Welcome to our Travel Blog

This is the travel blog and website for our 2021 Bailey Caravan Tagalong21 Adventure and is split into 3 parts…

  1. getting there – out trip from Melbourne to Cessnock , where Tagalong21 begins
  2. Tagalong21 involving a group of 22 Bailey caravans travelling through NSW from Cessnock, ending in Stockton Beach (Newcastle)
  3. what we did afterwards – trip up the NSW coast to Narangba, getting our caravan repaired, then the trip home (taking our time)

Posts are ordered with the most recent at top of the page. Just scroll down to view older posts. All links open in a new browser window. Hope you enjoy our blog!
cheers, Neil & Merrisa

More information about our trip can be found on the following web pages…

  • Blog Indexlist of travel blog posts, making it easy to quickly find a certain post
  • Bailey Roo Photoscheck out Bailey Roo’s antics
  • Attendee Infoinformation to assist the Tagalong21 attendees
  • Some Rulessets out some rules for the group to follow
  • Covid19 Infooutlines what requirements need to be met on the trip
  • Itinerarycontains a table of time-frames, locations etc
  • Locationscontains links to each location the tagalong visits
  • Tour Mapsa couple of maps – our travel route & where we’ve come from (JPEG image format)
  • Searchprovides an excellent search engine for the website

Goondiwindi QLD & the “rush home”

About Goondiwindi

Pronounced ‘gun’ rather than ‘goon’, Goondiwindi is an attractive Darling Downs town which has become important because of its unique position at the junction of the Cunningham, Newell, Bruxner, Barwon and Leichhardt Highways on the border between New South Wales and Queensland. The town spreads around the old Customs House and along the banks of the Macintyre River (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).


We just needed a couple of days in Goondiwindi to qualify for our entry permit to Victoria, so pulled into the Showgrounds and glad we did. This will now be our “go-to” accommodation in the future. $20/night for power and water is a bargain these days (maplink).

Why we made the “rush home”

Due to Covid lock downs in various QLD, NSW & VIC it had become difficult to travel. We found out that we could reach home in Victoria if we had been in a “green zone” in QLD and got through NSW, to Victoria, within a 24 hour period, with printed permits and keep a detailed log of places you stopped (e.g. fuel & rest).

We got ourselves organised for the rush home, getting permits for entry into NSW & Victoria printed off at the local library. So we left Goondiwindi and crossed the border at 10:30am, travelling down the infamous Newell Highway, stopping at Forbes at 8:00pm for a sleep. Back into the car at 4:30am and off we go, keeping our detailed logs as we travelled; crossing the Victorian border at 9:34am (exactly 23 hours!) to discover there’s no-one there to check our logs & permits etc! WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP!

Anyway we arrived safely at our home in Melbourne with no-one stopping us in 1345kms! (maplink)

Glad to be home but ready to start planning our next adventure (including Bailey Tagalong22) 😄

Murgon QLD – Barambah Bush Caravan Park

About Murgon

The tiny township of Murgon is more famous for its proximity to the famous Aboriginal reserve, originally known as Barambah Aboriginal Reserve and today known as Cherbourg, than for any specific attractions it may have. The town itself has an unusual Dairy Industry museum. The median strip in the main street is named in honour of Flo Bjelke-Petersen (Queensland’s well-known pumpkin scone cook and wife of a former state premier) and there is a sign announcing that it is the home of Australia’s champion cheese. In the 1980s, when Joh Bjelke-Petersen was the Premier of Queensland, the town proudly announced ‘Come to Murgon – Gateway to Joh’s Country’. It is entirely appropriate that nearby Goomeri holds a Pumpkin Festival each year (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).


A lot of people we had met along the way told us about Barambah Bush Caravan Park (6.5kms south of Murgon) so we checked in for 2 days. We soon realised that we should have booked for a longer stay as it was a top spot. It sits on 200 acres, including 140 acres of natural bushland with heaps of walking trails (we got lost – for a while).

Bird Feeding time

The park manager runs a daily bird feeding session at 5:00pm which is brilliant.

Here’s their 90 second promo video (from YouTube)…

Boat Mountain

One of the interesting places to visit is Boat Mountain Conservation Park (located 12.8kms north of Murgon). It’s name comes from the fact it looks the hull of an upturned boat. We took the shorter route to Braithwaites Lookout which provides expansive views over the plains.

More things to do…

Bjelke-Petersen Dam is just 8.5kms down the road from the bush camp and you should drop in to Moffatdale Ridge winery on the way for lunch and a tasting (maplink).

Maryborough QLD

About Maryborough

Maryborough is known as the ‘Heritage City’ and although it isn’t as grand as Queensland’s two premier ‘Heritage Cities’ – Rockhampton and Charters Towers – it actually predates them both by decades. The city can boast a large number of beautiful historic buildings and the original settlement site – now nothing more than a series of plaques – is a fascinating insight into the evolution of an important centre. Today Maryborough is a city driven by the surrounding sugar, grazing and timber industries and catering for the tourists who pass through on the journey north to Cairns (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).


We were really happy that Maryborough was chosen to help fill in our “14 day Green Zone” requirements to get home to Victoria. There was so much to see in do and we only had 2 days to do it in. We selected the Wallace Motel and Caravan Park as a central location.

