The final two days of our trip were just for getting home.
Mick always likes to see Mount Warning, which is the first place in Australia to see the sun each day. It is just near Murwillumbah, where his Gran lived for many years. He has climbed it several times and I have climbed it once.
There is a lot of road works happening on the Pacific Highway for an upgrade between Ballina and Woolgoolga, near Coffs Harbour. Mick was asking me to take photos of all the cranes. I don't know how many cranes we went past on our drive, but there were lots and lots of them......and they were BIG.
They were working on this when we came through in July. At the time I took photos of the start of the bridge works on the Clarence River near Maclean. The above photo is from back then. Check out what it looks like now.....
They certainly have made some progress during the last seven months.
See the men in the cherry picker basket. It gives you an idea of the scale of this build.
I'm looking forward to seeing it all finished.
We had planned to have fish and chips for lunch by the river in Maclean, but with all the roadworks we missed the turn off. It actually was a happy turn of events.
There is a little town called Ulmarra just north of Grafton. It is an old river port on the Clarence River. We had visited many years ago, but ever since we have just driven past.
There were lovely old weatherboard buildings in the main street.
We were looking for a cafe for lunch, but the only place to eat was at the pub. You can see why.
How's this for a beer garden. Rather pleasant it was.
Right on the bank of the river. See that gum tree on the right of the photo......there was a bit of a racket coming from it.
It was full of bats! Only this one tree. They weren't in any others. Odd.
We were kept entertained while we waited for our lunch by this fellow. There were loads of water dragons. They weren't the slightest bit shy. I think they were hoping to receive a tit bit from the table.
Lunch was well worth the wait. It was such a relaxing way to spend some time. I can imagine spending a very nice afternoon here, but we did have to keep moving.
On the corner opposite the pub there was a book shop. So many books.
Here is a panorama view of the shop. It was almost overwhelming, as most shelves were two deep.
However, when I requested a certain book, that isn't all that easy to obtain, the owner put his finger straight on it. I have been looking for this book for several years. Yes, I could have bought it on line and I have seen it in a book shop, but I normally just buy at op shops, church fetes, book fairs and the like. This volume was an early copy in excellent condition and all his books were 50% of the marked price. Sold! I'll share soon.
Once we went through Grafton we headed inland again, towards Armidale. We have only been on this road once before, several years ago. It is narrow, rough and windy, but we took our time and it was rather pleasant.
We had no firm destination, but had read that the Ebor Hotel had camping out the back and a good feed. We had expected an old pub, but it was more modern. Apparently, the owners have only taken it over in the last few months and have had to do some major upgrading. Well, what they are doing is working. There was a good crowd there on a Friday night and the food was good.
There were three of us camped out the back. It is set up just like a caravan park. We are enjoying finding little gems like this to stay at. Don't you just love the little cream vintage van.
We didn't realise at the time, but there is a walking path to Ebor Falls from the pub and it is only a very short distance. We drove there the following morning.
Ebor Falls are rather well known and consist of two separate falls. The lower falls are smaller. It was hard to get photos with the sun and shadow. It would be better in the afternoon.......maybe we will have to have another night here.
The upper falls are wider. We were surprised to see how much water was in the river.
There is another waterfall closer to Armidale. We had to travel in a little way off the main road, past these chimneys. It must have once been a substantial house.
Wollomombi Falls are one of the highest in Australia at 260 metres. It was rather small when we visited, but there were photo boards showing it in full flood when it really must be impressive and loud.
It is always nice getting into the northern tablelands. The scenery is rather similar to home. I loved the shape of this shearing shed.
What I did notice was that there were just a few trees starting to change colour. I've noticed it here at home too. A reminder that it won't be long until the hot weather will have passed.
We stopped in Uralla to stretch the legs when we saw another BIG thing go past. This was the generator for a wind farm. You don't realise how big they are when you see them on the top of a tower.
As we headed towards Tamworth and the Liverpool plains the landscape changed dramatically. Any rain has not travelled west of the ranges. It was very dry and very hot.
Just on the outskirts of the village of Carroll, between Tamworth and Gunnedah, there was a small bushfire. The traffic was stopped for a little while, as they extinguished the fire just beside the road. Fortunately, they seemed to have things under control.
The obligatory windmill photo.
Once again, we had no real destination planned. We ended up at the little town of Coolah. They have the best little caravan park. It is a caravan park and "Home Base". There are quite a few relocatable homes owned by grey nomads. It is a small home for them when they aren't on the road. They seem to have a lovely community and it has brought extra people to a small country town. A great concept.
Dinner that night was the first real meal we had cooked since we left home. Mick had made a very low tech pull out table for the tunnel boot of the van and it was time to test out the new Weber barbecue. He was happy to report that both worked well....and the steak tasted great.
There is a book exchange in the camp kitchen. I grabbed this book, after having seen a few Agatha Raisin series on TV, which are rather absurd. It was a quick, easy read and I was able to return it to the book exchange before we left the following morning.
And one final photo of the Coolah valley, which had received a couple of storms and was looking lovely with a little green tinge.
We were home by Sunday lunch time, which enabled us to get the van unpacked and start on the washing that always is a legacy of a trip away.
It really had been an enjoyable time away. We packed in so much in a short time. As I said earlier, not a chill out and do nothing holiday, but they will come another time.