Posts Tagged With: Camping grounds

Weekly Photo Challenge : Memorable Moments…

This is going to be one of the most difficult challenges WP has ever given.

Cheryl asks us ” For this week’s photo challenge, select and share a series of photographs. You can piece together what you consider an ideal day, recount a memorable day, tell a (visual) story, or show us some of your favorite things”.

Not because I don’t know what to choose for it, but because there are so many memorable days.

Life is full of memorable moments and the older I get the more I have to draw on.

I started this blog in 2009 to chronicle our journey around Australia, so I have chosen just a small sample of magic moments from that year of travel.

 leaving home feb 2010 004_3264x2448

After months of preparation, finding the right camper van, downsizing from a 3 bedroom house into a one room Granny flat, garage sales, giving away and sending surplus “stuff” to op shops. Finally it was time to go. March 5th (our birthday) 2010 and Matilda trundles out of the drive on an epic 12 month, 37000 kilometre journey of discovery around Australia.

This day was a very good day

Yes this was our home for the next year, as Jack put it, “living in a sardine can”….

fog web 030_3264x2448

Waking to a mist filled morning, dew draped like diamonds on every blade of grass and the only thing sharing this hushed and serene moment was spiders waiting for their web to dry and the insects to arrive.

Walking in National Parks, isolated and alone and skinny dipping in pristine mountain streams.

free camp rob & ray 070_3264x2448

So many campfires shared with new friends, stories and a glass of wine shared.

Even one camp shared with a friendly horse that loved cups of tea and muffins.

Giralia camp flowers pc 007_3264x2448

The friendliness and generosity of the nomads on the road.

One memorable evening we arrived late into a camp ground called “funny dunny” miles from any where, but a favourite with the fishing community. As we settled in the neighbour came over and offered us 2 freshly caught fish. Not only that but as we had no idea how to cook it (at that stage of the journey we were still newbies) they gutted, cooked and then shared the meal with us.

It was certainly a year of so many highlights and I am thankful for the WordPress blog that allows me to look back and relive those times on the road.

But finally I have to include these last 2 photos. This is the best sunset of many memorable sunsets I photographed. It was a moment that took my breath away. Words fail me to describe the intensity of feeling as I witnessed, and photographed this glorious vision.

Mic & Wendy 042_3264x2448

It was a moment shared with friends which made it very special.

Mic & Wendy 001_3264x2448

The end of another very good day.

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Categories: Australia, photos, today was a good day, travel, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 29 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

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

The People I Meet

For me one of the highlights of travel are the people I meet, over a glass of wine or cup of coffee, or just in the car parks or rest areas. They share their stories, pass on interesting places they have seen , comment about camp sites good and bad they have stayed at. This is the grapevine of the road. I love it.

After picking up Matilda the first 3 nights I stayed at “freebies”. Great for when you travel on a budget.I find the people who use these camp areas tend to be friendly and approachable, down to earth types, “battlers” is the term used in Australia.

They are living a dream, some have sold everything they possessed to buy a caravan or Winnebago RV vehicle and are constantly on the move, others just rent the family home. Some are retired, others are following work around the country. All are modern-day gypsies and have interesting stories to tell.

First night back on the road I stayed at Blue Water rest area (we stayed here before, click here if you want to check it out) Here I met Tony and his new English partner Babs. They had met in the Congo, Africa where they had both been on a mining contract. When it finished they decided to come to Australia and work in the mining industry here. They are both highly qualified, Babs is a geologist and Tony a mineral scientist and trainer. I was amazed when they told me they couldn’t find a job here after sending countless CV’s. They are now, reluctantly, taking up an offer from Malaysia. Many overseas countries will, gladly, employ them.

Now that is a worry, Australia is so dependant on the mining sector, even a slight downturn will affect the economy. They told me mining appears to be slowly going into decline. As workers leave they are not being replaced, the industry seems to be in limbo waiting for the election to see who will be the next government.

