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                  Debbie & Geoff's

                  Australian Safari


                          Travel Blog November 2016


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Thursday 24th November to Friday 2nd December 2016
We have one night to fill before going into our Time Share at Cabarita so we stayed at South Tweed Heads and caught up with my Aunt and Uncle who we hadn’t seen for over 12 months. The caravan park was located on the river bank which was nice but was also in the flight path so was very noisey which wasn’t so nice, but it was only for 1 night and the planes have a curfew at 11pm so we managed to have a decent night sleep.
Our next night was Cabarita when we got to share our place with Steve and Shelley. Morning walks along the beach or walkways, followed by the daily adventures. One day we had a trip up to Nimbin and Uki showing of the beautiful country side and crazy towns. I think when we arrived at Nimbin Steve was ready to jump straight back into the car. Not his scene at all.

Lunch at Cabarita     Cocktails at Cabarita
Lunch at Cabarita Beach             Cocktails at Cabarita

Another day we had Steve’s niece called over and have lunch with us. They had recently bought an old weatherboard house and had it transported to a block of land at Bangalow and as we were heading that way the next day we made plans to call in and see them.
The house was brilliant and they still had quite a few plans in motion before it was finished. The back deck was in progress at the moment and they were talking about different things they had envisaged for the house. It looked great and when it is finished I am sure it will be superb.
We then headed down the hill to the Bangalow hotel for lunch to celebrate Geoff’s youngest brothers birthday. It was great to see everyone, the three brothers together again, as it doesn’t happen very often. Lunch was a happy fun affair with lots of laughter and stories being told around the table.

Cabarita Beach     The Hutcho Brothers
Cabarita Beach             The Hutcho Brothers

We also did a drive to Byron Bay and it was way too crowded with backpackers and schoolies so we were very glad to have a walk around and a quick lunch before heading off again. At least we can now say we have been to the most eastern point of Australia on this trip as we had our photo taken at the lighthouse at Cape Byron.

Byron Lighthouse     Byron Lighthouse
Debbie & Geoff     and     Michelle & Steve     Byron Lighthouse

The week flew by with more people to catch up who had migrated to Queensland and another few dinners with my aunt and uncle from Tweed. Steve was the only brave soul who nearly every morning went for a swim in the surf. It was sad to say goodbye to our friends but with only a few weeks till we catch up with everyone again as Christmas is just around the corner we looked forward to heading further down to Ballina for a week’s stay and more family time.

Sunday 13th to Wednesday 23rd November 2016
On the road again and only a short drive to Brisbane where we plan to leave the van and car at Newmarket Caravan Park when we travel to Sydney. Geoff is working on Monday so I have a whole day to myself and make the use of cleaning and washing and packing for our 10 days back in the big smoke. We also caught our first Uber to the airport and must admit that they have won us over with great service and friendly drivers. What can I say about our whirlwind trip to the big smoke? It was lovely to catch up with our friends and family We did lunches and dinners and got totally spoilt by everyone. Even both Geoff and I had work to do it wasn’t the chore of the every day job and we even managed an invite to Brad Garlick Fords Christmas party. Don’t forget to include Dentist appointments and Doctors’ appointments and doing all those errands one has to do. The time just seemed to fly before we were back on the plane to go home to our little home on wheels. We had one more night at Newmarket before heading off again back down to NSW.

Wednesday 9th to Saturday 12th November 2016

Our next destination is Bribie Island. Just north of Brisbane it is a great spot to wait out a few days. There is two sides to Bribie, and we stayed at the quieter side which had the surf beach, a few small shops and the surf club. Walking along the beach on our first adventure we couldn’t believe how many large blue jelly fish were washed up on the beach. Most were the size of a dinner plate and some still were intact while others had their heads (if you could call it that) detached from their tentacles.

Wooden bowl             Osprey House
Blue Jelly Fish                                Geoff meeting Pip at Osprey House

The more popular side of the island is just near the bridge that crosses to the mainland. This is where all the new development seems to be as well as more infrastructures. We went to the museum on the foreshore and found it worth having a look at to get a bit of history of the place before heading off for a bite of lunch and an explorative drive around the area. Also did a bit of a stickybeak into properties in the new development just because we could. That afternoon we got to catch up with Pip from Osprey House. Like EagleCAM they also have cameras on a nest of the Osprey. Geoff has been communicating with them from before they set up the cameras, so it was nice to meet the face behind the voice and check out their Discovery Centre.

Dinner at Gary & Sue's             Clog Dancing
Dinner at Sue & Gary's                                 Clog Dancing Add

From there we headed to Gary and Sues place who Geoff worked with and also who we caught up with at the Atherton Tablelands. They were also friends of Pip and she and her sister joined us for dinner at Gary and Sue’s house. It was a lovely evening and we stayed the night which was an added bonus. Next day they took us for a sightseeing drive around Brisbane. From the suburbs to the city where we had a late pub lunch before heading back to Bribie. Just after we left Brisbane we were hit with a massive rain storm, no hail but the rain was so severe that we could hardly see the road up front.
Bribie has a very strong community feel, from the usual clubs like Rotary and Lions, they also have Clogging. You can go and learn how to Clog dance every week – well I never!

Friday 4th – Tuesday 8th November 2016

Time for us to hit the Bundy trail and learn about one of Australians favourite drinks, Bundaberg Rum. We have 4 glorious nights at Elliott Heads staying at a van park across from the beach. I can really get used to living so close to a beach, especially as this one was also near the mouth of the Elliott River and the water was the colour of aquamarine, so clear and very little waves so it was perfect to just lie in and relax. They had a pathway that wound around the coast that started from the van park for 3 ½ km. It passed the war memorial and just wandered through park lands. The other side of the park was a road where new and old houses were there with lots of land in between. Some monster houses for sale but we didn’t bother looking at prices just enjoyed the view. The shoreline itself was very rock and the part where the beach is has rocks piled up on either side which seemed to be where they bull dozed them to make walls on both sides. The total walk up and back was nice and a swim after we finished was most welcome. Oh and so was a nice cold beer!

