Friday, December 26, 2014

16th to 26th Christmas at Bingara

         Tuesday 16th

Red river gum on bank of
Gwydir river
    Drove about 35km in the Jimny to check out the town of Bingara today. A free camp on the Gwydir river is supposed to be very nice. Wow! it's nice alright, we found a beautiful place to camp for the silly season on a nice grassy bank of the river. We expect it will get a bit crowded over the Christmas season but there is plenty of room for all and we are going to move the rig to here tomorrow. Had a bit of a look around while here and took some photo's.

Bank of Gwydir river at Bingara

Gwydir river at Bingara
Bridge over the Gwydir river
at Bingara
Huge river red gum roots
and me and Dot+Yip


                          Wednesday 17th
     Arrived at the new camping site mid morning, set up and prepared to have a wonderful lead-up to Christmas over the next week, walking the dogs, swimming maybe! and what ever is next. The area has Lot's of horses grazing, also there heaps of rabbits, much to Dot and Yips excitement.

          Thursday 18th
Sightseeing today. went into town found the bakery and tried some of their goodies, yummy!
Sunset on Gwydir river
at campsite Bingara

      Evening produced the most magnificent sunset we've seen for some time.

Double rainbow over our bus at Bingara

Then it rained as well to light up the sky with a double rainbow, photo opportunities can't get better than this can it?

    Well I had a fun time with it.

Another day over, bring it on.

              Friday 19th

Make-shift Christmas tree
at Bingara
     Christmas not far away so I decided to decorate the tree next to our campsite to get in the mood for the festive season, maybe it helped, Santa doesn't call at our place any more though and we haven't got a chimney any way.

Dot and Yip relaxed as they can be
Saturday 20th
     Dot and Yip seemed impressed with their lot.
They gave chasing rabbits a go but I have had to call a halt to this fun due to excessive running about on my behalf.

The wild life is varied and many, local tourist attraction is the bird life, I've seen so many different types I have lost count.

Water Dragon at camp on the Gwydir
river - Bingara
     This  little bloke is a resident of the river bank at our camp site, not shy at all and comes for food which we haven't given it. The pups make sure it doesn't get too close to us, which is a shame as it will come right into camp when the dogs aren't looking. It is a water dragon.

Yip making friends with a local
     Yip is fascinated with the horses and wants to get up close and personal with them, loved this foal and had a tat-a-tat with him.

                   Monday 21st

Gold mining battery stamper
All Nations Hill - Bingara

     Inspected the town and surrounds over the past few days, nice town which has all you need, IGA supermarket included. Drove to All Nations hill on the outskirts of town to find this old gold mine battery stamper, huge thing, all part of the history of the town.

                        Wednesday 24th

Storm clouds on Xmas eve
     Christmas Eve. Almost over for another 12 months.  Today has been cloudy and overcast which bought stormy skies late afternoon with an electrical storm with rain later in the evening. A classic photo of our bus, very ominous looking!

The storm bought gusty winds, shaking Dilligaf and our awning, but managed to stay in one piece.

              Thursday 25th - Christmas day
      Lazy - lazy day. Nothing special.  Merry Christmas to all.
  We share our camp site (all of about 3/4 of kilometre of river frontage) with only 4 other campers, very surprising to each one of us, this spot must be the most well kept secret in Australia. Great for us though, no crowds, very quiet and peaceful.

     Friday 26th
    Boxing day.  Another overcast day, not much rain.

That's the Christmas of 2014 gone, another year on it's way. probably catch all next year.

Monday, December 15, 2014

10th to 15th Deepwater to Delungra

    Wednesday 10th to Friday 12th

Deepwater river at Deepwater
     Pretty quiet time these three days. Plenty of rain over night on Wednesday so decided to sit tight for another couple of days. The river came up a bit after the rain.
     Much excitement on Thursday for the townsfolk as the drug squad did a bust on the area, police cars, helicopter and all, the town was a buzz on this day, exceptional compared to normal  run of the mill kind of quiet town day.
     We moved on Friday to the southern end of town and will be heading off on Saturday to take advantage of the weekend and quieter road traffic.

