Monday 3 May
Left Sussex Inlet just after 10:00. Stopped in Nowra and visited Bunnings and Barbeques Galore. We wanted to purchase a fire pot as at some camps we wanted a cooking fire but were reluctant to have a fire on the ground. Found a pretty good fire pot at Barbeques Galore. A Webber rectangular “charcoal go-anywhere” barbeque. We will not be using charcoal just wood but it is fairly light and stows well. As well the shape is better suited for using sticks.
So far so good but it was not to last. Looking for a dump site on the northern outskirts of Nowra we did not take the correct turn at a roundabout. No problem just continue 15 kilometres north and turn left at Berry, ignore the sign that says “Not suitable for caravans” and head west for 15 kilometres to Kangaroo Valley. That sign was correct as we soon found out, the road was steep, windy and virtually single lane. On one steep switch back I could not make it even in first gear, Vicki had to scramble out of the car and engage the hubs so that I could use low range to get going. We used low range most of the way to Kangaroo Valley. Vicki tells me that at the highest point it was over 2,000 metres, I didn’t see that sign I was too busy just staying on the road!
It was great to finally arrive at the lovely little settlement of Kangaroo Valley. Lots of motorcycles there, it must be a favourite run for them. We then headed NW to Mittagong on a very steep and winding road but with plenty of width and overtaking lanes. Beautiful scenery. At Mittagong we asked at the Visitor Information Centre about the condition of the Mittagong to Richlands Road that would have taken us due east at the southern extremity of the Blue Mountains Park. We were advised emphatically not to use the road as it was not suitable for caravans, she made it sound as if it was not even suitable for 4WD’s. Anyway as it was now mid afternoon we decided our best option was to head to Goulburn before heading north. That night we made camp at a rest area about 15 kilometres north of Goulburn. We had done a lot of driving and not got very far on the road to Brisbane.
Sunday morning we headed for Goulburn turning north on its outskirts and making for Oberon. This involved a lot of step descents and climbs. Climbing from the Abercrombie River we rose 350 metres in about 2 kilometres, more low range work. Had a walk around Oberon and brought some thick bed socks, it has been getting cold of a night, Oberon is at just over 1100 metres altitude.
We have made camp for the night at Ilford. This is a park next to the community hall and is about 400 metres from the main road so we won’t have much road noise tonight. Because of the terrain we only made about 260 kilometres today, but what scenery. Not a great deal of traffic on the roads but I pulled over regularly to let following traffic pass as we are pretty slow (Oh for a V8). We saw no other caravans all day. I was aiming to get to the Gold Coast by Tuesday but at this rate we may not make it.
Cooked up some lamb chops on the fire pot and have now retired inside. Ilford is at 810 metres and the temperature has already dropped to 11 degrees so it is going to get cold tonight. Have fired up the gas hot water heater and we will have a hot shower before going to bed. Whilst we have heating in the van it requires 240 volt power so unless we go into a caravan park we don’t have heating. If we are going to do much cold country travelling we might have to look at a caravan diesel heater.
Cannot see any houses from our camp site but from over a hill we are hearing someone practising drums! I cannot hear any other instruments just the drums but whoever is playing seems to be very proficient. No 3G coverage here so will publish this when we next have coverage.