Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Mylestom - 8 April

We decided we would have morning tea at the local café, post office, general store, servo this morning. It has a lovely outlook and prime spot in Mylestom.
We walked up to the café via the beach, had our morning tea and Bruce went back to the van and I continued on a walk.

When I got back to the van I finished off the centre of the quilt I am working on, a Carolyn Konig pattern I bought in Melbourne a couple of years ago. It is surrounded by hexagons, which I will start on next. At least I have cut them out, all 492 of them.
Bruce started packing up the screens we have around our van in the afternoon. The skies looked threatening and we didn't want it to get wet with us heading home tomorrow. We will take the van to the dealer on Thursday and leave it there till the leak is fixed.

We had a friendly visitor this afternoon, obviously used to people. Two parrots landed on the ground close to the van and then came right up to the back door of the van and just looked at us, as if waiting to be fed. We didn't have anything for them so they eventually flew away.
We didn't get any rain today but cloudy all day and last night was the coolest night we have had. A few more people checked in in their vans today and I expect the park will be packed over Easter.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Coffs Harbour, Mylestom - 7 April

We had a relaxing morning. Bruce went fishing for a few hours. Caught a couple, but all too small to keep. Helped get the hook out of a fish caught by a little boy. Luckily the fish was legal and he was able to keep it. I think it was the first fish he had caught so that was great excitement.

I went for a walk and did some sewing and reading. When I was on my walk, I stopped to talk to a lady in her garden. She used to be a teacher but is retired. She was saying her husband's previous father in law (his previous wife died), had started off the caravan park we are staying at. That was many years ago.

A fellow staying in the caravan park stopped in to have a chat about our TV aerial and what we thought of it. As we don't have a TV (the aerial was installed as a thrown in extra when we had the van built) we weren't able to help him. He told us he was getting a motorhome built at Biggera Waters on the Gold Coast. He had sold his house and was going to hit the road in his motorhome when it was finished in June. He has a small van like us, but a Jayco, and he has had it for 12 years. He is living in it at the moment.

After lunch, we drove in to Coffs Harbour. I wanted to go to Hunters and Collectors, a patchwork shop that used to be out of town, to have a look. It is a lot smaller now that it has moved. It may not even be the same owner. She had some nice fabric but I was happy to browse. I am going to AQC (Australian Quilter's Convention) in Melbourne on Friday/Saturday with Jan and wanted to keep my spending money for that.

We also went to BCF and bought a shower tent for when we start free camping. We had a look at Porta-Pottis and spoke to one of the salesmen about them. We think we have decided which one to get but will wait till the caravan show in June or the end of financial year sales. BCF is quite dear. We also bought a privacy screen from a caravan place in Coffs who had a Camec outlet. It is for the front of the awning. Bruce put it up when we got home and it looks good. We are gradually getting together what we need.
We actually didn't have any rain today, although it was very cloudy all day and looked like it was about to rain. It was also cooler than it has been.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Dorrigo and Myleston - 5 - 6 April

Saturday, 5 April

We had a big storm last night, and it rained quite a bit of the night. We only had a little bit of seepage through the tape. Hopefully that means we have found the source of the leak.

Late yesterday a very big RV checked in. It made our van look like a matchbox toy.

I spoke to the lady and they have come up from Nelson Bay. I thought it must have been their permanent home but it isn't. They go up to Queensland for 6 months of the year and they are headed up there now. Their rig is 34 foot long. It has 3 rooms and a bathroom. They are on their 3rd truck, having worn the other 2 out since they bought the RV 5 years ago. Imagine the fuel costs. Too big for us.

We headed to Dorrigo to see what their markets are like. We spent a few days in Dorrigo a few years ago and really like it. It is on the Waterfall Way, which we travelled last July, but we did the other end of it. Bellingen is just before Dorrigo and is nice too, but Dorrigo is a bit more low key.

Misty Threads is the name of the patchwork shop in Dorrigo and I called in to see if I could get some fabric for the quilt I am working on at home. I was in luck and managed to get some French General border fabric which should work well.

