Southern QLD

Viva Bris Vegas! - ZZ Top

On our way towards Brisbane we surfed through the sunshine coast. A quick stop over in Maroochydore, a camping and caravaning show where we bought nothing, and a leisurely drive down some beaut beachfront brought us back to city life.
Neither of us have spent much time in Brisneyland so navigating became.... interesting.
Our approach through the northern suburbs took us past ARB so we stopped in to discuss our warranty issue with the tent. Alan was very very accommodating and organised to get the tent removed, fixed and refitted the following Tuesday. No mention of receipts or blame. Top service.
We met Scottie at his house after a few wrong turns. The GPS seemed to struggle the whole time we were in Brisbane.
Scottie was kind and brave enough to put us up for a few days. We first met him on our trip to Africa and his genourosity was much appreciated.

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We spent the next few days watching Meg play water-polo, cleaning the car and cruising around town in a smart car that Scottie had loaded us.
A quick blast up the coast after we had dropped the tent off took us to Caloundra. We met up with Nerida and Lisa and wandered around the town before heading back south.
Soon enough we had to press on to our next stop. Thanks to Scottie, Megs, Max and Jess for putting up with us.
Only just down the road we stopped at Greg and Lisa's Pistachio Tavern.

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We had a quiet night at the Jones' sampling Greg's great European home brew from his keg. Some great ideas and info that will be put into use at the Mt Rumney Tavern when we get home.

The Jones'

The Jones'

The Gold Coast beckoned and we set off on Saturday afternoon. The hour long drive ended up taking us considerably longer as we wound around the highway without getting onto it.
We arrived at Andy and Juanita's early in the evening. After being assaulted by their keg on legs, Milly, we caught up on old times. Jody, Simon and Ollie arrived and we had a wonderful dinner.

Sunday was more time for catching up with friends. We hadn't seen Carly since we left Hayman in 2004 so it was great to see her and meet Anton and reminisce about island life. We also got to see their new black shiny Prado and remember what a Prado looks like before being driven around the country side.

Juanita, Carly & Jaks

Juanita, Carly & Jaks

Sunday night Jaks headed into Surfers Paradise for a catch up with Laura, Andy and Hannah. More catching up with people on Monday with a trip to Helensvale to visit the Arrowsmiths. A quick demonstration of the Ecotourer saw the afternoon fly by.
With time pressing on and our deadline to be in Melbourne rapidly approaching Tuesday morning saw us back on the road once again, heading down the coast to Byron to tick of the most Eastern Point!

Enter Sandman - Metallica

The approach to the barge looked very sandy and there were signs to air down the tyres before heading across the spit to line up. We, and most of the others did this in the sealed carpark before it become soft. One however failed to see the carpark!! And was stuck on the narrow approach. This was the only car we would see stuck for our whole trip.
After driving around the stuck cruiser and across some loose sand we lined up with a surprisingly small number of cars. The barge takes about 15 cars at a time. The trip only takes 5 minutes.

Barge Approach - Inskip Point

Barge Approach - Inskip Point

The tide was at it lowest for the day as we drove off the ferry and headed up the east coast. The beach is around 200 meters wide at this time so there is plenty of room for all the traffic. A quick flash of the indicator tells oncoming traffic that you have seen them and you are keeping out of their way.
A short pit stop at Eurong to have a look at the shop and then up the hill towards towards Central Station. The tracks are quite sandy but don't present much of a problem.
Central Station is set amongst some very tall Kauri Trees and is sheltered, quiet and very green. To our suprise there was only one family camped here. The hot showers, $1.00! were great and we spent the afternoon looking at maps of the island and having a read.

Central Station Camp

Central Station Camp

As the tides were getting later in the day we decided to head off on a day trip to Lake McKenzie, Kingfisher Bay Resort, and a few other closer tracks.
The lake was, as expected, chock full of backpackers. Good people watching for Jaks and not a bad view for me either! We only stayed briefly as the call of the hungover flat backer become louder and louder.

Lake MacKenzie

Lake MacKenzie

Jaks had been to Kingfisher resort as a youngster and was keen to see if it was still the same. A rough track lead downhill into quite a nice and flash resort. We wandered about, had lunch and made a few phone calls.
A meandering track lead us back through the forests, past Lake Wobby and down onto the beach north of Eurong.

Lake Wobby

Lake Wobby

A quick blast down the hard sand and a right turn had us back in the dingo proof compound.
Another short drive to the west coast in search of tv reception for the F1 grand pix resulted in lots of sandfly bites and no joy so back to camp it was.
We broke camp quite late the next day as low tide wasn't until the afternoon.

Hillary in the rainforest near Central Station Camp

Hillary in the rainforest near Central Station Camp

Heading down a new track to Eurong we emerged bang on time for the long drive up the beach to Waddy Point.  Along the way we passed Eli Creek, too many back packers to stop, and the wreck of the Maheno. This wreck is standing up to the elements quite well and has not changed much since I was last here in 1990. 

