Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Childers to Bundaberg

We had a very rainy day yesterday (Tuesday) and stopped in Childers for a cup of coffee. Childers is a lovely town with many attractions, some right under you feet with the paths being decorated with mosaics depicting the long history of the town. The best scones ever tasted by us were served at the café beside the post office and great coffee too.
We walked down the street in the drizzling rain and Ian spotted a shop called “Patchwork Avenue” which is located in North Street. We went in to investigate and were both blown away by this beautiful shop which started out life in the 1880’s as a butcher shop. We were warmly greeted by Julie who took us on a tour of her newly opened shop which has also had a life as a pet shop prior to its present immaculately restored state. The tiles extend up to the ceiling throughout the shop and we saw the huge doors through which the meat was unloaded into the back of the shop and hung on the rails. The decorative panel tiles are beautiful and in great condition. It was wonderful to see history being restored and loved. Julie’s shop has a fabulous range of fabrics and I was able to purchase some lovely flannels which I have not seen anywhere, nor such a great variety. I could have certainly have done a lot more damage and probably will again. Julie certainly made both of us feel very welcome.
Then on to Bundaberg where we settled in to the park at Bargara Beach and were able to catch up with a former workmate of Ian’s which was lovely.
We’ve done the obligatory trip to Bundaberg Distillery, Bundaberg Brewing Company and the fish co-op so that means tomorrow its Yeppoon for us for a stay with our friends David and Elaine.

Monday, 24 May 2010

To Hervey Bay

The hospital fete and market was great, with the Murgon City Band playing as we arrived. The fete was opened with formal speeches from the Mayor, the Director of Nursing , the local member of Parliament and other important local identities. The joy of visiting these towns and joining in for their special events is that everyone is so friendly and takes pride is making you feel welcome. We bought some beautiful passionfruit and a freshly picked pineapple which have been delicious.
On leaving Murgon we motored on towards Hervey Bay and decided to stop at Petrie Park at Tiaro for lunch. The park is off the highway down a steep incline and right beside a boat ramp to the beautiful Mary River. We were able to park right beside the river and decided to stay for the night. There were two other vans already set up and one of the men told us about the butcher in Tiaro which we had travelled through who smoked all his own meats and were delicious. OK so we’ll have to stay until Monday morning! If it sounds like we’re really touring according to food, it’s a possibility, however it’s important to sample the local cuisine and contribute to the local economy. I’ve been to a number of patchwork shops and haven’t helped them at all—still no purchases and yes I am still breathing with a good regular pulse!
Today we have settled in at Hervey Bay in a park as we have run out of water and really felt after 5 days free camping we needed to recharge. We’re right beside the ocean and have just listened to the thousands of parrots settling in for the night. If you’ve seen Alfred Hitchcock’s “birds” or stayed at South West Rocks you’ll know what I mean. It was amazing and we couldn’t talk for a good ten minutes as they squabbled and fought over the best positions for the night. Ian took this beautiful sunset from the beach with his new camera.
Tomorrow off to Bundaberg and you may remember the happy adventure I had at the Bundaberg Rum Factory ---- well by popular demand ---- several friends have placed orders --- we are forced to return. However I will have breakfast first this time and not sample quite as liberally.

Friday, 21 May 2010


After we left Pete and Dawn at Forster we motored on along the coast to Coffs Harbour where we called in at the Caravan Service Centre and arranged for our gas to be checked out as we had been suffering with poor gas pressure since leaving home. You could give the kettle 20 minutes to boil and be very grateful for the effort it took. We had to stay over as they were unable to look at it until the Wednesday morning.
However it was well worth the effort as we had to replace the regulator and one of the ‘pig tails’ which transfers the gas from the bottles into the van. Hooray now I can cook and make coffee again!
After leaving Coffs we again took to the highway travelling as far as a roadside stop which we happened upon by accident at Yelgun which was great and settled in for the night with many other travellers and trucks.
Thursday morning we travelled inland as the highway was not particularly interesting and ended up going through Gympie, Goomeri where the pumpkin festival takes place next weekend and also a lovely patchwork shop, and on to Murgon. We finished the day in Kingaroy (Jo and Flo country) and camped at Soren Hansen Bridge for the night.
Friday we left the campsite and drove back into Kingaroy to explore the peanuts and were able to see some being harvested at the Visitor Information Centre and hear about the process. Even picked up a peanut plant for Jess and Tom if we can get it home in one piece. There is also a great Museum there which we enjoyed. We were recommended to visit the Peanut Van just on the edge of town and sampled some delicious varieties including Chilli and Lime and cinnamon. Ian had to have some of the cinnamon chocolate ones. Back to Soren Hansen Bridge for the night again and then Saturday we are travelling back a bit to Murgon for the Hospital fete and market before journeying on towards Hervey Bay.
Just to make you all feel better in cold Victoria – its not warm here either, jeans and for me a long sleeved top, however its not so cold at night so that’s good.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Pete and Dawn and Forster

