About Us

My photo
In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Final day of our travels and end to the perfect 6 month tour.

It was the final day of the Queensland tour. We decided to make a detour from Oberon to go and see the Zig Zag railway in Lithgow. A sorry sight greeted us, especially the steam engine and carriage. Such a shame as this was one train journey we would have enjoyed and would have been a fitting end to our adventure but following bushfires and then floods in 2013, it was closed until further notice. Restoration work had started and it was hoped that the railway is reopened in 2017. Judging by the state of the place this won't happen for a long time.

 A good hour was spent wandering around and ever mindful that snakes might be nearby, making as much noise as possible on the walk to the tunnel was a necessity. I chickened out going in, well one never knows what nasty surprises may be in store. Anything could be lurking especially here in Oz.

Heading back to Sydney we had one other stop to make. The very last waterfall of the trip, Wentworth Falls. The mist and low cloud had suddenly started to roll in and we were lucky to catch a glimpse when we did. A few minutes later and nothing could be seen.

This looked interesting. A walk under the cliff wall. Not enough time to do that and it was pouring with rain. Another one to do when we return in the future.

I cannot believe how time has gone by so quick. Almost seems like yesterday we flew into Sydney and that was for Liz and Rich's wedding last October. One last wedding to attend, our second niece Jennifer and Eddies on Saturday. The weather has been atrocious lately with heavy rain and thunderstorms most days. We are all keeping everything crossed that Saturday will stay dry.

Monday 20 March 2017

All that rain throughout NSW and here in Oberon Blue Mountains they are crying out for some of the wet stuff. Good for us but not good for those that live here.

So today we went to the Jenolan Caves. From Oberon, it is only 28km, but the road is narrow with jutting out rocks and really is unsuitable for large vehicles. Instead, we had to go the long way around adding another 50km to our journey. Even that road was a bit hairy with a descent of 8 km with sharp U pin bends.  Luckily we only met one other small truck and that was on a wide bit. Anywhere else and we would have been in serious trouble. The tour started at 10.30am, which we made by the skin of our teeth, but 90 minutes underground with amazing stalactites and stalagmites as well as crystals shining like diamonds was well worth the $80. 386 steps up and down still made me very breathless, though, and I vowed that on our return to Oberon a doctor would be sought.

The entrance to the Jenolan Caves

A lake by the cave entrance was a short walk away. Said to have Duck-Billed Platypus we walked around to look for them. Of course, we didn't find any because it was much too early in the day for them to put in an appearance but we did notice the so-called 'blue lake' was actually green!

Our return to Oberon took roughly an hour and the first thing to look for was a doctor's. A medical centre was right in the heart of town and, not expecting to get an appointment, was very surprised when I could be seen at 4.30pm. Only an hour to kill and such a nice doctor when I did get in to see him. Nearly a full MOT and apart from a crackly lung and a slightly raised blood pressure he said I was remarkably fit for my age. So I came away with antibiotics, a repeat prescription if it doesn't clear up, $65 lighter for the consultation and another $19 for the tablets. Didn't think that was too bad and if it does the job, I will be one very happy bunny. I did ask about alcohol intake with the tablets because of Jennifer's (second niece) wedding on Saturday as I wanted to join in on the toast with some bubbly. He okayed that so now even happier.

Back to my brothers tomorrow. Will do a big campervan clean before returning it on Wednesday. Only one more adventure to come and that is on our way home beginning of April. Then we fly to Hong Kong for 5 days. In the meantime, I look forward to Jens wedding and me and my twin brothers birthday on the 27th.

Sunday 19 March 2017

The River Avon bursts it's banks at Gloucester.

So, we are very near the end of our adventures. Only 200km from Sydney at a place called Oberon in the Blue Mountains. From Friday we made it to our niece Elizabeth and new husband Rich's 30-acre smallholding near Bulahdelah. The weather had been diabolical, rain, rain and more rain so much so that we were advised by Lizzie not to travel to her place from Bulahdelah because numerous creeks had to be crossed and they couldn't guarantee that the bridges would still be dry.

Yes, there is a small bridge under that lot somewhere. The photo was taken by Liz Sunday morning.

