camping australia

Travel Theme : Freedom

In 2009 we decided a major downsizing was needed to create the freedom to travel. So we had a garage sale.

Getting ready

Getting ready

Lots of stuff...

Lots of stuff…

Ready and waiting...

Ready and waiting…

and the people came...

and the people came…

It is amazing how liberating it is to have a good clean-out. Things that haven’t been used, clothes that are never worn, objects that have been bought on impulse, but not really needed. At the end of the day almost all gone. The few things left went to the op shop.

Not only things were being disposed of we also downsized the space we lived in. Moving from a 3 bedroom house to a one room Granny flat/studio. Keeping a few pieces of furniture the rest was sold/given away.

Now we were ready, we had the FREEDOM to travel.

But we then downsized even further and Matilda came into our lives.

Setting off

Setting off

This small van gave us the freedom to travel around Australia. For a year in 2010 we travelled 37000 kilometres, met many interesting people and saw the incredible diversity of this great land.

Crossing the Nullabor Plains

Crossing the Nullabor Plains

To see more about this iconic part of Australia click here.

Freedom camping at the beach

Freedom camping at the beach

Freedom camping in the outback, cooking over open fires in the camp oven.

Camping alongside rivers

Camping alongside rivers and billabongs in the shade of the mighty gum trees.

Feeling as free as the birds to follow our own path.

Feeling as free as the birds to follow our own path.

Nullabor Eyre HW 012_3072x2304

The open road, the anticipation of what is over the hill. That is the great feeling of FREEDOM…

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Feel free to click here and go to Ailsa’s “Where’s my backpack” for many more glimpses into the freedom bloggers have found.

 

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Categories: Australia, camping, freedom, freedom camping, outback, photos, travel theme | Tags: , , , , , , | 50 Comments

Travel Theme : Illuminated

A difficult theme for me this week as I don’t take many night photos, but one memorable illuminated moment was during our stay in Sydney, just before Christmas, I watched the magnificent Sydney Town Hall illuminated with magical lasers and computerized images and I took a short video of it.

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Then I remembered all those magical moments around camp fires, cooking over the coals in the camp oven. Watching the sunset illuminating the sky in a rich red glow. Enjoying a glass of wine as the casserole simmered. The fire light flickers and illuminates a small circle while the rest of the surrounding bush disappears into dark shadows.

Preparing the chicken casserole

Preparing the chicken casserole

The sun sets in a ball of fire

The sun sets in a ball of fire

Enjoying a glass of wine while dinner cooks

Enjoying a glass of wine while dinner cooks

Damper cooked in the camp oven

Damper cooked in the camp oven is ready to eat

 Jack waits patiently for dinner

Jack waits patiently for dinner

Another camp site sharing a meal with new friends

Another camp site sharing a meal with new friends

Beautiful memories of time spent exploring and camping in the Australian bush. I hope you have enjoyed your short stay around some of our camp fires.

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Thank you Ailsa for this weeks theme. It has brought back all those memories. Go over to “Where’s my backpack” to see the many lights on Ailsa’s post.

 

Categories: Australia, camping, freedom camping, illuminated, outback, photos, sunsets, travel theme | Tags: , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : One : A Tribute to Matilda

Matilda

Matilda has been our transport, accommodation and trusty companion  for 4 years as we travelled 70.000 kilometres around Australia. Slowly trundling up and over mountain ranges, across the outback and along the coast, coming to rest each night in iconic Aussie places. The beach with the sound of waves peeling  on the shore to lull us to sleep. Alongside mighty rivers or dry river beds. In the outback the Mitchell grass plains stretching to the horizon and at night the sky a blanket of twinkling stars. The bush and rainforest each with their distinctive smell and sounds as the birds serenade us and unseen creatures scuttle in the undergrowth.

Freedom camping right on the edge of the beach

Freedom camping right on the edge of the beach

Camping in the outback

Camping in the outback

Near the beach in the rainforest

Near the beach in the rainforest

In a field of dreams

In a field of dreams

Crossing borders

Crossing borders

Every place different and a joy to experience.

There are memories of campgrounds. Sharing a glass of wine, swapping stories and briefly befriending a stranger during happy hour, that unique time on the road to relax and meet many other travellers.

Cooking over a camp fire, learning the art of camp oven cooking and sharing a meal with new friends.

Matilda has given us the freedom of having no set timetable, no rigid plans. Being able to stop at the many freedom camping spots or parking in a back yard to couch surf in the city.

It has been a marvellous 4 years that has flown by so quickly. With thousands of photos, the memories will never fade.

Possibly the most memorable event when camping in a National Park and a cassowary came visiting, and I had my camera at the ready…

Waking to a misty morning in a freedom camp all on our own.

Waking to a misty morning in a freedom camp all on our own.

