After a couple of very pleasant days beside the Murray, it was time to head back into NSW. We made our way first to a free camp at Grong Grong and then onto Junee golf club where we expected to stay a couple of nights with Chris getting in some games of golf.
Junee is known for the home of Ray Warren and Laurie Daly, both Aussie sporting icons with a park named after Laurie and a statue of Ray in the town. We explored the town, found the statue and park and then walked the wetland Boardwalk. We visited the liquorice factory in the old granary and learned about the product while sampling some of the different types of liquorice on offer. At the end of the liquorice tour we then played a game of vertical bowls using an old flour sack shaft as the vertical bowling alley. It was a good bit of fun and Chris managed to win himself a box of liquorice for getting the highest score. On day 2 in Junee we drove up to the Monte Christo Homestead only to find it closed but got into conversation with another couple who were also hoping to find the place open. We had a great long chat with Julie and her husband who live along side the Murray at Swan Hill and we have agreed to meet up again later in the year when we make our trip along the Murray with our friends Bob and Ellen.
It seems that most of the touristy things in Junee are closed early in the week or don't open until late this time of year so we were disappointed that we didn't see and learn more of the history of the town. Julie had told us about a free camp at Jugiong (a short detour for us) that was worth a visit so we then decided to go back to the golf club and pack up to move on. Chris was disappointed that he didn't get another game of golf in but agreed later that Jugiong was well worth the visit. A small town now cut off by the bypass but a good little place to see with a great pub, cafes, gift shop and wine cellar. The free camp was huge, a lovely flat grassy area and was well used by us caravaners, for only the price of a contribution into the donation box!
On the move again, we are now on our way to Boorowa to see Emma, Graham and our 2 eldest grandchildren, Josh and Ellie. We spend a couple of weeks with them, enjoying fun times and a day trip to Canberra Zoo. It was just after Christmas when we saw this little family last and with time going so quickly, it's always good to catch up again and see how fast the kids are growing up.
When we left Boorowa we headed for Cowra to spent a night, then another at Gulgong, both Showgrounds where we have stayed before. While at Gulgong we heard about the Gulgong festival that was to be held on the Queen's birthday long weekend. We made a note to bring Livi and Ruby back with us, only an hour away, to enjoy the celebrations of the birthplace of Henry Lawson.
We arrived at Coolah a few days before Jo's 40th birthday with preparations for a party the following weekend. An informal backyard bash with a barbie and 3 fire pits to keep everyone toasty warm in the very cold evening temperature. Emma, Graham and the kids also came for the weekend and I'm never more happier than when I have all my family around me. Everyone agreed the party was a success and it was 3.30 in the morning before the last people left!
The following weekend after the birthday party we had arranged to look after Olivia and Ruby while Jo and Phil went away for a couple of days on their own. We had great fun with the girls and we enjoyed our day out on the Saturday when we went back to Gulgong for the festival and street parade. The girls were really good for us and didn't seem to miss mum and dad at all!
With all birthday celebration over we then left Coolah, heading towards Tweed again, stopping off at Mother of Ducks Lagoon at Guyra and also the Mann River just outside Grafton. Before getting to Tweed, we had a couple of days at Ballina staying with our friends Hettie and Rex, a lovely couple who we met at Tumbling Waters in Darwin. Hettie was the very energetic lady responsible for all the aquarobics that we became involved with. Then on to Mullumbimby Showgrounds for 2 nights. Now we are back up on the coast again doing a Housesit at Elanora for a couple of weeks and catching up with family and friends. We're eagerly awaiting the Coolah Jones's as they head up here for the July school holidays and we will be on babysitting duties again while Jo and Phil have several appointments to keep. We can't wait!!