         Saturday 13th

Macintyre river at Glen Innes
Court house in Glen Innes
     Departed Deepwater fairly early and made Glen Innes to do a bit of shopping and stock up the drinks. Some great old buildings here too! the court house caught my eye as we were leaving the town and travelled over Macintyre river on our way through to Inverell.

     We stopped at a rest area at Swan Vale. Nothing here but a lovely little creek called Swan Brook and the farm land. I saw a swamp hen in the creek with 2 chicks, that gave me a kick! 

Inverell - Long way to there from here
       Rested up for a time then continued to Inverell, stopping beside a park with this unusual (to me) sign, what do you reckon? Inverell has a strong Scottish heritage by all accounts and this park is a memorial to the descendants of the pioneers who ventured  here, way back when.

Grain silo at Delungra
      Elected to continue another 30 or so km to Delungra. Another small village with a Pub, service station and - a little surprisingly - a bowling club, pretty big club and fairly new by the looks of it. We pulled up beside the Hotel and after having a beer and asking permission of the publican will camp here for the night. Obviously a grain growing area as this huge silo can be seen long before you get into town. There a few buildings that were shops but now closed and private residences, about 300 population I think. Nice town! very green and fresh looking.
          Sunday 14th
     Discovered the Delungra sport ground reserve camping ground yesterday afternoon, only $15.00 a night for a powered site, we have moved to here today and set up camp with the thought of spending a week or two relaxing and keeping off the roads over the Christmas silly season.
          Monday 15th
     Great weather, quiet camp site, plenty to eat and drink, can't ask for much more.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

7th to 9th Dec.Tabulam to Deepwater (New England highway)

           Sunday 7th
     Took our time getting ready to head off this morning, finally getting away at 9.30. Stopped on the way out to photograph the bridge going over the Clarence river here at Tabulam. It is the longest single span wooden bridge in the southern hemisphere, (apparently!).
    Any way,   I have put together a few photos of our stay here since yesterday and we are heading west to Tenterfield then south on the New England Highway as far as a little town called Deepwater.

Sunrise over the Clarence river at Tabulam
from the racecourse camping area
Clarence river at Tabulam

Misty morning at Tabulam
racecourse camping area

Longest single span wooden bridge in southern
hemisphere over Clarence river at Tabulam N.S.W.
single span wooden bridge
at Tabulam
Here we are, heading out of
Tabulam on the bridge over the Clarence

     On the way our west we passed through Drake, a really small place, not much here at all, I took a picture on the way through just to say I had been there.
Drake - a small town before the
great dividing range

     On we went, up over the Great Dividing Range, man is that a road and a half. Lots of corners and a bit steep in parts, giving the gearbox in Dilligaf a good workout. Some great views through the trees but none of my photos turned out much good, all I got was trees. Spied a fantastic water fall at one stage but missed it with the camera, also saw -  wa-a-a-y down in the gully - a cluster of houses and buildings, miles down and only a narrow gravel road down to them.


The rocky scenery of
the dividing range
     The range is pretty, very rocky, boulders big and small, the range was formed with volcanic activity so only to be expected I guess.

Tree lined street on entering Tenterfield
     After going up hill and down dale for what seemed like a fair amount of time we arrived in Tenterfield. A beautiful entrance from the east as we drove through an avenue of trees, forming a tunnel which we travelled through until we arrived in the town proper.

     We had a rest stop here for a while before continuing our journey south on the New England highway, to Deepwater, only a further 50 or so kilometres. Found a park behind the hotel, they provide a free caravan park for travellers, if you want power it is $10.00 per night and a shower will set you back $5.00, reasonable price to pay I guess for a nights powered camping.

     We will take it easy for a couple of days, Jim has some maintenance to do on Dilligaf and will take the opportunity to do it while here.

                      Monday 8th    (Deepwater)

Historic railway at Deepwater
       Easy day today, having a look around the town with Yip and Dot. There are some historic buildings here, one of them being the railway station, very nicely restored.

The bank at Deepwater
(not in use)
Deepwater Bakery
The bank building is no longer in use and there's no bank here.


