It’s been over a month since my last post. Coming back to Sydney and our property at Windellama in the Southern Tablelands, keeps us busier than when we’re on the road, with family get togethers, friends coming over, water tanks being installed and site preparation for a future shed, just some of the activities we’ve been up to.
Our last stop before returning to Sydney, was at Old Bar, which has been on the news yesterday because of the fires on the north coast of NSW. Thankfully, I think the town was mostly unscathed.
Old Bar is a small coastal town with a few shops, restaurants, and a club. The caravan park is on the beach, and we decided to pull up there on the Wednesday before the October long weekend for a couple of days. We were told that the Old Bar Festival was happening on the weekend, and no sites would be available then anyway. The park’s reception is decorated with Kombi van memorabilia, and we didn’t think anything of it, until we realised there were a number of Kombis in the park, and more and more coming by the hour. The Old Bar festival’s highlight is the Kombi parade, where owners drive their vehicles in procession, stay at the park for the weekend sharing their Kombi obsession, and basically having a good piss-up together. There ended up being over 300 vehicles!
Once we realised this was going to be too good to miss, we managed to convince the park to find us a site for one more night, so we could see the parade at least but not knowing what else to expect.
The festival markets were the best we’ve been to in a while with live music, plenty of food options, including a Russian food van with cabbage rolls, pelmeni, vareniki and Napoleon cake, as well as endless art and craft stalls. There was a carnival with sideshow alley and rides on Friday and Saturday night, as well as fantastic fireworks on the vintage airfield to top it all off. We ended up staying Saturday night as well but got caught stealth-camping (otherwise known as free camping but specifically in residential areas) on the road heading into the Manning Entrance State Park next to the airfield.
I’m not convinced we were illegally parked, but the festival organisers had hundreds of people paying $50 a night for a patch of grass on the airfield, so they normally wouldn’t let us stay where we were for free, in view of the paying campers. Being so late (it was about 10:30pm) when they knocked on the door, and with Mark claiming to have had too much to drink to drive the Explorer (which was a lie but we were trying to stay put), the organiser said we should drive quietly into the airfield and if we leave before 8:30am we wouldn’t have to pay. We were gone by 7:30am.
While in Sydney we’ve caught up with my family for the October birthdays, of which there are 6 including our son Daniel’s. It rained that day of course, so brother Glenn again offered up his house for the 35ish of us. Nothing like close, very close, happy families!
While in Sydney, we stealth-camped around Rose Bay, Dover Heights and Vaucluse. I figured as long as we only stay a maximum of 2 nights in one spot, don’t stay in narrow, crowded streets where its hard for the residents to park, and definitely not where there are No Camping signs, then it should be OK. I rang Woollahra Council to check their policy on sleeping in vehicles on public roads, and they said they would have to get back to me. They didn’t, so we did!
On the 15/16th October, we went to the Explorer rally at Gulgong, where we met many of the other owners of the same brand motorhome. It was a very educational weekend and a really fun group of people. Our Explorer is the one with the blue-green stripe, behind the one with the beautiful graphic. It’s the first Pathfinder model on the road, and the only one at the rally. Next year when the rally is in Victoria, there’ll be more.
On Daniel’s actual birthday we got together to celebrate with Daniel and his girlfriend Thi, as well as with Emilie and her partner Helen’s parents Anne and Jeff who were holidaying from Manchester, England. Helen was sick unfortunately and couldn’t make it. Anne and I got along really well, and didn’t stop chatting all night.
On the 24th and 25th October we went to the Orange Farm Field Day, 3rd year in a row, but this year found it less relevant since we are travelling. But the dog trials are always fun to watch, and we got some quotes on a shed we want to put in Windellama. It also gave us an excuse to stop in at Bathurst on the way back to Sydney to see our niece Elyse and her son Macen, and to see my brother Peter and his family, where we camped on the front lawn. Can’t beat this free/stealth camping!
The busyness doesn’t end there, as we met Mark’s American cousin Boris and his wife Ella in early November and took them on a tour around Sydney and the East. Mark and Boris had not seen each other in 45 years! They were lovely people and appreciated that we took them to see so much during their short 2 days in Sydney.
Coming up we have the wedding of Mark’s 3rd (I think) cousin David on the 17th November, for which I have to find a dress. All my nice clothes are in storage at Watsons Bay! We haven’t been clothes shopping in a while and will get to check out Canberra shopping as its closer to Windellama.
In the days in between events, we’ve been staying at Windellama and getting some projects ticked off the To Do list. The top priority was to get more water, as the 5000L tank is not sufficient for extended occupation, if we decide to stay here more often after we finish travelling Australia. We’d organised the site preparation and ordered the tanks before we returned, so that we could be here when they were installed. They are enormous, but with normal rainfall should fill up while we’re away over the next 6-8 months. We do a rain dance whenever we see clouds overhead!
We just had our friend Sue, her daughter Nicole and dog Mio, to stay with us a couple of nights. They enjoyed the trees, open space and fresh air, and Mio was definitely not happy to get into the car to leave! We love it here too but are also itching to get back into the Explorer again. Not long now…