Australia · 98 Days · 95 Moments · June 2017

Ossies' Trip to the Tip

30 September 2017

Day 98 Saturday 30 September Alas, our 'Trip to the Tip' is completed and we have made our way home from Maroochydore today!! With so many adventures and a few extra kilos under our belts, its clear that we have been blessed with a great experience! We are so thankful that we had no issues with the car or the van and travelled safely all the way! Thanks to Bwian for outstanding driving! Chas was on hand to help us with our final pack up and it was great we were travelling south, not north today!! The northbound traffic was horrendous! Chas had ensured that the house was sparkling and fresh, even with a vase of flowers - such a great house sitter!!! πŸ˜† After unpacking the van and getting a few loads of washing done, we got ourselves ready to go to the Sharks for the AFL grand final! It was lovely to catch up with some of our Bomber mates! We are grateful for safe travels, amazing adventures and the joy of meeting wonderful characters throughout our great state! Over and out, blog done!
Day 97 Friday 29 September What a fabulous day! Had the best beach morning at Alex. The air and water temperatures were perfect and it was a mildly breezy time on the beach. It was so good, we sat for over 3 hours enjoying the sun, sand, water and world going by - spectacular!! From there we made return preparations and filled up the car and checked the air bags in readiness for our trip home tomorrow! Our afternoon was HOT, so had a quiet read for a while before starting some packing up! We got ourselves ready for Chas' arrival, as we were having a family night at the Maroochydore Surf Club. Right on schedule she arrived and we walked down to meet Bart, Cheryl and Mikki for the Drag Queen Bingo! Well ... what a fun night that was!!! Besides Bingo, there were jokes, songs and banter!! What a hoot - highly inappropriate BUT HILARIOUS!!! A special part the night was watching Chas and Mikki together - special cousins! ❀️ Fabulous way to finish off our Maroochydore adventures!

28 September 2017

Day 96 Thursday 28 September What a beautiful beach morning at Alex! Ran into Cheryl and Mikki at the kiosk and enjoyed a couple of hours relaxing on the beach and having a swim in what was a bit like a washing machine, although the temperature was beautiful!! Lovely walk back to the park and a relaxing afternoon! Had Happy Hour with Mark and the kids and then wandered over to the little 'Thai Nights' across the road for dinner. It was delicious and a great day overall! Can't believe we'll be home in 2 more sleeps! 😳

27 September 2017

Day 95 Wednesday 27 September Disappointing that it was a cloudy and grey morning, so it was a good plan to go for a drive to Tewantin to have the satellite dish fixed and visit Bart, Cheryl and Mikki at their newly extended and renovated IGA store at Noosa Outlook. The sat dish just needed some tweaking so that was all good (thanks Sat Plus) and we were fortunate to join Bart and Cheryl for lunch at a great cafe in the complex, Nook and Co Espresso Bar, that had fantastic food, drinks & service. The shop looks fantastic and they're just waiting for some artwork and sign writing to finish it all off! From there we went mooching along the coast and checked out the beaches and views, that were spectacular as the cloud had lifted and the sun was shining. When we got back to the park in the afternoon, we caught up with Mark and his kids for 'Happy Hour' and then cooked a roast dinner in the BBQ! Yumm!! We rounded off our day with some TV viewing (More old people behaviour)! 😳

26 September 2017

Day 94 Tuesday 26 September Glorious beach day today!! Mum departed to make her way home around 8:45am after a lovely visit. We then met Bart and Cheryl for breakfast at the Alex Kiosk and enjoyed our very delicious pancakes and then made our way down to the beach for a perfect beach morning. Thank goodness the wind has dropped! Again the water temperature was beautiful and I had a great swim! We were both happy to sit and watch the world go by until about lunch time and then had a lovely walk back to the park. The afternoon program included washing, reading, and pottering, so nothing exciting there. The fun part of the late afternoon was watching some videos of Eli and Beau playing with this crazy mimicking hamster we bought Beau for his birthday - hilarious!!! We made a beef stir fry for dinner, trying to use up our fridge supplies - very tasty!! We only have 4 more sleeps until we are back home with our beautiful family and friends! πŸŽ‰β€οΈπŸ˜Š

25 September 2017

Blog Day 93 Monday 25 September Another wild and windy day here on the coast, but beautiful and sunny! Mum and I went for a walk to the Maroochydore shops and met Bwian there for a coffee. After some discussion about 'the old days' we decided to go for a drive to Bli Bli to check out our old stamping ground - although hardly recognisable!! Had a quiet afternoon and a read, as is required on holidays!!! We walked down to the Maroochydore Surf Club for a drink late afternoon and played a few games of Keno. I went to swipe my membership card and noticed the person before me! What a surprise!! It was a friend from my childhood - Mark, brother of my friend, Helen. We used to agist our horses together and go riding and our parents became very close life long friends! It's been many years since we last caught up. We met two of his children and had dinner together! We'll cross paths again, as they are staying here in the park, having moved in this afternoon! What a lovely coincidence!

24 September 2017

Day 92 Sunday 24 September Another beautiful day in paradise! The park managers do pancakes on Sunday mornings for a donation to the Leukemia foundation, so that was breakfast sorted and they were yumm. Mum arrived and moved into the guest suite and then we went for a wander to the Cotton Tree Markets. I was keen to go, as I used to frequent these when we lived here in the 80s and 90s! There were lots of great stalls and some special things for grandboys to be had! After a stroll to the Maroochydore surf beach we had a cold drink and sat and watched the world go by for a while a then made it back to base camp. We had lunch, then a read and then strolled south to the Alex Surf Club to the Bluff Bar for their famous Sunday afternoon session. It was going off!!! A great band called the 'Cumquats' were playing covers and the place was packed. We enjoyed a few very cold and refreshing beers and soaked in the atmosphere! Fun afternoon, a BBQ dinner and then a quiet night in! All well!

23 September 2017

Day 91 Saturday 23 September Had a fantastic morning on the beach at Alex and finally got to share one of their fabulous breakfast wraps! It was even a swimming day and just beautiful in the water! We lasted until Bwian had had enough of holding the umbrella!!! (It was a bit blowy!)πŸ˜† After strolling back to the park and showering, it was time to attack the pod!!! Actually it was in pretty good shape with very little dust, so that was a bonus! Our mission was to erect the guest room! Mum (Terry) is coming to visit for a few days, so it is great to be able to provide a comfortable (albeit tent) space for her! It will be lovely to have some extended time together! Then of course there was some AFL viewing on the TV to be had. Chas and her work mate Amy, were invited by Richmond to attend so flew down for the game this morning! Good thing they won. I'm sure there is still some pretty hard partying going on tonight! Anyway, after that, a quiet night in. It is just so lovely being here!

22 September 2017

Day 90 Friday 22 September Another quiet and glorious morning! We went on an expedition to find a replacement bulb for the external van door light, which we found at Repco, and then bought some more supplies! Our afternoon was uneventful until we heard the reports of the developing storms! Some campers packed up their annexes and stowed all of their outside furniture. Others took less drastic action and battened down the hatches!! We replaced our regular awning pegs with some that Erle had made, that we call our 'cyclone pegs'!! Anyway, we were ready for the wild storm, that eventually arrived as a bit of wind and about 20 drops of rain! We had a little more light rain early evening, but not much! Fortunately the hinterland got some, which may help! So, the action we were expecting didn't eventuate, although the lightning show is still continuing some hours on! Storms are always pretty spectacular to watch over the ocean. I checked out the van's proximity to the dunes - pretty close!

21 September 2017

Day 89 Thursday 21 September Cruisy morning and some time again on the beach at Maroochydore. It was another beautiful day but still too cool in the water for us to have a swim!! After some quiet time and more required holiday reading we got ourselves ready for a stroll to the Alex Surf Club to meet Bart and Cheryl to join the regular Thursday Music Trivia competition. We had no real expectation, not having too much knowledge of contemporary music, but thought it would be a bit of fun! As it turned out after a lot of laughs, we ended up in third position, so we were quite happy with that! Our prize was a $10 voucher at the surf club, so we're sure we'll manage to utilise that over the coming week! We still haven't had our yummy breakfast wraps from the Alex kiosk yet!!! So it was a fun night after a relaxing day! We are lucky ducks!! Also found a couple Facebook posts worthy of sharing - little Stef Osland at 3 years, hanging out at aerobics (1987) and a worthy camping gadget!

