Travelling has resumed

This was the snow in Cornwall before we left to go back to the boat.

The view of the clay hills from our window

Luckily we hadn’t booked a car otherwise we would have had to travel when the weather really wasn’t good. Once the weather looked like it was brightening the car was booked and we headed back on board Breakaway. We had the choice of cars and we chose a Fiat Tipo diesel, which had bags of room inside for our many items we always accumulate when back on land. One of them being a new 12v TV from Aldi. We had been concerned about how the boat would fair in the icy conditiions with no one onboard. The only problem was the shower temp guage had come disconnected; we thought we would have to buy a new one but Charlie to the rescue and it was mended. Fire and heating on at full blast to warm things up. We took the car back to Daventry and the next day had a light dusting of more snow, which got thicker as the day went on. No going anywhere for us just yet then. The wind was strong and it was still very cold. I had ordered a TV signal booster which we collected from Napton post office, hopefully this will shut out the 4G signal that keeps interfering with the TV picture. Overnight it had been cold and we awoke to the marina and canal frozen. It seems our plans to get out keep getting scuppered. Anyway it was probably a good thing as Charlie had been suspicious about our starter battery not performing well; so we ordered a new one from Multicell which they could deliver to the marina the next day. The old battery was 11 years old so had done well. We had a message from the crew of Little Marge (whom we met last year); they were going to arrive on their boat; as it turned out only one of the crew arrived while the other stayed at home in the warm!! We had our new battery delivered and after a Sainsbury delivery we were ready to move weather permitting. We were going to travel with Little Marge part of the way. We finally made it out on Friday 23rd February, and headed for Braunston. We stopped at Midland Chandlers to stock up with coal, and finally got to Hilmorton locks, where we met with Marge. Tea and cake on Marge, and beers in the eve on Breakaway. One thing we hadn’t tried was the TV on 12v. It worked on mains ok, but when we plugged the 12v in, there was nothing. Phonecall to customer services, as I had thrown the box away, but was told it was ok to return to an Aldi store, as wasn’t performing as it should; next Aldi would be at Atherstone, where we arrived after one night at Hawkesbury junction.

look who’s following us

untidy boatyard on the Coventry canal. I think I’ve got pictures of this before

Message from Marge’s other crew member that she would arrive at Atherstone station on the Monday. We arrived at Atherstone in good time on Sunday after a lovely cruise; which was then slightly marred by an elderly gentleman boater. We had pulled in behind him so I could walk forward and check the moorings further along. He asked if we were staying there, and I replied I wasn’t sure. He then pulled off and went forward. As I walked I said to him as it was often busy further down I was checking the situation. He then turned and grumped we had pinched his mooring spot!! I was a little taken aback by his remark as he had said nothing at the time; I do hate it when people moan after an event. I then retorted that we would have moved if he had said. Gggrrhh. Monday and we were up early to Aldi to return the TV. luckily for us they had another TV in the store but slightly smaller screen. So we did an exchange and this new one working perfectly on 12v. Otherwise we would have been without one, and Charlie does like his TV. We went back to the town after breakfast. Scouring the charity shops as usual, I found a wine rack for £1.95 which was just perfect for placing behind the fire to warm our red wine.

our new warming wine rack

Also bought 5 DVD’s, and a new washing up bowl in the ironmongers there. Mary arrived at 1.30, and it was lovely to see her and catch up. Tuesday 27th March and we moved down 5 locks with the help of the volunteers, in the rain. I managed some washing on the way.

