The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

29 March, 2013

Glenreagh, NSW

We Hadn't done the weekly shopping so had to stop in Grafton after leaving Iluka, this was going to be a first as we had the van in tow!!  First had to make our way across the notorious (narrow) bridge which crosses the Clarence River leading into Grafton.  Once we had negotiated this it was, find a park time.  Well ... turning down tree lined streets with reverse parking is NOT caravan friendly.  Thinking we might get a park by the river was a good idea, until we turned down a dead-end street.  It was time to hone the reversing skills and get Hels out to stop traffic as we reversed across the street.  Hels is getting better with her direction signals (had to explain that it looks like waving to me instead of directing me - will leave it to you the response I received!!), however during this reversing procedure unbeknown to me a Garbage Truck had gone down the road and as I was following the 'keep coming back' signal the truck had picked up a bin and emptied it into the truck which made a huge bang!  The old heart was pumping thinking I had hit something but more confusing was Hels still signalling to keep coming back!   After the third attempt down a street we did manage to find a park along the river edge and get to the shops.

After stocking up we headed on our way (had to go back across the narrow bridge again) and inland away from the coast and the expected Easter crowds of holiday makers.  We have found a small getaway not far from Glenreagh between Coffs Harbour and Grafton and will stay until after the Easter period.

The "Golden Dog" Hotel ..... you make your mind up!!
On Friday night went into the Golden Dog Hotel in Glenreagh which has a large "Golden Dog" statue outside - only problem is we were unsure what the statue was as it was a cross between a dingo & a lama!!!  Had a great meal at reasonable prices.  Managed another trip into Glenreagh for some coffee and were fortunate enough to be in town for the Cedar & Steam Art and Photo Exhibition, this is an annual exhibition of local arts and craft held in the Schools of Arts building.  It was fantastic walking into the old wooden Hall with the stage up front and some of the local exhibitions were really good.

Some local wild life, with some golden bronze colours

A magic sunrise
What a difference a day makes to the sunrise

Glenreagh GS .... cappa of course

Glenreagh Art building from local timber

The old Post Office

Managed to take another day out of our busy schedule to drive into Coffs Harbour.  Took the scenic roads and it was beautiful driving through the little towns and enjoying the county side which is very green at the moment with all the rain they have had.  When we were in Coffs about 12 months ago it was raining and we did not stop long enough to have a look around.  With much better weather (sunshine) drove around Coffs and checked out the beach and city centre.  Didn't mind Coffs but too many traffic lights and with the busy pace of traffic and shops we were keen to head out of town and get back to relaxing.
One of the beaches at Coffs

Farm equipment against the timber, couldn't resist a photo

Coffs Harbour


After Easter will be heading further inland, probable towards Tamworth ........ until next time.

18 March, 2013

Iluka & Yamba, NSW

After leaving Brunswick Heads, travelled down the coast deviating to Lismore in order to purchase and have fitted some Weight Distribution Bars, which has made towing the Van more stable.  Had a look around Lismore and was surprised how big and hilly the place was with many houses having a fantastic view of the surrounding hills and valleys.  From Lismore we headed back along the coast to Iluka which is situated on the northern side of the mighty Clarence River.  Staying at the Iluka River Front Tourist Park, we've been really lucky and managed to get a great site only meters from the rivers edge and have a magnificent clear view of the comings and goings on the River from fishing 'tinnies' to the Ferry which transports people over to Yamba.  Fishing is high priority amongst the travellers and hear the odd tales about the huge one that got away!  Weather has been quite sunny during the day but cool at night (well cool for us anyway!)

The view from in front of the van, can't get much better, only if I could catch the fish!!
When the southerly blows up its a different picture, but someone is having fun.

Hels Dolphin spotting, was a pod of 8 or more playing in the river.

We like the quite country atmosphere which Iluka provides, no large motels or "trendy" establishments, just has the feel of a family holiday village.  Will note this and will be back.

Yep, you guessed it ..... Boat Shed coffee shop Iluka, just had to have another coffee.

Iluka Bay, we walked around from the park to the pub ..... and back of course.

Weather was not all that fantastic on Thursday so took a drive over to Yamba, had a quick look around and brought some goodies from Coles to keep us going.

Went for a walk along beach from Iluka Bluff and visited other bays and Woody Point, it still amazes us the number of little bays and beaches on the east coast, plenty of bays to call your own for the afternoon.
View from Iluka Bluff looking south along Iluka beach to Yamba

From Middle Bluff looking north to Woody Point

Waves breaking over Middle Bluff
View from Iluka Bluff looking North with Middle Bluff in the foreground and Woody Point in the distance.

Land Yatcht on Bluff Beach

Went to Sedger's Reef Hotel for dinner on Friday night - this is like many older country pubs which has character and a few local characters, especially on a Friday night after the working week!. I think part of the attraction to the pub on a Friday night is the meat tray raffle.  We had a reasonable pub meal and a bonus was Hels winning the meat tray raffle, which will keep us going for a few days.

Sedger's Hotel, Iluka

Hels, Friday nights meat tray winner ..... but why pick so much chicken?

