Arrawarra, Sunday 5 to Monday 6 May 2019

We wanted to get to Byron Bay on Sunday, but we lingered a bit longer at Old Bar than we intended. We had twice stayed at a caravan park north of Woolgoolga on returning from the Sunshine Coast, so we decided to stay there again this time on our way north. We remembered it had the word Lorikeet in the name, but we were unsure exactly where it was. We found one caravan park in the approximate area, but it was not the one, and there were no powered sites available. However, we took a wrong turn on the way out, and ended up in a cul-de-sac after going down a steep hill. The road was sealed, but the Fiat Ducato struggled to get traction on the way back up the hill. This was the first indication that we will have to be very careful about where we go, as the motorhome is front-wheel-drive which is not ideal for a truck where most of the weight is over the rear axle.

We eventually found the Gateway Lifestyle Lorikeet Park at Arrawarra, and we booked an ensuite site as we have done on both previous occasions. The record keeping of both Lani’s On the Beach and Lorikeet was impressive as they had our details already registered in their system from when we stayed previously.

After driving 273 kilometres since Old Bar, Ian was very tired. We had leftovers of spag bol, watched a bit of TV, and hit the sack early.

The next morning, the three of us took a walk along the beach adjacent to the caravan park. For the second day in a row, Dexter had the beach to himself.

Dexter had the beach to himself
Katie came for a beach walk too

Start of our lap of Australia, home to Old Bar, Saturday 4 to Sunday 5 May 2019

We delayed leaving home for our lap of Australia by about a week to let Ian get over a bug he brought back from Hong Kong, and to come down from our big cruise and family reunion. We also had to finish a few jobs around the house before handing it over to our house sitter, Isaac.

So, the is the first post of our travel blog on the third, and largest component of our travel in 2019. It is posted two weeks after the event, but we have been flat out in the first two weeks of our Australian lap.

We planned our trip on an Excel spreadsheet, but we felt far from organised! The general idea is to drive anticlockwise around the island, keeping as close to the coastline as we can with a front-wheel-drive motorhome. This means we need to go inland after Normanton, through Mount Isa to the Stuart Highway, then north to Darwin to avoid some rough unsealed roads. We will also head north after Melbourne and attend the CMCA annual rally in Elmore, and then head home via Canberra.

It is an awesome trip over 6 months. We have the option of coming home early after Cooktown, or after Darwin and the Top End, if we feel we have had enough, and then we can complete the trip next year. Once we are in the Kimberly region we will be committed to the full lap.

Matilda, our motorhome, finally left the Anambah Sanctuary (our home) at 1:00 pm on Saturday with Katie, Ian and Dexter on board, as well as Ian’s Trek mountain bike secured on a new bike rack. We finally started our long-anticipated adventure, and drove north under a cloudy sky with drizzling rain!

Our first destination was Lani’s On the Beach Caravan Park in Old Bar for a night. We planned to catch up with Ian’s auntie, Audrey, and cousin, Avril, next morning. We could choose our spot, as it was not that busy. It is really on the beach, and is in a top location.

Ian’s signature dish for the first night of every trip—spaghetti bolognaise—was again created and enjoyed, with some leftovers for tomorrow night.

Dexter had a wonderful run along Old Bar beach early in the morning. We checked out of Lani’s, brought bread and apple slices at the Old Bar bakery, then had delicious morning tea of apple slice and cream with Audrey and Avril. Even though we had been to Old Bar with Matilda a couple of times previously, this was the first time that Audrey had a chance to come inside and see how we are going to spend the next half a year.

Ian writing up his diary in Matilda the Motorhome, with Dexter on the bed
Audrey, Dexter, Ian & Avril in Matilda the Motorhome