20 September 2017

Day 88 Wednesday 20 September Another glorious day here in paradise, although again a little windy. Had a pretty quiet morning with just a bit of washing and reading to do!! We went for a stroll to the Alex Surf Club and had lunch with Ron, Lorraine and Debbie. It was lovely to be able to catch up and share some travel stories! Ron and Lorraine departed on their RV trip to Q, NT and WA prior to our tour departure, so it was the first chance for us to really catch up! After a delicious lunch we strolled back to the park for a quiet afternoon and a nana nap! We actually haven't had that many afternoon naps while we've been travelling!!! It's a lovely spot here - a perfect relaxation spot! Love listening to the surf - day and night! No tour photos today, but this image shows where we are! 😳

19 September 2017

Day 87 Tuesday 19 September Lovely morning to be on the beach! Later it did end up being a bit blowy, so we departed at that point! Had lunch with Bart and Cheryl at the Alex Surf Club kiosk and enjoyed a simple but yummy lunch! From there we went to Mooloolaba and did a bit of grocery shopping and had a lovely walk back to Maroochydore from there. Happy long life to our beautiful grandboy, Beau. We are so blessed to have such a gorgeous family! 😘❀️xx

18 September 2017

Day 86 Monday 18 September Had a relaxed morning and made our way down to Cotton Tree and had a coffee! Checked out the Maroochydore Surf Club program for the fortnight ahead and then back to the van. We already have tickets for the Drag Queen Bingo on Friday, 29 September, so who knows what that will entail??!! πŸ˜†πŸ˜† This afternoon I went for a lovely beach walk and stopped in at the Alex Surf Club to see what's happening there. We'll find something to keep us entertained in the time ahead! The skate park at Alex is under serious renovation! Eli will be happy to visit again when it's done, although it looks a lot more serious than the previous design! Some Rainbow Lorikeets were visitIng us this afternoon and I spotted a couple of interesting black birds with red beaks on my walk! Haven't seen them before!! 😳Bwian was chained to the BBQ again tonight! Had a yummy steak/chops and vegetables! All is very chilled here at Maroochydore!

17 September 2017

Day 85 Sunday 17 September What a beautiful day. Had a cruisy start with a walk on the beach and spotted all the nippers starting the new season at Maroochydore and Alex. Gorgeous morning, but a bit blowy! Then we picked up Bwian's sister, Deb, and headed off for Beau's first birthday party in ANZAC Park at Toowong. It was so wonderful to catch up with our girls, Jon, boys and parents after so long! We had a fabulous time chatting with our extended family and Stef and Jon's beautiful friends. Aunty Chas arrived in her new car and made another incredible birthday cake - she's amazing!! Always so touched by the beautiful Bartlett family and how they are so supportive of each other. Check out the gorgeous little cousins waiting for Aunty Stef to cut up the cake - its all natural and so touching! Poor Eli was unwell, but got involved for part of the time! Beau had a lovely time with everyone as usual ! He's brought so much joy and love to our family over the past year. Blessed! ❀️

16 September 2017

Day 84 Saturday 16 September Before departing from the RV Homebase this morning, we were fortunate to be able to use the wash down bay to give the car and van a clean!! Hallelujah! The poor van hadn't had a wash the whole time we were away, so it was great to be able to get rid of the dust and grime in a purpose built facility! Thanks, RV Homebase! Had a quick trip to Maroochydore, as we made our way to our last campsite, our fav, Maroochy Beach Holiday Park! Got ourselves set up so we'll be comfortable for the coming 2 weeks! It's been a glorious day, although a bit windy! Did some washing and then went for a short walk to collect dinner for tonight - pizza! All great for our 2 weeks in this beautiful part of the world! Looking forward to our family day tomorrow, as we celebrate Beau's first birthday - have missed them all so much!! ❀️We are blessed! 😊

15 September 2017

Day 83 Friday 15 September Enjoyed our walking tour this morning, learning about the wonderful history and culture here in Maryborough. From the historic buildings to the tributes to those who have made something of themselves in the outside world and the loyalty of supporting local business - we were so impressed by the widespread respect shown to residents! After our tour we had a coffee and snack at 'A Spoonful of Sugar Cafe' and then I had my photo taken with my new friend, Mary Poppins!! In the photo, the building behind is the site of the author, PL Travers' birthplace and is currently being developed as a Mary Poppins museum! Managed to fit in a couple of haircuts and had coffee with our friend, Robyn (one of Bwian's close friends from primary and high school) this afternoon, and checked out her camper and lovely home here at the RV Homebase. Happy hour started at 5 and somehow finished at 10, so that was a pretty long hour! πŸ˜† Last stop - Maroochydore tomorrow - hooray!!!!

14 September 2017

Day 82 Thursday 14 September So we departed from 1770 this morning and made our way to Maryborough. We checked into the RV Homebase, where our friend, Robyn lives, as we were keen to investigate this lifestyle choice village which is very likely to be replicated over the next couple of years at Bli Bli. Just looking at options at the moment - not quite sure when or where we'll move to next!! So we did a tour and found out all there was to know, so we'll sit on that for the moment. Late this afternoon we went for a drive around the town and found a lovely place to have breakfast, lunch and dinner (all at once!!!) down at the marina by the Mary River. It was a lovely quiet spot and the food was yum. After that we wandered over to the Information Centre to see what we can cover tomorrow. We're going to start with the walking tour at 9am and then go for a drive to see what else is out there. All safely settled here at Maryborough and a quiet evening in now. Cheers! 🍷

13 September 2017

Day 81 Wednesday 13 September Our last chilled day at 1770. It was a little cloudy early on, but cleared to another beautiful afternoon. Another drive and mooching about the park were all that our itinerary held, but dinner in the bistro at sunset was a wonderful way to finish our 1770 stay. It's been a very restful time and an opportunity to just 'be'! We're off to Maryborough tomorrow for 2 nights - the downhill slide until we lob in Maroochydore for our final hoorah before returning home and reality! Hope all my teaching buddies have a great final day of term and a fabulous Friday! Blessings and safe travels to those on the move! 😊

12 September 2017

Day 80 Tuesday 12 September Another glorious day here at 1770. Went for a drive this morning and then spent some time wrapping gifts for the boys - Beau, for his first birthday and Eli for his un-birthday!! Yaay - party this Sunday!! πŸŽ‰ There was a bit more action on the beach today with people out fishing, paddle boarding, swimming, kayaking and boating. It was beautiful to sit and read and soak in the peace of the beautiful day. I saw the best fish of our stay today, a Yellow Tail King that was about 70cm that a spear fisherman had caught off the point - very impressive! Again, nothing was caught off the beach today that we saw! We walked along the beach at sunset to the 1770 pub for their Mexican night. The board walk and path make for a safe and comfortable walk along the water - very pretty. Dinner was good and then a quiet night in. Aaahhh the stress!!!! πŸ˜†

11 September 2017

Day 79 Monday 11 September Another pseudo fishing morning today!! We actually did land something - a carpet mat, but it wasn't quite up to filleting and frying!!! We went for another drive this afternoon and checked out a few of the shops and bought some supplies for dinner. Of course we attended the regular sunset viewing with sundowners on the beach and then prepared dinner - steak and veggies with our own Diane Sauce. It was yum!! We are enjoying the quiet time with no plans and just hanging about on the beach! Perhaps tomorrow we'll land something edible!! 🀣

10 September 2017

Day 78 Sunday 10 September Finally we got to wet the fishing lines today! Yesterday it was very blowy and today was perfect. Got ourselves comfortable and tormented ourselves for an hour or so at high tide. We weren't alone!! The only things caught along our stretch of beach were a couple of little bream that were thrown back - nothing good enough for dinner!! Anyway, that was peaceful and relaxing so we'll give it another shot tomorrow!! It was pretty much a beach day for us as we stayed for the majority of the day. It was perfect ... and again, another beautiful sunset! Quiet evening in, cooking yummy burgers on the BBQ. Looks like more of the same program tomorrow!! πŸ˜†

9 September 2017

Day 77 Saturday 9 September Went mooching around Agnes yesterday and went surf side to check out the beaches. Some were easier to get to than others, but we enjoyed the walks and beautiful forests and beaches! We also did part of a 'must do' here, the Paperbark Forest Walk, which is just stunning, although not accessible for all! The colour and light are breathtaking! After our exploring, we stopped off at 'The Tree', the 1770 pub, in a magnificent spot just near the camping ground. After 11 weeks, we ran into some Redlanders, the Johnstones & Adlers who were enjoying a drink and the view there too! Our beautiful girls were enjoying Priscilla's Hens' do and sent through some shots. Had a quiet afternoon with a cute visitor dropping by, and watched another impressive sunset! We'll be home in 3 weeks!!!! 😳😊

8 September 2017

Day 76 Friday 8 September Leisurely start to the day and after breakfast, wandered to the beach to sit and contemplate the scenery!! It was a glorious day and we were motivated to get our rods at the ready for high tide tomorrow at 10:30am. A few fish were caught by kids and adults from the shore, so looking pretty positive!!! This afternoon, went for a beach walk and saw the Cook Cairn - pretty special spot!! Then of course had to sit on the beach with a beer at sunset and we enjoyed the silhouettes of fishermen and a hungry pelican! The bistro here beckoned, so we wandered there for a simple dinner overlooking the beach! Just spectacular! Happy Friday! 😊🍻xx

7 September 2017

Day 75 Thursday 7 September Went for a drive to Agnes Water and the township of 1770. Checked into the 1770 Camping Grounds, and we do have 'water glimpses'!! As we're here for a week, we did a full set up and are looking forward to the old school beach holiday - very little here, so it will be pretty relaxing! There is a pub, just a short stroll away and then a tavern at Agnes and apparently they have a courtesy bus, so there are at least a couple of options for evening entertainment! Might have to break out the fishing rods!!! 🎣!! Did a bit of shopping at the SPAR this afternoon as part of our drive around to get our bearings! There are some great houses here with incredible views! We grabbed our beers and chairs before sunset and wandered down to the beach with a couple of dozen others - very beautiful spot - boats coming in, a girl on a paddle board and a dad and his son pumping for yabbies - pretty fabulous - all in the glow of a beautiful sunset! + Bwian's cooking! Cheers!! ?