     The bakery is only tiny,  the goodies are baked on the premises each day and is open from 4am, a very busy little place by all accounts, the truckies stop here to get morning tea/lunch etc. so that says it all for a small food business, if you can get a truckie to stop you have it made. There is a Foodworks supermarket and a couple of other shops, all you need to survive. The population is only about 300, there are 2 pubs and roadhouse as well.

      We watched an electrical storm last night, had a bit of rain overnight and another shower late this morning. It was a bit cool this morning but the clouds cleared and a nice sunny warm day by mid morning.

"sloman bus service Armidale"
in Deepwater
     Another one of the silly things you see in county towns, is this old truck parked in the main road through town, I don't think it is a go-er but the front bumper has "sloman bus service Armidale" painted on it, very funny sense of humour round here, there is also a dummy of a Cop at the entrance to town with a radar gun.

     Dot and Yip seem to be enjoying our stay here and the walks around town.
     We found the Deepwater river which runs by the town is deep enough for the pup's to have a swim in and may even contain some fish.
             Tuesday 9th
     Quiet day today. Our early morning walk was a bit soggy underfoot, some good rain over night. Found the racecourse this morning ( the compulsory racecourse of most country towns), they have a race meeting here once a year in November.
     Beautiful day, blue sky, fluffy clouds, couldn't ask for any better.



Saturday, December 6, 2014

2nd to 6th Iluka to Tabulam (Bruxner Highway)

Tuesday 2nd
     Loaded up with Seafood from the fish co-op at Iluka this morning after it opened at 10am then headed for Ballina via Evans head.

Sun going down over fishing
boats at Iluka Co-op wharf
Sunrise on the Clarence river at Iluka
     Yesterday I took a couple of nice sunrise and sunset photos of the Clarence river in Iluka. The fishing boats at the co-op wharf looked stunning in the evening light through a stormy sky and the morning reflections of the yachts in the river looked equally as good.

We made our friends place in the early afternoon and set up camp in his back yard. He has one and a half acres out of town, so we get to miss the "seething mass of humanity" (to use the words of our mate) in Ballina to be at Cumbalum. A very nice place on a hill with lovely outlook.  We will spend a few days here relaxing for while and catching up with an old friend.

Friday 5th
     Drove a short distance to the Ballina Bicentennial Gardens for tonight, lovely time with our mate but want to keep moving. Will stock up in the morning before making our way west.

Saturday 6th
     Early shopping at Ballina Fair shopping centre to restock the larder and fill Dilligaf and headed out along the Bruxner highway by 9.30am.

Big Prawn Ballina
Passed these couple of monumental like pieces of art and building on the way out.

St Josephs School

     We didn't keep to the highway for a some of the way and the scenery was delightful, the road a bit narrow at times but worth the effort of driving that way to have a look.
We rejoined the Bruxner highway just before Casino and continued on our way. The Bruxner isn't much of a highway to drive either, pretty rough and ready most of the way.

     We stopped at a 'blink and you miss it' place called Mummulgum
The Warren at Mummulgum

Outside the school at Mummulgum
(no relation to "Bubblegum I believe).
     Not much  here except for this run down roadhouse, a school, fire brigade and couple of houses or so, but you can't pass a place with a name like" Mummulgum" without stopping for look.

I bought the local paper for Jim and we went on our way.

view eastward from top of Richmond range
     Up over the Richmond Range, beautiful views and a coffee house at the top, down the other side to Mallanganee, the place of tall pines, (so the sign said) and on to Tabulam, 70 km east of Tenterfield.

     We called in to the shop on the highway to see about a key for the race course camping area and pay for a nights stay. $8.00 per person and $5.00 for power. It is quite a hike to the camp site from the town of Tabulam, maybe 2 or 3 km, beside the river which looks clear and cool, will check it out later.

Another great day and will blog again soon.


Monday, December 1, 2014

26th Nov to 1st Dec. Laurieton to Iluka

    Wednesday 26th

Dot and Yip at the jetty on Queens lake
at the Van park Laurieton

     Misty rain today for the last day at Christmas cove van park. Never tried my hand at fishing after the great success of 2 flathead earlier in our stay here and have packed the fishing gear away for now.