Portside Cafe & Restaurant

We caught up with some travelling buddies, Greg & Lyn, at the Portside Cafe & Restaurant for lunch. What a great place with fantastic food and very friendly staff. Totally enjoyed it. It is located in the Portside area at 103 Wharf Street (maplink) and prices a reasonable. Photos below are from Google.

Mary Poppins Museum

We had no idea that the famous story about Mary Poppins was created in Maryborough by P.L. Travers (born Helen Lyndon Goff). We came across the Story Bank building, which is where Helen Lyndon Goff was actually born. What a great discovery this turned out to be as the Story Bank is actually a museum primarily dedicated to the Mary Poppins story. It is located in Kent Street (maplink) and admission is $15 per adult (Sept 2021 price)

Bonds Store Museum

The Bond Store was an essential part of Her Majesty’s Customs Service at the Port of Maryborough at the peak of immigration and trade in the mid to late 1800s. The building provided safe and secure storage for goods that attracted a tax including important essentials such as cigars, tobacco, rum, wine, spirits and opium.

The Bond Store was one of the 1st brick constructed buildings in Maryborough (about 1863) is now a heritage listed building. We really enjoyed the stroll through the museum with lots of historical facts explaining the Bond Stores history. It is located in Wharf Street (maplink) and admission is $5 for adults (Sept 2021 price).

Maryborough Military Museum

This Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum contains a massive amount of Australian military history and you will be amazed how the volunteers who established and run it have crammed so much into one small space. It’s totally worth a visit and the volunteers were more than willing to explain the origins of the exhibits.

The museum houses a VC awarded to Lieutenant (later Major) Herbert James, 4th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment for gallantry at Gully Ravine, Cape Helles, Gallipoli on June 28 and July 3, 1915. It is one of only 39 VC’s for the Gallipoli campaign and the only one in Australia outside the Australian War Memorial. It also has two of the most historically significant medal groups to Australian soldiers for the Vietnam War – 1964 to 1973. It is located at 106 Wharf Street (maplink) and entry is $15.00 (Sept 2021 price).

TIP: You can buy a Portside Pass for just $25.00 per adult (Sept 2021 price) which grants you access to the Story Bank, Bond Store and Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum.

A stroll through Queens Park

A walk through Maryborough’s Queens Park, located at 16 Sussex Street (maplink), was also a bit of a surprise. We spent a good couple of hours taking in the Maryborough War Memorial as well as the beautiful gardens, which were established in 1873 and were added to the Queensland Heritage Register in 1992.

Poonah QLD

Poonah (maplink) was the next stop on our 14 day “green zone” schedule. We booked into Poona Palms Caravan Park for 4 nights, on a waterfront site overlooking the Great Sandy Strait waterway which separates Fraser Island from the mainland.

This is a lovely location, with not much to do, BUT if you’re in town on a Friday night then you must get down to the Poona Community Hall for the dinner put on by the Poona Community Progress Association. It’s a fantastic night, a great meal, cheap and just over the road from the caravan park.

Classic Cars meet

There was a small Classic Cars meet while we were there which added some interest to our stay.

Rainbow Beach QLD

About Rainbow Beach

Rainbow Beach is a town in transition. It was once a quiet and idyllic holiday, fishing and retirement getaway but, in recent years, the holiday developers have moved in and the boast that it is an ‘eco-tourism’ destination has had to take in multi-storey beachside apartments and a feeling that it is rapidly becoming upmarket and fashionable. It still promotes itself as the ‘Gateway to Fraser Island’ (more correctly ‘The Southern Gateway to Fraser Island) as there is a regular and reliable barge which makes the crossing from the far northern end of Inskip Point (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Qualifying for Covid Rules to return to Victoria

Due to Covid being rampant in our wonderful country we needed to meet the Victorian Government’s rules for returning home. This meant we needed to have been in a “green zone” in Queensland for a minimum of 14 days before taking a 24 hour dash through NSW to the Victorian Border. At the time Coolum Beach was still classified as a “Red Zone” so we planned to travel further north then head towards Goondiwindi before making the “dash” home.

We’ve been to Rainbow Beach before (maplink) and loved it so it was a natural first pick for the start of our 14 day trip. So we packed up at Lyn & Graeme’s in Narangba, (finally) said bye bye and headed off on our special trip. The Big4 Breeze Holiday Park was our destination in Rainbow Beach (about 2 kms out of town). This time we picked a caravan site which was closer to the water to “take in the views”, which was fantastic. The only thing we didn’t count on was two pesky things – the midges (sand flies) and the sticky black sand.

Those who know me know that I love sunsets and Rainbow Beach never disappoints. These are the 1st nights photos.

Here’s more sunsets – sorry but I just cannot help myself 😁

Coolum Beach QLD

After Tagalong21…

So, after 8 weeks after leaving our caravan to be repaired at Jabrumke we finally got it back, re-packed it caravan and headed off to Coolum Beach Holiday Park for a week as a form of “shakedown” to check that everything’s been put back in the right place and it’s all working again.

The dreaded “Covid Lockdown” hit the area and we were forced to stay for 2 weeks. Not a bad location to spend lockdown in.

Narangba & getting our caravan (major) fixed

After Tagalong21…

In October 2020 we discovered that our Bailey Rangefinder Comet Caravan was suffering from what is known as “Water Ingress” when we dropped it off at Jabrumke for a service. So we arranged with them to seek approval to have these issues addressed by Bailey UK under our 10 year water ingress warranty. This work was approved and so we arranged for the work to be completed after our Tagalong trip.

