Taking a round loop up inland through Tamworth, Bingara (Wayne's birthplace), Copeton Dam, Inverell, Tenterfield then across to the coast to Byron Bay, Iluka, South West Rocks (Trial Bay), Port Macquarie and home. Winter and below freezing at night.
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  • Day11

    Last Day

    July 14, 2020 in Australia ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

    Last day together. We packed up and went up to the cafe at the camping ground for breakfast. The weather had been remarkably warm the last week - really only the first few days were cold (freezing at night with frost on the ground)! The last morning was quiet windy and rainy and made the trip back a bit tricky as the van caught the gusts and got blown about.
    We stopped in to see Wayne's parents at Port Macquarie and shared our fish for dinner.
    The surf was big with clean long rides but the surfies were few.
    Been to Port Mac lots of times but always enjoy spotting the cute painted Koala sculptures that make a trail around the town.
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  • Day10

    Trial Bay - Beautiful Warm Winter Day

    July 13, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    We were blessed with an unusually warm beautiful sunny day and explored the rocks, rock pools and beach. Wayne couldn't resist getting in and doing some spearfishing and snorkeling. He got 2 bream. He saw 3 small turtles and 2 big ones, lots of tropical fish, spangled emperor, a wobbiegon shark and lots more in close to the rocks. He was impressed with the variety of species and clearness of the water and thought the ecosystem looked in good shape overall. Another diver told him there had been a white pointer shark cruising along yesterday but he didn't tell me that until he got out! Bit scarey as there had been a fatal shark attack just up the coast at Wooli just the day before.Read more

  • Day10

    Trial Bay Gaol

    July 13, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Trial Bay gaol sits at the end of the bay in the Arakoon National Park. It was initially built to hold criminal prisoners. It is made out of the local hard granite stone - which is quite sparkly in the sun. The stone was cut by masons and when the prison was finished the inmates were employed to cut and haul the stone to make a breakwall adjacent to the gaol to make a safe haven for ships traveling the coast.
    The breakwall was not very successful and kept breaking away from the continual pounding of the sea. The project stopped before completion and it remains only a relatively short length but it does provide a lovely sheltered spot for boating and swimming activities.
    The gaol was later used as a detention centre for men of German descent when WW2 broke out. The men had a fair amount of freedom and leisure activities, and although separated from family they had a reasonably nice existence while detained. They were allowed to visit the beach, fish, ran a bakery and staged plays in their theatre within the gaol grounds.
    It is well worth a visit to the museum attached and the film on view is very informative. Guided tours weren't in operation due to the pandemic.
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  • Day9

    Trial Bay - (South West Rocks)

    July 12, 2020 in Australia ⋅ 🌧 16 °C

    We had 2 nights at beautiful Trial Bay in the Arakoon National Park. It's a lovely natural place near South West Rocks. We had a beautiful warm, sunny day on Monday - Wayne went spearfishing and caught 2 bream. The water was beautiful and clear and he saw 5 turtles while he was swimming around. We explored the gaol ruins and were surprised with it's history (see separate post) and also the Smokey Cape Lighthouse which is the highest altitude lighthouse in Australia. It was a bit steep getting up there. Saw whales off the coast.Read more

  • Day8


    July 11, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Stopped overnight at Iluka to catch up with some friends who were camping there. It's a nice old style township on the river and seaside with great fishing. Spotted some dolphins in the river - they gave us a bit of fright actually!
    Our fellow traveller, Cheryl, had a special birthday while we here so we had a nice dinner out.
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  • Day7

    Byron Bay

    July 10, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

    We had 2 nights at Byron Bay - the most easterly point of the Australian mainland. It's a vibrant (ex-hippy) coastal town with beautiful beaches. The lighthouse is a great place to watch whales and view sunrises and sunsets. It's got great cafes, shops and galleries - even a bead shop! More surfers here than Newcastle - seems everyone surf's here!Read more

  • Day6


    July 9, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

    Just a quick stop here to admire the quaint shops and galleries in this beautiful little town lined with Bangalow palms. "Ninbella" was the nicest gallery with exceptional Aboriginal art and wood furniture. There are lots of artists shops and lovely jewellery! My type of town!Read more

  • Day6


    July 9, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    Another nice high altitude town in the New England. Lovely cafes and shops, including a big "Makers" spot for locals to showcase their art. Famous for being the area where the bushranger "Captain Thunderbolt" roamed and had his hideout. He was known as the "Gentleman Bushranger" for his good manners shown while he robbed you!
    It's got lots of rugged bushwalks and the trees and rocks are mossy with beautiful lichen. It was a bit rainy but we explored Thunderbolts haunt!
    Another claim to fame for this town is that Peter Allen was born here.
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  • Day5

    Glen Innes

    July 8, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 10 °C

    Lunch stop at Glen Innes. A nice town with a Celtic look up in the high Tablelands of the New England. Notably cooler here! There is a Celtic Festival each year and a "Stones" park like Stonehenge in England. My father lived in a lot of the towns in this area as my grandfather was in the Police force and they lived in the Police headquarters. He was in the Mounted Police and was very good with horses.Read more

  • Day5

    Inverell - Fossicking for Sapphires

    July 8, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 9 °C

    Tried our hand at fossicking which was a bit of an adventure! We all found a few stones. This was at a commercial set up called Blue Billabong Sapphire Mine just out of Inverell. It was hard work to sift and sieve but it was fun. Inverell and the surrounding area is well known for gemstones, especially sapphires. Nearby Tingha is where diamonds were first found in Australia and there was a diamond mine in operation until recently.Read more