|Upper Clarence Region|
After another enjoyable McLeod family reunion at Echuca we headed back to Albury to spend a few more days with Briony before we started to head north and Briony prepared to leave for Canada. We stayed one night at Nevins Beach East on the Murray - a nice quiet spot about 12 km off the highway west of Yarrawonga.
As we had several of Briony's boxes to take and put in storage in Qld we also decided to travel relatively quickly or limit our camp set ups through NSW stopping generally for longer periods so we could manage the boxes rather than lifting them in and out the caravan every couple of days.
|Norm's pet donkey ..... (no the one in the background)|
Based on this we headed towards Taree to visit Norm and Maureen (Helen was also keen to pick up the camp fire toaster Norm had promised). We were keen to catch up as we hadn't seen them since camping together last July in the Territory and would have plenty of travel stories to trade. On our way to Taree we had a couple of nice camps first at Canowindra Caravan Park - we only stayed one night and didn't hang around for Nicole Kidman who was about to start filming Strangerland the next day! From here we travelled through Gulgong and Muswellbrook finally deciding to stay at Lake Liddell on the opposite side to the Liddell Power Station. That night we had thunderstorms and woke to a rainy wet camp so decided to move on heading to the coast and Taree. When we drove through Bulahdelah we decided to stay the night at the show grounds and treat ourselves to dinner at the bowling club that night. The next morning we were woken by cars and young excited kids voices as in the show grounds also had the rugby oval less than 10 meters from our camp and it was Saturday morning junior sports with car loads arriving all excited and ready to play. With this volume of excitement we quickly packed up and had a morning coffee in Bulahdelah before heading to Taree.
|Couldn't help myself, had to have a piccie, Liddell Power Station at sunrise from our camp|
We spent 3 nights with Norm at Taree, Maureen was in Hospital recovering from a knee replacement. Norm showed us around Taree one day and also took us for a drive to Foster another. We made a couple of visits to see Maureen in hospital to say g'day. Many thanks to Norm for being a wonderful host.
From Taree we headed to Sawtell (just south of Coffs Harbor) for a couple of nights then Glenreagh. We had stayed at Glenreagh last year so just enjoyed not travelling for a week, although did go into Nana Glen and had a great coffee at the "Idle Inn Cafe" worth a stop for a cuppa if your ever passing through Nana Glen.
|Thought this bush shack would be a good project ... Hels was not impressed|
|The golden dog at the Golden Dog pub Glenreagh must have got hungry since we last visited.|
As Easter was approaching and school holidays we naturally headed inland away from the coast and peak period charges. We found a rustic retreat not far from Tabulam in the Upper Clarence High Country, where we based ourselves for a couple of weeks while exploring the Upper Clarence. Tabulam has the longest single span wooden bridge in the Southern Hemisphere - 972 feet long and has a 15 ft wide roadway on the bridge, being built in drought years & completed in 1902. The Upper Clarence High Country has several 4WD parks, rain forest areas and great fishing and camping areas along the Clarence River, not that I caught any fish!!!! One drive we did was north through Pretty Gully and Paddy's Flat. Paddy's Flat is known for the Tank Traps the Government set up early in the Second World War as they had the opinion that the North of Australia could not be defended and it was proposed to sacrifice everything on an irregular line from just north of Brisbane. A large number of concrete pyramids were placed across the Clarence River chained together to form an obstacle for vehicles and tanks. When American Troops under Gen Douglas Macarthur arrived in Australia in 1942 it was decided to defend the whole of Australia and the Tank Traps were later towed up onto the western bank of the river where they remain today although some have been covered by sand. From here we drove through the rain forest in Tooloom National Park.
We also took the scenic drive along the Rocky River Road between Drake and Tenterfield. From Drake we passed through the rain forest area then followed the Rocky (Timbarra) River back to Tenterfield. As the road meandered along the river we passed some great camping spots (not really suitable for large caravan access)and good fishing spots ..... I was told!!
|Camping out from Tabulum|
|Tabulum bridge 972 feet long|
|In the 1976 floods the river rose 54 feet, putting 6 inches of water over the road.|
|One of the Tank traps at Paddy's Flat on the banks of the Clarence River|
|Clarence River had many nice spots for a dip, just a bit cool!!|
|Some of the rain forest along the Rocky Road|
|This is why it's called the Rocky River|
|The Rocky Road, a little squeeze for a big van|
|Just a big rock by the road|
While camping I also had the fortunate opportunity to meet Phil, who runs a Travelling School of Photography. Phil was able to run through the menu on my camera and explain quite a few features I had not been using. We also had a couple of early morning walks to take some sunrise photos and hopefully improve my piccies.
|Phil giving some pointers on a brisk morning walk|
|some of my photographic efforts|
After a couple of weeks the school holidays had finished and Todd was about to start his 2 weeks leave so we headed to Brunswick Heads and the hustle and bustle of the Gold Coast.