Nov 11, 2012

Adelaide - October - November 2012

We have been camped at our daughters place in Adelaide for six weeks now, it certainly wasn't our intention to be here that long as we had hoped to get Vickie's eye operation bought forward but that did not happen. She is booked in for the 13th and then we have a week to wait until she has it checked before we can start to head West.

Adelaide feels like our 2nd home because we have been here so many times, Erin's home is very central to the city and nothing is to far away. We are just about regulars at the Chinese Cafe we go to at the Central Markets, we will miss that place for the delicious lunches when we leave, also the markets themselves which Vickie loves to do her grocery shopping. The prices are so much cheaper than back home and the choices are amazing.

Some Beautiful Motorbikes parked at Hahndorf SA
Taken with iphone and altered with Vintique
Plenty of beautiful character homes in SA

Red Peacock? no just altered with Vintique
Another version

We even started to dream about living in SA and searched the Internet for homes for sale, unfortunately the lotto numbers haven't come up so that dream got shelved. Instead we are looking at taking our Perth home back towards the end of next year and concentrating on doing some upgrades & maintenance to it, We don't intend to stop travelling just pull back on the amount and distance that we have been doing and concentrate on our home State and explore it more. Another good reason is to bond with our newest Granddaughter who is already 7 months old and we haven't seen her since Ningaloo when she was just two months old. Our son sends us photo's and we can't believe how much she has grown and changed in the time since. Our other two granddaughters Ruby and Millana  are now 6 and soon to be 8 and would love to have their Nana & Poppy around more.

Millana and Ruby
Elle, Dan & baby Eve

Beautiful Evie
We haven't got up to too much whilst being in Adelaide, drives out into the hills are always nice and we have had many nice lunches in the small towns that are scattered about in the hills. Vickie and i have upgraded our bikes and have been riding more, trying to lose a few kg before Christmas and also Erin's wedding in Koe Samui Thailand next year. It hasn't been easy with so many cafes, Villi's pie shop and some of the best Burger shops around. I love my chili and we found an excellent shop selling nothing but Chili products, we bought a few and the one i have tried since lives up to it's name 'One Fuckin' Drop At A Time' ... yes it is that hot but dripped on some food it is delicious.

Tasty Chicken and Rice with Laksa sauce, the two small bowls are the secret ingredients
Another yummy lunch
Burgers from the Burger Foundry Norwood SA

Certainly one of the biggest and tastiest Burgers i have had

Just a small section of a great range at Chile Mojo, Norwood SA
Take Note !!!

Well that's about it, after nearly 5 years of traveling throughout Australia our trip home will just be a 3-4 day drive as we have some jobs that need attending to at home, i'm certain i will be bored stupid as we will still be living in the van even when we get back.  Roll on Ningaloo 2013 :-)

Safe Travels to those on the roads, and an early Merry Christmas greeting.

Vickie and Mick

Oct 10, 2012

Qld - NSW - Victoria - October 2012

At Mareeba Six new tires went on the Bushtracker, I chose to buy the Maxxis D700 as the price was far cheaper than anything else and as far as i could see by the specifications they were no different. Time will tell if it was the right decision but i am confident they will handle anything the roads can throw at them. So with the last of our jobs completed we left Mareeba and headed to Ravenshoe to spend a night at the camp in town near the Steam Train depot. The last time we were here with Kimbo & Ned we had come in from Cobold Gorge and our rigs were covered in mud, Ravenshoe is the highest town in Queensland at 930mts above sea level and it was shrouded in mist and cloud, thankfully this time is was fine and clear. It was here that i realised that none of the Van's tires had been balanced and they should have so i was on the phone to Tyrepower Mareeba where the John the owner was extremely apologetic and threatened to "kick some butt" After asking where we were he arranged with the local Tyre Right Company in Ravenshoe to balance all the wheels for us, which they did.

With Kimbo & Ned soon to leave us and head back to Mackay we chose to head down to Fletchers Creek [CAW 284] for a night before saying our goodbyes. As we approached it all looked very busy with more campers than last time we were here, but amazingly we drove in and went to the very exact spot we had stayed previously. Later in the afternoon a fire in the distance was sending up volumes of smoke, enough to make a few campers pack up and leave. It was kilometres away an posed no threat to us, besides we travel with a Fireman [retired] so wasn't slightly concerned. We didn't see the Roosters around the camp this time and presumed they may have ended up in someones cook pot but during the night we heard one crowing so at least he was still around.

The next morning it was time to say See Ya to our Mates, it's always good to catch up, who knows where or when the next time will be.

