Today we meet up with Kit & Judy friends we met on our tour of China a wonderful trip. K&J picked us up at Lane Cove and we drove to a Chinese Yum Cha restaurant where we had a great lunch then back to their temporary home as they are moving to a new apartment in the heart of the CBD. We had much to catch up on and Kit and I remarkably solved all of the world’s problems in one afternoon very tiring so we adjourned to another Chinese restaurant to recharge the batteries, Red wine does wonders, especially Chapple Hill Shiraz as the Chinse say Yum , it washed down the cray fish, oysters, abalone, clear soup and Cod Fish followed with a delightful desert. Our goodbyes and back to the van feeling rather full in the tummy.
Moving today to Palm Beach parking the van on Scotty’s front yard Scotty being Brett Scott a well known sail maker. Once set up we made our way to Manly to meet my niece Isobel who I have not seen for 10 years she is a Londoner now living at Bondi. We drove to the Royal Prince Albert Yacht Club at Mona Vale on the Pitt Water where we met up with Paul, Sharon & Mackenzie with Zac out sail training ready for the regatta next day. Cam & Jo McKenzie from our club with both their children Sophie & Will sailing in the same regatta. While the kids were sailing we had lunch in the club rooms wonderful facilities and great to catch up with Isobel and getting some family news. The kids back from training we made our way back to Curley’s home for dinner, Curley has now retired from his yacht broking business and is enjoying his passion for motor bike riding in the outback.
The regatta starts in earnest today some 90 Optimist Dinghy’s competing Zac, Sophie & Will all in the open fleet. Curley took us out on his cruiser to watch the racing and all three were doing quite well finishing in the top half of the fleet after three races completed. Curley then took us for a cruise on the Pitt Water to the Hawksbury River, what a beautiful area, I was pleased Isobel and her partner Sam were also able to join us. Dinner at the local Pizza Restaurant was enjoyable then an early evening for all. Whilst we were out cruising Curley told us of his sailing adventure to Hobart believe it or not on an 18ft Hobby Cat, three on the crew. They waited for the ideal conditions sailed to Eden had a meal at the local pub then off to Hobart their speed about 20knots for most of the voyage, what a feat. Curley has sailed in some very interesting regattas a very competent sailor.
Back to the RPAYC and once the kids got on the water we made our way to Palm Beach and walked to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse a magnificent sand stone structure built by Welsh Stone masons, marvellous workmanship, we took the tour of the lighthouse and our guide was most informative. Amazing views from the top of the light house this area is just so beautiful with magnificent water ways and rugged cliffs with waves crashing onto them. The Pitt Water is a very safe boating area with miles of water ways and many remote destinations. That evening Paul, Scotty and I went to the football unfortunately the Swans lost in a tough match.
Today we will take a day’s rest, clean the van do some shopping ready to move on tomorrow. A lazy day. Pam prepared dinner and Scotty joined us we had a lovely chat a glass or three of red then said our goodbyes, we have enjoyed Scotty’s company.
We were on our way by 9.30am the traffic was light, an easy drive along the Newcastle freeway to Calga, where we loaded our next destination into the GPS and dutifully followed its instructions, as it turned out the GPS took us along a minor road, which followed along the Wollombi River what a great drive the scenery was marvellous winding roads between rugged hills some rich farmland, vineyards, quaint villages and open cut coal mines what a contrast. We drove through Calga, Mangrove Mountain, Kulnurra, Bucketty, Laguna and Wollombi, lunch at Broke then onto Singleton where we topped up with fuel. We had intended to get onto a freeway a shorter and faster route to Singleton how pleased we were to have the GPS send us on this alternate route. Pam checked the map and found an interesting camping stop on Lake Liddell a 30km drive from Singleton. We were not disappointed with this choice a large grassed area overlooking the lake and 4km off the main road, with all services, unfortunately the fishing was not good as the water which is used by the local power station has warmed and as such the fish had become infected with a bug, fishing was prohibited. Dinner an alcohol free night don’t know why must be ill and an early night.
We are not travelling far today our destination is the Cockburn River camp site which is 11km east of Kootingal on the Limbri road. Kootingal is 30km north of Muswellbrook. The Cockburn River is more a creek than a river a secluded place quiet and with magnificent eucalypt trees the camping spot was marvellous however the only facility is a long drop toilet. We met some other travellers and joined them around the camp fire for a pre dinner drink, lovely people and they informed us that they too are heading to Cape York.
