A Travellerspoint blog

Summer in Beautiful Tassie

Now heading off for another year or two on the road!


Where did that time go? Seems like yesterday we were arriving home, and looking forward to summer in Tassie with our family and friends, and now it's all over.
We had amazing weather, didn't do as much travelling as we would have liked, but we did spend loads of time with special friends and family. Joe has all the gardens shipshape, we were lucky to see busy granddaughters in Hobart, spend some time at Coles Bay and catch up with friends from near and far.

We've been at Sorrento for a week now, on the Mornington Peninsula, camped right on the foreshore after another smooth sailing on The Spirit. We've had a good look around the Peninsula, checked out some amazingly expensive real estate, and spent time with travelling friends Jacki and Jenks who live here. We were lucky enough to be invited to Sunday lunch with their beautiful families yesterday, and enjoyed an Easter egg hunt with the little ones. Window shopping's always good here, lots of great homewares shops, and top dollar of course. Joe has a coffee and a famous vanilla slice while I do the shops.

We're all packed up and ready to leave tomorrow, heading up the Victorian Coast to Metung. Very excited about meeting Oliver and family at Hawks Nest weekend, and we only have a few days to get there. We'll try and see some of the pretty coastal towns on the way......we always seem to miss this part of the country. We're also looking forward to seeing Angus and Yas in their new home at Port Macquarie, and from there we'll have a few days to get to Noosa, where we'll stay for a couple of months 🙄.

Now we're off to watch Hawthorn play their first roster match against Geelong, on Jacki and Jenks' big screen, have some footy food and a couple of drinks, and say our goodbyes to them. It's a bit cool here today so Joe has his brown and gold striped scarf on!!!!!! Go Hawks

Posted by Crazy Poupes 19:13 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

Home to Tassie for the summer!

Plans changed once again

all seasons in one day 17 °C

It is SUCH a long time since I blogged, I can hardly remember where we've been and what we've done! I actually wrote a long blog a few weeks ago,which took me 2 hours - but if the internet isn't strong enough it doesn't save and it gets lost! Somehow it's never the same when I have to rewrite it!

What I do know is that we didn't go to Uluru, Longreach or Winton - we went all the way back down the coast to Noosa. We met up with Ros and Paul who were on a road trip for 6 weeks, escaping the winter and getting some much needed R & R. We had lots to talk about, lots of eats and drinks, and lots of fun. Joe and Paul paddled each morning on the beautiful Noosa river. We all lunched at the amazing Thai Spirit House at Yandina, where we shared some of the most delicious Thai food we've ever had. Tucked away amongst the bamboo, the path takes you to another place.....the restaurant surrounding a water lily filled lake, it felt like we were in Thailand. A great experience, and one we will repeat.

We had a flying visit from Lou and Scotty, while on a business trip. They tried to surprise us, but Private Investigator Jill caught them out on Find Friends. It didn't spoil the surprise or the fun night we had with them.

Katie Jo brought Ella and Georga up for Georga's 21st so we had some fun with them, introducing them to our favourite spots. We spend so much time in and around Noosa we really should just buy a place!

We had to go to Tewantin Caravan Park as our usual spot on the river was all booked out. It's ok, but we have to get in the car to go anywhere, we can't see the water, and we probably won't go there again. When we left Noosa we headed to Dayboro to catch up with Chris. He brought his van up for a night on the start of his camping trip, and we had a great catch up. Dayboro's a country town about 50 kms northwest of Brisbane, great pub, the best sausage butcher and the showgrounds where we stay for $20 a night with power and water. The view from the show ground is towards the D'Aguilar Range and Mount Mee. The land is lush, with avocados and pineapples aplenty, and healthy, fat dairy cows with the grass growing up to their bellies. We were lucky to have lunch and a rendezvous with Mark and Max at Eaton's Hill - it's always good to see these two and catch up on their news. Max has written a book which I'm looking forward to buying when it's published.

On our way to Coffs Harbour to have our awning replaced we found a little place called Nana Glen - somehow we got onto the wrong road, and found ourselves on a very narrow gravel track, cows all over the place, nearly out of diesel and not a servo in sight, getting late and tempers frayed!! Sometimes that just happens when you get off the highway. Anyway, we got to Nana Glen, found some diesel and spent a night at the show ground, with the caretaker, John, for entertainment. Apparently Russell Crowe has 320 ha in Nana Glen, where his parents live.

So from there to Bellingen, a small town on Waterfall Way in the mid north coast of NSW. We found another show ground, where there were all sorts of horsey events to keep us amused. It's a quaint little town with an eclectic feel and a diverse population, gorgeous restaurants and shops, a great Sunday market and perfect weather.

