Thursday, 12 December 2013

Heading North, October–December 2013


Clarence Town, NSW

  • Stopped off here (after Sydney) to visit my brother Brett and sister-in-law Chris in Brandy Hill.  We had a lovely quiet afternoon swapping family gossip.


Gloucester Caravan Park

  • 1 night – just passing through.  We stayed hitched for a reasonable start.  Gloucester is a lovely place to lolly-gag in, but we are now in “move it along” mode.



  • Stayed with Colleen and Alan for a couple of nights, discussing next years housesit


Glen Innes Showgrounds

  • 2 nights while the battery was replaced on the van brake-safe system


Sommerville Valley Tourist Park

  • 3 nights here to do some shopping in Stanthorpe, and making a decision on where to stay next.


Lowood Showgrounds

  • 1 night only.  We had planned on a few days here, as it is quite a nice spot, but one of the local houses seems to contain the local dog refuge – and the barking from multiple dogs continued through the afternoon, and most of the night.  Pulled stumps next morning.  This has now been marked as a no-go!  Pity!


Esk Caravan Park and Somerset Dam

  • 1 week – a lovely spot.  I cannot say enough nice things about this park and it’s owners.  The park is lovely and still undergoing a continuous improvement process.  The new owners bought the park maybe six-eight months ago and have made a huge difference.  Rick has put a report into Badgers Caravan Reports (Esk Caravan Park Link).  Whilst there, we took a drive out to Somerset Dam and visited both the campground (very nice) and the day-use area.


Somerset Dam QLD Oct 2013

Somerset Dam from The Spit Oct 2013

The Tug @ Somerset Dam QLD  Oct 2013







Jacaranda in flower



Creek @ Esk Caravan Park Oct 2013

Flood damaged shed at Esk Caravan Park Oct 2013

Walking path @ back of Esk Caravan Park Oct 2013

Sleepy koala

Camp ground Esk Caravan Park


Pine Rivers Showgrounds

  • 3 nights – the van was going into Kedron for some work.  Mainly adding a new solar panel (making 4), and changing out the old battery charger.  It was working fine, but apparently they have a habit of kicking the bucket without any warning.  Better be safe than sorry!  Deb and Glen (fellow Kedron Owners) visited us for happy hour.  Great to see them.  They have just sold their home nearby, and are deep in the throes of getting ready to hit the road full-time.  Good on ‘em!


Bongaree Caravan Park, Bribie Island

  • 6 days of peaceful lollygagging.  Didn’t really do much.  Took a drive around Bribie (not that that takes a long time), and visited an upcoming Mater Prize Home.  For the uninitiated, these are homes which are built (or renovated) and put up as raffle / lottery prizes.  Total value on this house (plus the ancillary cars, boat, furniture etc.) is something like $1.1M.  We both loved the design of the home which is sited right next to the Bribie Golf Course, so bought 5 tickets ($10 worth).  There is plenty of room for the van, but somehow, I can’t see us taking up anything other than a passing residence.
  • Whilst here, we celebrated the anniversary of the day we met, 40 years ago.  It’s always been a special day for us as it is also Remembrance Day.  We had an enjoyable feast of crisp fish and chips, while watching the sun set from the foreshore.

Bongaree Caravan Park, Bribie Island 2013

Sunset on our anniversery, from Bongaree, Bribie Island

Bushfires flared up again Saturday morning at Ningi across from Bribie Island Nov 2013

Glasshouse Mountains from Bongaree at Bribie Island

Across Deception Bay to Scarborough and BrisbaneBongaree Beach QLD


Pine Rivers Showgrounds

  • 6 nights – we missed most of the rain, but had a couple of drenchers.  Discovered a leak in the roof of the van where the new panel had been installed.  The Kedron guys came out late that afternoon to fix, so fingers crossed.  The storm clouds were a bit scary, but we were very lucky once again, most of the really bad weather missed us completely.  No complaints whatsoever.
  • The major reason for being here in the dreaded city was Rick’s two appointments (over 2 days) with his Dermatologist for skin cancer checking.   Two biopsies were taken (1 each day) from back and inner thigh, both of which proved to be benign.  Additionally, great news, because Rick has been melanoma free for 2 years now, he can drop back to 6 month checks rather than 4 monthly.  Makes his life a little bit easier.