6 September 2017

Day 74 Wednesday 6 September Travel day today! Although we loved our beachside spot in Mackay, and tried to extend for another night, we were unable to due to their heavy bookings, so took off for as far as we felt like it today! After 5 hours, we made it as far as Rocky - always a bonus to traverse the dreaded Marlborough stretch without incident. It's easy to see why there are so many accidents when the truckies are so hellbent on overtaking on unsuitable stretches. We pull over often if there is traffic behind us, but many caravanners don't!! Anyway, here we are at the Southside Holiday Village, on a drive through site ready to take off to 1770 in the morning! Early happy hour for us today! πŸ»πŸ§€πŸ˜† ( + more ducks!!πŸ˜†)

5 September 2017

Day 73 Tuesday 5 September Yes, had a strolling shopping day today. Enjoyed meandering here and there at Canelands which has a huge range of shops! Back to the beach for an afternoon cuppa and read and then off to the Northern Beaches Bowls Club for a drink and dinner! Great club catering for families and all! Quiet evening back at the van! Off to a secret place tomorrow (who knows????), and then 1770 on Thursday for a week! Looking forward to that! 😊

4 September 2017

Day 72 Monday 4 September Had another quiet day today, with a drive around for a while this morning then a peaceful beach afternoon! This is such a picturesque spot with lots of interesting features on the shoreline. Had a lovely walk and then a cuppa and a read looking out over the water - just a magic position! Perfect spot for some quiet time! Might check out the shops tomorrow!! πŸ˜‰

3 September 2017

Day 71 Sunday 3 September πŸ’™HAPPY FATHERS' DAY! πŸ’™ Cruisy drive to Mackay this morning and checked into the Blacks Beach Holiday Park - gorgeous spot, right on the water. After a quick set up we had cheese, bickies and a beer for lunch overlooking the beach, then a restful afternoon. We had dinner at the Eimeo Pub, at Anthony's recommendation- fabulous pub in a fantastic beach front position. Had a great meal, although Bwian couldn't jump over his pork hock meal!! Spoke to our kids and folks from there which was lovely. Can't believe we are on our last 4 week countdown! Just astonishing!! Not sure either of us are ready for reality!! 😳

2 September 2017

Day 70 Saturday 2 September Again it was beautiful to wake up to the sound of the waves, although it was still dark! We were keen to be on the beach for dawn so that we could witness the roos and wallabies that come to feed on the beach at this time every day. It was pretty special, as Ben, the park manager laid out some food for them and talked about increased measures in securing the animals' safety due to the popularity of this event! It was also a really beautiful sunrise and we took lots of shots!! Our excursion later in the morning took us to check out the very sleepy beach villages of Ball Bay and Halliday Bay. HB even has a golf course set on the beach!! We dropped into the Station Tea House for a cuppa on the way back - very pretty! Had a quiet afternoon and cooking in tonight! Off to Mackay in the morning!! Happy Fathers' Day to all the Dads! ❀️xx

1 September 2017

Day 69 Friday 1 September Enjoying our short sojourn in the Cape Hillsborough National Park. The place is very beautiful and was another spot actually named by Captain Cook. We planned on doing one of the bush walks today, but it was too steep and rocky, so contented ourselves with a stroll on the beach. The landscape is rugged and spectacular and apparently there are some mackerel around for those inclined to fish in these waters!! Tonight's 'fishnchip' night at the park, so no cooking for us! It's also a social type of event, so time for us to be sociable!! Again you know it's a good night when it develops into a rum'n'coke shout! Tomorrow we plan on doing a day trip to some other beaches in the area. The wildlife here is keeping us entertained!! All good!😊

31 August 2017

Day 68 Thursday 31 August So we were on the road again today and took off from the Island Gateway Park at Airlie and headed south for Cape Hillsborough. We ended up taking the long way round, heading close to Mackay so that we had a sealed road all the way. The park is set in a national park right on the beach so it's in a beautiful setting - just gorgeous to hear the surf again! Our site backs on to the tree line of the dunes so it's perfect! There are a number of bush walks, including some with boardwalks so hopefully we can go for a stroll at some point. The place is known for having roos and wallabies around, particularly on the beach at dawn, so that should be interesting too. Lovely quiet and peaceful spot! Mexican chicken for dinner! 😊

30 August 2017

Day 67 Wednesday 30 August Aaahhhh ... rest day again at the van today. Went out this afternoon for some supplies and then returned in time for the Wednesday night BBQ. Nice to meet some other travellers and again support the 'Sailability' team who provide sailing experiences for the disabled. Tomorrow we are off to Cape Hillsborough for a few days. From all accounts it is a beautiful beachside national park, so that will be a change of scene from the tourist strip of the past week, although we've really enjoyed it! We've heard from our friends Meredith and Glenn who are travelling in Iceland currently. They were delighted to share that they 'found us' and sent through some geographic evidence! We found that very interesting so I've shared the image they sent! Due to another quiet day - no scenic shots to share - just the beautiful ducks that come and visit several times a day!! Very cute! It appears we are about to trade the bird life for roos and wallabies! That will be lovely!

29 August 2017

Day 66 Tuesday 29 August We are loving this restful stopover in Airlie Beach, doing not much! This afternoon we went for a meander through 'town', had a coffee and treat and mooched around the shops. Again, so much cyclone damage still evident!! We sussed out the eateries and found one that looked interesting, with live music, so made a booking. Well, KC's Bar and Grill was the place to be tonight! Lloyd Saunders (& Evan) were playing and were a lot of fun with a great line up of music. Bwian reckons his Aussie special of roo and croc was the best meal he'd had in a while - he made short work of it with nothing left but the garnish!! Anyway, the food, great staff, music and atmosphere made for a fabulous night! You know it's a good night when the rum and cokes come out! πŸ˜† Great spot!

28 August 2017

Day 65 Monday 28 August Our morning started with a bus pickup at 6:40am and then to The Port of Airlie to board the catamaran, Reefstar MV 2001. We spotted some famous maxis in port: - Anaconda III and Condor. Our first stop was for our snorklorklorkling at the fringe reef, just off Hook Island, which was gorgeous - pretty clear water and quite a lot of fish to puddle around with! Just beautiful! Our next stop was to the beach on Whitsunday Island so that we could do the hill walk up to Hill Inlet Lookout on Whitsunday Island. The views are breathtaking looking south across Whitehaven Beach, 7 km of beautiful white sand and the water, the most incredible colours!! So then we made our way to the southern end of Whitehaven Beach for a swim - that was blissful! When we boarded to head home we were each greeted with a Tequila Sunrise and some tasty bar snacks . Great way to finish a fabulous day-thanks to the Reefstar Team!

27 August 2017

Day 64 Sunday 27 August Even lower key day today - absolute rest day!! We stayed put at the van and beyond the usual washing and van chores, did very little! Bwian enjoyed having a no shoes day and I enjoyed finally breaking out the sun lounge! Hooray!! I went for a short stroll around the park this afternoon and took some shots of the park, wildlife and our site! Yes, a whole flock of ducks having a Sunday afternoon nap! Lots of birdlife here, including noisy curlews and rainbow lorikeets! It's a pretty park with good facilities! The destruction of Cyclone Debbie is still evident right around the town and at the back of the park here, across the creek! Tomorrow we are off for our Whitsunday Cruise and snorkelorklorkling!!! πŸ˜†Looking forward to that!!

26 August 2017

Day 63 Saturday 26 August Pretty low key day today! There was a market on the foreshore, so we went there for a look and shared a really bad but really good breakfast!! The outlook was pretty spectacular!!! We went for a wander, bought some produce and then went driving around, checking out all that is new including the new Airlie Marina which is beautifully done! Had a quiet afternoon and then moved on to the Airlie Sailing Club for dinner and to be entertained by a blues performer, Tim Griffin. It made a far better option than the backpackers melee in the middle of town - not quite our style!!! Good night! Anyway, a lovely day - pretty chilled!! 😊

25 August 2017

Day 62 Friday 25 August Went for a drive at Caralyn Nicholson's recommendation (thanks!) and took ourselves off for a tour to Dingo Beach and Hydeaway Bay - both beautiful spots and amazing boaties' territory + great spots to escape the real world!! Unfortunately it was a bit blowy and cloudy, so didn't stay long, and made our way back to Airlie for a simple pikinik on the beach. It's so easy just sitting mindlessly and watching the world go by. We are becoming experts!! πŸ˜† We then went for a drive to Shute Harbour which is like a ghost town now. The tourist boats now dock at Port Airlie, with only barges using SH, so not much happening there. It looks sad and neglected!! Back to base late afternoon, more car washing and some cheese and bickies for starters. It has been a couple of weeks since we did this!!! 😳 (Yes, really!!) Gorgeous birds here also on site of an afternoon! Chicken Satays for dinner. All well here at beautiful Airlie! Happy Friday!!

24 August 2017

Day 61 Thursday 24 August Pretty cruisy day today! Went for a drive to Bunnings to spend our voucher we won at the Cowboys!!! That was exciting - big spenders, it was for $20!! After that we went strolling through the town centre and located the place where we stayed 33 years ago, Whitsunday Wanderers. We think it might be part of a backpackers complex now. The foreshore has had an extreme makeover with a swimming lagoon constructed (lovely, but closed) and extensive building and refurbishment along the strip. Lots of places closed though, and there are far fewer people around than we expected, although, bookings at the caravan parks are high, with both of the Big 4s booked out apparently. Had a quick stop at a beautiful brasserie, Breeze Bar, and thought that perhaps we'll need to go back there one night! After a bit of shopping at Woolies, right in the centre of town, we made our way back to the park. I booked our island cruising tour for Monday. Quiet afternoon and night in!

