Friday, January 8, 2010

The car will not start

The morning came and the car would not annoying... here we go again.
We cranked the car and no... I tried the normal number for the RACV no luck as it was too early to call to the RACV whilst I was looking for the RACV Total Care number Simon found it on his iPhone - it turns out that the RACV rings the NRMA and they turn up.

We had the feeling that we would be stuck so better to be stranded in a caravan park where it is safe rather than on the side of the road... breakfast was made out of what was in the cupboard while we were waiting for the NRMA to come.

The mechanic who arrived did his best to isolate and resolve the problem - we ended up with the last resort option, size 3 hammer with a couple of well directed hits under fuel tank and presto! the car started and switch to GAS. To be sure that we could continue and leave town we left the car running while the quickest packup of the caravan happened.

We left town happy - and when we arrived in Wellington with some LPG in the tank and filled up I was a little more relaxed as to have a full tank of LPG in the tank.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Armidale to Gulgong Part 2

After filling with LPG I said to Simon to try the car on petrol so to preserve some LPG, as there is none available between Merriwa and Wellington via Gulgong. There was one small problem the car stalled we switched to run on petrol. The car will still run on LPG but the car needs petrol in the mornings from cold.

We were a little concerned about that so we thought a treat of dinner out so when we arrived in Gulgong we looked for the caravan park (some of these towns could do better with some signage - however at least it was better than Tamworth with signs in yellow on dark blue at ground level in the middle of the streets) so for the first time ever we just parked the van site and connected the utilities and went out for dinner. No making the bed, tiding up or nothing... but a shower and freshen up.

Having decided that we would have dinner and as we noticed that the Gulgong RSL club had signage on the way to the park for raffles and cheap meals for members so we assumed that we would get good value for money. We were not disappointed, we were sitting having dinner then we had a couple of raffle tickets for a rare change our number was called for a a six pack of beer and some prawns. We left the prawns with the staff as the freezer in the van doesn't cope with these sorts of things.

We were very impressed with the town and the preservation of the historic appeal of the main streets and feel of the town, looks as this will have to be on the list of a future route on another trip.

Armidale to Gulgong Part 1

Well what a day already, but we left Armidale at about 11:30 am. It meant that it was pedal to the metal I wanted to get to Gulgong as early in the day so that we could relax. We had an easy run to Tamworth with a quick bite to eat at a fast food restaurant – never good quality but it was a time saver.

Unfortunately we did not see a lot along the way and we stopped at Tamworth for lunch then we decided that we should get going. Then we stopped at Willow Tree for a cup of tea, then we moved on.

We then made it to Scone stopped at the information centre to look at a short cut through to Gulgong after the information we decided to take a road that lead us to the town of Merriwa.
After we arrived at Merriwa we needed LPG gas for the car we looked at the petrol station but they did not sell it... oh now I thought what are we going to do.
Simon was told that his maternal Grandfather is buried in Merriwa somewhere.
Simon came to the rescue and asked the man in the petrol station that did not sell LPG and the man said that there was a LPG outlet just over the hill but he was not sure that he would be there because of the time. Fortunately the man was there after we looked for him and he was able to fill the gas tank up.

Oh No! What are we going to do now?

What a disaster I am thinking as I am looking at the tyre on the left hand side of the caravan. The old holden hubcap has come off and the grease cap has disappeared leaving the bearings of the caravan exposed.

Whilst I was looking at the damage Simon has been to the office to ask the owner about who he thinks that we should take the van to he recommends a local mechanic that he uses. He said that he will call them at 8 am and when we go to mention where we were from.

Arriving at the mechanics we were asked to back the van into the compound so that the damage can be assessed. It all turns out that we were fortunate that the van was damaged as not only did the bearings need repacking, the rim on the same tyre that was inspected was extremely cracked to the point that there is several centimeters before it is cracked all the way through - where we could have been stuck on the same side of the road... or worse, so we would recommend that you check your rims on older vans.

Our thanks the staff from Bob Greenes Auto Repairs at Armidale for their help in fixing out problem. They were most helpful and explained to us what the problems were and what was needed to fix it.

The waterfall way from Coffs Habour to Armidale

The Waterfall Way runs about 160km up from the coast south of Coffs Habour to Armidale in the Great Dividing Range in Central NSW. There are several lovely towns to pass through along the way including Bellingen and Dorrigo we were interested in the size of the local towns.

The first part of the climb after passing through Bellingen takes you past the Waterfalls that the 'run' is known with spectacular views back to the coastline that was just visible.

We stopped at the only Parking bay where the largest of the waterfalls was, the fall was beautiful and it was nice to allow things in the car to cool down a little as the climb is quite steep.

