Warmer Winter – 9

No news is good news! That describes our life since we arrived in Cardwell back a few weeks now. We have done what we have planned without any interference from Mr Covid; so far.

Our move to Mission Beach was a good move. Our campground at Wongaling was near to a supermarket and only a kilometre to the long, wide, hard sandy beach. There was a 4 km ride to the main Mission Beach. That beach is similar but has more tourists there to fill the Cafés, bars and clothes shops, if they’re not on the beach sun baking. We had a couple of nice snack meals there before returning to our motor home. We met up with Chris and Marilyn who have been on the road for nine years now; somehow, we find them on each of our trips to warmer weather.

Our itinerary still had a few chosen spots to get to before U-turning south to the southern spring. Next stop was Cairns for 4 nights. The bikes came in handy to get around a few of the nice areas of the town. The esplanade is a good place to both ride and wander. Cairns council have done a good job of developing this area and keeping it green and clean. The large pool just on the edge of the esplanade was well patronised with many doing a “double take” to watch the Tokyo Games shown on large screens while swimming.

Our journey along the coast towards Port Douglas became a highlight of our holiday so far, when we were treated to a fabulous day to view the coastline from Rex’s Lookout. The use of the drone came in handy for some great video of the coastline. It’s a “must-see” if ever you make your way north.

We experienced Port Douglas with virtually no tourists; there were no “holdups” in any shops, food or clothing. Our campground was a kilometre away from the main drag and the beach was about a kilometre away too. We found a lot of southerners were “two home” people (one down south and a unit in Port Douglas). Caravaners were the same – and why wouldn’t you? At this time of year, perfect temperature each day and mostly sunshine to match. All healthy people with so much of that miracle vitamin that comes to us all freely from the “big light in the sky”.

We had lunch with one of Lyn’s clients from the travel agency in Yarra Junction, now living mainly at Palm Cove, and on another day, a lunch at the surf club with a Port Douglas Paradise Motorhome owner who we had chatted to often, but had never met in person. Thank you Judy and Graeme.

Due to a road accident on the Bruce Highway, our journey heading south included a 5km detour. The air ambulance circled over us and landed just up the road in front of us before we were asked to u-turn to the detour. The cane farm on both sides of the highway had been recently prepared for new cane planting and the helicopter did a good job of stirring up the dust while landing. The enormous ball of dust enveloped us and we couldn’t see the vehicle in front for a short time. Interesting.

Now we’ve spent a week in the Atherton Tablelands just enjoying the no rush quietness and the walks in the local area. I have my annual eye/vision check appointment to keep my drivers licence on Tuesday so will head to Innisfail on Monday to have that happen.

Warmer Winter – 8

Really truly, the weather is warmer. Today is sunny again and 28. We are staying at Cardwell with Lyn’s sister for a few days but inside a garage – the price is great but the view of the tropical garden can only be captured if we bend over to look out the front window. Anyway, better start this post from where we left off at Airlie Beach.

We did fall in love with Airlie Beach last week and has become the pick of spots to make a booking for a couple of weeks next year. The touristy feel is evident but everything is clean and organized. True, it would normally be packed with backpackers with a non-Australian accent but Mr Covid has prevented that. We rode around the marina and noticed a super luxury yacht with a guy in a blue shirt and grey hair wandering the deck. Lyn googled the name of the yacht and came up finding it had a $10million price tag with the owner being Clive Palmer. We mentioned the fact to some young people nearby and they asked “Who’s Clive Palmer?” Oh dear, his campaigning has meant a “naught” for effectiveness.

We headed north some more and found a “pub on the side of the road” with free camping in the back and the main railway out the front. Gumlu is a quaint little town with hardly any houses but the school has an electronic announcement board out the front inviting us to attend the grandparents day “next Friday morning”. We declined the offer, but enjoyed an $8 dish for the main course at the pub. At least we heard when each train went through the village – such a quiet place after hours.

Beyond Gumlu was the turnoff to Rollingstone Beach Resort where we had tried to book for a 5 nights stay but could only manage to book 2 nights, but what a view; right on the waters edge looking out to the ocean and the many islands of the Coral Sea. The caravan park is now on the list to spend a month at, next year. Anyone want to join us?

