Wood carvings, Lake Entrance
WWI commemoration
Month end Odo reading: 24,168
April 2010
Km's for the Month: 2,866
Odo reading at month start : 21,302
1 April     Distance:  126
Melbourne to Blairgowrie, on the Mornington Peninsular, via St Kilda, Frankston, Rosebud, down to Sorrento and Portsea and back to Blairgowrie. Staying at Blairgowrie Caravan Park. Disgusting and obnoxious owner/manager.
 
I am not sure driving on Easter weekend was my best idea or planning (or lack thereof), most parks are fully booked and those that aren't will only take a 4-day minimum booking. Oh well, we will see what happens and where we go.
 
Tonight, unfortunately we are staying at Blairgowrie Caravan Park. The guy who runs or owns it is a prick of the highest order. First of all, he wasn't in the office when we arrived just after 2pm, but was kind enough to telephonically direct us to our site. When he did arrive to collect our payment, he proceeded to stick a sticker, advertising his caravan park on the back of our motorhome. Again, those who know me will realise this is just not on. He then told me if I did not allow him to put it on, we must get out, saying, "it's the sticker or get out". I then stuck it on just with the 2 edges stuck so it could be easily removed in the morning when we leave, he than told me to get out of his camp. I unfortunately had to relent as we have no where else to go tonight, we tried about 5 camps before this one and they were all full. So now I have his disgusting little sticker stuck, and pressed flat and hard onto our back window by his money-grabbing little hands. If he wasn't handicapped and I didn't prefer living in a very comfortable RV with a lover of my choice, as opposed to a 12x12ft room with unknown lovers in my shower, I would have punched his lights out  -  what a prick, no, I have just changed my mind, a prick is useful, and he's just a waste of skin!!!  Got that off my chest now, so back to  out travels.
 
We were going to drive to Geelong and Queenscliff to catch the ferry across Port Phillip Bay to Sorrento, but I am glad we didn't. The trip down the Mornington Peninsular is a really interesting and scenic. Most of the towns along the route are neat, and range from slightly average to really upmarket with stunning beachfront houses. One really nice thing is there are no high rise buildings or sky-scraping holiday apartments, so the towns have retained  their unique character.
 
Mornington and Sorrento really stand out as the most scenic although St Kilda's beachfront houses are quite palatial.
 
Boating is obviously extremely popular, we saw thousands of yachts and power boats in the many large marinas.
3 April     Distance:   135

Rest area #100 to San Remo, via Lang Lang, then to Cowes on Phillip Island and back to San Remo. Staying at San Remo Holiday Park   (Family Parks)
 
It was an interesting & scenic drive to Phillip Island (PI) - to get onto the island one has to cross a fairly long bridge, there are also passenger ferries that come across from Crib Point on the east coast of Mornington Peninsular.
 
The main town on PI is Cowes, which is premier holiday resort, being Easter weekend and school holidays it was so busy, it was like driving in peak-hour traffic. It's a great little town, pretty upmarket with some interesting shops and restaurants. It also has a really nice beach with safe swimming - safe, not warm!
 
We drove to Nobbies Point to see the seal colony but it's not a RV friendly attraction at all (the visitor centre) - not a single parking for either a RV or caravan, it's the first place in OZ where we have not managed to find a parking, so we did not get to see the seals.
 
We also drove passed and saw the racetrack where the hold the Moto GP motorbike races each year, it looks a superb track, set in a stunning location.
 
On our way back to our camp at San Remo, we sat in a 1.4km traffic jam for nearly an hour, there was an accident on the bridge - San Remo is just on the mainland side of the bridge. It's a super small resort town, with a super buzz but not (over) busy like Cowes.!
 
Lakes Entrance & the waterways
2 April Good Friday     Distance:  117
Blairgowrie to Koo-wee-rup, Yallock Creek rest area #100, via Flinders, Hastings and Koo-wee-rup. Staying at Tallock Creek rest area.
 
I decided to write the word "SUCKS" on the Blairgowrie Caravan Park sticker and drive through the town with it on, and through the next few towns, eventually removing it at Hastings, I hope someone saw and read it!
 
