A Travellerspoint blog

Still Travelling

And deciding where to go next!

sunny 25 °C

So much has happened since I last wrote - I really mustn't leave it so long between blogs! We left Tassie mid March, and had another good crossing on The Spirit. . After a fun week on the Mornington Peninsula, catching up with Jacki and Jenks at Blairgowrie, we headed north, mostly free camping along the way.

We had a great fun time at Hawks Nest with Oliver and Amelia and the little (and not so little) ones. It's a bit of a hidden treasure, Hawks Nest, great weather, beautiful beaches and very affordable accommodation. We christened our new fire pot in the garden and toasted marshmallows for the children. We were amazed to find that Will and Ruby are both reading, so now they can read us a story! And Ruby lost her first tooth - another milestone. As usual many drinks and eats and laughs and lots of fun. Our huge van looked pretty funny parked in the narrow street outside the rented house.

While we were there Betty and Colin were housesitting just up the road at Nelson Bay, so we were lucky to catch up with them for lunch and a long overdue chat.

Great to stop at Lake Cathie, just south of Port Macquarie, to stay with Angus and Yas for a few days and catch up on their happenings. Angus is working as a roof tiler and Yas is busy with her paramedics course at Uni.

We've been to many beautiful places and of course spent our obligatory 8 weeks at the Noosa River Caravan Park. There was never a dull moment with visitors galore.......we had a great time with the Newmans and Millars, then the Webbs and Scotts, and Amelia sent Oliver up to give me a lovely surprise. Even Angus and Yas came up for a few days. And towards the end Ros and Paul came for their short break. SO good to see everyone and SO sad to say goodbye.

A couple of storms while we were there tested the roof of our van. At midnight one Saturday night we found ourselves with water dripping heavily on our feet, wet doona and mattress. Again! So after some heated emails and conversations with Crusader Warranty the problem has been fixed, and hopefully that is the last leak. We have had a huge storm since then and all high and dry! The whole East Coast of Australia was affected, starting with us on the Sunshine Coast and travelling down the east coast. So many homes and people copped it.

Our roof leak is a minor problem compared to poor old Launceston and Northern Tasmania. We really felt for our friends and family there, and although we weren't directly affected by the floods, our business was quiet due to clients not being able to get in to have their hair done. I'm sure the hair is not a priority when one's house is under water. Let's hope that never happens again.

We had hoped to go to WA this year, however Joe's temporarily incapacitated, waiting for a total knee replacement. When he's had that done he'll be firing on all 4 cylinders again and able to do the Gorge walks etc. So we're staying on the eastern shores, not too far from home. His op is booked for 2nd November in Launceston

I've found a website called youcamp.com which lets us know about private land camping - people who have a block or a few acres and allow us to camp on their land for a small fee. There are so many great places we'll go to, it will hardly be necessary to stay in caravan parks at all. Our solar panels, batteries, generator and water tanks let us camp unpowered for as long as we like, and there's always somewhere to fill up the water tanks. I can even do a huge load of washing using the generator for power. We had a night with Gordon and Bev at Cooloola Cove, a night with Graham and Jan at Childers, and then 4 nights at Woodgate Beach on private land - just 70 metres from the beautiful Burrum River and lovely sandy beaches. Perfect weather and a camp fire every night to cook our dinner and provide ambience.

We thought we might go out west to Longreach, Winton, etc., but knowing that lots of our friends were at Ellis Beach we decided to head on up the coast to the really warm weather, and surprise them all. We got such a wonderful welcome, and were made to feel right at home. So we stayed 7 weeks! We had an unpowered site on the beach, watched many people come and go and had a wonderfully fun time. Swimming in the ocean every day, walking on the beach (me, not Joe!!), plenty of happy hours, catching up with friends and meeting lots of new people. Katie Jo and Webby paid us a visit for a few days, which was great because, along with dear friends Colin and Scott, and Jacki and Jenks, they shared Joe's birthday lunch at Palm Cove with us on Monday. We did have some more rain while at Ellis, and our roof did leak again!

Eventually we managed to drag ourselves away from Ellis Beach Paradise on Tuesday. We've to be in Sydney next week to look after the little Heskeths, so are heading south. At the moment we're at Flaggy Rock, south of Mackay, camped on beautiful green grass with the sun shining. We'll head to Bargara to see Tasmanian friends, Geoff and Robyn, then to the Sunshine Coast to store our van while we fly to Sydney. We're noticing the drop in temperature, and had to put the doona back on the bed last night!

After Sydney, we're heading to Melbourne to take this Crusader Caravan back to the factory for them to fix the leaking roof once and for all! So we'll leave the van with them for a couple of weeks while we drive to Adelaide and visit Joe's family there. Back to Tasmania late October for a few months, to enjoy our beautiful home state over the summer months and get Joe's knee cranked up again.

Posted by Crazy Poupes 20:10 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

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)

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