We left Springwood in the early afternoon, with the rain on its way. Joining the typically heavy Friday* afternoon traffic heading north on the F3, we were dealt with some heavy rain as well. However the rain provided some spectacular features by way of countless cascades down the cuttings along the descent towards and ascent away from the Brooklyn Bridge. This was the highlight of our outbound drive, apart from giving the tribe their first experience of a Happy Meal from McDs – which they all enjoyed (as a very special treat mind you).
Due to the rain and the darkness, we succumbed to checking into a cabin at the Pacific Palms Holiday Park in Raymond Terrace. This proved to be a good thing in the end as our Eagle (camper-trailer) somehow had a leak – and setting up camp in the rain and dark was not the way we wished to begin our Big Trip! (yeah we’re a bit soft).
Saturday morning welcomed us without the rain and some blue sky – this was more like it. Our first major destination is to visit and stay with Kate, Giles, Jordan, Mardae and Bitz, who live on the Sunshine Coast, so the plan is to generally drive up the Pacific Hwy.
After stopping in Taree for lunch and provisions, we made it past Port Macquarie before deciding we needed to stop for the night, which we did at Stoney Park, a few kms north of Port. Here we stayed two nights to reassess our packing and begin to reacquaint ourselves with the Eagle and camping life, plus let the tribe run around rather be cooped up in the car. The place had a small playground and a huge trampoline which were both well used by the tribe. Also kangaroos came by the campsite for their morning feed which amused the tribe.
Based on the suggestion from Kate and Giles, our next stop was to be Yuraygir NP near Brooms Head. Unfortunately, thanks to our short daylight hours, we don’t seem to be able to drive far enough so had to make do with a rest area beside the Pacific Hwy just south of Grafton.
‘We’ll have to fall asleep between the trucks’, M said – as the rumble of another semi or 18-wheeler vibrated the Eagle. The trucks provided the serenade to which the tribe had no trouble sleeping – just the usual bickering of who was touching whom as they settled into sharing their space in the queen bed. M and I, on the other hand initially struggled with the trucks thundering past as we had made ourselves more conscious of the noise, although, of course, eventually tiredness overcomes anything.
(* Friday 4 June)