This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2003 Travels April 12


Since we were, unexpectedly, still in Canberra, John arranged to visit his daughter and grandson again this morning. This time, we did get there at 10am, and spent an agreeable couple of hours there.

Went on to the shops at Dixon, and then Manuka. Bought the weekend papers. Had a rather indulgent lunch at Manuka – John had pie and pasty and I had a spinach and fetta pastry. I should have known better and suffered indigestion for much of the afternoon!

At the food markets at Fyshwyck, bought fish – barra, flathead tails and sand whiting, for three meals, two of which I would freeze for later.

Went to the National Gallery, where I wanted to have a good browse in their Australian art section. That occupied another couple of hours,  which was quite enough. I had tired legs and feet, and John’s feet were really tired.

Back to the van, where I cooked one lot of fish, with fries, for tea.

The nights were distinctly chilly here.

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2003 Travels April 9


It was a really cold morning. I could see my breath condensing – inside the van!

We were back on the road, without any glitches, by 8.30am. Breakfasted, and with lunches packed, and thermos of hot water prepared for our coffee breaks.

It was a somewhat tedious trip to Canberra. The route, most on the Hume Highway,  was not new to us. Though the remaining Victorian section, at least the towns – or turn offs to them – were relatively close together, to break up the farming country. But in NSW they became more spaced out, and it was mostly just low, rolling hills, and grazing country – mostly sheep.

We stopped for morning coffee break at Lake Mokoan rest stop, then for lunch at Holbrook.

I then drove the section from Holbrook, to Gundagai.

In Canberra, John wanted to stay on the Yass side of town – to avoid the morning city traffic when we left again. So we fetched up at the Canberra Carotel Caravan Park, at Watson  – a decidedly grotty caravan facility behind a big motel.  It was very basic, but they charged $19 a night!

There were about half a dozen more or less permanent dwellers, living in big buses, clustered in one section of the park.

Other tourists had packed into the line of powered sites furthest from “bus central”, occupying every site, but there were some empty sites closer to the buses, and we took one of those. In this place, it was a case of pay your money and find your own site!

We did not set up the awning, as it was to be a short stay.

John phoned daughter and arranged to go visit at 10am tomorrow. I phoned my daughter, to let her know we were away, at last.

It was a cold night again, but not as much as last night – rather surprisingly, as I always expect Canberra to be colder than other places, once summer is over.

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2002 Travels April 10


We were up about 7am. Saw S and SIL off to work.

We got away about 8.40. Had no issues hitching up, but took it very cautiously driving back out of the narrow driveway.

It was the busy morning traffic time through central Canberra, but it was just a matter of getting into a lane, then following the car in front. That was after we’d negotiated the systems of roundabouts around Parliament House and then City Hill. I’d planned the route carefully in advance – past experience had shown me how easy it is to go astray on these roundabouts, and find oneself merrily sailing back the way we’d come!

We stopped in Yass to do some banking – easier than trying to find both the right bank and a place to park the rig in one of the Canberra shopping localities. Refuelled there – 85cpl.

From Yass, we travelled via Boorawa, Cowra, Gooloogong, Eugowra, Parkes, Peak Hill, turning at Tomingley to head to Narromine.

It was pleasant driving, for much of the day, through farmlands, rolling hills, and the Lachlan River valley. We were mostly on minor roads with little traffic.

We lunched by the Lachlan River at Cowra, in a park area – very pleasant.

We were on the Newell Highway for only some 66kms. There were many trucks on it, heading south.

Topped up the fuel again at Peak Hill – 87cpl.

We arrived at Narromine about 4pm. Our site at the Rose Gardens Caravan Park cost $16.20, after Top Tourist discount. We were able to stay hitched up. The park was pleasant enough.

After a minimal set up, John had a nap. I sewed.

I made corn cakes and ratatouille for tea – very nice.

John’s usual, big, TV aerial produced no picture. He hooked up the little Tandy one, wedging it into the folding bar of the poptop roof, and it was brilliant! Work that one out!

04-10-2002 to narromine

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2002 Travels April 5


It was cold through the night, but the day was clear and sunny and a very pleasant day for driving.

We didn’t rush to get up too early, or hasten over breakfast. I made sandwiches for later.