We were so extremely fortunate to be able to stay with great Bailey friends, Graeme & Lynne, for the duration of the work, which was expected to take about 5 weeks. While were staying with them we helped out with some renovations, painting and gardening.

This work required Jabrumke to remove anything which touches the floor of the caravan, which is just about everything! So our beautiful caravan was totally “gutted” and vinyl floor covering removed. We were invited around to have a look at the damage caused by the dampness which can be seen below. The black parts on the floor is actually “black mould” which is a very dangerous thing to have in any environment where you eat & sleep.

So 8 weeks later and we get our caravan back and it’s all fixed! Woohoo – back on the road again!

Evans Head NSW

After Tagalong21…

About Evans Head

Nestled between the Broadwater National Park to the north and the Bundjalung National Park to the south, Evans Head is a charming combination of a vibrant fishing village and a quiet family holiday destination. Commercially the town is home to a substantial fishing fleet and proudly claims that it was the first prawning port in Australia. Today the town’s economy is driven by tourism, sugar cane, dairying and a substantial fishing fleet. The town has 6 km of safe surfing beaches, some fine coastal scenery, sandy river flats, and is a popular spot for rock, beach and ocean fishing. The population hovers around 3,000 permanent residents, many of whom are retirees, and expands to 12,000 during the summer school holidays (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).


We stayed in the Reflections Holiday Park – Evans Head which is located on the northern side of the Evans River (maplink). The sites were so hard to get onto, the concrete slab was probably about 1m off the road so the tow-bar actually couldn’t navigate the height very well. It took a bit of effort and “cheeky driving” to get there.


The highlight of our stay was definitely the dolphins. Wow, were they fantastic! We had lunch at the Razorback Lookout which overlooks Shark Bay from a rather high vantage point. This is also the location of the local coast guard station, so a great view over the ocean is right in front.

The dolphins were playing in the surf and doing back-flips and frolicking around. We watched them for over an hour. We then drove back to the breakwater on the north side of the harbour and saw them from a different perspective. Totally awe inspiring – as you can see in the photos below

Evans Head wasn’t as good as we thought (probably wouldn’t go back there).

Crescent Head NSW

After Tagalong21…

About Crescent Head

There is a simple secret about Crescent Head: people heading north don’t like turning south and the only way to access this beautiful stretch of coastline is to drive to Kempsey and then turn south-east on Crescent Head Road. This “obstacle course” presents no problems to surfers – who are mooching up and down the coast looking for the perfect wave – but it has worked as a deterrent to holidaymakers. Thus this delightful, uncrowded and underdeveloped sleepy little coastal village is characterised by beautiful beaches and a headland which features one of the most spectacular cliffs on the eastern coast of Australia. The town is well-protected environmentally with the Goolawah Reserve and Limeburners Creek Nature Reserve edging it to the north and the south. The result: a little piece of coastal paradise (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).


What a glorious location where the Crescent Head Holiday Park is located (maplink). It’s situated on Little Nobby Headland and beside the Killick Creek. Our caravan site was rather special as it backed onto the Killick Creek Footbridge and in a few steps you’re over the bridge and onto a beautiful golden sand beach.

Slim Dusty Museum

The museum is only a short drive from Crescent Head, so if you’re ever in Crescent Head, do yourself a favour and make a visit to the Slim Dusty Centre in South Kempsey.

We spent a couple of hours just wandering around and learning about Slim and his life. We just loved the old caravan and purple Ford Fairlane they used to travel around this great country.

Stockton Beach NSW

About Stockton

Although it is only five minutes from Newcastle by ferry, Stockton has a unique character and an intriguing history which is far removed from the nearby bustling steel city. Stockton’s glorious long beach which stretches 33 km to the north – all the way to Port Stephens – makes this “northern suburb” of Newcastle a superb hideaway for holidaymakers. It is a fisherman’s paradise with the Hunter River, Stockton Beach, Newcastle Harbour and deep sea fishing all being ideal fishing grounds. In many ways Stockton is a sleepy, old fashioned seaside town with a mix of 19th century cottages and elegant newer houses. The main street and shopping centre are unpretentious. The beach cafe is classy and the open parklands are ideal for relaxation and picnics. It is a hidden gem. (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Stockton Beach was scheduled as the last stop on the Tagalong21 itinerary and we had 3 days staying at NRMA Stockton Beach Holiday Park, right on the beach (maplink). Lovely caravan park with the largest games room/camp kitchen we had ever seen and we sure made use of the space, even after 3 caravans had previously left the group.

This was the final stop in our Tagalong21 and after 3 glorious days of sunshine we had to say goodbye to our Bailey mates as everyone either headed homeward or extended their journeys to somewhere else in our great land.

We headed north to leave our caravan with Darryl at Jabrumke to get some long awaited repairs done under the Bailey 10 year water ingress warranty.

In the meantime this is what we got up to in Stockton

Seawall Walk

Walking straight out of the caravan park gets you to the beach and then its a short stroll to the breakwater. It was late in the day and extremely windy but the walk along shipwreck walk was worth it as the sun started to set.

