Sunday, August 26, 2018

August 25th. 2018

After a couple of weeks at home John has been able to print out a map of New South Wales with our track anc camps marked on it. It does appear to be very small but it does give a general appearance of where we travelled this year. Camps were all in NSW with only a short trip from and returning to Milawa, Victoria. We did have a short day trip into Queensland to briefly check out the Gold Coast and Nerang where my long time friend, Dorothy lives. It was a great day of sharing memories.
We are happy to be home and settle into our regular life's routine of activities.

Track 'There and Back'

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Safari 2018 August 15th

'Kyamba' Milawa..August 15th

The best camp of all! Tonight we are home after quite a long drive south from
 West Wyalong. We left before 9.00am and travel totalled 358 km.Travelling through the Riverina area is quite distinctive with the wide flat areas of country and homes quite far apart. Murray Pines also become an important part of the scenery.
Thankfully the farmlands gradually became greener apart from several paddocks of cultivated salt bush which were being enjoyed by a few cattle. Salt bush is a lovely soft grey/green colour and is used to feed stock in times when feed is in short supply. The drought conditions further north are devastating for farmers and small towns. Today we estimate having met as many as 25 - 30 semi-trailer loads of hay being transported to some of these farming communities. Many rivers and creeks further north have been completely dry so it was good to cross the Murrumbidgee River at Narrandera. It, too, was running quite low.
Sign post to Oaklands

John and I have both had ancestors on the land in this Riverina area. John's Great Uncle George Harry Brown farmed at Yuluma and about 100km south my Grandfather and Grandmother, Rosa and Ormond Desailly, lived, and I presume, managed a property at Oaklands. The Riverina was popular with a number of other Desailly family members as well.

Distinctly, as soon as we passed the Murray River at Corowa, crops looked healthy and very green. Good news... there has been some rain while we have been away. Further on through Wangaratta the Ovens River is running strongly.

Soon after our arrival home Cynthia called and then David. What a very pleasant surprise to catch up with family and happenings so soon. We are thankful for a safe and healthy trip. Distance travelled over the 8/9 weeks away was 5340 km.
In a week or so I will post a map of our journey to Byron Bay and return.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Safari 2018 August 14th

West Wyalong Showgrounds August 14th

The day dawned at minus 1 degree with fog through the park and across Lake Burrendong.
Our day has run quite smoothly as we travelled across country to Forbes where we did our shopping to fill our refrigerator at 'Kyamba'. As we moved south today the hills and farms look much greener which was a real pleasure to see. A little rain has fallen over night.

Lake Forbes with pelicans and ducks
 We enjoyed our picnic lunch on the banks of Lake Forbes. Ducks and pelicans enjoyed the sun as well as the many visitors having lunch. It is quite a feature in the town.

Tonight we have set up camp, our last night, in the West Wyalong Showgrounds.  There are quite a number of caravans camped within this very large area. The buildings are rather dilapidated
and would need quite a lot of refreshing before the Annual Show.

There were a couple of startling events was a large truck coming at us on the left hand side of the road. The driver must surely have had a little nap. Luckily he corrected his travel and swerved back to the correct lane. 

The other surprise came as I stepped up to take the photo of the red flowers of the Leucoxylon. Luckily I glanced down to where I would step. There was a long black snake..amazing really. At further inspection I could see that it was a long piece of black cotton rope...but for all the world like a serpent....very long and thin. John completely agreed that it looked like a snake..some trickster had put it in a very realistic position! 

The incident actually reminded me of the day that a young student of mine placed a snake strategically on the step of the Milawa class room where I was teaching. That small boy was told in very strong words to NEVER DO THAT AGAIN. This boy was about 6 or 7 years at the time...surprise, surprise it was John's youngest brother!! (That did not earn many points at all) 

 Tomorrow we have about 270km to travel to reach Milawa. I am looking forward to returning home check how the frost has affected my plants and to live in a larger space again.

