We are now in Grafton visiting our daughter and son in law. Grafton is famous for its Jacaranda Festival. Our daughter had her wedding beside the Clarence River nearly 8 years ago during the Festival – so colorful. Today has been a brilliant blue sky day, just like it was for the wedding.
For many years, the town has been in need of a new bridge to join the north and south regions. The government completed a new bridge a year or so ago beside the dual purpose bridge; the north-south railway shared the crossing with motor vehicles. Traffic chaos reigned at peak hour on the vehicle section with a couple of bends along the way.
We’ll stay here through until Sunday.
Yesterday, we took a short trip to Yamba, north of Grafton but on the coast. The town shares the mouth of the Clarence River with Iluka. There are a lot of cafes and up market shops with up market prices. A lighthouse stands on the headland up from Yamba. The sunshine made the sky a brilliant blue so we are happy with the photos of the day.
When our daughter married Paul, she found that he was a “keeper” of both fish and feather. Paul has a large fish tank and cares for many little fellows. The plecostomus spends a good amount of time puckering up to the glass as if he’s searching for a long drawn out “pash”. At first the bird aviary had to be constructed for a good stock of bush parrots and quaint birds. The numbers decreased a year or so ago from a disease and they haven’t been replaced. Harry is still the king of the aviary and often welcomes us with a “hello. Whatcha doin?”
I have for a long time, wanted to venture into drone photography. Now I can say I’m a happy owner of a DJI Air 2S. It is so easy to get going compared to the $250 drone I bought from China which never worked properly. Just a couple of shots taken at Red Rock so far show what will be my photography and movie work in the future.
One of the main reasons we have come to Queensland is to repair some damage done 18 months ago when driving to Sydney for a funeral. An overtaking motor home cut us off and “pushed” us off the highway enough to brush with a white plastic post. The motor home also needed a service done to many of the components that make living in a Paradise worthwhile. It will be next week before it is ready to continue the “warmer winter” series, so we are having a different kind of luxury for the week in Surfers Paradise.
From living with hundreds of horses, riders and floats for two nights, our next night found us camped at a truck stop on the highway heading north out of Sydney. At times we’re reminded of being a truck when we look at the drivers licence required to drive the motor home, so we took advantage of that for a night. This decision was made after passing a few other rest areas between Goulburn and Sydney. Once you’ve passed the “last” one, there’s nowhere to overnight until you’re through the M7 and on across the Hawkesbury River. There’s a saying in nomadic life that if you don’t get asked to move on, you stay. So we did. This meant we were only 20km from the next planned campground at Morisset Showgrounds.
The Morisset Showgrounds camping area is a little disorganised with the property being used as a COVID-19 testing site most of each day. However, after doing online bookings a week before, we found things fairly comfortable. Monday afternoon and evening and Tuesday were spent catching up with friends from way back. Wednesday we had an appointment in Sydney so took the train trip there and back. For lunch, we found a German bakery. Lots of wholesome breads but a different item we tried was a cheese snail – a rolled dough wrapped in a circle with melted cheese on top. They might see us next time we venture to the Sydney big smoke.
One of our friends turned up to visit. He found his car as a pile of rust down in the Yarra Valley in 1978 and has carted it with him to each address he’s had since then, tinkering as he went. It’s been in a progressive form to 3 states of Australia. We heard this “clapped out horn” noise and outside was what you see in the pictures. Interestingly, his hat was made in Vietnam.
Other old friends arrived during the days we were at Morisset before we headed north, in the pouring rain, for 6 hours or so. We stopped at Nabiac to check out the The National Motorcycle Museum. There needs to be another visit on our homeward journey as there are over 1,000 motor bikes in the museum to view. You’ll have to wait for our return.
After a year of uncertainty in 2020, we’ve decided to make 2021 a year of certainty – certainly be away from home enjoying life on the road in our motor home in warm weather during the southern winter.
Our departure plans were delayed just 30 minutes which isn’t too bad for a couple of Grey Nomads. The first stop was at the Lake Nillahcootie rest spot on the road between Mansfield and Benalla. The autumn colours were bright red here leading down a path to the lake.
Would you believe our first meal was at Maccas? The non- breakfast turned late lunch became a quick stop as we had met up with another Paradise Owner at Lake Nillahcootie. The conversation took us into the next hour. Much in common.
First it was near Wagga Wagga; then it became Gundagai; then it became Jugiong for our first night. Lyn drove from Glenrowan for about 2 and half hours or so. Arriving at the Jugiong rest camping spot, there were well over 200 horses and their riders to welcome us. I thought they thought we were VIPs from Canberra across the hills, but I succumbed to disappointment. The Jugiong Camp Drafting Championship is on for the weekend. Camp drafting is where the horse rider has to direct a steer around a set course. There were over 190 entries so a long day for the last competitor. Riders came from all over the southern part of New South Wales.
Jugiong is a well used popular traveller’s stop off point on the Hume Highway between Melbourne and Sydney. It’s a quiet town that has a few exquisite eating places where many Canberrians come for a weekend drive. At this time of the year, the colours of the deciduous trees make the area a good place to visit when the sky is brilliant blue. Camping is alongside the Murrumbidgee River that flows down to the mighty Murray River through Wagga Wagga to Balranald. We arrived just after dusk so didn’t look around for a spot away from the horses. In the morning, we found there was no spare spots; horses were everywhere. At least we know where we can collect some horse manure for our garden on the way home in four months time. But no, a tad smelly for 7 hour’s drive.
Next post will include our time at Morisset and on to Stuart’s Point