Atherstone locks

Next day on to Bradley Green with Mary helping us through the locks. They stayed and came down the following day, and we helped Marge down. I made a fruit loaf for Good Friday instead of having Hot Cross buns. Rain, Rain, Rain and it really has been depressing and grey. So much rain over the winter period and many rivers have been shut to navigation. As we pulled away from Bradley Green the nearby field was a lake.

waterlogged fields

We were joined again on Easter Sunday by Mary and Stephen and had homemade scones, cream and jam courtesy of Mary. We had already shuffled along a bit more to Pooley fields nature reserve. This was an ex colliery site, and was quite a high spoil tip. Still raining but I walked with Izzy to the top. Once we returned to the boat the rain had stopped and we were on the move again as the batteries needed topping up, with the lack of sunshine the solars weren’t putting enough power in. More washing done along the journey, till we arrived at the Tame aqueduct at Fazeley junction, Tamworth.

the remains of Alvecote priory along the journey to Fazeley

not a very good picture of a nesting swan

We had a walk to Asda in Tamworth as needed to get some track suit bottoms for Charlie. Mary and Stephen weren’t sure which way they were going at this junction; but as it turned out they continued with us to Fradley junction. We stopped at Huddlesford to take on a Sainsbury delivery, as there was a pub next to the canal, and I could use their postcode. Delivery arrived on Friday 5th April and Charlie took the boat to Fradley whilst I stayed inside putting the shopping away. We met again with Mary and Stephen and managed to sit outside for eve drinks before we all felt too cold and had to retreat inside the boat for the warmth of the fire.

Friday 6th April and we were saying goodbye to Mary and Stephen. They helped us through the locks at Fradley; they were turning around and we were now on the Trent and Mersey canal, heading for Great Haywood.

over the fast flowing River Trent, with more waterlogged fields

some baa baa black sheep

view of Rugeley in the distance with more fields under water

Little Haywood church

We stopped about a mile short of Great Haywood junction. I had made dinner along the journey so everything was ready when we stopped.

Saturday 7th April and we shuffled along a bit further to have a nicer view. It was raining again, so we were happy to stay put.

Shugborough Hall

Now we were last here 3 years ago, and managed to look around the hall on our last visit. Many photos I have taken may already be on an earlier blog. Charlie spotted a woodpecker on the bank opposite

busy woodpecker

and there was an interesting fungus on a tree trunk

On Sunday we were off again through Great Haywood junction and onto the Staffs and Worcester canal. Although we have done this section before (but the other way), both of us cannot remember many of the sights.

an interesting kiddies play area

signpost near Stafford. I have promised a trip here on the way back.

approaching Deptmore lock

We stopped just after the above lock for the night. Monday 9th April and we were off again. We knew we had a few locks to do so we shared the load which made it a bit easier. Finally after 10 locks arriving at Calf Heath. Today we are not moving as heavy rain, and to be honest am fed up of getting wet. Blog all updated as fair phone signal, and we have a view of longhorn cattle in the opposite field. Tomorrow we will get to Autherley junction and turn onto the Shropshire Union canal; then we only have approx 15miles to our destination at Norbury. We are well on time for our slot on 22nd April. Just hope the weather improves.

Back home in Cornwall

Our journey back home was a long one, not helped by the fact of a slight hiccup with Flybe. A long story, but I have written to them about it. It is freezing and to top it all we have had snow, that lasted a couple of days. We are planning to go back to the boat very soon and just hope our winterisation of her has worked and we aren’t going back to find burst pipes etc. We are armed with stuff to put things right if needs be. First trip will be to get her to Norbury Wharf (on the Shropshire Union canal) for grit blasting and twin pack epoxy coating for the end of April. This will probably be the last big thing we will do on her apart from maintenance of course. Once travels start, the narrowboating adventure blog will resume.

And back to Iluka

14/02/2018. It was Valentines Day (no different to any other and never has been), and we were up early for the drive back to the family in Iluka. We took the tourist route to McLean, but made a slight mistake and ended up going over the wobbly bridge at Grafton again, then had to get the ferry back over at Ulmarra (same river but different ferry location than previously).

ferry over the Clarence river

We were the only vehicle travelling over that way at that time, very honoured. We stopped in McLean as we wanted to visit the camping shop again; also stopped in the local butchers for some meat to BBQ in the evening. We had decided for our last few nights we would use the cooking facilities in the campsite. On the way to Iluka we stopped at a view point and viewed Twelve mile beach. 4×4 vehicles can drive onto the beach at low tide, but we didn’t risk it.