The weather over the weekend has been the best couple of days for some time, so headed to the beach.  As the weather was good Paul & Wendy invited us to join them, naturally we couldn't refuse, so had some great company on the beach and exchanged travel tails.  Surprisingly they hadn't got sick of our company at the beach and invited us over for a Sunday roast, a few reds and a great meal with great company, what more can you ask for!!!
Little soldiers heading back around Middle bluff after a great morning on the beach.

On Monday decided to take the ferry to Yamba and catch up with Phil & Trish, friends we had meet on the way across to Brissy.  They have a great home on the banks of the Clarence, unfortunately they had been flooded twice in 2 months.  Phil having been a successful speedway rider is a motor bike fanatic and even has a treasured (Triton) classic racing bike in the bedroom!.  They also have a Harleys each and go riding on occasions. We were lucky enough to have them show us the sites of Yamba and dropped us back at the Ferry for the return trip, a great day, many thanks guys.

Iluka to Yamba Ferry.

Captured this rainbow while waiting for the ferry.
Yamba from the river, with light house on the left.

Blue Pools, near Angourie, apparently there is a bulldozer at the bottom of this deep pool as story has it that they were excavating the quarry when overnight all equipment sank and water filled the area.

Pippi Beach looking north towards Yamba Point

Nearly time to move on, will head inland from here to escape the Easter crowds which invade the coast.

08 March, 2013

Brunswick Heads

We travelled south from Miami to Brunswick Heads,...... about 60 km so getting some k's under our belt now ..... lol.

Brunswick Heads is a "fishing village" which seems to have been taken over by coffee shops, plenty to choose from and like many coastal towns people just getting away.  We happened to find a nice coffee shop, Yami, in Park Street opposite "What Ever" (had to get that in as it's the real name of a shop we visited!)

River front site until the weekend

Our secret fishing spot - in front of the caravan park

We stayed at the Massey Greene Tourist Park and on arrival had a river view but come the weekend the river front sites filled up with groups from Brissy and the Gold Coast, just getting away and enjoying the fishing.

On the otherside of the Brunswick River is Ocean Shores, this seems to have newer homes with a large shopping centre for the essential items ...... food & wine.

Looking back up the Brunswick River from the heads, with protected swimming beach on the left.

Went for a couple of walks along the beach, nice long bay which leads around to Byron - didn't seem to have walked that far but Hels seemed to think I got lost!  Like many of the beaches along the coast at the moment they are suffering from the recent storms and had a lot of debris washed up and sand washed away.

Main Beach at Brunswick in front of the Surf Club

Took a drive to Mullumbimby, about 20 km inland on the Brunswick River, which was a bit of an eye opener.  The town was quite a bit bigger than we expected and had a diverse mix of people walking around.  You had the farmers which have lived there all their lives then quite a few 'alternative' groups.  A trio were playing reggae music in front of the pub and Hels wanted to stay and listen for a while but with a couple of wifs of the air she started giggling a bit so decided to walk her on before she became too high!

Todd came down to Brunswick Heads for a day on the weekend so we had the opportunity to do a bit of father son fishing (Todd with his trusty hand reel).  Unfortunately, all the big ones got away and it was only after Todd had left I managed to reel in a Bream that had strayed too far from its Mum, so did the old catch and release.

Father & son ..... no fish!

However later in the day - hope you can see the fish!


02 March, 2013

Moved into the new home

We have been on the Gold Coast for nearly 2 weeks now initially staying with Todd & Tenelle for the first 5 days and have had only 2 days with some sunshine, I don't know about the Queensland saying .... "sunny one day perfect the next"  bull..... I thought we had left the rain behind in Darwin.

Anyway, we picked up the new home last week and towed it 6kms to a Caravan Park in Miami.  We have spent most of the time trying to pack the van with our pocessions transported from Darwin.  One thing we have realised is that a lot of the 'stuff' we have carried is not needed so will have to be off loaded.
Getting set up in between showers

I'll need a generator cause the solar won't work with the cloudy days we have experienced

In some way it hasn't been too bad as we have not had the weather to go to the beach (which has been washed away with all the stormy weather) so have been able to set up the storage space inside although know we will probably change the format quite a few times in the future!   We have made copious visits to most of the shopping centres (Pacific Fair seems like home) to get plastic containers to use for storage or those little things to turn the van into a home.

Yesterday the last box arrived from Darwin, with Oliver the bear and some other goodies which we now realise should have been sent straight to storage in Adelaide.

Oliver has settled in, I hope there is enough room for me.

With the last few thing to pack we are hoping to move on next week, the only problem is finding some place that it's not raining, and needing to go south hopefully NSW can bring us some sunshine.

Nice view, not ...... #*&^ Queensland weather

The rain was that persistent today we decided to go for a drive to the Caravan and Outdoor show however on arrival found it was closed.  Apparently they had an electrical problem and with all the rain and had to evacuate the area.  I thought that sort of thing only happened in the NT.  We did happen to find another shopping centre, yippee...... so had the shopping fix for the day.

The concrete on the beach was the footing for the Life Guard  tower

Most of the beach access stairs are closed @ Miami.
Until next time ........ hopefully sunshine.