Wauchope to Wollongong

5th November 2022

Distance: 498 Km
Fuel: 32L

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.

Statistics

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.

Timbertown

4th November 2022

Distance: 13 km
Fuel:

It was so cold last night, no idea why, had to turn the reverse cycle AC on to warm the room up.

Today was a trip to visit Timbertown, somewhere I haven’t been for 35 years. It turned out to be a very enjoyable day, even though it remained overcast the forecast showers never happened.

It has to be said the place is not what it was. However the staff were really nice and all rides were included in the entry fee. There was a terrific steam train which circled the park, every half hour, as well as horse drawn carriage rides and a tractor ride.

Timbertown WauchopeTimbertown Wauchope

I suspect the place is kept going by local school visits because there were three coach loads of children while we were there, they seemed to have a wonderful time with the gold panning and all the rides. Personally I always enjoy watching the the boilers and steam engines in use too.

At lunch time we visited the cafe next door and a had a very good toasted sandwich and coffee. When I was last here there was food served in the restaurant on site but that seems to be defunct now.

Timbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown WauchopeTimbertown Wauchope

For reasons I will blame on my total lack of any sense of direction I left the park travelling west so the satnav guided us back to town using back roads, hence the 13km trip when the park is only 2 km from the motel.

Grafton to Wauchope

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.

GraftonGraftonGraftonGraftonGrafton

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.

Wauchope Motel

In the evening strolled down to Wauchope Country Club for a meal and a couple of beers.

Wauchope Clock TowerWauchope

The town has an RSL Club too but the Country Club was only a few minutes walk away.

Grafton–Day 2

2nd November 2022

Distance: 7 km
Fuel:

At 9am walked to the Post Office to buy some stamps. Was surprised to see it still using the original Post Office building, far too many have been sold off and replaced with a Post Shop in the local shopping mall.

Grafton Post Office

Set off in the car back to See Park but parked on the other side so we could get a better look and walk around the area. Yesterday we were on the side with a steep slope.

Grafton Jararanda Fesival - See ParkGrafton Jararanda Fesival - See ParkGrafton Jararanda Fesival - See ParkGrafton Jararanda Fesival - See ParkGrafton Jararanda Fesival - See ParkGrafton Jararanda Fesival - See ParkGrafton Jararanda Fesival - See ParkGrafton Jararanda Fesival - See ParkGrafton Jararanda Fesival - See ParkGrafton Jararanda Fesival - See ParkGrafton Jararanda Fesival - See ParkGrafton Jararanda Fesival - See Park

Even the colours of the flowers fallen in the pond looked interesting.

Grafton Jararanda Fesival - See Park

Also strolled down to the old Grafton Bridge which is always worth a look it was built in 1932 with a roadway built on top of the railway. Until I actually stopped in Grafton I thought it was the daftest bridge ever built, being very narrow, with steep and badly angled approaches at each end. I never realised there was a railway underneath because you cannot see the line from the road. It also has a pedestrian way each side on the railway level and the road supports have been decorated with modern art.

The new bridge now runs parallel but the old bridge remains in use for road traffic.

Grafton Bridge (1932)Grafton Bridge (1932)Grafton Bridge (1932)Grafton Bridge (1932)Grafton Bridge (1932)Grafton Bridge (1932)Grafton Bridge (1932)Grafton Bridge (1932)Grafton Bridge (1932)Grafton Bridge (1932)

After returning to the motel for a very late lunch went for a walk to see all the Op Shops, have a coffee, ice cream and buy more milk in the shopping town.

All in all it was a busy but entertaining day.

Port Macquarie to Grafton

1st November 2022

Distance: 248 Km
Fuel:

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.

M1 Going NorthM1 Going North

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.

Grafton Central Motel

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.

Grafton Jararanda FesivalGrafton Jararanda Fesival

In the evening discovered a nice looking Indian Restaurant within walking distance of the motel so visited and had a really good meal there.

Indian Cottage Restaurant

Wollongong to Port Macquarie

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.

Wallsend (Newcastle)

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.

Ibis Budget Motel, Wallsend

It is a few minutes pleasant walk though a park to Wallsend Shopping centre with everything you need.

Wallsend Park

Port Macquarie

A very uninteresting drive with one stop on the way where we had a sandwich watched by curious birds.

Random Bird watching us eat

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.

Major Innes Motel Port MacquarieMajor Innes Motel Port Macquarie

Drove into town to get some fuel in the late afternoon.