Oldies at Large – Back on the Wallaby

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 7.53.13 amWe are back ‘on the Wallaby’ again and I couldn’t be happier. The camp at home is a good camp … but it doesn’t have the attractions of the bush freecamp. We’ve left the Grampie Flat (caravan) behind having lined up all manner of maintenance and apart from the occasional ‘drop in’ at the home site to attend to these things, we are spending the next three months living out of our cruiser.

Doesn’t that sound like roughing it! It isn’t really and there are some wonderful delights about this arrangement. Firstly we get to attend to a few family occasions up and down the east coast and we soon will have a Grandie with us for a fortnight, as we introduce her to the sounds of the bush and the sights of the big smoke when we hit Sydney for a spell in a week or two.

We’ve acquired an addition to our camping retinue, a spiffy 4×4 RV shade which acts as a tent with height that attaches to your car and provides privacy and shelter, an extension of your vehicle. Most people I figure sleep in their vehicles and this becomes a privacy room. For us though, we tuck the swag under its shelter, or under the annex on the side of the cruiser when needed and use the vehicle for storage, kitchen, camp closet and any manner of things. It works well.

So this is our home of a sort for the next three months and I find it very comfortable and practical. We also will be spending time resorting it around the place and we have already made some bookings, several which take advantage of mid-week cheapies and the rest of the time we will be ratting it around the forests and national park fire trails and old tracks having a whale of a time.

Preplanning all this has made this option cheaper than staying on the home site, with a few notable exceptions along the way that you will hear about in due course. The resort stays will be time to spruce up, wash up and clean up, along with allowing us to explore the towns around us.

Scotty dogThe pups are back at the home site… we didn’t bring them along this time due to the constraints of travelling through the National Parks and having the furred companions in resorts. I will miss them sorely but they are very comfy at home under the care of some very special people. There will be times in the next three months, some notable and lengthy, where I will be unable to post regular blogs due to practical constraints but I will try my darndest to keep you posted.

Nulla_Nulla_Cover_for_Kindle copyIn the moment I am sitting enjoying the sunrise at one of the most delightful free camps on the NSW central hinterland/inland. This is camped up on the Mann River Reserve up the far reaches of the Clarence Valley, along the old Grafton Road in the wilds of the NSW. It is beautiful here and the freecamp, without a challenger, is one of the best in NSW. The only amenity of convenience to talk of is the singular loo block. There is no water aside from the Mann River, which is a few steps away but there are a number of convenient bush camp BBQ’s of the old design with billy hooks and hot plates. The like can be seen on the cover of one of my books, Nulla Nulla, which celebrates colonial Australia.

Nulla Nulla is a collection of colonial poetry and prose by C.R. Mackaway who grew up in the colonial era in the Hunter Valley and his memoirs are wonderful to read. Pop over to Amazon and have a read of the first few pages and let him take you back to colonial Australia.

Roos on TuronWhat is a true delight though are the wallabies and roo’s who make their way through the camp enjoying the soft fresh grasses particularly in the morning and evenings. Added to this are the birds, their song you can hear from dawn to dusk, a gentle twitter often or a sweet chatter between them. I love this type of living, the warmth of the campfire at night, the sweet sound of rain on the canvas. The tumbling gurgle of water over rocks from the river at our toes 24/7 is a lovely soothing sound I find.

Talking to other freecampers yesterday we also heard some intriguing history. Those who know the old Grafton Rd, coming down from Glen Innes will know how windy and steep it can be as you drop down from the inland plateau. It was here that they sited several gunneries during the war, designed to destroy the road should the Japanese invade our land … shades of ‘Tomorrow When the War Began’ an intriguing fictional tale of the invasion of Australia’s shores in a contemporary world.

These gunneries littered inland Australia’s main roads south of the Brisbane line and have now become a legend of the past. Many now dismantled and destroyed, lost in a time of war where Aussies were more fearful of a future. We forget these things and it is in histories such as this that I want to bring to the attention of the Grandies, my precious grand children who know so little of their own historical heritage, mostly because their formal education is in so inadequate in these things. But that is another post.

Happy Reading and I hope you will enjoy travelling with me as we explore the land. You are welcome to follow me on our journey and receive notice when I post something up. You can do this by pressing ‘follow’ on this page, or pop over to my Facebook page and follow there and you will get notice and links when a new posting is made here.

Catch you around the rims.

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