Thursday, May 31, 2018

Visiting former house sitters at The Gap, near Evans Head

We hang on to our house sitters through thick and thin :-)

Nadia and Sam sat for us in Canberra two years in a row and have since moved to a community settlement called Korinderie Ridge in the bush near Evans Head with their two children Lola and Thomas.  Lola was born while they were at the house in Ainslie and Thomas is a later acquisition.

They are happy here in their house in the bush which Sam has built with his own hands.  We visited them 15 months ago when the house was half way finished.  They are now living in it though there is still quite a few things to finish off.

Looking up at the house. It is on the top of the block with the land terracing down towards the trees.

A view from the deck.  The ocean is there, a tiny bit, on the horizon. 

The community consists of 14 allotments (full quota is 18) sharing the total land of 500 acres.  Each shareholder applies to use a parcel of the land to build on and they need to be accepted by all the members.

Here are Sam and Nadia, as good looking as ever, with Thomas, Andrew and Maxi.

We are having a lovely time here with them.  Some people from the community are coming over for dinner and games tonight.   One man is one of the last of the founding members and he has been here 40 years.  He married three years later and they raised three children here.  What is truly astonishing is that two of their sons have bought in and live here with their families.  The grown-up daughter is still living with the parents but is planning to move to a property nearby where she is growing ti trees.  There is a wide range of ages here, from young couples with small children to retirees.  They have a regular working parties in which members participate as they can and are capable of contributing.

Here we are, eight of us partaking of a lovely chicken curry dinner, followed by a cake from Henry's in Lismore - pistacchio, marzipan and cherry - brought by one of the guests.  All the guests were from within this community.  All good company, friendly and welcoming.  We played Quiddler in 4 teams of 2 people.

On Saturday, there was a working bee including some burning of piles of dead wood that had been collected.

One of the biggest fires near the house.

A closer view of the fire.

The hut for occasional visitors, called The Hilton.  I imagine woofers who often come to The Ridge also use it from time to time.

The communal area with (yet another) pizza oven.  During the summer months there is a weekly Friday night dinner for those that feel sociable.  During the earlier sunsets in the winter months, the weekly social gathering takes place on Sunday afternoons with an early dinner.

After spending three idyllic days here enjoying Nadia and Sam's hospitality, it was sadly time to take to the road again.

The road in and out is pretty steep in places, with concrete replacing dirt there.

We would not fancy trying to navigate the road in wet conditions with Winnie's front wheel drive.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay.  The community here is of a different type, and seems more to our liking, than the one we had tried for two years and left, at Fullerton Cove in Newcastle.  But the isolation here does not really appeal to us, as it does to the nature loving, environmentally sensitive residents who have established a lively, active community here.  We will, we hope, return here as guests in the future.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Woolgoolga Swim School

Joan and son Luke own and run a swim school at Woolgoolga which is some 23 kms north of Coffs Harbour.  They offer swimming lessons and aqua aerobics classes. Luke is amazingly good with kids.  He used to be a teacher and it shows to advantage in the pool.

There are two pools, a lap pool and the pool where the classes are held which is a balmy 32 degrees.

The lap pool is 25m long.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Continuing driving up along the NSW coast

We stopped at a nice little rest stop at Macksville for the night.  As well as the usual grey nomads in their caravan and/or motor home, there were also two small hire cars with a tent pitched on top.  One couple was from Canada and the other part US and part Australia, travelling for a few weeks.  One was a Wicked car, the other a Juicy.  Worthy of a photograph.

At the rest stop, along the banks of the Nambucca River there was this picturesque rock with seagulls covering it.  Another photo-worthy shot.

Then a brief stop at Nambucca Heads with a frothy sea greeting us.

The V-wall beside the mouth of the river, full of colourful painted rocks.  Some people return every year adding something to their favourite rock.

This particular painting of a boy swimming with a turtle is a rather poignant one, celebrating the life of a 10 year old boy who had died.  Many of the painted rocks commemorate someone who has passed away.  Others celebrate lovers or just mention names and birthdays.

Our last stop before Coffs Harbour was at the Urunga Honey Shop.

We had a few days at Coffs visiting Andrew's sisters and playing bridge.  We had a lucky break at the Coffs Harbour Bridge Club.  Because the Bridge mates failed at the previous session and could not produce a result, the day we played everyone got a free session, plus someone had brought in generous pieces of pumpkin which we cooked in Joan's oven (not having an oven in the motor home we appreciate having an opportunity to have access to an oven).  And on top of all that we came first.