Twelve mile beach

Back at Iluka campsite and whilst driving into our pitch, the van drove over a waste pipe, which we hadn’t realised was there. The owner of the van opposite came and told us never to drive over these; we duly apologised and offered to pay for any damages, but he was adamant it was ok. To be fair to us I don’t know why he positioned it so far away from his pitch as there was one nearer him on the other side. Anyway we felt quite bad about it for the rest of the day. In the afternoon the kiddies had to go to the local doctors clinic for vaccinations (they are compulsory in Australia), so I went along for moral support, and supplied the large ice creams after. We had a BBQ in the evening and sat outside till it got dark.

cooking on the camp facilities

15/02/2018. It had been a very humid and sticky night, so not much sleep was had. I went to the Butchers and Bakers in Iluka early to get more supplies for the evening BBQ, and as it was grand-daughters birthday after we leave , we decided to have early celebrations, so I ordered a birthday cake to collect on the Saturday. Very hot and humid; the children were having a day off school to spend with us, so while grandad watched films, I took them to the campsite to swim in the pool. After lunch the same then BBQ in the evening.

Iluka campsite

16/02/2018. We are now prepping for our departure on the 18th, by cleaning the van inside and out. We could have paid $150 for the privelege of the hire company to do it, but we decided to do it ourselves. Kiddies off school again so more swimming in the morning; though we did have to vacate to the small jacussi pool as aqua aerobics was happening that morning. Films in the afternoon and barbie again in the evening; then it rained!

17/02/2018. More van washing. Off into town to collect the birthday cake (quite expensive for what it was but didn’t have tin to bake our own, and after all I was on holiday). We had the early birthday with present opening and cake

even managing to eat the pie and mash I had made on arrival as the cooker had been mended. Must say though it was rather hot to eat such a dish. In the afternoon whilst grandad watched more TV, I went with the family for a walk through the rainforest to the lookout point at Iluka Bluff.

Iluka rainforest

views from the Bluff with wild waves

view the other way

evening sunset in Iluka

18/02/2018. Our holiday comes to an end, and our home journey starts. Final bit of van cleaning, and it is now cleaner than when we first had it. After a short walk we then left the family in Iuka at around 11am to get back to Brisbane and return the van before 4pm. It was approximately a 3hour journey, but all on the highway; a short delay along the way because of traffic volume, and we arrived at 2pm. Duly the van was checked in and checked over and all well. Taxi to the airport and we arrived at 14.30 for the 20.45 flight. A bit early, but we had a leisurely lunch.

our ride home.

We had a lovely time. The scenery was fantastic. We had driven 2138km (1347 miles) in the time we were there (not alot by Australian standards though). We took over 600 pictures and have many wonderful memories. Who knows we may even go back, as now the family have moved to Lismore for better jobs, and there is more exploring to do.

Dorrigo and Coffs Harbour

11/02/2018. Up early and off the Dorrigo. I had read there was another Skywalk here in a rainforest, so we were going to investigate. The road from Armidale is called The Waterfall way, and there are numerous stops to view waterfalls and scenery. We stopped at a few along the way.

granite outcrops

a gorge along the waterfall way

a Kookaburra

termite mound

We stopped at Bakers Creek falls and Wollomombi lookout, but because there had been very little rain over the winter not much water was flowing over the falls. Things were better at Ebor falls though.

Ebor falls

and again

local flora

On to Dorrigo and the rainforest centre. This was very different to the last skywalk in that it was a much smaller platform, but the nature reserve and rainforest was larger. We had lunch here, took in the lovely views and did the forest walk.

Dorrigo skywalk with view behind

Strangling fig

ferns that attach themselves to a host tree

pretty bead like fronds

lovely view

We had planned to stay the night locally, but Charlie wanted to crack on to Coffs Harbour. As it was Sunday I phoned ahead to see if they had space; luckily they did though the site was very busy due to a national sports event taking place that weekend. This was the most expensive site yet, and due to it’s business was a little untidy with rubbish lying around and toilet blocks being dishevelled. We stayed here 3 nights to recover and look round.