23 August 2017

Blog Day 60 Wednesday 23 August Full pack up and full setup today! We made our way from Townsville and the sun on the water was spectacular! We drove south and dropped into the beach district of Bowen for some brunch/lunch, which was lovely! Well ... we were like sideshow clowns heading into Airlie!! It's been 33 years since we were last here, so we recognised NOTHING!!! 😳 We decided to stay at the Island Gateway Holiday Park, as it had good reviews and is the closest to the town centre. It's looking great so far. They had a fund raiser BBQ tonight for disabled sailing, which was good and we got to be a part of that and chat with some fellow travellers. Tomorrow we'll go for a drive and get our bearings and mooch around!! The place is huge with extensive development on the strip and on the surrounding hills - magnificent views from there!! We plan on doing a sailing/boating tour to the islands on one day, so that will be lovely! Looking forward to staying put for a whole week! 😊

22 August 2017

Day 59 Tuesday 22 August Enjoyed a touristy day today and went to beautiful Magnetic Island! We took the ferry to Nelly Bay and then jumped on the bus for a look! The island was far larger than I imagined and spectacularly beautiful! After checking out a few of the bays, we decided to stop at Horseshoe Bay for the majority of our time. (The view from the bus though was thwarted by the crimsafe screen on the windows!!!) After our picnic on the foreshore we were rewarded with a flock of black cockatoos flying over and then frolicking around in the trees above us! We've never seen them close up before and they were so beautiful with colorful undertails! After a drink at the tavern across the road (see the specials blackboard!) we caught the bus back to the ferry terminal and then off to find supplies to whip up a batch of chilli chicken for dinner. All quiet here now at base camp, for tomorrow we depart for Airlie Beach! Haven't been there for 33 years!! 😯

21 August 2017

Day 58 Monday 21 August After having a parallel coffee with Eloise & Sarah this morning (not quite the same as our face to face catch ups!!), we went mooching about the shops and also had a new screen installed on Bwian's phone. Curiously he had a large crack appear from no apparent incident! Anyway, all sorted now. From there we had a good look along The Strand and decided to have a late lunch at Watermark Bar and Grill. We enjoyed a very chilly Peroni and shared the best pizza we've had in a very long time!! The whole Strand complex is fabulous with a free water park for the kids, playgrounds, exercise equipment areas and beautifully maintained landscaping - very impressive. Of course opposite are lovely accommodation offerings and lots of cafes and eateries. After seeking some fresh prawns for our easy dinner, we made our way back to the park and then to the waterfront for a sundowner. Although we loved spending time in the bush, it's great to be back on the coast-our happy place!

20 August 2017

Day 57 Sunday 20 August After some van chores this morning, we took off for another drive around Townsville. Every other town we've visited on this trip, that I learnt about at primary school, has surprised me by how small they are; however, Townsville has been the antithesis of this!! It's been a bit of a nostalgic visit for Bwian, as he used to spend a bit of time here in his corporate days. We drove up to Castle Hill and I was amazed!! I enjoyed hiking up to each lookout, and spotted a WWII bunker, clearly in a very strategic position overlooking the coastline and beautiful Magnetic Island. It was spectacular! We avoided The Strand because of a triathlon happening, so continued on to the Cowboys' Club for lunch. It is lovely and we enjoyed our lunch specials!! We even won a Bunnings voucher in the charity raffles!! πŸŽ‰. After a bit of strolling through the city and a bit of shopping, we made our way back to the van park for a quiet afternoon and another fabo Bwian BBQ dinner!

19 August 2017

Day 56 Saturday 19 August We had a wonderful stay in CT but made our way to Townsville to Rowe's Bay Holiday Park this morning. We made a full set up due to the heat (34 degrees), so needed to put up all side walls etc for shade. Then this afternoon we went for a drive to get our bearings and visit Uncle Dan's for some supplies!! It's a bit of a shock seeing traffic lights and being back in a city after enjoying the pace of small country towns for the past month! Embracing all Townsville has to offer, we spent the evening at the Casino and had a beautiful dinner at Miss Songs, then soaked in the atmosphere in the Casino. All is well here in this garrison town! 😊 PS I was in trouble for taking photos 'on the casino floor'!! 😳

18 August 2017

Day 55 Friday 18 August Had a great touring day today. We started with a drive to Ravenswood, about 90 km away. It too is a gold town, although very tiny compared to CT. We had lunch in the Imperial Hotel, one of 2 still operating. The bar was a beautiful showcase in itself. We went off on our driving tour, having bought a trail map from the shop in the historic Thorp's Building. It was wonderful to actually move around the remains of real mining sites with so much still intact! We took a hike up to the lookout of the open cut mine, still operated by Carpentaria Gold - amazing view! At 5pm there was some live music and pizzas at the park, but I dropped in just for a quick look, because we were we were off to do our evening ghost tour, with the same guide, Erica, who did our walking tour on Tuesday! As it turned out, it was a private tour - just the 3 of us!! We learnt about lots of the historical CT characters, murders, mayhem and ghost sightings! Fabulous tour! Loved our stay in CT!

17 August 2017

Day 54 Thursday 17 August Very exciting start to our day, took the car in for a service! Many thanks to Aaron and Kelly from Towers Automotive who did a great job and looked after us! We went through the Zara Clark Museum, a National Trust collection of only local memorabilia, run by dedicated and passionate volunteers. Saw some familiar images and some very thought provoking displays from WWI, WWII and Vietnam. CT was a significant hub for both world wars. This afternoon we did the self-drive tour, using a CD and map from the Info Centre. That means that we haven't missed any significant sites as we've been mooching around! + we found the Civic Club and went in for a drink! I wandered over for the 5pm presentation on panning and fossicking (No, I have no aspirations to do either!!😳) Another quiet evening in, while Bwian slaves over a hot BBQπŸ˜†! We are off for a drive to Ravenswood tomorrow - another significant mining site. Hope you are coping with the heat and Ekka!

16 August 2017

Day 53 Wednesday 16 August Had a wonderful tour today of Leahton Park. The tour of the station included a traditional smoko of damper and billy tea, a dray ride up close with the stock, a demo in the saddlery and an informative presentation about their innovative Longhorn breeding program which Lynda facilitates via artificial insemination. We learnt a lot of things way beyond our usual realm and it was all really fascinating! Around the property we saw bison, donkeys, ducks, buffalo and spectacular Longhorns including JR, the famous steer with a 10ft horn span + Penny the kangaroo!! On the way back to our great van park, (Big 4 Outback Oasis) we managed to give the car a good clean! Hallelujah!! This evening we went up to Tower Hill for another beautiful sunset and then dropped in to Irish Molly's for a jar and dinner. The meals we were served were enough for a small village!! All fabulous here in Charters Towers. Happy 60th birthday to our great friend, Chris Manteuffel! πŸŽ‚πŸΊβ€οΈxx

15 August 2017

Day 52 Tuesday 15 August Had a great walking tour this morning taking in the key buildings in the town centre - just beautiful! It's amazing to think that the population is now a third of what it was in its heyday in the early 1900s. Our guide, Erica, shared lots of great info and we saw so much within a small area. The council here has been very active in restoring key buildings after they have been left to fall into poor condition - just great! Instead of mining being the key industry, now education is the highest employer with 8 large private schools being dominant! Had lunch in one of the Main Street pubs after. We enjoyed the 'Wine and Beer' appreciation session in the park this afternoon, although Bwian said we didn't need to go 'cos we already appreciated wine and beer!! (NSS) πŸ˜† We whipped up a Mexican meal tonight and are expecting a slightly warmer night. Last night was so cold, we ended up inside with the heater on!!! 😁

14 August 2017

Day 51 Monday, 14 August Took off from Hughenden about 10 and headed for Charters Towers. We stopped for coffee and brunch at Pentland, which was very country and lovely!! The Big 4 park here in CT is great with interesting things scheduled in the 'Outback Oasis' space each night at 5pm. Tonight a guide who runs walking tours around the city spoke about the history of the town and what was good to do. We had already visited the Info Centre after we arrived and booked her 10am walking tour for tomorrow and her 7pm ghost tour on Wednesday night - so they sound great! We are looking forward to learning more about this beautiful town and plan on also doing a 'Longhorn Station Dray Tour' when that works. We are BBQing tonight- our favourite - T-Bones with corn cobs and Bwian chips! Our microwave literally had a meltdown last night, so we were lucky that nothing caught alight! After our tour tomorrow, we'll be shopping for a new model! All is fabulous here in this corner of our great state!

13 August 2017

Day 50 Sunday 13 August Today we went for a drive and we saw :- β€’A HUGE windmill in the town β€’Interesting roadside terrain β€’Porcupine Gorge from the lookout β€’Incredible blue sky β€’Porcupine Gorge from the camping grounds β€’A 'Place of Interest' where sandalwood is grown β€’A town totally closed for Sunday, including a pub! 😳 We had a lovely day with a late breakfast, a drive, a nap and a quiet night at the van, curiously with left over Chinese for dinner! Porcupine Gorge is astonishing + saw what is called 'The Pyramid' ... wow!! All is great - heading for Charters Towers tomorrow! (Pretty hot out here!!!)