We arrived in Forster on Friday and set up at the caravan park with our site only a short walk to the beach. The weather is warm enough to break out the shorts and T shirts at least for the mornings and early afternoons. On Saturday morning we went to the Visitor Information Centre where the local weekly market was on and bought some tasty steak to have with Pete and Dawn and to put in the freezer. There were also some really yummy cup cakes which we decided we needed for Afternoon Tea. I also happened upon a Quilt and Craft Exhibition which was lovely --- lucky me!
Pete and Dawn arrived during Saturday afternoon and set up their very snappy tent with all the mod cons you could need and looked very cosy when they had finished. We went for a walk and watched the fishermen on the rocks although the birds were diving in and apparently having much more success than the fishermen. So far we are yet to see any fish in the buckets leaving the point but the birds are all looking pretty healthy! We were able to enjoy the burgundy beef that Pete & Dawn provided for dinner as we sat under the caravan annexe. Very civilised!
We enjoyed bike riding and walking with Pete and Dawn during their stay and it was lovely to have their company for a few days and sad to see them head south as we resumed our travels north. Ian compensated himself with a visit to Fredos for a pie. This is the best pie shop Ian knows of, and it’s absolutely amazing how we always end up at Fredos for lunch. Do you think he looks pleased with himself!
We’ve been able to Skype with Ray and Chris which is great so if anyone has Skype, please send your details and we can perhaps catch up on line. Alternatively we are ian.sue.martin on Skype, but you will be lucky to catch us as we are not on very often.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Every day a weekend .....

Well we’re finally on our way. It seemed that we were never going to get away but on Monday after an early lunch we were on the road. At the end of Kialla Lakes Drive Ian said “I suppose we should decide where we’re going tonight”. Geez we are hopeless! We do however have a sort of a plan for the first week this time. Pete and Dawn are meeting us at Forster on Saturday so we need to be there preferably organised for their arrival! So on the first night we travelled a path well known to us from our trips to UNE in Armidale only a little slower than those days when we wanted to be beyond Dubbo on the first night. This time we only went as far as Narrandera to a roadside stop called Gillenbah South Rest Area. Nothing flash but a good place for the night. We did wonder if we had during the night returned to the coast of Victoria when we awoke to this truck parked beside us! The Apostles looked very real.
Tuesday we travelled the Newell Highway to just outside Dubbo to a beautiful reserve called Terramungamine Reserve arriving at about 4.30 which is fairly late for us. When we arrived it was just about standing room only with about 10 other vans, fifth wheelers, motorhomes and a huge brand spanking new bus already in place. Dubbo City Council have allocated this reserve for 2-3 day camping and have set it up really well with toilets, several picnic areas and plenty of fireplaces. So we decided to stay two nights as the first two days had been pretty solid driving.
The reserve has great significance to the local aborigines as a grinding groove site. This is where the aborigines would come to make their tools such as spears and axes and return to sharpen the same tools. The marks are quite evident in the hard rocks along the river and each groove represented one session to make the implement requiring an estimated 8 – 10 hours.
I’ve been to a few patchwork shops already and …….. not bought a thing! Temperature and pulse check, am still breathing, just very well behaved!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

On the road again ..... nearly

It seems hard to believe that we went through 2009 without a blog! But what a year it was for us despite the stay at home. Pete and Dawn started the year for us with their wedding on the 11th April in the Hunter Valley. We all had a wonderful time, meeting some of Dawn’s family from England and enjoyed some time with them before everyone returned home. Shortly after the wedding Peter changed careers and is now a full time permanent fire fighter stationed at Parramatta so we were very proud to attend his graduation.

Kate and Warwick became engaged not long before Pete and Dawn were married and decided to marry also in 2009. Oh well, why not! We had another wonderful celebration with them and Warwick’s family on the 14th November at Warburton. So now we have the best son in-law as well as the best daughter in-law.
So we thought we could perhaps have 2010 to ourselves and boast about our children to anyone who would listen. Ian decided to retire and enjoy the good life, hitch up the caravan and be home for Christmas. What a fabulous plan! Here are some photos from his last week at work after 38 years in local government. His retirement was celebrated a number of times and it was a very enjoyable week. It was wonderful to be able to share the party with Pete and Dawn who came down to stay for a week with us. Thanks also to Belinda, Scott, Jess and Tom for the decorations in Ian’s office for his last day!
Well back to our plans for this year. Christmas I said, October, Kate and Warwick suggested would be better because we’re to be grandparents around then! Very exciting and we’re very happy to return early to enjoy this next exciting time of our lives. It’s never dull at the very least!
So we figure we’d best be going before anything else happens, hence our departure next week for somewhere warm from which we’ll blog with photos from our new camera, Ian’s parting gift from the council which will be put to very good use. So as usual I don’t have any idea where we’ll be but it will be great fun and we’d love to hear from you as we travel with all the news from home.