Day 1 Well we are on our way. Before we left though I had a few jobs to complete, all the pot plants needed putting under the irrigation system so they would get watered each day. If you all knew how many pot plants Alice had you would know the task that lay ahead. It was pouring down rain and by the time I was finished I was soaked. I had a couple of letters to write and show Sam, our son, how to start the lawn mower. The bikes were fastened to the back of “Loosenuts”, the last minute things loaded – most of it was done yesterday – and we were off, nearly, the mobile phone was still hanging in the kitchen. Last job was to fill with fuel and check the tyres. Have any of you checked the tyres on a truck with dual rear wheels in the pouring rain?
We dropped in on our daughter and grand children to say goodbye and in the pouring rain headed for the Gateway Arterial & the Gold Coast. It rained all the way but quite a pleasant trip. We lunched at the Happy Valley rest stop, filled with fuel at Broadwater, and arrived at the New Italy rest stop at 4pm. We are now tucked in for the night but there is a bit of noise from the traffic on the road, so we’ll see how we go.
Day 1 Kilometres between fuel stops 306.7, litres purchased 50.41, cost $56.91, klms/ltr 6.084.
Total kilometres traveled 320.4 klms.

Day 2. New Italy proved to be a bit of a noisy rest area but we managed to sleep alright. On the road again at 7.15am . A good run down the highway, mainly bush for the first part of the run then this opened up into sugar cane fields, past the sugar mill at Harwood and crossed the Clarence River which we followed down to Grafton. At Woolgoola the sugar gave way to bananas, the main crop now, until we reach Coffs Harbour, a busy seaside town which straddles the Pacific Highway. South of “Coffs” we left the highway for a look at Mylestom.  Mylestom is a truly beautiful spot near the mouth of the Bellingen River.Bellingen, Main Street. At the end of town is the surf club and miles & miles of almost deserted beautiful beach. From here we crossed the highway and headed for Bellingen, an art and crafty town at the bottom of the coastal escarpment. We the climbed the escarpment to Dorrigo. This was a very scenic drive with cliffs on one side & the Bellingen River on the other and, if you can take your eyes off the road for a minute, absolutely stunning views. Dorrigo is a smaller ton than Bellingen and doesn’t seem as prosperous, but still a nice looking town.  Our information said we could camp at the showground but this proved to be false so tonight we are at the Dorrigo Caravan Park, $18.00 unpowered site & pay for a hot shower but it is a lovely spot.
Day 2 total kilometres traveled 253.3

Day 3. Nice cool morning but clear blue skies so up early and off to Dorrigo National Park. We were second to arrive in thCrystal Falls, Dorrigo NP. NSWe park this morning so had it all virtually to ourselves. The tree top walk is tops, the views from over the tree tops, over the Bellingen River & right to the coast, really beautiful. The park is World Heritage Listed and well deserves its listing. The Lyre Bird Walk, again in the tree tops via a boardwalk, was very good. Then all down a steep track to Crystal Falls, well worth the walk down but Alice was dreading the walk back, about 2.5klms all up hill. A few stops along the way & we had it beat.
The Pub With No Beer, Taylors ArmThe Drive down from Dorrigo & through the Bellingen Valley was just magnificent, everything was so green and the river running beside the road topped off the scenery.
Just a few kilometres down the highway & we turned into Urunga and had a run down to Hungry Head. Again miles & miles of deserted beach, it was really beautiful. Lunch time & we headed through Maxville out to Taylors Arm, the home of the Pub With No Beer, & my brothers place where I was able to plug in and load up this blog.
More when we get to Wollongong.

Day 4.Tonight we are camped on the beach under the walls of Trial Bay Gaol. It is a lovely spot looking across the bay to the township of South West Rocks. The gaol was built in 1886 and was classed as a public works prison, which meant that prisoners could learn a trade whilst inside. It is built of local granite and is quite an impressive structure with a large watch tower at each corner. The prison was closed in 1903 but reopened again as an internment camp during the First World War. It held mostly German families but also a couple of Buddhist monks from Ceylon.
We had left Macksville about 10am, we had camped the night across the road from the Taylors Arm Hotel better known as The Pub With No Beer, made famous by Slim Dusty. We drove down via Scotts Head, where we climbed the headland for a view of the coast, Grassy Head, and again another headland climb and Stuart’s Point. At this stage Alice cracked up and refused to climb another hill, so we headed for South West Rocks and had a late lunch on the headland overlooking Trial Bay.
Yesterday we traveled 108.8 klms today 126.8 klms odometer reading 41,938.5.
Filled with fuel at Macksville 62.53 litres for 401.1 klms = 6.415 klms per ltr. Total cost $77.47 The price of diesel is almost scary - $1.24 per litre and I have seen it at $1.30 per litre in some towns.

