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Published: April 23rd 2018
Here we are on day 1 of our epic trip from Sydney to Townsville to Darwin to Broome to Alice Springs to Sydney. The vehicle has been well prepared with a snorkel added (flippers when I can afford them) and new tyres. I left home at 5.30 to pick up Mr Lax enroute. Getting up at that time of the morning I always wonder what jobs all these people up at 5.30 do and more importantly what time do they go to bed.
Traffic out of Sydney was great and before we know it we are on the M1, however it is with a heavy heart that I have to admit that I was overtaking a semi and missed Leyland Brothers World at Karuah. The Big Ayers Rock was a bit smaller than I remember (possibly not 1:1 scale). So instead of what was bound to be an exceptional cappucinno potentially served in a Leyland Brothers World cup we went to Buladelah. As always a warm welcome and I did my best to be charming to the woman in black tights behind the counter but the old Chris Whittle charm wasn't happening. I even said the sunflower seed slice was
To be fair the sign said nothing about cows!
great (which was of course complete bullshit). She just treated us with the same indifference she treated everyone. We also stopped in at Nerong which is a little town on Myall Lakes with no coffee but a charming little toilet provided by the Nerong Chamber of Commerce (not sure where the commerce bit was).
We are headed for Hat Head which is just South of South West Rocks. We turn off the M1 and head for Crescent Head for a bit of old school Aussie beach-side holiday culture. We stop in at the bakery and Adam and I change into our Speedos so we won't be out of place. It is raining and camping and raining are not natural mates, but Adam and I are tough. We've been listening to Peter Fitzsimmons "Ned Kelly" . Yes I know you are all saying why would you listen to something written by Peter Fitsimmons, but I got it from the library so at least I didn't pay for it, plus he's not narrating it and we play it at double speed so it sounds like a chipmunk is doing it.
At the town of Hat Head we check out the
tourist map which has a disproportionately large dot for the caravan park compared to the National Park camping area. It also, confusingly, has "You are here" marked on it twice (potentially a ploy by the Chamber of Commerce to make you visit twice). The camp area was down a pretty rough track. I dutifully filled out the National Parks form and shoved my envelope with the $20 in the slot. The camp area is very nice, there was a small mob of wallabies who watched us for 45 minutes as we sat in the car waiting for the rain to stop. The people in the caravan across the way waved at us and then set up their deckchairs and cracked beers presumably hoping for a humorous display of tent setting up in the pouring rain. Everyone was disappointed, especially the wallabies who glared at us as we drove off. It took me 20 minutes to get my envelope out of the honour box with a pair of split ring pliers.
We headed for South West Rocks. We drove through the whole town and only found one motel but it had an Indian Restaurant attached which basically falls into the "café with the Asian barista" rule! Things were looking bleak and it seemed we would be staying at the Angler's Lodge, but then we discovered the Rockpool Motel. It was a veritable oasis, although I'm pretty sure Neil has nothing to do with it. The owners introduced themselves and apologised that they hadn't given us a room upgrade like the German couple who were staying 5 nights. Looking at our room it's almost impossible to imagine what an upgrade could deliver and after all Jo reassured us that in the whole time they've owned the place no-one has complained about the traffic noise. In fairness I think that is right, but I wonder if anyone has mentioned the kitchen which is next door.The mini bar only has XXXX which is a little strange given we are firmly in NSW. There weren't many restaurants in town (actually none)We had a quick reconnaissance around the town to find a place to eat. There wasn't much. We went to the Country Club for dinner which had all 3 necessary ingredients for me beer, steak and hot English mustard. The waitress (who was seriously in black tights) called me "luv" which I found a bit unsettling as she was about 12. Also instead of meat trays they have vegie trays. Adam and I discussed the missed opportunity that was the Leyland Brothers World and decided that we would try to see everything BIG along the way. This may be where Mike and Mal got it wrong, as a quick google shows that most big things are actually bigger than their real life counterparts.
Anyway back in the motel now drinking the finest De Bortoli Premium 2 litre cask (I probably won't finish the full cask as I need to drive) while Adam has a chamomile tea.
Look forward to guest blogstar Mr Adam Lax tomorrow. He has just got the feedback from his Paris based editor for his next book, so look out!!
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