Elliott Heads     Elliott Heads
      Elliott Heads

Bundaberg had our first Aldi so as we were nearly out of coffee pods, that was the first stop to stock up. Then we found a major fresh fish shop to stock up on supplies for our freezer. All done before the rum trip. Our trip to the Bundaberg distillery was very interesting. You start at the museum and learn about how they decided to make rum. The sugar cane mill had all this extra molasses, when they ran out of barrels to store it ended up running into the Bundaberg streets causing an awful mess. One smart person decided to use the by-product not only to feed the cattle but as there was so much left over what better than to start making their own rum. I could not have agreed more! After the museum we were taken into the distillery and got to see the massive amount of molasses that was stored in a large vat, looked like a massive oozing pool of thick goop. Then the distillery process and finally the best part we got to try 2 nips of bundy as part of our tour ticket. Geoff tried the world award winning 2015 rum, I tried the white rum which was blended to smell just like a Pina Colada. Both of us for our second nip tried the Liqueur blended with salted caramel. Oh my, oh my, oh my, it was just sooo delicious that both of us could have gone for seconds, thirds, fourths, oh you know just kept drinking and then pour it over ice cream for dessert.

Bundaberg Rum     Bundy Bear
Bundaberg Rum                       Bundy Bear

After our tour we decided to go back to the fish shop for lunch as they had a café behind with tables overlooking the river. A very nice day indeed, and also followed by a swim when we got home.
Our last day was also not wasted as we ventured to the Baldwin Swamp Environment Park. This was a large parkland with walks meandering through the park, leading us to waterholes, bats in trees and general bush. We had butterflies galore, from the Caper Whites that we saw in 1770 to other butterflies of yellow and blue. Dragon flies danced across the water and a frog that we were not sure if it was a cane toad so just we let it be. One area we found thousands of tadpoles. How we hoped they belonged to some frog again as we had no idea how you would know the difference between a frogs tadpole to a cane toads. Oh and don’t forget the bats, again thousands squawking in the trees and they were very flighty as when Geoff and I walked past they would take off tree after tree. One thing we did see is a lot of them were carrying babies under their tummies. Never seen that before.

Flying Fox     Butterfly
Flying Fox                         Butterfly

The day got hotter as it does up here in Queensland so it was decided we go for a drive through Bundaberg and have a look at the town. I enjoy checking out old architecture and even though there did not seem to be that much around the rivers and bridge crossing were quite nice. We also managed to do a bit of shopping – hello Target and Chemist Warehouse. How I enjoy a bit of retail therapy. Oh don’t get too excited. One of my pair of shorts zipper seized up so Geoff had to break it for me to get them off, and we needed more sunblock and Geoff only likes the gel that you get from the chemist. I also got an ugly shirt from the camping shop, it was on sale and I need something to keep the sun of me. There is only so much tanning I want to do and truthfully I am so over being so brown.

Tuesday 1st – Thursday 3rd November 2016
Back on the beach again in a caravan park in a town called Agnes Water right near 1770. Ok I had never heard of this place and it is a lovely small town just south of Gladstone . Seventeen Seventy was first discovered by James Cook on May 24th 1770 when Sir Joseph Banks was rowed across after they anchored in the Bustard Bay, aptly named as they found a Bustard and shot it. He took 33 specimens of plants back to the Endeavour with him. There is no lady named Agnes Water but the area was called after a shipwreck just outside the town. That’s enough history for the moment.

1770     Captain Cook
Bustard Bay                 Captain Cook Monument

After settling in we went for a drive down to 1770 to do a quick scout around the area and have a look out at the lookout. The next morning we were up early to do a few walks that took us from the landing place to the lookout. Nice walk and beautiful bush, also butterflies everywhere. I later found out they were migratory from Indonesia called Caper White. White wings with black trim and they just danced around in the breeze. That afternoon we investigated the tourist info centre, this told us the name of the butterflies and also about another walk which we decided to do.

paperbark forest     paperbark forest
       Paperbark Forest

The Paperbark walk was a board walk through a paperbark forest. I guess you would have figured that one out for yourself. We strolled on a narrow two planked boardwalk and even had to walk on raised stumps which would cross over a creek crossing if it was wet. The forest was beautiful with towering trees and maiden hair fern and you guessed it more butterflies but these were black with white markings and I have no idea what their name is.

After our walk we visited the local museum. It had lots of stuff about the Endeavour, Captain Cook and Sir Joseph Banks. They also had a model of the ship Agnes and the Endeavour. Geoff spent ages just reading through the journals whilst I walked around the rest of the museum, which consisted of only a few rooms. Whist I waited for him to finish I sat down and started to read newspaper clippings they had in books about the terrible Queensland floods in 2011 and 2013. The devastation of what people and communities had gone through and how they are still repairing and rebuilding.

Our last day is a home day. I did a 7 klm walk up the beach and back and boy was it hard going in the sand. Geoff washed the van and settled himself down to finish some work on the computer getting ready for our trip to Sydney for the audit he is doing. In the afternoon I strolled up to the little shopping centre to buy some supplies and also have a look at the crafty and surf shops that were there. It’s been a while since I could just peruse so I enjoyed it even if I didn’t buy anything.
Oh and our pesky ants, most are gone but I still spy a few here and there crawling on the ceiling of the van. They will die and I will not mind one bit!