Monday, 23 November 2009

36 - Old Bar - Taree

The bride on Old bar Beach Taree

We left Cresent Heads cause we had enough of the wind. Two days was enough, however we met up with Mike & Kerry from Brisvegas, who we met at SWR.

So we decided to head to Old Bar at Taree, where the bride & I spent our honeymoon in 1979. Just had to go back there.

We selected the caravan park on the beach called Lanis, although still council owned the property is leased. However it was as exactly as we remembered it, a little more modern, but still a great spot.

But like Cresent Head the wind was blowing quite strong, but not as strong as what we had experienced at Cresent Head, and the park was empty.....yahooo! So we selected a site for three nights, with absoloutely no neighbours....and where do you the beach of course.

Great on the beach, although a little windy, but not as bad as up the road. Enjoyed a few grogs the first night, off to the beach again on day two, a few more grogs on the second night, and then around 4.30am a screaming southerly hit.......a typical Sydney southerly buster making its way up the coast after 40 plus degree temperatures in Sydney. So our third day was quite cool windy and showery. Just went into Taree, got a few things, had a Bunnings and Supa Cheap fix, more grog, then back to the park. No beach this day.

On the very early morning of our departure, it was belting down, so the decision was made to stay another day as I really didn't want to pack up in the rain, nor drive into Sydney in the rain, so it was decided to stay another night. Went and paid for an extra night, and the sun came out, and the wind stopped. so it was off to the beach (he he!!!!!!) Being a week day, meant hardly a soul on the beach, and you know how we love deserted beaches.

One thing we did however was to take some photies nearly as identical that were taken 30 years ago. We had the originals with us and have scanned them. As you will see below, age is a dreaful thing, but at least we are still alive.

Apart from hang'n out at the beach, we have spent the afternoon, not doing much, like doing this blog, and preparing for the run into Sydney tomorrow.

Stay tuned!!!!!!!
The bride on the honeymoon 1979 at Old Bar

The bride still on the honeymoon 2009. Still a stunner

The groom on the honeymoon 1979

The groom 2009...geeeeeezus what went wrong

Now for todays pikkies

Soak up those rays

Just love these deserted beaches (he he!!!)

Might go for a surf, anybody looking!!!!!

Wake me up honey when we are ready to go

Plenty of space at Lanis at Old Bar

Saturday, 21 November 2009

35 - Cresent Heads

We left South West Rocks on the morning of 18th November 2009, with a destination of Cresent Heads, or as the bride called it Crappy Heads.

On our way down, which is only an hour away, we noticed the north east wind had gained strength to a mini gale. Now I haven't been to Cresent Heads in 40 years. In those days all us guys would go there from Sydney to surf one of the best right hand breaks in the country....and chase the girlies too. Of course didn't remember much about the town....all I had was memories of driving straight to the famous point and hopefully catch a wave and check out the chicks.

Driving in, nothing has really changed that much. Of course a lot more houses, but not much else. Sure it is still a surfing town, with a small shopping area, and of course the pub, country club and so on. I will add however, the NSW government should be hung by the short and curlies in reference to the cop shop. What a disgrace, it was a broken down house, that even ferals wouldn't live in...shame....shame....shame.

Anyway at the famous point stands the council caravan park, which by the look of it, must have been there 40 years ago as well. A mate of mine from Marouya, he'll know...Macca is a history buff, and will have photos or movies somewhere in his archivies.

SO before checking in we obeyed the lessons of paying for a site unseen, so we went and had a look. Two choices of areas...the creek dwellers, where all the vans were lined up side by side, which is not my idea of caravaning, or the more expensive beach sites.

Well being the snob I am, nothing but the best for the Greenies here. So we selected a site that didn't really have any neighbours for two nights....but the wind was blowing at a gazillion miles an hour from the north east. Someone mentioned a normal day in Western Australia. I do remember someone told me that WA stands for Windy Always

Moving right along we unhitched and unpacked, and of course had to have a look at the famous surf point which works in a southerly swell and southerly wind. So you can imagine what a howling north easterly did it feeeeeeeeeerked it totally.

So we went for a walk, took a couple of photos, then battened down for a windy and miserable afternoon and night. The next morning the wind was just a breeze, so I went for a million mile walk, swam and sunned the body, while the bride had time out doing the house work. In the afternoon a couple we had met at SWR arrived so another happy hour was arranged. By early to mid afternoon the wind was raging from the north east again, making it very uncomftable.

As far as the park is concerned, it is a council run park. Very surf orientated and lots of young families. The facilities were tired. I bet money hungry developers would love to get their greasy grubby litle hands on it.

The bride christened this place Crappy Heads. It wasn't one of our favourite places....but you get that.

