5th November 2022
Distance: 498 Km
The original intension 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 was 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.
8th June 2021
It was not going to be an early start but in the event we packed up for the last time on this trip very quickly. Originally I was going to carry some of Katie’s excess baggage as far as Yass then hand it over to her but she got it all in her car and we decided to make Yass just a lunch stop.
We had a leisurely lunch at Yass before going our separate ways, she to Canberra and me to Wollongong.
Time Taken: 17 days (plus a couple of days in Canberra)
Total Distance: 4473km
Total Fuel: 464L
Fuel Consumption: 10.4 litres per 100km
Average Fuel Price: $1.42/L
Cost of Accommodation: $514 (that was just for me)
It was a really enjoyable trip, travelling with adult kids is a very novel experience as was travelling in convoy. I was very glad that I bought a new jumper and puffer jacket before I left but I did get used to early nights and mornings because of the cold, the temperature plummeted as soon as the sun went down. The camper was very easy to warm up with my new 400watt heater from Amazon. The night skies in the bush never cease to amaze me, there are just so many stars.
The only fly in the ointment was the need to plan ahead and book camp sites at least a day before, this is something I have never had to do before and while it is not a deal breaker it has got me rethinking my travel arrangements.
Covid has certainly changed people’s travel, the number of caravans on the road has noticeably increased and the number of brand new ‘vans in the parks is also an obvious feature as is the lack of backpackers.
Thanks to Katie and Andrew for accompanying me, it was a great trip and one I had been wanting to do for some years. The next serious trip is to once again attempt the Oodnadatta Track – I have tried three times before but each time it rained just before I arrived and the roads were closed. I have to be honest I have never had any ambition to attempt the more serious journeys like the Gibb River Road, or even the Birdsville Track. but I still enjoy camping and travelling no matter where it is.
Where we travelled – for some reason the Cameron’s Corner section is wrong (blame Google) because the corner (G), is, for obvious reasons, right in the corner where the NSW, SA and Queensland borders meet.
7th June 2021
This is where we say farewell to Andrew (and the doggie) who has to return to Sydney for his work, We only have one more day left of our trip too.
It is possible to drive from Dubbo to our respective homes in Wollongong and Canberra but it is a long drive so we decided to drive to Temora and go home from there.
This morning was cold though not as cold as yesterday so we all had a late start, Andrew left by 8.30am but Katie and I didn’t get away until after 9am.
It was an easy drive through undulating country, quite different to the Outback.
Arrived in Temora just after 1pm to an almost empty caravan park. It is one of those council run parks where you pick a site and a council worker/caretaker comes round in the late afternoon to collect the money.
Once we set up we wandered over to the Temora Aviation Museum, I have been several times before but it was Katie’s first visit and I think she really enjoyed it. Most of their planes still fly.
It was cold that evening.
But the sunset was spectacular.
6th June 2021
It was cold this morning, there was ice on everything, even the table has frozen dew on it. My car was covered in flowering gum nuts so later I made a point of parking a bit further over.
First visit today was to Old Dubbo Gaol.
After this we followed a part of the Heritage walk but to be frank it was one of those with a sign showing a beautiful old building which was replaced in the 1950s by a particularly ugly Coles supermarket. Not that interesting to be frank.
Because this was the last day with Andrew able to travel with us we decided that a nice meal was in order so a booking was made at the Commercial Hotel in the centre of Dubbo. It turned out to be a good choice – the meal was excellent and the staff very friendly. It was washed down with a couple of beers.
5th June 2021
Woke to quite a thick fog this morning however it was to be another lazy day, slowly got ready to leave and were on the road about 9.15am. There is only one way – through Nyngan then on to Dubbo.
Andrew had some radio issues which turned out to be the aerial plug had come loose, something he was quickly able to rectify.
We stopped at Nevertire for a short break (I always stop there) but it has gone down hill a bit, the pub is still open but the cafe has closed.
It was good to be back in the Central west of NSW.
Arrived at the caravan park at about 1pm to be given two large adjacent sites where we set up camp.
In the evening to two kids went Stargazing while I looked after the dog.