In our last update we told you that our van had broken down again, and that the NRMA had provided us with two nights accommodation at a motel in Port MacQuarie, as well as a hire car. The good news is that our van was repaired by the end of the week, and we were soon back on the road again.
Initially, the roadside assistant suggested that the distributor had failed. However, on closer inspection, the diagnosis was that the timing belt had snapped. Long story short – the guy that we bought the van from paid for the new belt, whilst we paid for the labour costs of replacing the part, which was a compromise that we were happy with.
The guy at the garage told us that he was very impressed with the condition of our van and felt that we should have no more problems with it. He told us that we had been extremely unlucky in terms of the problems that we have already had, and he explained that these things could have happened on any car, at any time. This obviously boosted our confidence in the van – which had been declining – although we are still going to get it checked over independently.
We were able to see some of the area once we took delivery of the hire car; we visited a koala sanctuary, picked our own strawberries (a first for Sarah!), and we visited the rainforest experience, which turned out to be a walk around the local rainforest – stunning, but for the leeches that took a shine to me!
Back on the road, we headed for Barrington Tops , which is 3 hours north west of Sydney, and is absolutely stunning! It looked very much like Wales or the Lake District, but the sun was shining, the sky was blue and the temperature was about 30 degrees! Plus, there were no sheep… We stayed on a beautiful camp site, down by the river, in a field full of cows! Despite it’s beauty, we were put off by the muggy-ness of being inland, and the number of mosquitos and cow pats, so we returned to the coast the following evening to one of our favourite places, Port Stephens – which we have now visited three times!
We would have liked to have stayed longer at Barrington Tops and to have seen more of the area, however, we were not properly equipped to make the most of the numerous walks, and decided that we needed to invest in a couple of pairs of hiking boots. We still haven’t done so, by the way…
After two nights of relative luxury on the beach, we returned inland to the Hunter Valley, home of Rosemount and Lindeman’s wineries, and then onwards to the Blue Mountains. We will tell you about these trips in the next update…
Thanks again for the comments about the blog and the Pickle Productions movies, as well as emails that we have received. We especially enjoyed reading the email (complete with photos) from our little niece, Megan, which brought a tear to her Uncle’s eye… Great news, too, Rach, about your business – you know that we wish you the very best of luck, and we know that you’re going to have some very happy customers!
Lots of love, xx