Camping grounds

Meet the neighbours

We’ve been spotted

Mother and child

 

This evening as we rounded a corner on the way down to the river for our stroll we disturbed dozens of wallabies. They all popped up on high alert. I just managed to whip out the camera and take a shot of this small group before, with a bound, they had all disappeared into the bush.

Remember I mentioned that this campground, Bivouac Junction, was not crowded? Well that was Friday. Today it is the weekend and by lunch-time the families had started to arrive. Tents, pop-up campers of all shapes and sizes were spreading like a rash across the park. Children, dogs and frisbees hurtled around. Fishing rods, canoes and balls appeared. Smoke drifted across the park as the BBQ fires were lit. Soon the aroma of sausages, steak and onions filled the air. The happy sound of laughter and children at play while parents sat around, relaxing with a “cold one” after the working week.

This is quite different to most camp grounds we have stayed in, usually it is the grey nomads and caravan travellers we come across. We loved being among this happy crowd, it relaxed us.

This is a perfect place for families, plenty of room to let the children run free. A river to fish, canoe or swim in. Even a small sandy beach at the edge of the river bank. To top it off the weather is perfection. Lovely warm, sub-tropical temperatures with a gentle breeze to keep the humidity at bay.

 

How good does it get…

We have one more day of relaxation here then it will be an early start on Monday to take Matilda in for her op…

Categories: australian travel, Camping grounds, photos | Tags: , , | 16 Comments

Another idyllic discovery

Country camp round

A flock of “chooks” (strine for chickens) wander the area, clucking and crooning as they scratch and peck around the camp sites. Sprinklers click,swish and splatter, The constant drone of insects and flies. Birdsong and the wind rustling the gum leaves and in the distance the peaceful sound of running water as the Fanning River slowly moves along. This is the sound of Bivouac Junction Holiday Park.www.bivouacjunctionholidays.com

No trucks, no generators, no crowds.

We have discovered another rustic, peaceful campground.Bivouac Junction is located in 5 acres of bushland at the junction of the Fanning and Burdekin Rivers. Large gum trees create perfect shady camping sites and places to hang a hammock. A camp-fire area and circle of chairs invites the campers to share happy hour. This camp has a friendly, companionable atmosphere.

It is 20 kilometres east of Charters Towers and along a 3 kilometre of undulating dirt track. It is not easy to find consequently it is not busy. Campers heaven and it is only $20 per night….

We arrived yesterday and will be here 4 days.

On Sunday we travel 120 kilometres to Townsville to take poor Matilda in for major surgery (more of that in the next post)

So in the meantime we will enjoy this beautiful campground.

This morning, before breakfast, as the sun was rising, we walked along the banks of the Fanning River.The morning sunlight filtered through the gum trees and the reflections of the bush were crystal clear in the river. For an hour we take photo after photo trying to capture the mood and convey the peace and tranquillity of the moment.

Back to camp for breakfast, the hammock is up , we have met and connected with our neighbours and the other campers. A bonus is the internet connection, though patchy, with patience and between drop-outs, I will be able to join the blogosphere and connect with friends and fellow bloggers.

Early morning sun filtering through the gum trees

Tranquil reflections on the Fanning River, can you see the wallaby?

The wallaby has spotted us

 

Peace and tranquillity

 

 

Categories: Australia, australian travel, Camping grounds, photos, travel | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Tumbling Waters a hidden park in paradise

Sunrise through the mist

Stephanie, our couch surfing host,told us about her favourite campground on the way to Litchfield National Park. It was Tumbling Waters Holiday Park (click on this link to see photos and a description of it) It was well off the beaten track, 20 kilometres along a side road that was the back way into Litchfield. As this was our next destination we decided to stop at Tumbling Waters on the way. It was one of those unexpected gems that turn out to be a top experience. It was nestled among thousands of palms in a tropical garden setting and it had a pool to cool down in. It even had its own in-house crocodiles, 2 freshwater crocodiles basking behind a wire fence with notices not to let children through the gate.They had a large outdoor screen and every Saturday and Wednesday night a movie would be shown. With glass of wine or beer in hand, take along your own chair, it was a lovely experience to sit under the stars on a balmy, tropical night, smothered in insect repellant, to watch the show. It also had a restaurant and bar. All this for $28 for a powered camp site under the shade of large gum trees.

The Blackmore river flowed past and billabongs and bush walks extended, invitingly out from the camp. We woke at 6-30 and putting walking shoes on went into the bush to explore and have a photo session as the sun rose. It was a misty, magical morning.