Next stop Old Bar in Taree.

Our camp site at Cresent Heads

Notice the floor boards out side the van. $20 a week for a floor. We got it for nothing!!!

The only time I got the bride anywhere near the beach!!!!!

The wind was blowing at a gazillion miles per hour everything got blown away

The beach view from the RetroLiner

34 - South West Rocks (con't)

Back beach at South West Rocks about 6.00am daylight saving time

An early wake up at the Top Four tourist Park in SWR saw me nick off on an early morning walk, before packing up and heading to our new pre paid camp site below the Gaol at Trial Bay. We arrived all fired up to get into our new site only metres from the beach, and even though the vans were lined up like tin soldiers ready for war, we thought.....who cares...the beach looks good.

We went to the gaol to concluded check in procedures, got the final receipt for the two nights $48.00, and double checked the site allocation. Yep all is, as per yesterday, site 35p.

As there was still someone in our allocated site, that's cool, the previous occupants are not obligated to leave till ten o'clock anyway, so we parked the Val and the Retroliner, just away a bit from our allocated site. That is when the alarm bells started to ring.

At a distance from where we were parked, I could see that the turning area to get a van into this site was a little I said to the bride, I am going down to have a closer look at the site we have booked.

As I got closer the alarm bells were in full blast.......shock horror!!!!!!!. There is absolutely no way I am going to reverse the Val, which is a big car anyway, and squeeze the RetroLiner into this space, which was more suited to accommodate a mini minor and a box trailer. Apart from a narrow site and a very narrow road access, there was a thumping big hill right beside the road. So I quickly came to the conclusion that there was no way I was going to get in there. Even speaking to people that were already there, they strugled like all hell to get their modern rigs in, let alone a Mopar Muscle car.

Only one answer........further away from the spot we had been allocated there were a few spots that we could have easily got onto, and were vacant. So I went back up to the booking check in chick, told here of my delema and the reasons what and why for, and asked to be moved to a more accessable site.

"Na!! can't do that!" "Well I would like a refund?" said I. "Na!!! can't do that either!" "Well I demand to see the manager", said I. "Na! can't do that either, he's not here." So all this went around for a while, and I could see that nothing was going to get resolved, so I asked for the managers name, and will write to this person, seeing if I can at least get my money back. May I add the management of the camp sites is the New South Wales Parks & Wildlife Service.......definately not hospitality professionals.

So I was pissed off. Apart from loosing $48.00, we had already checked out of a park we were quite cofortable in, but on the wrong side of I neede a beach fix big time. So with steam coming out of my ears from the dealings with a public servant, we wound up the Val and headed away from the camp ground.

What we have learned is.....never, ever , ever take the word of a check in chick about a site. You must go and have a look, test the water so to if you don't like the site you finaly excuses!!!!

The conclusion to this event, is we checked into the Big Four caravan park also at Trial Bay. Still close to the beach, and the park was not at all crowded. So we unhitched, then raced to the beach for my beach fix, and to cool down after my dealings with the public circus. After the beach met some great folk, travelling in all directions, which led to a very looooooooond happy hour and the rest is history.

Next stop Cresent Heads.

A'h a beach fix....least I have got my togs on!!!!!

Looking towards the gaol and the camp ground we were going to stay at.

Save the whale

Some of the locals at the Big 4 tourist park

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

33 - Sawtell to South West Rocks

Just down the road so to speak is the town of South West Rocks.

In all the years of going up and down the northern NSW coast many years ago, cashing the waves and of course the girlies, never ventured into SWR. So here we are.

One thing I can say about SWR.......WE JUST LOVED IT!!!!!!! Great feel, great atmosphere, just had that beach feel again.

We arrived at the Top Four caravan park just out of town and set up camp just for one night. On our arrival the mother of all southerly busters hit, so we had to tie down everything. Good thing though it was a dry change, no rain, but just windy with cloud increasing.

So after we set up, it was off to the town centre and the local pub for a feed. Pretty ordinary meal, but you put up with that. After lunch we went for a walk along the main beach, and as the wind was raging southerly at a million knots, this beach was actually off shore....hence very calm condiitions.

From there we did the touristy thing and went to the Trial Bay Gaol. I am not into anything history but the bride enjoys things like that. So off through the gaol we went.

We noticed a really cool campground just below the gaol, that was also featured in our Camps 5 book. Had a bit of a cruise around and though might just stay here for a couple of nights, so we booked two nights obiously from the night after the Top Four.

Next day that is when it went all pear be continued!!!!!!!!

