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.