 

But now our life style is changing, we are ready for a new adventure.

We have already trialled the world of house sitting and loved the experience, it is another way of travelling. Staying in new places, meeting new people and their pets, this will keep my gypsy soul happy. Exploring an area in-depth and getting to know it like a local and sleeping in the same bed each night. No more rolling up our bed and moving on each day.

So now it is “Goodbye Matilda”, You have been number one in our life for 4 years creating so many wonderful travelling memories. I hope her new owners appreciate her as we did.

Goodbye Matilda I am going to miss you.

Goodbye Matilda I am going to miss you.

Just one of the many sunsets we saw

Just one of the many sunsets we saw

 

 

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The WP Photo Challenge this week is ONE. Matilda has been number one in our lives for 4 years. No other way could we travel on a pensioners budget and see so much of Australia. We could stay in free camping areas, cook our own meals and travel slowly savouring all the beauty that is Australia.

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A big thank you to all my regular followers and also those that drop by occasionally, I love all the likes and comments you leave and the WordPress community I am part of. I’m looking forward to 2014 and the adventures it will bring and keeping in touch with you all through the world of WP blogging.

Categories: Australia, australian travel, campervan, camping, camping australia, freedom camping, one, photos, post-a-week, travel, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 60 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Escape = Freedom

The definition I think of for escape is “to get away”. To leave your day-to-day life, in your safe and comfortable harbour, and set sail for places unknown.

So this is my interpretation of this weeks photo challenge. Click here to see how other bloggers escape

In 2010 that opportunity came when we bought Matilda, our ticket to freedom, our licence to escape and go where ever the wind would blow us.

Leaving home March 2010

Leaving home March 2010 in Matilda

 

Australia here we come....

Australia here we come….

Matilda is our home, our transport and our ticket to adventure. We have meandered around Australia for 3 years now. Spending short spells back home then off again. My gypsy soul loves this lifestyle. The people we meet, the beautiful and very varied scenery, the endless photo opportunities. Life never gets boring.

The road less travelled

The road less travelled

Freedom camping on the banks of rivers

Freedom camping on the banks of rivers

Waking up to glorious sunrises

Waking up to glorious sunrises

 

Cooking over an open fire and eating under the stars

Cooking over an open fire and eating under the stars

Waking up to an ethereal, misty morning

Waking up to an ethereal, misty morning

 

Sunsets over lakes

Sunsets over lakes

The many sunsets are perfect endings to the day spent discovering this amazing country I call home, Australia.

We are so lucky to be able to travel in safety and with freedom in this land. It is such a huge and diverse country that we will never run out of places to explore.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Australia, australian travel, camping australia, escape, photos, post-a-week, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , | 22 Comments

Travel Theme : Shadows

Shadows can be everywhere when the sun shines, and shine it does most of the time in Australia. The heat can be over-powering.

When we travel north it is always a priority to find a camp spot with shady trees. Just outside Katherine in the Northern Territory we knew of a delightful shady camp ground behind the Springvale Homestead. This beautiful old stone building is the oldest surviving homestead in the Northern Territory and has a fascinating history. Click here to visit the post I wrote in August 2012 when we stayed there.

I Googled “Springvale homestead history” to check the dates and facts and I was absolutely amazed to see my post pop up at the top of the list….

So for the theme of shadows that Ailsa of ” Where’s my backpack”  has challenged us with this week I thought I would revisit the homestead and the amazing Indian rain trees that Mary Giles planted in 1879.

Indian rain trees

Indian rain trees

Katherine Springvale homestead pc sx40 014_4000x3000

Springvale homestaed

Springvale homestead

Looking through the archives I came across this photo below, and couldn’t resist popping it in….

A walk into the sunset

A walk into the sunset

 

 

 

Categories: Australia, australian travel, camping australia, Northern Territory, photos, shadows, travel theme | Tags: , , , , | 14 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Reflections 2 (Mary River) Last day on the road…

When I woke next morning and stepped outside I gasped with pure pleasure. The Mary River gleamed crystal clear and the reflections were stunning.

What a perfect opportunity to capture some shots for this weeks photo challenge…

Crystal clear images

Crystal clear images

Mist skimmed over the top of the water giving an ethereal, wispy, mystical atmosphere. What a memorable final morning for this road trip.

The rising sun just catching the trunks

The rising sun just catching the trunks

The mist rising from the river as the sun slowly rises

The mist rising from the river as the sun slowly rises

It was a magic start to the day. I sat and watched the mist slowly rise and disappear as the sun rose. A promise (or a threat) of a warm/hot day.

I turned to go back to Matilda to pack up ready for the final leg and what a magic site she presented as she waited for me. Early morning photography is the best time of day to capture the light….

