Day 65 of retirement

August 20, 2017

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Hi All

Saturday 12th August:

Catch up day today. For brunch we met Grace and Wayne who we first met on Marinduque many years ago. They now live in Brisbane.

Then met Karen and Noel for dinner who are originally from Sydney and now living in the sunshine state.

A stroll along the Queens Street Mall on the way home in the balmy evening air finished a great day.

Sunday 13th August:

Started the day with a river cruise for 1.5 hours. Very interesting to see and hear about the landmarks along the river.

Then a stroll over to the Botanical Gardens for a bite to eat and wander.

As we were having high tea at Alina and Alan’s place at 3:00pm we decided to walk there (across the city). Bit of a mistake as it was rather further than anticipated. But we made it and Alina and Alan had an awesome high tea ready for us. Had a great chat and catch up.

Alina was my old boss back in SA many years ago in my old Civica life.

Monday 14th August:

Left sunny Brisbane and headed for Buderim which is an hour drive north. Stayed the night with very old friends Todd and Kristy and Jess and Hayden. Hayden and Jess were a little on the ill side so they had a day home from school.

So for the afternoon we figured the best medicine for the kids was to go to Mooloolaba Beach in the balmy sea breeze. Worked a treat.

Great to catch up for a good old chin wag.

Tuesday 15th August:

Left the gang in Buderim and made our way to Pomona some 45 minute drive north. Meet up with Mike and Gaye, old climbing buddies from one of my Nepal expeditions. Great to see them and their beautiful house in the bush with sweeping views of Mount Pomona.

Two hours drive and we are at Hervey Bay or more precisely Urangan. We are here for the next three nights and are staying in this awesome Airbnb townhouse right on the beachfront. Very new (Only 2 years old) and just a little luxurious.

Wednesday 16th August:

Back from Whale watching and man am I glad to be home. You see I get seasick easily so this morning I took a tablet before we left. The cruise was for 5 hours and as it turned out it was rough. Like hang onto the handrails rough.
I was okay for the first hour then it hit me. Trying to balance on a pitching rolling boat while trying to hold a camera set me off. I spent the rest of the cruise sitting in the breeze staring at the horizon.
I certainly wasn’t alone and at least I didn’t vomit. Man was I glad to set foot on dry land again.
But I must say the whales were spectacular. Coming right up to the boat and breaching just in front of the boat.
If you have good sea legs do it. If not get the video.
PS: I managed one half decent whale pic.

Thursday 17th August:

Off to Fraser Island for the day on a 4×4 tour. Had to endure two Barge crossings but the sea was calm so all good.

Very interesting to hear all the history of the island and see the magnificent sights. Our driver drove faster than he could talk so we weren’t late for lunch and the barge. Interesting ride at times.

Friday 18th August:

Sadly we had to leave our awesome Airbnb behind and headed for Kingaroy. A three hour drive and we arrived at our cabin in the Kingaroy Holiday Park. After unpacking Guy was browsing some local restaurants and found Cassis’s that boasted stunning views of the valley with equally stunning food.

Rang and confirmed and out we went. Well it was worth the trip. Awesome food with sweeping views of the valley was enjoyed by all.

Back into town and a quick stop for a few supplies then settled in for a relaxing late afternoon.

Saturday 19th August:

Off for a drive today (120km round trip) to the Bunya National Park outside Kingaroy. Freezing cold and blowing a gale when we arrived. So brunch by a roaring wood fire was the answer.

After brunch we rugged up and went for the 4km scenic walk round the top of the mountain. Wasn’t too bad in the trees on the side of the mountain. Once we hit the parking lot again the wind hit us again. Nice quiet drive home and Chinese take away for dinner.

At 7:00pm we arrived at the Kingaroy Observatory for a night under the stars. Jim Bradley, owner and astronomer, has 3 large telescopes set up under a sliding roof on the building. He explains what your looking at and then we all get to view it through the telescope.

We saw Jupiter and 4 of its moon, the hamburger galaxy, cluster of stars (forgot the proper name), 2 nebulae, the swan and butterfly and the most fantastic one, the planet Saturn complete with rings.

It was rather cold but Jim had a box full of blankets for all the guests so we survived.