Eucalyptus Leucoxylon

Monday, August 13, 2018

Safari 2018 August 13th

August 13th

 Camping Resort at Lake Burrendong Reflections Park

Lake Burrendong at sunset
  Our day began with a white frost of minus 4 deg which proves to be difficult when camping. Luckily there were no rules forbidding generators so we did have some warmth. The drive today, from Chaffey Dam has been interesting apart from the devastating conditions of 'drought'. The further south we have come the better the country has looked. We drove for about 372 km and have finally settled at the Reflections Caravan Park, on Lake Burrendong, south of Dubbo. The drive was interesting along country roads instead of the Highways. It is a very pretty spot but would be quite delightful with warmer weather. What a pity it is so cold this evening. The nearby very dry hills were most attractive in the evening light. I think the orange coloured hill in my photo is suffering from the very dry conditions.

June leaning on the Black Stump
During the day we stopped at the Black Stump Rest stop which is an historic point of interest north of Coolah.
During the 1830s this locality was know as as 'Beyond the Black Stump', similar expressions were often referred to as the 'Back of Beyond', 'Outback' or in 'Never Never Land' !

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Safari 2018 August 12th

Chaffey Dam Camp Ground

 August 12th 

We decided to enjoy a quiet day in the Tamworth area. Last night we camped just a little north of the city and this  evening we are a little south..on the surrounds of the Chaffey Dam which was actually built in 1979 but has had a couple of more modern modifications this century.  The main section of the wall has been made from attractive pink rocks which have come from the nearby hills.

Chaffey Dam wall
A couple of very close friends of ours lived not far from here at Duncan's Creek. We took a drive up this valley to see if we could recognise the property. It is nearly 50 years ago since we visited them. They sold the property a long time ago. It was interesting reminiscing about the rocky landscape, the rabbit plague and the 'prickly pear' which were so difficult to eradicate. The Duncan's Creek Valley is the only area we have noticed with a tinge of green across the paddocks. The gum trees on the hills are obviously browning with lack of life supporting rains. The Peel River is the main river through Tamworth and farmers are obviously irrigating with these waters. 

We did drive a little further south to a small town called Nundle which appears to be developing as a Tourist precinct. The attraction is 'fossicking' presumably for gold. There are a number of shops and cafes and a of course a 'very popular hotel'. The Tourist Route goes through Nundle. We will follow this tomorrow morning on our our way west and south.
it is very cold here this evening with a really chill wind. We will need some heating for sure so John intends to run our generator to power our small heater. There are no campers very close for us to disturb with a generator noise and the wind will blow the noise across the water as well.

Safari 2018 August 11th

 August 11th 2018 
       Cockburn River

Evening at Cockburn River Camp..very dry
It has been an uneventful 300km travelling as we go south. The main comments along the way have been about the dry countryside. So dry that trees are dying in some areas, Mistletoe is dying on the trees and some small areas of bush have been fired. There are  paddocks which have been scarified ready for planting a crop or maybe the seed has been planted but no rain to bring the shoots up. Only a few places had water in dams or a creek which was not completely dried up. The Australian drought is very REAL to be sure.
Our night at the Kookaburra Camp near Bolivia was cold enough at 0.8deg.The Kookaburra property is extremely dry as well, but it does have a spring which keeps a small lake full of water to service the park and the B&B accommodation and no doubt the few farm animals and a vegie garden full of garlic and kale.
We travelled a Tourist Route across country to Glenn Innis. From there we drove on the New England Highway which by-passed Armidale then through Uralla, and not quite to Tamworth where we have settled for the night at the Cockburn Camping ground on the Cockburn River. I was awhere that there was a nearby rail line but it still surprised me to hear a train and to see a small bright green three carriage train going by quite close to our caravan.
John sitting on a ready-made' seat at Cockburn River Camp
The river is very dry apart from one small ‘puddle’. We walked along a heavy rock river bed where floods have obviously flowed. There are a couple of single campers here with their dogs.

JG found a chair which had been carved with a chain saw into a comfortable chair! 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Safari 2018 August 10th

  Kookaburra Camping and Caravan Park at Deepwater south of Tenterfield.

August 10th
Granite Bluff on the way across the Range.