Aussie dove

12/02/2018. Lots of people leaving the campsite today, so much quieter. Hot and Sunny now we are back on the coast, so we went off for a walk to Coffs Harbour. We partook of a very expensive ice cream on the way back.

local beach near the campsite

more beach views

and again

boats in Coffs Harbour

We chilled out for the rest of the afternoon watching the birds and drinking wine.

colourful parrot in the tree above

this bird nearly knocked itself out by flying into the table at the back of the camper. It’s sitting on the camper door to recover

13/02/2018. We had a short drive to Coffs Harbour Plaza shopping mall. We bought a few items there. Charlie had spied someone eating KFC the day before and took a fancy to trying some; so unlike us we did and it wasn’t too bad either. Lazy afternoon as it was hot and very humid.

Glen Innes show

09/02/2018. We were up early and off the the show. It was only a short walk to the showground but was already getting hot. We purchased a 2 day ticket in case we wanted to return on the Saturday. We walked around the showground to get our bearings. It was Friday and things were getting set up. A big funfair was dominating much of the area. Food stalls, animals and craft stalls. Not so much machinery shown here though.

smart looking Hereford bulls

a rather posh horse box and trailer combo

Charolais bulls

smart looking Arab type pony

kids battling with unruly sheep

Herefprd bull having a blow dry

flower arranging

lego display

Prime stock

Angus calf

A small snapshot of our visit. We have many more photo’s to bore people with!

We spent the evening chatting with a lovely Aussie couple 

It’s a good job we purchased a 2 day ticket as we went back on the Saturday morning. We purchased some blue cheese, and a strap for the pocket watch I had bought Charlie in Iluka market, which was made from kangaroo leather, and made by a lady that had emigrated from Essex 30 years ago. Once we had finished at the show, we set off again for Armidale to a campsite there. We weren’t too impressed with it for the price but it was only for one night. We did partake of the pool though to cool down. We were so tired at this point we decided not to investigate Armidale on this trip; maybe another time.

Inverell

08/02/2018. We are over The Great Dividing Range in the heart of New England with wonderful scenery. We left Inverell campsite at09.30 as we were going to do real touristy things today. So we headed for Gum Flats and the Olives of Beaulieu. I had seen an advert in the free map we had for it and thought it would make a nice visit. On the way we had a brief stop to allow cattle to cross. Men, dogs, quad bikes and horses all helping to move them.

moving cattle across the road

Olive farm

We didn’t expect to be there so long as there wasn’t much there to see, but the elderly proprietor had so many interesting stories we stayed and chatted whilst tasting the olives and oils.

Olive trees

Herself and her husband had started the farm 25 years ago, not knowing anything about olives, and built up the business, making oils, meat rubs, soaps and of course jars of olives. The farm is now run by their daughter and she comes in daily to run the shop. She had pictures of her ancestors when they first came to Australia. Very interesting talking to her.

inside the tasting shed

After sampling the wares we bought some olives and oil and a couple of spice jars before heading on our way to the next stop.

olives on the tree

Next stop was back through Inverell to the transport museum. Charlie liked this one as full of old restored cars. Many of which get shown regularly at Show and Shine events. A few pictures now of the many cars on display.

There was also a small display of vintage wedding dresses and dolls, but the official photographer omitted to take any photo’s of those. We then visited the Pioneer Village which was just down the road. One dual ticket purchased allowed access to both with a saving. We had lunch in the van then ventured in.

Now this was an outdoor museum collection of old buildings that would have been destroyed if they hadn’t been saved and put here. We have been to a museum like this in the UK on our narrowboat travels. We wandered around the buildings, a few of which were housing collections of war memorabilia, photography, models etc. Very interesting as I love social history.

schoolhouse

pub sign

inside views of homesteads

lovely range

barbers shop

facade

village store which started life as a butchers shop. Now reception for the park

Ibis. There are many of these birds around this area and in the campsites

The next picture I am hoping can be read as I thought it amusing; story about the rabbits and how they got into Australia.