Hastings is a boating town with  few marinas, one very large one with an even spread of sailboats and power boats, with quite a number of very large ones, we are not surprised at the number of boats with the super boating conditions and the hundreds of miles of coastline.
5 - 7 April      Distance:   213

Port Albert to Newlands Arm, via Yarram, Woodside Beach Sale and Paynesville. Staying in Frank and Judy's driveway at Newlands Arm.
 
Awoke to a fantastic sunrise in Port Albert. Our first stop along the way was at Woodside Beach, the start of 90-mile beach. Our next stop, Sale is a largish town and old port, where once paddle-steamers steamed into. Today, the old port near Canal Road is a marina with a selection of interesting old and new power boats.
 
Before going to Frank & Judy's place we went to Paynesville, we were gobsmacked. It reminded us of the ICW waterway in the US, with so much water and thousands of boats. The place was really buzzing with people on their boats & complete with a ferry crossing over to Raymond Island on the opposite side to the town.  After walking around for quite a while we went to meet up with F&C.
 
In the evening we did an off-road drive around portion of the lakes in Frank's Lancruiser, it's boating heaven here, the number of protected sandy-beached bays is amazing, there are just so many places to sail to and anchor  for the night or longer. Other than on the ICW we have never seen so many marinas, so many waterside restaurants or experienced this sort of nautical heaven. I guess the only negative is during winter it may be too cold for many, especially me.
 
6th - This time it was Judy's turn to act as our tour guide as Frank drove his mother back to Melbourne. Judy took us to the actual heads into the sea at Lakes Entrance town. On the way we again passed so many marinas; virtually every river & every inlet had at least one marina, jetty or swing moorings with boats. They certainly live in a beautiful part of Australia.
 
We also caught the ferry from Paynesville to Raymond Island, where we drove around looking for Koalas - we saw about 8 of them sleeping in gum trees.
 
From a viewpoint near Lakes Entrance we were afforded a stunning view of this massive waterway, its many beautiful bays and only then were we able to appreciate just how big this approximately 140km long stretch of inland waterway is.
 
7th - Had a fantastic day sailing on the East Gippsland Lakes, it really is great as there are so many places to sail to. We ran the yacht ashore on a nice sandy beach and had lunch.  Dropped the girls (Yvonne & Judy) off at Paynesville, then Frank & I took the boat back to its moorings. He has spoken us into staying another day, to go sailing tomorrow again. It didn't take much persuasion!
 
8th - Went sailing again - in 25-28 knots of wind. We sailed around Raymond Island, then to Paynesville where we dropped the girls off, then we returned the boat back to its moorings.  A hard days work!!! Frank's a hard task master skipper - only joking - we all had an absolute ball and I can't express our thanks for the super 4 days we spent with Frank & Judy. It's rejuvenated us totally!
9 April     Distance:   207

Newlands Arm to #12 rest area (Bemm River), near Cann River, via Bairnsdale, Lake Tyers, Orbost and Marlo. We visited Curlip, a restored stream-driven paddle-steamer in Marlo. Unfortunately it only operates on Saturdays after Easter weekend.
10 April     Distance:   224

Bemm River rest area to Numerella Rest area (#620), 20km north of Cooma, via Cann River and Bombala.
 
Nothing much to see along the way, the Snowy River Education centre was closed. The drive was scenic, a large part of the road was through a rain forest. Beautiful sunset, 3 caravans and a small campervan spent the night at the same rest area.
 
 
11 - 12 April      Distance:   134

Numerella rest area to Canberra. Staying at Capital Country Holiday Park   (Family Parks)
 
Drove from NSW into ACT today, and then after visiting a few sights in Canberra (pop. +- 330,000), we left ACT and re-entered NSW to get to our camp. It's the first time we have driven into and out of a state in the same day. Canberra is a very neat city, with a very un-Australian system of roads, there are many large roundabouts, and most straight roads are joined by a circular road system, reminded me a bit of Paris' roads.
 