Fort Scratchley

We paid a visit to the historic Fort Scratchley, which is a short walk from the centre of Newcastle (maplink), to take a “Tunnel Tour” with volunteer guide Norm. What an enjoyable hour it was with the 92 year old Norm (from Liverpool UK) sharing the history of the Fort and it’s famous tunnels with the small group of us. Norm was full of funny stories and kept us enthralled for the whole tour.

The fort was built in 1882 to defend the city against a possible Russian attack. However, its guns were not fired in anger until 8 June 1942, during the shelling of Newcastle by the Japanese submarine I-21. The Australian Army left the site in 1972.

This is truly a great place to visit, even if you don’t take the Tunnel Tour (the rest is free) and just be there at 1:00pm for the traditional afternoon canon shot.

Hunter Wetlands Centre

The Hunter Wetlands Centre is a Ramsar listed wetlands of international importance located only 10 mins (maplink) from the heart of Newcastle.

It’s an amazing story of community spirit that has rehabilitated a degraded wetlands, dumpsite and abandoned sporting fields to a site of stunning beauty and home to over 240 species of bird-life.

We took a couple of hours strolling the walking trails checking out the wildlife. It is open 7 days a week and well worth the visit.

Fighter World Air Museum

Fighter World is located just 20 mins drive north of Newcastle (maplink), adjacent to the entrance to RAAF Base Williamtown at Newcastle Airport.

It’s a totally ‘hands on’ experience. Exhibited in two hangars, we were able to walk-around and look into the cockpits of some of the Air Forces most iconic aircraft such as the first Vampire jet built in Australia and the mighty F-111C.

We were also fortunate to be there when a group of Pilatus PC-21 Training planes returned to base from an airshow down south in formation, just like the Roulettes.

Fighter World is disable friendly and open every day (except Christmas Day) 10am to 4pm.

As we were leaving Stockton on our way to Crescent Head we had to pass the airport and were lucky enough to witness two Hawk-127 Lead-In Fighter jet aircraft taking off. Merrisa took this video…

Port Macquarie NSW

About Port Macquarie

Port Macquarie is a major service centre and important holiday destination on the New South Wales Mid North Coast. It is a town steeped in a history which dates back to convict times. There are superb nature reserves with lovely beaches known for their excellent surfing and fishing. There are also beautiful walking tracks with panoramic views around the headlands and beaches. Tourism is obviously central to the local economy, although fishing, oyster farming, manufacturing and mineral processing are also important. In historic terms, Port Macquarie is the most significant town between Newcastle and the Queensland border. In recent times it was the northern limit of the expressway which traversed the coastal hinterland from Sydney. (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

We’ve been to Port Macquarie several times now and have always stayed at NRMA Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park as it’s in a great location. This time, with only a 2 night stay, we basically just “chilled out” whilst the Tagalong crew explored the area.

A trip to Bunnings to buy some paint gave me the opportunity to update our “Wombat Tours” painting on the breakwater rock wall. Something went wrong with my camera resulting in no photos! So here are some photos taken by our Bailey friends Merrisa, Helen & Anne…

South West Rocks NSW

About South West Rocks

South West Rocks is a coastal town which attracts both holidaymakers and retirees. Like all the North Coast towns that are not on the Pacific Highway, it is most commonly bypassed by holidaymakers. This has resulted in a town removed from excessive, modern development. It is a haven for people looking for quietness and coastal relaxation. For many years it was a popular hideaway for television personalities eager for a little privacy. Today the township is primarily a tourist destination. It has plenty of accommodation, beautiful foreshores, pleasant beaches, and particularly beautiful stands of Norfolk pines. (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

We love South West Rocks (maplink) so it was great to see the Ingenia Holidays South West Rocks caravan park was the place where Tagalong21 group would be staying. A fantastic “creek site” for the majority of the group was a pleasant surprise for all. It was so good to gave down the street and see a row of Bailey caravans.

Happy hour was spent on the grassed area behind the vans with views over the creek, with it’s wildlife and stunning sunsets. Welcome back to SW Rocks!

One of our group, Helen, had run some early morning water aerobics and the early risers were once again in the pool doing their exercises (while I slept) and they also discovered a water slide which brought our the kids in them all.

Trial Bay Gaol

Even though we had visited the historic convict built Trial Bay Gaol before it was still good to pay another visit. Located only 5.5kms from the caravan park (maplink) it is an absolute must to do when in South West Rocks. What an amazing place and so well constructed, taking 13 years to be completed by convict labour from 1873 to 1886.

The Gaol is also famous for being an internment camp for people of German descent who were feared to be enemy sympathisers during World War 1.

Tagalong21 Farewell Dinner

It was the last night for a couple of our Tagalongers, as they were leaving the group, so it was decided to have the traditional farewell dinner at South West Rocks. Each caravan volunteered to create a main course, salad or dessert and it all came together in the caravan parks games room.

Lots of laughter and joy as we all sat down to an absolutely beautiful meal, with so many flavours and tastes involved.

After dinner it was then time for the “group shot” and it’s pretty hard trying to get 37 people into the photo at the same time, looking at the camera, smiling etc but we managed to pull it off.

Then it was time to rug-up and head back to the firepit to close out the evening with some port & liqueurs. Noice!

Dorrigo NSW

About Dorrigo

xxxx. (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

The town of Dorrigo is located along the Waterfall Way (maplink). We had 3 lovely days staying at the Dorrigo Mountain Holiday Park. There’s plenty of things to see & do in this little town and we will return again some day to explore it further.

