A mid morning start to go the short hour and a half to Tea Gardens to catch up with family and celebrate three family birthdays. We stayed at the Country Club again, as we are members and can stay two nights with or without power for free. The meals are great in the club, but this time we only had drinks and snacks (and coffee for Peter) as the evening meal each night was with family at their holiday units.
We didn't do a lot of sight-seeing as time was enjoyed with family.
We did frequent the local Ice Cream Shack.
It had great coffee and chocolate milkshakes, and the kids loved the variety of old style lollies.
I did have time to visit the local quilt shop and bought a couple of scrap bags for my hexies. We had a wonderful time, as we always do with family, but after two short days we all made our way in different directions to head home. You can read about our previous visit to Tea Gardens here.
Our first stop was to Bulledelah to top up with water, and visit the dump point then up the Pacific Highway to Coopernook. This is another place we have been to before, not far from our favourite caravan park at Croki.
Coopernook is 24 km north of Taree, and the pub is located on the old Pacific Highway, on the Lansdowne River. It was established as a river port in the 1830's, when settlers began to arrive. it was proclaimed a village in the 1890's. The name Coopernook is derived from the Aboriginal word for 'elbow', reflecting the elbow of the river where Coopernook was established.
The hotel was built in 1928, and five years later a two lane steel bridge was constructed. Behind the hotel was once a golf course, and beside the hotel was a working dairy farm that closed in 2014. This is the boundary fence between the hotel and the dairy farm.
In 2006 the town of Coopernook was by-passed in 2006.
There are over 300 km of waterways in the Manning area, and Coopernook was one of many shipping ports along the Manning River and its tributaries. This is all that remains of the old wharf.
We had time 'up our sleeves', so decided to spend two nights at Coopernook. Here is our van the second day. The dairy farm is behind the van and the site of the old golf course is in the background. There were three other vans the first night, and only a backpacker camper the second night. Camping is free for patrons of the pub.
We had a drink the first night, and lunch the second day. Lunch was great.
I had fish and chips - of course - and Peter had steak.
After a walk along the river to the old wharf, we headed to a new camp in Coffs Harbour. We have often stayed 20 minutes north and south of Coffs, but never in Coffs itself - too expensive - however we saw on Wiki-Camps a sports club near the airport that has $10 a night camping, so thought we would try it. We only stayed one night as we had to get home by Thursday, and it wasn't bad. There were many vans already there, so all the shade had gone. Luckily it wasn't a hot day. We had a lovely dinner at the sports club and watched a little of the footie practice. Great place to come back to and spend more time exploring Coffs Harbour.
Leaving in the morning, and not quiet sure where we would stay the last night of this trip, we continued along what I consider to be the loveliest part of the highway, soon to be by-passed. We pass many old farm buildings and wind our way along the great rivers. I think once the new highway is opened we may still use this road occasionally.
We had a look at a few different free camps on the way north, and stopped for the night behind the Billinudgal Hotel. Again, there were already a number of vans there and a lot of backpacker campers. We had a drink at the pub, spent two minutes walking up and down the main street (it is not very big) 😃, and spent a quiet night. This is the back of the pub, and the view from the van.