Sunday, July 25, 2010

The journey home begins - Grafton to Tia Falls

Firstly, an apology to all who have called by hoping for something new and interesting to look at.  I would have to acknowledge that I have been both busy and slack.  Work has been a tad on the hectic side and I have been away from home a bit recently.  Work travel won't get a mention here.

What will is the last segment of our Easter adventure.  We set of from my family and headed with all good intentions to Waterfall Way.  We were to meet other relatives at Tia Falls in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.  What should have taken us about 4 hours or so turned into a bit of an adventure.

Our first stop was at a little town called Ebor.  Well actually we passed through the township and turned into the Ebor Falls parking lot for a look.  The upper falls are about 200m from the road.  They are spectacular and worth a stop.  There are also toilet facilities and a fairly informative information board.  The lower falls are a further short drive and then a walk away.

I started the 4WD and a funny noise came from under the bonnet!  We drove to the lower falls car park and switched off to have a look.  The 'serpentine' belt had come adrift, broken the air-con belt and made a general mess under the bonnet.  After some cutting and maneuvering I got the belt clear and the vehicle was driveable so we went back to Ebor town and rang for the NRMA service number.

The spare that I didn't think to pack was serpentine belt.  I wasn't sure that we could make it to Armidale, the nearest town with the facilities I was likely to need to we decided to sit and wait for the NRMA to rescue us.

When he arrived he didn't have a belt that could rescue us so we agreed that the best bet was to get us to Armidale, we could have the vehicle repaired and continue on the following day.  And that is pretty much how the day panned out for us.  The NRMA chap loaded us onto the tow truck, took us to a repairer, we dropped the car off, then he took us to the hotel, which the NRMA had arranged for us.  All part of the NRMA premium service, which we are glad we paid.

The next morning we collected the 4WD, checked out of the hotel, and headed off to the campsite where we planned to have a couple of nights before heading back to home.

I guess I should really say thanks to the Dorrigo NRMA, Armidale NRMA authorised repairer, and the local hotel.

Leaving Armidale we headed for Walcha and turned off and headed for the campsite.  As we were travelling we took a call from our rellies, assured them we would be there in a short while, and in a short while we were.

We spent a couple of days exploring this area.   As it is a part of the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park it isn't pet friendly.  There are drop toilets in the camping are but there is no water.  As you can see fires are permitted and there is firewood provided.  Not bad for the princely sum of zero.

And there are lots of things to do and sights to see.  The Tia Falls are worth a look.

Tia Falls

As are the other local falls...
And the gorge...

We settled in for our first night, to wake to a nice morning the next morning.  We took the newly repaired 4WD for a bit of a drive through some well maintained fire trails in the area.
We came across this interesting bridge, all constructed from logs, with earth over the top:
Interesting bridge

We even cleared some timber off the trail...
We settled down back at the campsite, lit the fire and had a camp oven roast and a watched the fire burn down.

The final campfire - always a sad thing

So that is my final installment in the Outback 2010 series.  Next week I will do a post on lessons learned from the trip, and the statistics - fuel, costs, what we would do again, what we wouldn't - that sort of thing.

My final pic in this series is a classic.  We followed a walking track at Tia and after walking around the rim of the gorge we came across this...

See ya...