A Travellerspoint blog

The Home Straight...

Still on a high from Airlie Beach our pace seems to be picking up as we head south towards NSW. So many beautiful places that we could have spent more time exploring - Rockhampton and Gin Gin were overnight stops - Carmila was a highlight for both of us between Mackay and Harvey Bay, camping on the waters edge.
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It's amazing what kids will do to create their own fun - This scene took Brad well down memory lane...
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North of Brisbane we spent most of our time in and around Caloundra, Maleny and the Glasshouse Mountains - all magic areas we will revisit from our soon to be base camp, Mullumbimby.
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As timing would have it Brads ex boss and friend Shaun 'Touchie' Feely and family were on Bribie Island visiting their parents. This was their final stop before heading on an overseas sabbatical for several months. We had a lovely time catching up and getting to know the rest of the Touchie clan over two days...
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...and seeing son teaching dad the finer points.
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We made tracks towards Brisbane to spend time with friends and family. Great to catch up with Jens sister Ali, hubby Mark and their gorgeous little ones...
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Towards Cleveland good friends Mick and Sue showed us another way to travel - in their boat around Morton Bay. Stunning weather and a delectable picnic lunch made for an amazing day on the water.
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Spring is definitely in the air and such a beautiful time of year around the north NSW coast. Bellingen and Glennifer were memorable places to visit, made even more special by rejoining with traveling friends Tony, Saskia and their lovely boys, who were happy to show us their neck of the woods...
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... As was Norm who we met a short distance away in Patanga, an intentional community near Thora. Our knowledgable tour guide took us through Dorrigo NP where he showed us pockets of pristine rainforest, never logged, rare along the east coast.
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From here we were excited to make our way to Taree to see Jens mum Lesley and partner Lindsay. Lots to catch up on... Including our washing (thanks mum)!

Heading into Sydney we are looking forward to reuniting with more family and friends who we haven't seen since hitting the road 27,000kms, over 100 major stops and almost 8 months ago. Now that we've decided to head back north to see out the year, it doesn't feel like the end of our travels - just the end of our 'Coasting Around'. Mullumbimby will be home for the next three months, Brad will be working with TARPI, a not-for-profit organisation working with young people and their parents. While Jen will be getting to know the area and become involved within the community. Very exciting that our travels have brought us here.

So as we close this chapter, thanks for your support and for tuning in to our adventures. There is only so much you can capture in a blog so we look forward to sharing more stories and catching up on how you've all been face to face!

Signing off... for now, love Brad and Jen xxoo

Posted by Jenandbrad 18:35 Archived in Australia Tagged nsw qld Comments (0)

Whitsundays

Before hitting the Whitsundays we found a beachside camp named Funny Dunny (no toilet humor here). You could still see reminders of Cyclone Yasi at Wunjuna, the nearby fishing village alongside the inlet. 
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Airlie Beach has been one of the few places we have booked ahead - to see Xavier Rudd with backstage passes!...
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... Well, almost. Magnums Hotel has its stage surrounded, so we found a very unique vantage point. Heres a taste of the sort of music we've come to love on our trip. 

A day trip north of Airlie turned out to be one of our most memorable. We found Hideaway Bay, recommended for its secluded and protected beaches.
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On arrival however, it was obvious that a party was brewing onshore...
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...luckily we had planned for a picnic so were able to load the kayaks and escape to the nearest island...
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... Perfect spot for a proposal!
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Back shoreside the crowd had grown and a yacht club party was in full swing.  It didn't take long to find out their club was named after Shag Island, unbeknownst to us, the place place of our engagement! They took great delight in this and we instantly became part of the crew, now known as Shaggers! 
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We thanked all the shaggers for their well wishes and headed back to Airlie for dinner, in time to see the sunset, and make a few calls... A beautiful day.
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Posted by Jenandbrad 01:17 Archived in Australia Tagged qld Comments (4)

Cassowary Coast

Our flat battery generated plenty of interest from Palm Cove onlookers, the satisfaction of helping a toyota (trust us, it's a big thing!) was at least given to a fellow Prado owner. We were on our way to Kurrimine in no time. 
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Brads uncle John & Bev were on hand to meet us there - the council caravan park which they call home three months of the year can be best described as a fishing village. After setting up it wasn't long before the usual 4 o'clock happy hour. This was our only commitment during our time here and was a chance to meet with the rest of the fishing gang and talk tales... Not a bad outlook over the shoreline. 
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Conditions were perfect the next morning to take out the fishing boat. The Trevally that we'd normally keep for eating was caught and used by John as live bait! We landed what we were going for, a few mackerel, apparently small fry to usual standards - you be the judge... 
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... Plenty to feed us and a few hungry locals that had flown in. 
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Surrounded by islands and a few breaching whales & turtles we headed back to camp via Stephens Island, a beautiful place you can camp overnight. One for next time. 
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We took a day trip to the popular Mission beach to check out the Sunday market and soak up the atmosphere. Plenty happening on and above the water!
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Thanks for looking after us John and Bev, lovely to see family on the road and share quality time together. We can see why you've been coming up here for the past ten years, an idyllic fishing spot & great friends to share it with. What more could you want. 
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On the road early we headed to the mountains, back towards Tully River in the hope of some whitewater action. All that was missing was a helmet. Well, we found one...
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.... Yes it's a pink stackhat circa 1980. More fortunate for Brad's safety was finding three rafting guides on their day off who were happy to take him down the river! 
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What a rush hitting grade 3&4 rapids on a technical river - Jen did a great job getting some footage.
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I love some of the names of these rapids - Alarm Clock, Theatre, Staircase, Wet n Moisty;