The drive to Canberra was uneventful. It is a route we have travelled before, so there was little novelty about it.

We stopped at Holbrook for fuel – 88cpl.

Ate our pre-packed lunch at The Dog on the Tuckerbox complex, on the northern edge of Gundagai. There was ample room there to park the rig, and we were able to sit outdoors and people watch while we ate. At the apple sales stall there, we bought a $6 bag of Batlow new season’s apples – good value.

We had just passed through Murrumbateman, on the highway from Yass to Canberra, when son-in-law phoned to check our progress. He said he would go home and wait, to let us in.

There were a lot of roadworks on Canberra’s outskirts, which slowed us down.

We found S and J’s place with no problems: through the centre of Canberra, across the Lake, and then it wasn’t far to Deakin.

SIL was waiting for us. The driveway looked very narrow, but John and SIL between them directed my backing in and all was fine. Then SIL went back to work and we unhitched Truck and set up. There was not room for the awning, or any of our outside table and chairs, so it was not a big set up.

04-06-2002 narrow space.jpg

It took some very careful backing to get in here!

John went to suss out the nearby bowls club and returned with the news that he would be playing tomorrow.

The family got home about 7.30pm. We had been told that S would be bringing things home for tea – we were expected to eat with them. It was, for us, very late and we were very hungry by the time S produced a meal of spag bol.

After tea we chatted for a while, before we retired to the van.

The red gum dining table that John made for them – and which they came down and collected earlier this year – looked really good.

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1998 Travels March 7


We were out of the park by 10am, with no dramas.

Had to fuel up in Albury – 74 cpl.

Continued up the Hume Highway. It is many years since I have travelled on this, in NSW. The country was very dry, but with rolling hills and regular little towns, maintained interest. So did regular sections of road improvement works. There are plentiful passing lanes, which is very reassuring for the novice caravanner mixing it with the big trucks.

John wanted to get to today’s destination, rather than stop places and look around, so for me there are a few “another time” places noted.

John found a place in Gundagai where he could park the rig and I walked from there to a bakery a couple of blocks away and bought rolls and an apple cake each, for lunch. We ate these sitting in Truck.

Turned off the Hume Highway at Yass, onto the last stretch for Canberra. That section is very pretty, with the distant mountains, but it was all so dry. The change from broader farmland to more intensive farming and hobby type farms as we got closer to Canberra, was interesting.

I was not looking forward to navigating us through Canberra – on my past couple of visits have had a tendency to get confused by the many roundabouts. But all went ok – we travelled through the centre until I managed to get us onto Constitution Avenue and then the road to Queanbeyan. Of course, there are always roadworks in Canberra, just to confuse directions!

Going to Queanbeyan took us out of the ACT and back into NSW – it is right on the border of the two.

03-07-1998 Albury to queanbeyan.JPG

I saw a Tourist Information sign as we made our way through the main street of Queanbeyan, with a space just made for us at the front, so John was able to pull over – on short notice! I went in and quickly got some basic information material and bought a little map of Canberra and environs, for $2.

Our chosen caravan park in Queanbeyan was up quite a steady hill. The name  Crestview Caravan Park should have been a give away! With the Top Tourist discount, our powered site here cost $76 for a week. This is nicely under the budgeted amount, so pleasing. Our site was a gravel surface, rather than grass, not a very big site, but adequate. The amenities were clean and modern. I was disappointed in one respect, though. Had been looking forward to having the park  pool to cool off in, if the weather turns really hot again. But the pool was closed – apparently a major outbreak of gastro has caused all pools in the region to be shut. Damn. The pool was the main reason I chose this park.

We found that, up on the hill as we were, it was quite windy today.

We set up for an extended stay, had a cup of tea, then went to a local supermarket to stock up on some groceries. John has done very well with all the driving he has done for the past two days. His leg is somewhat sore, but bearable. So there has been significant improvement over the past couple of months.

Went for a walk around the park – it seems to be a mix of tourists and permanents, with the latter being towards the back of the park, whereas we are at the front.

Tea was tinned ham and salads.

As night fell, it got really chilly and I needed to get out the little fan heater from under the bed.

I discovered that the walk to the amenities at night time is quite magic – with wide views across to other suburbs on distant hills. Lots and lots of lights twinkling away. Wonderful.