Now to Sawtell to spend a few days with Oliver and his family.....we've never been camping with them before and we had lots of fun, watching the children, eating and drinking, chatting and just catching up. Everyone had a go on Joe's paddle board at a fantastic spot on the river. All too soon it was time to leave, and we headed to another of our favourite spots, Myall River Bush Camp. So it was school holidays and a long weekend and the camp ground was packed! We haven't experienced that before, where we had our neighbour parking his car virtually under our awning!! We could hear the neighbours talk, swear, drink and everything else that goes on while camping. The ground was wet and muddy, the toilets were stinky and they charged $30 a night with no power and limited water. We only stayed 2 nights and we will go there again, but NEVER in school holidays.

Headed for Sydney then to help with the children while Oliver had his back operation - more beautiful time with the children, Ollie's back all fixed and we were back on the road towards Melbourne. We had a few great free camps on the way, a top spot in Gundagai by the river, and B Crossing Reserve at Seymour, also by the river. Chilly, but a lovely camp fire always warms us up. And on to Epping to leave the van at Crusader for another few warranty jobs - unbelievable, but true. They had it for a week while we drove to Adelaide to stay with Marion. As usual we had a lovely visit with Marion and Trixie, and caught up with lots of Joe's family, and with Colin and Betty for lunch.

Back on the road to Melbourne to pick up the caravan, 8 1/2 hours of driving, knitting, and listening to our new audiobook, Outlander. We treated ourselves to a night at Daylesford in a cute cottage just to break the trip. Then on to Epping to check that all the jobs had been completed on the van before heading to Gary and Dave's farm at Talbot for a few relaxing days in this lovely gold mining area, surrounded by historical towns and houses. Dave treated us to delicious meals cooked in his outdoor oven, while we sipped the best wine on the planet.

And so to Tasmania, our Island Home. The newly refurbished Spirit of Tasmania didn't seem much different to us - only that they've taken away the nice restaurant and the comfortable chairs. Anyway, we had a calm crossing and landed on time in this beautiful place. Straight to Muddy Creek Road to camp in the driveway while mowing, trimming, weeding, clipping, painting and tarting our house up ready for the new tenants. Great to see all our neighbours while we were there, find out what they've all been up to. Now we're back at Westbury in Lou and Scotty's beautiful walnut orchard. Apart from a week of windy, cold weather when it actually snowed, we haven't been too upset by the weather. Joe's back to helping the girls in their gardens and I always find something to do about the house.

We're in Tassie until mid March, so hopefully, after Christmas, we might get about and see a bit of this beautiful Island Home

Posted by Crazy Poupes 21:48 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Plans were meant to be changed!

Short break in Sydney became not so short

sunny 12 °C

After a wonderfully relaxing time at Ellis Beach, kicking back in the hammock, enjoying the waves and warmth, here we are in Sydney looking after Will, Ruby and little Poppy. Oliver and Amelia are holidaying in Bali and are now stranded because of the volcanic ash in the air, which won't allow planes to fly. So here we are, doing our best to keep the little ones happy and occupied. Luckily they sleep all night which gives us time to recharge our batteries ready for the next day. We are constantly amazed at how they grow and develop between our visits, and spending time with them certainly lets us get to know them so well.

Ellis Beach oceanfront site 7 was, as always, just perfect. We reunited with several couples who we met 2 years ago, had lots to catch up on, and had a ball. I taught all the ladies to knit, and they're now all decked out with beautiful soft cowls for the winter in Victoria. Good fun, sharing happy hours which run into several hours, swimming and bobbing in the ocean a couple of times a day, lunch at the Cairns RSL after Rusty's Market on Fridays and $1 oysters at Ellis Beach Bar and Grill on Sundays. We've booked again, but not till 2017!

We had planned to be in Tassie by now, for Simon and Dora's wedding, family get together with the girls and kids, Hawks/Freo match at Aurora, precious time with Paul and Ros, and several appointments. All cancelled while we stay and look after the children for as long as we're needed. We've left the van and the car at Ellis Beach and are anxious to know that it's OK. When we get back, we'll stick around for a few days while we get our washing machine fixed (yes, another breakdown in the van) then we'll head south a bit and across to Uluru. We haven't been there yet, and hope to find some beautiful places to free camp along the way, hopefully taking a route that we haven't already travelled. Lawn Hill National Park is definitely on our list, so many people have told us how beautiful it is. We're keen to go to Longreach and Winton again, spend some more time there while it's not so hot.

Who knows, we could end up anywhere!