The bride hang'n around the main drag of South West Rocks

The bride at the pub

Me at the pub

The bride over looking Horse Shoe Bay beach

Let me outa here

Trial Bay Gaol

Any more cheek from you Pauly Poos and in there for you

The kitchen

The bride in the guards tower

Off to the dungeon for 40 lashes Pauly Poo

32 - Wrenbrook to Sawtell

Having two fantastic weeks at Wrenbrook, it was time to push on. Didn't want to go, however we can always come back.......that is a certainty.
So down the range we go.........right turn at Casino, down the Summerland Way and into Grafton, under the rail bridge......right turn onto the Pacific Highway and high tail it to Coffs Harbour with our destination being Sawtell.

Coffs Harbour is not new to us. We have visited the area on many occassions, as my brother lives there and Wendy's sister is there also. To add to this, both my parents are buried we have a bit of a connection.

Coffs Harbour is a city, definately not your coastal back water, however Sawtell still has that beachy feel about it. So we made our way to the Top Tourist Park, and did the usual set up of camp. Good thing was we were not cramped in like sardines, and had no neighbours to speak of, and took a deal of stay five pay for four.

However we ended up staying six days as we waiting for mail, and Wendy had to get her glasses fixed.

So what did we do..................caught up with my Bro, visited the crematorium where my folks are, cuaght up with Wendy's sister and family, went to the beach and generally not much else.

The weather was in our favour as the previous week, Coffs was in flood. One thing I will add, this caravan park at Sawtell has got to be the first park, where none one wanted to talk to you....o'h well their loss. Still a beautiful park, close to the beach, with super clean amenities.

Enjoy the photies

View from my Brothers place...north Coffs Harbour

Sawtell Beach

A little cove just around the corner of Sawtell Beach

The neat little village of Sawtell

The Roulettes out for a burn

My Mum & Dad

Friday, 6 November 2009

31 - Kingaroy to Wrenbrook

We arrived back from Cairns on the 23rd of October, staying overnight with our great friends Peter & Geraldine at Bribie Island. Many a cool ale was consumed, a hot spa, a great dinner and some fantastic stories about their 3 month adventure of OZ. The photos were magnificent as well.

Of course our contract at Kingaroy was finished by mutual agreement earlier than our 27th of November date; hence we motored back to Kingaroy from Bribie Island on Saturday 24th of October. We picked up the van, headed back to the motel, cleaned out the resident manager’s quarters, and spent the next two days in the caravan park at Kingaroy, condensing a million bits of clothing and unnecessary items. The local Vinnies did very well out of us.

Although one can be very bitter and twisted about our so called management, more the role of caretaking of a motel at Kingaroy, it is best left where it is. However we have been for quite some time considering our chosen pathway in the relief / contract management of motels, and this latest “tour of duty,” definitely closed the book on all the chapters of this well written book. Time to move on.

The two days in Kingaroy at the tourist park, was hot and dusty, and was time to move on and start our adventure. We have a loose itinerary, initially heading for a place called Wrenbrook, which is near Tabulam on the far north Coast Rivers of NSW, about two hours from Byron.

We arrived in Stanthorpe from Kingaroy on Monday 26th October and of course this place lived up to its name of the coldest place in Queensland. Geeeeeeeezus after leaving Kingaroy 35 degrees plus, and about 4 hours later being greeted with temperatures in the late teens, was about all a KOALA COULD BEAR.

Our intensions were to stay the night, however in came the mother of all storms and upon waking the next day, it was decided to stay another night as the weather there and our destination, was not conducive to move on.

Stanthorpe is not the place I can get my rocks off. Apart from being cold it has that drab look about it, basically a town lost in time. Maybe I just can’t handle the cold.

Departing Stanthorpe, with the weather a little better not much, we moved onward toward Tenterfield. Another cold and miserable place. Stocking up with some goodies we headed down the Bruxner Highway, towards Casino and our destination of Wrenbrook. Unfortunately the weather didn’t get any better on our arrival, with cold blustery winds, cloud and rain. Yes the weather did improve dramatically the next day.

Our intension was to stay a week, and get the 6 for 7 deals at our camp site, but at the time of writing this, we are now into our second week. However will leave here on Wednesday 11th and looks like we are going to head straight to Coffs Harbour.

Our camp site at Wrenbrook

Wrenbrook is one of our special places, nestled into the hills between Tabulam & Bonalbo. A private property that caters for travelers, heading north or south on the east coast of OZ. It is a great place to unhook the van, and enjoy fellow travelers company, while enjoying the views, tranquility and solitude.

Open air shower block at Wrenbrook

The view from the open shower

Happy campers at Wrenbrook

The dining area

The games and fun area

The inside dunny

All the happy campers

Poor lad drank to much at the bar of Wrenbrook

The bar is open

And on the the ME & U today is........

Alfresco shower of the Retroliner

Stay tooooned for the next step of the adventure