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  • Day77

    Nelson Bay, NSW

    August 5, 2015 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    BUNDABERG to NELSON BAY 24/7/15 - 5/8/15

    FW. We got to Childers the day before their annual Childers Show and noticed the number of people in town. The local Peanut Van operator told us the population in Childers swells from 3000 to 40000 for that weekend so we bought a supply of peanut products and moved on.

    In Maroochydore we stayed inside a friend’s empty Factory and boy do those metal roof buildings make strange noises all night long.

    After Maroochydore we set off for Toowoomba and decided to tackle the climb with the caravan. We made it ok all but in 2nd and 3rd for most of the climb.

    Once we crossed the border into NSW we noticed the massive amount of new motorway that was under construction, roughly 400kms from nth of Byron Bay to Nelson Bay. They could afford to spend some money on the existing road surface though because it is pretty bad.

    The weather is getting colder and the wind seems to be following us down the coast.

    HW. After free-camping near a wetland area beside the Bruce Highway just north of Gympie, we drove on to Maroochydore where we enjoyed the luxury of parking the van inside an almost empty factory where we also had the use of a kitchenette and bathroom. Our friends Ross & Jenny were house-sitting an apartment situated on the river so we enjoyed a leisurely afternoon on their deck right next to the water. We also visited Australia Zoo during our time in Maroochydore and spent an enjoyable day there. (Finally we saw some crocodiles, even though they were in captivity!!) Couldn’t believe the number of people there on a weekday in the middle of winter.

    We headed inland to Toowoomba and found the weather decidedly colder at night. The climb up the hill to Toowoomba certainly made the Pajero work hard. While there we drove out to a local lookout where we had magnificent views of the countryside for many kilometres. We also went to see some of the gardens for which Toowoomba is famous although we were about a month too early for the spring floral displays. The Japanese gardens were really lovely. We visited the Cobb & Co museum which was very interesting with lots of exhibits and information on the history of Cobb & Co. The museum also had a workshop where a wheelwright was making wooden wagon wheels. In another section was a photographic display where we were lucky to meet an elderly photographer (Graham Burstow) who has won many awards in Australia and overseas for his work. He gave us information about lots of his photos and camera equipment on display.

    Next we headed South down the Pacific Highway, crossing the border into NSW and after a quick visit to see my cousin who lives on the edge of the mountain range above Byron Bay and has million dollar views up and down the coast, we continued on to Yamba which is on the coast midway between Ballina and Grafton. It is a lovely spot and we were met by a couple of friends who are spending a couple of months there in their van for the winter. The caravan park was magnificent and for only an extra $4 per night we treated ourselves to an ensuite site. Ron and Rhonda drove us round the area and showed us lots of places of interest during our couple of days with them. We visited the little town of Maclean which has a strong Scottish history and all the lamp-posts are painted in different tartans. The Maclean lookout provided great views – the rivers in northern NSW are enormous and winding. We continued down to Urunga, just south of Coffs Harbour where we stayed for a night at the caravan park. My mother lived in Urunga for more than 30 years so it was good to go back for a visit. We made our way south and had a look at South West Rocks which is a very pretty spot on the coast, then on to Forster where we stayed for a night at a caravan park right beside the lake. We had great views from our windows but strangely the place was nearly empty. The nights are getting colder!!!

    Continuing south we drove alongside lakes and waterways all down this section of the NSW coast which is really beautiful. Our next stop was Nelson Bay where we met good friends Jean and Fred who had driven up from Wollongong for a few days R & R. We spent a couple of days taking in the scenery, walking up an enormous hill to a lookout over Shoal Bay and enjoying a couple of meals at the local clubs.
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