When we were positioning the motor home, the neighbors came out to greet us, as often happens. (We must be attractive or something) Swapping town names was interesting. Lyn asked “and where are you from?” The response, “you wouldn’t have heard of our small town in Victoria, Yarra Junction,” she said in a quiet voice. “Oh! I had a shop there for 27 years, I know it well. I owned the travel agency there,” was Lyn’s reply. “Oh, are you Lyn? You did our travel to the UK 10 years ago.” You just never know who’s following you around this big country. The location, looking out to the islands, provided some great “this is my office for the day” views.

Towns along the Cassowary Coast, all have histories of cyclonic damage. Our next town of Cardwell was obliterated by Yasi in 2011 and then again by Marci in 2015 and Debbie in 2017. However, council, with the benefit of government and Australia-wide community gifts, have rebuilt the foreshore to an attractive and a great stopping resting spot for those using the Bruce Highway. Real Estate is cheap but comes with a high rate of insurance. Some properties are attracting amounts of $11,000 per year.

From here, we move to Mission Beach tomorrow.

Warmer Winter – 6

The further we venture north the more I wonder about the notion that “it is warm up north”. All the way from Melbourne to Sarina, the temperature has been between 2, on a bad day, and 22 on a good day. Yes, there hasn’t been a lot of rain but since Maryborough, a lot of rain has fallen.

Our planning included a few days at the beach in Mackay but others beat us to it. The plan changed, again, and Armstrong Beach on the coast near Sarina accepted us. It’s a small town with a very small campground. Initially, we thought not to include it in our next itinerary north. After a few days and evenings beside the communal campfire, we’ve changed our minds and will be back. The beach is quite acceptable to walk on and very good to practice moves with the new drone. That thing really rips along when in “sports” mode.

It was in Sarina, that I recognized where confusion originated. The Woolworths supermarket had all these green circles near the checkout requiring me to “Please Stand Here”. They never said “for how long” or “all at once” or “over how long-a period of time”. Someone suggested I take a chance and hope that, from heaven, a load of fresh food would descend. I chose to move on to the pharmacy and line up for the prescription drugs someone suggested I take for a “better quality of life”. No message to stop after death though.

Confusion Point

Moving on from a quiet little campground, our next site booking was at a busier, larger, campground near Airlie Beach. There’s something about larger touristy towns on the coast that we love-they have ice cream shops. New Zealand ones too. Airlie Beach is busy but at the same time clean, during the day. I’m told that at night, it is a much busier, noisier, town through to the mornings. With Covid, a shopkeeper told us, all the Bali Hens holidays have been happening in Airlie Beach, and the like. Yes, it’s a party town.

Luckily, we headed out early after a good night’s sleep. There is a great spot next to the yacht club for launching the drone, and the sky was blue with good sunshine at 8:00am. So we made our way to include some good vision of the area. What a day for photos! Rich blue skies with clear air and “comfortable” sunlight.

Whenever we book a day for a particular adventure, we include in the order, a day full of blue skies and photographic sunshine. Today, we were “half blessed”. The sunshine started 10 minutes before our boarding time of 11:00am, to return to Airlie Beach. So the drone shots are pretty dull and very average. The change in the atmosphere, made a good day a great day; just what we had come for.

Warmer Winter – 5

I’ve overlooked keeping my regular posts; perhaps they should become irregular posts from now on.

Our moves since leaving the Gold Coast have included Bribie Island, Pialba Beach near Hervey Bay, Bundaberg, Moore’s Park Beach, and now Yeppoon. Our expected U-Turn is to be at Port Douglas at the end of July.

We had never been to Bribie Island before. Our choice of campground was on the ocean side of the island to allow beach walks most mornings or afternoons. There are also some great bike paths and Lyn’s eBike got a good workout a couple of days. My balance factor still prevents the normal enjoyment I used to feel prior to the accident of 30 months ago. However, a different enjoyment has captured my relaxation time. Using a drone is a bit demanding but I am feeling more comfortable each time I press the “UP” lever (that’s the left one).

Hervey Bay is one of our favorite places to spend a few days. However, it’s not always the secure location one would expect from a town full of grey nomads. The coaster van next to us, was broken into and the lady’s purse was an obvious choice to get away with. She had security cameras inside to help the police identify the culprit. Lesson learned by one solo lady “never leave valuables on display at any time”.

