Saturday, January 24, 2009

Our first week away

Brisbane to Sydney Our first week away - 19th January – 24th January 2009

Well we made it to Sydney for our Campsite booking of 24th Jan (Australia Day long weekend) with out too much drama. We finally got going on Monday 4 hours after we planned after re-packing the car and saying good bye. It didn’t take too long for something to go wrong as when we got to the garage to fill up and check the tyres, Heidi managed to trip over the kerb and bruise her wrist. Great start!!

Our first stop was Byron Bay for a trip to the Easterly most point of the Australian main land (We plan to do all 4 points of the compass). Seemed a nice little place – a shame we couldn’t stay a bit longer.

Byron Bay Lighthouse
Byron Bay Lighthouse New South Wales Australia
From Brisbane to Sydney

Our first night was spent in Ballina on a lovely little campsite. It was our first night in the roof top tent, which I must say was very comfortable. In the morning we headed off for Coffs Harbour to see the family. 75kms out from the Ballina campsite (an hour) Carl suddenly realised that we had left all of our ice packs in the freezer at the campsite. After a bit of a debate we decided to head back to Ballina to pick them up, still deciding if the 2 hour trip to get back to where we were was worth while?!!

On the way back to the camp site we heard a noise up on the roof that sounded like a stone, then a noise on the road that sounded metallic (good job the windows were open!). Carl stopped the car 50m up the road and went back up the road (the relatively busy Pacific Highway through Broadwater) to look for the source of the noise. He found a large shiny bolt that looked too new to have been there long!
We investigated the roof rack and its contents, undoing and checking the tent in the 30C heat on the side of the road, everything appeared to be normal. So we carried on to rescue the ice packs. Almost at the camp site Carl realised that the bolt may have come from the new Hi-lift Jack that we had bought. Upon checking the jack sure enough the head piece that lifts the car was loose. Amazing that it hadn’t fallen off, even more amazing though was that the nut the that went with the bolt was still sat on the hole where the bolt should have been!! We were very lucky.

When we finally arrived in Coramba (2 hours late) it was nice to be spoiled at Nick and Jackie’s for the night, We had dinner at the Coramba Hotel (a nice little country pub). We had time to catch up with a chat and when back at their place to learn to tie the truckies knot!! (thanks again).

Gloucester Bird
Gloucester New South Wales Australia
From Brisbane to Sydney

We then continued south looking for a nice spot to stop for another “over-nighter”. We saw a National Park at Crowdy Bay. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see much of the park as we had to get going the next day to Barrington Tops National Park. We did get our first taste of cold showers and ‘pit toilets’ however!! (For those that don’t know what a ‘pit toilet’ is, It has no water and is basically a toilet shaped seat over a large hole in the ground. The idea is that the errr... ‘waste’ shall we call it composts down over time therefore no plumbing is required. As you can imagine though the smell and the flies are not very pleasant!!

Barrington tops is inland a bit near Gloucester and Stroud - this we found highly amusing and even more so as we drove into Gloucestershire!! Here we found a very cheap camping spot on somebodies property at the bottom of the hills with riverside camping. A great place with basic toilets and a warm shower (not bad just lots of spiders!) and we got a good spot overlooking the river. It was perfect apart from the constant buzz of the flies – something we will be getting used to I believe.
We stayed a couple of nights here and it was nice to settle, I (Heidi) managed to get my finger pinched in the table which hurt so much I felt like I had chopped it off! The pain almost caused me to faint which was a very scary experience for Carl! So I’m doing well with the injuries!

Barrington Tops National Park
Barrington Tops National Park New South Wales Australia
From Brisbane to Sydney

We headed up into the rain forest which was some nice relief from the hot weather, but the car was having a bit of trouble starting so headed back to Gloucester to get a mechanic to check it out. He couldn’t find anything wrong and thought we may have been just flooding the engine and all seems ok now. (glad to be in Sydney just in case tho, the RACQ may be coming in handy!!). We had a couple of very hot days camping but the nights were cool so easy to sleep. Carl went to war with a can of bug killer on the flies – not that it made any difference but he was happy.

We headed to Sydney and took our time getting there as it was so so hot and both of us were glad to be in the air con. Apparently the temp was 38C and the wind was so warm it was horrid. We are on a full facility camp site whilst in Sydney and glad of the power (everything is on charge!) The showers are very clean and posh – look like they have no place on a campsite! We have set up camp for the next 3 nights and glad to have some space in the car.

So today we are off to explore a bit of Sydney we haven’t seen before, making full use of having our own transport and it is a lot cooler today, the forecast is about 25C, so it will be nice to do a bit of walking. It is Australia Day long weekend so we will be enjoying the celebrations at some point over the weekend.

Well our first week has been fun, hot, sweaty, hard work, trying, constantly full of setting up and packing away, but we have thoroughly enjoyed the starry nights, gorgeous mornings, wildlife, scenery and just being together. Next week we head to Hunter Valley for wine and cheese tasting!

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