12 August 2017

Day 49 Saturday 12 August Packed up and took a short drive to Hughenden from Richmond this morning. Checked into the Hughenden Caravan Park, got settled and went on a dinosaur hunt!! The Flinders Discovery Centre is where we found Hughie, the Muttaburrasaurus (a reconstructed skeleton, based on the remains discovered just outside of town in the 60s and 80s). The centre also features the history of sheep farming in the region and presents details about the artesian basin and geological history - good info, well done! From there we went for a wander checking out some of the street sculptural artworks, the showgrounds (had a camp draft event on) the tree dedicated to Landsborough and Walker who were looking for Burke and Wills in 1862, the FJ Holden Cafe and a couple of pubs. Went back to the van and then went out to Cheng's Chinese for dinner (Bwian said because it was a Saturday, it was date night!! πŸ˜†) Had a fabulous meal, then a quiet night in!! Wild old time in Hughenden!! 🀣

11 August 2017

Day 48 Friday 11 August Lush view from breakfast this morning. The pancakes were pretty good too!! We walked into the town and chatted with a local along the way who invited us in while he fed the wild birds - just amazing ... Cockatoos, Galahs, Corellas and Happy Jacks! Kronosaurus Corner delivered with a spectacular dinosaur display - all local finds and all bar one, were underwater varieties! Boys will be happy, they have great dinosaur shoevenirs! Strolled along the Historic Trail - thirsty work, so stopped at the Mud Hut Pub (made of bricks, although the original one was constructed of flagstone and adobe mud) for rehydration. On our way back we supported the local butchery and bought some award winning morsels for dinner and saw some 'moon rocks'! Pretty cruisy afternoon out by the lake (very caravanesque) and then a BBQ for dinner! Bwian did a bit of online work too!! Cheers from Richmond! 😊

10 August 2017

Dat 47 Thursday 10 August After breakfast at the oasis (see the photo with the lush background!!), we moved on to our morning's sightseeing and really enjoyed our stop at the John Flynn Centre and learnt so much more about the RFDS. From there we got fuel and then went into the Mary Kathleen Centre, which has lots of mining/mineral info + a fair bit about Bourke and Wills. Again, the displays were fascinating and beautifully presented! We had a quick sandwich at the MK Centre (like old people do), checked out our maps and then departed just after midday on the 'Overlander's Way, bound for Richmond to check out some dinosaurs!! We. checked into the Lakeview Caravan Park, and there really is a lake and it actually has water in it!! There's even grass around the parkπŸ˜†! We joined the throng for the 6pm dinner in the BBQ area which was great - $8 per meal and no cleaning up. Again chatted with some fellow travellers and enjoyed their stories! Off to the kronosauruskorner museum tomorrow!

9 August 2017

Day 46 Wednesday 9 August Travel day for us today. We departed from Karumba heading to the Burke and Wills Roadhouse. We made a coffee stop in Normanton so we could meet Krys the croc and send another postcard to our grand boys! Krys is named after the woman who caught a croc of the same dimensions some years ago - impressive! We also took in the purple pub (not closely - too early!!) and then kept driving. As we approached the B&W Roadhouse, we were already thinking it was too early to stop, and when we saw what was there, we decided to continue to Cloncurry, which we reached by mid-afternoon. We made a quick set up and then our Karumba neighbours pulled in beside us! We had time for a provisions stop, but too late to do the John Flynn Centre and Mary Kathleen Centre so will do tomorrow morning before we head off for Richmond. Had drinks with Julie and Ash and then cooked satays for dinner! All well in this dusty 'Oasis Caravan Park'!!! Bit of a paradox if you ask me! πŸ˜†

8 August 2017

Day 45 Tuesday 8 August I have decided that we are very ill-prepared travellers!! Since being at Karumba I have learnt that you can travel with :- A full size vacuum cleaner A garden blower A gerni and 42 frozen meals ( which our new friends, Ash and Julie had with them when they set out from Geelong!😳) We struggled with space as it was, and are quite astonished at what some people can pack! Anyway, we're learners!! πŸ˜† Had a quiet day, enjoyed an amazing ice cream from the cafe for lunch, (cos we can) and a lovely swim in the refreshing pool - just lovely on a hot, dry day! Went back to the tavern with Ash and Julie for a sundowner and enjoyed that and then moved on to Ash's Barra & Chips (name is a coincidence!) for a yummy meal. Bwian said the best he's had in years!!! (That's a big call!) It was really good!! Back at the van now with the footy show on! Off to the Bourke and Wills Roadhouse tomorrow, on the way to Cloncurry. Time to head south! πŸ˜†

7 August 2017

Day 44 Monday 7 August Hallelujah - Croc Day!! 6 weeks and 2 days and finally we saw some crocs in the wild!! We went on a Sunset Cruise and saw crocs and our first time seeing jabirus - amazing creatures. We enjoyed some prawns and drinks on board and loved being out on the water!! Again the sunset was magnificent, but so was the rising moon!! Great job Ferryman Cruises!! In the morning we had a bit of a drive and a good look around and saw brolgas in the wetland area, but it's not very wet!!! We also saw the abandoned mining complex, various marine places, the pub, supermarket, school and info centre. It's not a very big place!! We sat and took in the wide expanse of the Gulf of Carpentaria view - beautiful!! Of course we are surrounded by grey nomad fisherman, this being the Mecca for them every year - lovely people, relaxed, loving life and staying active! Sounds good to me!! ❀️
Day 43 Sunday 6 August Base camp day today - some cleaning and washing to be done!! The weather for the past 6 weeks has been mainly grey, so it was lovely to have 'a bright, bright, sunshiny day'! In the afternoon there was 'entertainment' in the cafe area. Chas asked if it was music or what? Her father said 'or what'!! 😳 We departed after 45 minutes and went down to the tavern + we saw a kite on the way!!! There was a chilled atmosphere as the patrons sought the best vantage point for the sunset. Some Wally was on the beach with his drone, so that everyone could get a special shot of THAT at the critical moment!! Anyway, that was lovely and Bwian could even have Tooheys Old - on tap!! A brolga was cruising on the water's edge too! Again, a highlight was chatting to a lovely family making their way to the tip - Mum, Dad and 4 kids -so impressed! Had a 3:30am visitor in search of some tucker. He tapped on the door and woke us and responded when Bwian called him Skip!! 🀣🀣

5 August 2017

Day 42 Saturday 5 August Left Georgetown this morning for a drive to Karumba via Croydon and Normanton. The info centre at Croydon is great, but sadly, the historic precinct was closed for renovation, so missed out on the courthouse and other prominent buildings from this significant gold mining town! πŸ˜• Was a cruisy drive along pretty good roads and arrived mid afternoon. Saw the most amazing cloud formations that this area is noted for! We set up at the Sunset Caravan Park and look forward to staying put for 4 nights. We plan on doing a sunset cruise and just chilling here. I checked out the fish shed at the park this afternoon and a couple of guys had a good catch of grunter and king salmon - all ready for the freezer! Bwian and I might throw a line in while we're here, although we don't really expect to catch anything! Just in case, there's a great fush'n'chup shop nearby + a tavern, so all is well!! Bwian is cooking a BBQ dinner tonight! It's been 6 weeks since our departure!😳
Day 41 Friday 4 August It was a beautiful morning in the Woodlands Big 4 and had a good catch up with the Manager, Shawn, who was a great host for both of our visits! Stopped by the auto electricians' for a quick cable soldering job that was done in quick time - great country customer service!! We made our way from Atherton to Georgetown, travelling on the Savannah Way that goes all the way to Broome, passing through some familiar territory. We stopped again in Ravenshoe and had lunch there in a cute cafe, right out of the 1950s!! We had fabulous burgers, made the old fashioned way! Yumm!! Then we were off on our uneventful drive, (we prefer it that way!!) on varying levels of road development, to Georgetown. Had a drive through the town with a quick look at the TerrEstrial Centre, featuring mineral samples from the area, and then stopped at the Goldfields Caravan Park. It was quite squeezy, but fine, next to our neighbours from Birkdale!! All well with us!

