Brisbane - Dalby - Melbourne 2023

After coming back from Cape York it took only a day to pack the bus. We planned to leave Monday the 17th but were ready on Sunday and decided to drive to Mackay which is 100KM south. Next day  as we always do via Bowen to Mackay and Luke and Nikaela. Because Flynn has his leg in plaster and is not allowed to walk on it and Luke is often away Nikaela's mother came over from Rockhampton to help out. Next morning a cup of coffee with old friends from when we lived in Ingham and further south.  We got as far as Waverly rest area which is a popular overnight spot for a lot of campers. On to Rockhampton where Luke is working. Just managed to catch up with him before he had to start work. Another 100 KM south and stayed a few days at one of our favorite camp sites. Galiope river rest area. The banner shows the next morning when there was a heavy fog.  Next day to Childers. We had camped there a few times but this time it was overflowing. Luckily the council provided a grassed area across the road which turned out better than the official overnighter. Via Maryborough a visit to Robyn de Lange and Sue and Graham who have a large property where we stayed overnight and did the laundry. We will see them again in Dalby because they also volunteering at the rally.
                            Schimmel  -  Plummer family                                                                                           Isla
              A foggy morning in Caliope                                                                                          Tibrogargan mountain. Glasshouse mountain
24 September. Off to Gympie. Another rest area we stayed before. We are following highway 1 which I don't like because it is too busy but when you have to visit friends this is the only way.  Normally we drive past the Glasshouse mountains but this time I would like to explore it a bit more. In 1972 I took a photo there and wanted to replicate it. We found out that this is not possible because they build a popular park and lookout there. While we were there one mountain stood out because you could see a path go to the top. It is the faint line on the top photo. When I see something like that I have to try it out. Should have done some research beforehand. Over the last ten years three death and dozens of rescues. I did not make it to the top. There is a section where the rock wall goes vertical and I did not want to add to the statistics. One pick up by the rescue helicopter is enough for me.
                                      1972                                                                                                               Glasshouse Mountains 2023
Off to Brisbane via Petrie where we visited Peter and Marijke. Always great to catch up with them again. We know them from our earliest days in Australia. They had guests over so we moved for the night to Petrie dam. So far the weather has not been too cold. The traffic is getting busier as we getting closer to Brisbane. We are not used to four lanes in Townsville.
26 September. Parked in Newstead Park which is close to Linda Lewellyn we normally visit but was hard to contact this time. She had some family problems as we found out later. Next day I took the ferry in to the city. Visited the museum and did the city hall tour where I had my first part time job working as a photographer.
Still a few more people to visit. Peter and Marijke who moved from Cairns to Brisbane.
Arrived late afternoon at Peter and Marijke on the 27th September after battling the traffic. My clutch did more work those hours than the few month before. We talked till 11 PM. Next morning explored Stradbroke Island. All day beautiful weather despite thunderstorms forecast. We have camped there in 1976. The place has changed drastically. Around point lookout there are is a nice walk with good views. No whales or dolphins this time.  On the ferry back it started to rain. But the place is very dry and needed it. we had a great time there but had to move on again towards the Gold Coast. The traffic was horrific. Supposed to be 100 kmh. But managed from zero to 50.
Arrived ad Victor and Rozanne 50 minutes later than planned. They live in a high rise apartment on Hope Island overlooking the canals. They took us out to a Greek restaurant (Georges) which was very busy  but well organized. We had a delicious meal there and after we got home a game of Five Kings. Next day hang a lot of pictures they bought during a cruse and another game.  We were really spoiled here.   Sunday morning and this time we head towards Dalby where the motorhome rally is. I don't like freeways and found a shortcut through Tamborine Mountains and Laidley where we stopped for the night. Had a bit of mechanical problems. One of the heater hoses started to leak. Was unable to rectify but the whole heater system can be turned off.
                                       Hope Island                                                                                                                      Victor and Rosanne
Towoomba calls itself the garden city. The big flower show was a couple of weeks ago but the Queens garden still had a lot of flowers on display. We visited on a Sunday and there were a lot of people around. In the same area is the Cobb & Co museum. All very interesting. After we did some shopping I discovered that my spare tire bracket had broken. Luckily was able to temporarily fix it.
  Tamborine X Mas shop                         Towoomba flowers at Queens gardens                                                       Dress up dress down rally ball
2 October. Spend the night beside a river close to Dalby. Bowenvill reserve is an enormous big open area set aside for campers. Next morning to Dalby. Our destination for the rally.  We have done exactly 2500 Km. Already around town we bumped in to a few familiar faces.
10 October. We have been a week in Dalby and settled in. Me driving the bus around the place and Susan socializing. They look after the volunteers very well. We had a welcome dinner with drinks. Morning coffee wit a biscuit and an extensive lunch. There are 640 motorhomes and caravans on site. There is entertainment every night which Susan can attend but I have to drive the participants back to their van two nights this week which means Susan has to watch it by herself.

