Imagine ‘migrating’ from the UK then deciding to have a look at parts of Australia we’d heard so much about… Just some diary notes below from our adventures…
We Saw several men drinking beer at 7:30.am!
Had breakfast and watched the life of the town; then slept part of the hot day in our small tent, it was 38 degs C, the heat searing us, we just bought ice and fruit.
Back to cool bars in the long main street, to regain our energy later in the day, but loved this place!
Our first days in red earth country, we had no fridge, just a cool box, so only ate fruit on the hot days.
We had moved from a town house we rented to our own home in 1987. As late arrivals we had adapted well, life was good at first. But the world dropped into a recession as we bought the house.
Pretty bad timing as 1988 was a vicious year. I was 50 and husband 53. Yet we loved Australia…
When we decided to go to Broken Hill, we needed a break from reality.
Life had been pretty bleak, and by then we had been working for just over five years. I worked in nursing homes husband in an art studio. The economy was crippling, as our mortgage climbed to 17% or more…. We were not happy and felt trapped.
So the first trip was a way of escaping, we often went to Lakes Entrance or to the hills around Melbourne to camp or take our caravan. It was our salvation in tough times. Our way of blotting it out.
We stopped at Silverton at the famous pub, where there was a three-legged dog, and a great welcome.
I ate Quandong pie which was a fabulous fruit pie. We sat outside then drove into the wider brown and flat world. It was awe inspiring, the land scrubby and dotted with strange fruits. The horizon so wide so empty. But it took your breath away.
We then camped on the banks of the river at Swan Hill, had a meal on the Paddle steamer, which was so beautiful, tranquil and quiet, with just wild life for company.
From our tent we heard the lullaby of water and the sounds of the birds all night. We meandered home after a week or so but fell in love with that red earth, that wide space. It left an impression. We wanted to travel more.
Our next journey was a longer one, we took everything, tent, kitchen equipment, heaters and a variety of clothes for the different climates we would encounter. It was June and we left Gippsland for the east coast a beautiful journey. Seeing many places we had only read about… I was so excited.
Stopped at Lakes Entrance a place we knew well, still bundled up in sweaters and wearing boots. Had a meal at a pub by Lake Tyers and then drove on… 541 kms to Eden.
Onward to Port Mcquarie where we stayed 2 nights, Beautiful motel which back then cost $48, oh for those times again…..By this time, discarding sweaters and wearing shorts.
At Tweed Heads we went to the wrong area, not the best place, but confused by traffic and tired we stopped at a local motel, the owner spoke to us from behind a steel grill… sadly most things in the room were broken.
Left well before breakfast for the next stop, Caloundra which was beautiful. At last we had breakfast!
From Caloundra we drove 431+ kilometers and eventually arrived at Hervey Bay by nightfall… I cooked a meal in our cabin, and paid for 7 nights, which only cost us $22… Just loved the lush scenery, the birds and the beautiful tropical flowers.
Fraser Island (K‘Gari) was so worth seeing. It’s the biggest sand Island in the world… So beautiful.
We treated ourselves to a flight over the island, which was spectacular…. Then had to leave as we were driving inland and didn’t know what the weather would be on our trip home. I was so happy though I had seen sugar cane growing and bananas, a really tropical scene.
At one roadside stop a green frog or two were under the toilet seat… I got used to it. We sampled potent brews at the Bundaberg factory, quite memorable. Loved the smells and the tastes. But we had to move south again…
It was cool and sunny to start with, saw a lot more of inland NSW. Cattle roaming high plains, over volcanic hills. Drove through a cotton growing area with a rough looking little town, and tufts of cotton on the road side.
Stopped at the first place we found… not a good idea; our cabin had a hole in the bathroom wall, out of season repairs needed doing… Our room was so cold, we brought our heater in to help. Went to local bowls club for a meal. Although we had the tent we didn’t use it once this trip…
PARKES & FORBES
Travelled through Parkes and Forbes, wide plains, clear blue skies and cattle and sheep in large numbers. Picnicked on the road side, rolls and cold meat.
Then another cabin at Cootamundra, freezing cold nights. Travelled 549km’s…
There was ice on the inside of the window when we woke. Drove across the snowy mountains… passed hedges with snow on them, and drovers and their dogs moving cattle along. Was in awe of the wide skies and rolling sweep of hills The emptiness was stunning.
MALLACOOTA & LAKES ENTRANCE THEN HOME AGAIN!...
Moved on to Mallacoota, a meal at a restaurant with a beautiful roaring fire. Onward to Lakes Entrance, and then we had to pick up the cat, and go home.
We left with memories we will treasure forever of places we recall and love.
Place names that conjure up pictures and memories.
Like many people we wish we could always travel and be on the road again, but sad to say that is not to be…. just have our photos and reminders which is all that matters.
© 2023 Jacqui Lee