Our site was a great spot to launch the drone from each time I wanted to have a lesson. A past memory was a few great Pialba sunrises and sunsets. They didn’t come to fruition this visit. However, while flying, we noticed a coastal eagle in a tree and made a close move for a few “dangerous” shots. He seemed to be interested in the weird object hovering close to his territory.

Bundaberg CMCA park is an appropriate located short stay park near the shops and town Center. Priced at $3 per person per night in a self contained vehicle, is always a good choice. We met up with Doug and Kathy, who used to live in Warburton over 16 years ago. One of their daughters has a wild animal refuge licence and cares for baby kangaroos (some without any hair yet). Some have been retrieved from their mothers when involved in tragic accidents. She bottle feeds them and even teaches them to suck on a dummy.

Moore’s Park Caravan Park is unique in its own way; just a small quiet town on the coast about 25km north of Bundaberg. Near the park on a Sunday, the “Bundy Bergers” food outlet was in the right spot to provide a Sunday lunch of fish and chips beside the ocean. With great bike paths, many seniors were out early of a morning catching up on the exercise they meant to have 40 years before. Of course, the coast allowed some more drone flying practice on a few occasions.

We noticed a “bush camp” location on our itinerary guide, so took 3 nights there at just $10 per person per night. The free firewood was a great bonus to making this a regular stopping point. Off the main trek, but our kind of bush camping.

We are now at Yeppoon where it started raining the evening we arrived and is still raining 50 hours later. It’s amazing how things get in the wrong place in a small “house” and today we spent a few hours rearranging where the pantry food is stored and where other things are now kept in a much more orderly way.

Our Yeppoon camp ground choice.

Warmer Winter – 4

After delivering the motor home to Paradise Motorhomes to complete a service and an accident repair job, we were transferred to a hotel on the Gold Coast just a block from the esplanade. Lyn had a “bank load” of points available so we are living it up in a hotel with a normal Gold Coast view – other hotels with a little peak in one direction at the ocean if you strained your body, and a peak in the other direction to the hinterland which keeps the surf out of inland Queensland.

The hotel has an interesting way of promoting the Gold Coast; inside each lift is a picture suggesting you will enjoy your time here. You may enjoy the pictures too.

Because the motor home repairs are going to take extra time to complete, we will not be able to move back in until Tuesday. This has meant we have had to vacate the QT and walk to The Vibe for an extra 4 nights. Our new view looks over the city to the left and the Nerang River to the right. We’ll miss the great breakfast buffet at QT but have gained a little kitchenette to enjoy at least one meal a day in our room.

It’s been many years since we took our kids to Sea World so OUR chance came again. The “Hopo” ferry took us up the paradise waterways to Sea World at a much more leisurely pace than our kids would have wanted those years ago. Breakfast wasn’t served until 10:30am which connected time wise to the dolphin show. The wander through the kids rides brought back memories of our days at Disneyland and Knotsberry Farm in Los Angeles. A shiver went all over us as we watched people having a closeup time with the penguins and the jellyfish exhibition was colorful and impressive.

Dolphins at Sea World

Warmer Winter – 3

We are now in Grafton visiting our daughter and son in law. Grafton is famous for its Jacaranda Festival. Our daughter had her wedding beside the Clarence River nearly 8 years ago during the Festival – so colorful. Today has been a brilliant blue sky day, just like it was for the wedding.

For many years, the town has been in need of a new bridge to join the north and south regions. The government completed a new bridge a year or so ago beside the dual purpose bridge; the north-south railway shared the crossing with motor vehicles. Traffic chaos reigned at peak hour on the vehicle section with a couple of bends along the way.

We’ll stay here through until Sunday.

Yesterday, we took a short trip to Yamba, north of Grafton but on the coast. The town shares the mouth of the Clarence River with Iluka. There are a lot of cafes and up market shops with up market prices. A lighthouse stands on the headland up from Yamba. The sunshine made the sky a brilliant blue so we are happy with the photos of the day.

When our daughter married Paul, she found that he was a “keeper” of both fish and feather. Paul has a large fish tank and cares for many little fellows. The plecostomus spends a good amount of time puckering up to the glass as if he’s searching for a long drawn out “pash”. At first the bird aviary had to be constructed for a good stock of bush parrots and quaint birds. The numbers decreased a year or so ago from a disease and they haven’t been replaced. Harry is still the king of the aviary and often welcomes us with a “hello. Whatcha doin?”

Paul’s fish tank
Plecostomus
Aloo. Whatcha doin?