Now this next bit of the story sounds amusing when retold, but at the time was quite alarming. I partook of the ladies room whilst going around. I was just sorting myself out and then flushed, and to my alarm a large bright green frog appeared from inside the bowl! I didn’t know if to laugh or scream. It disappeared again as fast as it had appeared. Apparently it shows that the water system in the area is healthy. I’ll take their word for it.

Off again back to Glen Innes for our 2 night stay and visit to the show. There was a Woolworths store within walking distance, so we had a walk and look around. Woolworths out here is a supermarket. It had been a hot day and the cool of the air con in the store was refreshing. We spent the evening sitting outside (till the mozzies started biting|) watching the bats and the stars.

Tenterfield railway museum

07/02/2018. It has to be said that we hadn’t packed for cold weather. We awoke in the night feeling cold. Until then we had been sleeping on top of the duvet covered by a sheet; but once inland in the mountains we changed to sheet on the bottom and duvet on top!

It improved as the day went on though. Off to visit the Railway museum; manned by volunteers aiming to restore and rescue unwanted stock; but by the sounds of it many people were trying to hamper their efforts by charging way too much for stuff that otherwise would have been scrap. But they soldier on.

at the station

Now they don’t have any engines that nmove because there are 2 bridges that are more modern that the engines cannot get under, so this is purely a standing exhibition.

station facade

sign on entry

Once in we were scooped up by a little old chap who showed us around the exhibits and told of their history.

our guide for the morning

inside the carriage

They have a variety of skilled volunteers from upholsterers to carpenters and painters, who keep things looking restored.

station view from the tracks

The last train departed in 1988 and there are many photo’s of this event.

signals that would have been used by a woman stationmaster in the day

A very enjoyable morning spent. We then went into Tenterfield town and looked at more “historic buildings”. Photo’s of a few now follow.

Tenterfield buildings

different era

court house and police station

Tenterfield saddlery. Apparently there was a song written about it years ago

After our whistle stop tour of Tenterfield we were on our way again heading for Glen Innes. This was the reason for our visit to this region as there was an agricultural show on at the weekend, that we wanted to visit. We stioopoped briefly at Glen Innes and booked 2 nights in a campsite near to the showground, so we could walk there. Once sorted we were off again to Inverell for the night. There was much to see here too.

Granite outcrop on the way to Glen Innes

Inverell campsite

 

Yamba, Casino and Tenterfield

03/02/2018. We were back in Iluka for the weekend, so we all decided to visit Yamba on the ferry, as it was easier than driving round. The day started well, but it soon became breezy so a cardigan was needed.

Ferry to Yamba

Arriving at Yamba

We had a good look around the town, stopping for coffee along the way. There is a massive climb up a hill to get a view over the town, but we managed it (just). The weather now was turning into overcast and breezy.

view of Yamba town from the top

Beach at Yamba

Yamba is a pretty area similar to Iluka, with surfing beaches and cafe’s. We all had lunch in the local bowling club as it was now raining, so a good excuse to shelter. We headed back for the 13.45 ferry to Iluka.

ferry back to Iluka

Spent the rest of the day at the house with the family, and it rained all afternoon.

04/02/2018. Emily and Jamie’s friend Pete had arranged to take Charlie and Noel fishing in his little boat. The weather had calmed and was warm again so off they went with a packed lunch, suncream and hats.

getting ready to go fishing

out on the river

Iluka. Area where the boats are launched

Now whilst the men were fishing, Emily, Grand-daughter Charlie and myself headed for the Sunday market in Iluka. There were quite a few interesting stalls, and we bought a few items there. Weather remained sunny until the evening, then the rain started again. We had slow cooked lamb for dinner as the electrician still hadn’t come to fix the cooker.