Ebor Falls

Stopping off on the way from Armidale to Dorrigo (maplink) we found the Ebor Falls. It’s a beautiful spot, but was severely affected by bushfires in 2020, with the best vantage points destroyed by the fires and still inaccessible.

Dorrigo Caravan Park

The Dorrigo Mountain Holiday Park is a lovely green and well set-out caravan park. The managers were fantastic and the camp kitchen was a great place for the group to meet each afternoon at 4:30 for our briefing and happy hour.

Happy Hour & Jenga

The “Jenga” game came out again for happy hour with lots of laughs all round as the tower grew to unbelievable heights before toppling over with the loudest crash. Colin succeeded on what was the 2nd last attempt but then poor old Phil was subjected to yet another crash of the blocks.

Paul and I took the opportunity of another dark night sky to shoot some night photos above the caravan park. Here’s the result…

Dangar Falls and Griffiths Lookout

You can find the beautiful Danger Falls just 1.8kms north of the Dorrigo township (maplink). There is a brand new viewing platform right next to the car park and then a 500m walk down to the base of the falls.

We then ventured 9kms south (maplink) to check out the Griffiths Lookout. It provides breathtaking views over the Great Dividing Range looking south and east to the coast. You are also met by some cute Jersey cows grazing in front of the viewing area.

Bellingen Market

Bellingen Market is held every on the 3rd Saturday of each month and has over 240 fantastic stalls. It was so lucky that we were in Dorrigo on the week-end the market was on, so it was a drive down the steep and winding Waterfall Way (maplink) to Bellingen to check it out. The drive was also an opportunity for the group to check out the road as we would be towing our caravans down it in a couple of days.

The market is certainly big with a diversity of goods for sale and heaps of homemade food to try. Totally recommend a visit if you are fortunate enough to be in the area on the 3rd Saturday of the month.

Sky View Lookout & Elevated Boardwalk

Another short trip from where we were staying is the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre and after browsing through the centre we took a short stroll out to the Skywalk Lookout. Wow!! the lookout offers superb views over Dorrigo National Park and encompasses Bellinger Valley to the coast.

Arvo tea in the Canopy Café was a treat too. It was so good we came back on our last day in Dorrigo for lunch followed by a stroll down the Lyrebird track to check out the rainforest.

Armidale NSW

About Armidale

Armidale is an attractive and graceful city of tree-lined streets where the academic world of the University of New England mingles with a major rural service centre at the heart of rich, old world pastoralism. It is the major centre of the Northern Tablelands and the major city in the New England area of northern New South Wales. The city has four distinct seasons and it becomes like New England in the USA when in autumn the introduced birch, ash and poplar set the district ablaze with reds, golds and browns. Although the university now dominates the city’s economy it is still in a rich and fertile area where grazing and the production of high-grade fine wool are the major source of local income.

Equally timber processing and the production of potatoes and stone fruits are also important. The historic agricultural wealth of the district is apparent in some of the city’s fine heritage buildings. The scenery around Armidale includes forests, mountain gorges, waterfalls (Wollomombi Falls are one of the highest in Australia) and four national parks. Armidale is also known for its gracious city parklands; its schools and its impressive Anglican and Catholic cathedrals. (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Armidale is a lovely town (maplink), after all it’s known for its impressive Anglican and Catholic cathedrals. We stayed at the Armidale Tourist Park which is a few km’s out out town but a nice caravan park. We were booked in for 3 nights so it was good to just settle in for a while.

Happy Hour Hiliarity

Happy hours were spent in the caravan park’s large games room. It was here that we played “Left, Right, Centre” as well as “Jenga” for the 2nd time and everyone had a ball.

Armidale Cathedrals

We took a visit to the city to stroll around their lovely parks and also check out a couple of the local cathedrals – Saints Mary & Joseph Catholic Cathedral (which we were fortunate to view the inside) and the Anglican Diocese of Armidale.

Wollomombi Falls

The district had recently had a bit of rain so it was fortunate for the group to visit Wollomombi Falls to catch some pretty spectacular waterfalls; located 42.4kms east of Armidale (maplink). The scenery is breathtaking, especially from the sky-bridge built to look over the valley and view the waterfalls from a distance.

Captain Thunderbolt Museum – Uralla

Frederick Wordsworth Ward, better known by the self-styled pseudonym of Captain Thunderbolt, was an Australian bushranger renowned for escaping from Cockatoo Island, and also for his reputation as the “gentleman bushranger” and his lengthy survival, being the longest and last roaming bushranger in Australian history. Wikipedia

The town of Uralla 23.5 kms south-west of Armidale (maplink) has a museum dedicated to Captain Thunderbolt, called McCrossin’s Mill Museum, so we trundled off, with Tim & Anne, to check it out. Well, it was a bit underwhelming but still worth the visit. The museum features a wonderful a series of nine paintings by artist Phillip Pomeroy depict the fatal events of 25 May 1870, when Constable Alexander Walker brought an end to the reign of gentleman bushranger, Captain Thunderbolt.

Moscow Circus – Premier Night

Our last night in Armidale coincided with the opening night of the Moscow Circus, so a group booking was made, for 37 of us who also scored front row seats. Woohoo!