Sunday 20th August:

Left Kingaroy for a 540km (6 hours) drive to Rockhampton this morning (our longest so far). We decided to take the A3 (Australia Country Way) instead of the A1 (National Highway). It is a bit longer but it is a scenic drive through the Queensland countryside dotted with small country towns. And the best bit is that there is NO traffic on it.

Arrived in Rockhampton at 2:00pm and checked into a very nice cabin.

Now Rockhampton is supposed to be the beef capital of Australia so it was off into town to try a steak. Found a great old hotel (Criterion Hotel) to try a steak. They didn’t disappoint as we had a great steak dinner.

Had our first GPS black hole today in the middle of nowhere. Google maps was doing great on the A3 when all of a sudden it told us take a road going away from the A3 signs. So we went with our gut and stayed on the signed road.

For the next 20km Google maps was all over the place telling us to go right then left when nothing was there. It just couldn’t lock on.

Then as I crested a hill Google maps found the way again and confirmed we were on the A3. Weird….

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Day 56 of retirement

August 11, 2017

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Hi All

Wednesday 2nd August:

Spent the morning on a tour with Outback Opal Tours. Our very talkative driver took us through the old mining area and told us the history and stories of the characters that live there.

One stop was a working Opal mine where we went under ground via one very long and dizzy spiral stair case. We saw an Opal vein in the roof of a working area.

The last stop was an Opal polishing workshop. A lady polisher took a chip of Opal and in 15 minutes she had a beautiful little Opal all polished up.

On the way back to our cabins he showed us the hot springs and the Amigo’s castle (built by a local character).

After lunch at the Bowling Club we went exploring. Went and saw the Cactus Gardens and saw some very old Cacti.

Following a nana nap we made our way to Nettleton’s First Shaft Lookout 5km out of town and watched a glorious sunset.

Thursday 3rd August:

A little side road trip today to Grawin. We headed 65km out west to “The Club in the Scrub”. The last 5km in are on rough dusty dirt road. The poor little Mazda 323 was almost rattled to pieces. This is a registered NSW club that doesn’t have any gambling (Pokies free). It is built out of Cypress Pine logs, as the white ants don’t like it.

We had a great steak sandwich with the lot for lunch. As the rain clouds built up, we made our way back to Lightning Ridge before it hit. Rained steadily for most of the afternonn.

We spent a quiet afternoon doing the washing and rest for a big drive tomorrow.

Friday 4th August:

Left Lightning Ridge on our way to Moree at 9:00am.

Just outside Lightning Ridge we visited Stanley the Emu who is made up of old VW shells, old satellite dishes and other steel. He took two years to build. All the materials were donated along with labor. There is also an “Egg” inside Stanley that will be opened in 2063.

Found a very lovely little café in the middle of nowhere (Bullarah). Great food and we were the only customers while we were there.

Arrive in Moree early afternoon. Did some shopping, explored the town then back to our cabin and the thermal hot pools in the park. Very very relaxed now.

Saturday 5th August:

Left Moree and headed for Glen Innes via Inverell. We made a short detour to see the Cranky Rock reserve. The story goes that a cranky china man murdered his wife here. As he was being pursued he jumped from the Granite cliffs and was found in the river below. Local legend has it that he didn’t jump but was pushed. Regardless, still a beautiful spot.

Made Glen Innes round 1:00pm ish so went exploring round the town. Visited the old hospital museum that had a huge display of early years equipment and photos of years gone by.

Glen Innes also has a strong Celtic heritage. They have The Australian Standing Stones Park that is basically a mini Stone Stonehenge. Very impressive.

Sunday 6th August:

Left Glen Innes and made our way to Tenterfield which is only 90km so a leisurely drive.

Before we left Glen Innes we did the town heritage walk looking at all the old buildings. This town boasts that 80% of all the buildings in the main street are original. When you look closely you can see they are old but I must they are meticulously looked after.

Arrived at Tenterfield at midday and as our cabin was ready we dumped our gear and headed to the Boonoo Boonoo national park for a look at Bald Rock and the waterfall. The map failed to tell us that to see Bald Rock it is 3 hour round trip walk to see it. As we weren’t kitted out for hiking and it was getting on in the afternoon, we passed on the hike.

Next were the waterfalls. After a 600m hike in we made it to the falls. Quite impressive. Then a dusty drive back to the cabin and settled in for a relaxing evening.