We found the Markets which were on at the Showground but were pretty small. We thought they would have been a bit bigger. I did buy some socks for Angus and Luca which they should like. They had a pumpkin competition going and their pumpkins were enormous.

We bought some scones for morning tea to support the CWA and bought a cake from them as well. The Lions Club got our support as well as we bought a coffee and hot chocolate from them.

We drove out to the Dangar Falls to have a look. With the rain over the last couple of weeks, they were flowing well. The Falls are situated on the site of the Ebor Volcano which was active for about 1 million years, 19 million years ago. The volcano covered an area of 270 square kilometres.
Next to the Falls, is The Dangar Falls Lodge. They have camping out the back. We did think of staying there when we were planning our trip but the reviews hadn't been all that good, mainly due to the unevenness of the ground. We had a look while we were there and it wouldn't be too bad if you were there early and able to pick a good site. The views would make up for that.
We continued along the Coramba Road which is a gravel road but quite a good all weather road, provided you drive to the conditions. It was quite a nice drive through the Dorrigo National Park. We passed the Giant Tallowwood tree which had a sign saying it was 56.6 metres tall but there was no year on it. The sign looked a few years old, so that could have been 10-15 years ago.

We stopped at the Coramba Pub for lunch before heading back to Mylestom through Sawtell and Toormina, where we stopped for some groceries.
We hadn't long been home when the skies opened and we had a big storm, with torrential rain and winds and again the van didn't leak. I think we have found the source of our leak.
Sunday, 6 April
Well, it rained quite a bit overnight. I think the rain can stop now. We have tested the van sufficiently and just want it to stop now. We are heading out west at the end of June for 6 weeks, so I think the farmers out there will be pleased to see us. It seems to rain quite a bit when we go on holidays!
Daylight saving finished in NSW overnight so we are back to normal time now.
Bruce went fishing after breakfast and I went for a walk and did some sewing. I went to get some morning tea before remembering about daylight saving finishing, and realised it was too early! I had forgotten to adjust my watch.
After lunch, we went for a walk along the beach and Bruce collected some pippies to use as bait in the morning when he goes fishing again. We managed to get back to the van just before it rained again.


Friday, 4 April 2014

Mylestom - 3 - 4 April 2014

Thursday, 3 April

We are off to Mylestom today and Margie and Mum are heading back to Sydney. The weather has been fabulous the last 5 days and we have had a great time with all our visitors and our trip to the Hunter Valley. Mum and Margie have really enjoyed themselves I am sure of that.

Daylight saving finishes in New South Wales on Saturday night so sunrise is at a reasonable hour. We all headed up to the lookout over the beach this morning to watch it rise over the water. We have seen the beautiful colours the last few mornings on our walks but haven't actually watched the sun come up. It was magnificent. There was a bit of cloud to bring out the colours and we really enjoyed the amazing scene. We even saw some dolphins.
 Mum and Margie got away about 8, and we were away about 8.30. Bruce had found a voucher in one of the books given to us by the caravan park office when we checked in, saying there was a free gift for the month of March if you had a loyalty card, which we did, as we had stayed at 3 caravan parks in the same group of parks. When he asked about it yesterday at the office, they didn't know what to say. Obviously no one had asked about it. Anyway they said to see them when we checked out, which Bruce did. We got a $20 Shell fuel card, so were happy about that.
Moorland is a couple of hours north of Hawk's Nest and just off the highway. It is also where you turn off to a place called Hannam Vale and where Bruce spent his primary school days. His Mum and Dad had a dairy farm there right at the base of the mountains. It was a beautiful farm and it wasn't till Bruce's Mum, Glor, developed Alzheimers that they sold it. They moved to Sydney when Bruce reached high school but kept the farm and spent the school holidays there. There are now quite a few hobby farms in Hannam Vale but still some dairy farms.
In Moorland there is a café and along the highway they advertise as having the best scones on the coast. We have never stopped to try them, but decided that today we would have morning tea there. The scones were beautiful, with home made jam and real cream, not the horrible airy fairy stuff out of a can. It is situated in an old bakery built in 1922 and there were tables under a pergola and also spread out through the garden. We are so pleased we stopped.