The only animals involved are the dancing toy ponies at the beginning. The whole show is based around acrobats, clowns (of course!), trapeze acts. A truly amazing group of artists, with several of them performing in different acts. The clown was also on the trapeze, a knife thrower and rode in the “Globe of Death” (video below).

If the Moscow Circus comes to a town near you then go! It was totally awesome!

Glen Innes NSW

About Glen Innes

Glen Innes is a charming and attractive rural service centre set amidst rolling countryside on the Northern Tablelands 1075 metres above sea-level. The town is surrounded by impressive national parks and the district is known for its fishing, fossicking and bushwalking. (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Our arrival & check-in at the Glen Rest Tourist park in Glen Innes was so well organised by Helen & Bob, the park managers. We were met at the entrance, asked our names, and then “Fred” escorted us tour our site on his little motorised scooter.

What a lovely little caravan park (thanks to Colleen for selecting it). The usual happy hour was had in an old timber rotunda with a roaring fire going outside.

On the first day we strolled down the road for morning coffees at the “Super Strawberry Farm.

Mothers Day Dinner

It was mothers day and the male members of our group were volunteered by the women to cook dinner (this was organised a week earlier) and it was a simple decision by the guys – lets go out for dinner! So I arranged with our lovely park manager Helen to book in to the local RSL for dinner. She also arranged for a bus to pick us up and take 37 of us to the club. Bailey Roo also came along for the ride. A great meal was had by all and many thanks go the the team at the RSL who actually opened up for us (being a Sunday night) and even letting Bailey Roo have a flutter on the pokies.

Australian Standing Stones Park

Glen Innes is also renowned for it’s Celtic heritage and the Australian Standing Stones park pays tribute to the Celtic heritage of the early European settlers to the district. We visited this lovely park and had a bit of fun around the stones. Merrisa and Anne were trying to channel Claire Fraser from the Netflix series Outlander, trying to pass through the stones to visit “Jamie“.

Bingara NSW – Free Camp

About Bingara

Bingara is a quiet, historic, gold and diamond-mining town set in the Gwydir River Valley. Surrounded by cypress-covered mountains it is a popular with anglers and fossickers. Gold, sapphires and tourmalines are still occasionally found in the river and local creeks. The district is known for its fine wool, beef cattle and mixed farming. The town attracts people interested in the horrific story of the Myall Creek Massacre and those interested in the history of Greek cafes and cinemas in regional New South Wales. (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Bingara Riverside Camping Area would have to be one of the nicest free-camps we have ever visited. It’s even more special when you have decided to camp beside a lovely river with 20 other Bailey mates.

The campground stretches along the banks of the Gwydir River (called Site 1 Gwydir River Common – maplink) and can accommodate a large number of campers. We heard that at time like Christmas holidays its really jamb packed.

After we had set-up our vans we settled in beside the tranquil waters of the Gwydir River for a coffee and meet some of the locals, especially the cute little blue wrens who just flickered around us without a care in the world.

As the day wore on the usual 4:30pm happy hour approached and we gathered around our campfire in a large circle and enjoyed the end of the day. As the sunset, in what was another spectacular orange and red sunset, everyone moved back to their vans for dinner. Then it was back to the campfire, stoking it up, and enjoying a port or two while our mate Paul strummed away on the guitar sharing some great songs.

Much later in the night Jock decided to take a stroll in the dark, as nature called. As he was standing on the bank, it collapsed and he fell face first into the river – which is only about 6″ deep LOL. Totally saturated Jock staggered back ashore minus his glasses, hair full of river weeds and small cut on the head. This became one of the most discussed and laughed about highlights of our tagalong.

The campground is frequented by a mob of local horses. They just stroll around the paddocks, coming down to the river for a drink whenever they want. It’s pretty cool and they are really beautiful animals.

Moree NSW

About Moree

Moree is a town which promotes itself as “Home of Artesian Water Country” and as “Australia’s Artesian Spa Capital” because since 1895 it has tapped into the hot springs of the Great Artesian Basin and promoted them as healing waters attracting people seeking healthy spa water. Moree is the major town in the affluent Moree Plains Shire. The district is famous for its rich black soil plains which, as one local wit observed, is so productive: “You could put a match in the ground overnight and get a walking stick in the morning.” Wheat and other cereals, chick peas, cotton, oil seeds, pecan nuts, legumes and olives are all grown around the town. Located on both sides of the Mehi River, Moree has numerous attractive riverside parks and reserves.

It is deservedly famous for its outstanding collection of Art Deco buildings which make the town centre particularly fascinating. (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

The trip to Moree (maplink) was a very wet one with heavy rain and thunderstorms, plus several sets of road works holding us up but we finally made it to Gwydir Thermal Pools Motel & Caravan Park (for a 2 night stay) to find a queue of about a dozen caravans waiting for check-in. They had a “trainee” on the desk and the poor lady took about 15 minutes to check each caravan in.

After set-up everyone (but me with a broken wrist) headed off to the hot springs for a dip. Even our mascot Bailey Roo got into it as well. Another happy hour, with everyone rugged up for a rather cold wind, and then off to the Ameroo Taven for a great pub meal. Nothing better than being able to just walk over the road from where you’re staying for a meal and a schooner or two.