Pine Rivers Showgrounds - incoming storm!!

Luckily we missed most of this storm!


Big 4 Forest Glen

  • 4 nights – Dad and Denise finally made the move to Sippy Downs (Sunshine Coast) earlier this year, so we camped at Forest Glen (5km away from their new home) so that we could visit and catch up.  I was able to work through some family history information and photos while Denise pottered about making a lovely BBQ lunch.  We also caught up for coffee the day before we left for Lake Cooroibah to stay with Nelly and Terry.  Not being a big fan of Big4 caravan parks, I was pleasantly surprised at Forest Glen.  It is a lovely location – green and full of plants and trees.  There is very little noise from the Bruce Highway considering how close it is, but being “suburban”, there is obviously a lot of traffic and people.  And those “****” roundabouts.  I would hate to be in this park (or any caravan park) over school holidays.  You would not be able to move.


Lake Cooroibah

  • 6 nights of peace and quiet with Nelly and Terry.  We did nothing more than shopping, talking and making appointments for when we come back.  N&T are traveling to Canberra for Christmas to see their family, and have asked us to look after the property while they are away.  Great timing – of course we said YES!
  • We’ve also still got a very slight leak in the van roof, so Rick and Terry got on top and stuck silicone everything within sight.   The area around the the TV antenna was a bit suspect, and we may end up replacing the whole antenna.  It’s never really recovered from the pounding it took in WA from the tree branch falling on it.


Standown Caravan Park and Rainbow Beach

  • Standown Caravan Park is almost like a second home to us, and we were very happy that the  2013 Kedron Owners Christmas Party was being held here on the weekend of the 29th November.  We booked for the week from 28 Nov with anticipation of a good “do”.  Rod and Pam (owners of the park) do the catering, and prepared a beautiful meal.  I get ahead of myself however!  When we arrived, there were already a few Keddies in residence with more due over the following couple of days for a total of 26 vans.  That’s 56 people.  Big party!!!  Another 2 unaffiliated Kedrons were also discovered there, quite by coincidence, and they joined in the festivities quite happily.   Additionally, existing residents of the park, whether they are permanents of just travelling through were welcomed to the fun.
  • Dinner was to be held on Saturday night, but on Friday afternoon (leading up to happy hour) a number of “ice-breaker” type games were played which started the the gathering off on the right foot.  Saturday was the day for “Secret Santa” which was hilarious, then happy hour, then dinner.  The entertainment for dinner was Les, an old mate of Rod’s (and surprisingly Rick’s as well – an ex-Junior Recruit from the same 1963 intake as himself).  He played ukulele (sort of OK), guitar (very well) and sang!!!!!!!  The less said about Les’s singing the better – suffice to say that everybody had a great deal of fun, way too much food and drink, and staggered off to bed late and very happy.
  • Saturday was followed by Sunday (as it does) and we all headed off to the local hotel (Silky Oak Hotel).  This is a funny little place about 2km away from Standown which I can highly recommend for the food, ambience and music on a Sunday afternoon.  The meal sizes are gigantic, but most people seemed to have the capacity to cope.  Rick had a lovely piece of the local parrot-fish with chips and salad which he thoroughly enjoyed, but my stomach was still trying to deal with last nights dinner, so I had only a few chips.
  • All in all, a great weekend was had by all!
  • Most people pulled out on Monday, and by the time we left on Thursday, Standown had returned to its normal serenity.  Brett and Joanne visited us from Hervey Bay on Wednesday, and we had a lovely BBQ lunch.


