Sunday, 30 September 2007

Kialla Lakes

Well we’re home! We arrived back home on Friday morning after a quicker than expected trip home from Canberra. Instead of two nights on the road we only needed one spending a very pleasant evening in Rutherglen.
It was with mixed feelings we backed the van up the drive but its true there is no place like home and we were anxious to see Kate and Waz before they went to Queensland for a few days on Saturday.
We’ve had a wonderful time and went through our photos this afternoon and marvelled at all the things we have seen, and started planning our next trip at the same time.
For those who are interested we’ve been keeping spreadsheets of our trip statistics and thought you might be interested to hear some of them.
Our fuel was 2,798 litres and the total cost for fuel was $3,471.
We travelled a total of 15,300 kilometres and visited forty-two sites so we really have setting up and packing up down to a fine art!
When we arrived home Ian took the van to the weighbridge to see how much we had been dragging around with us and fully loaded with the water tanks full and quite a few extras on board (like the ten coconuts I brought home for Kate so she could have coconut cocktails!), the van weighed 2,480kg which Ian was quite happy with as it is within the legal limit for the Prado to tow.
So there you are that’s about all from us for this holiday, we will put on further blogs when we go away again, but it will be a while before we have an adventure as long as this one!
Thanks to everyone who has contacted us to say you have enjoyed the blogs, its been fun doing them and has become a great record of our trip.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007


We found our accommodation in Canberra at the home of the Summer Car Nats otherwise known as Exhibition Park (EPIC). It’s very close to the centre of Canberra, so handy for sightseeing which was the plan for our three nights. We arrived late in the day so after setting up called it a day.
On Tuesday we set out for Floriade and had a great time looking at the beautiful displays. There was a theme of iconic Australian inventions such as the Victa Lawnmowers, Hills Hoists, black box flight recorder and also recognition that 2007 has been declared the Year of the Lifesaver by the Federal Government.
The Hills Hoist was developed by a returned serviceman after the second World War who was ‘requested’ by his wife to make a better line for her washing! The display of flowers was magnificent and on a beautiful day made for a very enjoyable start to our stay.
Afterwards we went to Old Parliament House where a very interesting exhibition entitled Scarred and Strengthened – Australians in the Great Depression was well worth the visit.
On Wednesday we spent an inspiring day at the War Memorial. One of the special displays for me was the Changi Quilts which I had read so much about. The whole day was just awe inspiring and it will take us a few days talking as we travel to really appreciate all that we saw. We arrived at 10.30am and left at 4.30pm so it was a very busy day.
On Thursday morning we head off for home, planning two nights on the road and hopefully arriving home in time to see some of the AFL Grand Final!

Tuesday, 25 September 2007


We arrived back safely at the caravan park and set ourselves up for three nights. We had great days with Pete and Dawn, although Dawn had to work on Saturday and Sunday we had the whole of Friday together. Pete had promised to take us down to Sydney on Friday morning to stand in front of the Sunrise show and watch. You can see Pete and I waving on cue (we hope you saw our two seconds of fame on the TV!). It was great fun and made up for the early departure from Gosford at 6.30am.
After we had spent enough time at the show we had to have some retail therapy including some bridal magazines just to get the ball rolling. Did we mention Pete and Dawn are now engaged and we’re all very excited!
We then went to Penrith to the NSW Fire Brigade Museum which only seemed fair to Pete and Ian after Dawn and I discussed weddings for the rest of the time. It was actually very interesting.
We spent our evenings hearing of their trip and looking at their photos which were terrific.
All too soon our visit with Pete and Dawn was over and we packed up and moved on to Canberra

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Hervey Bay to Gosford

After we left Hervey Bay we travelled towards Gosford and used the Camps book to plot our course. It’s not always great but when you only need somewhere to sleep we figure we can put up with nearly anything and it’s a bit different.
Well our first night on the road was certainly different. We ended up at a roadside stop with about ten other campers and truckies! There was a little (!) bit of road noise as we were only just off the highway and perhaps the trucks rumbling thru right beside the van to stop for the night made it a little difficult to sleep but we managed to grab a little shut eye before starting out again (early!) and promising not to do that trick unless we were really desperate.
For the second night we travelled down to Crowdy Bay National Park which is on the coast between Port Macquarie and Taree, 9kms south of Laurieton. What a contrast to our previous evening. We travelled along an unmade road for 5kms and arrived at the Park to be greeted by kangaroos happily feeding all around us. Once again it was a ‘pick where you like’ camp with no power but toilets and cold (!) showers. Thank goodness for our own toilet and hot shower. We didn’t even need to take the van off the car and just picked a pleasant spot, got out the chairs and sat down to enjoy the show around us. Kangaroos were everywhere and it was very entertaining watching the groups feeding and joeys jumping in and out of the pouches. How they fit we can’t understand but they do although some have legs hanging out and heads poking out grazing and just looking at us. No need to look for further entertainment here. We also walked down to the beach which was only about 50metres from the car. It was a pity we arrived later in the day and we would really like to come back and stay for a couple of nights so we can explore the walking tracks and the beach. It was certainly harder to leave this camp than the previous nights accommodation but we were eager to get on the road and avoid arriving in Gosford late as we remembered how difficult it was on the way up to set up in the dark.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Hervey Bay