Narrabri NSW

About Narrabri

Narrabri is the administrative centre of Narrabri Shire which is located in the Namoi Valley. The rugged peaks of Mount Kaputar National Park loom to the east while plains stretch endlessly to the west. The shire is known as an agricultural wonderland. It produces high quality wheat, fat lambs, beef and cotton. The town is located at the junction of the Newell and Kamilaroi Highways and is named after the Kamilaroi word for ‘forked waters’ which is particularly apt as the Namoi River, Narrabri Creek and the Horse Arm Creek all converge at the town. (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Gunnedah stop off

Next stop along the Tagalong21 route was the town of Narrabri (maplink) for just a one night stay. On the way we stopped off at Gunnedah to check-out the Gunnedah Water Tank Museum artwork and the Silo Art in Barber Street which features the poet Dorothea Mackellar and an extract from her famous poem “My Country” immortalized on this 29 metre high, privately owned maize mill.

Narrabri Accommodation

This was the first time we’d actually experienced rain since the beginning of our trip. Nothing worse than a “wet set-up” when you arrive at your accommodation which was the Narrabri Big Sky Caravan Park.

Sawn Rocks

After lunch we braved the elements and took a drive out to the magnificent Sawn Rocks, which are one of Australia’s best examples of a rock formation called ‘organ-piping’ because they look like a wall of giant organ pipes.

Gary becomes an Aussie

One of our tagalong buddies travelled back to Tamworth to sit his Australian Citizenship test and happily returned in time for happy hour as a newly certified Aussie – well done Gary!

We wandered down the road to the RSL for dinner. What an interesting place with lots of nostalgia hanging off the walls. We even had the Bundaberg Rum “Bundy Bear” hanging from the roof above our table.

Lake Keepit NSW

Lake Keepit Dam (maplink) is located just 62kms north of Tamworth and the Reflections Holiday Parks Lake Keepit was a great spot located overlooking the waters of the dam. The dam was actually at 60% capacity compared to just under10% 8 months ago.

Merrisa was still doing the driving and “dump point” duties, as my broken wrist had me laid up for a while.

We took a couple of a drives around the lake checking out the dam wall and the free camp on the opposite side. All in all, this was a great place to visit and we will definitely be back!

Our Tagalong happy hours were spent on the grass in front of the caravan park overlooking the lake and the sunset was brilliant with the clouds and waters turned a lovely shade of pinkish orange as the sun sank into the west horizon.

One of our fellow “Tagalongers”, Paul and I did a bit of night time photography on a night with no clouds or moon and the results are below.

Tamworth NSW

About Tamworth

Over the past forty years Tamworth has become synonymous with country music. It is now known as ‘The Country Music Capital’ and the combination of a Big Guitar, the huge Country Music Festival (reputedly the second largest in the world), the Country Music Hall of Fame and numerous lesser attractions, has ensured that the city can offer days, even weeks, of country music-flavoured activities. In spite of this apparent focus on all things country, the city has much more to offer.

There is the rich history of significant and gracious buildings; the importance of the surrounding agricultural area which produces wool, dairy products, eggs, poultry, wheat, lucerne and honey; the economic importance of cattle, horse and sheep studs; and the simple fact that, with a population of over 40,000, it is a thriving and prosperous service centre. It is, in fact, so large that it has become the most important service centre in the New England region with nearly one quarter of the city’s workforce being employed in the retail sector. (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Tamworth (maplink) was just a one night stay, but the group did pretty well fitting the limited time exploring the town. Oxley Scenic Lookout was a great spot to begin with expansive views over Tamworth.

Gary & Deb, the owners of City Lights Caravan Park, went to enormous lengths to accommodate our group of 21 Bailey caravans. Probably the most enthusiastic and caring park owners we have ever met. They even organised several local musicians to entertain us during, in what ended up being a rather long, happy hour.

We were also fortunate to be given a “boot scootin” demonstration by some young boot-scooters from Lennox Head, who were in town for a competition and they were great. The entertainment continued with the local musos calling up Jennefer and Don, from our group, to join in.

Wallabadah NSW – Free Camp

About Wallabadah

Wallabadah is tiny village that straggles along the New England Highway. It lies surrounded by fine wool, stud cattle and prime lamb country. It has two historic buildings but the main attraction, incongruous in the region, is the comprehensive and sophisticated First Fleet Memorial Garden where visitors can learn about the people who travelled to Australia on the First and Second Fleets. (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

So along come 20 Bailey caravans into this picturesque campsite in the tiny NSW town of Wallabadah (maplink), and boy, did we fill it up quickly!

What a truly great campsite, which just about everyone in our group voted one of the nicest free-camps to visit ($10 donation please).

Situated next to the “First Fleet Gardens” on the Quirindi Creek, the campground accommodated our group well for just a one night stay.

The First Fleet Gardens are made up of eleven garden beds representing each of the ships which Captain Arthur Phillips led out to Australia to create the first settlement. Each garden bed has a story about the tenuous trip each ship undertook. I even found out there was a ship called Alexander!

It was also one of our Bailey buddy’s birthday while we were here – happy birthday Rosemarie

Cessnock NSW

About Cessnock

If the world was ruled by common sense and imagination, Cessnock would be the emotional and economic heart of the great Hunter Valley wine area. It would be a classy city full of chic cafes and restaurants; boutique accommodation and specialist providores catering for the clientele of the 150 vineyards in the district. Instead it is a coal mining town struggling to find a new identity. It is a place of cheap cafes, op shops, bargain basement stores which make it a deeply working class residential area with shops and buildings which recall a time when “coal was king”. The town started as a service centre for travellers and the district’s farmers. Its real development as a city occurred when the area became a major mining centre at the end of the 19th century. (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

We arrived in Cessnock NSW and checked into Ingenia Holidays Hunter Valley Caravan Park along with 19 other Bailey Caravans and it looked truly amazing with Bailey’s of all types just about filling the place up.