     Took the puppies for a last look at the jetty and spent the day getting ready to heave off tomorrow.

Thursday 27th

     We are spending tonight at Dunbogan again except that we are free camping at the reserve, (no signs to tell us not to!!) it is still raining, we have about 70mm since it started a few days ago and it is a bit soggy, but all O.K.

Dunbogan reserve, High tide coming
into Googly's lagoon

     The photo of high tide looks a bit dark and wet, as it was.

     We had a lovely meal from the Dunbogan takeaway, fish and chips, yum! they do a nice feed.

 Friday 28th
     Moved to town in Laurieton today after doing the laundry at the local laundrette. It's still a bit wet and rainy, should clear later today. Parked on the side of the road around the corner from the Laurieton United Services Club, in Seymour street, walking distance to the club so Jim can try his luck at winning the big members draw tonight.

Saturday 29th
    No luck in the money draw at the club last night, so since we started with nothing, we still have most of it left!! Ha Ha
Nambucca river

     "Go north" they said, and that is what we are doing today. Drove to Kempsey for a start to pick up some fuel filters for the bus, and on we went.
     We crossed the Hastings, Wilson and  Maclay rivers (along with a few others )to reach a pretty little town called Fredrickton. The street was lined with cute little heritage style houses. On through a place called Barraganyatti, What? yes it is spelt correctly, some name isn't it? Passing a few other little places along the way and on to Macksville, population 7000, not stopping here, Nambucca is next, population 10,000 -
The Big Banana
Coffs Harbour
 getting bigger -  not stopping here either. Another river, the Nambucca we crossed on the way in to town.

      Carry on to Coffs Harbour, still too big to stop over. Sighted some interesting things on the way through though, the Big Banana bunch for one, and a Gigantic windmill which houses a restaurant and motel.

The Windmill Motel and restaurant
Coffs Harbour
     One of the unusual thing I spied after leaving Coffs harbour, was the banana plantations around here are mostly planted on steep hill sides. Have to I guess, there isn't much flat ground around.

     Still going on, through Coramba, Nana Glen and on to Glenreagh, where we finally pulled up out side the Golden Dog Hotel.
     Nice place to have lunch and found out where the camping ground is.

The Golden Dog statue with
the hotel at the back
     The Golden Dog statue outside the pub is huge ( a little ugly too) but a sight to see. Yip was not very keen on it, thought it might get us I think.  
     We travelled 227 km today, a mammoth effort, a superb journey through some lovely towns and country side.


Stair way to Orara river
 I took a walk and found the Orara river that skirts the edge of town with this long stair to the river edge which gave my legs a nice workout going down and up.

Great day had by all. time to rest up and see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday 30th

Jim on the bank of the
Clarence river at Ulmarra
     Decided to head east to Iluka to have a look. Through Grafton and found the highway ran along side the Clarence river. A huge system which ends up in the sea at Iluka, not sure where the source of it is, but it's a very wide and deep looking river.
     We stopped for a spell outside the town of Ulmarra, where I took this photo of Jim on the bank. In the middle of the river is a jet ski, it was hooting up and down the river while we were there.

      A bit further on we came across the Harwood bridge. It opens in the middle to allow river traffic to pass through when needed.
Harwood bridge
over the Clarence river
     The Clarence river seemed to be endless, with private residences between the highway and river on a very narrow strip of land.

     We finally arrived at our destination of Iluka by mid morning to find the fishing co-op wharf.
They cook a mean fish and chip meal for only $5.00, which we availed ourselves to. Had to get my fishing gear out, but never caught anything. Spent the night in the parking lot.

Monday 1st December
Iluka beach
     Took Dilligaf out to Iluka beach to spend the day. The puppies had an absolute ball on the beach after breakfast. The sun is shining and keeping the solar up to scratch, a bit windy but a beautiful day.
     Will go back into Iluka to park up in the same place as last night a bit later on, I think.

     Off to Ballina tomorrow. Stock up on seafood before we leave for the Christmas fair at our friends place there.
      See you later.