We visited the Australia War Memorial & war museum, it's listed as a must see when visiting Canberra and it surely is. It has a large collection of aircraft, WWI, WWI and ones used in the Asian & Middle East wars and peacekeeping campaigns. The WWI hall is full of extremely interesting memorabilia, as is the WWII hall.  It was very well worth the visit. Luckily we  arrived there at about 9:30 so we were able to park in the large parking area - when we left the parking was absolutely full. Canberra is not particularly RV friendly, in the city centre one has as much chance of finding parking for a RV as a submarine.
16 - 18 April     Distance:   83
Bulli to Sydney. Staying at Lane Cove River Tourist Park (part of Lane Cove National park). TIP - if you are planning a trip to this park, don't use the pre-loaded location in either a Tom-Tom or Nuvi GPS, use the geographic co-ordinates instead, otherwise the GPS will put you on the incorrect road and you won't get onto Plassey street.
 
The trip along the coast through Thirroul, Coal Cliff and Stanwell Park was very scenic. The Sea Cliff bridge is really very scenic and is no doubt an engineering masterpiece. - it's built over the sea in places.
 
Our two GPS's did not take us across the Sydney Harbour bridge, which was a good thing - but, the traffic was still seriously hectic. Of course, Murphy's Law came into play 3kms before the camp, the intersection we were meant to turn right at was closed due to road works - isn't that just typical! Anyway, after a short detour we found the camp. It is situated in the Lane Cove National Park, only 8kms from downtown Sydney. Fortuitously there is a train station about 500 metres from the camp.
 
17th  -  we caught the train into Sydney today, we had forgotten just what a great place it is, there's so much to see and do and on top of that, it's a boaties paradise.
 
The Maritime museum at Darling Harbour is worth visiting, it's full or interesting displays. We also visited Chinatown for the first time and Paddy's Market in there. 
 
In short, we had a great day and it's rekindled our fond memories of Sydney. It was worth the angst driving through Sydney traffic to spend a few days here!
19 April     Distance:   135
Sydney to Swansea (Pelican Point), via Gosford and The Entrance. Staying in the picnic area near the marina at Pelican Point rest area. Great spot!
 
Very busy traffic leaving Sydney and most of the way to Gosford.  We stopped at The Entrance, a really neat town on the entrance of Tuggerah Lake into the sea. We then headed for Swansea and found a great parking just over the bridge on the north side of Swansea. Another motorhome is parked here for the night as well.  Great sunset and we watched some fishermen feeding titbits of their fish catch to the many pelicans.
21 -22 April      Distance:   123
Rest area #77 to Port Macquarie, via North Haven & Lake Cathie Staying at Sundowner Breakwall Tourist Park (Big4). Disappointing amenities block, very old and tatty but not dirty - not up to Big 4's usual standards. It appears it may have once been a municipal/council RV park. We are parked along the river, a short walk into town.
 
On the way to Port Macquarie (PM) we stopped at North Haven for morning tea. We parked alongside the estuary and saw a few dolphins and more pelicans.  A guy I struck up a conversation with, suggested we drive back about 10kms to the North Brother Mountain top lookout. At the turnoff to it, we saw a sign "no caravans" which we ignored.  A very steep 3km road led us to the top of North Brother mountain, from where we had a stunning view north to PM and south to Forster, it was very well worth the trip.
 
From there we drove along the coastal road to PM, after stopping again, this time for lunch at the heads near North Haven. We also stopped to view a historic lighthouse - Tacking Point Lighthouse.  The views from here were also breathtaking. It's a very scenic coast, this mid-south coast of NSW.
 
Temperatures have risen steadily since leaving Victoria, today it's a toasty 27 degrees.
Koala on Raymond Island
Blairgowrie Caravan Park
Sorrento to Queenscliff ferry
Sunrise at Port Albert
Yvonne at War Museum
View down ANZAC Parade
Sorrento Beach
Rest area #100 near Koo Wee Rup
Port Albert esplanade, we parked 200 metres right of photo
Cowes main road
Dead possum, Sorrento
On the beach, Frank's catamaran
Ulladulla, we are parked on the jetty on the right, across the bay
Sea Cliff Bridge, on the way to Sydney. It's been used in many car commercials, including the Shell/Ferrari advert
25 - 26 April      Distance:   200
Coffs Harbour to Casino, via Woolgoolga and Grafton. Staying at Casino Park (CMCA). Although we stayed on an en-suite site the shower was not clean at all - disappointing considering it's marketed as  CMCA's showpiece camp. In addition the CMCA discount does not apply to the en-suite sites???
 
