Sunday, 17th April, 2011 – Coffs Harbour to Port Stephens

Kilometres traveled: 400 kilometres

Weather: Mostly wet morning, mostly dry afternoon.

We packed up our Coffs Harbour campsite far too early this morning: I am not a morning person, especially when it’s cold. It was also still sprinkling with rain as we packed away our wet gear. I wrapped up in four layers of clothing and got ready to ride to Port Stephens. We set off at about 7.45am and we’d been on the road for about 45 minutes and it tipped down with rain… again.

Yummy cheese and chippie sandwich.

After soldiering on for quite a while, the rain eased so we pulled in at Kempsey for a cheese and chippie sandwich for brunch, then we had batten down the hatch and run to the shelter with our cappuccinos as it bucketed down again.

As we rode I tried to imagine the scenery with blue sky and without a rain-speckled visor. I imagine it is quite pretty. I also noticed a lot of cows, ironically one field of cows had a billboard for McDonalds in it, with a picture of a big juicy burger on it. How insensitive.

It seemed that the rain would be set in for the day, but eventually it stopped and we even got some blue sky. So, on a whim we decided to visit the National Motorcycle Museum.

I thought it was only a small place, but it was like the Tardis. Much bigger on the inside.

The Motorcycle Museum at Nabiac

We had a nosey around at the hundreds of motorbikes, and hundreds more toy bikes in glass cases. Chris was amused to see Puch bikes in there, apparently they used to be used by English posties.

English Panthers and side-cars

One for our son Steven. Basically a motorised push-bike.

Depeche Mode Fan in-joke.

Chris and a few of the 700+ motorbikes on show.


After resisting the temptations of the museum’s gift shop, we headed off into the sunshine for afternoon tea at our next rest stop. We quickly polished off the pikelets I made last night. This was our first stop with composting toilets, I warned Chris, “it stinks and only the first loo has paper in it. Only use it if you have to,” and unfortunately, I had to.

So with the rather unsavoury toilets behind us we headed to Port Stephens and almost immediately had to stop again. There was a huge traffic jam tailing back from an accident at Bulahdelah, Chris was worried we’d get to Port Stephens late and have to set up in the dark. There was no need to panic though, after about half an hour the traffic cleared and we got to the park at about 3.30pm.

The kookaburra were laughing at us as we entered the park. When we unpacked the Teardrop we understood why: our mattress was wet, right in the middle. The mattress is only 4 ft wide, that’s one hell of a damp patch to try to avoid. So we got everything out to air and thankfully it was fine after an hour or two.

When everthing was set up, Chris was so stressed out he had to have two chocolate Digestive biscuits with his cup of tea. He also complained that it was miles to walk to the amenities block, but how can you complain and be stressed with views like this?

Chris  had a look at the Teardrop’s hatch where we’d had leaks before, but it was as dry as a bone. The cause of the wet mattress was our shoddy loading this morning. We should have taken more care to get things if not dry, then at least securely plastic-bagged before loading them in the Teardrop.

Until 8.30pm tonight the entertainment was provided by a kids disco held in the park not far from our site. Of course Chris had to go and check it out and see what sort of gear the DJ had, (BPM Studio). The music was pretty good, and very useful as a sonic beacon when making my way back in the dark from the showers to our site.

Tomorrow we are off to Bowral, via Gosford to visit DACAT’s birthplace… hopefully I will also have a lie-in.