Saturday, November 29, 2014

Wannabe Wanderers Wonderful Weather and Warm Welcome at Woodgate.

After a pleasant and uneventful four hour drive from Scarborough we pulled up in the drive at the Woodgate Beach Tourist Park and walked in to reception. Hello Eileen! The lady behind the counter said to our surprise (most people get Eileen's name wrong at the best of times..Elaine, Irene, Arlene.), OK she obviously had our booking in front of her and I guess they don't get many Fivers arriving each day but definitely a thumbs up for making us feel welcome on arrival.

She handed us a Map of the park and showed us how to get to our site No 211 a drive through site and gave a little spiel about where everything was located and off we went to our site.  Drove straight in and were set up in half an hour.... easy peasy.

Although not quite to capacity, never-less the park was quite crowded mainly due to the Wide Bay A-Van Club which had around 30 A-Vans in attendance around a Marquee in the middle. It was their Christmas party and I believe that the Bowls Club did quite well that week end.

Our plan was to have four weeks of rest and relaxation and a little sight seeing as we felt like it. So far we have certainly achieved that.  Eileen has finished her latest quilt and has organised the design for the next one.

 I spent a nice day at the brand new Woodgate      Mens Shed helping to make a bench in the            welding and grinding room and chatting to the    ten or so members who attended the first day.

They are a friendly bunch of community minded blokes and I am sure that they will have a very productive and well equipped shed in a few years. They already have 13 life members and a further 80 odd names on the books... now to sign them up.

We have had many nice morning and evening walks along the beach and Pepper has had a ball.  We do, however, have a little problem with our little miss, we have discovered that she is a water baby and once in will not come out and has to be caught and dragged out on her lead. Not all that easy trying to pull a 36kg dog who does not want to come. Not sure how we are going to fix this issue, we have tried her in the surf and in the calm and she is the same in both situations.... the things we do for our kids...

The calm end of Woodgate is really quite nice and would be a great place for children as the water is not all that deep and the bed is fairly level. There are good amenities including outside shower and covered picnic areas.

All in all, we have had a most relaxing time here and will definitely return someday. Our night times are spent either reading, catching up with friends on Facebook or playing Scrabble or Mahjong with a glass of wine or whatever floats our boat.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Journey Home. Woolgoolga to Caboolture Show Grounds.

Well our shakedown trip has come to an end and I have to say that our report card would be just a pass.

On the positive side of the ledger, Eileen and I have become quite proficient at breaking and setting up camp.  Our damage control is fine as we have now found a place for everything to live while we are driving and thankfully the storage in the Tug takes care of a lot of the gear that doesn't normally have a home.

The Rig is a pleasure to drive for me and handles the road conditions with relative ease.  Of course we were both apprehensive about how the Tug would handle the steep hills and windy roads as we go through the mountains and I have to say that I am pleased with the ease that it meets the task, on the other hand I am still waiting for Eileen to open her eyes and give me her report on some of the wonderful views that I have seen along the way.  Like a fool, I listened to all of the arm chair experts on Facebook and decided at I shouldn't drive in 6th gear as it is an overdrive gear.... big mistake.... fuel consumption went from 13.7 lts per 100k to 17.3 lts per 100k.  Met another Iveco owner along the way and he said that it was BS and as long as you used the gears by the taco you wouldn't have any issues.  So it's back to 6th gear for me.

I have a lot of learning to do when it comes to reversing 14 meters of Rig into tight spaces but I guess that will come with experience.... well, it better anyway.

As we both need to know where we are heading and where we are setting up camp, this trip has shown both of us, just how difficult it is if you don't have a travel itinerary, well it is for us. I am sure that there are many people who can just drive and end up where they are and not worry about it.  But not me, I dislike sailing past poorly signposted turn offs and looking for sufficient space to turn a 14 meter Rig with safety.  We had a bad experience at a little town called Ulmarra in northern NSW, Eileen called for a comfort stop so we looked for the next 'lay-off' so that we could turn in and park and we dully followed the rest stop signs into a little dead end road. As soon as I turned the corner, I new that I had made a mistake, I pulled over in front of a toilet block in a very narrow street and almost as soon as I did about 3 more cars and two caravans followed us in - I was hemmed in and had to wait for them to leave before attempting to extract us from the predicament with a 10 point turn.  I hope that I never repeat that, although I'm almost sure that I will somewhere, sometime.