Early morning bush walk

 

Cathedral termite mound

 

Spring blossom

 

These tiny star flowers twinkled in the bush

 

Early morning mist over the Blackmore river

 

Hiding in the bush

 

Unknown flower

 

River gums reflections

 

Breakfast time

 

Time can pass and before we knew it we had been out 2 hours and feeling hungry headed back for breakfast. We spent 3 days in this idyllic camp ground. Before moving on to Litchfield National park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Australia, Camping grounds, Northern Territory, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Travel theme— Secret Places

Aisla of “Where’s my backpack” has invited, (challenged) me to submit a post on this weeks theme of “secret places in travel”. Click on the link to her blog and you will find many interesting secret travel places from other bloggers.

So I lay in bed, where ideas seem to flow, then I fell asleep. Now, sometimes, I forget that spark from the night before. Not this time, as this place is a real standout in my memories of the 2010 trip around Australia.

Lawless Park

The light was fading and we had been slowly travelling along the Burnett Highway in Queensland. With many stops to admire the scenery, take photos, lots of photos, take short walks into the bush. Stroll around the small rural towns. Murgon, Goomeri (in season they have a pumpkin festival here), Kilkivan ( centre for the great endurance horse trek). Another perfect day on our road trip around Australia.

 Now it was time to find some where to stop for the night. We love freedom camping, if we can find one, that is our preferred choice.

 It was dusk when we found Lawless Park. Nestled into a bushy backdrop with tall stately gums around the perimeter and a picnic table but no other facilities. The grass was lush and spongy underfoot, perfect. It was late March, autumn over here, and the air was crisp and clear, not a cloud in the sky.  With a glass of wine in hand and dinner on our laps we could look up at a million stars as darkness enfolded us. The magic came next morning when we woke and looked out side. Mist was blanketing the area with a shroud of stillness. An ethereal, breathless quiet made me gasp in wonder. A million dewdrops glistened on cobwebs, we had this magical, secret place all to ourselves.

Towering to the heavens

The morning sun filters through the mist

The name Lawless was not because a bunch of bushrangers or other equally lawless characters roamed here in the past (maybe they did) but it is named after the Lawless brothers who arrived here in 1847 and “sqatted” in this area. Then built a dwelling and farmed this land. The original house “Booubyjan” is still here and can be visited for a small donation. The Lawless family still live and farm in this area.

Categories: australian travel, camping, Camping grounds, free travel accomadation, photos | Tags: , , | 13 Comments

Daintree National Park

We crossed on the ferry, the only way into Cape Tribulation, and entered another world. It is lush and green the rainforest presses in on all sides,jungle like. Vines twine, creepers crawl into every gap, the Lawyer Vine, also know as “wait-a-while” reaches its tendrils out to grab onto you. The area is all World Heritage listed and the National Parks have partly tamed the jungle with board walks to allow the tourists in their thousands to experience this unique part of Australia without damage to the habitat or the tourists. The deadly stinging tree is kept well back from the tracks and though lots of warnings about the cassowary I think any self-respecting bird would keep well hidden in the depth of the jungle.

The excellent Discovery Centre is visited first to learn about this unique and ancient environment. Information stations explain what you are looking at as you wander around the board walks and climb the 23 metre tall tower that takes you up to the canopy level with 4 way stations and an excellent interpretive centre with videos and displays about the environment and flora and fauna of the area.It took 2 hours to walk around and as they give you a pass to come back as often as you want we did go back for a second look as there is too much to absorb in one visit.
We had only planned a one night stay but with so much to discover we extended to 3 nights. The Lync Haven tourist park we stayed in even had its own piece of jungle wilderness. We went to explore it and an hour later found our way out. This was true untouched jungle, no board walks here and the rainforest was encroaching in leaving just a narrow track. It felt wild and untamed.
Cape Tribulation is an area that appears to have the right mix between keeping the environment pristine and yet keeping it approachable for tourists.
As we travel around we get to see how many and diverse areas this country has.

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Categories: australian travel, Camping grounds, National Parks | Tags: , | 1 Comment

lorrikeets in rain video

lorikeets in rain video, originally uploaded by gypsy woman1.

Well it is hard to believe but we have now been home 6 weeks, where has the time gone? I did intend to keep the blog posts going but some how life has taken over….We have been busy sorting out the granny flat we are now living in, and though it is just a one room studio style place, with a small kitchen, and very small bathroom, after living in Matilda for a year it seems large to us, and we are enjoying the relative space.The mammoth, but enjoyable, task of sorting the photos is taking time. I am also an obsessive collector of data and information, ie: how much we spent on petrol, eating out, groceries, alcohol etc. So now I have taken the time to work out some of the stats.