When it was built, bread was 5 pence and a meat pie was 3 pence.
We got caught in a bad traffic accident at Kunderbung and traffic was banked up for about 10-15 kms and it took us over an hour to get through it. A large removalist truck towing a big trailer flipped and lost the trailer which was still upright but damaged all along the side and pushed in. The main part of the truck was on its side and the windscreen smashed. It was a bit of a mess and there was only one lane open. Some poor person will miss out on their furniture. Hope it's insured. Not sure about the driver as no doubt he had been taken to hospital.
With the upgrade of the Pacific Highway, the roadside rest stops have been redone. They are now really big affairs with plenty of parking, shelters and toilets. We saw "No Camping" signs on them, but they would be noisy places to stop anyway, being right on the highway. There is a free camp at Johns River at the Blacksmith's Creek Inn and Tavern. It is listed in the Camps 7 book and also Wikicamps as Blacksmith's Creek Inn and not as Johns River so some may miss it. It is off the highway.
We drove into Buledelah to get fuel and drove past the free camp spot on the river we had seen on our way down. There must have been a dozen vans camped there, so obviously a popular spot.
Due to the accident, we didn't arrive in Mylestom till about 3.30. A lovely looking caravan park and very quiet.
By the time we finished setting up we couldn't bother cooking. There is a Bowls Club here that has an Asian Restaurant and a Pizza/Pasta Restaurant. We ordered a couple of pizzas and brought them back to the van to have. They were very nice. Apparently the Asian Restaurant has won lots of awards for years and the same chef/s have been there for about the last 15 years. We will try it before we head home.
Friday, 4 April
The caravan park is quite large but very quiet. There are quite a few permanents, which has been the case in the 3 caravan parks we have stayed at. They put the families together at the other end of the park. Everyone is very friendly and the park has a good vibe to it. The amenities are very clean which is always good.
After breakfast we went for a walk. Mylestom is on the coast south of Coffs Harbour and Sawtell, but north of Urunga. It is also at the mouth of the Bellinger River. We walked up to the Surf Club and watched the ocean for a little while. The beach is patrolled on a Sunday morning from 10 - 1, so don't get into difficulties at any other time. Mylestom is only a small place and wouldn't have the resources to man it all the time.
From the beach, we walked down to the river. There is a general store in Mylestom, which is also the petrol station, the Post Office, newsagent, bait shop and café. It has a lovely deck out the front and side overlooking the river so we will try it for morning or afternoon tea at some stage. We walked along the river so Bruce could look for a spot to fish from. Some beautiful scenery.

While we were walking back to the caravan park, we came across this mosaic on the front of a building in a park. We are assuming it is the same artist who did the ones at Scott's Head, which is not far south from Mylestom. Lovely work.

I did some sewing today while Bruce went fishing, but came home empty handed, so it was a lovely relaxing day. It was a sunny day, although a bit of cloud came over as the day went on. In the afternoon though the wind really picked up and it was blowing a gale. Rain is forecast for either tomorrow or the next day, but it is looking pretty black at the moment. We may get to test out our roof again. Bruce has put some tape over the hole, but we will see what happens.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Hawk's Nest - 2 April 2014

After our walk this morning and brekkie, we went for a drive to Mungo Brush, which is north of Hawk's Nest a few kms. The road follows the coast and up through the Myall Lakes National Park. At the end of the road on this side of the Lakes are a couple of campsites. From the looks of it, it is the National Parks fee plus $10 for 2 adults. There is a ferry which takes you (and your car) over to the other side of the lake and you can then drive on to Buledelah. You can also continue on up the coast on 4WD track. The campsite right at the ferry would have cost us $7/car for the day or part thereof, which would have been $14 as we both drove our cars. We have all stuff in the back seat and Margie's back seat was down as she had Mum's walker in the back.