In the meantime Tony, who is an Australian, is proudly showing Babs his country before they leave for the gold mines of Malaysia in the new year. They say they will, hopefully, be back in 2 years when the Malaysian contract ends.

Next night I stayed at Toomulla Beach, the free rest area is right on the beach front, lovely sea breezes to cool us both down after the trip up to Paluma.

As I settled in, Paul, in the next caravan, came over “You on your own?” he asked “bring your seat over and meet Sue”. So with glass of wine in hand I joined them.

Newly retired they had rented their house in Mackay and with no set itinerary,they planned to wander around and see the country. They had a horror story about their first lot of tenants. 3 guys who did a runner and left the house in a terrible mess. They went back, cleaned it up using the bond money, now they hope the second tenants are better behaved.

They had a similar story, from a different perspective, of the mining industry. Mackay is a mining town but workers are moving on as jobs in the industry dwindle, therefore Paul thinks next year they may have to drop the rent as consequently the tenant numbers are dropping.

On the other side of me 3 free spirits were sleeping in swags under a tarpaulin thrown over a rope stretched between 2 trees. With tattoos, dreadlocks and hippie clothes Nat, Shannon and Josh had been to Cairns to witness the “awesome” (their description) solar eclipse. They busked their way around and had a great juggling and fire stick routine. I watched them as they practiced their art. Josh was teaching Nat who had only just started, but already was good at it..

“What next?” I asked. All 3 had various plans for travel over seas. I gathered they were just friends travelling together.

Josh, Nat, Shannon

Next stop was Home Hill. This is the town were I had that HUGE “Taste of the ocean” meal.

Home Hill really caters for the traveller. In the centre of town they have provided a comfort stop, not only toilets but spacious shower rooms with hot and cold water. After the cold outside shower, behind the toilet block at Blue Water and no shower at Toomulla, there I just had a lick and promise in a bucket inside Matilda. This shower had controllable pressure from gentle to invigorating needles. After a hot day on the road when the temperatures reached into the 30’s and the humidity is rising, it was shower heaven. They have also provided a stainless steel camp kitchen with BBQ plates and a sink for dish washing. they have thought of everything, there are even power outlets for all of todays electronic gadgetry. All these amenities and it is a free rest area. Oh I didn’t tell you the parking for the vehicles is along the back street with the Bruce Highway on one side and the train tracks on the other!!! But hey, it is free…

After my big meal at the pub I joined 4 male back packers clustered around the power point, all of us sharing the outlet with our computers. The 2 german guys watching movies, the dutch guy surfing the net and the Maltese fellow came across with a huge plate of sausages, about 20 of them, he had just BBQed and he devoured the lot with bread and smothered in tomatoe sauce, then checked his e-mails, as for me I did a post on my blog. We all sat in companionable silence.

Home Hill comfort stop

Spotlessly clean camp kitchen

This is the power point corner

Roomy shower cubicle, better than you get in some paid caravan parks

 

The temperatures soared on Thursday so I decided to go into a caravan park and onto a powered site so I could use the mini fan to cool the van down.

O’Connell River tourist park is a favourite we have stayed at several times. At $20 for a powered site it is good value and this time I found he also provides free WiFi. So under a tree in a shady spot, right on the river bank with a comforting breeze cooling me down I made the most of the free WiFi.

My new neighbour, Chris came over to say hello and we had a chat. They have a comfortable van and awning that is home and they travel around following work. At the moment her husband is working on the road works in this area. She said the works are extensive all over Queensland at the moment. I guess this is the ongoing clean up after all the natural disasters of 2010/2011. A number of travellers, that have been through them, have warned me about them. Oh well will just have to wait and see. I had considered going on the inland road, but at this time of the year it is hotter inland so I will take my chances with the coast road…

So this is just a small sample of the cross-section of interesting people I meet on the road. Every ones story is different but all are interesting. I find I am never lonely, even when travelling alone….

Categories: camping, freedom camping, travel | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

The joy of freedom camping

Beautiful free camp area

Can you see Matilda? She is tucked in behind the middle gum tree.