We have sent most of the day travelling about 240km from the coast, over the Great Dividing Range to this lovely open park. It is cool this evening as we are still quite high in the foot hills  on the western side of the Range. One very noticeable aspect of our day was just how quickly the properties became so very dry including this one here where we have camped. Yellow wattle has been very dominant in the bush.


The Kookaburra Camp is still at a developmental stage but amenities are excellent. The camping ground is undulating with open forest. We are camped under some Eucalypt trees a little away from other campers. Fire places and wood are provided so it will be steak for dinner cooked over the fire. This is a change because we have not been allowed to have a fire or there has been no wood to collect.

Also in this camping ground there is a group of friends who belong to a 4WD Club who are on an organised trip. They were very friendly and invited us over to join them around a huge fire. The evening had become very cold so we did not stay long. We are now preparing for a much colder night! A frost seems likely.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Safari 2018 August 9th

August 9th...we are still at Byron Bayb

Lighthouse from the Walking Track

We have had a great morning walking up to the Cape Byron Lighthouse. The walking track took us through the coastal bush sometimes overlooking the ocean with all its wonderful views including a few whales surfacing. The view of the mountains was distinctive as Mt Warning dominated the range. The only lengthy stop on the way up was on the actual Cape Byron Point which is the most easterly point of Australia.

This is as far east as you can go!!

 We enjoyed a cup of coffee at the Lighthouse Cafe then returned to camp along  the last section of the loop. There are over 700 steps along the track..must be good for my leg muscles!

This evening we enjoyed drinks over looking the ocean at sunset..what wonderful pale colours. Di & Peter Smith had joined us as they are camping a little way south of Byron Bay. At 6.00pm we all walked down to the Beach Restaurant overlooking Clarke's Beach. A great night of friendship and good food was thoroughly enjoyed.  
Beach Restaurant

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Safari 2018 August 7th, 8th

Reflections Holiday Park, Clarkes Beach, Byron Bay

August 7th

 Mt Warning can be seen on the sky line
It was only a short trip this morning from Murwillumbah to Byron Bay which is a very busy township with lots of everything happening.  After settling our van into a very nice spot with close access to amenities and the beach we enjoyed a short walk along the beach where there was also plenty happening...scuba divers loading into a large 'rubber ducky',  a group of canoes and paddlers out on the waves, people swimming and surfing and best of all we saw several humpback whales breaching high out of the sea.
From the beach we could see Mt Warning in the distance..maybe ready to warn ships of the many rocks near the shore!

August 8th

Today has been a lay day for me, apart from doing the last load of washing for our trip. John has walked a lot on the beach.
.9 kms. I had a shorter walk and enjoyed watching a group of canoes entering the waves...the sixth and last one to enter the waves was very promptly unloaded with the swell.Splash! 

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Safari 2018 August 4th, 5th & 6th

Booked to camp at the Murwillumbah Show Grounds for 3 nights...a very successful site in the Tweed Valley.
View of Tweed River from Gallery Cafe
ugust 4th

The drive north-west today was both challenging and interesting..the challenge was to find the turn off from the Pacific Highway but after some time we were on our way! 
The terrain was hilly and quite narrow as we headed for Murwillumbah. Agriculture is intense in this part of the country. We saw passionfruit, sugar and Madura tea being grown. Sugar is harvested between June and January so most properties that grow sugar would have six months of harvesting different areas depending on the rotation of the fields. We saw, yet again, the familiar scene of billowing steam from the sugar processing plant. The Tweed River is a fertile and busy area. 
The Tweed Shire Council has its headquarters in Murwillumbah. Even the Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre is here quite close to our camp. We spent a delightful hour or so looking at the amazing reconstruction of  the inside of Margaret Olley's home..where she lived, painted, entertained and died at 88 years of age. She is very well known for the painting of still life, in fact the ordinary things in her home. I have never seen into a home which has so much collected memorabilia, furniture, statues, flowers both artificial and dead, clothes,jugs, chipped cups and hats.
Inside the dining room of Margaret Olley's home
The dining table appeared to be set for guests..this was how her home was when she died. Now it has been made into a great focus of interest in the the world of art. I recommend visiting this amazing Gallery if you are in this north eastern corner of NSW.