Continuing through Dorrigo and a couple of other whistle stop localities or villages we pulled in for a much needed a cup of tea at Ebor falls, there was after the considerable ammount of rain a good amount of water going over the falls.

We pulled into a caravan park at Armidale to find that we did not book there but at another park. After trying to call the other park – with no response it was decided that we would take the site that was on offer.

The park we stayed at was the Highlander Van Village in Armidale, the owner of the park was very knowledgeable and professional. The standard of the facilities were quite good they were very clean and well presented, we would recommend the park to anyone for short or longer term.

Whilst we were setting up camp we discovered that the Left hand hubcap was missing and indeed the grease cap was missing and the wheel baring exposed! but this is the subject of the next post.

Mullumbimby to Coffs Harbour

We were on the road at 7am. Traveling at that time of morning the roads did not have a lot of traffic on them so we were able to get some kilometers behind us before breakfast. We found it amusing when we stopped at a rest stop after Ballina to find that from a local farm some roosters had escaped we then drove on and we were thinking as to when we should have breakfast.

Yamba - light house
We choose to have breakfast at Yamba, this turned out to be a good was a good one. We sat eating our toast and drinking out tea on the headland over looking the beach, it was wonderful.
After Yamba we traveled to Coffs Harbour where I finally went to the Big Bannana.

From the big banana we traveled to the beach to see the beach for one last time we enjoyed our sandwiches then we left to head to Armidale.

The last days in Paradise.

This post cover the last days of our time in the New South Wales North coast.
We enjoyed our last day with traveling to Nareda's sisters house and then to her friend Angela who had a house at Numinbah this was where we had a rain forest walk and saw the natural

Natural Arch
Traveling to Numinbah gave me a chance to have a picture taken the Queensland boarder which was really good, as you are not able to do this if you take the freeway to QLD.

We stopped for a picnic lunch in a park at Tyalgum - which we were told has an interesting music hall with great acoustics. After lunch we headed back toward home Murwillumbah where Simon and Nareda had the chance to look at purchasing even more fabric, mean while Bill and I had the chance to have a hot chocolate at a local cafe then shop for was nice that Bill and I had the chance to have the easy life for a change lol.

Then we had dinner at Nareda's house , then it was time to say goodbye to Bill and Nareda we thank them for their hospitality and for showing us around the read

Sunday, January 3, 2010

What a hard life!

A weekend in paradise begins with having to get out of bed on a Saturday morning, apart from thinking what time it is and what's for breakfast the most important issue is to think is who is making the next cup of tea.

The next issue is the housekeeping because after all caravanners know that after a few days benches need to be wiped and fridges need to be cleaned, washing to be done after doing all of this we felt a sense of accomplishment.

We then traveled to Byron Bay, the parking gods must have been shining on our path as we had the spot at the beginning of the walking track, then trekked up to the lighthouse. On the very steep walk about half way up we saw a lookout to the most Eastern point in Australia. Then we walked up to the lighthouse took some pictures and enjoyed a scoop of Byron Bay Ice-cream in a waffle cone Yum!

Simon and Leigh at the most easterly point

Lighthouse entry back to the keepers house
On Saturday night we enjoyed another dinner at the Mullumbimby RSL in the company of our good friends and a small flutter on the pokies.

Sunday morning began with a sleep in and porridge with brown sugar and banana. I decided that we should look at the town of Nimbin to see what all the fuss was about. The drive was lovely across the Jerusalem Range to Uki then on to Nimbin after an obligatory 'cuppa' on route.

It is still an interesting town with a good community sprit a small amount of peace and love in the air Nimbin is much like any other place out this way trying to make a dollar from the tourist trade. Simon was even offered by some lovely locals the 'Fruits' of the valley - which were of course declined.

Simon cooked a wonderful dinner and we had a loverly fruit platter with dragon fruit on it. The dragon fruit is a red colour it tastes much like a kiwi fruit.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New year

We would like to wish you all the best that you can achieve this coming year - for me it will be to have more time in the caravan with Leigh, don't what we like best - to explore familiar places and find some new places.

This morning we had an early start to have breakfast at Minyon Falls in the Nightcap ranges, with Nareda, Bill and a friend of theirs Maggie. This was a sumptuous affair of bacon, eggs, fresh tropical fruits and berries.

We took the leisurely way home via Bangalow where we stopped for a coffee and a look around the shops.

Our tip - is to watch for the thieves in the hospitality business and walk out when they say 'surcharge for public holidays and weekends' as we know they are touching us in places that they shouldn't.