Our first 1000km mark was reached as we drove through the beautiful country around Inverell yesterday. We had started slowly by spending 3 days free camping at Lake Macquarie at a great place called Mayuna Bay, checking everything worked at it should and finding new homes for gear that needed easier access (or needed to be stored more securely!). Drove over to Toronto for lunch at the Diggers Club and bought fishing licences so we could ‘drop a line’ as we made our way through northern NSW. Carolyne bought an Ozlotto ticket and was told she had a $345 prize waiting for her – guess who’s buying lunch!

Leaving the Lake on 3rd February we next headed for Bulahdelah as WikiCamps indicated another good free spot and they were correct, the Lions Club has funded a good facility under the bridge into town and provided water and it’s just a short stroll across the bridge into town for another excellent lunch in the pub bistro. The town was bypassed and so welcome visitors that spend some money in the town.

After 3 enjoyable days there we intended to free camp again around Belligen, but decided to splurge on a night at the Foreshore Caravan park at Nambucca Heads. $34 for a powered site plus $4 to wash all our clothes and have 2 showers each – it was worth it we decided. That evening thousands of flying foxes flew over the park to roost (is that what bats do?) for the night.

Late getaway the next morning and off to explore around Dorrigo via Belligen. We had heard the road was a little steep and the Pajero ‘warmed up’ a little more than normal, but no dramas and the ‘train field at Dorrigo’ (Google it if you are a train enthusiast) was an interesting diversion. We had a fair way to go to get to our next free camping spot at Mother of Ducks Lagoon at Guyra so we continued on our way. The lagoon was a little tricky to find, but the local info centre lady pointed us in the right direction. The sunset that evening was beautiful.

That brings us to today. We are at ‘Cranky Rock’ reserve a few ks from Warialda and it’s been two days of 37 in the shade, so we are acclimatizing ourselves for this kind of heat the further west we get. A bit of a drama after our first night as the fridge decided it was also too hot and our food was in risk of spoilage. So we bought some bags of ice in town and kept our fingers crossed. This morning all was well again and we are at a good 3 degrees – yippee!

Plans are to get to Bourke by the end of the month and then Birdsville after that.

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