First item on the agenda was to set-up our site ASAP then onto the 1st meet and greet happy hour. It was so exciting to catch up with old Bailey mates and then also meet new comers. There’s something very special about the Bailey Family; everyone is always so happy to meet up and have a chat.

Hunter Valley Wine Tour

The first day saw the group pile onto a couple of buses to do a “wine tour” around the Cessnock area of the Hunter Valley. We visited 3 different wineries.

#1 Tamburlaine Organic Winery

Tamburlaine Organic Winery was a great start to the tour (maplink). They claim that it is Australia’s largest independent organic wine producer. With over 300 hectares of organically farmed vineyards in the Hunter Valley and Orange wine region.

We were ushered into a special “tasting room” where our wine guide, Jan, took us through the history of the winery and explained the varieties of wines we were tasting in such an easily understood way, I actually learnt a fair bit. I think the whole group totally enjoyed the session; an indication being the number of bottles purchased at the end.

#2 Drayton’s Family Winery

We were dropped off at the Draytons Family winery to discover that we were actually at the wrong Dayton’s, which after a few laughs we piled back onto the bus and headed toward the correct one (maplink) – it was quite comical as we had passed the “right one” on the way to the “wrong one”.

This was our lunch stop, which was then followed by a tasting ran by an interesting and very funny man by the name of Daniel. He had us all in stitches with some of his commentary; especially the story about the “blue wine” as he told us it’s made from special Bulgarian grapes which grow underground. He later told us the truth – they actually put blue food dye in the wine to give it the blue colour LOL.

#3 Sobels Winery

Our last stop was at Sobels Winery (maplink) and there were so many of us they spread around the place; some inside and some outside. This approach made me feel a lot less personal and I think this was also indicated by the small amount of bottles purchased by the group.

All-in- all it was a truly fantastic day and many thanks must go to Jennefer who organised the whole thing.

Crash and down goes Alex!

The group booked into the Thai Restaurant, next door to the caravan park, for a group dinner on our 3rd night. After a superb dinner we wandered back to our caravans with the idea of regrouping at the “fire pit” for a few quiet ports. So over I trot and “over” I went, tripping on the small curb in the dark and face planting the concrete. The result being a really sore left wrist, multiple abrasions to the face and a black eye.

A trip to the Cessnock Hospital & x-rays revealed the wrist had a broken bone and torn ligaments. This resulted in a plaster “back slab” being fitted and advice to visit the Armidale hospital in two weeks time for a re-assessment. This was definitely not the way I wanted to start our trip! Merrisa was also now faced with the task of towing our caravan, doing the toilet cassette “run” and our Bailey mates assisting in the set-up and pack-up of our caravan.

Roadtrip to Tagalong 21

Leaving home in Melbourne on the 20th April 2021 we headed north on the journey to meet 20 other Bailey caravans in Cessnock on 26th April for our 28 day adventures with our Bailey friends.


Tue 20 Apr 2021

Our 1st stop on our journey to Tagalong21 was at the Tocumwal Town Beach Camp situated on the banks of the mighty Murray River (maplink), which is a really fantastic campsite. Tocumwal is also where Merrisa’s former ANZ workmate lives so it was great to catch up with Chris & and her husband Noel.

We had a look around town; checking out the giant Murray Cod in the main street, the old rail bridge over the Murray (opened in 1895) and the famous “blowhole“, but the highlight of the stay was definitely the campground and catching up with old mates.


Thu 22 Apr 2021

Our 2nd stop was at the Parkes Showgrounds for a night (maplink) where we met up with some Bailey mates, Sharon & Neil, Phil & Lyn and Ian & Jane, also on their way to the Tagalong21. The Showgrounds were a bit rough where we took a while to find some level ground and connection to both water & power. The facilities were new and spotless.

Leaving Parkes and heading north we stopped off at Parkes Radio Telescope Visitor’s Centre to check out the telescope facility (maplink). The history of this telescope is really impressive; the biggest is it’s involvement in the 1969 NASA Moon Landing when the observatory was used to relay communication and telemetry signals to NASA, providing coverage for when the Moon was on the Australian side of the Earth. For Australians, it’s also the movie called The Dish. If you’re travelling along the Newell Highway between Parkes and Dubbo, do yourself a favour and drop into the observatory. Entry is free.

Dubbo Zoo

Fri 23 Apr 2021

Allowing a couple of nights stay at Dubbo Midstate Caravan Park (maplink) gave us the perfect opportunity to spend a day at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo (maplink). This is truly a fantastic zoo to visit as you can drive your own car through the zoo. Plenty of things to see but our favourites were the meerkats.


Sun 25 Apr 2021

The final overnight stop was at Merriwa (maplink) and we booked into the smallest caravan park on the side of the highway.

The morning when we left was ANZAC Day and everything was shut, except the Dunedoo Café which was on the road down to our final destination in Cessnock – the beginning of our Bailey Tagalong21 trip.