Sadly we needed to attend a funeral in Tea Gardens on the NSW coast. Neither of us could recall ever going there in spite of having been to Nelsons Bay, on the other side of Port Stephens, many times.
The twin towns of Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest sit on the northern side of the entrance to Port Stephens.
Setting off from our home town of Griffith in NSW our route took us via West Wyalong, Forbes, Parkes, Yeoval, Gulgong, Cassilis, then following the Golden Highway until we reached the Pacific Highway and turned northwards.
We had a big driving day the first day…530km from home to Cassilis Park Rest Area. What a sorry state rural roads were in. I swear some of the potholes could swallow a small car. We only averaged 75km/h due to the state of the roads and roadworks. Between West Wyalong and Forbes there was water everywhere on both sides of the road and that’s without the big rains that were forecast for the next 10 days!
Cassilis Park Rest Area is on the Golden Highway and has a large area where lots of RV’s can pull up for an overnighter. It’s also a truck rest area with a long tarred section for the big rigs. There’s multiple picnic tables and a toilet block. You can have a fire and stay for up to 24 hours. Although it’s close to the main road the traffic noise dies down after dark.
This was a great spot to pull up for the night and we quickly got a fire going and enjoyed just chilling while the sun went down.
The next morning two council workers were on site cleaning the toilets and keeping the grounds tidy. We were impressed with this great little free camp.
Something to be aware of though if you decide if to park up for the night, please don’t park in the long parking bays for trucks unless you want a huge refrigerated B-double parked right next to you with their compressor going on and off all night. Truckies are working and need their rest breaks at the right time. If their parking is taken up by us travelers they need to go on to the next stop. Just be aware and park your RV out of the way.
We arrived in Tea Gardens and, after a drive around found the only service station was closed off and under renovations. That meant having to drive back to the highway to go to the next nearest Service station. On the way back into Tea Gardens we called in at the Lions Park and made use of the dump point and filled up with water.
We made our way to the Tea Gardens Country Club where you can camp in their carpark for up to 2 nights. One of you has to become a member of the club ($5.50) and the camping fee is $11 per night. Power is also available however you do need to be self contained. No grey water is to be let out on the ground and all rubbish must be taken away.
Check in is at reception inside the club and this was a simple process. Armed with my new club membership we were good to camp for the next 2 nights.
Our friends, Kevin & Sally who have traveled with us previously with their caravan, arrived and the four of us enjoyed a lovely meal in the Club.
The next day we took the opportunity of no rain to get our ebikes off and go for a ride around the area. We rode from the Country Club along the riverside, crossed the Singing Bridge (still can’t find why it’s called that) where we had to dismount and walk our bikes across, checked out Bennets Beach and Jimmys Beach in Hawks Nest.
Under the Singing Bridge across the Myall River you can see the remains of the old ferry crossing.
Our second evening was spent having dinner with friends at the Tea Gardens Hotel following our attendance at the funeral we’d traveled for. It was a very busy pub and served up great fish and chips.
After 2 nights camped in the carpark at Tea Gardens Country Club we set off southwards and traveled down to Central Coast via The Entrance.
On the way we stopped off at Australian Motorhomes at Bennetts Green to check out the current motorhome models and we were very impressed with the current Sunliner Navian range. Do you love window shopping for a new RV?
We arrived at our cousins place in Mardi near Wyong on the Central Coast. Their lovely property overlooks Mardi Dam. The only down side was the long, winding, narrow road and driveway to get into their place.
As everyone in Australia knows, we have had so much rain that the ground is just saturated. Rivers are flooding, dams are over full and the ground just can’t take any more water. This was a bit of a worry as our cousins driveway is on a hill and we were not sure how we were going to be able to turn around without getting our 5 tonne motorhome completely bogged. Oh well. We’d worry about when we leave.
Our cousins had just purchased ebikes so we enjoyed a lovely ride around the area to try them out. We quickly discovered that their motors are more powerful than the ones on our bikes. Our fabulous bikes are 4 years old and the technology has changed so much in that time. Still, we were able to keep up but with more effort up the hills.
We spent three days camped in their driveway. Over that time we enjoyed many lovely chats over dinner, had a lovely night out at the Shelly Beach Golf Club, and generally enjoying catching up.