We received a call yesterday from our friends, Peter & Marion Brennan to say they were in Casino for a few days - so we decided to head for Casino to catch  up with them.
 
Today is ANZAC day, so a few petrol stations we went to this morning were closed as were all supermarkets - until 1pm.  As a result we did not stop anywhere along the way other than for morning tea at Woolgoolga and then at a rest area near Casino for lunch.
 
When we arrived at the South Casino rest area for lunch we were intrigued to see a caravan parked in the rest area, with their washing strung up on lines all around them - see photo on right! It's only the 2nd time we have seen this in OZ.
 
It's hot again today, just over 30oC - it looks as if we will have a heavy rainstorm later. (update, we did get quite a downpour!)
27 April      Distance:   124
Casino to Brunswick Heads, via Lismore, Ballina, Lennox Heads and Byron Bay. Staying at Terrace Reserve Holiday Park (Top Tourist)
 
It's almost a year to the day we drove south through the same towns as today, when we left the Gold Coast last year to start our trip. There's many miles and many experiences between coming through here last year and today.
 
Had a great time in Casino with Peter & Marion, caught up on their plans and got to see his 4B4 off-road motorhome completed. It's also built by Paradise Motorhomes - and is extremely luxurious inside.
28 April      Distance:   69
Brunswick Heads to Tallebudgera Creek (Gold coast), via Hastings Point, Kingscliff, Tweed Heads and Coolangatta. Staying at Tallebudgera Creek Holiday Park (Family Parks)
 
We are now back in Queensland, almost to the day we left here last year. We left Southport last April 29th. Many kilometres later we are back where we started.
 
We again stopped at Hastings Point and took a photo of our RV in almost exactly the same parking place as I did last year. 
4 April      Distance:   157

San Remo to Port Albert, via Wonthaggi, Inverloch and Foster. Staying at Port Albert - on beachfront, 24-hr parking for self-contained vehicles only.
 
At Fish Creek we decided not to go to Wilsons Promontory, we have found this coastline to be not very RV Friendly, in fact, in many ways it particularly RV-unfriendly. We thought a 52kms drive there and back may result in us getting there and not being able to park, besides, we have seen so many nice beaches in Tassie and on the Mornington Peninsular it may be just more of the same.
 
Port Albert is a small historic fishing town, so far it is the first town we have seen since Tassie with RV overnight parking.
Bridge to Phillip Island
Sunset at Numerella rest area
13 April      Distance:   134

Canberra to Batemans Bay, via Braidwood. Staying at Batemans Bay Beach Resort (Big4). Best camp this year, by a country mile!
 
Canberra was very cold last night, down to around 4oC in the early hours of this morning.
 
The first and only town of any size was Braidwood, very obviously a horse town, with many leather and saddlery shops, one shop we went into had a fascinating selection of shotguns, rifles and weapons accessories.  The road to Batemans Bay winds down a very steep Clive Mountain, at times the speed limit was 25kph and sometimes one could only drive at 15kph and under around the many switchbacks. It's one of the steepest declines we have ever travelled on.
 
Batemans Bay (pop. 11,000) is situated on a large estuary and is a beach holiday resort town, with the usual cafes and restaurants lining the waterfront. We stayed in a very good camp 3kms from the town centre and enjoyed a good walk into town & back - on a cloudless  blue sky,  warm day, a change from the freezing conditions in Canberra!
Lift bridge over Clive river, Batemans Bay
Batemans Bay Beach resort
14 April      Distance:   65

Batemans Bay to Ulladulla. Staying in the parking area near the fishing boat harbour, a stones throw from the town.
 
A short day today, walked into Batemans Bay again before leaving town. We stopped at Ulladulla and we liked the harbour area so much we decided to stay the night. 