The sandy climb over Indian head was fine and we arrived at Waddy Point in the early afternoon. After setting up camp we wandered down to the beach. This end of the island is a favourite with the fishing folk and the were small groups of the scattered along the shore.
We debated heading further north but the tides were against us.
The following morning we walked along the beach to Orchid Beach township. The shop and servo here have just about everything and entertainment was provided by the Rangers who got bogged just coming into town.
Our trip back south started with a quick dip at Champagne Pools.

Champagne Pools

Champagne Pools

The tide was a bit low so no bubbles but a pleasant swim nonetheless.

BJP Champagne Pools

BJP Champagne Pools

After looking at Indian Head with several bus loads of tourists climbing it we pressed on. Steve had mentioned that you could see sharks and whales from the top but as we had seen several sharks on our walk to Orchid Beach we gave it a miss.

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Dingo

Dingo

Jaks spotted several whales on our run south and somehow that cost me six beers.

Hillary

Hillary

We returned to Central Station for our last night and only some French back packers in a troopie were our company.

One of those lizards you see everyday

One of those lizards you see everyday

Aiming for the ferry we spent our final day driving the southern lakes route.

Lake Birrabeen

Lake Birrabeen

Lake Birrabeen provided a great swim, Lake Benaroon a nice view and Lake Boomanjin a funny sign.
We emerged on the beach after passing through Dilli Village, and headed south to meet the ferry. The beach was quite low and we sped along with only the occasional soft bit.

Manta Ray Barge

Manta Ray Barge

With perfect timing we met the barge and 5 minutes later we were in search of a car wash on the mainland.
After Hillary's facial and pedicure we hit the blacktop south to Noosa.

I Can't Stand the Rain - The Commitments

As we departed Bundaberg the black clouds were threatening and the humidity was rising. Heading out of town we passed numerous crops of chilli, sugar and other unidentified rows of plants. With its rich soil this area seems to be produce heaven.
Following the coastal road we arrived in Hervey Bay by lunchtime. We set up the tent and headed into town for a walk. We got stuck at a local bookshop for 45 minutes with an owner who obviously didn't get many visitors. By 3.00pm the skies had opened and it was bucketing down. The locals kept saying "we need it".
We didn't really need it so we spent the afternoon in the tent reading our books. We stayed high and dry in camp 4.

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Throughout the night we were buffeted by high winds hitting us side on. There were many gusts and a few lulls which lulled us into sleep only to be blasted awake moments later by the apocalypse arriving. Camp 4 lived up to its name that night.
Not a good nights sleep all round.

Waking to clear skies and strong winds, we packed up camp and headed towards Rainbow Beach. With the winds being unpleasantly strong we thought it best to avoid Fraser Island until they had settled somewhat.
We ended up stopping in a little town called Tin Can Bay. A nice, quiet little spot, that had some protection from the gale force winds.
Waking on Saturday morning to a slight wind that had almost completely gone, we made our way to Inskip Point to catch the barge to Fraser Island.
But first we had to get all of the assorted permits. There are ones for the car, for us, and for where we will, or might camp.
There was a long line at the booking office which initially put us off. After watching for a while most of the people were getting permits and leaving town. This inspired us to bite the bullet, and $230.00 later we were off to to the worlds largest sand island.

Rum and Coca Cola - The Andrews Sisters

Bundaberg - Discover our Spirit.
This is the greeting on the signs as you enter into the area within the Bundaberg Regional Council. Being the law abiding citizens that we are, we thought it best to obey the signs and discover their spirit.
The Churchills were our hosts for our time in Bundaberg and a massive thank you to Matty, Poss, Fletch, Alex, Abi and Ruby for having us to stay. It was awesome to see you guys again, catch up on old times, meet the kids and even do the school run.
After a few days camped under trees, Hillary had a few sap stains on her paint so Ruby and Bryce washed the car whilst Jaks did grown up stuff on the computer.

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Then a trip to town for a tyre repair, 2nd hand book shopping, TV aerial shopping and a general look around the city.
It seems all roads in Bundaberg lead to the Bundy factory so we accidentally ended up on an afternoon tour of the facilities. No drop bears present that afternoon. We did a few tastings and purchased some rum liquor (only available in Bundy sorry). Yummo.

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We spent time at the beach, baking cup cakes, trying to put together an ant farm, checking the pool and hanging out with the kids.
Sadly after a few great days in Bundy it was time to leave and continue our journey south.
Once again a massive thanks to Poss and co for having us to stay!

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Deeper Water - Paul Kelly

Hanging out with the hippies (their words not mine) at the 1770 markets did not prove successful in finding Bryce the secondhand book he has been looking for.  The search will continue for Alaska by James Michener.

With the local triathlon coming to a conclusion in Agnes Waters, the town was full of fit, tired people and a few cars with expensive bikes on their roofs.

After a quick stop at the visitor information centre, we let the tyres down and made our way into Deepwater NP.

The track was soft sand with a fairly hard base so no worries about getting stuck.  The wind had picked up so swimming didn't seem all that appealing.  We stopped at Flat Rock, Middle Rock and Wreck Rock.  The camping areas looked great, but the sandfly populations did not look appealing.

Flat Rock

Flat Rock

Pressing on further south we passed through a number of small towns before deciding with only 30km to go we would press onto Bundy.

Apparently there is a distillery there that is worth visiting.