Back to traveling solo, we tossed around many options but in the end we decided to head on back to Adelaide and try and organize Vickie's eye operation earlier than planned. We also had to think about re-doing some work on our Roadhouse that hadn't quite been done as planned and December and being home for Christmas isn't that far away.

Because our Caravan TV is Satelite and tuned for Imparja and Seven Central for many years we been watching an advert on TV about GOLDERS of ROMA, the reason the advert took my fancy was the young Golders Girls who have grown up doing the Ad's over the past 5 years. I mentioned to Vickie we have to call in to Golders and check it out, not expecting to actually meet the girls. I casually asked the sales lady "where are the Girls" and she replied "having lunch, they will be back soon", Well i admit to being excited, not only did i get to meet the cutest young girls there were four of them! In my excitement I didn't remember their names but i did get Vickie to film my own personal video of the girls doing the  Golders of ROMA - Since 1927 spiel. It really made my day and i thank them dearly, please keep up the adverts

The Golders Girls - Always doing Deals - Since 1927

I had always wanted to visit Nindigully and Vickie wanted to call in at Lightning Ridge so with that as our loose plan so with all that to think about we headed South. Our next night was spent at Virgin Rock [CAW 424] which is situated four kilometres from Springsure, we arrived late in the afternoon and the small area was already well stocked with campers, we slotted in an area and straight away got the Weber Baby Q smoking with dinner. A few cold drinks and we watched the sunset over Virgin Rock followed by the two formations being lit up by flood light. It's not until that happens you can make out the face shapes of the Virgin Mary and Child.

Surat and the Fishing Restocking Camp was our next nights stay, as we approach a camp we play a little game and try and guess how many other campers will be there, I always hope for none but we were both surprised to see the amount of campers already set up on both sides of the road. There is plenty of space though and we had a nice grassy area between some tall tree's for our home for the night. The next morning i gave the fishing rod a flick in the river but with no luck not even a touch.

Surat Fish Restocking Camp

Friday we arrived at Nindigully Pub, I love the old character pubs and this one didn't disappoint. Established in 1864 it has been operating ever since. It is famous for the Pig Racing held in November and also for the huge meals in particular the Massive Burgers and i was keen to give one a go. But we had no idea that an event was organised for the weekend and it was to be an Historic Event! Paint The Pub Pink, all in aid of the McGrath Foundation for Cancer research.  We were looking forward to the event on Saturday as we sat back and enjoyed the Friday nights entertainment, starting to feel a bit hungry i enquired about the meals only to be told that because they were so busy the usual choices were off the menu and they would have a Chinese Buffet for dinner that night. Well i was shattered, to come all the way to a great Aussie Icon Pub with the huge reputation for their steaks and burgers, i had a choice of Chinese ... Well we passed and went back to the Van where Vickie quickly made up some delicious Egg and Bacon Burgers.

Nindigully Waterhole
We didn't let that disappointment deter us though and the next day we paid our $25 each for the privilege to help paint the pub pink. The money was a donation to a very worthy cause and again we were disappointed to see some people to tight to donate but still wanted to partake in the painting. With so many people it didn't take long to paint completely around the Pub, the constant rain stopped the railings getting a coat of Pink but it didn't stop the Yabbie Races and music entertainment. They also had an auction in the afternoon and it was fun watching guys bidding against them selves and their mates, paying large amounts of up to $1000. We did our bit and bid for a 5lt Keg of Jim Beam, it probably cost me twice what it was worth but as we say "All For A Good Cause"

Debbie Lee and Burnsie - Licencee's Nindigully
All for a good cause

Extreme Dress Up

NIKNOFF Was Here at Paint Nindigully Pub Pink

Mick and Vickie hard at work

Nindigully Pub - Before

Nindigully Pub - After
Overall we enjoyed ourselves, painting the Pub Pink was an experience we will remember and it has given me the reason to head on back one day and try the burgers and steaks another time.

Next stop Lightning Ridge, to be honest Opal mining does nothing for me, i don't even like the look of the 'stuff' that plus there is no camping meant we had to resort to a Caravan Park! One of the few times we have and though it was a small park and relatively inexpensive at $25 I didn't see any attraction. Vickie spent an hour or so 'noodling' looking for the elusive opal near the Information Center, i wandered around taking a few photo's.

Vickie Noodling for Opal
The main reason for visiting Lightning Ridge was to check out John Murray Gallery of Art, we have one of his "Are We There Yet" paintings in the van and Vickie was looking for another. The Gallery was open but nothing jumped out at her and she decided to wait another time. The next morning we visited the Hot Springs before leaving and had a 30 minute soak in the soothing water.

Traveling further South we spent a night at a road side camp, John Oxley Memorial [CAW 998]. All by ourselves besides a hungry fox scavenging around a bin, we had an early night.

