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Archive for the ‘Car & Road’ Category

So guess where we went after camping in Minnie Water?!  Yamba of course!  In our rush to leave for Minnie Water, we left our trusty Lonely Planet book behind and so had to call into Yamba to pick it up.  Unfortunately Dori (the car) wanted to stay longer and decided to spring a radiator leak on us.  As it was a public holiday (thanks to our lovely Queen having a birthday) our Yamba mechanic was closed and so we had to stay another night in Yamba to see him the next day.

So with another sunny day to kill in Yamba whilst waiting for the mechanic to open we did the usual.  We took Charlie for a walk, got a pie and then we went to the beach and Jo took a surfboard.  We had a small pod of dolphins come close to us when we were swimming at Pippi beach and then we watched them ride the surf which was amazing.It was an awesome experience to watch them playing in the swell, magnificent.

The next day we took the car to the mechanic but he said it needed to send it to his radiator guy about 45 mins down the road.  Rather than wait we just decided to drive it to him.  We made a very hasty exit from Yamba (our speediest yet) and got on the road sharpish down to Grafton.  It turns out the radiator was on its last legs and although would be OK to drive with it would only end up getting worse.  So with a new radiator and with our wallets a bit lighter we hit the road up to the Gold Coast.

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So apparently we brought the weather with us… Just a few days after we got back to Yamba it started to bucket down with rain.  The news said that Brisbane and the Gold Coast (where we had just driven through) was getting hit hard and likely to get flash floods.  They weren’t wrong and then it started moving towards us.  For several days we had non-stop bad weather which caused floods for the the north New South Wales coast.  Luckily for us Yamba didn’t flood at all but we got cut off from the mainland as the roads out of Yamba were  underwater.

Aussie house in Flood

Aussie house in Flood

In between the storms we took a few rides out in the hostel van to look at the water levels and the damage so far.  It was quite impressive.  We couldn’t drive for more than 10 minutes before we had to stop due to the water.  Lots of houses and garden were starting to flood and there were a couple of cars that were sticking out of water at least a few feet deep.  On our way back the emergency services blocked off the road.

As the rain carried on coming, the storms picked up and rivers started to rise.  The beaches got covered in foam and even a few dead farm animals got washed ashore. The winds started tearing up the landscape.  The pub that I worked in over Chrissy got put on alert as it was at risk of falling down the cliff into the sea, that didn’t stop the locals on a Friday night though.

Luckily the levee walls near us didn’t break (but it was very close). 

A stormy beach walk

A stormy beach walk

Yamba was getting supplies helicoptered in as the shops were starting to sell out but we didn’t really notice the shortage too much.  Everyone in Yamba was fairly relaxed about the situation but by the end of it some of the backpackers were itching to get out.  The day the roads opened, the hostel nearly emptied!

Things are starting to get back to normal now but the weather is still very unpredictable.  We’ve taken a tour round the area and a lot of the beaches are slightly different shapes with new rocks now uncovered.  All around the area are snapped telegraph poles and uprooted trees.  We’re just grateful that we hadn’t started camping when all this hit.

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This time around we have decided to take the no messing approach and get straight on the road, so we needed to buy a car. We knew that buying a car was different depending on which state the car was from but we never realised just how complicated it was. It took a lot to get our heads round each state’s rules about selling, buying, registering as well as all of the safety and roadworthy certificates. We are now experts on how to register, buy and sell a car in most states in Australia!

We viewed a lot of cars and nearly bought a couple, but didn’t as the owners were trying to do it illegally or go back on the deal for a higher price (insert your choice of expletive here – Jo).  After a week and half we saw a car we liked that was legal and within the budget. The guy was really nice and allowed us to get a mechanic to check the car. She came back with a near clean bill of health (about $60 worth of repairs). We were happy and so was the seller so we bought her.

She is a Ford Falcon station wagon (estate to all us Poms) built in ’92 and has a fair few Ks on the clock but is in good condition mechanically. We went with a Ford Falcon as all the taxi drivers swear buy them and the parts are easily available and cheap even in remote areas. A station wagon also allows us to sleep in the back (Jo fits even when stretched out!) to save some $$$. The engine is big (4 litres) and it has an automatic gearbox which is taking a bit of getting used to but we are absolutly loving the freedom that it gives us and are very excited about taking her on a road trip.

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