And there you have it …

34,000 km and 334 nights.

We didn’t know where we were going most of the time but driving on the road to nowhere turned out to be great fun.   It’s time to get back to normality and working for a living.   Sigh.

Signing off from the Big Lap Blog.  Jonathan, Ann and Winston.

Now where can we go in the Easter break …

All good things must come to an end

Our tenants were due to vacate the house at the end of February and we had taken up an offer by our lovely friend Sue to live in her fully furnished downstairs flat for 5 weeks.  While we were still at Maurie’s, our letting agents told us that the tenants had found a new rental and we could move back home on Friday the 19th January.  School started back on the 17th so this suited us perfectly.

We decided to camp up for two days at Baden Powell Park in Samford.  It was a bit strange starting back at work and still being in the campervan.  I think Winston was trying to process being back on familiar territory and seeing familiar faces.

Thursday night we camped up in our back garden, ready for Jonathan to do the handover with the real estate agents Friday morning.

so close!

We opened up the shed doors with some trepidation, wondering whether critters might have got in and ruined some of our belongings but everything was in perfect condition.  Jonathan spotted a snake in the bushes which might have kept the rats and mice away thankfully.

It was good to see that while I was at work, the boys were prioritising the important things to unpack.  Winston was almost hyperventilating at the sight of all the toys he’d left behind.

 

The Hinterland and more partying

We decided to end our trip with a little tour of the Pottsville Hinterland.  Winston had perked up no end after the shock of being taken to the vet, helped by the postie delivering a present from his Aunty Joan in the UK.

Thanks Aunty Joan – I’m glad someone loves me.
Murwillumbah Showgrounds with views of Mt Warning

Murwillumbah has a great little farmers’ market every Wednesday and I bought some very tasty buffalo rissoles from a local butcher.

The town of Nimbin is well known amongst backpackers.  It is best described as an ‘alternative lifestyle’ town.

Then it was back to Maurie’s for birthday party number 2.

 

 

Lunch at Taree

A lovely catch-up over lunch with Arthur and Margaret Lunan.

When Jonathan’s father David was putting together the Lunan side of his family tree, he discovered his second cousin, James Lunan, had emigrated to Australia in 1912.  He looked up Lunan in the Australian phone book online and the first ‘A. Lunan’ he rang was Arthur who is James’ son.   They met up when David came over to Australia in 2010 and we’ve stayed in touch ever since.

Arthur is 93 and looking good.

Christmas Day at Moonee Beach

You’ll be pleased to hear that Santa found us even though we weren’t at home.  Winston was pleased with a squeaky rhino to add to his safari collection.  He did us proud with a bottle of salted caramel Baileys for Mum and a bottle of Bourbon for Dad.   Thank you to Mum, Joan and Derek for the yummy Christmas hamper.

It was a lovely sunny morning and we had a prawn starter and some bubbles down on the beach before heading back to the van for a seafood lunch.

Unfortunately the afternoon turned stormy with a threat of hail.  We tucked the little Fiat under the awning to the amusement of our campsite neighbours and headed inside for a port and cheese afternoon.

It was lovely to catch up with family in the UK on Skype when it was their Christmas morning.

Happy Christmas everyone.

 

Back in Pottsville

After 300 nights away and 33000km driven we’re back in Pottsville and our trip around Australia is officially complete 

On the up-side, Ann has been reunited with her car and we’re having a month’s holiday on the magnificent beaches of the NSW North Coast before facing the music in the New Year.

Bellingen – our 300th night on the road

Almost back on our old stomping ground now.  We spent the evening with Dayv and Debbie who are on their way South and introduced them to the camping raclette.  Dayv and Jonathan worked together at the Department of Housing and Public Works in Brisbane and I think they had missed their ‘putting the world to rights’ conversations.  Dayv has been one of our most dedicated blog readers so I think it’s fitting that he makes an appearance at the end of our travels.

Lovely to meet you both, safe travels and a Happy Christmas.