The beautiful elongated shadows of sunrise

The beautiful elongated shadows of sunrise

Matilda waiting in the mist

Matilda waiting in the mist

These photos were taken with the weekly photo challenge in mind, it was a coincidence that this week it was “reflections”

So packed up and ready to roll I now had to make a decision, which way would I go. Inland via the beautiful Sunshine hinterland, an artists mecca, an interesting journey through small villages full of boutiques, craft shops, cafes and restaurants.  Into the hills and a landscape of bush and rivers. Or via the coast road that winds past the golden beaches and brilliant blue ocean of the Sunshine coast.

Difficult decision….

I will continue the journey tomorrow….

Categories: Australia, australian travel, camping, freedom camping, reflections, travel, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Blue skies smiling on me….

Road from Bundaberg

Road from Bundaberg

Another dream fulfilled so time to move on, but first I had one very important meeting.

My newest beautiful grandchild

My newest beautiful grandchild

My path was going to cross with son Jason and wife Vanessa and their family. They would be in Bundaberg today as Jason had organised a school camp in this area. Three weeks ago baby Aimee, their 5th child arrived and now I would get to see her and give her a big cuddle.

It was only a very brief but satisfying meeting. Now Matilda is home we will be together for Christmas.

Aimee is only a few hours old in this photo and they sent it to us via the e-mail.

The road from Bundaberg to the Bruce Highway passes through acres of sugar cane crops. What an amazing sky, it dominated the landscape and I had to stop and take a photo, actually I took lots of photos and I even used the tripod.

I turned onto the Bruce Highway and back into the never-ending road works. So turn up the music and crawl along with the windows down and enjoying the sight of that sky as I waited and waited at each stop sign…

2-30 came around and it was definitely coffee time but with the continual dusty road works finding a decent place to stop was becoming a real mission. Finally, an hour later I spotted a sign pointing down a side road, “Mary River, Tiaro Park”. Only one kilometre and I came to the perfect place for a coffee stop, shade trees, river views tables, even a BBQ if I’d needed it and toilets. Time to relax.

In fact I decided that I couldn’t go past this place, so I set up Matilda for the night. Only one other family camping a little further over, so peaceful. I love finding these free, out-of-the-way camping spots, they are dotted all over Australia but you need to search for the better ones. Many are on the side of the Highway and are noisy and dusty.

As the sun went down the camera came out again.

Mary River

Mary River

 

The setting sun slanted onto the river giving the trees a 3D effect and made the water sparkle like diamonds.

The sun highlights the trunks and creates beautiful reflections

The sun highlights the trunks and creates beautiful reflections

 

The proverbial silver lining

The proverbial silver lining

What a beautiful peaceful place. The sunset was a gentle dipping of the sun below the horizon, no great spectacular splash of colour, but that silver lining was very special.

Mary riversunset

Mary river sunset

 

A final glorious burst of sun rays then the full moon took over. It was a poetic evening, an owl hooting in the distance, the frogs croaking and a chorus of raucous laughter from a family of kookaburras the only noise disturbing the peace.

A memorable last night on the road. Tomorrow I will be home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Australia, australian travel, camping, freedom camping, photos, travel | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

Fishing Fanatics Favourite Camp

ast night I went 12 kilometres along a narrow side road, with a sealed strip of bitumen only wide enough for one vehicle, to find a Caravan Park at the mouth of the Kolan River.I found Miara Holiday Park a camp full of fanatical fishing folk. The campers seemed to be here for the fishing, there’s nothing else here. Every one had a big 4WD to tow THE BOAT.

This is what Matilda had to look at tonight

At 4-30pm, when I arrived it was a quiet sleepy camp, they gave me a site under a large shady tree. Unfortunately that tree had a mass of ripe berries and the birds were tucking into them with gusto and inevitable consequences. Matilda was right in the firing line….

So I moved to another tree with no berries…

About 5-30pm the clans started to stir and to gather, with chairs and booze they congregated in groups at various vans. Obviously a regular ritual of “Happy Hour”. I didn’t have a clan so instead, this time, I quietly read my book and watched and listened to the friendly banter.

Like most river and beach sites it had a cool breeze and that made for a comfortable nights sleep.

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At 6am this morning the camp became a hive of activity as boats were launched to check the crab pots before breakfast. The serious fishing comes later.

I wandered down to the boat ramp to watch the goings on. Great photo opportunities

If you are serious about fishing you need a serious 4WD to pull the boat or carry the tinnie…

Launching the boat

Another tinnie hits the water

Racing to get to the crab pots

Some people do not have a boat but that doesn’t stop them.

Early morning fisherman maybe he will have fish for breakfast…

Now it is time to wait and contemplate and dream of the big one

A lonely seagull waits for the return of the boats

The seagull is such a lovely soft colour, but what a raucus squawk it has..

