Category Archives: Travel

Owen, Watervale, Wirrabara, Red Hill, Gladstone

Since being back in SA I have managed to check out a few Town Garage sales in the district.

Not only is it a good way to find bits n pieces for our block, but a chance to see what these small towns have to offer.

The Watervale General Store is a cool place to eat as well as check out their retro collection & décor. We haven’t had a meal there yet, so can’t comment on their quality! 🙂 In Wirrabara we went to the Producers Market which was lovely.  They have some nice cafe’s and the Coffee Table Gallery has some brilliant woodwork (open on market days). The Painted Silo is a drawcard as well.

Red Hill – went to a market there and found a massive collection in a front yard. Bits of everything. When in Gladstone for a garage sale I stopped at a Hotel, the Booyoolee Hotel. It looked deserted except for people selling stuff next door. I wandered in and to my surprise there was a Café Bar inside. Still a work in progress but it will be great when finished. Can recommend the Baked Bean Muffin and Coffee!! 

I popped a couple of Block pics in too – my first batch of savoury muffins made in my revamped kitchen (yes they were edible!) And Hey Ewe – she was rejected by her mother so has been hand raised & fed. She is growing by the day but still thinks humans are her ‘kind’! When out for a walk or on the quad bike she is running alongside with Jeda! 

SA Places of Interest: Manna Hill & Terowie

Just realised it’s been ages since my last blog after arriving back on Da Block.

Been very busy (will explain next blog). I’ve started to compile a few pics of places we’ve been in our new adopted state of SA.

On our way home our last overnight stop was Manna Hill Rest Area. Donation with toilets available next to the pub. Enjoyed a beverage with the owner watching the passing parade of travellers & trains. The pub has a brilliant collection of old wares and a museum.

Then on to Terowie – it hasn’t changed much in many years. Almost a ghost town sad to say. We have stopped there a few times, and stayed overnight at rail siding. The façade of the buildings have hardly changed. A craft store & history of blacksmithing worth a look.

Will continue showcasing some of the area’s we’ve managed to check out in future blogs. What I am loving is the Town Garage Sales in the district! As I’m a bit of a ‘vintage tragic’ they have been the best for collecting old things people don’t want anymore.

Finding a road not travelled….it’s tough!

After a long stay in Queensland visiting friends, relatives and generally ‘warming up’ it’s time to head homewards (SA). Looking on our map there aren’t too many untravelled roads which makes it tough to find a new road to explore.

So after a few days on familiar roads heading out of Brisbane passing through small towns Cecil Plains, Millmerran, Inglewood, Goondiwindi (and finding the bumpiest roads we’d been on in a while) we ended up in Thallon, south west Qld. Good timing too as the 2-3 day heat wave was about to hit along with dust storms.

Thallon, Qld offers all a Traveller needs:

  • Power $5.50 pn or free unpowered  area
  • Water (good bore, drinkable)
  • Amenities with hot showers & toilets
  • Silo Art “The Watering Hole” by Drapl & The Zookeeper – a drawcard for tourists following the trail
  • A pub with cold beverages, good prices and tasty meals – the Francis Hotel (pay your camp fees here)
  • and lots of wildlife that visit the town continuously.

We watched a procession of Travellers drop in to view the painted silos after they had a BIG long weekend at Nindigully Pub’s Film & Music Festival.

 

A quick trip up the coast of Queensland…

I don’t normally recommend caravan parks but we did stop in one on our quick trip up near Mackay, in from Ilbilbie about an hour south (Google it! 🙂 ) that we thought was impressive.  Cape Palmerston Holiday Park.

We spent over a week there with the intention of seeing if our Tinnie still floated and our fishing rods could catch anything! 🙂 I won’t elaborate, but we didn’t do real well. 😦 But we did enjoy the ‘serenity’. The amenities are HUGE and lovely and clean. Big camp kitchen & camp fire. Weekly rates good ($31pn) all year round.

We did a couple of drives around the district too, including Sarina, Carmilla Beach, Koumala Hotel & Yarrawonga Park Reserve (Notch Point) south of the caravan park.

Only had 2 weeks to get there & back as had work to be done to caravan in Brisbane, but would recommend a Spring holiday in this area.

Negatives: Mozzies/Midgies at sunset, big tides, no crabs when we were there.  Positives: good weather, quiet, lots of wildlife, dog friendly van park, big camp sites & tent areas, reasonable price.

Big Rivers & Big Blue Skies

After the very disappointing result of Game 3 of ‘you know what’….(I can’t even manage to type the words!! 😦 ) we had a day in  Wauchope (west of Port Macquarie) and relived our previous stay and the changes happening in this little town, then we ventured further north chasing the sun.

Stopped overnight at the lovely town of Macksville. Three overnight RV stops are on offer and we chose the Princess Street RV Stop in a back street next to a lake and outside the Council Chambers. Only ones there. Word of warning: the allocated spaces at the other RV stops are for shorter van/car combinations. Macksville is a small town on the Nambucca River & off the Pacific Highway.

