Sydney Bound

Fueled and ready to go. The left over Christmas wine has been packed and there was a couple of dozen mixed reds, whites and roses not consumed over the Chrissie and New Year celebrations. Surprising really as we had, in house, Tammy, Brigette and Nick and families over the two weeks. Plenty of beer drunk though and golf played. Who will forget that birdie on the par 5 18th at Twin Waters that allowed me to take the money off Glenn and Nick. I certainly won’t. And the arguements. Took a jury to decide on the Nick v Ralph mini America’s cup catamaran tourney on Lake Novotel after a collision at the final bouy. Ralph took it. And so many children and so much fun.

Had a great Christmas 2019. First time we have all been together in 5 years

The depressing cricket aside (Aus 3 NZ not really even a starter) it was a fantastic festive season. Not sure whether it is easier to take the old Aussie attitude a la Steve Waugh of the hopeless Black Caps who can’t play or the new generation of “What fantastic chaps and sportsmen they are those Black Caps” from Tim Paine as the Aussies thrash our backside either way.

First stop Grafton. defn. a country backwater, I mean, city of 20,000 on the Paciific Highway. Home to the famous? Grafton Jacaranda Festival each November and serving the local rural community, Grafton is 200km by road from the Gold Coast. Epithets aside the Grafton campground was tops. We were entertained in the camp kitchen by a lovely Maori lady from Auckland (been in OZ for 30 years) on guitar who had come in from the hills to give a guitar lesson. We gathered cropping was a major enterprise “in the hills”. The problem with Grafton is that we had to drive through the Gold Coast to get there. To my mind the Gold Coast can be described as the glamour coast, surfer’s paradise, shopping centre sprawl or shithole – take your pick. Certainly the 150 kms of M1 that goes through it is as unpleasant a drive as it is possible to find. I have driven through a reasonable number of countries in the world and Aussie drivers take the cake as the worst anywhere. Tailgating, absence of use of indicators, speeding, speeding while tailgating, driving 20kms below the speed limit in the outside lane, constant lane changing, constant lane changing while speeding and just general rudeness are the norm. These traits seem to be taught at drive school. Otherwise the Pacific Highway is a quite pleasant open highway.

We left Grafton behind us after an enjoyable night and another disappointing batting collapse by the Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash. So much talent, so little application. We had a quiet trip on the Pacific Highway with little evidence of the fires that had raged there apart from a 5 km stretch past Foster. The road signs had melted giving an eerie Transylvanian feel and the smoke smell still lingered after a week or so. Happily the farmhouses dotted along the roadside were untouched. Our destination was Buladelah some 5 hours drive from the northern suburbs of Sydney and Narrabeen Campground where we are ultimately headed. The campground we had decided on turned out to be some two kms out of town and looked more permanents than travellers. A quick drive into town uncovered a new Big 4 on the edge of this small country town. “Open three weeks” was the greeting from the owners at reception and their nervousness showed. But what a little jewel. Big 4 River Myall Holiday Park was just what we wanted. Two thirds full so plenty of room and modern facilities. The new bathroom taps with water and dryer in a T formation over the basin had MTC fooled. Desperate to wash her hands she was able to dry them and wet them at the same time. Bulahdelah is small town mid north coast NSW 98 kms north of Newcastle, population 1,500. Serving the local farming community and with a logging background Buladelah looks a little down on its luck but we were assured that with the pub having changed hands and being updated and the IGA having a refurbish things were on the up and up. With the new holiday park we could only agree. The chicken parmi at the pub was – well let’s just say sufficient. The next days final stretch to Narrabeen campground is stressful as the last 50kms includes the leafy and narrow streets of Hornby and St Ives where the posh people live. The frustration of the Lexus and Mercedes drivers was palpable as I navigated (slowly) beneath overhanging trees and narrow lanes along Telegraph Road, past Knox Grammar School and onto Mona Vale Highway and freedom. MTC commented on what a hypocrite I was. “You’d be the first one cursing the bloody travellers” she summarised.

Narrabeen Campground beside Narrabeen Beach. Has the bonus of a 50 metre ocean pool for doing lengths and keeping fit

The attraction of Narrabeen is that it is the only caravan park on the Northern Beaches of Sydney and is some 35 minutes by bus to Manly where Brigette, Ralph, Elodie and Alex live. We become unpaid but much loved grandkid sitters for January before school returns late in the month. The sun is shining, the beaches are golden and the shopping is nearby! What could be better.

9 thoughts on “Sydney Bound

  1. Hey, there Johnny English. Bye bye Johnny English!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    [Grandad also known as Johnny English]
    From ,unknown


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