As she left it --Margaret's pallet of paints, an apron and brushes
August 5th

I had enjoyed seeing Margaret Olley's home/studio that we returned for a second look. It is certainly amazing and zi was able to absorb more details of her life and paintings. We enjoyed a cuppa at the Gallery Cafe. In the restaurant we noticed Doug old man now. He was Leader of the National Party in earlier years. Doug actually donated the land on which this Tweed Region Gallery stands and then donated further adjacent land to enable the development of the Margaret Olley Art Centre. We felt it was an honour to see him in the Cafe enjoying the gallery that he had such an interest in.
Distant image of Mt Warning
Late morning we returned to our van, collected some lunch and drove to the foot of Mt Warning. There is a 5 hour return climb to the top. Of course this was not for us but we were amazed at the amount of cars parked at the start of the walk..they lined each side of the road for about a kilometre.

We lunched and then took a 'back road' which meandered its way around the base hills of Mt Warning. This mountain feature was first seen by Captain Cook from the sea. He felt it should serve as a warning to ships to beware of rocks when they saw the dominant hence the name.
Tonight we plan to have dinner at a local Pub.

Rainforest trees and palms
August 6th,

We have had a great day. Firstly we headed for the coast and drove across the border into Queensland and out to Burleigh Heads, Broad beach and Surfers Paradise and the whole Gold Coast. Eventually we left the coast and drove west to Nerang. It is a long time since we have seen the coast so our reaction was one of amazement at the development. 

Our visit to Nerang was planned so I could visit a lady friend of mine with who I Graduated with from Bendigo Teachers' College in November 1968 - 60 years ago this year. It is hard to believe. We have kept in touch with each other all that time. It was an absolute joy to visit Dorothy in her home at Nerang. Her house backs onto Nerang Creek and she has a 'rain forest' type garden going down a steep bank to the Creek.
John took this photo of me with Dorothy in her wonderfully green garden
After leaving Nerang we came south again stopping off at the Springbrook National Park. The area is well known for a Natural Bridge of rock which forms a cave or grotto where glow worms live. We walked down an interesting track over and along Cave Creek through a rainforest where we could see huge rocks which have formed the cave that a waterfall runs into. (it is hard to explain!)
The natural bridge over Cave Creek

 We were lucky to see a small bright green bird hopping around under the trees. We identified it as a Noisy Pitta bird.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Safari 2018 August 2nd & 3rd

August 2nd  Lennox Heads Reflections Holiday Park

The sugar Industry...the cane & the Processing Plant
The drive north this morning was interesting as we travelled very close to the Richmond River which we crossed on a Punt costing us $12.50.The road was very close to the fields of Sugar cane on one side of the road with the wide waters of the River on the other. Most houses are built up high either on stilts or on a small rise of approx. 1 metre. Flooding must  be a regular occurrence. The sugar processing plant looked spectacular as it produced a huge plume of steam in the cool morning air.
We drove through the township of Ballina which has a population of nearly 25,000 people. The actual Shopping Centre is very busy, especially for a vehicle and caravan which are only passing through.

We followed the busy hilly road eventually to Lennox Head where we are booked into a Reflections Park which is very tidy and clean and close to the beach. Our first point of exploration was the IGA store, then we walked out to the Lookout. This was disappointing because of the very smokey pollution along the sea horizon. Generally the beach is wide and clean and hopefully we will explore it tomorrow.

Smokey horizon at Lennox Head beach

 August 3rd 

We are enjoying this park which is directly over the road from the beach and facing Lake Ainsworth on the northern side. It is quite a large lake and calm today with a group of School students practising their boating skills on its waters. 
Incidentally the horizon is much clearer today and the water a deep blue now the sun has emerged from the clouds and light rain we had in the night and early today.
We have had a lazy day with stitching, reading and a late morning walk. We drove to Ballina this afternoon in search of a suitable Bank for John to do business with. I had searched for a 'stitching/fabric' shop and John researched the address but when we finally found it the doors looked to be permanently closed. Tonight we will dine at a Bowls Club here in Lennox Head.