3 August 2017

Day 37, 38, 39 & 40 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday! Well ... yes, we have been off the air!! Made a sneaky trip home for a few days to see the family. It was wonderful to see them and catch up on the latest. All are well and the boys are thriving! It meant we could also have a birthday celebration with the beautiful Chas, and have a special dinner at the Courthouse last night - just the 3 of us! So, we are currently at the airport, awaiting our flight back to Cairns. I was blessed to see one of our gorgeous Faith boys, Alessandro at the airport and managed to grab a photo of him to include in our travel blog! We'll pick up the car in Cairns and then move on to Atherton where we have stored the van. Tomorrow, we'll make our way back towards the gulf country and head for Georgetown and then Karumba! This has been a very special family interlude! Cheers from the Virgin Lounge in Brisvegas! Happy 29th birthday today and long life to our beautihul Chas! πŸŽ‰πŸΎπŸŽ‚xxπŸ˜† + Ath Hotel

30 July 2017

Day 36 Sunday 30 July Adventurous morning taking in the Undara Lava Tubes and one of the local volcanoes, Kalkani. Bwian stayed at the van and watched the Motor Racing, as it was quite apparent that he wouldn't cope with the rocky and uneven ascents and descents involved. The Lava Tubes were fascinating and our guide incredibly knowledgeable. Our walk around the rim of the crater was spectacular and the scenery breathtaking! It's one of 40 odd in the surrounding area and one of 160 in this central part of the gulf territory!!! I did the tour from the Bedrock Park, as they have accredited guides and tours, which was fantastic! (Great place!) It's so dry here after being in the lush and drizzly table lands for a few days, but still fabulous!! Had another quiet evening in! We'll be off the air for the next few days. Happy days! 😊

29 July 2017

Day 35 Saturday, 30 July So, today we took off for Mt Surprise via Ravenshoe and Innot Hot Springs. After checking in at the Information Centre and taking in their fabulous displays of the local indigenous history, we stopped in the town, listened to a local gospel group singing and shopped at the local supermarket and pub for supplies before tackling the gulf area! While stopping at the pub, we spotted another Crusader Dreamrunner in the distance - the first one ever!! Then we moved off through Savannah countryside - quite a change from the last week or so, to the Innot Springs. A few peeps were taking in the thermal waters, including a family having egg rolls for lunch, with the eggs cooked in the waters! (they reckoned they were a little undercooked!) but still a fun thing to do! From there, we made our way to the Bedrock Tourist Park as planned and got ourselves set up. We joined the BBQ group for a light dinner and met some fellow travelers! Loving our freestyle touring! 😊

28 July 2017

Day 34 Friday 29 July Rest day today!! Had some time to do some mundane tasks and fuddle around (as we do!)! Bwian had some work tasks to do in the afternoon so I went for a walk to the Huo Wang Temple, and spent some time going through the museum and then did a very exclusive tour (3 of us) through the grounds and temple. It's the last wooden and iron Chinese temple in Australia of 112 built. It highlights the Chinese pioneers who worked as miners, timber fellers, ground clearers and agriculturalists. Lots to see and again, beautifully presented. The temple has been re-constructed over the past 20 years, again due to some very dedicated volunteers!! I learnt a couple of very important things from highlighted Chinese sayings : - 'The eyes are wide but the stomach is narrow!' 'Eat and drink in moderation.' I think there's something in that for all of us, don't you? πŸ˜†πŸ˜† Another quiet night in! Off to the Bedrock Tourist Park at Mt Surprise tomorrow ... gotta do it ... Yabbadabbadoo!

27 July 2017

Day 33 Thursday 27 July Another grey, drizzly day, but ok for following our foodie and waterfall trail loop! We started off at the Curtain Fig Tree and Gallo Cheese and Chocolate cafe and watched some Camembert being made and some great looking chocolate caramels! Bought a couple of spectacular cheeses and chocolates! Yum!! From there we went to Malanda and Millaa Millaa, both famous dairy towns and checked out their heritage displays that celebrate the contribution of the tablelands men and women for the war efforts as well as celebrating the founding dairy families - all done very well! Next it was off to the Nerada plantation for a look and an obligatory cup of tea and then following the waterfall drive - Mungalli, Elinjaa, Zillie and Millaa Millaa - all very beautiful! The landscape is so spectacular that every crest on the road reveals a picture postcard scene - just gorgeous! We finished off at Yungaburra and successfully went platypus spotting!! Who'd'a'thunkit? Fabulous day!

26 July 2017

Day 32 Wednesday 26 July Drizzly day, so perfect for a sleep in and a late start. We drove to Herberton, about a 10km drive south (it's not far!!), and went though the Mining Museum. This area was first settled as miners came in search of tin. The displays are well done and the place is staffed by informative and helpful volunteers! There are even walks you can do around the place to follow the footsteps of the miners, but the weather wasn't really conducive to that! Then we were off to the Historical Village that is beautifully presented with an amazing volume of buildings and exhibits. We decided that you KNOW you're old when there are multiple exhibits you remember from your childhood!!! After a short afternoon shop, we went to the Atherton International Club - interesting! Then went for a quick stop at the van and back to the Barron Valley Hotel for a meal. We love the atmosphere there! Cheers from Atherton! 🍻

25 July 2017

Day 31 Tuesday 25 July What a beautiful drive from Mena Creek to Atherton this morning. The landscape is spectacular and the roads great, so it was a lovely journey. We booked into the Big 4 Atherton Woodlands Tourist Park which is so pretty - very happy they could only fit us into their overflow section which is beautiful (truly park like!). We visited the very friendly, helpful and informative staff at the information centre and have now made some plans for the next few days, visiting the surrounding areas while we're based here in Atherton. There is so much see! So after that, we went for a drive to the lookout and then through the town and had to stop at the Barron Valley Hotel in the middle of town - an Art Deco style pub in original condition - spectacular and so beautiful! The lovely Lucy looked after us and is a great conversationalist! We'll be back there before we depart! So a quiet night in for us tonight, cooking an easy red curry. Drizzly and cool now- that's a change!

24 July 2017

Day 30 Monday 24 July Farewelled Mr Mueller as he set off for work this morning and then we were away by 7:30am. It was only a short drive through the beautiful Innisfail countryside, through cane fields and banana plantations to the caravan park area of Paranella Park. We went for an afternoon tour through this breathtaking park, taking in the incredibly beautiful gardens, natural waterfalls and the remains of Paranella's folly, a collection of small European inspired castles for his family and set up as a 1930s theme park! It was gorgeous in the daylight, but so pretty lit up at night! Tonight we've had a good pub meal at the Mena Creek Hotel, situated in front of the caravan park. It will be a quiet night for us now, and we plan to set off for the Atherton Tableland in the morning! All well with these 2 happy campers!

23 July 2017

Day 29 Sunday 23 July Happy Sunday! We had a leisurely late breakfast at the Salt House at the end of the Marina Pier - very swanky and worthy of a slow Sunday morning meal!! Had a short look along the boardwalk, then Bwian and I went off in search of a high pressure car wash to try to seek out yet more red dust, mainly around the wheel arches and base of the car! Despite giving it a fair go, there's still dust in lots of secret places!! Had a quiet afternoon and an evening in, with beers and a very tasty Indian take-away! We bid farewell to A&K in the morning, as we take off for Paranella Park, near Innisfail! We've had a beautiful week spending time with our special friends who we have missed over the past 6 months and are grateful for their wonderful hospitality - we just pick up where we left off!! We are blessed! 😊

22 July 2017

Day 28 Saturday 22 July Another fun day at the beautiful top end. Kathy and I went off to the markets for a look and bought a couple of things! The boys had a quiet morning and after we returned, we had another old people cup of tea followed by further contemplation, (sitting around!!) and then we were off to Cazaly's for the footy. The preliminary game was South Q v North Q, and we saw Daniel Dzufer, ex-Faith staff and ex-Redlands player play for SQ, which was great! The main game was worth watching with the GC Suns v Bulldogs, fortunately with the Dogs getting up convincingly. Hooray! Dinner was at the Muellers' local pub, the lovely Dunwoody's, just a short stagger away! Had a great meal in a lovely space and then walked back for a night cap and ... more football!!! This holiday thing has great appeal!! πŸ˜†

21 July 2017

Day 27 Friday 21 July What a big day!!!! We left Mueller Central late morning and made our way to the show grounds for the Cairns Show! Anthony went off to man the Peace stall with his colleagues so the 3 of us wandered around aimlessly, checking out the pavilion stall holders, artwork, cattle, sideshow alley and then around to the Rotary Bar, where we did our bit supporting the local West Cairns Rotary Club, to escape the heat, rehydrate and rest our weary legs!!! Mid-afternoon we met up with Anthony, there was more meandering and some further soaking up the atmosphere and then we set off to take in a couple of popular bars in the town centre. We started off at the '3 Wolves' and then The Pier Bar, which was really jumping!! In our usual MOMEA Friday night tradition, we picked up Chinese on the way home, enjoyed that and are now watching the Crows v Cats game! We'll see who nods off first (probably not Anthony, as the Crows are playing!). Fun day!! Real footy at Cazaly's tomorrow!

20 July 2017

Day 26 Thursday, 20 July Well ... back to touristing again today! We packed up the van and moved it to the storage site in the park and then moved on to the Muellers' house! Went for a stroll though the Botanic Gardens, which are beautiful and peaceful and then visited the new Cairns Museum, that's only been open for 10 days! It has a great format, paying homage to individuals who have helped to build the Cairns culture and history!! We stopped by the North Cairns Footy Club (Osland family historic site), on our way back to Mueller Central! After an old people cup of tea and showers, we were off on our evening seeking fun, frivolity and dinner!!! Fortunately, we were successful on all levels and enjoyed the energy of the Esplanade, drinks at The Courtyard as well as a magnificent meal at Villa Romana!! + we found Nemo and Wally!! Great night with great friends! Love Cairns! πŸ˜„

19 July 2017

Day 25 Wednesday, 19 July Aahhh ... rest day today. The park here is so quiet and pretty, with so many gardens and tall trees, it's very restful and park-like, all conducive to a quiet day! I was visited by a little PeeWee as I was reading, who was very happy to sit with me! However, Bwian couldn't help himself and continued to torment himself trying to find all of the secret bits of red dust in/on the car!! He did then give in and had a hair cut - not too short - just a tidy up, not so hippy!!! Muellers picked us up and we went off to the Brothers Club for dinner - very nice club! Pack up time in the morning - off to the Muellers' house for a few days for some full time frivolity!!! It's a public holiday here on Friday, so we are all off to the Cairns Show! Again, not much of a day for scenic shots!! 😊

