5th November 2022
Distance: 498 Km
The original intention had been to travel to Newcastle and complete the journey home on the 6th but it was only 11.45am as we approached the Newcastle turn off so decided to press on. In the end arrived home at about 2.50pm.
In the event it would have been perfectly possible to have taken the camper and saved a lot of money on accommodation but the forecast had been bad. You are a bit cut off staying in motels whereas caravan parks are much more sociable.
Total Distance: 1126 Km
Total Fuel: 109L
Av Fuel Price: $2.32/L
Motel Costs: $818
I would estimate that the same trip staying in caravan parks would have had accommodation costs of about $200 to $250, while towing would have used marginally more fuel, it is still a big difference.
Travelling up the coast is not my favourite trip normally I would have travelled inland but the flooding made this very difficult and I suspect those communities have enough on their plate without us adding to their problems. It is so long since I went up this route that I don’t think I recognised any of the route because previously it went through every little town north of Newcastle, for example the road around Bulahdelah was particularly dangerous. The road is much better now but the trip has lost something.
We went to see the Jacaranda Festival and Timbertown so it was a successful trip, the weather was particularly kind to us even the forecast showers never eventuated.
3rd November 2022
Distance: 247 Km
Fuel: 27 L
Went for a walk early just for the exercise, it was a lovely sunny morning and there was no need to set off early as we only had about 250km to drive to get to Wauchope.
The drive was mostly back down the route we travelled up on but instead of heading east toward Port Macquarie we drove inland to Wauchope.
Checked into the motel early and went for a walk into the town, quite a nice shopping centre with an IGA where we bought some snacks. It is a fairly typical small Australian town of about 7000 people.
In the evening strolled down to Wauchope Country Club for a meal and a couple of beers.
The town has an RSL Club too but the Country Club was only a few minutes walk away.
1st November 2022
Distance: 248 Km
The highway has changed a lot since I last drove it maybe 30 years ago. It is a road that I have avoided like the plague preferring to go through New England and the inland routes. Now it bypasses every town on the way so is just like driving on the Hume Highway fast but pretty uninteresting.
Made a stop at a rest area to stretch the legs and have a sandwich.
Arrived in Grafton too early to check in at the motel so went for a walk to the shopping mall which is virtually opposite to stock up with a few odds and ends. By the time the shopping was complete we were able to check in, fortunately have a room on the ground floor coincidentally right where the car was parked. If I stay at motels in future must remember to always ask for a ground floor room when booking, stairs are becoming a bit of an issue. The room was fine but pretty expensive.
After settling in drove to See Park which offers the best view of the Jacarandas in flower. It was just a quick drive round the tree lined streets, will spend more time on it tomorrow.
In the evening discovered a nice looking Indian Restaurant within walking distance of the motel so visited and had a really good meal there.
30th & 31st October 2022
Distance: 502 km
Fuel: 42 L
This is just a short trip to revisit the Jacaranda Festival in Grafton and to get out of the house.
Not an exciting start to the journey, have to go through Sydney which is hell at any time. Normally I would avoid the coast road and go inland through Tamworth BUT the floods have made that difficult so for the first time for decades am heading up Highway 1.
The other change also brought about by the flooding I am not taking the camper because mud is no fun so am staying in motels, am already regretting this decision. However it is only for a week so not the end of the world.
Stayed at the Ibis Budget Motel, very similar to the Tune Hotels in Asia, small rooms – 300mm between the end of the bed and the wall – but perfectly adequate and clean with pleasant staff. Newcastle is so close to the resorts of the central coast, motels generally want an arm and a leg for you to stay but there must be less demand to stay in Wallsend because it was a reasonable price.
It is a few minutes pleasant walk though a park to Wallsend Shopping centre with everything you need.
A very uninteresting drive with one stop on the way where we had a sandwich watched by curious birds.
Port Macquarie is a town I last stayed in over 30 years ago, the motel was one near the highway rather than in Port Macquarie itself, it was very quiet and clean but a long way from anything.
Drove into town to get some fuel in the late afternoon.