We drove back down the road a couple of minutes to Banksia Green campground which was a lovely spot. There was a caravan and camper trailer set up there. It was a lovely grassy area with drop toilets but no drinking water. We used the back of our ute as the table. I just happened to look over at one of the grassy tent sites right next to the car and there was a goanna sprawled out. We weren't sure if it was dead or asleep! We then saw it breathe. It was comatose for about 10 minutes before it gave a bit of a stretch and then started heading our way. Bruce had to throw some small pebbles at it to make it change direction. It must have smelt our scones and pumpkin cake! It was either a very old goanna as it moved very slowly, or it had a full stomach (maybe some bush rats).

Margie and I went for a walk up the track and over the sand dunes to look out over the water and spotted some dolphins swimming along close to the beach.
When we have our solar installed on the van we will be able to stay in places like this. It was lovely.
On our way back to the van, we drove round the area Margie and I had walked the afternoon before and showed Mum and Bruce the Lakes.
We had lunch at the van sitting under the trees, followed by Scrabble.
While we were playing Scrabble, we had magpies, butcher birds and rabbits all around us. The birds came up really close to us, but not the rabbits.
After a game of Scrabble, we walked down to the local shop, Mum being pushed in the wheelchair, to get an ice cream. The wheelchair has been great for Mum, rather than relying on just her walker. We can take her places further away.
After dinner, we had more games of Rummikub before calling it a night, our last in Hawk's Nest.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Hawk's Nest - Tuesday, 1 April 204

Margie, Bruce and I had a walk before breakfast. It was very pleasant weather wise, just a little brisk. Since the night we had our torrential downpour last Friday, the weather has been good. It has been sunny, warm with some days cloudy - but no rain.

While we were walking this morning, we wondered where John Howard stays when he holidays here. We tried to pick out the house. Apparently he never brought his minders just the family. There are some beautiful homes around the area, some of them with great views.

After our walk, we took Mum up in the wheelchair to the lookout area at the surf club. It looks along Bennetts Beach and is the area that is patrolled by the surf lifesavers. There are quite a few islands off the shore in this area. There was an ambulance driver having a coffee break while we were there. He is semi-retired and lives in Nelson Bay, which is on the other side of Port Stephens from where we are. He said they are not rushed off their feet but a lot of people have retired here so that keeps them busy enough.

We had a couple of Air Force jets go over this morning. Williamstown Airforce Base is just across Port Stephens so they probably fly over here often. They were going exceptionally fast though and everyone stopped what they were doing to look up. Cars on the road stopped as they were turning a corner and stuck their head out the window. A police car did the same. Everyone walking was standing there with their heads looking up. It was quite funny. Of course, we were doing the same.

After morning tea we drove over to some shops at Tea Gardens. There is a tea and coffee shop there that sells different sorts of tea and coffee and the paraphernalia that goes with them. It was a great shop and we bought a couple of different sorts of tea and Margie bought a portable coffee plunger and some ground coffee for David (and herself) for when they are travelling.

Lo and behold but next door was a patchwork shop! I bought some lovely pretty pink fabric with the alphabet on for a quilt I am making at the moment to go on the back. It should look good.

Next door to that was a lovely clothes shop. They had a sales rack out the front and I managed to pick up a collared t-shirt by Yarra Trail for $20, a really good buy as it was reduced from $60.

At lunch time we took the table and chairs out from under the awning and placed it on the grass under the tree next to us. There was a lovely breeze. It was lovely and relaxing. We brought our Travel Scrabble and had a game, which I managed to win.

Margie and I did a second walk, which we also did yesterday. We went up near a lake so we might drive up that way tomorrow to have a better look. The last 2 days I have done 18,000 steps so pretty happy with that.

We had our dinner at the BBQ at the caravan park and had chicken burgers. We bought some chicken mince at the butcher to support the local small business. Then after dinner we went over to Mum and Margie's unit and had a few more games of Rummikub. Bruce won 2 games, Margie won 1 and I won 1. Poor Mum. Her turn will be tonight.