18 July 2017

Day 24 Tuesday 18 July Cairns is a beautiful city and the weather is wonderful!! Had a regular kind of day, I had my nails done, Bwian went to pick up our tickets for the Suns v Bulldogs game on Saturday night, drove past Bwian's first school, Edge Hill SS, and we went off to the Mitsubishi dealer to have the cover plate of the back door seen to. It's dropped and isn't quite aligned as it was, causing issues with the reversing camera. Nevertheless, no big dramas and all ok. Had a lovely regular kind of night at the Muellers - drinks, a yummy silverside dinner (thank you, Affia!) and a game of 500! It was a draw - 1 game each, although no-one really cares about the score!! Made our plans for the rest of the week - lots to fit in! Cheers! 🍷

17 July 2017

Day 23 Monday 17 July Had a cleaning morning with lots of washing and cleaning of many bits!! After that we went for a drive to the shops and had a wander and restocked our beer and wine stores, now that we are out of the restricted areas! Quiet evening at the Cairns Sunland Leisure Park. Had our traditional BBQ - T-Bones, corn on the cob and Bwian chips!!! Yumm!!! What time is it? Who cares?? 🀣 (Not really much of a photo worthy day!) πŸ˜‰

16 July 2017

Day 22 Sunday 16 July So chore morning for us ... pack up + a mammoth car wash session!! Spent a few hours on the car and it still isn't great - lots of dust in nooks and crannies! Nevertheless, it's looking a bit better and a bit cieaner! We set off for Cairns and arrived late afternoon and were lucky to procure a site for a few days while we get the water tanks sorted in the van (they're not pumping properly which will be an issue if we're free camping!!). We surprised A&K by being here much earlier than we had originally anticipated, but caught up for dinner and made some plans for the week!! It will be fun!! All is great and loving our freedom!! 😊

15 July 2017

Day 21 Saturday 15 July Headed for Lakeland and made it there in good time to hitch up the van and move it about 50m to a powered site, then the fun began!!In our usual Laurel and Hardy style, I'm sure, for any observers our unpacking and repacking would have been mildly amusing! Anyway, we managed to get things stowed well and all ready for the run for Cairns tomorrow. Didn't end up with enough time to wash the car though, do that's tomorrow morning's job before we depart. We all know Bwian doesn't like a dirty car!!! Had a fun night around the fire with other campers - some heading for the tip and others returning south. Lots of stories all round! Danni, who runs the place has a pet goose, named 'Horse' so that also made for some funny comments! Hitting the black stuff tomorrow!!!! Hooray!! πŸ˜†

14 July 2017

Day 20 Friday 14 July So today we departed from the idyllic Punsand Bay and made our way south, again crossing the Jardine River. The joy of our freestyle trip is that we changed our minds 3 times about how far we would travel today! We had planned on visiting Elliot Falls, but the creek was impassable, so moved onto the incredible Fruit Bat Falls. It is absolutely picture perfect and some brave souls were courageous enough to traverse the slippery rocks, to enjoy a refreshing swim in the crystal clear waters. It was beautiful! From there we continued on, and as neither of us are enamoured with the Archer River Roadhouse, we decided to move onto Coen, and again passed some very impressive anthills!! We checked into the 'Exchange Hotel', locally known as the 'Sexchange Hotel', πŸ˜† and have had a great night sitting, observing and chatting with the Friday night crowd! We are back in our very quaint and rustic room, super clean, but super 'characterful', watching the footy! Cheers! 🍻

13 July 2017

Day 19 Thursday 13 July Another beautiful morning at Punsand Bay. We headed off for a drive to Sommerset Beach, the original settlement in the mid 1800s in these parts! Saw a monument to Edmund Kennedy and his expedition crew and the graves of some of the Jardine family (original settlers) and a pearl diver. Our next destination was 'The Tip' carpark! We wanted to finish the road journey so that the drive itself was complete!! As we pulled in we were advised that the BAD 223 plate was hanging foul at the front, so did some temporary repairs with our trusty cable ties!! Then we were off 'to town' (Bamaga) with a mission - crayfish pies from the bakery as advised by Darryl Pattemore, and some bottles of wine from the tavern. Alas the booty was not to be had!! The bakery has changed hands, so no crayfish pies and the finest wine 🍷 we could procure was Chateaux de la Box. Oh well ... I think we can cope!! πŸ˜†. Almost beer o'clock and time to decide what's for dinner!! The pressure??!! 😳

12 July 2017

Day 18 Wednesday 12 July WOW ... WOW ...WOW!!!! We are back now after an AMAZING adventure. Our 80 min helitour ended up at 3 1/2 hours because our pilot Steve hadn't been down on the tip before, and had no other jobs planned for the day, so wanted to come with us, despite how much time it took!!! He was an incredible support and helped Bwian all the way over LOTS of rocks and water etc etc!!! It was fantastic!!! We also did a fly over to Possession Island, where Cook claimed New Holland! Veuve to be had at sunset on the beach tonight! We enjoyed a fun night in the restaurant for the State of Origin final with our new young, lovely friends, Charlie and Cass from Geelong. What a blessing today has been!! 😊❀️

11 July 2017

Day 17 Tuesday 11 July Aahhhh ... another day, another beach!! Packed up and made our way to Punsand Bay this morning, which was only a quick trip of about 30km. Can't work out, if we've got less beer, no wine, less food and more practise, that the car was filled to the gills!!! πŸ˜† Anyway, we are in a little cabin on the beach and will stay for a few nights, and then start our way back to the van at Lakelands. It should be a fun stay with a big hooha organised for the restaurant space tomorrow night for state of origin! Of course over the next couple of days, from here, we will make our way to the tip, 'cos that's what we're here for!! Yaay for wood fired pizzas, beer on tap, clean feet and a night time loo nearby!! 🀣🀣

10 July 2017

Day 16 Monday 10 July Played tourists on this overcast but fine day and did the boat trip to Thursday and Horn Islands and did tours on each - all very interesting!! Great to see TI after knowing so many colleagues and friends who have taught there in their early teaching careers. I was surprised by the size of the town and the facilities. The State Secondary College looks very modern and well presented. Got to see Green Hill and the fort within and learned a lot about the contribution of the Australian forces on both islands in the defence of Australia in WWII. Got to see the battlements and armory station at Horn and the site of a B17 crash that claimed 16 lives. It's sad that these remains have just been left to rot in the scrub, but fortunately a voluntary conservation group is now seeing to the restoration of these important relics. Informative sobering and cruisy day! Cheers to Happy Hour! 🍷🍷

9 July 2017

Day 15 Sunday 9 July Beautiful morning, waking up to look over the water! We've decided that it would be paradise except that you can't enjoy the water and swim!!! I reckon Bwian's messages are much more entertaining than my blog! Here's a snippet from his conversation with Anthony last night. "Yes, caravan park full of wild dogs, feral horses and f@&$ing crocodiles🐊. Charming. But having a good timeπŸ‘πŸ». Love to everyoneπŸ’•" He's much more succinct and candid!!! Had a slow morning and BBQ breakfast, did some washing and walked to the general store, checked out the wharf and the fishing update and walked back to the camp ground along the beach. Had some chats with our fellow traveler neighbours and enjoyed happy hour learning from them. Another amazing sunset and Bwian cooked a simple but yummy BBQ dinner. Got a tourist day tomorrow when we do a full day tour to Thursday and Horn Islands. Last night was the best sleep for ages - must be the sea air and lapping waves! 🍷

8 July 2017

Day 14 Saturday 9 July Well, changed our minds again and instead of staying at Elliot Falls tonight, decided to move straight on to Seisia for a few nights and do the Falls on the way back. We did; however, travel on the PDR (aka Chicken Track! πŸ”), as planned! Crossed the Jardine River without a hitch (on the ferry!! 🀣🀣) and did the last 50 odd kms on reasonable road, most of the way. The corrugations are quite bone rattling!!! Checked in at the tourist park and have a beautiful site right on the water - amazing sunset!! Had an equine visitor tonight just after dinner! Very cheeky and kicked the guy in the next site as he tried to shoo him away! Made for a lot of excitement on an otherwise peaceful evening! Gary and Tania did warn us!!! 😳 Our new friend, Peter, is ok! Rest day ahead!