05/02/2018. Monday morning and we left Iluka to go travelling again. Now we had bought a sat nav before we left the UK, that has Aussie maps, and this proved invaluable throughout our trIP. This day though Charlie took a wrong turn whilst we were heading for Ballina. Never mind we thought, there is the Macadamia Castle en route that we can visit first, housing a collection of animals, gardens etc., will be good for a visit.

Macadamia Castle

But when we arrived we found it was closed for refurbishment, so we had a coffee from the stall there and chatted a while with the barista.

Turned around and back to Ballina, there looked to be a few good spots to view the area.

weather was turning in along the way to Ballina

It started to rain along the way and didn’t stop. We were laughing to ourselves as at each viewpoint we could hardly see a thing! Typical British weather, and we didn’t even have our pacamacs. By the time we got to the third viewpoint I decided to brave it outside to take some photo’s.

Beach at Ballina

Lovely place despite the rain. Off again this time stopping at Lismore for diesel and shopping. We didn’t explore this town as the family will be moving here soon so we will keep the visit here for our next trip. Then on to Casino for the night.

The big Prawn!

Passing a rather large prawn, which now has become a permanent fixture apparently. The campsite at Casino was once again very quiet, but well equipped as have all the campsites been. This country is certainly geared for camping and caravanning.

a cheeky wagtail

our camping position in Casino

As it got dusk, Charlie went outside to be confronted with a most wondrous sight. Thousands of fruit bats heading back to their roost (wherever it was); now I mean thousands and they stretched right across the sky. I took a photo which doesn’t do it justice, but Charlie took a video (which friends can see if they want).

just a few of the many bats flying over

06/02/2018. Sunny morning so we walked around Casino town following the heritage trail. I’ll show a few pics of the buildings just to get the gist.

Casino buildings

and another

inside the art nouveau church

post office

Now by Aussie standards these buildings are old and history; not by British standards but nice to see that heritage is being preserved. Once the trail done we were back in the van and onto the Bruxner Highway

Manganee lookout point

stopping at the above lookout point with it’s spectacular views. We were now entering New England territory, and from the pics you can see why. Could be Wales or Scotland. We were up and down on the road like a rollercoaster; round tight bends and narrow passing places. Along the way there was a rest stop that had hand carved totem’s, that were put there as part of a peace process between the people involved.

one of 12 totems

and another showing the intricate work on them

They were beautifully carved but had been there for approx 20 years so showing signs of deterioration. We stopped for lunch at a very secluded spot in the forest called Crooked Creek; found a shady area to keep the van cool.

Crooked Creek picnic area

Our destination was Tenterfield and we eventually arrived around 14.30. Early to stop really, but driving is very tiring on the driver, so a rest was needed. We booked in for one night, and decided to look around the town in the morning. We did though venture out for a walk in the evening to the cemetery up the road. Interesting to see grave stones of no great age, but also the cemetery was laid out in religious denominations; something I’ve not seen before.

Tenterfield campsite

view over the hills

If you look carefully you will see Mole Valley (for my west country friends!)

this little chap lived in the laundry under a washing machine

a different bird for the bird table

07/02/2018. The campsite had been bought 2 years ago by the couple running it, that included the lodge in which they lived. On request you could look around the lodge, which we did. They have converted this lovely building into B&B rooms and offer Devonshire cream tea’s. Don’t know if it includes clotted cream as never seen any for sale. My official photographer let me down though, as he forgot to bring the camera so no pics! You just can’t get the staff. We left the campsite and headed for the Railway museum which was just up the road.

 

Iluka, McLean, Minnie Water and Wooli

30/01/2018. Kiddies were back to school so we were off and travelling around. We headed for McLean, a Scottish town; the scenery around it could quite easily be Scotland.