But wait there’s not just one bird, every post has a bird perched on it

All clustering together

The Kolan River

Yesterday afternoon when I arrived in camp the tide was out and I didn’t think I would bother with taking any photos. What a difference a few hours make. complete transformation once the tide was in.

I will only be going about 100 kilometres today as I plan to have a look around Bundaberg then stay at the Lighthouse camp ground at Burnett Heads.(If you click on this link you will find an earlier post I did about Bundaberg when we stayed here in 2010)

Then tonight I will be hoping to see the endangered loggerhead turtles as they heave themselves up the beach to dig a nest and lay their eggs. This is the season they come ashore but, being wild creatures there is no guarantee that they will turn up

To see this amazing sight has been on my “bucket list” since I moved to Australia…

Categories: australian travel, caravan park, Kolan River, Miara, photos, travel | Tags: , , | 15 Comments

Freedom camping on the river this time….

Matilda parked right on the banks of the river

The view from my front door…

How good does it get…

After 340 kilometre of steady driving and not being so lucky with the road works as I had a number of waits at one lane sections. I pulled into this idyllic free camping area. Being Saturday it already had family groups set up for the weekend, but still plenty of places left, camping is allowed on both sides of the river.

The “beware of crocodiles” sign did not put any one off, dogs and children were swimming, people out in their “tinnies” fishing others trying their luck from the bank. A group of youngsters enjoying the thrills of a jet ski, putting up sprays of water as they turned and weaved around. I sat relaxed with my coffee watching all the action.

Good shot

Wonder if he has caught anything yet…

Jet ski hi-jinx

Plenty of entertainment. The neighbour wandered over to warn me about the midges and mosquitos, she had been badly bitten. I thanked her and lathered myself in repellent.

I had the shade of a tree and cool breezes from the river. I slept well….

Look what I woke up to this morning….

Sunrise

Sunrise

It is now 8-30am, time to pack up and hit the road. Today I head for Bundaberg and I am planning to take the back road. Even though it is Sunday I think it will still be slow through the road works on the Bruce Highway…

So see you later I will see what today brings….

Categories: Australia, Calliope River, freedom camping, travel | Tags: , , , | 17 Comments

Sunrise walk along the beach

On Friday I approached Mackay with caution. I planned to find my way to the Art Space. Now I have a very poor sense of direction: directionally challenged I believe the phrase is, and without a navigator it could be a difficult assignment. Cities and heavy traffic have a way of confusing me. Miraculously, with the help of signs pointing the way at every corner, I found it and what’s more I fluked a free parking spot right outside the gallery. What an excellent start to the day. Art galleries, museums and botanic gardens are always a top attraction for me, so this time I decided to see what was on show at the Art Space.

An exhibition by the artist Jenny Sages “Paths to portraiture” was on display. Her work overwhelmed me. Huge canvases, some just a persons face and larger than life, in fact the canvas would be about 4-5 foot square with the face covering the canvas, others where life-size portraits of the person. The technique I have never seen before. She pours molten wax onto the canvas then when it is dry the portrait is etched into it and oil colour is then brushed, scrubbed and manipulated into the wax. The finished effect is very tactile and life-like. An art critic on a video showing Jenny at work described them as a “speaking likeness” and as I stood in front of each one I did expect them to talk to me. (click here to see the video that was on show at the gallery).

Back onto the Bruce Highway and mile after mile of road works , many just one way sections with long queues waiting their turn to get through. It must be my lucky day as with the exception of one 5 minute wait, I caught the traffic controller person with the go sign facing me at each one way section…

I estimated approx 60-70% of the area I drove  today was almost finished, many sections just had the white lines to be painted, or still in major repair mode. It makes me wonder where is the money coming from??? When finished it should be a pleasure to drive along…

After an uneventful 237 kilometre drive I turned into a side road running parallel to the Bruce Highway and along the ocean front. Along this road lies hidden the small hamlet of Clairview. Approximately 50-60 cottages nestled right on the beachfront. During storms or high tides the ocean invades their garden space. They do have a free over-night rest area but I decided to stay at the caravan park. It has its own pub which is also a hangout for the locals. Having stayed here a few times it is another of our favourites.

It didn’t disappoint me, I had a site almost on the beach and the cooling breeze coming from the ocean was pure bliss. Also being Friday it was fish and chip night….

With the sound and smell of the ocean and the cool breeze I had a very good nights sleep…

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Saturday….

This morning I woke early with the sun just appearing over the silky oaks and date palms lining the beach in front of Matilda and couldn’t resist grabbing the camera for a walk along the beach as the sun rose. I had a companion join me….

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Categories: caravan park, slide show, travel | Tags: , , , , | 9 Comments

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