A rather cold night but slept well this is a great overnight stop, after breakfast we took a walk along the creek nice walk with lots of bird life. On our way again to our next stop Armidale which is reputed to be the highest elevation city in Australia. We walked around the city which has some magnificent buildings both old and new, and some wonderful park lands. We visited St Peters Cathedral opened in 1875 a wonderful building great architecture, the highlight being the lead light windows which were imported from England these were just superb. A light lunch a visit to the bank and Optus then on our way again, our destination the Mother of Ducks Lagoon camp site at Guyra. This camp site was given a red tick in the camping book which indicates a popular stopover. It is not to bad however out of 10 we would have given this place a 7. The camp site is alongside a golf course and depending on the weather tomorrow we may play 9 holes tomorrow.
The morning was freezing 4c with a lazy wind the golf will be given a miss. Our next stop Glen Innes. One could easily be forgiven thinking we were in Scotland with signs to Ben Lomond, Inverell and Dundee, this area was settled by the scots they were sheep and cattle farmers and developed this area into the the rich farmland we see today. Gem stones were also mined for a time in the area. The locals have built a standing stone monument similar to Stone Henge taking care in placing the stones in the correct position to show the true points of the compass and each of the solstice points. Each year in May Glen Inness runs a festival a Scots Games with bag pipe bands and dancing, I wonder if they have Haggis on the menu. We must plan a trip to be here to enjoy the day. On our way again heading to Tenterfield where we will stopover for the night at the show grounds. Tenterfield is the birth place of Peter Alan he is one of my favourite artists a wonderful performer and song writer. The saddler shop is still here and is today a memorial to Peter Alan one can imagine his grandfather sitting on the verandah stitching saddles. We wandered the town taking in the sights. A wonderful surprise to me is a most magnificent cork tree growing in a house garden it is 155 years old and is the second largest cork tree I have seen the other being in Portugal and over 200 years old. Getting late we decided to go to the McKenzie lookout to see the sunset, there was plenty of cloud cover projecting the wonderful reds and orange colours across the sky. Back to the show grounds, dinner, then watched the footy on TV. This is a nice quiet spot and with all services which are a little tired and a very large grassed area.
On our way early and may get to Tracie’s today our drive through Warwick, Beaudesert, Beenliegh to Brisbane. The Scottish names continued passing Loch Lomand when we noticed a sign to the Queen Anne Falls we decided to make this a stop over and headed to the local caravan park which is opposite the entrance to the falls. Great caravan park in the middle of a national park, the bird life was magnificent beautiful Red Parrots and green Rosellas some eating from a lady’s hand. We decided to walk to the falls before dinner as the weather was turning nasty with a storm on the way. The Queen Anne falls is just magnificent a ninety metre drop in the middle of rain forest it is a spectacular sight and with the rain storm coming through tomorrow it will be even more spectacular. Dinner and an early night.
Sunday 19th June.
The weather was turning nasty and we decided to get out of this area before we were flooded in. At our departure the rain was light but on the increase, we decided to take a back road route through to Beaudesert and this turned out to be a picturesque drive following the Logan River, it was a hilly winding road and our travelling speed average was 35km per hour over some very rough road through to Beaudesert, all worthwhile. We arrived to Tracie’s home by 3pm and unfortunately over shot the house entrance ending up at a dead end with no way of turning around. Only one thing to do reverse the van back to the house entrance and with the car in four wheel drive all went OK. Finally settled in we enjoyed catching up with TJ, Jordan & Oliver and chatting to Anthony.
Monday 20th June.
Jordan and Oliver off to school and Tracie off to a business appointment Pam & I decided to go to Tamborine Mountain to see the water falls. The storm came through last night and the rain bucketed down causing flooding in low lying areas, the golf course at the bottom of Tracie’s hill was completely under water. On arrival to Tamborine we made our way to the Cedar Falls and it was in full flow giving us some great photos, after lunch in Tamborine we visited the information centre and decided to see the Curtis Falls just a short drive away. This was also excellent and in full flow but this falls was a gradual fall stepping down along the river with three falls ending in rapids a wonderful sight. Keeping with the Scottish theme we came across a Scottish Guest House, named Stonehaven Manor a superb building with the Scottish flag flying in all its glory. I am imagining the piping in the beef ready for a great feast and of course a dram or two of fine Scotch Whisky. Back to Tracie’s to enjoy afternoon tea with TJ and the boys, the boys soon off to Soccer practice before dinner.