The hammocks up the solar panels out Matilda is in her element…

Well I hope I don’t lose this post… I will click the draft button regularly… Have you ever lost a post? Isn’t it frustrating? (See I have read the latest Daily Post article!!!)

Well we left Townsville on Thursday. The friendly and efficient people at Town Automatics had given Matilda a full body wash, she sparkled both outside and in, she purred along. It was so good to be back on the road again. Staying at the Backpackers had been an experience, (more of that in another post)

A stop for groceries and wine and we headed north.” Now wait a minute” I can hear you saying, “I thought you were heading south and home!” Well we have been told to run the new gear box in for 500 to 1000 kilometres then bring her back for fine tunings. This is a lovely part of the country and still lots of areas to explore, the weather is perfect, not too hot and humid, with a pleasant breeze. It could change any day as cyclone season is looming. Hopefully we will be further south by then. So we head north…

With the music playing  we head out. At 12-30pm and 35 kilometres from Townsville we pull into the Blue Water rest area for lunch. A small bush area is inviting to walk and explore to find the toilets and to stretch our legs before leaving. Round the corner and we see over the other side of the sports ground a number of caravans and campers parked. When we drive over to check it out we find this beautiful free camp area. It has large shady trees, toilets, cold shower and drinking water on tap. Only 3 other campers and space under a lovely, old, shade tree. It is just too tempting so we decide to stay over night.

The original plan was to drive to Paluma National Park, approx 100 kilometres from Townsville. The last 10-12 kilometres is up a very steep, narrow, winding road to the national park area which I have been told is beautiful. Not too many hills around here so thought this drive would be a good test for the new gear box, make or break it time….

Now it is 3 days later and we are still here…

Bush area in front of the camp area

This is the area that is between the camp and the main road. Then when I went exploring in the other direction, and followed a narrow little track it took me down to a creek. What a beautiful place, clean, clear water reflecting the paperbark and gum trees that lined the bank. Perfectly safe for swimming, no crocodiles or any other nasties. Jack was straight in…

The narrow track down to the creek

Reflections in the creek in the early morning light

We parked next to Lizzie and her little dog Raven. We all bonded immediately. Lizzie was born the same year as me and has been on the road 16 years, she has been round Australia 5 times. Her latest trip, last year, she travelled round in a year and never paid for any accommodation, she used free camping areas, she knows all the good, bad and indifferent areas right round Australia and has lots of stories to tell of her adventures, great company. Next day another friend of Lizzie’s turned up. James is another regular full-time traveller and he also has a dog. Stanley is only a young dog and full of bounce, vigour and vim. It was a laugh to see him stirring old Raven up.

The next night, Friday, was to be the local community country and western night with hamburger and chips dinner. On Saturday it is farmers market day. Lizzie gave us all this information so of course we had to stay. Now Liz has just brought out her key-boards to entertain us all so that’s all blogging I am doing today, also the solar panel will only give a certain amount of power and I think it is nearly to its capacity. Bye for now I will get back with tales of country n western shin-digs and true Aussie blue community spirit, it’s just great….

Could be here a while, Paluma has been there for millions of years I’m sure it will still be there when we eventually get to it…

Categories: Australia, australian travel, freedom camping, photos, travel | Tags: , , , | 19 Comments

On the road again… Tra-La-Tr-La

OH DEAR…..

I have just done a post telling you all where we are and what we are doing BUT I pushed publish and some how lost it all…

We are now in a lovely, free camp area, but it does not have power, so the battery on the computer is now getting low, so I am not able to repeat the post, so I will be in touch again when we get to a power source…

Damn, it was such a good post, Lol….

Suffice to say we are back on the road with Matilda and life is good, and we are heading north….

Categories: Australia, australian travel, camping, freedom camping, gum trees, Townsville | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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

Sunset on the Burdekin River

Sunset on the Burdekin River

 

Sunset on the Burdekin River

What a great way to end the day with a stroll down to the river to watch the sunset.

Goodnight…

 

Categories: australian travel, camping australia, photos, sunsets | Tags: , , , , | 12 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

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