An interesting aside resulting from this error was that while Eileen was 'getting comfortable' I was reading the local historic notice board and noticed a little story about one Mr E Chowne. An extract can be read here.

While driving along and not having booked any stops we had decided to drive straight through to Caboolture Show Grounds for our next stop over as our next scheduled stop was in another five days back at Scarborough. This was our first unscheduled stop and was in reality a part of the test although we had heard that Caboolture Show Ground was not a bad place to stop.  Must have been our lucky day as we pulled up on a Friday with the National Barrel Racing Championships, A Circus, The Caboolture Markets and The National Bull Riding Championships all happening at the same time.

That night I went over to watch the Barrel Racing which was lots of fun with beautiful horses and cowgirls and cowboys of all ages competing.

 While my photography leaves a lot to be desired, I'm sure you can feel the atmosphere of the event and the thrill of the racing.

Saturday, I took Eileen for a drive along Toorbul Road (Now Pumicestone Road) in an attempt to show her where I had grown up as a 5 year old only to find that the acreage that we once lived on is now a massive housing estate. I really couldn't remember anything at all - what a difference 60 years makes.  We drove on to Toorbul and I took this photo of Toorbul looking across to the Bribie Island Bridge

Today (Sunday) is market day so we got up early so that Eileen could go and do some veggie shopping and have a look around while I took Pepper for her morning walk.  I don't think that she likes the other BIG dogs and she stays mostly at heal as we walk around.  The markets here are huge, as big as Chandler and as I had a casual walk around, I couldn't help admiring the dedication of the stall holders who pack their vehicles and drive to the Markets at ungodly hours in the morning (3 am) and set up their stalls, for the hordes of people who come in search of a bargain, only to pack it all up and take it home ready to repeat the exercise the following week end.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Woolgoolga - Dog Friendly and a Nice Place to Stay.

Eileen, Pepper and I are well rested now so we decided to do a little site seeing around the area.  First was a trip to Coffs Harbour which, I have to say, neither of us liked.  Definitely not pet friendly and, to be honest, just like any other busy town along the coast.  We are so happy now that we ran into the lady at Scarborough who advised us to stay at Woolgoolga as we feel much more at home here.

Looking across the lake to the park will give you a feel for the beauty of the area, just to the left of this photo and a short walk over the sand dune lies the bay and the headland.

The beach is quite level and the tide goes out a long way so the water is not very deep for a fair way out. Seems to be good for the Kite surfers and as I watched one the other day, I recon he went for about a hundred meters about 2 meters in the air,,, must have been a great feeling for him.

We have all thoroughly enjoyed our morning and
late afternoon walks along this beach, although Pepper is in the bad books at the moment for being a little naughty yesterday.

We decided to let her off the leash and she took off straight into the sea and she would not come back when we called so Eileen and I just walked away and left her.

Boy you should have seen the look on her face as we disappeared out of site and she thought she was being left behind.... she was after us like a shot.

Late yesterday afternoon as we were heading out for our evening walk, I heard what sounded like
children screaming and I looked around to see what was going on.

To my surprise this little fellow was high in the tree calling out to mum and dad to 'feed me'.

It is a Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo,  beautiful colours and quite large.

 That same evening as we came close to our camp spot, these two fellows were quietly feeding on the lush grass of the park.

They were not frightened of us at all.  Although Pepper wanted badly to go and play with them, they just kept a wary eye out for her and kept on eating.

Across from the park and along the side of the lake is an area of wetlands covered with large paper bark trees which were absolutely teeming with bats.  I don't know where they go at night but I highly suspect they visit the Banana Plantations which this area is quite famous for.

After our visit to Coffs Harbour we decided to drive into the hinterland to Nana Glen.  The drive immediately reminded me of the Montville/Malaney area and when we stopped for a coffee and a bite to eat, I asked the waiter if many bikes came up this way. He smiled and said on weekends there were hundreds.  I could see why... lots of corners.