Monday 7th August:

Leisurely drive from Tenterfield to Toowoomba as it was only 90km. We arrived at midday to find our cabin wasn’t ready yet (It is after 2:00pm check in so a bit early).

So we wandered downtown for a yummy lunch followed by a visit to the Cobb & Co museum. Very interesting as they have a vast collection of old coaches and horse drawn vehicles.

Back to our cabin at 2:00pm and all ready for us.

We also found a gourmet meat store that had real German Garlic Mettwurst just like we used to get back in Cummins growing up. And it tastes just as good….
The lady in the gourmet butcher shop said the recipe comes from the 80 year old owner who comes in everyday to check that the salami and Mettwurst are made to his high standards.
Time for another slice….

Tuesday 8th August:

Very nice sleep-in this morning as we didn’t get up till 10:30am. After a leisurely breakfast of raisin toast we went for a drive to Crows Nest about 50km north of Toowoomba. Lovely little town.

On the way home we called in to the Crows Nest National Park, as there were waterfalls there. As we are discovering the NPs have these great attractions but all require a bit of a hike to get to them. Once again we weren’t prepared for hike so had to give the falls a miss.

Back to Toowoobma and The Spotted Cow for the best steaks in town and they weren’t bad either.

A quick detour to get some more mettwurst, then a walk round Queens Park botanical gardens. Back to the cabin and relax for the evening.

Wednesday 9th August:

Left Toowoomba and after a 1.5 hour leisurely drive we made it to Guy’s sisters place in Waterford (half hour south of Brisbane). Staying here for 2 nights before heading into the city for 3 nights in an Airbnb down town.

The GPS got us there in quick time. How did we ever get anywhere before GPS….. Guy’s sister, Nida, cooked some pork sinigang (Filipino dish) for lunch and our first home cooked meal since leaving Canberra, then a buffet dinner at her favourite RSL, yummy.

Thursday 10th August:

Off to Broadbeach today to catch-up with a couple of Guy’s old work mates (Jane and Carol). Great catch-up and lots of very important information exchanged along with some yummy food.

Friday 11th August:

Had a nice sleep-in this morning till 10:30am.

After saying our goodbyes to Guy’s sister and family it was off to Brisbane. We only have a 40-minute drive into Brisbane to get to our Airbnb apartment so arrived just after 2:00pm. Some quick shopping for supplies, we settled into planning our next two months travel. Three hours later we had a plan.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 46 of retirement

August 2, 2017

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Hi All

Friday 28th July:

Spent the day exploring Forbes. First stop was the McFeeters Motor Museum. This is a very impressive private motor museum.

It houses 64 cars (All run except 2) and 25 motorbikes. Of the cars 44 are owned by the museum and 20 are on loan from other collectors. Of the bikes 2 are owned by the museum and the rest are on loan from other collectors.

The range of cars and bikes is the best I have ever seem and our guide gave us a 10-minute talk on the history of some of the vehicles. Definitely recommend a visit if you’re in the area.

Then into town and we did the Heritage walk looking at the old original buildings. This was followed by a walk (for you Sandy) along the Lachlan River in the afternoon sun.

Final visit was the Forbes historical museum. Lots of stuff from the old original days of Forbes. Even saw some of the old stuff I grew up with.

That evening we planned our next two weeks route and made some bookings.

Saturday 29th July:

Left Forbes this morning on our way to Narromine, a lovely little country town out from Dubbo.

The first stop was “The Dish” (Radio telescope) outside of Parkes. This is the dish that featured in the Australian movie The Dish. Awesome place to visit and see the history of the radio telescope. Also sat through three 10 minute 3D presentations on the planets and space. Recommended visit if you’re in the area.

Arrived at Narromine and staying in a great cabin next door to the airport. We discovered that they have an awesome private aviation museum walking distance from the caravan park.

In the museum they have the only replica (in the world) of a fully flying Wright Brothers plane. It is a copy of the third plane they made. The guide gave us the full history of the building of the plane and then flying it. Another recommended visit if you’re in the area.

Monday 31st July:

Left Narromine as we headed to Gulargambone via Trangie, Warren and Gilgandra. It rained all the way, which the farmers welcome as it is very dry here this year. Gave the car a good wash as well.