McLean shops

and some more

The buildings are typical of the older towns in this area as we find out later in our trip. Many late 1800’s and early 1900’s. We had a little walk around. Checked out a camping shop and bought a billy can for the boat, and 2 wide brimmed hats with neck covers in their sale. Just hope we get the hot weather in UK to make use of them. We drove out of the town to The Pinnacles rocks

Pinnacles Rocks

and to the lookout point; then onto the Scottish Cairn (a memorial to the founders of the town).

Scottish Cairn

The poles around this (and the street lamp poles) are all painted in different tartans.

painted poles

On leaving McLean we then got detoured off the road we were on, and onto a gravel track for a couple of kilometres, which was very bumpy indeed, and not what we wanted to do in a new van. Anyway this took us to the ferry over the Clarence river to Lawrence.

ferry to Lawrence

Time was getting on, so we decided to find a campsite inland for the night. Through Grafton and over a very strange bridge (that has a bend in it and clearly not designed for big vehicles), and on to Seelands and The Big River campsite. A lovely position on the river Clarence, that caters for many water sports and is a ski centre (water not snow).

our position in the campsite overlooking the river

view of the river

local wildlife

Aussie moon

31/01/2018. We awoke to the sight of mist, but as it was warm it soon cleared. Something we are used to in Cornwall.

early morning mist

The campsite was virtually empty as kiddies all back at school now, so was lovely and quiet. After breakfast we left Big River for Grafton, and back over the wibbly wobbly bridge.

the bridge with a bend in it

The bridge being old in Australia terms is being replaced with a new one that is being built alongside it; though this one will remain. Stopping at Grafton we looked around the shopping mall and I managed to get 2 bikini’s in the sale for $20 (around £12), so I was well pleased; we then drove on to Minnie Water and a campsite there. Situated in a National Park and near a surfing beach. It was a short walk to the beach, but apart from a shop there wasn’t much else there.

camping at Minnie Water

local wildlife

local flora

and some more

Minnie Water beach

wild waves

The weather was turning a bit overcast and breezy. We booked 2 nights at Minnie Water, so as Wooli wasn’t too far away we drove there the next day. The afternoon and evening saw very British weather as it rained.

01/02/2018. Woke up to a cold, cloudy and overcast day. Drove to Wooli; similar to Minnie Water but it does have many picnic spots.

rock formation at Wooli

picnic area overlooking the water

Aussie magpie taking a drink

more local flora

overlooking the breakwater at Wooli

Back to the campsite and we got talking to a lady who originally came from Birmingham. She had been in Australia for 21 years; she then proceeded to tell us about her close encounter with a large lizard called a Goanna; luckily we didn’t see it as apparently they are huge and can rip you to pieces!! Despite being cloudy it didn’t rain, so we had a lazy afternoon.

02/02/2018. Leaving the campsite we were going to head for Yamba (an area similar to Padstow/Rock), that was oposite Iluka; but as it was raining we decided to go back to Iluka, as we were back there for the weekend to see the family again. On the way back we took a slight wrong turn, stopped to get our bearings, and saw our first kangaroo’s.

baby kangaroo’s

Once settled in campsite we went to house for the afternoon and evening as it was still raining. We weren’t prepared for rain.

Advancetown and Surfers Paradise QLD

Our home for the duration of our holiday

23/01/2018. After spending a comfortable first night we headed out for the shops on the way to Surfers Paradise. There are many little shopping outlets around, and we found an Aldi to do our food shopping. Very similar in layout to the ones in the UK. Once cupboards and fridge stocked up we were on our way to Surfers Paradise to meet the family. We had a quiet day with them at their hotel., and had a walk around the shopping area. We were glad to be staying in Advancetown as it was much quieter there.

24/01/2018. The kiddies were off the Dreamworld, so we took the opportunity to visit Mount Tamborine and surrounding area. It was a winding drive up to the top but once there the view was spectacular.

at the top of Mount Tamborine

We have visited Western Australia twice but hadn’t encountered views like this in the area we visited. We were pleasantly surprised.