  • Travelled a total of 26,996 kms
  • Petrol total cost: $4,336. Most expensive was $1.97/ltr at Dunmarra in the Northern Territory, cheapest $1.17/ltr at Mount Gambia.
  • Freedom camping: 23 nights
  • 4 WWOOF hosts:21 nights
  • 9 couch surfing hosts: 59 nights
  • 2 friends met on road: 11 nights
  • 1 relation:2 nights

116 days we did not have to pay for accommodation, this was a great help to the budget and made it possible to travel for a year on the pension…

  • 206 nights in various priced caravan parks.
  • Most expensive van park was Skenes Creek at $45 on the Great Ocean Road during January school holidays. It was also one of the worst being dirty and very over crowded. 
  • Most expensive accommodation was $98 for one night at the Buddhist Temple near Wollongong.But well worth it for the experience and peaceful atmosphere.
  • To have a break from the rain we left Matilda on her own and stayed in cabins at 3 separate places for a total of 6 nights.
  • During May and June we returned home to the Gold Coast for 46 days.
  • Total accommodation cost: $4,437 , averaged out at $21.50 per night.
  • Very special extra excursions: full day flight to and walk through the Bundle Bundle in the Kimberly, cruise down the Katherine gorge, 4 wheel drive trip into the Karijini Gorge, cruise along the Murray, cruise along the Ord river, cruise through the Geikie Gorge.
  • Caring for Matilda: 2 services, 4 new tyres, 1 replaced windscreen…

We were on the road for a total of 329 days. Including all costs we spent on an average $495 per week….

Was it worth it, definately. Would I do it again, yes, yes, yes….

 

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Categories: australian travel, Camping grounds, couch surfing, free travel accomadation, random thoughts | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Camping experiences…

Sussex Inlet, originally uploaded by gypsy woman1.

Moving on from Canberra home is now getting very close and like the horse turning for the stable we are starting to speed up and this week have had a variety of camping experiences.

First was a delightful hidden gem off the main road that a passing traveller told us to visit. He said the Bowls club does fantastic meals. What more incentive do we need….It seems it is not so hidden as it is only a short drive from Sydney and a favourite with fishing folk. We managed to squeeze into the second van park we called in and it was a beauty, clean, large showers, pool, and only 5 minute walk to the above mentioned Bowls club. Yes the meals were fantastic, in fact they were such large servings that we only ordered one veg and tofu stir fry and shared it. It was delicious…

Next along the way we found a Forest Park, Killalea was overlooking Shoalhaven. This will be peaceful we thought, but needed the GPS to find our way through the myriad of new sub divisions opening up. What I hadn’t taken into consideration was it is now Saturday. Yes you guessed it, the other half of Sydney had found their way here too. That is a slight exaggeration, but luckily,there was a couple of small sites left. This is  a different camp to any other we have been in as it was filled with family groups, and they had tents the size of small houses. If not a family it was groups of surfing  types as this is a top surf area on this coast. We were the only grey nomad in camp. As evening came the fires were lit in the fire places provided and the blokes stood around with beers in hand watching the steaks cook and the smell of wood smoke and burning steaks wafted around in the evening air. All the “ankle biters” were bonding together running around getting their fill of the great Australian outdoors.We enjoyed our “happy hour” watching all the activity. We had been for an hours walk through the rainforest area to the river mouth and then on to the beach. It included  a steep climb so we were ready for our relaxing time and we slept very well once all the kids had been rounded up and put to bed…

Then came a stay in the Nan Tien Buddhist temple. An imposing place, it is the largest in Australia and is beautiful. The architecture is pure asian and walking around the gardens and the lotus pond was a very relaxing experience. We really treated our selves here as they have hotel style accommodation and the dining room serves delicious vegetarian buffet meals. It was the calm before the storm as now we faced the daunting task of driving into Sydney. Just the thought of it had me tensing up and I could feel the stress levels raising. Jack did a good job of navigating and at 3pm we pulled off into a suburb called Sutherland. Not a good time as the train had just pulled in and hundreds of school kids came pouring out and of course hundreds of parents in cars where there to pick them up. What confusion for us, we didn’t know where to go, so just kept going ahead till we spotted a parking place. Phew!!! Not tourist friendly in this city, no tourist info places, the nearest we were told was the top of the Bulli Pass… So we went to the library. She sent us to a camp ground just out side town, only problem it was for permanent people only. They said the only one in the area was 30km back south at Heathcote. It was now 5pm, rush hour. I rang and yes they had one spot left. After a couple of wrong turns and getting into the side streets we eventually found it. Oh dear it was on a narrow strip of land with the main Princes Highway on one side and the main train line to Sydney on the other. Thank goodness we had that night in the temple.