6 July 2017

Day 13 Thursday 6 July Had an early start from Archer River Roadhouse and headed off for Bramwell Station. As we approached the Weipa/Bramwell road junction, Bwian said, 'Which way shall we go?' - and the late call was ... Weipa!! We have a bit of time to get us to Punsand Bay by Tuesday, so thought we'd do Weipa on the way north instead. Had a bit of a drive around the town, checked out some accommodation and ended up at the Albatross Hotel on the beach for a beer and lunch. It was lovely. Then checked into our standard Weipa motel, complete with Regency bed and Chaise-lounge!! Who'd'a'thunkit?🀣 Sure beats last night' donger!!! Having had great advice from previous Cape trekkers, we took the afternoon mine tour and really enjoyed it. We reckon our Yr 4 teachers were a bit remiss when we did our 'Bauxite-Weipa' projects!! We learnt a lot!!! Sent some truck photos through to the boys. Eli is besotted with monster trucks!! ENORMOUS!! 😲Now, aperitif by the pool! Cheers! 🍻xx

5 July 2017

Day 12 Wednesday 5 July After a leisurely packup, we wandered off up the dusty road to Coen, fueled up and sent off a postcard to Eli and Beau. I did wonder about the practice of sending postcards when the blog is alive and well, but anyway ... it's an old people thing! Unfortunately couldn't get one with a crocodile!! 🐊!! The road was pretty rough and fairly corrugated so we woozed out at the Archer River Roadhouse and acquired some very salubrious accommodation in a donger! There's nothing there but a Roadhouse (NSS) and a beautiful scene over the river with water fowl, egrets, some cattle and a few horses - ahhh, and a few crows!!! So it was a restful afternoon looking over the river with a good book and the sounds of the bush!! Aahhh feel the serenity! Had burgers πŸ” at the Roadhouse and then a quiet night in our spacious lodgings. We're off to Bramwell Station or Weipa tomorrow. You won't see us for dust ... literally!! 😯

4 July 2017

Day 11 Tuesday 4 July Thankfully, a dry start to the day! 🌞It was a very tight squeeze to fit all that we think we 'NEED' into the Pajero. Bwian kept saying , 'This is ridiculous!', as he does!!! (I'm sure you get the mental picture! πŸ˜†) Stopped at Lakeland to drop off the van, fueled up and had a snack and then we were really on our way!! Already the red dirt seems to be in everything! Good thing I didn't pack the white linen!! 😳The drive was interesting with intermittent corrugated dirt road and bitumen. The dust clouds from passing traffic were amazing!! We made it through to Musgrave Station and had our first authentic camping night there. We arrived at 3 and had our pick of the paddock. By 5, the place was jumping and chockers!! I followed the crowd 'Pied Piper Style', when one of the staff went to feed the crocs in the pond! Met our new camping friends, Kevin and Cathy from Victoria and had happy hour with them. Camp dinner - pesto pasta and wine! Very civilized! πŸ˜†

3 July 2017

Day 10 Monday 3 July Another drizzly day but fortunately little breaks here and there that were enough to get our rearranging done! We had to unpack the pod and reorganize all of our stuff so that it's in a good position for setting up camp, although if the weather continues the way it has, it won't be used for a while, as we've both agreed to wooz out and not to camp in the rain, and we will be seeking accommodation along the way. The van is packed with all superfluous stuff and ready to go into storage at Lakeland for the next few weeks! So, work done βœ…, drink at the bowls club βœ…and then ' fushnchups' down on the wharf for an early dinner! There can't be too many bowls clubs with views like that!! Back to the van now for a quiet night and then ready to take off in the morning for the big adventure! Bring on the dirty car!!! Hope the driver can cope with that!!! 🀣 Cheers! 🍷

2 July 2017

Day 9 Sunday 2 July The weather hasn't improved, actually, it's continued to be grey and drizzly with quite set in rain this afternoon! Nevertheless, we've had a fruitful day with a trip out to the Endeavor Falls, which is beautiful and thankfully, easy to get to! We had an excursion to the hardware store and then were lured in by the fishing shop! 🐟We've bought a couple of rods etc, 'cos we thought it might be fun to throw a line in like most of the population when we travel further north!! 🎣 We'll see how much fun it is!!??? 😳 Had a picnic lunch with our gold mining mate on 'The Landing' point (apparently!), then watched the fisher people on the wharf, but they were really just people, 'cos there weren't any fish!! I'm cooking up a batch of chilli chicken for dinner tonight, so we'll enjoy a quiet night in and have some for a meal on our camping journey too! The beard is progressing well, but a new shade!! 🀣Yaay for the Lions!! πŸ¦πŸ˜†

1 July 2017

Day 8 1 July Cruisy day today starting with Bwian pancakes for breakfast. Yummm!! Loved the long catch up phone call with Anthony to bring us up to speed with all the family news!! Went for a drive to Finch Beach and the Botanic Gardens and felt right at home with the agaves and yukkas!!!! 😳. Caught up for a quick pic with our mate James, then back to the van for a while and booked the van storage at Lakeland from Tuesday - easier on the way for drop off and pick up from the tip. We also needed time to prepare for our big 'old people night out' at the RSL, with the courtesy bus pick up at 6. Had a lovely meal and some lengthy and great conversations with a couple from Cairns but originally SA - so good AFL discussions there and then a couple of lovely guys who came to chat who are very well travelled and gave us some great tips for our travels back through the centre of Queensland. That's what we're after - some great 'people we met' experiences!! Made for a lovely night! 🍻Cheers!

30 June 2017

Day 7 30 June What an adventurous day!! We decided to go to Cape Tribulation via the Bloomfield track and that was a bit exciting!! We traversed dry creek crossings, a raging torrent (well a little creek), some fairly hairy and steep ascents and descents through a wide range of landscape - just beautiful!! Made it to Cape Trib and went for a walk and look at the beach and then lunch at a little cafe overlooking Thornton Beach. We decided to do the full circuit so kept heading south to then do the Daintree ferry crossing and return to Cooktown via Mossman and the highway - good thing because it would be more than a white knuckle trip on the Bloomfield Track in the rain!! 😳 And .... BONUS!! ... got the shot I was after! 🀣. Stopped on the way back to camp at the famous Lion's Den Pub for dinner and a beer- great atmosphere and LOTS of free campers set up out the back! Cape Trib βœ… The Lion's Den βœ… Great day! 😊

29 June 2017

Day 6 Thursday 29 June Did the historical stroll through town today, taking in the Captain Cook Museum, Cooktown History Centre and monuments etc. of course it was thirsty work so had to stop at a couple of drinking holes along the way - The Sovereign Resort Hotel and the Top Pub, both great for people watching and checking out the 4WDs pre and post the Cape! Not sure how the driver will cope with a filthy car!!! 😳 Quiet evening in tonight! Bwian is still not keen to join the old peoples' happy hour in nomad tradition!! Hopefully he'll feel more social once we're on our way north!! Weather is warm and comfortable! Cheers! 🍻

28 June 2017

Day 5 Wednesday 28 June Aaahhh .... cruisy morning with no significant kms to conquer. Went for a Captain Cook through the town and got our bearings, got to take in the amazing view from the lookout, had a coffee at a lovely cafe overlooking the monument and checked out the bakery and IGA and made a plan for wandering the town tomorrow! After fueling up we went for a short drive to Hope Vale and caught up with the Faith Service Learning Tour. They were all pretty chilled and enjoying the community and being involved in the routine activities. We joined them for their afternoon tour with Willy Gordon, who took us on a tour of the local caves and shared stories about the paintings and the link between the Dreamtime and Christian beliefs. We learned a bit about indigenous bush craft and got to see a frill necked lizard up close and personal! Blessed to catch up with the Faith Team! Quiet night for us! Cheers! 🍻

27 June 2017

Day 4 It was a drizzly and grey start to the day, but nevertheless, a smooth departure from South Mission Beach. Driver Bwian did a great job maneuvering us out of a very tight site after others moved in around us later in the evening! We faced countless roadworks on the highway between Innisfail and Cairns, so that took 2 hours instead of 1!!!! We stopped at Mareeba for a quick lunch and then continued through to Cooktown. Missed a photo of a funny sign along the way. Someone had very skillfully doctored a kangaroo sign to depict a well endowed buck, but we didn't see any in the flesh! So annoyed I was too slow to get a shot! All settled at the caravan park - another pretty tropical place with great facilities! There are even courtesy buses to take you to and from the clubs and pubs - yaay!! We'll get to visit the Hope Vale crew on Thursday! As the driver said, (when he wasn't telling me on a number of occasions, 'We're going to Bonnie Doon! 🀣'),'It's all starting to feel real now

26 June 2017

Day 3 Uneventful day driving. Best thing that happened was where we planned to stop in Innisfail, was fully booked, so decided to swing by Mission Beach for the night! Overcast and breezy, but very lovely. The driver is getting his 'Nomad' on and sporting a cap, a 3 day growth (yes, we do have cheap wine!!) and a flanno which we purchased especially for the trip and which he insists is 'brushed cotton'!! 🀣 All good so far on the Ossies Trip to the Tip!

25 June 2017

Day 2 Sunday 25 June Just went for a Sunday drive to Proserpine. Had a great night's sleep after an early night, although it did get a little cool! Stopped at a couple of the Driver Reviver stations, which was interesting as we've always just zoomed past them before. The one at Yaamba was just a little picnic spot but the one about 2 hours north of Rocky in the middle of nowhere was huge and very well laid out. Some nomads were so comfortable there, they even had their knickers out!!! Seriously, about 5 minutes after parking, the clothes line was out with an array of non-fine campers' lingerie on show!!! As we drove out, there was another van with even more non-intimate garments displayed. The things you see!!! Played road trip trivia, but they've already started repeating the questions!!! Stopped at Proserpine for the night and walked from the caravan park to the town for a meal. Had the best pub meal we've had in ages at the Prince of Wales Pub + a mystery house wine that was pre

24 June 2017

Day 1 So after take off we stopped for coffee and Brekky wraps at Chevallum. (Bart, they were almost as good as the Alex Surf Club!!) Then, we kept on going, 'cos the roads were good, the traffic was light and all was well with the world!! My only issue was the driver being demanding wanting mints and gummy bears to keep him going!! We're now at Calliope at the River Ranch with a great site right on the river front. It's peaceful and lovely and in true nomad fashion, as soon as we set up, we had a cup of tea!! Me thinks it's almost beer o'clock!! Cheers to a day of nothing broken, lost or forgotten ... so far!! πŸ˜† Yaay for Day 1.