Day one

Day two

15 October. The last day of the rally. We met a lot of old friends. All we have to do is clean the busses and pack up. Monday morning on the road again.  After some shopping we drove to another one of our favorite camp sites, Gum Flat Reserve. This is east of Moree. Last time we were here we thought that a bushfire was approaching but it turned out to be a sandstorm. (See Tasmania 2020)  We made contact with Gwen Renaldis who used to be in out chapter of the motorhome club and also attended the motorhome rally. She turned up the next day and we travelled together over the next few days. One night just south of Coonabarabran. The night are getting colder but the days are just glorious, around 30 degrees. After some shopping in Dubbo, Gwen knew a great camping spot Ponto Falls reserve. We camped here for two days. Could have easily stayed another few days. When we woke up the temperature was 7 degrees. The remote for the heater is above my bed and it takes about 20 minutes to get it to an acceptable level. Two nights camping with the fire going every night.
                        Happy hour                                                                                                             Toooooo relaxing apart from the flies
The landscape is slowly changing from wide open spaces filled with grain to hilly and cattle.  Next Forbes via Parkes.  Another great free camp beside the lake. I also caught up with a blaze aid coordinator from a 2015 camp where I volunteered for six weeks. This is the last night Gwen is travelling with us and we decided to go out for dinner. It took a while to find a restaurant that was open. When we got back from the restaurant it was still warm enough to sit outside which did not happen before. 20 October an on the road again. We had a large laundry to do. In Narrendera we had the most modern machines we had ever seen. Narrendera also has a large free camp where we spend the rest of the day. I still manage to find reasonable cheap diesel fuel via the Petrol Spy app. Sometimes 20cents difference. Next stop Hume dam via Wagga Wagga for an overnighter. We have camped here several times over the years and always a great  spot. The Murray River is the border between New South Wales and Victoria. In the north of NSW  we have a few friends. Vienna and Robert Bros in Murtleford. They did some house-sitting for us years ago. We planned to stay for a coffee but they had coffee and also a lunch. In the afternoon on to Wangaretta where Bill and Phil Ruth lived. Bill passed away a few month ago. We took Phill out to Dinner. Great night. The nights are getting colder, five degrees and before the days used to warm up but not anymore. Sixteen and a bit of rain every now and then. We are getting closer to Paul. We were not allowed to arrive before Thursday. We stopped in Alexandra for the night only 70 KM from Paul.
                                                                View from the bus                                                                                                Glenn Rowan. Ned Kelly
26 October. Arrived in Healesville. That day was the coldest we have had so far and despite that Paul had his heater going full blast we could not get warm. This meant we spend the first day inside. The next day was a different story. But Melbourne is well known for four seasons in one day. My birthday on the 28th was quiet and we went out to a Chinese restaurant with a very nice meal. Next day Paul had a large roast on the spit. This required to be in the rotisserie for six hours. He had invited a few people but to his disappointment nobody turned up. We just lazed and went in to town a few times. The owner of the property where Paul rents his cabin lend us a car and this enabled us to do some shopping, most notably plumbing parts for the bus because one of the lines had sprung a leak. When I took it apart the sun had made one hose very brittle. Took a day to get this fixed. 30 October went for a drive to Kinglake. In 2009  the fires merged at Kinglake. The fires took weeks to extinguish. A total of 173 people died in the fires, 414 were injured and more than a million animals died. More than 450,000 hectares of land had burned and 3500 buildings including more than 2000 houses destroyed. You can't see any of that now. Drove back via Yarra Glenn. We wanted to visit some friends in Geelong but they did not answer the phone so the next day we headed east.
