Finally it’s time to pack up the caravan …
It’s just 5 months almost to the day since we departed 25 Horseshoe Bend, (we left on Tuesday 10 June) and headed south in our newly acquired Toyota Prado. With clear skies, sunshine and a bit of sadness, we travelled the Pacific Highway through SE Queensland, into NSW and Mullumbimby, Grafton and south to …. ??
… to where – well, we didn’t really know but did think that the Southern Highlands (just one hour south of Sydney) might be the place to look for a home – cheaper prices and close to Sydney – but hallelujah! When we got there mid June (aka Mid Winter = snow frost and fog!!), we realised it was not a good idea. In fact Tim did pass the comment that “ you’ll be freezing your butts off down there!!” and he was right – again!
In between our travels, we were very spoilt and took up Chris and Mo’s kind and generous offer for us to stay at Amble Lea Lodge in Barrington Tops. Phew – thank goodness for that and so that’s where we then headed and stayed for almost a couple of weeks – with the wallabies and frost and beautiful space.
Dave then decided he’d like to look around the Coffs Coast – 6 hours north of Sydney and an area we were very familiar with! We did this and quickly became quite down in the dumps. Far too expensive for us to buy a small acreage – and so rather despondently we set off back to A.L.L. and this is really where our fortunes changes. As we headed out of Coffs Harbour, my other half suggested we take a look at Jayco Caravans – and so we did. After just half an hour of wandering through their maze of motorhomes, caravans, pop tops and camper trailers, we discovered a pretty good caravan complete with ‘bathroom: loo, shower and wash basin, with plenty of room in the bedroom and kitchen area.
It met all our requirements – and price – and fitted very well with our Prado which was 4WD – and so it became ours.
The stuff you can manage to put into a caravan still continues to astonish me – but we managed it all and eventually left Coffs Harbour on Wed 16 July. We were like kids with new bikes – where shall we go … … and managed to agree (!) to go up to Cooloola Cove near Fraser Island and see Peter and Vicki. They made us so welcome and we settled into our new little home very well and enjoyed their company – really great to see them and they were very supportive of our ideas – even though we didn’t have any plans to go anywhere especially!
Leaving the Fraser Coast we managed to get up to Gladstone and connect with Hilary and Peter on their way to Cape York on their own odyssey – great to see them.
However, there was no real objective or plan to ‘get to anywhere else’
We did manage to reach Longreach and it was there that we agreed it would be best all round !! if I went to live in Fiji – and Dave had the car and the van – far too hard for us to get on and/or agree in such close quarters! Well that was a really just another moment in time !!!
The following morning, however, and AFTER BFREAKFAST (important to note that!!), we did agree that it would be good fun to perhaps get past Longreach and see Mt Isa.
It is well documented in my previous 30 blogs, that our adventures took us much much further than we had ever dreamed of.
Places where we stayed:
Coffs Harbour to Corindi, NSW
Corindi to Mullumbimby, NSW
Mullumbimby to Mudjimba, Qld
Mudjimba to Cooloola Cove Qld
Cooloola Cove to Sharon Nature Reserve, Bundaberg, Qld
SNR to Kin Kora, Gladstone, Qld
Gladstone to Duaringa Free Park, Qld
Duaringa Free Park to Sapphire, Qld
Sapphire to Longreach, Qld
Longreach to Kynuna, Qld
Kynuna to Mt Isa, Qld
Mt Isa to Barkly Homestead, Qld/NT
Barkly Homestead to Newcastle Waters, NT
Newcastle Waters to Daly Waters, NT
Daly Waters to Katherine, NT
Katherine to Batchelor, NT
Batchelor to Berrimah (Darwin) NT
Berrimah to Jabiru, NT
Jabiru to Katherine, NT
Katherine to Renner Springs, NT
Renner Springs to Barkly Homestead, NT
Barkly Homestead to Mt Isa, NT/Qld
Mt Isa to Richmond, Qld
Richmond to Charters Towers, QED
Charters Towers to Kurrimine Beach, Qld
Kurrimine Beach to Proserpine, Qld
Proserpine to Gladstone Valley Motel, Qld
Gladstone to Childers, Qld
Childers to Yandina, Qld
Yandina to Wardell, NSW
Wardell to Coffs Harbour, NSW
Coffs Harbour to Hawks Nest, NSW
Hawks Nest, NSW
Moonee Beach, NSW
Hawks Nest, NSW
And so you can see we went to the places we wanted to see and managed to see lots of staggeringly beautiful places, enjoy Aboriginal culture and even get involved with the idea of real Grey Nomading – it was truly the most fantastic trip we have managed to do so far in Australia.
It is amusing, but we really did decide each morning after breakfast where and what we would do that day …and it still works for us even today!
Most will already know that our new home awaits us and today we signed all the documents at the solicitors office.
Next Tuesday, 18 November, we will move into our new home and so life begins all over again.
It’s been such a fabulous five months and packing up the caravan is bringing back so many memories of things we have bought – and lost in the many cupboards we have on board – winter clothes we haven’t even thought of – tins of food at the back of the cupboard I had forgotten about – and it’s with great excitement that we are packing up – and next week, we’ll even be packing down – if that’s the right expression. Certainly Dave thinks we have about 149 boxes alone to unpack – then there’s everything else.
It’s been a blast in NFA – our home on wheels for so long :
> 11,500 kms in almost 10 weeks
> $4500 in fuel and nearly as much in caravan park fees - but we did manage a few 'freebies'
countless - and we mean countless! – bottles of wine, trips in the fabulous Outback – Aboriginal artwork, an understanding of this amazing country that we love to call home … and all the rest of the things we packed in -
and while the packing up continues today under cloudy and cool skies – we are already looking forward to our next big one in “No Fixed Abode”
For now I probably won’t be adding to my list of blogs – phew, thank goodness I hear you say ..
Fondest love to you all