We spoke to an old guy in his motorhome and he "sort of" lives in his motorhome near the marina, so hopefully we won't be moved on by the rangers. There is a 45' motorhome (converted bus) parked behind us and he's been here 8 days.

15 April      Distance:   178

Ulladulla to Bulli, via Huskisson on Jervis Bay, Nowra, Kiama and Wollongong. Staying at Bulli Beach Tourist Park
 
Another good free camp last night at Ulladulla. Our first stop, Huskisson on Jervis Bay, is yet another scenic beach resort. We also stopped in Nowra to visit a customer from our previous business, had a cuppa and caught up on all the latest steel-framing news. We then did a large shop at Woolworths in Nowra, after battling to find a parking big enough for us, eventually I parked in 5 diagonal parking bays, much to some people's annoyance. Kiama is a neat resort town as well but Wollongong is very much a industrial city.  Bluescope steel has a major presence there, with its Zincalume and Colourbond production plant.
 
At the camp at Bulli a parrot first flew onto my head and then onto my hand, looking for food!
My feathered friend at Bulli
The fun side of Sydney
Pelicans at Pelican Point
20 April     Distance:   221
Pelican Point to Rest area # 77, just south of Taree, via Newcastle, Raymond Terrace and Forster. The parking area we have chosen is not the actual rest area, but we drove through it, then turned sharp left up a very steep hill. There's only room for 2 RV's up here. It appears we will be alone tonight. I washed our RV in the rest area!!
 
 
We drove through Newcastle but it's not RV friendly at all, we could not find a parking area, even near Nobby's Point, so we just drove around and then left. We then stopped at Raymond Terrace, where both Yvonne & I had haircuts, after that we bought a few bottles of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
 
Forster is a neat resort town with a  few multi-storey apartment blocks along the beachfront. It is situated on Wallis Lake, plenty boats, houseboats and plenty fishermen. We walked around town then afternoon had tea while parked on the beachfront.
Rest area, top of hill overlooking Taree
View of North Haven,
Rest area, top of hill overlooking Taree
23 - 24 April      Distance:   180
Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour, via Kempsey, Nambucca Heads, Valla Beach and Sawtell Staying at Park Beach Holiday Park (Top Tourist)
 
We saw our first RV-Unfriendly signs today - I think it's the first time we have seen them this blatantly. Almost all the beach parking from Macksville north had these signs anywhere where one could park near a beach.
 
The sign on the right was at Valla Beach where we stopped for lunch.
 
Not a very eventful day except when we were a mere few hundred metres from the RV park. We turned off the main road into a blind-corner, only to be met by a 3.3m high bridge, we are 3.4m high! So Yvonne had to get out, stop and re-direct the traffic behind us so I could back-up in order to find another route to the park.
 
The park entrance was also 3.3m high, but thankfully they have another entrance - to top it off, the site they put us on, the trees were too low for us to fit!!!!  All in one day.
 
Coffs Harbour is quite a pleasant place, but as the town in split into 3 distinct districts quite far apart it's not easy to walk around and see all areas. We walked to the marina area and Muttonbird Island. We had fish & chips for lunch, my flake was excellent as was Yvonne's Cajun spiced grilled Hoki.
RV unfriendly sign
Lace Monitor Lizard, Macksville Beach
The offending bridge
On the way out of Coffs Harbour
Washing day at South Casino rest area (not us!)
The weird blue-backed crabs we saw at Brunswick Heads - 1000's of them
Almost to the day, April 2009 on the left & April 28 2010, on right. Taken at Hastings Point.
29 April to 4 May      Distance:   32
Tallebudgera Creek  to South Port, Gold Coast. Staying at Broawater Tourist Park (Top Tourist). We stayed here last year on 2 occasions.
 
We checked in our RV in at Grand Mercedes to have the instrument cluster replaced. Every now and then our dial speedometer over-read by between 10 to 46kph. It's weird as the digital speedo is (always) perfect, as was the odometer, I have checked it against both GPS'.
 
The job took just on an hour and so far, all of 10kms, it seems fine - so here's hoping!