Toyotas owned by Kedron Owners Group

Kedrons at Standown Caravan Park

Kedrons at Standown Caravan Park

Veterans' Memorial at Standown Caravan Park

Veterans' Memorial at Standown Caravan Park

Rainbow Beach QLD

Rainbow Beach QLD

Rainbow Beach QLD


Lake Cooroibah

And now we are back at Lake Cooroibah.  Nelly & Terry are probably leaving on Monday or Tuesday for Canberra and I’ve just organised our Christmas Day with Dad & Denise.  They will come up here Christmas morning and we shall feast on Chrissie goodies!  I’m having a biopsy on my nose this afternoon, and I’m seriously not looking forward to it.  The surgeon has already been warned that I may attempt to escape and he promises to be very gentle!!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

2 Oct to 13 Oct 2013 Lane Cove River Tourist Park

And so began the dreaded (for me anyway) trip from Norah Head to Lane Cove, Sydney.  Whilst I've been looking forward to the International Fleet Review 2013 (IFR) and the 1963 HMAS Leeuwin Junior Recruits Reunion, I had been avoiding all thought of the actual stay in Sydney.  Neither Rick nor myself like cities at all, especially large, busy ones – and Sydney definitely covers that description.  As it turned out, we were worrying over nothing at all.  certainly, the drive into and out of Sydney was somewhat traffic laden, but it was at least fairly straight forward, on major roads.  Lane Cove River Tourist Park, when we arrived, was a complete eye-opener.
Here we are, almost within stone-throwing distance of the harbour and city centre, surrounded by National Park.  It is a lovely park to stay in, walking distance to rail and bus transport, and we only paid just over $32 per night after a seniors discount.  Outstanding I’d say.  The only downside came when the weather was coming from the south-east and every plane that took off from Sydney Airport came right over the park!  Ear plugs were the order of the night!  But that wasn’t every day, so it wasn’t all that bad.  Lots of greenery, flowers, birds and assorted critters, and other campers more than made up for the planes.
Additionally, we got friendly with a few naval types and their spouses who were in Sydney for the IFR, together with others who were also in Rick’s year of intake into the Navy.  Just like “Old Friends Week”.  It was great catching up with old friends and making new ones.  Between the IFR and Reunion, we made several trips into town by train and had a great time.
Rick took some great photos, so I’ll let them tell the rest of the story.

Tall Ships Boat Cruise

Sydney from train crossing Harbour BridgeHMAS Vampire & Oberon Class submarine in front of the National Maritime MuseumIFR Week - Sydney Showboats Harbour lunch cruiseLet's go!  I'm ready!!IFR Week - Sydney Showboats Harbour lunch cruiseIFR - Tall Ships entering Sydney HarbourIFR - Tall Ships entering Sydney HarbourIFR - Tall Ships entering Sydney HarbourIFR - Tall Ships entering Sydney HarbourIFR - Tall Ships entering Sydney Harbour - Bridge and Luna Park in backgroundIFR - Tall Ships entering Sydney HarbourIFR - Tall Ships entering Sydney Harbour - Spirit of New ZealandIFR - Tall Ships entering Sydney Harbour - the heel on the sailing ship shows the strength of the windIFR - Tall Ships entering Sydney Harbour - Sydney skylineIFR - Tall Ships entering Sydney Harbour - Opera House and BridgeIFR - Tall Ships entering Sydney Harbour - Picton CastleIFR - Tall Ships entering Sydney Harbour - bloody weather!!!!

IFR Memorial @ Cenotaph, Martin Place, Sydney

IFR 2013 Memorial at CenotaphIFR 2013 Memorial at CenotaphIFR 2013 Memorial at Cenotaph

IFR March – all Navies present, George Street, Sydney

IFR 2013 MarchIFR 2013 MarchIFR 2013 MarchIFR 2013 MarchIFR 2013 MarchIFR 2013 MarchIFR 2013 MarchIFR 2013 MarchIFR 2013 MarchIFR 2013 March

Reunion Dinner Cruise – MV Fusion, Sydney Harbour

Barry & KaymarieGay, Kaymarie, Barry, Lea, RickHappy dinersJames loves his Hawaian shirtsConclusion of a lovely mealConclusion of a lovely mealLuna Park, SydneyRugbyRon, Mike (with cakes), Manic MickManic Mick!The formal part of the eveningPresentation to RugbyRonPresentation to RugbyRon