Large Galah's in Gulargambone

Carcoar Dam [CAW 490] was a pleasant surprise for our next night but again we were surprised by the amount of campers. No one seemed particularly friendly keeping to themselves but i did have a nice chat with two ladies who were travelling independently in their motor homes. Next morning i unhitched the van and we went for a drive to Historic Millthorpe which is a very quaint village 30 minutes from Bathurst and 20 minutes from Orange, beautiful old buildings and a delightful cafe selling coffee and cake, how can we resist!

Coffee and Cake at Millthorpe Cafe


Carcoar Dam

In the opposite direction we visited Carcoar, Located on the banks of the Belubula River in the central western plains of New South Wales, Carcoar was originally inhabited by the Gundungura Aboriginal people and Carcoar is a Gundungura word meaning 'kookaburra'.It is another Historic village that time seems to have forgotten. We checked out the local Church and chatted with a gardener who told us a little about the Church. The stain glass windows were beautiful and we both remarked how it would make a lovely home. Plenty of Lizards about already think that as every where we looked we could see a tail or a lizard sunning itself.

Bearded Dragon
Carcoar Lizard

Carcoar Church
Stainglass Calcoar

 We had picked out a couple of promising camps for the next night but after checking one out and then realising we had driven past the other we continued on and spent the night at a road side stop near Marsden [CAW 954] I went for a walk along the creek trying for that elusive bird photo but they were either to fast or the photo wasn't worth keeping. Next stop was going to be along the Murrumbidgee River, we have stayed along the river before but wanted to find some where new, after trying a few tracks that involved twisting around tree's only to have to reverse back out we decided to head to where we knew, Darlington Point. Arriving to find one other Van camped up, i walked over to say hello and was greeted with blank stares and turned backs, the vibes were just not friendly and i couldn't be bothered even sharing the same river bank with ignorant people so we left them to it.

Water Hole Marsden Camp
Instead we drove on and pulled into a nice spot near the heart of Jerilderie [CAW 975] a walk into town and then down by the river watching the bird life and it was time for tea and bed. This story seems to be drive / stop - drive / stop and it's pretty much that, we both have to have a feel for a place or a purpose for visiting to make us stay any longer than a night or two and as were planning on visiting our friends Mal & Lyn at Maldon we didn't feel the need to stay longer at many of these places we visited.

English's Bridge

English's Bridge {CAW 478] was a nice spot near the Campaspe river, plenty of birds here but to do any good you require a long lens, the temperature has been dropping so we didn't spend much time out side once the sun started to go down. The next morning we drove on to Maldon where we stayed at Mal and Lyn's, we were last here when we left the van after travelling down from Tamworth to take Vickie to Melbourne Airport to fly home to be with her sick Father. I then stayed another night and drove back to WA by myself. This time though there was no urgency and we spent a lovely couple of days with our Mates. Lynney cooked us a lovely meal on Saturday night and we cooked a camp oven roast lamb on Sunday night, we always eat well! Mally took me to a Rat Rod Event and showed me some local tracks whilst Vickie caught up on the washing. Mally also took us to the Chocolate Mill near Newstead where Vickie wanted to buy some metal art, She bought two interesting pieces, a large lizard and a Kookaburra. Maldon is a lovely old town and very central to Bendigo and Caslemaine, had we thought about it more we could have left the Van at Mal's and caught the train into Melbourne and visited Vickie's sister Sue and some other friends.

Mick and Mally

McGuiness's Cottage
Mal and Lyn's
 Mal told us about a couple of nice camp spots not far away so when we left on Monday we drove only about 20k's to Laancoorie Reserve [CAW 489], just as well because i realised i had left our new camp table back at Mal's and had to drive back to get it. One other time we visited and i left our fire poker, Mal met us 1/2 way to get it back to us, it's becoming a habit i don't want. The camp along side the Lodden River was lovely, again plenty of birds about.

Laancoorie Bridge
Laancoorie Bridge

Lodden River Laancoorie
The next night was not in the Camps Australia Wide book, Waanyarra Camping Ground is off the beaten track along Cemetery Road which has plenty of History involving early settlers and gold. I was a bit taken back by a sign on a campers site, it didn't seem at all friendly and everyone kept much to themselves. Last night we went to sleep listening to the rain falling, always a nice restful sound when tucked up in bed.

Friendly Warning?
Waanyarra Cemetary

Historic Mortons Homestead

Michael Mortons Historic Homestead

Old Fence
We plan on being in Adelaide on the weekend and presently we are camped beside a lagoon at Canadian Gully Bush land Reserve [CAW 538] It's bitterly cold outside and the Webasto heater is on and Van is toasty warm.

Tea Tree