We did do another sweep through Nambucca Heads the next day, and kept going! School holidays was definitely in full swing! Grafton was our next stop over for a couple of nights.

Recommendation: Jabour Park, South Grafton (find it on Wikicamps or Free Range Camping). It is run by the Grafton Vintage Motor Vehicle Club and has everything Travellers need. Call to access lock code on gate (security is great), toilets, showers, dump point, unpowered for $10 per vehicle per night. Quiet, safe, dog friendly with an oval and wildlife in the late afternoons. A light aircraft field next door but not a noise problem.

I am a ‘Vintage Tragic’ and just love anything from the 50’s to late 70’s so I was in heaven when I found a small shop with vintage type decor in front window. HAD to go in and OMG it went on & on & up! Rooms & rooms crammed with everything my parents, grandparents and so on would have owned once! It’s like De ja vu back to my childhood. It took all my self control to walk out empty handed!! (wonder if they have a website & online store?? ) ORANGE DAZE!

The sun beckoned so onwards into the abiss!!! Highway Traffic, toll roads and more traffic!! 😦

Over the border to Queensland!! Our home state!

Motorcycles, Koalas & Vineyards

Dodging wet weather seems to be our main pastime these days. On the sunny days we attempt to do some sight seeing around the Hinterland of Port Macquarie & township.

Port Macquarie breakwall art

On a drive up to North Brother Mountain, Dooragan National Park near Laurieton we were lucky enough to encounter paragliders (hope I have the term correct?) What a view! Glad it wasn’t me jumping off this mountain! In Burrawan State Forest, a 200 year old Bottlebutt (the largest Red Bloodwood tree in the southern hemisphere) was the reason to stretch our legs and have a short bushwalk.

And another slow, rocky drive up to Bago Bluff NP gave us a spectacular view of Wauchope and surrounds. Best bit was visiting Bago Maze & Winery, Milligans Road (off Bago Road), Wauchope. A tasting, a cheese platter and view over the maze made for a lovely afternoon.

A different attraction to the norm was The Koala Hospital, Cnr Roto Place & Lord Street, Port Macquarie. Open 8am-4:30pm everyday, feedings and free tour 3pm. It was very informative and the work the volunteers do is quite amazing. Roto House is next door, an example of a beautifully preserved late Victorian building, free entry or donation. Again Volunteers help give visitors an insight into the family that owned the property.

Volunteer run as well, Douglas Vale Vineyard, 235 Oxley Highway, Port Macquarie is a not for profit organisation open Wed, Sat & Sun 10am-3pm. It is classified as Heritage listed (Est. 1859) and the volunteers are preserving this property as a working museum & vineyard. There is a cellar door with wonderful wines and a volunteer will give you a tour of the homestead and the properties history.

Douglas Vale Vineyard

South of Port Macquarie we did a drive to a lovely little town off the main highway called Nabiac. Cafes, bakery, antiques & collectables.  It is also the home of the National Motorcycle Museum,  open 9-4 everyday.  They have over 800 motorcycles on display along with classic cars, vintage toys, signs etc. Worth an hour or two browse even if bikes aren’t you’re thing.

Cowarra Dam, Kings Creek (near Wauchope) was a surprising find. It has a lovely picnic area with BBQ’s free, toilets & seating area. There are unique aboriginal artworks surrounding the picnic area. The 10,000 million litre off creek storage dam is located 5 kilometres south east of Wauchope in the Cowarra State Forest. The Dam supplies water to Wauchope, Camden Haven & Port Macquarie areas.

Dinky Di Dogs Eyes to Pie n Peas Newcastle Style!

Word of mouth can be a good thing, especially when it comes to food. Heard about a good pie shop in Dunedoo, NSW called Dinky Di Dogs Eyes (the name in itself was worth the visit!) Well, they were pretty good on a cold winters day. Then B had to make it even better by getting dessert at another pie shop nearby. So that was our pig-out for the month!!

Checked out another Painted Silo in Merriwa, which was very well done, only hard to find a road to it for a good photo. No signs or info. Maybe the town will amend that in the future. This was about the last small town before we found ourselves in our worst nightmare: big cities!! 🙂 We stopped at Maitland (Showgrounds) for a night and did the ‘walk up da street’ as you do. Old buildings, a huge levee alongside the town, a mall that would be better if no cars were allowed and a road system that was horrendous! We parked the truck in the main street (which in itself was a miracle) and walked one end, then attempted to park further south and walk the other. Except I got bamboozled with the one way streets and we ended up almost back where we had parked before!!!

Then on to Newcastle area. This is the closest we’ve ever gotten to Sydney (and that’s close enough). Spent a week visiting family and checking out the area. Weather wasn’t the best on the day we headed to Newcastle, but the Pie n Peas we found at Harry’s Cafe de Wheels near the foreshore helped, even though we had to eat them in the car due to rain.

Lotsa walking again in Newcastle. Didn’t make it to the city centre (shame that!) but a visit to Fort Scratchley gave us a birds-eye view of the Harbour and surrounds. Can recommend Murrays Brewing Co3443 Nelson Bay Road, Bobs Farm for good food and brews.

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