While Wal and myself are experienced travellers, and have prepared exhaustively for this journey, we knew there would be some items we missed (or decided to forego) that would come into the reckoning after spending some time on the road. Firstly, we quickly realised that a washing machine would allow us to utilise spare time more efficiently, rather than searching for a laundry or waiting for a machine. We also discovered that an Aussie Traveller Anti Flap kit is the only way to secure an awning effectively in windy conditions (that’s a story for another time). Finally, a satellite dish for TV reception made its way from the luxury list to a necessity, as Wal became increasingly irritated looking for any stable reception in most locations. With all those items sorted, we are set for the next leg of our journey.
As for the travelling itself, our first stop of April was at Seven Mile Beach Caravan Park in Gerro, which was a delight. With both beachside and riverside sites, friendly hosts and guests, we enjoyed every minute of our stay. Too soon it was time for the Sydney Caravan, Camping & Holiday Supershow that we were due to attend. Held over nine days, we met many keen travellers, along with some who were searching for that ideal rig while dreaming of their first trip. It was a pleasure to share stories with old and new travellers alike, and so we were able to impart some of our knowledge and also pick up many tips ourselves. The more we travel, the more obvious it is to us that most of our travel aspirations come from speaking to other explorers.
Regional NSW Navigation & Maps
With a few days to spare before the CMCA 30th Anniversary Rally, we made the most of the journey to Bathurst. After a visit to Canton Beach we were able to spend a couple of nights at Lake Wallace in Wallerawang. Serviced by the council, this free camp was a gem: next to a picturesque lake, plenty of room for rigs, an off-leash dog area and complete with a new playground and space for large numbers over a vast area. As it was still school holidays in NSW, we shared stories with families taking a short break as well as some living and working on the road permanently. I can’t extol the value of getting to know the people you meet on the road enough. Travellers don’t discriminate based on the qualifiers used in day-to-day life; on the road, everyone is equal.
One lovely morning, we unhitched the van and set off in the Ranger to explore the area west of the Blue Mountains: from Rylstone through Glen Alice and Glen Davis to Capertee. This drive takes in Gardens of Stone National Park as well as providing stunning views of Wollemi National Park. While some of the short 4WD tracks around Glen Davis have been closed for conservation, the views made the trip worthwhile even without some of the other four-wheel driving on offer.
Our final event for the month was the CMCA 30th Anniversary Rally held at Mt Panorama, Bathurst. Choosing a campsite near Sofala for the night prior to the event, we were lucky enough to camp with Ray Lawson, who organised the very first CMCA Rally 30 years earlier. What a great gentleman he is, with stories from decades on the road and knowledge of almost every campsite in Australia. Despite our research and prior knowledge, arriving onsite on Saturday morning to find many of the 1100 Campervans and Motorhomes already onsite was a spectacle to behold. At 91, surveying what CMCA has become along with wife Peg, Ray must be amazed and proud of his early involvement so many years ago.
The event was jam-packed with activities and information: most days offered a choice of several seminars, craft, men’s shed activities, poetry, as well as singing and dancing lessons onsite. There were trade and food stalls to cater for all tastes, and all this was supplemented by excursions and a free bus to town for those wanting to venture further. Even the 250 dogs in attendance were catered for with socialisation classes, grooming tips and a dog show. Entertainment each evening was first class. Members are of all ages, from all states and are driving almost every conceivable rig, again making for interesting and stimulating conversation with a liberal sprinkling of valuable information. Our own CMCA membership number is over 90,000, and it is easy to see why members continue to flock to this organisation not only for events such as this but for the wide range of benefits year-round.
After a full month of enjoying the people and places of regional NSW, in May we were heading into the Flinders Ranges, then across the Oodnadatta Track to the iconic region of Central Australia. Keeping a close eye on the weather and track conditions, we are hopeful that our planned route will stay on course.