After our stay at Woodgate we moved down to Hervey Bay for three nights, only about 40km’s if you go directly however we had been told of a patchwork shop not to be missed in Howard so a short diversion was required and a very successful one it was too.
We went to a different park at Hervey Bay this time staying right on the beach. We were only twenty steps from the sand and it was great to be swimming again after our not so good experience in Hervey Bay at the beginning of our trip.
As we were settling in we met our ‘neighbours’ and enjoyed beer o’clock with them. Ian and Coral have had family near Shepparton and now live in Maryborough and enjoy coming down to Hervey Bay for the beach. It is great to meet people in the parks and camps and we have made new friends who we hope to see again.
Our joy was short lived as on the first morning the wind again came up and the day was not very pleasant at all. However we had already arranged to go whale watching in the afternoon so we were committed, wind or not! When we arrived at the marina we were greeted by the crew and asked if we suffered from wobbly legs. Ian certainly does so that was not a great start. However we were offered ginger tablets and Ian feels it was the best $1.00 we spent on the trip so far. I don’t know if they were effective or just a really good placebo, who cares we felt fine despite the waves crashing over the windows and drowning most of us on the way out to see the whales. We even ate lunch, although not a lot as it was a perilous task to keep your plate on your knees.
They were certainly worth the trip. Just magnificent creatures and we were fortunate to see a number of groups including mums with calves and adult groups too.
We were also able to catch up with David and Annie and the boys and enjoyed entertaining them at our place this time.Now we’re really on the way home and off to see Pete and Dawn

Sunday, 16 September 2007


When we were in Emerald we went to a hairdresser and the young lady who cut my hair suggested we go to Woodgate as the beach was lovely. Woodgate is only 30kms down the coast from Bargarra but 100kms by road.
We travelled via Childers and visited the backpacker hotel where the terrible fire took place. There is now a wonderful memorial to all the backpackers on the first floor of the hotel and a gallery. Childers is a lovely town and we enjoyed morning tea before going on to Woodgate.
As you can see from the photos the beach is just perfect here and we swam and relaxed on the beach over the two full days we spent at Woodgate. We also were able to enjoy some lovely walks along the foreshore which like Bargarra is well paved and marked with the 10,000 steps. Woodgate also has a national park and there are plenty of kangaroos along the walk in the main street not in the slightest bit concerned by us going past.
This is certainly somewhere to return next year, even better than Bargarra. We seem to be finding great places even on the way home. Of course it helps that the weather has really improved too!

On to Hervey Bay where we hope the weather will be warm unlike our earlier visit.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Bargarra and News ........

Back to Bargarra Beach for three nights as we amble homeward. I needed to do some serious washing and also cleaning without the assistance of dirt returning as fast as I clean it out. We have the same site as we had on the way up but not with the excitement of thinking of the journey ahead! Our first night back at Bargara marked 100 nights on the road. We have covered over 12,000kms which is quite a distance but we have barely touched the surface and can see many trips to come.
Of course we went back to the Rum Distillery, and the Ginger non-alcoholic beverages have also been restocked. There is a great fish place here and we really enjoy fresh fish with real flavour and will have some in our freezer for the trip home. We did lots of walking as the weather is pretty good, although not up to the usual temperatures for this time of year, wish we had a dollar for every time we have been told that!
We also drove out to Mon Ripo turtle rookery and down to the port. We will come back at turtle time as it looks very interesting. There were two bus loads of school kids there so we didn’t stay long!
Now for the news of other kinds, in strict chronological order lest I be criticised for showing favour. Whilst in London, Pete and Dawn travelled to Paris and visited the Eiffel tower and you guessed, he proposed and we are delighted to say Dawn accepted! Pete was very well prepared and had a lovely (well we are told it is lovely, no photo has been forthcoming!) ring at the ready. No details are available yet beyond the engagement, but we are all thrilled and very excited about seeing them in a week or so. Just prior to leaving for England, Pete was successful in obtaining a new position at Gosford Hospital in the Intensive Care Unit so he certainly has plenty to look forward to.
Now for Kate’s news. Kate has accepted a position with Legal Aid in Shepparton as a senior solicitor. We are thrilled (again!) for her and sure she will be very happy.
It seems our family manage very well without us!