Arrive at 2:00pm ish and settled into the cabin as the rain showers passed us by. At 4:30pm the park owner put on a damper and home made soup in front of a roaring camp fire for all the people staying in the park. It was very yummy.

Also our first stay where we had no Internet or mobile phone signal.

Tuesday 1st August:

Left Gulargambone (In a pea soup fog) on our way to Lightning Ridge for a 3-day stay via Coonamble and Walgett. Nice easy run and arrived at 1:00pm ish.

After a very yummy lunch it was off to the “Chambers of the Black Hand” mine. Now this mine is over 100 years old and in the last 18 years a local man has carved some 700+ figures in the walls of the mine. Some are tiny (Fit in your hand) and some are huge (The Buddha). It is a pretty awesome place.

A drive round the town checking out a few landmarks then settled in our luxurious cabin for a quiet evening.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Day 41 of retirement

July 27, 2017

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Hi All

Sunday 23rd July:

After an overnight detour into Sydney after our stay in Canberra, we are now on the start of our yearlong trip around Australia, yay!!

First stop is at our friend Lisa’s place in Lawson, Blue Mountains. Thanks Lisa.

Monday 24th July:

Packed up after Lisa’s great hospitality and off to Katoomba for breakfast in a very nice little café. We ordered, ate and then on the way out the waitress reminded us we hadn’t paid. Ooopppsssss…..

Next stop was Jenolan Caves. We did a tour of one of the caves and it was excellent. We had a very knowledgeable guide who was a bit of a character. Highly recommended.

Then off to Oberon for a night in the Jenolan Caravan Park. We had a very nice cabin that was nice and warm and had TV so Guy could watch the grand final of Masterchef. All good.

Tuesday 26th July:

First stop today was at the Mayfield Gardens 20 minutes out of Oberon. The garden is one of the world’s largest privately owned cool climate garden covering 160 acres (65 hectares).

Eventhough there were no blooms due to winter it was still extremely impressive with all the work that has been done.

Then back on the road to Cowra for a couple of days. Quick visit to the information centre as we are planning our day’s activities tomorrow.

Staying in a very nice cabin on the banks of the Lachlan River and only 5 minutes walk to downtown.

Wednesday 26th July:

A day in Cowra today where we visited the Japanese Gardens, the old Cowra prisoner of war camp site, Cowra war cemetery and the train museum.

The Japanese garden was vey impressive eventhough it was the middle of winter and no blooms.

Cowra was a prisoner of war camp during WWII with many nationalities interned. The Japanese was the largest group here and in the early morning of 5th August 1944, 1,104 prisoners staged a massive suicide breakout. 4 Australian soldiers were killed along with 231 Japanese. 108 Japanese were also wounded. 359 Japanese soldiers managed to escape but were rounded up in a short period of time. Sadly many Japanese soldiers chose to commit suicide.

The train museum was interesting looking at the bygone years of rail travel.

Thursday 25th July

Left Cowra today and made our way to Forbes via Canowindra (Say Con-da-windy, Trev’s version) and Parkes.

At Canowindra we visited the Age Of Fishes Museum. Canowindra has a huge fish fossil deposit that is slowly being exhumed and is discovering some rare ancient fishes.

Then we found this little random museum showcasing the early life in Canowindra. It was a very very interesting place showing how people lived in years gone by. They did it tough.

Parkes for lunch and off to Forbes for two nights. Forbes sightseeing tomorrow.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 36 of retirement

July 22, 2017

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Hi All

Sunday 16th July:

Tourists today at the National War Memorial in Canberra. Highlights the futility of war along with the dedication of the men, women and animals that do serve and protect.

If only we could spend part of the money and energy war requires on helping our fellow human beings. Imagine what we could get done……

Monday 17th July:

Off to Parliament House (Old & new) today. We did a guided tour and our guide was excellent in giving us the history of the new building and the goings on within its walls.
Two things we noticed:
There are clocks everywhere & toilets as well.

Wednesday 19th July

First stop today was the National Film & Sound Archive. Interesting place which brought back some old memories from when I was a kid. We watched some old 1950s B&W movies in an old restored movie theater.