                        The whole family                                                        Paul cutting up the roast                                            Paul's new mate Bob
The weather is not nice enough to spend a leisurely time at the beach. We still like to camp near a lake river or ocean. First night Port Franklin. The council put a large section of the car park aside for campers. Next night Metung also at the coast. We just parked beside river till it was time to cook dinner and moved to the council campsite. The heater is still going every morning and night. While travelling we stop in every town to have a coffee or shopping. Third night Orbost. Again we are parked beside the Snowy Mountain river. I would have liked to follow it to Jindabyne but the weather does not help and the road is unsealed and narrow. Susan had been complaining about a toothache and this got gradually worse. In Orbost to the doctor and antibiotics prescribed.  We stayed the night beside the river just outside Orbost. We had to wait for the doctor a few hours but this gave us time to spend some money in town.  Next stop Eden. We had overnighted here before at the harbor. Dined at the Chinese restaurant. Excellent meal. The overnight temperatures creeping in to the double digits. The road from here on follows the coast which provides with great views. It is very hilly and winding, the bus has to work hard. We found a beachside overnighter. Next morning a few surfers here but the waves were poor.
5 November further towards Sydney. Driving through Ulladulla I recognized a spot we stayed at four years ago. I can't remember if it had a lot of no camping signs but it has now.
                                       Susan swollen cheek                                                                                              View from the bus
Normally I like to avoid Sydney like the plaque but when you want to go to the Dutch shop (Het winkeltje) you have to. we actually camped in front of the shop because we arrived there on a Monday and they are closed. Susan filled up her basket with mainly 60 kroketten. After the shopping a cup of coffee and a broodje kroket direction Lithgow. The Tom-tom directed me through a lot of traffic and a mountain pass not really suitable for a bus, but we got there. Katoomba is very close to a major tourist attraction the three sisters. As you can see on the photo these are three rocky outcrops. They also have a cable car which goes all the way to the bottom but was out of action due to maintenance. So we head for Lithgow and there is an  enormous free campsite. This is not the tourist season, plenty of space for us. We stayed here two days. The weather was ok to sit outside the first day but got a bit chilly the next also a storm is brewing. After laundry and shopping in Lithgow heading further north.
                                          Dutch shop in Sydney                                                                                                  The tree Sisters
The road from Lithgow to Muswelbrook is very scenic with a rugged landscape. The road is also very rugged Instead of repairing the road they put a sign up Rough Road.  I would have liked to go to Wollemeni national park but there is no fun walking in the rain. The afternoon was filled with rain, thunder and lightning the worst we have had this holiday. We spend the night in Bylong. Over the next few days passed through Tamworth which is the country music capital of Australia, Armidal, Glen Innes and Tenterfield. Tenterfield is famous because Peter Ellen wrote a song about the Tenterfield saddler. When checking the map I saw a sign Bald Rock National Park and after checking it out discovered it was the largest single granite rock in Australia and you can walk to the top. There are two path. One a very steep  slope with nothing to hold on to which I took on the way up. The other a ready made path through the bush which I took on the way down. I later found out that people had died there or ended up with broken bones. The New south Wales and Queensland border go through Bald Rock. The whole trip only took two hours. After lunch on to  Stanthorpe which is the coldest place in Queensland and Toowoomba. We came through Toowoomba at the beginning g of the trip and this time we just passed through. Ended up in Cooyar Swinging Bridge rest area.  Next day a rest day and a meal in the pub.


                                                        Bald Rock                                                                                                   We were here on Thursday