it back and see if the company honour the 12 month guarantee.
Our next stop was Cowra Showgrounds where we have stopped a few times over the years. One night here and then on to Boorowa where we were excited to see the kids. We last saw this little family back in April on our return trip from Tasmania.
We spent a couple of weeks at Boorowa, enjoying the family time. We took Josh cherry picking, (Ellie didn’t want to come) made cherry ice cream and pie fillings. Ellie spent time in our van making her dad’s favourite vanilla slice and lots of mango slushys which she and Josh both love.
While the kids were at school and mum and dad both working we made trips to Young, Jugiong and Wyangula Dam where we were lucky enough to see a guy opening some of the sluice gates to release water from the dam. There has been so much rain lately and more expected that this was necessary. If I remember correctly, he said that he was letting out 500,000 mega litres in 24 hours. That’s a lot of water!
On our last Saturday in Boorowa we had an early Christmas celebration with Graham’s brother Chris and his family coming over for the day. We had a lovely Christmas lunch with all the trimmings and exchanged presents. We hadn’t seen Chris, Karen, Deacon and Riley for a long while so it was great to catch up with them.
The next day as we were making preparations to leave, Ellie gave both Chris and I a haircut, and a good job she made of them too.
On Monday morning we said our goodbyes as Josh and Elllie left for school and we pulled out the drive. We are starting our return journey back up to Banora Point where we will spend Christmas with Jo, Phil and the girls.”
Our first stop after leaving Boorowa was at Canowindra Showgrounds where we planned to only stop one night but stayed 3. That’s one of the things we really like about our lifestyle, we can change our minds and plans at the drop of a hat! We checked out the Age of Fishes museum and explored the town. Chris had a game of golf and we chatted with the locals.
After Canowindra we headed to Geurie where we stayed at the racecourse, 2 nights free for unpowered and then the weather changed so we moved onto power for our last night. We met some lovely, friendly people at the horse event held there that weekend. We watched the teenagers learning to split and drove cattle. The day before had been the younger kids ribbon races but we had missed that as we went into Dubbo.
We then decided to stop at Ponto Falls which was just out of Wellington. This is a good spot beside the river which was flowing well due to all the rain lately. It was here while we were enjoying a happy hour with fellow travellers, that we got hit with a hail storm. We had been watching the lightning and listening to the thunder thinking the storm was going to go around us when suddenly we were hit with hail stones, nearly as big as golf balls. Our awning took a hammering and the sound from the hail on the roof was deafening. We now have to make a claim on our insurance for a new awning at least. We had to upload photos to Caravan Fix and they think there may be damage to the roof as well. Now when we get back to Tweed, we have to take the van to get it assessed properly. Not what we need with Christmas coming and expected long delays for parts due to Covid. Just another thing for life to throw at us.
We left Ponto Falls and headed to Wellington where we did a food shop then made use of the WINS community centre for wifi and printing off some paperwork before a trip to the post office.
Our next stop was Gulgong Showgrounds where we hooked up to power and I was able to strip the bed and get all the washing done. Always a bonus! We drove up to the lookout at Flirtation hill, checking out the views over Gulgong before heading back into town where we spent a while exploring Stacks down Under, the cheap shop which was like an Aladdin’s cave and sold just about everything.
We then headed to Coolah where Jo and Phil used to live. We pulled into the golf course free camp. This was a first time here for us as before we always had the Jones’s driveway to use. We had arranged to meet our friends Chris and Wendy for dinner that night. They used to be Jo and Phil’s old neighbours and we have housesat for them in the past. Chris and Wendy are always good company and we had a very enjoyable afternoon/evening with them. On Saturday Chris had a round of golf and I went for a walk to explore the three Op shops in town. I was to be very disappointed as not one of them was open, and on a Saturday as well!
We had dinner that night at the Chinese in the golf club and chatted with Bonnie who used to babysit Olivia and Ruby. She’s home from Uni for Christmas and this was her second shift working in the restaurant. The next morning we met Chris and Wendy at the bakery for coffee before saying our goodbyes, promising to keep in touch and hopefully catch up on the road one day.
We then had one night at Bendemeer free camp with a social happy hour before heading to Guyra where we had planned to spend a night. We pulled into the mother of ducks lagoon camp and expected to stay the night but after a wander into town for me and then lunch, the weather changed. It got quite windy and as Guyra is the highest spot in NSW, the temperature was going to drop considerably. We decided to pack up and move onto our next camp at Glen Innes. We get there and it’s like another country, sunny, no wind and hot. It was a good idea to move on.
We had two nights at Glen Innes, going into town on the middle day where we checked out the Christmas tree display in the town hall. This competition is run every year and there were clever creations. Everyone votes for their favourite and a prize is awarded to the one with the most votes. I then went on to check out the two Op shops in town and could have spent longer in the second one where it was fill a basket for $7.50. I spent as long as I dare in there being conscious that Chris was waiting patiently in the car for me. After choosing my basket full of bargains I went back to the car and found I had missed a phone call from Dorothy. At least Chris had had someone to talk to while he waited for me.
We Left Glenn Innes this morning but not before having to make a trip to Tyrepower. Chris was putting air in the tyres on the van when he noticed one of the valves was split so we needed to get it replaced. These things perish over time so with only one replaced as the guy hadn’t time to do all four, we are off again and will get the others done later.
Next stop Casino for one night and then Banora Point here we come!
We don’t usually keep track of how many kms we do or how much we spend on fuel but this trip we did and we’ve done nearly 2500 kms and spent just under $1000 on fuel since we left Tweed on 15/12. Oh well, it is what it is!
I’ll take this opportunity to wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy, healthy new year. I certainly appreciate what we have and how lucky I have been this year with my brief brush with the big C.
Life is good!