The best one was a 1950s movie which showed how mothers can turn house work into a workout routine which will not only get them fit but also help lose a couple of pounds that their husbands will appreciate.…..

It brought a few laughs from the audience, especially Guy.

Next stop was the National Museum. Very very interesting as it took me back to my childhood with some of the displays. See the pics below for some of my flashbacks.

Friday 21st July:

Off to the Royal Australian Mint today. It is a very interesting place to visit and see the history of coins in Australia and then to see them being made (Notes are printed in Melbourne). Well worth a visit if you’re ever in this part of the world.

Saturday 22nd July:

Canberra farewelled us this morning with a “pea soup” blanket of fog and -4C. Had to scrape the ice off the windscreen to get going. Been a very long time since I had to do that.

Leisurely drive back to Sydney. Staying with Jordan overnight and hit the road tomorrow for the start of the road trip.

First stop Lawson to see good friend Lisa.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy.


Day 29 of retirement

July 15, 2017

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Hi All

Tuesday 4th July:

We had a Sydney Tourist day today. On arrival in the city we walked to the Sydney Fish Markets for a wander round followed by a seafood lunch.

The food was okay but definitely not masterchef material. But we did enjoy it.

Wednesday 6th July:

We played tourists again today. We made our way into the city and caught the ferry to Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbor. We spent most of the day wandering round the island and its tunnels, reading all about the island’s history.

Monday 10th July:

Packing to hit the road tomorrow and live out of the car for the next year-ish.
The day has gone like this:
Pack, Pack, Pack – Throw out
Pack, Pack – Throw out
Pack – Throw out
Throw out….

Tuesday 11th July:

Laid out all the gears coming with us on our year-long road trip in the garage and it looked like they’re not all going to fit. But after utilizing my jigsaw puzzle skills, it all fitted in the little Mazda 323 and everything was accessible without having to remove stuff to get to any of the gears.

Midday it was off to Canberra. Uneventful trip and arrived at 4:00pm to two grandkids full of beans.

Thursday 13th July:

Tourists today as we all made our way to the Botanical Gardens in Canberra. They have an exhibition for the school holidays that consists of life size Dinosaurs scattered throughout the garden.

It was rather cool but we all rugged up so all had a very pleasant afternoon.

Saturday 15th July:

Total chaos this morning as the gang packed and head off to the airport for a weekend in Melbourne (Engagement party).

Guy and I now have the whole huge house to ourselves till Monday afternoon. It is so quiet…..

Guy and I made our way to downtown Gungahlin and found a nice warm noodle café for lunch. Back home for a relaxing afternoon as it is freezing outside today (10C).

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 17 of retirement

July 3, 2017

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Hi All

Wednesday 14th June:

My 4-year project has finally come to an end.

Over the last 4 years I set myself the task of scanning all my old photo album pics so I could finally get rid of the big bulky albums.

*** Task completed….

Friday 16th June:

Day 1 of retirement….
Well yesterday (Friday 16th) at 5:00pm I finished up work with Battery World (going to miss that place) and commenced retirement (Part 2). Guy finishes up next Friday and after a week or two to finalise everything here in Sydney we are off on a road trip round Australia.
On the big trip round we hope to catch-up with a few of you for a cup of tea / Coke. The aim is to spend the next year-ish travelling round AUS then back to the Philippines to build our house and settle into island life. All this is completely flexible so who knows where it will lead us. We are both looking forward to this great new adventure……

Friday 23rd June:

Day 7 of retirement…

Well one week has gone by and I must say that it feels weird. It feels like I am on holidays and I have to go back to work next week.

I’m sure this will pass……

Monday 26th June:

Guy’s first day of retirement. No more work for her, or so she thought. Today we spent the day going through all our clothes and in the end gave away almost as much as we have kept. She also sorted all her photos to give to Jo and Jordan and some for me to scan.
Time for a cup of tea and a lay down…..

Monday 2nd July:

Been a leisurely week. Time spent finalising our departure, doing very little and playing tourists in Sydney.

We made our way back to the Barbeque King’s new restaurant in the city. All very new and the Peking duck is still the best Peking duck in the world.

I have also managed to catch a case of the man flu. But I must admit it is kind of nice to not have to worry about taking sickies from work and being able to just rest up including afternoon naps – siestas, ah…….

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy.