18.10.2009 - 25.10.2009
Sunday 25 Oct - WE ARE HOME !!
Sunday 18 Oct - our last day with Melissa and Les. Washed the Patrol, picked some mandarins and generally prepared the van for the last week of the journey.
Monday 19 Oct - a trouble-free run to Newcastle and specifically the Belmont Pines Caravan Park on the shores of Lake Macquarie, very nice park but sites are very tight. Took a few attempts to get the van into position. Stocked up on provisions at Aldi's and cooked up another batch of pasta sauce.
Tuesday 20 Oct - drove around the lake (claimed to be four times the size of Sydney Harbour ??) and spent some time in Warners Bay, Toronto, Morisset, Dora Creek and Murrays Beach. Some very beautiful beaches and water-front properties. We were taken to dinner by jenny's niece Dianne. The club has spectacular views.
Wednesday 21 Oct - found our way to the caravan dealer that originally sold our van. We were hoping to pick up some replacement parts but they don't carry too much in stock and it would take some time to order and receive them. Given our location it was suggested we deal directly with the caravan builder. Had a most enjoyable dinner with the Kiehnes and the Fayles. Found our way back to the caravan park and determined that we didn't like driving in a strange city after dark !!
Thursday 22 Oct - broke camp early (0630) and headed for Exhibition Park In Canberra (EPIC). The free-way to Hornsby was fine but from there to the start of the M7 was a nightmare. The M7 is great even though it takes you way out West before delivering you down South in Liverpool. A comfort stop at Pheasant's Nest and arrived in Canberra just after 1230. Made one of those silly mistakes that turn out to be expensive. I had the van on ramps to level it side to side. I applied the handbrake but when we disconnected the ball hitch the van lurched backwards and bent the lifting jack. $400 for a new jack and some chocks for next time.
Friday 23 Oct - drove to Queanbeyan to have my eyes checked and order a new pair of spectacles. Tried a number of optometrists but it was a bit hard to find one that was free at short notice. Across town to visit Bert Hagel whose rose garden is spectacular.
Saturday 24 Oct - purchased some produce at the Farmer's Market. Good range of fresh produce and specialty breads. Had lunch with Natalie and the family in Gungahlin then back to the van to tidy up before visiting with a dear friend whom we visit far too infrequently. Enjoyed a very pleasant visit catching up and reminiscing.
Sunday 25 Oct - left at 0645 to head down to the coast. The Clyde proved to be as unpredictable as always, quite a lot of traffic coming up the mountain and a heavy fog along the way. Busy unpacking the van and the patrol and going though the accumulated mail in the form of magazines and promotions.
Summary - we were away for 90 days, stayed in 26 caravan parks, drove just over 12,000 Km of which about 8,000 were towing the caravan. We had a great time, saw lots of new sights and would happily do it all over again. For those who tracked our travels with a map of Australia, you'll have noticed that there are still vast areas we haven't touched on, there's always next year :-)
Thanks for sticking with me, I hope you found it interesting.