Monday, June 14, 2010

Grafton and Surrounds

A bit of a change of style this week...

We had arrived at Moree and had a good soak and a sleep in a proper bed after more than a few nights in the tent.  With the gear clean we were about to go down toward the coast at Grafton and spend some time with family.  We didn't really have much of a plan other than doing some roof rack repairs.

On the way down we did find a campground called Cranky Rock that we called into for a look.  Located between Warialda and Inverell, legend has it that a cranky Chinese man, having murdered a woman in Warialda was being chased by police and jumped from the rock.  Later the area was to become a picnic spot popular with the Warialda locals, and then a campground.

 Cranky Rock

Further down the road we passed through Inverell and we arrived late in the day to stay with family.

I won't be boring with the details, but we pulled the roof basket and the racks off the Discovery and replaced them all.  As I re-installed the racks I used a thread locking glue so the nuts wouldn't come loose.   I didn't on the basket as it makes an awful hum when empty...  We also took the opportunity to catch up on email and make a few phone calls.

Then we decided - time to take the 4WD back off road.  We had heard that it is possible to drive from Wooli to Brooms Head, through National Park and State Forest - so we were off.

We found a beach!

And had some fun in the sand...
After dropping the air pressure
What we actually did was drive along the beach from Minnie Water to Sandon Village.  For the campers there is low cost camping virtually on the beach at Minnie Water.  It's National Park so it's their rules...  There was no real reason for us to go to the Village other than to have a quick (10km or so) drive on the beach.  It is a pretty little village with no public facilities nor a shop.  Interestingly we were quite close to Brooms Head, but there is no way for the vehicle to get across the river so we turned back for Minnie Water.

We aired the tyres up a bit and headed into the coastal forests for the drive across to Booms Head for some lunch and a swim...  It's an amazing drive and we didn't take enough photos.  There are a few water crossings that were all shallow.

Water crossing between Minnie Water and Brooms Head

So after some fairly easy 4WD-ing we arrived back on to a good dirt road, which joined up with the main road into Brooms Head.

Dirt road to the Pacific Ocean

After lunch, and a swim we drove into Maclean and bought some prawns for dinner.  We then returned to home base and planned the next outing.
A family trip up into the mountains was our next mission.  We visited Dorrigo and the famous Dangar Falls.  Why famous?  Mainly because they are often confused with the other Dangar Falls near Armidale...

Dangar Falls, Dorrigo NSW

After settling back into a normal bed for the last night we were ready to head back out onto the road.  The roof rack gear was set up properly, the car had been checked for water and oil, and we had contacted the folks we were to camp with and arranged to meet the at Tia Falls in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day 6 - Bollon to Moree

The campsite in Bollon was such a treat we decided that we shouldn't leave too early.

We had a few things we wanted to do - cleaning of some gear, repacking the back of the 4WD, sorting out the fridge all sprung to mind.

Does camping get any better

Once we had had breakfast and had a tidy up we packed up our campsite and set off for Moree...
The plan was to travel across to St George, have a break there, head for a border crossing into NSW at Mungindi which would see us about 120km or so from the next stop.  The plan was to overnight in Moree before heading to stay with family near Grafton the following day.  We picked Moree mainly because on another adventure we stayed in town and spent some time soaking in the thermal pools.  It sounded pretty appealing.

After another go in the free showers in Bollon we were on the road again.  About an hour or so later we came into St George.  With about 2500 residents St George had recently been flooded.  We stopped and had a quick look around.  While some of the damage had been repaired there was still evidence that there was more work to be done.

Flood damage and debris at a playground in St George

I wandered past the debris on the riverbank park to the vantage point on the Balonne River where there is a sign explaining how the town got it's name...

The story of how St George got it's name

Then was the uniquely Australian sight; a road train rumbling through town.

Road train in St George

And for those who were wondering Major Thomas Mitchell, aside from being a famous explorer, is the fellow who has the famous cockatoo named for him, along with the Mitchell Highway as is a town and even an electorate! 

After a very enjoyable break we set out for Mungindi.  Again we were on the road for an hour or so when we reached town in time for lunch.     Mungindi is interesting, if only for the fact that it is the only border town in the Southern Hemisphere that has the same name on both sides of the border!  The do a pretty good pie and a fair cup of coffee in the cafe on the NSW side of the border.

Back on the road we drove through cotton fields and rainstorms to Moree, arriving in the mid afternoon.  We settled into a cabin at the caravan park in town.  We wanted to keep the tent dry.  And spend some quality time in the thermal pools before the drop down to Grafton the next day.