I have for a long time, wanted to venture into drone photography. Now I can say I’m a happy owner of a DJI Air 2S. It is so easy to get going compared to the $250 drone I bought from China which never worked properly. Just a couple of shots taken at Red Rock so far show what will be my photography and movie work in the future.

One of the main reasons we have come to Queensland is to repair some damage done 18 months ago when driving to Sydney for a funeral. An overtaking motor home cut us off and “pushed” us off the highway enough to brush with a white plastic post. The motor home also needed a service done to many of the components that make living in a Paradise worthwhile. It will be next week before it is ready to continue the “warmer winter” series, so we are having a different kind of luxury for the week in Surfers Paradise.

Warmer Winter 2021 – 2

From living with hundreds of horses, riders and floats for two nights, our next night found us camped at a truck stop on the highway heading north out of Sydney. At times we’re reminded of being a truck when we look at the drivers licence required to drive the motor home, so we took advantage of that for a night. This decision was made after passing a few other rest areas between Goulburn and Sydney. Once you’ve passed the “last” one, there’s nowhere to overnight until you’re through the M7 and on across the Hawkesbury River. There’s a saying in nomadic life that if you don’t get asked to move on, you stay. So we did. This meant we were only 20km from the next planned campground at Morisset Showgrounds.

The Morisset Showgrounds camping area is a little disorganised with the property being used as a COVID-19 testing site most of each day. However, after doing online bookings a week before, we found things fairly comfortable. Monday afternoon and evening and Tuesday were spent catching up with friends from way back. Wednesday we had an appointment in Sydney so took the train trip there and back. For lunch, we found a German bakery. Lots of wholesome breads but a different item we tried was a cheese snail – a rolled dough wrapped in a circle with melted cheese on top. They might see us next time we venture to the Sydney big smoke.

One of our friends turned up to visit. He found his car as a pile of rust down in the Yarra Valley in 1978 and has carted it with him to each address he’s had since then, tinkering as he went. It’s been in a progressive form to 3 states of Australia. We heard this “clapped out horn” noise and outside was what you see in the pictures. Interestingly, his hat was made in Vietnam.

Other old friends arrived during the days we were at Morisset before we headed north, in the pouring rain, for 6 hours or so. We stopped at Nabiac to check out the The National Motorcycle Museum. There needs to be another visit on our homeward journey as there are over 1,000 motor bikes in the museum to view. You’ll have to wait for our return.

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Warmer Winter 2021 – 1

After a year of uncertainty in 2020, we’ve decided to make 2021 a year of certainty – certainly be away from home enjoying life on the road in our motor home in warm weather during the southern winter.

Our departure plans were delayed just 30 minutes which isn’t too bad for a couple of Grey Nomads. The first stop was at the Lake Nillahcootie rest spot on the road between Mansfield and Benalla. The autumn colours were bright red here leading down a path to the lake.

Would you believe our first meal was at Maccas? The non- breakfast turned late lunch became a quick stop as we had met up with another Paradise Owner at Lake Nillahcootie. The conversation took us into the next hour. Much in common.

First it was near Wagga Wagga; then it became Gundagai; then it became Jugiong for our first night. Lyn drove from Glenrowan for about 2 and half hours or so. Arriving at the Jugiong rest camping spot, there were well over 200 horses and their riders to welcome us. I thought they thought we were VIPs from Canberra across the hills, but I succumbed to disappointment. The Jugiong Camp Drafting Championship is on for the weekend. Camp drafting is where the horse rider has to direct a steer around a set course. There were over 190 entries so a long day for the last competitor. Riders came from all over the southern part of New South Wales.

Jugiong is a well used popular traveller’s stop off point on the Hume Highway between Melbourne and Sydney. It’s a quiet town that has a few exquisite eating places where many Canberrians come for a weekend drive. At this time of the year, the colours of the deciduous trees make the area a good place to visit when the sky is brilliant blue. Camping is alongside the Murrumbidgee River that flows down to the mighty Murray River through Wagga Wagga to Balranald. We arrived just after dusk so didn’t look around for a spot away from the horses. In the morning, we found there was no spare spots; horses were everywhere. At least we know where we can collect some horse manure for our garden on the way home in four months time. But no, a tad smelly for 7 hour’s drive.

Next post will include our time at Morisset and on to Stuart’s Point