Another 780km would take us to Hahndorf. After stocking up on fresh Oysters in Smoky Bay we hit the road.
Port Augusta: We only stopped for a short break in Port Augusta, trying to get to Port Pirie, that’s right, we drove 540km in one day (Smoky Bay to Port Pirie)… it is often stressful by the time we pull up to a location. The kids are completely done from being strapped in the car seats, we’ve eaten all the snacks, listened to the playschool and wiggles cd’s over and over, encouraged them to use the magic water colouring books we bought and even read a book or two from the front seat which is a balance of being able to read the words and show the kids the pictures #soreneck. The kids were troopers!
Berry/Fogg Family Get Together: Being welcomed by extended family again was such a treat, even more so when your cousin is a chef and his wife runs a restaurant! We shucked the oysters, added a squeeze of lemon and they were enjoyed by most and many for the first time. Casey, the youngest of the clan was a favourite with all.
Hahndorf, SA: A small town in the Adelaide Hills with Australia’s oldest German Settlement. The main street is bursting with restaurants, cafes, little shops, icecream, cheese, chocolate and candy shops, bakeries and pubs, with elm trees lining the boulevard. The weekend was so busy it was hard to drive in and out, but we were privileged to stay walking distance from the main street at a dear friends house. With kids similar ages they had a blast together.
Beerenberg Farm, Hahndorf, SA – Strawberry picking/eating with the kids! After buying some jam from the farm shop, we discovered it was available from the supermarket, along with piccalilli, beetroot and tomato relish.. so good!
It has now been almost 12 months since we left. I would love to finish the blog before we get back, but I have also picked up 2 units at uni and uni should probably be prioritised over the other…
We left Perth on 21st April, 2017. It was a busy time after welcoming our Esther only 7 months prior, packing and renting the house out, preparing the caravan, tying up loose ends at work, as well as catching up with friends and family one last time before we left, including this farewell, what an awesome cake (thanks Tamara). Although we still have a few more things to see on the map next time, (Yes, we plan to return to the road to see Tasmania and South Australia sometime after the next baby arrives).
We have definitely seen crocs, drove past the big pineapple at least 30 times while Dan was working on the sunshine coast (although never got a photo). We saw the big banana in Coffs Harbour, but while towing a caravan didn’t stop for a photo. We saw Dolphins in Byron Bay and Dan just recently saw a penguin washed up on the beach in Apollo Bay, (does that count?). We plan to visit Ayers rock next time and hopefully we’ll catch the whales migrating in the Bight.
Our set up:
New Age Oz Classic, with a very luxurious ensuite and our Ford Ranger.
Our very first night on the road, Seven Mile Beach:
It felt pretty amazing to leave town. It may have taken a few extra hours than planned to pull out of the driveway but we did it. This was a dream of Dan’s for almost 20 years and after much debate we decided on a caravan over a camper or pop top. We looked at caravans on Gumtree for at least 3 years, before we bought one and then needed a car capable of towing it. Dan liked the Ford Ranger and we couldn’t afford a landcruiser 200 series. I found one (an XLT) on Gumtree that had low kilometers and all the accessories Dan wanted already fitted (UHF, Suspension upgrade, long range tank, bullbar, spotlights and trailer brakes).
I researched every port-a-cot available trying to find one that would fit into the gap between the couches, only to convert a couch into her bed a few days before we left. We still took the port-a-cot and it has been well used for camping, playing and visiting any friends or family along the way.
So when we pulled into this free campsite just south of Geraldton, using WikiCamps for the first time it was quite the feeling. It was even Romantic! Living the dream! There were only 3 other vans at the site with front row parking still available. We weren’t sure what the etiquette was but took the risk and parked up. Perfect views.
It was so nice. We had many lessons ahead of us, including one we learned the next morning. We left the fridge running in the boot of the car and it drained the car battery, So we needed a jump start. From then on (until we got solar on the car and a dual battery system) we kept the fridge in the caravan when we were parked up.
Esther trying Black Sapote for the first time after we visited a store front with fresh local fruit for sale.
We were impressed with Tom Price, so much greener than we thought, the town was clean and there seemed to be lots of young families. We met a few couples at the caravan park who were headed in the same direction (clockwise) and we have seen 3 of them since, some in Cape York, another in the Northern Territory and just recently another couple in Canberra, it has been great to catch up and share stories as well as get further recommendations on places to visit.
We had a short stay in Coffs Harbour, with a warm welcome from these resident rabbits at the caravan park:
A visit to the harbour for fish n’ chips and then off again the next morning, via the Carob factory (Carobana) at Daniels recommendation where they also make fresh honeycomb. They are a small family business that have been around since 1982, it’s great to see them still afloat, they do well with most of their honeycomb bought commercially to add to other confectionery. They were all super friendly and had plenty of taste testing!
We then headed off with the van to Dorrigo National Park, beautiful spot known for its waterfalls, for a hike. It was so great to see the wildlife too:
Hike through Dorrigo National Park:
We then headed south towards Port Macquarie, finding a free camp along the way. Nice looking quiet spot, next to the Nambucca river, called Macksville Lions Park. There was a parking area dedicated to 24-hour stopping for caravans and motorhomes, opposite a residential area, a few other vans were there. Worst sleep EVER.. ha ha, all night trucks and trains rattled over the bridge then at 5:30am someone started their generator and playing country music quite loudly, then early morning road workers rocked up to dig a trench alongside the carpark, a deep trench, one that would be impossible for a car and caravan to cross.. So we had to pack up quick and ask them to stop briefly so we could leave before they completely blocked us in for the rest of the day! Drove to Port Macquarie and found a great caravan park close to the beach and set up. We ended up staying 3 nights I think, had a great time exploring the different beaches, the koala park, the strawberry farm, going to parkrun along the “breakwall”, a small food truck market, buying Esther her first pillow at her request, stocking up on fresh food and produce and digging for pippy’s at the beach.
Port Macquarie Koala Rescue Park:
Tacking Point Lighthouse, Port Macquarie:
Port Macquarie Town Beach:
Since having Esther, I would often take her into the water but wouldn’t go diving into the water with as she has yet to learn to hold her breath, but oh how I’ve missed that feeling of diving under a wave, so while we were here Dan watched Esther while I went for a walk out into the surf to swim. It was so refreshing that feeling as you dive under and the rush of water over your body! ah.!
It was a relaxing stay in Port Macquarie before we headed south to Port Nelson.