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Eidsvold to Wallum Reserve

We’ve become rather taken with our camps book as you can tell and so we took a different route to Bundaberg following the stops in the book.
The country we have driven though these past couple of days has ranged from bare, scrubby ground to the beautiful ‘green drought’ we are hearing about on the radio as we drive. In fact we stopped on the side of the road after Biloela to consider our next move as a cattle producer was taking hay from one part of his property to the other side of the road and he stopped his tractor (as you do!) for a chat for fifteen minutes or so. A really friendly man who offered to swap his tractor for our van – we’ve had quite a few offers like that. The man who has the Lenards Chicken franchise in Rockhampton put the keys to the cash register in front of us and offered to swap too! Anyway, the beef farmer was saying how tough times have been for the past five years or so but that his bulls were looking pretty good and we could see how much he really enjoyed his life, drought and all.
We meandered onto Monto which has a sensational coffee and gift shop. The coffee was great and the browsing through the gifts even better! Ian gets this rather forlorn look which clearly indicates we have looked enough so we moved on, hardly damaging the budget allocation at all.
We drove on through to Eidsvold where we camped for the night at the Ceratodus Rest Area and met some other campers. Ian and Bob were in charge of setting the mood with a cosy fire whilst Karen and I enjoyed some liquid refreshment. However it was a dismal task (and fire!) due to the rain which had been fairly consistent throughout the day. The best thing about the rain was that it washed all the mud of the van from the Station which was considerable. We enjoyed their company and learnt a few new tricks from them as they are old hands at this bush camping business and very friendly. Ceratodus is a relocated train station and very interesting and well maintained.
We shopped for food in Eidsvold at a real country butcher and admired their beautifully maintained buildings, gardens and amusing sign in the main street, (apparently no vandalism here – we suspect because everyone knows everyone and would dob big time!) we drove on to Mundubbera and stopped at Binjour Range Rest Area where there was the most spectacular 180 degree view – it just took our breath away. There are no photos as we just couldn’t do it justice. All for free and you can stay there for a night! It was too early to stop for the night so onwards we went through to Ban Ban Springs for lunch where we again caught up with Bob and Karen who were also stopping for lunch. From there we went on to Wallum Reserve which is just out of Bundaberg for the night.

Kroombit Park and Lockenbar Station

We spent two nights at Kroombit Park and Lochenbar Station which is 35km east of Biloela. Kroombit was set up on Lochenbar Station because of the ongoing drought which has forced many landholders to be creative in order to provide some ongoing funds for their properties, whilst waiting for better times. There was a group of school children from Year 8 and 9 enjoying a school camp and also several bus groups of young international visitors. The camp is really well set up, much tidier and cleaner than many caravan parks we visited. On the first night Ian tried his hand at whip cracking and was very successful too. I put it down to his early practice as a parent gently disciplining his children. Yes, please also note his particularly fetching protective eye gear! This comment was greeted with much amusement by the international visitors who asked the ages of our children, I suspect to see if they survived! Later those who have no fear tried their hand at bull riding, we watched and decided not to participate, a very wise decision we think.
When we awoke on the first morning we were greeted by horses trotting past on their way to take the visitors out on a muster. Chooks wander throughout the camp in company with many peacocks. Just when we thought we had seen it all two donkeys amble past!
On our second night we enjoyed a campfire dinner of soup, damper and corned silverside. All delicious and cooked in the coals in camp ovens. The whole park looks like a stockmans bush camp and the tables and seats are cut from timber from the property.
It was certainly a different experience from all the other parks we’ve been to and well worth the visit.


We stayed in Yeppoon enjoying the warmth and sunshine for a week. There are also two patchwork shops which can’t be a bad thing. Two days of weather warm enough to swim were very enjoyable and four days not very warm but still good passed quickly as we come to the last weeks of our holiday.
A highlight (!!) at Yeppoon was a 6ft green carpet snake which was sitting up directly above Ian’s head for some time as we enjoyed drinks with other campers. I can attest to our athletic agility when we looked up and saw it. A snake catcher from a nearby property was summoned and quickly removed the poor snake to live at his property. The heart tablets work too.
On the last day in Yeppoon we awoke to pelting rain and wind so it was definitely time to move on.