Posted by Crazy Poupes 19:53 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

From The Sunshine Coast to Tully, Queensland

Surrounded by Bananas and Sugar Cane - nearly ready for harvesting!

sunny 25 °C

What a lovely time we had in Noosa. The usual stand up paddling for Joe, walking the beaches, streets and woods, watching faces of tourists visiting for the first time and loving the perfect weather. The only hitch we had was when there was a huge downpour of rain, and again our van roof leaked - another fight with Crusader, but Ben from Giant RV came to our rescue, sealing all the hatches and windows as they should have been sealed when the van was built. Crusader have really let us down with this van, we have had numerous warranty claims and are very disappointed. We just wonder what will go wrong next.

We were lucky to have Chris join us for a day in Noosa, when he drove up from Brisbane and had lunch and a paddle. We had a hilarious few days when Lou and Scotty and Katie Jo and Webby escaped from their busy lives in Tassie and joined us. They hadn't been to Noosa before so we tried to show them the highlights, and sampled the best restaurants. We were all exhausted when they left, but so happy. I think we've spoilt them now for Noosa - they're all booking to come back.

Time to leave, and we're heading north towards Ellis Beach. We've got a couple of weeks to get there so no rush - we've found some beautiful freedom camps along the way and met some great people. One of the best spots was Flaggy Rock, green and grassy, huge spaces for the vans, great caretakers, John and Christine and lots of fun campers to join for happy hour. All for just $7 a night. We had to set the satellite dish up to watch Hawthorn play Sydney - so we put the TV outside and all the campers brought their chairs and drinks, someone bought party pies and little savs, and we watched Hawks get beaten by 4 points. Bugger! But we had a fun night.

So now we're at Tully Heads, parked on a block belonging to Glenda and Peter, a couple of friends of Joe's family from Ceduna. We're lucky enough to be plugged into water and Ernie next door has connected us to his power. Unfortunately it's been so windy we haven't had much beach time, but we've had a good look around the area, the coast and the hinterland. We haven't spotted a cassowary yet, in spite of the numerous signs stating that there has been a recent sighting. There are also signs everywhere warning of crocodile presence, and stinger nets are out. The ocean is warm, and these nasties love the warm water.

Tully's a small town in Queensland, between Cairns and Townsville, in the Cassowary Coast region. The sugar cane grown at the many farms in the area is processed locally at the Tully Sugar Mill to give raw sugar which is shipped elsewhere for refinement. In March this year a banana farm at Tully tested positive for Panama Disease - luckily harvesting has been able to continue with strict protocols in place and the farm has been able to continue operating. Everywhere we see huge bunches of bananas on the trees. There is a transient population in the town, many backpackers and lots of Koreans come to the area to pick bananas and work the sugar cane harvest.

Tully is reported to be the wettest town in Australia, and in 2011 Tully and surrounding areas were badly damaged by Cyclone Yasi, becoming a scene of mass devastation. Many homes were completely destroyed as 300 kmh winds battered the area. Somehow the town has been rebuilt and is an interesting and likeable town. It has the BEST kitchen shop in the main street, Kitchen Essentials - I could spend a whole day in there, but there's only so much I can fit in my caravan kitchen! Cyclone damage is still evident in surrounding areas with some buildings not having been repaired, roofs still off and palm trees blown up on the verandahs.

On Sunday we're going to Paronella Park at Mena Creek. It's a castle, built in the 1930's by José Paronella, with tennis courts and a cinema, to provide entertainment for the public. In recent years it has been badly damaged by fire, cyclone and floods but has been rebuilt. It has a caravan park so we'll go and have a look. Then to Ellis Beach to find some friends we met a couple of years ago. We're loving the climate, and every day we look at Tassie's winter temperatures, and realise we don't want any more winters.

Posted by Crazy Poupes 15:09 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

On the road again - Round Three!

Back on The Sunshine Coast, at beautiful Noosa

sunny 28 °C

How did we find ourselves here? Somehow we just can't go past The Sunshine Coast, one of our absolutely favourite spots in this country. It's relaxing, it's fun, there's such a varied population, waterways for the SUP board, beaches and forests, great for people watching, perfect climate etc etc.

What a superb time we've had in our home state. We tried to have a couple of weeks free camping in Tas but got as far as Campbelltown and found we had flat batteries in the van. No lights, no TV, no nothing. So back to town to try and diagnose the problem and plug into power. We have solar panels and 3 big house batteries, but for some reason the batteries are not holding power. Longford caravan park provided a comfortable river side stay while we tried in vain to sort it out. Back to Westbury to plug in, knowing we were off to Coles Bay for Easter with the Scotts.

We tried to catch up with as many friends as we could while we were at home, but didn't see them all. We'll be home again next Christmas for a few weeks so will make it up then. Just can't do everything. But it was great to see friends and family happy and prospering. Vicki's doing a marvellous job managing the salon and staff, and we are eternally grateful to her and to the hairdressers.