...and more placids sections.
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We could see why some of these guys have been down over 1,000 times, thanks fellas!
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Leaving Tully National Park we kept our eyes peeled, still on the lookout for Cassowaries. They live mostly on purple coloured berries and we heard a lovely story that the locals would put out buckets of fruit after Cyclone Yasi, ensuring their survival. 

Next major stop is Airlie Beach to coincide with Xavier Rudd's tour! 

Posted by Jenandbrad 15:19 Archived in Australia Tagged qld Comments (2)

Tropical winter

...Ok, its still worth sharing our first glimpse of the east coast.
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As we rolled down the hill towards Wonga Beach, we welcomed the rising coastal temperature. And it was a warm reception from Jen's close family friends, Pat and Graham, who were traveling north for the season.
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Quality time was spent strolling down the beach and lapping up the picturesque Mossman golf course in between rusty swings.
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On towards the Daintree rainforest, an early rise to catch the ferry across to the NP. 
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We decided to ditch the van and camp for a few nights, still, never far from civilisation. 
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Up towards the top of Cape Tribulation we found a watering hole, keeping a watchful eye for crocs.
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Cape York will have to wait for another trip but hearing so much about a unique and isolated camp, we decided to make the trek further north. Re-hitched we took on the 4wd track to Elim, found in the horseshoe bay just above Cooktown. It was everything we'd hoped for. 
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We hear this place attracts universities to study the still relatively unknown cause of the fresh water bubbling up through the sand. 

Jen's keen eye spotted this tree snake scurrying up from the beach and into the nearest hiding spot.
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Back towards Cairns, Palm Cove was a great base for a few days...
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... But what's that stuff in the sky?!...
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...Seemed like a perfect day to meet up with our traveling friends from our last blog entry, Emma and Ryan and their two lovely kids, from Mt Gambier. Crystal Cascades did in fact have plenty of running water because of the down-pour and the kids had the run of the park. 
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Very slowly, creeping down the coast, our next stop Kurrimine to spend time with Brad's uncle John and Bev.

Posted by Jenandbrad 18:59 Archived in Australia Comments (5)

NT to FNQ

We were interested to see Katherine having been Trent's (Brad's twin) home for 6 months many years ago. He carved out didgeridoos here at the local art gallery, one of which is with us this trip. 'Kathy' Gorge was beautiful by kayak although no luck with the barra so it was falafel for dinner, within a nice campsite under the trees within the NP. It would have been a different experience had we had Trent as our tour guide. Maybe next time mate. 
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On our way south we stopped by Mataranka to check out Bitter hot springs; The beautiful turquoise water carried us down a channel through Lilly pads and mossy logs. Mataranka thermal pool used by generals during the war, was crowded, less natural and not a patch on the Bitter springs. I'm sure it's the warm water that makes you do crazy things!
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Like all travelers to this area we spent a night at Daly Waters a quirky, historic pub claiming to be "The Reel Outback Of Oztralia". 
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They pack em in here! Parking attendant John on bike showed us to our plot 60 odd vans in each row. 
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There was pub memorabilia covering every inch of the place. A gathering of bras, undies, ID cards, jerseys, photos etc reflecting how many thousands of travelers stop into this town in the middle of no where.
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The novelty of the place included a unique show "Reflections Of The Aussie Spirit -  100% Outback Stralian". The most politically incorrect entertainer but hilarious, belly laughing evening.

We crossed the cane toad border into Camooweal, Mt Isa then up towards Karumba near the Gulf of Carpentaria. Forget the big banana, this life size Normanton crocodile was caught and recorded at 8.6m! 
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The Karumba crew have a unique but appreciated humour...
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... We met another lovely young family coasting around and shared our last sunset over the water together. 
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With the east coast on our minds it was back on the road to get some kms under the belt, on the lookout for hungry cows... 
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Our overnight stays often turned into two, surprised by the charm a number of the free camps offered. 
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By avoiding the highway directly to Cairns, we rolled through the stunning mountains of the Atherton Tablelands. Tully Gorge and rainforest was a highlight, Jen admiring the 300m drop from a safe distance... 
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...including a winding drive through Millaa Millaa and Yungaburra countryside. 
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Zig zagging down the great dividing range back towards our beloved Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately the sun spoiling the shot but we don't need to show you all how beautiful the east coast is!

Posted by Jenandbrad 00:41 Archived in Australia Comments (3)

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