Port Macquarie to Seal Rocks New South Wales 22 - 24 July 2007
30 Jul 2007
After we had parked on our site and connected all the cables and pipes to the van we went for a walk along the sea wall to Town Beach. Port Macquarie sits at the mouth of the wide, Hastings River (named after two famous Scottish Rugby playing brothers), and the breakwater we walked along was at the edge of the river leading to the sea. There were a lot of people out and about walking or fishing and when we got to the beach plenty of surfers riding the waves. Port Macquarie in all the guide books is described as a 'water lover's paradise'.
The coast line around Port Macquarie is dotted with white sandy beaches, punctuated by rocky headlands; there are in fact eight beaches in and around the town. Town Beach is one of Port Macquarie's most popular and is located within walking distance of the town. Having watched the surfers for a short while we continued across the beach and up the steps on the headland to Flagstaff Hill, an historic signal station.
A penal colony was established at Port Macquarie on 17 April 1821 under the command of Captain Francis Alllinen, who was instructed by Governor Macquarie to establish a signal post and a flagstaff on his immediate arrival at Port Macquarie, and on some height. That he did as he was commanded was evident to us standing there today. After gazing out to sea, to see if there were any dolphins or humpback whales, and finding none of either, it became increasingly clear to me that if I wished to see these creatures I would have to involve myself in another boat trip. If needs must then I have the sea sickness tablets ready.
We walked back along the road reading all the information boards we passed on the Heritage Trail informing us of the history of the town. We reached the town and had a walk up the main street returning to the campsite by the sea front again where all the keen photographers were to catch the lovely sunset. This evening we made use of the complimentary internet connection to put stuff on our web site and shared the camp sitting room with a group of young people who are Big Brother and Simpson fans.
Next morning we completed our visa application forms for New Zealand ready to post off today. We got our photos taken in Nambucca Heads at the post office, and after viewing mine I am not sure if NZ will allow me entry, especially with the goings on in Glasgow, the city of my birth. At this point I would like to squash the myth that Jeff has to get up in the morning to switch on the heater. He does do this task but only because he grabbed the outside of the bed on some pretext it was better for his long legs. I would get out and do it but I am trapped on the inside.
The afternoon was spent at the post office and shopping and then a well earned coffee and cookie at the sea front café watching the world go by. In the evening it was over to use the internet and the next instalment of Big Brother and the Simpson's.
Tuesday morning, to the amusement of the campers around, us we measured up our van with a tape measure. The shipping company need these details for transporting it, and we need to e-mail it to the agent so we can get a costing. We also wrote a letter to NZ Customs asking, as UK subjects, bringing in an Australian motor home to their country what; if any additional information did we need to comply with. Once all of this was done we were on our way once more. We took the scenic route passing lots of lovely little bays and coves and stopping in North Haven to post our letter. The shop also was a Lotto outlet so we thought we had better check up to see if we were Lotto Millionaires. The answer to that....... Well wouldn't you like to know?
As we returned to the van we noticed a very popular fisherman, he was busy cleaning his fish with 30 pelicans standing around him. After a home made coffee we were on our way once more and at Kew turned on to the Pacific Highway heading for Tuncurry- Foster. I had been recommended here by fellow campers as a nice place to visit. They are two separate towns separated by a bridge. When I tried to describe it to Jeff I thought of Blairgowrie and Rattery at home, two towns separated by the river Ericht. This bridge was a little bit bigger and spanned the ocean entrance to Wallis Lake. We stopped on the Tuncurry side of the river for lunch and then had a walk along the breakwater before setting off once more.
We are now in the Great Lakes area where the magnificent eastern dividing range forms a dazzling backdrop to a lovely area. The Great Lakes is New South Wales's water playground with 145km of stunning coastline and the glittering waterways based around Wallis, Smith and Myall Lakes. Forest's line the roads and hillsides and at one point it brought back memories of Canada when we travelled along the Great Lakes, only this was much smaller scale. We turned off the Pacific Highway, heading for Seal Rocks and were gaily travelling down the road when we hit a gravel road full of pot holes. It slowed us up a bit but we carried on and were rewarded with a really tranquil spot right on the edge of yet another stunning beach with big waves crashing in on it. It is a really tough job folks. At the end of the road we found a caravan park with power, we had expected to be camping in a National Park which does not have power. So we set up quickly and got out on the beach before it got cold and dark.