QLD 2023, 1-3 May: Valla Beach/Stokers Siding

Finally the day has come that we are out and about again. We have been planning to be away in our new caravan on a big trip for quite a while, and so looking forward to it. Arno has updated our blog’s car and van picture. This trip is estimated to be 2 months to warm weather, during our winter.

We are happy with our caravan and, other than that it’s a lot bigger and more luxurious than our previous one, we also had a bike rack fitted on the A-frame (front) of the van, which can be moved onto the car’s towball, so that we can take the bikes with us and leave our van behind at a campsite. Happy days because we have missed out on some fantastic rides when they were too far from our base, as we previously had no way of carrying them with us.

So we are now making our way up to Queensland, and aim to meet up with our friends Phil and Deb, some 2400km away, in 9 days’ time. So most of this time will be travelling, with 1- and only two 2-night stops.

Today we set off early, as we head up to just south of Coffs Harbour, to a caravan park in a place called Valla Beach. We arrive just after 3.30pm, and don’t even bother unhitching the car as we plan on hitting the road tomorrow early. Not much happening here, a bit disappointing, as the caravan park is located near water, which is nowhere to be seen; it is on the edge of a suburb in a valley that has been densely populated with houses on small lots, and superclose to eachother. The valley itself is surrounded by beautiful trees, and hilly roads, but you’d be hard pressed to find a tree anywhere in this area. A bit of a shame, as it would have been nice to go for a walk; the sunset looks quite spectacular (the little we can see of it over the top of the many caravans and house roofs!). The beach is supposed to be beautiful, according to Google, but you can’t have it all.

Tuesday/Wednesday 2 & 3 May – Stokers Siding, rail trail

Around 3 hours to drive today, and about half hour from our destination we get off the motorway, and head into the most lush green, hilly countryside and enter the Tweed Valley. We plan on staying here 2 nights to enjoy a planned bike ride. Old and redundant rail tracks are being converted to ‘rail trails’ for cyclists and pedestrians enjoyment. These trails make safe and scenic rides as they go straight through paddocks, hills, forests, bridges over creeks and tunnels under roads. The first 24km stretch of the ‘Northern Rivers Rail Trail’ opened very recently, and it’s proving to be a huge success, with tiny towns with their old unused trainstations attracting many of the travelling community, mostly on e-bikes.

We arrive at our booked campsite (a Farmstay) in Stokers Siding which is located halfway along the trail; we drop the van, have some lunch and off on our bikes by 2.45pm. We ride just over 8km up to Murwillumbah, a cute town which is the start (or end) of the new trail. The track is beautiful, as is the weather. Once home, we light a fire, which isn’t that great (Arno thinks we got dud timber), eat a simple meal, and off to bed early.

Jen is up early to check out the Hosanna farmstay which is a beautifull property; we are camped on the creek, but there is also a (10 metre deep!) dam, and this early there a 2re women swimming who live a street over and do their laps here daily at the crack of dawn. After breakfast and coffee, we set off again on the bikes around 9am on the trail, this time in the opposite direction, heading to Crabbes Creek, some 16km south which is the end of this new stretch. We made a friend John (via another friend) only last month at our house, and he happens to live some 5km from Crabbes Creek town, so we visit him on his beautiful property. Once again, we thoroughly enjoy the little towns we pass on the way, and stop at Barringbar where a large, utterly jam-packed (but extremely well-organised) ‘antique’ shop draws us in. We are there for a much longer, but thoroughly entertaining time than we expect! After coffee and a wonderful catch up with John, we stop at MooMoo Roadhouse close to the town of Mooball to enjoy a lovely lunch on our return journey. We get back only to swap the bikes for the car and return to Murwillumbah to enjoy this bustling hippyish town with lots of shops and boutiques, located on the Tweed River, and surrounded by stunning hills (more like mountains) and Mount Warning. Beautiful blue skies today.

Packing up tonight, as another very early start to bring our caravan into a dealer about 3 hours north (booked already a month ago).

As we publish this, our van is at the dealer, and we are sitting under some Norfolk pines at the beach in Redcliffe, more about that in the next post.

Trip so far:


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