With ear plugs in we actually had a reasonable nights sleep and on reflection decided it was in a good position as the train station was just at the end of the camp ground and a row of small shops across the road had some good little restaurants and take aways.The facilities were clean and the permanent people were friendly. So we decided to stay for 3 days and visit the relatives.

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Categories: australian travel, camping australia, Camping grounds, National Parks | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road, originally uploaded by gypsy woman1.

After 4 days the rain was clearing so we are on the move again. It was a refreshing stop in Mt Gambia and refueled our batteries…

So now it was heading for another of the great Australian icons, The Great Ocean Road.

On the way we stayed in Nelson and had a cruise down the Glenelg river. Again very high due to the floods in Victoria and a very chocolately colour.The cruise took us to the Princess Margaret Rose caves, Impressive look at the under world of this volcanic region.

Next stop Bridgewater beach and cape and went for a 2 hour walk up to 130 metres above sea level to look at a seal colony, it was a very windy day and sort of tested our heart rates. Then we went round to see the blowholes and petrified forest only to see a sign telling us that the walk to the seal colony from that side of the cape was not so steep…. Oh well we told our selves we needed the exercise…

That night we stayed at Portland and found the first Aldi store since we left Queensland, very good wine prices, some at $2-99 so of course we stocked up to keep us in “happy hour” supplies.

Next stop Port Fairy, a beautiful seaside village with charm and character. We got the bikes off and biked around the art trail and looked at the stone heritage listed houses and buildings. Weather was perfect for biking.

As we left we went to see the Hopkins river waterfall it was roaring and almost like a miniature Niagara falls. This is volcanic area and every where there is evidence of the past volcanic activity. Tower Hill is a large crater formed 12000 years ago. That seems a long time ago but to put it in context it is said that the aboriginals were here back then and have many dream time stories of the eruptions. It is now a national park and has been restored to the original vegetation after been stripped in the mid 1800s for farming. Native flora and fauna are now back in the area and we saw koalas and emus, in fact had a bit of a scary encounter with an emu as he got very close as I videoed him…

Then it was on to Warnambool where we planned to stay for the night. We have had no problems getting into camp grounds because even though it is middle of the school holidays many people have cancelled due to the floods every where, so we just look for some where to stay as we arrive in each area. Well suddenly the holiday high season caught up with us and we were told camp grounds would be approx $50 a night for a powered site. There is no freedom camps in this area, with fines if you try to stay any where but in a camp ground. So we just kept going and Warnambool missed the pleasure of our company….

We did find a place just outside Warnambool at $35 even that was hurtful to the budget.

Then it was on to the Great Ocean Road..

Categories: australian travel, Camping grounds, caravan park, emus, South Australia, video | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Lancelin beach

Lancelin beach, originally uploaded by gypsy woman1.

The next leg of the journey we headed back to the coast. Three weeks ago the last section of the new “Indian Ocean Drive” had been opened. It is an alternative to the Brand Highway from Perth to Kalbarri and will be taking the tourist traffic through a number of small fishing villages. They are expecting a big rise in numbers visiting these places and already you can see the coming changes.

We stayed at a camp ground in Lancelin, it was right on the beach and we fell to sleep with the sound of the waves in the back ground, but it has been sold to developers…

Categories: australian travel, Camping grounds, caravan park, travel | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Ouch!!! Midge bites…

In the mosquito tent it was like sleeping in the open. It was a beautiful starlit night and the temperature was perfect with a soft breeze blowing. But… those midge bites were now red, angry, itching sores that were driving me crazy, all over my legs and arms. It was a long night…

Next morning I was talking to a fellow camper that had just driven right up to Cape York, tip of Australia, and had a fantastic off-road set up and a solid 4 WD. Lexie was also allergic to midges and she had a great home-made remedy that worked for her. She sprayed some on my poor red arms and legs and after approx half-hour the itching had stopped. She couldn’t remember the recipe but gave me the ingredients and later I looked it up on google…

  • 1 litre meths
  • 125ml baby oil
  • 10ml citronella oil
  • 250ml dettol
  • Bottle and shake…

It is also good for your skin. I will be making some up before we get into the next midge area…

We also met Peter and Tony at this camp. Peter came over to see if he could leave his motorbike at our camp while they took the Winnebago in for some repairs. The bike was a lovely machine, Peter used to race bikes and Tony is a chef, she has travelled all over the world. When they arrived back in camp, all fixed up, they invited us over for happy hour and Tony had lots of interesting stories to tell.

Meeting people is definitely one of the real highlights of travel.

Before bed I went over to see Lexie and Warren for another spray of the magic potion. Tonight Jack came and slept outside with me. As we move into the hotter weather this tent will be worth it’s weight in gold…

Categories: camping, Camping grounds, National Parks, travel | Tags: | Leave a comment

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