The Van packed, brakes checked, bearings greased, boat on the car roof all secured and with the addition of a rear camera fitted on the back of the van we are all ready to start our journey. This year along the Great Dividing Range to Brisbane then along the east coast before heading inland to Lawn Hill, Adele’s Grove and with the right road conditions through the Kakadu to Darwin eventually heading home through the centre.
We departed home on Monday 11th June at around 10.30am, being the Queen’s birthday weekend the traffic was light and we were through Melbourne by midday hoping to make Tocumwal by the evening, which we did comfortably. We set up camp on the banks of the mighty Murray on the Victorian side looking across the river to Tocumwal NSW, across the river was another camp site filled with holiday makers, camp fires lighting up the area. Pam and I stretched the legs along the river bank where we came across several very healthy looking kangaroos and above us hundreds of very noisy corellas flying around in massive flocks and occupying many eucalypts trees a great sight. Dinner then into bed for some much-needed rest, the rain started at about 1am first just light eventually building to torrential it was so loud we could not sleep and it continued for some time. By morning it had cleared to what turned out to be a pleasant day.
Tuesday June 12th
We were on our way by 9.30am travelling the Newall Highway north with no planed destination great run, little traffic few trucks and the road quite good. The addition of the rear-view camera on the van was excellent I had a clear view of all behind me and there were quite a few, which gave me the opportunity to allow them to pass, I am now one of those old farts that drive slowly. We made Forbes by 4.30pm and camped on the Forbes Lake part of the Lachlan River, which meanders through Forbes a pretty spot. We stretched our legs walking around Forbes apreciating the architecture of the old buildings. Dinner and ready for a good night’s sleep.
Wednesday June 13th
After a good night’s sleep, breakfast, we on our way again our next stop Premer, the route today along the Newell Highway to Dubbo then onto back roads via Dunedoo, Coolah to Premer Which took us along the edge of Warrumbungle Range. The road was OK some parts in need of repair but few hills very few trucks and low traffic made for a relaxing drive. This area is cattle and sheep country and suffering drought conditions, farmers are desperate for rain. We have stayed at Premer previously and enjoy this stop it has a great park with all facilities, power, water, clean toilets and showers a good overnight stop. The park is sponsored by the local Lions club who charge a fee of $12.00 per night very reasonable.
Premer is a very small town with a pub and one general store our intention to have dinner at the pub, our power lead shorted out and by the time I repaired it Pam had made dinner so a night in. Cold night we had the heater going all night to take the chill off the air, very quiet camp site and slept well.
Thursday June 14th
No set destination today as we want to try out a new route. On our way by 10am our route through Werris Creek, Tamworth, Manilla, Barraba, Bingara to our over- night stop. This took us along the Black Stump way so we can say we have passed the Black Stump not that we saw it. The country side again was very dry and farmers were feeding hay to their cattle and grazing their stock along the roadside (the long paddock). We travelled through cattle country, grain farms and cotton plantations, cotton was being harvested and it appeared the farmers had a good crop. Plenty of road work along the way and certainly needed, some parts badly in need of repair, very rough. We chose to over-night stop at the local Delungra show ground nice area with all facilities and clean, a donation of $12.00 per night paid to the local service station one of the few remaining businesses left in this town. We chose an area where we will have the sun rise coming into the van the sunset was excellent. Along the perimeter fence some very healthy eucalypt one with a Koala sitting in a fork of the tree a healthy-looking fella we camped nearby.
Friday June 15th
Our destination today Toowoomba via Graman, Ashford, Bonshaw, Texas, Inglewood, Karara, Layburne to Toowoomba. We decided to take the road from Delungra to Ashford which would take some 20 kilometres off our journey this turned out to be 50 kilometres of unmade road the first 2 kilometres sealed and the last 2 kilometres sealed therefore 46 kilometres of rather rough dirt road we do not recommend this track to anyone towing a van, it was a mistake, however we are on an adventure and new routes are part of the fun. As we progressed north the drought conditions became more obvious on one stretch of road there was road kill every 50 metres and this for at least 80 kilometres, sad to see. We made Toowoomba mid-afternoon and checked into our favourite caravan park there the Toowoomba Motor Village it is a lovely park, central and we are here for three days. Mainly as our grandsons are playing soccer here on Sunday.
Saturday June 16th
Today a day of relaxation and some sight-seeing.
Sunday June 17th
Soccer, our first game the Stricker’s under 15s Oliver’s side playing Toowoomba. Stricker’s won 4 – 1. The next match Stricker’s under 18s Jordan’s side again playing Toowoomba. Stricker’s won 2-1.
Jordan was also picked to play in the under 20s side as such we stayed to watch this match, however Jordan was sitting on the bench until half time and by this time it was freezing as such we headed back to the van to warm up and enjoy dinner. The under 20s also won a great result for Stricker’s. Jordan acquitted himself well in the second half as such he made the under 20s team the following week not bad for a sixteen-year-old.
Monday 18th June.
Today we head to our daughter’s home at Tenah Murah a suburb of Brisbane we are looking forward to spending time with Tracie and the boys and will be here for about three weeks. We will also visit friends and relatives and no doubt watch the boys playing soccer on numerous occasions. It is also Pam and Jordan’s birthdays so some celebrating to do.