Travelling Australia - Journal 2008
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28 January 2008 - Casino to North Haven
Location map This was to be our first trip starting from Casino using our new EuroStar 609 caravan. The reason for the journey was a doctor's appointment in Sydney/Penrith and a trip to Melbourne to visit relatives and friends.

After some complicated manoeuvering to get the EuroStar out of the carport without hitting posts we were away from Casino on the road to Coraki and Woodburn on the Pacific Highway. Initially we passed farms devoted to cattle or cropping then came into the sugar growing area lower down the Richmond River Valley; sugar is too frost sensitive to be successfully grown very far up the valley. Lower lying parts of Coraki flooded during recent heavy rains appeared to have recovered well except for paddocks of ti-tree bushes being grown for oil which looked to be mostly dead after being submerged in the muddy water.

We joined the Pacific Highway at Woodburn and turned south towards our first planned stop at Halfway Creek Roadhouse (between Grafton and Coffs Harbour) for lunch and petrol. Today was the Australia Day Public Holiday and I wasn't sure how much traffic to expect on this major highway but traffic in both directions was light. Interestingly, for several hours more than half the sedans and SUVs which passed us going north were registered in Queensland supporting a story we had read claiming that many residents of south-east Queensland around the Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise, etc., get away from holiday crowds by going to northern New South Wales as far as at least Coffs Harbour and many to Port Macquarie for the excellent beaches, good weather and fewer people.

The Pacific Highway from Woodburn to Coffs Harbour initially passes through sugar, especially on the river flats beside the Clarence River, until the sugar ends around Tyndale. Then there is open grazing and crop land to South Grafton where the highway enters a mainly timbered area until nearing the coast near Red Rock. Intermittent open farmland lies beside the road until Woolgoolga and Coffs Harbour which are banana growing areas where bananas grow on the sides of hills near the road and the "Big Banana" tries to entice visitors on the northern edge of Coffs Harbour.

We had arranged to meet friends in North Haven after 4:30 and were so early that we stopped at a couple of rest areas since we had so much time to spare. First was the fairly small Paddy's Rest area then a longer stay of more than an hour at the much larger Kundabung Rest Area where there is a section for light vehicles and another one for heavy vehicles (trucks and caravans). By the time we reached the second rest area we had travelled 340 kilometres for the day, long enough to conclude that the weight re-arrangements made in the previous week had made the van tow much more comfortably. the major change had been the addition of 20 litres of petrol in a container in the van front boot (weight about 18 kilograms), and tightening the chains on the weight distribution hitch so that there were five spare links. The van continued to sit fairly level and to tow comfortably.

We arrived at North Haven at about 5 o'clock. We spent the evening with our friends then drove to a parking area between North Haven and Laurieton for the night.

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