We continued on to Woolgoolga which has a large Sikh community.  They hold a curry festival each year and some years back we attended one and had some lovely curries.  This time we just took a photo of the large white Sikh temple.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

A couple of Port Macquarie's beaches

We have been to Port Macquarie several times but we have never before explored the lovely beaches in the city.  They stretch along the eastern side of the town and are really attractive.

Flynn's Beach is the first one we stopped at to explore a little.  Nobby's Hill is in the background.

Nobby's Hill close up.  Andrew of course had to climb it.  Maxi is currently limping, due to an unidentified cause, so he went unaccompanied by dog or woman.

Greek Orthodox church or a lighthouse is the question on every ones' lips?

It is the 1879 built Tacking Point Lighthouse which has been painted many hues including yellow, according to a well-informed local.  In it's present colours, it reminded us of the many churches we saw in the Cyclades islands around Greece.

Another view with Winnie in the foreground.

Winnie in the car park looking towards the long stretch of Lighthouse Beach.

The same beach overlooking the town of Port Macquarie.

The rocks back on the other side of the lighthouse

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Beautiful property for sale at Pampoolah, near Taree

We next visited Pauline and Gil from Taree Bridge Club at their lovely riverside property which is now on the market.  It is on millionaires row on banks of the Manning River and in the 12 years they owned it, clever handyman Gil has improved it a hundred fold.

The riverbank view from the house.

Andrew and Gil sitting on the terrace facing the river.

Looking back at the main house from the old dairy which has been converted into a separate parents' hideaway or a teenager's retreat with its own bathroom and shower with a wonderful bush view.

The Pizza Hut Gil built, with its own chessboard
on the paving.  It is a great place for entertaining a large group.

and the pizza oven.

I know our friend Arthur, in New Zealand. who also built his own pizza oven on their lovely property at Maraekakaho, will be admiring and appreciating the whole construction of the gazebo housing the oven.  (Arthur, I know your oven is bigger 😊😊)

A last view looking back at the main dwelling on this wonderful property.

Pauline and Gil own 20 acres here and they are downsizing to a one acre property up the road with an old house which is Gil's next project.  He has used his 12 years here to expand, renovate, rebuild and beautify the whole place.  And they enjoyed their years along with children and grandchildren running about, fishing, kayaking.  Oh, I mean to mention the built in fishing rod holders at the old dairy.

We were very taken by the beauty of where they live. as well as their wonderful hospitality and  veggies and herbs Pauline gave me as we departed.

I hope they find a buyer who loves the property as well as they do.  We loved visiting.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

A reunion with former travelling companions

We are currently visiting Rob and Denny in their swish new apartment in the centre of Newcastle and reliving our trip starting almost this time last year to the far northern parts of Qld.

The views from their penthouse apartment.

and here we are sitting on the balcony soaking up the view and the atmosphere.

In the evening, after dinner, we settled down to watch the royal wedding.

Meaghen Markle's veil held up by two pages.

Denny, Rob and Andrew, entranced by the spectacle.  Ha ha - they are bemused by the black African preacher's rambling, high wire act during the wedding ceremony.

Actually, it was a fun evening.  It was really good to watch it all in convivial company.

Denny did not want me left out of the blog photos so here I am with camera.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The adventure begins, again, in 2018

Once again we are setting off to escape the Canberra winter.  We took Winnie out of mothballs to set off.  Actually, not mothballs, but moved her from Womboin where the extremely kind couple Linda and Michael looked after it during the summer months.

Back in Ainslie, our new house sitters, Annie and Peter are minding the hearth and home.  We are hoping the winter, which we find somewhat gruelling, does not put them off maybe settling in Canberra in their retirement.

Our first stop was at the disappointing Fitzroy Falls.  Disappointing as it has been really dry and there is very little water.

The cliff over which the falls tumble are impressive.

The view the other way, of the valley.

Hampden Bridge was the next stop.  This is a suspension bridge located in the town of Kangaroo Valley.  It is named after Lord Hampden, Governor of NSW 1895-1899.

At the Berry Showgrounds, we saw this remarkable dog tent.  Campers, with dogs, take note.

The two blowholes at Kiama.  The small blowhole and the big blowhole.  Both spectacular.

We drove through Stanwell Park where the hang gliders soar across the sky.  It is also a beautiful coastline.

A view of the hang glider.