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близу Ashgrove, Queensland (Australia)
had forgotten and then pushed onto hopefully our 1st casmpsite for the Trip - at teh Boonoo Boonoo River Crossing.
Reached the Boonoo Boonoo River early in the Arvo only to find the the spot we wanted already taken.
After looking around a bit, we decided just to set up camp on the opposite side of the road as there was a bit of a flat area that would do for one night. Kids jumped out went straight for the water to explore and go
swimming while we setup camp for the night. Once setup we headed off down the river to check things out and found some nice spots to cool off and relax. Managed to find some wood and got a fire started to cook on and
then spent some time around the campfire before heading off to bed.
Day-2: Early rise and pack up and headed off around 9am making our way south to the Hwy then turning east to Tabulum where we turned south onto Clarence Way. Came to our 1st Clarence River Crossing which would
great Free spot for Camping. We pushed on then turned on Canham Rd and then stopped for lunch on Canham Bridge on the Clarence River - another beautiful spot to relax at. After lunch we pushed on to reach
the Mann River following this southwards. Along this stretch there was again some fantastic free camping along the Mann River. We reached the turnoff where we could the normal way into The Gorge or come in from the
back way through the Forestry - We chose the back way :). This turned out a little more difficult that we had expected, having to make a few backtracking but it turned out to be a "long" but fun way to get into the Park and
required some 4wdriving as well with some very steep inclines and declines so we found out. After what seemed hours we eventually reached the Park late in the arvo to setup camp along the banks of the Clarence River
where we were to stay for the next 4 nights.
Day-3: A Hot Day spent lazing around camp, swimming and fishing, etc. The clouds started to move in giving a little relief from the heat We realized we made a mistake but not putting out the solar panels to charge the
batteries as we realized that the batteries took a big hit from the hot day - this was to be a problem in the following days
Day-4: Woke up to another hot but cloudy day with the low batteries which was a bit of a concern this early into our stay. We re-positioned one of the cars in a way that we could use the car to transport us to the
homestead and the small Creek gorge for a swim and to get out of the heat. Went for a bit of a drive also to try and put some charge back into the batteries and also try and get a signal to find out the weather forecast.
Had a late dinner to the sounds of a
storm building in the distance. As night fell we cleaned up dinner and closed up tents in prep for the coming rain. Then, suddenly out of no where a cyclone intensity type of storm (winds
@ 100+ mph) hit us out of nowhere not giving us any time and we got slammed with all my awnings being damaged & us being pinned between the Landy & the collapsed awning, unable to really move due to the force of
the wind, being pelted from Hail and the whipped up sandy gravel from the ground. Once the Storm had past, we set about trying to find our missing Tents and other gear that had been blown up to 150mtrs down the river.
In regards to the awnings, we managed to salvage one and temporary fix another that we could continue to use for shade for the rest of our stay at the Gorge. We eventually got to bed around 3am in the morning.....
Day-5: Woke up to all our gear being wet but at least we had sunlight to help dry things out. We spent the rest of the morning surveying the surrounding damage from the night before storm, spending the time drying out
everything and looking for some of our gear that was blown away. A few things we couldn’t find but most we did, even though it was some considerable distance away. We heard a few reports of people being injured to the
point that they needed hospital attention... The rest of the day we spent recovering and getting things ready for the New Years celebration.
Day-6: New Years Day - woke up to the weather not looking that flash in regards to solar charging our batteries, so with our batteries at a very low level, the decision was made to pack up, go for a swim in the rock pool
and then head out to the Mann River Caravan Park. The day became hotter and more humid as we slowly packed up. We eventually finished packing up and headed to the rock pool for a swim & cool down before making
our way out of the Park and twds our next nights camp at the Mann River Caravan Park to recoup and chill out from what we had been through.
Day-7: Rose to an overcast morning as we started the pack up, refuelled our vehicles, had a quick swim then and headed off to our next destination - somewhere along the Old Grafton Rd. Crossing the Gilbrator Range we
ran into another heavy rain storm before coming out the other side to Blue skies. We turned onto Old Grafton road and slowly made our way down the range to the Mann River and then onto the Boyd River and continue
reaching Dalmorton in the mid-late avro. We had a quick around at Dalmorton and then checked out the NP's Campgrounds which is not worth camping at, so we then back tracked a couple of kms to find a fantastic camp
on the banks of the Boyd river where we decided to camp for the next 2 day’s/3 nights. At this point I felt myself coming down with a sore throat / cough & a sore ear and sore eyes, which over the next few days turned out
to be a bad case of conjunctivitis.
Day-8: One of the other family's kids also developed an Ear inflection & they decided to head the 1hr into Grafton to try and see the Doctor while we remained at Camp relaxing and just chilling out swimming, etc. Not long
after they left, we had another storm come through and luckily only dump a lot of rain on us this time. The family turned out to be away all day, not getting back until about 7pm - It turned out that there was no available
medical clinics and they ended up having to go to the public hospital to wait and get treated. As it turned out, I should have gotten them to get some eye drops for me, but just didn't think of it at the time.....
Day-9: Awoke up to another restless night with my eyes seemingly getting worse with me having to get up a few times to clean out my eyes out. Spent the Day again just lazing around Camp - swmming; fishing, etc
Day-10: Packup day - A early rise to packup & the decision was made to again head back into Grafton to get some medication for my eyes instead of taking our preferred path through the Guy Fawkes NP down to Ebor Falls.
Reached Grafton mid-morning to buy some medication for my eyes then have a late breakfast - early lunch at the local shopping Centre. Had another fellow Landy owner pull up beside us to say hi and have a chat. That's a
great thing about Defender Owners - their friendliness and williness to chat. I don't know of any other make of 4WD that kinda of thing happens - fantastic :) After our chat and bite to eat, we refuelled and headed back
down towards Ebor and Ebor Falls, then onto Dorringo for a break before pushing onto Platypus Flats to check if it was worth Camping at - From what we saw, it definitely was not worth staying at and it was fully booked
out anyhow, so we pushed pushed onto a little town called "Ulong" where we found a Free Camp along a Creek for the night. A great little spot...
Day-11: Today we headed twds the coast & Coffs Harbour but the back way via Forestry Tracks. We decided to check out a track called "Rocky Trail" - This turned out to be a little bit overgrown and too washed out for our
fully laden vehicles, so instead of risking breakages this late stage of the trip, we turned around to continue our explore of some of the local tracks. Checked out Commando Track which had been graded up to the base of
the steep section where the Track became difficult. We continued onwards to Mt Coramba Lookout, then onto Sealy Lookout before stopping for a late lunch at The Big Banana. With it still being the holiday season and
everything in regards to accomodation still being expensive, we headed north up the coastline to Woolgoolga to book ourselves into a small Caravan Park for our final night & a meal at the local Bowls Club
Day-12: A lazy rise to to pack up and have a quick dip into the pool before refuelling and heading north to have lunch at Ballina. After lunch we pushed onto Tweed Heads and Coolangatta, stopping at Currumbin for another
swim and some dinner before pushing the last leg up the M1 Hwy to HOME @ 08.30pm
Distance Travelled: 1694kms