Day 5. Woke to the sound of rain on the roof this morning. The weather forecast has been for widespread rain so we expect the rain to last the rest of the week. We were up early and on the road by 7.45am. we followed the Macleay River back out to the highway and on to Kempsey. We had planned a side trip to Crescent Head but because of the rain we decided to keep going down the highway. The Pacific Highway now bypasses the towns of Port Macquarie & Taree so we kept going, also bypassing these towns. We left the highway after Taree and headed for the twin towns of Forster/Tuncurry. These towns are joined by a bridge over the junction of the ocean and Wallis Lake, it is a very popular spot for holiday makers. We then followed Lakes Way through the Booti Booti National Park and took the gravel road through the Myall Lakes National Park to the very beautiful Seals Rocks township. Even the wet weather couldn’t detract from this beautiful spot. We have put it on our list to call again on our way home. We rejoined the highway at Bulahdela and headed for the Wyong Truck Stop where we have tucked in for the night behind some huge rigs.
Today we traveled 447.4 klms odometer reading 42,385.9.
Kilometres between fuel stops 519.14, litres purchased 72.46, cost $88.35, klms/ltr 7.1681.

Day 6. More rain this morning. Very quiet night considering we were parked in a very busy truck stop. On the road at 7.15 but just to the Hawksbury River where we stayed for an hour. We did not want to run through Sydney during peak hour traffic. Stanwell Tops looking towards WollongongLeft the parking lights on whilst we were stopped & had a flat battery. Luckily I had invested in a booster battery kit last week and were soon under way again. The freeway through the Hawksbury area is very scenic in places and is a good drive but once the freeway ends the drive through North Sydney to the Harbour Tunnel is a bit heart stopping in places. The Eastern Distrbutor system through Sydney makes the drive from the tunnel to the Airport a little more pleasant. Some heavy rain in the mountains before reaching Wollongong was encountered and so we missed the views of Wollongong from the top of the escarpment.
Kilometres traveled today 152.8 klms odometer reading 42538.7.

Day 7, 8 & 9. Have been spent in Wollongong at my parents place. Tomorrow we are back on the road again heading down the NSW South Coast.

Day 10. We chickened out today but still got to our destination. Left Wollongong about 9.30am and had a good run down to Kiama. We dropped in and saw Cheryl & Gary Barnes at their gallery/coffee lounge. Gary is one of Australia’s best photographers and if you saw his work you would have to agree. Last week he won a Gold Medal in one of Europe’s prestigious photo competitions for a picture of the Twelve Apostles off Victoria’s coast. From Kiama we headed through Loosenuts & helicopter at Nowra.Gerringong for Berry. This is a scenic spot surrounded by Dairy farms & rolling green hills. From Berry we struck inland for Kangaroo Valley. Almost immediately we began climbing the coastal escarpment. A sign on the way warned that the road was too dangerous for caravans, buses and large vehicles. What is a large vehicle? Us? On we pressed up & up around quite a few hairpin bends and through some spectacular rainforest, the trees forming archways over the road and rain all the way. At last we reached the top & through rich dairy country and the down and down some of the steepest road we have ever been on. When we eventually rounded one bend and saw the steepness ahead plus another large mountain to climb I chickened out, reversed up the hill to where I could turn around & headed back to Berry. We had lunch in Nowra and a look at the map showed a major road from Nowra to Kangaroo Valley. After a drive through some beautiful countryside we came to Kangaroo Valley and 9 kilometres west the Bendeela Picnic area on Lake Yarrunga. The area is teeming with wild life wallabies, kangaroos, king parrots, rosellas, and a huge wombat wandered by just on dusk, a truly wonderful spot.
Kilometres traveled today 130.3 klms odometer reading 42669.0.

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