Not sure where the road goes.

Watching the rain from Liz and Rich's place.

Charlie the pony wanted to visit during our late afternoon drinks on the patio

Slight problem in turning this beast around. Wouldn't fit under their barn roof so Ian had to try reversing to the gate and with a bit of forwarding and backward manoeuvring managed to turn it around.

 So we travelled over 450km to come in via Gloucester. But the weekend was brilliant and we were made so very welcome. On a Saturday morning, we were all due to see Elizabeth's mum near to Port Stephens but those bridges were a concern so Rich drove to the first one just to see if the water had gone down. Thankfully the creek had dropped a tad so it was decided to risk it. We did make it through and had a lovely visit with Glenys, my brother's ex-wife, and mum to Liz and Jen. She has Motor Neuron Disease and not expected to live much longer. So pleased we got to see her and very thankful that she will be able to make Jens wedding on the 26th.

Top photo, Ian Liz Jen and I with Glenys and the bottom photo is Liz, Glenys and Jen.
The rain never eased at all during our stay. In fact, monsoon conditions came to mind when their two dams filled and overflowed within hours. The Sunday morning we were due to travel to the Blue Mountains and we were again advised not to go via Bulahdelah. Another long, long journey via Gloucester towards Sydney before we were able to turn off for the mountains.

Massive flooding at Gloucester caused by the River Avon bursting its bank. Guess what the next town was called????

This the main road to the Blue Mountains.
 Leaving at 10 am we didn't arrive at Oberon until after 5 pm. The distances here are vast and unless you are an Aussie one can't comprehend the time it takes to drive all those kilometres. With me still not 100% after my flu bug Ian has had to do all the driving. He was exhausted by the time we found a campsite and first thing to revive him...an ice cold beer. Tomorrow we will be heading for the Jenolan Caves which has been said to be one of the most spectacular cave systems in the world. A massive cave system with many caverns and the one that I most wanted to do was the two-hour deep river cavern. Unfortunately, my lungs are shot to pieces at the moment and I don't think I would be able to walk the 1,250 steps down and back up again. Instead, the more sedate 350 steps down to what is called the Diamond Cavern is probably more what I can manage at the moment.

The valley at the Blue mountains
And wildlife (more of a moth theme) at Liz and Rich's place,

Friday 17 March 2017

The mimic calls of a Lyrebird

As we overnighted in Coolangatta we decided to visit another old haunt in the same area. This time it was a timeshare back in the late '90s when my brother and family came and joined us for a week. Pleased to say the place, Pelican Sands, is still standing and is exactly as I remembered it, even to the swimming pool and walk to the beach. So glad some things from our past hasn't changed.

Two Koalas lording it over the beach front.

the photo bottom left. Second floor and the 3 apartments, that was our timeshare.

We left Coolangatta by 9.30am. A long drive was ahead of us, over 400km and although part of the way was on the M1 Pacific highway, the majority was on the minor roads. All took a lot longer than we anticipated and we even forgot the NSW time difference. They are 1 hour ahead of Queensland and I was shocked when our sat nav told us we would arrive by 17.25 a good 8 hours drive. She had already calculated the time difference so in fact what we thought to be an epic journey took us just 6 hours, but we did have some comfort stops on the way.

The day was lovely, a far cry from yesterday's rain. In fact, the predicted storms along the NSW coast didn't materialise so looks like the Aussie weather forecaster's, as well as the UK's, also get it wrong. By 4 pm we had almost reached Armidale along a road called the waterfall way. And yes there are numerous waterfalls to go and see. And yes we stopped to look at 3 before finding a campsite right by the last falls.

Upper Ebor Falls

Lower Ebor falls

Wollomombi Falls and Gorge

The evening sun appeared.

Very lucky to see that.

The first thing to greet us was the birdsong. Never have I heard it so loud or so melodious. A lady was crouched by a bush and beckoned us over. In the bush was one bird, not the two or three I had expected but a bird called the Superb Lyrebird renowned for its mimicking different sounds. It was putting on a decent display to a female but we didn't get to see his girl or his face. I have put on a video so you can hear his wonderful song.

His display area.

Blog Archive