Fishing at Coles Bay!! Joe went on the boat with the boys and Hannah and Yas, caught lots of flathead and vomited over the side. He was always a bit precious on the high seas! Over the next few days there was lots more fishing, catching flatties, cray, abalone and scallops, leaving Joe on dry land! All so delicious cooked on the barbie. We had a lovely relaxing time with the family at Coles Bay, van parked on a spare block just up the road from their shack. On our last night at Westbury the family all met for dinner, and Angus and Yas made us a beautiful farewell dessert - brought us undone a little!

12th April, after sad farewells with our family we headed to Christmas Hills to lunch at the Raspberry Farm with our dear friends, Ros and Paul. Somehow the time has gone so fast we've hardly seen them - they've been busy with renovations and we've been busy working etc. Time has flown and suddenly it's time to leave. Sad saying goodbye, but it won't be long till we see them again. Off to Latrobe to park behind the main street and watch the Hawks play on TV. Unfortunately the van batteries went flat again at three quarter time - not looking good! So off to Devonport to wait in the line for our night time cruise - an unremarkable voyage across the Bass Strait (painless apart from the $1280 one way fare!) and off the boat at 6am. We set our GPS to take us to Seymour. First right, second left, up Bay Rd and left into Montague St. All was going well until we spotted the low bridge up ahead, 3m, and our van's 3.2!! Temperatures rising in the car, left turn and find another route. Oh dear, hope this doesn't happen too often.

So off to Seymour to deliver Simon's folding boat to its' new owner, and we headed to Yackandandah. A great welcome from Shirley and Trevor, the managers of the caravan park, and we shared dinner with them in front of the open fire in the camp kitchen. Great to catch up and hear their news. Yack is chilly and damp, but absolutely beautiful with the Autumn colours. We booked the van into an auto electrician in Wodonga to get these bloody batteries fixed once and for all. $900 and 4 hours later, we have a diagnosis, a new battery and are confident that it will be all right.

So goodbye to Yack and we're off up the Olympic Highway, a route we haven't taken before. Passing through the typically Aussie towns of Junee, Cootamundra and Wellington we're headed for Dubbo Zoo. Wellington's a picturesque town, having benefited by the development of the gold mining in the district, it's the centre of rich agricultural land, growing vegetables, wheat, wool, lambs and wheat. We were lucky to find some great free camps along the way, Ponto Falls and Hickey Falls both scenic and lots of room for us. The zoo was ok.....there did seem to be a lot of construction happening, and some animals were absent. It was busy, being school holidays. The whole experience didn't really meet our expectations, and we were a bit disappointed. Even though we drove around in our own car, it wasn't possible to get up close and personal with the animals.

So back on the road, now on the Newell highway, and up through Gilgandra, Coonabarabran, and Narrabri. All are small country towns, surviving with the passing tourist business. They've had more than their share of floods and fires, and somehow they survive. Now headed for Moree, passing through extensive wheat and cotton fields, past numerous pecan nut trees, and into the home of artesian hot spring baths. The Gwydir caravan park is $34 a night, and for that you can stay in the lovely hot baths for as long as you like. In 1895 the Great Artesian Basin which sits under Moree was tapped and yields over 13 megalitres of water every day. Unfortunately the water's not suitable for agricultural use, but it's certainly good for the bones and beautifully relaxing for us.

Following the Newell and Gore Highways, and some small roads, we're off to Maleny. We've had lots of rain, and towing the van on the winding hills is slow and tiring. We passed an unfortunate scene, a 4WD and caravan on their side, obviously lost control on a corner. This really makes us stop and think! Looked like nobody was hurt, thank goodness. We checked into Maleny showgrounds and headed to the local IGA to do our shopping - local produce and great service. We love Maleny. Beautiful and sunny when we woke in the morning so Joe washed the van and I spring cleaned the inside before hitching up and heading for Noosa.

So here we are, settled into this beautiful climate on Site 82. they've had lots of rain up here and its lovely and green. The caravan park has been tidied up considerably, and we have a pink flowering gum, full of rosella parrots, right outside our bedroom window. We're happy to be here and not in NSW which has experienced dreadful storms and floods. This morning we went to the Anzac Day dawn service on Main Beach - up at 3.15am, walked to the beach along with many thousands of others. It was a little disappointing, lacking emotion, I couldn't see a thing - maybe we expect too much. Then back for brekky, a swim, sit in the sun and read our books. We've put the TV outside for the Anzac Day game, but unfortunately the Hawks match isn't televised in Queensland tonight - disappointing, but we'll work something out.

Posted by Crazy Poupes 22:03 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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