Our 2nd trip in the camper was to Andrew Drynan Park to meet up with the campertrailer.org group. A really nice friendly bunch of people, as newbies we were made to feel very welcome. There were many different campers, some quiet interesting, it was fun to talk to the owners and have them show us their pride and joy. We also loved showing off our own pride and joy. The fully enclosed ensuite come private room drew some interest, people thought it was a good idea and were impressed.
The ground is pretty slopy and we had to put the floor up on some blocks to fill in the gap to the ground, otherwise we coped well. Chris has come up with a few ideas to be able to deal with slopy ground quickly. Not a lot of flat ground to be found at Andrew Drynan, apart from that it was a lovely spot with great company.
We left on the Sunday before lunch after some drizzle in the morning. We headed down Lions road, though to Kyogle. From Casino to Grafton we were hit with our first storm which had some hail in it, it was thumping it down and at times was quiet hard to see. In Grafton we checked the radar and saw another storm was coming and that on the way to Mann River Nature Reserve we were going to drive through it. There were a few other cells a long way off but didn’t think they would hit us again.
Up through the Gibraltar range we had some fog, up the top we cleared the fog and could look down at all the clouds sitting on the ranges below us. Once we turned off onto the Old Grafton Road and started the downward trip to Mann River we really it hit heavy fog. It was drizzling when we arrived and we were losing light quickly, unfortunately for us there were several other people already set up from the weekend. A caravan just before us got one of the last level spots left.
We eventually found a spot right up the end very private and quite and quickly setup as the rain started to get heavier. This time we put up the side walls as we knew more rain was coming. Well it started to bucket it down, both of us got wet particularly Chris he was drenched. Once set up, first port of call was a shower and then tea. The ensuite ended up being a God send giving us a another room fairly dry, at one stage we had lots of puddles and we were walking in ankle deep water under the awnings in a couple of dips in the ground.
We had tea and had to fight off every bug in the neighbourhood. We must of been the only ones with an outside light on and all the bugs honed in on us. Never have we had so many bugs, beetle, mozzies and big ones at that, moths, flies you name it we had them.
Storms, pop quiz, how many storms can you get in a row, answer a lot. From 2pm until about 4 am we had one storm after another, thunder, lightning rain, lots of rain. Our trailer has officially had its christening, few leaks around zips. But considering the amount of rain it did very well. We are camped pretty close to a little stream that flows into the Mann River 200m further down stream. Chris kept a close eye on the creek level during the night making sure it was not coming up. He turned the ute around in case we had to make a quick escape during the night. We would not of camped here if we known we had a run of storms like that coming throughout the night. There are signs up showing the 2011 flood level, we as well as many other campers are camped below that level.
We woke to beautiful sunny blue skies, the sky is always bluer out in the country. Hasn’t take long to dry every thing off. Before morning tea we went for a walk along the creek chatting to other campers along the way. Some had been here over the weekend and said it was packed. Camps sites used to run right along the creek, now there is deep wide ruts, damage from the 2011 floods. A ranger called in a said they had several inches up stream so to expect the river to come up a bit higher.
We have been here before and you could hop across the river going from one big granite boulder to another. kids were swimming in the big swimming hole, sliding down some small rapids. Now those same rocks have fast flowing water over them, the swimming hole is like a big lake filled with muddy water. We chatted to an older lady that was traveling on her own. She was here over the weekend and said yesterday morning before the storms came the water was crystal clear and you could walk over the granite rocks to the calm clear swimming hole. She said it has come up quiet a bit overnight and this morning.
Ahh we are camped in a beautiful spot overlooking the flowing creek cascading over the granite boulders. An Azure Kingfisher parked itself on a branch in front of us for a while and then moved up the steam a little stopped for a while before moving on. There are little Superb Fairy Wrens every where as well as some other wrens and birds tweeting every where. We are sure they are here to get a really good feed on the many bugs flying around. The lovely creek setting before us looks very inviting we were imagining a nice arvo dip until we put our feet in it, brrr wee bit cold.
For lunch I made up some Cheese, Chives and Onions Rolls cooked in the Baby Webber Q and yum they were so good. Smelt really yummy while they were cooking we couldn’t wait for lunch. For people that don’t know I (Kate) have strict dietary requirements which means I can’t eat any grains, so these yummy little rolls were made with non grain flours. The recipe can be found here.
The Roos have come back out after last nights storms and are cooling themselves lying in the shade of the trees.
After an arvo walk in the hot sun we succumbed to the cool running waters of the creek. Was a bit of a thermal shock so we slowly got lower and lower into the waters. Was very refreshing to say the least. There is something around our campsite that is affecting Chris’s nose and the bugs are bugging me. The green ensuite is attracting them, you would think it was night with the number of bugs in there. Early tea tonight and retreat into the safety of the camper before the bugs carry us away.
It’s about 5.30pm I just said to Chris the bugs have dropped off, he said they have clocked out before the night time ones clock in, ha ha.
We had a bit of a treat last night. A wallaby came down and had a drink in the creek right next to our camp, was lovely watching it drink from the cool refreshing waters.
We have decided to move on from Mann river and head to the coast where hopefully we will get a sea breeze. It was very very hot this morning. Chris suggested we go to Evans Head where we first met nearly 27 years ago, seems appropriate for our Anniversary tomorrow.
We had packed up just before 10am, we are getting the pack up down quicker, once the Ute is fully set up it will be even quicker. If anything it was the heat slowing us down this morning. Another reason we decided to move on is we were told by one of the other campers rain was forecast for today. With the temp as high as it is today it will more likely be another storm.
We have taken the Old Grafton road to Grafton. It’s a very scenic drive. Crossing several creek crossings, cattle grids and passing lots of cows and horses eating the lush green grass. Plenty of Roos as well. The road isn’t too bad, bit bumpy in a few places but nothing the Ute and AS can’t handle.
This road is unsuitable for caravans and you can see why. It becomes quiet narrow and with cliff rocks jutting out in a few places, tree branches and lantana hanging out over the road making it even more difficult with a van or a high vehicle like a motorhome. There is also a small tunnel that has been dug out by hand through the side of the mountain.
We did a 500m detour to check out the Guy Fawkes River State Conservation area, Dalmorton Camping Area, nice private camping area along the Mann River, be lovely in cooler weather. Camping fees apply and in NSW day vehicle fees also apply.
Just to prove this road is a little bit rough, windy and loose gravel, we just past a small 4wd had come off the road in the loose gravel and gone into a really big ditch. It was some younger youths who said. It wasn’t caused by speed as they were only doing 40, but that is a little debatable. There was another vehicle there with some work men working out how to pull it out. One man said to us not to lend your cars to your kids, maybe it was his car. Going to be tricky getting it out of that hole