We came across a rainforest walk on our journey so stopped to walk along it. Like the Eden project but without a roof, and much bigger!

walking along the treetops

It was lovely to walk along the treetop canopy and see the different types of trees and plants and occasionally some wildlife.

rainforest wildlife

Australian Brush Turkey

We also finished our trip with a visit to Clifton Falls, and stopped at the Gallery Walk shopping area for an Aussie  pie for lunch. After lunch we then headed back to the campsite. The weather was quite cloudy and we even had some rain!

25/01/2018. We headed back to Surfers Paradise to meet the family and go to the beach. Lovely hot and sunny day, though a little breezy.

Beach at Surfers Paradise

It’s a bit disconcerting seeing a helicopter patrolling looking for sharks; and also a shout went out to beware of jellyfish.

the other view of Surfers Paradise. Not so much paradise.

 

We headed back to the hotel for a light lunch as Emily had arranged for us all to go to a show in the evening at a venue called Dracula’s. We had parked the camper in a car park that we could stay in overnight so we could have a drink. We showered in the hotel, and set off to the show. It all started well but gradually went downhill as the evening went on. The show had been very expensive; a cabaret with a meal. The meal was paltry and the show inadequate. Emily had arranged for a cake for her dad’s birthday which we needed to fill us up!!  We were all very disappointed for such an extortionate price. Needless to say I penned some constructive criticism to them the next day.

awoken by cockatoo’s in the morning

26/01/2018. We hadn’t slept very well in the carpark so when we arrived back at the campsite we had a snooze after breakfast. It was Australia Day and we had been invited by the hotel to attend a family afternoon of food, fun and music. The family were going to join us. We walked the short 5min walk  to the hotel, and settled ourselves on a table with an umbrella. In order to get food and drinks we had to buy tickets, so we duly bought enough for 6 people. But because the children had had a late night in the kids club whilst we were out the previous evening, they didn’t join us, and we had quite alot of tickets left. The afternoon was very good with a band, pig racing and games for the children.

racing piglets

A very good Aussie band that sounded like Fleetwood Mac

We enjoyed the afternoon, even chatting with a local couple for most of it.

27/01/2018. As we had alot of tickets left that could be used in the hotel, we decided as we were leaving the area we would go and use them to have breakfast. Charlie had a full Aussie breakfast, and I had muesli and Eggs Benedict which was lovely. The proprietor told us the scenic way to go, so we could take in some sights along the way. We were heading for Iluka where the family lived. On the way we stopped at the Hinze Dam that supplies water for the area.

view of the dam from the top

part of the dam overflow

We then stopped at Natural Bridge that has a waterfall and glow worm caves.

Natural Bridge and waterfall

view along the way

After our scenic diversion we then got back onto the Pacific Highway to Iluka. As we were in Queensland, and Iluka is in NSW, we had to alter the clocks forward an hour once over the state line. Strange to do this within the same country! We had one stop for a cup of tea before arriving in Iluka later in the afternoon. We spent one night on their drive, but because the camper electric couldn’t be plugged into house electric (not compatible), and it was hot, we couldn’t run the aircon. So the decision was made to book into the local campsite a few hundred yards away, so we could plug in.

28/01/2018. We walked around Iluka in the morning. Town by the sea that is favoured as a retirement area.

Pekicans on the beach

Boats in the harbour

My grand daughter had requested I make her favourite pie whilst there. A London dish of pie, mash and liquor. I made this in the afternoon, but unfortunately Emily’s oven decided to break down so the pie had to be put in the freezer till oven mended, much to everyone’s disappointment. I did some washing, and we had Fish and Chips for tea from the local fisherman’s Co-op. Very different selection to the UK. Choose your fish, then they cook it. I think we had shark. The camp site was emptying a bit now as the kiddies are all back to school soon.

29/01/2018. Spent the morning at Emily’s babysitting. We had heavy rain in the morning.

It does rain in Australia

We used up some bits and pieces for lunch, then we partook of the camp site swimming pool in the afternoon once the rain had subsided; and an evening of movies at the house.

one of the many birds frequenting the campsite. Reminds me of a butler.

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