With the increasing chance of a Covid lockdown or increased restrictions in Queensland, we head today to do some 4×4 driving. Our mates Richo and Rachael will lead the way and us novices will follow along.
We are heading close to the park where we seen the Fig Trees but this time we turn and take the road towards the Booloumba Falls.
The road starts off pretty straight forward although part single track then it changes to dirt then on to some rough stones. Then we come to an open gate with a sign which states “4×4 only ahead” and in front is a river crossing that Richo reckons is not too deep and if we are happy to have a go, follow them in.
Although this is what we bought this car for we are still a little nervous as we drive in. This is the point when we will miss the ARB snorkel that we have been waiting to fit even before the trip had begun. As we watch Richo (with snorkel fitted) continue on we follow on and with the car plunging deeper in to the water we are relieved as it crosses complete with bow wave then climbs up and on to the opposite side without any drama. The road then becomes more dirt, stones and some big holes to navigate. We are glad to be doing a tag along with our mates as we might have hit some holes and dips a bit too fast. Then before we know it we have another water crossing but as we are now experts we cross without hesitation and are having a great time laughing as we go.
After quite some time we arrive at the car park that has a few other 4×4 cars parked and begin the 1.5km walk to the falls. This is a bit up and down but has a massive drop on it’s left hand side. We arrive and had envisaged the falls to be higher, they are however spectacular and on a hot day would be a dream to swim in. We spend a bit of time taking photos and videos then climbing around the massive rocks surrounding the water. Its then a repeat all the way back to the main road including the two river crossings and reverse holes and dips.
After returning to camp we all decided that tonight there will be no fire. Instead we can all enjoy an early night.
To watch the video of the river crossing go to our Facebook Group – Link Below
Today we are on the road, caravan free for a change and head out on the Maleny Kenilworth Road towards Maleny. On the way we stop off at Fig Tree Walk in the Blackall Range. The walk is nice and short at 1100M with a clean path which takes you through a deep forest to the amazing Moreton Bay Fig trees around. Bizarrely there is a tree here called the Giant Stinging Tree who’s heart shaped leaves can give you a severe skin issue and worse if you were to breath in the spores would result in severe breathing problems.
We then take a drive on a fantastic road through some equally spectacular scenery then through the busy town of Maleny and reach Gardners Falls. This place is a very popular spot for swimming on hot days and we see a couple of boys using a rope swing to crash in to the deeper part of the falls. This place is within a National park and as such Max has to remain in the car but thankfully the car park is pretty close and he is not left for long before we are back.
We then return to Maleny grab some supplies and head back to Kenilworth where we are based.
As we drive back in to our spot we are met by a scene next to us where we have new neighbours in a camping trailer who appear to have eight children most under five. The kids are running around all over the place in front of our van and we have to drive in at a crawl as the parents attempt to round them up. We are happy to discover later that they are only here for a couple of nights and the kids are shared by two couples.
To get some peace and quiet we head up to the O’Neills on the bus go round and round bus where we are charged with getting tonight’s fire going. We walk around camp, find some sticks to use as kindling which we use with our fire lighters and actually manage to get the thing lit before the Richo and Rachael return. The two of us are then introduced to a new game called Rummy-o and with expert training we surprisingly manage to win a couple
of games before we bring the curtain down on another day on the road.
Having spent a couple of nights in Ipswich the time arrives for us to move on. Today we are heading to the town of Kenilworth.
The drive should be pretty simple but busy in places as we navigate our way through Brisbane. The cars gps then decides to send us in a wrong direction that takes us off the M1 too early and we end up climbing up hills then down some huge gradients which makes the cars brakes increasingly hotter. We decide to stop and let them cool down then head back to the M1 and take the route we should have taken via Eumundi.
We drive through what is the tiny town centre passing the renowned local bakery famed for it’s donuts including a 1K version. If you manage to eat it all of you pay nothing and receive a Souvenir plaque. They also have some cool artwork outside.
Arriving at the entrance we have to stop then call the number provided and we are instructed to reverse back out and head for another section of the park. As we get there we see that our bus mates are already there due to our gps stuff up. We are the joined by a guy called Wombat who ensures we are in the correct spot and he gives us a few ground rules then heads off again. In this section of the park there is also a large get together by a caravan club with another club arriving in the next few days.
We set up in no time as we have had heaps of practice up to this point. As we might be here for two weeks depending on the vibe of the place we decide we will attach our new annex to the van. This will provide almost double our covered living space.
Then it happened. As we try and get the annex to fit, it all seems a bit tight and we are having to put a great deal of effort in to getting things to mesh. We quickly suspect that the company have provided an incorrect front wall as there is about six inches of extra material in it. We press on though and there is no way we can get it done. We have now been trying this for about three hours and decide to abandon it and revisit it in the morning. Next day we take the annex down completely as we have watched a how to on the companies website. We follow the instructions and again after another three hours we throw in the towel .
I call the company who tell us that someone will come out to inspect and report on the problem. I tell them that we are taking it down, they ask us to send some pictures highlighting the problem. We do as requested and they say someone has had a dyslexic moment and have provided us an annex that will not fit our van. To say we are annoyed would be an understatement. They then tell us that it will be corrected by someone visiting us on the seventh of July. When quizzed further they tell us that only the front wall will be swapped and I inform them that there are also other pieces missing and we would prefer to have the complete annex replaced with an all new one which is what we have paid for. As I write this we have had no other contact from the company.
Having spent just about every moment since we arrived messing about with annex we are pretty knackered and head for a hot shower and a cold refreshment.
We then head over to the bus mates who have a cracking fire going and we have quite a few wines before it’s bedtime on another day on the road.
This morning we take it easy and have a chat to a couple who have the same van as us. Like us they are heading north and we swap opinions and tips about our vans. We then head out on our next leg with the destination of Ipswich, Queensland.
This will be a two night stop as we want to get further north then avoid the typical caravan parks due to school holidays starting and lasting a couple of weeks. We are staying at the Showgrounds which have plenty of room. They also have immaculate facilities as well as being next door to the Greyhound club.
We spend our time on the usual chores in both caravan and car. Later we head over and are trackside as the dish lickers are racing tonight. We use our betting app to get some bets on and as usual don’t pick a winner. It was pretty amazing being so close to the action though.
Our bus mates do better than us and get a couple of winners. They also get a visit from a relative called Sam. He is a top bloke, funny and great company.
Later we spend some time planning our next stop which will be for two weeks in the town of Kenilworth which is about 30 mins inland from Eumundi and 50 mins from the Sunshine Coast.
It turns out that we made the correct decision to make a dash over the border in to Queensland. Only hours later the QLD government decided that due to a rise in COVID cases in NSW a pass would be needed and a 14 day quarantine would be mandatory.
Our road mates “the O’Neills on the bus go round and round” had made the same dash as ourselves and were also happy to be in QLD. Later we get together and Kaz has cooked a chilli con carne which we all get in to and Richo as usual has a great fire on the go. We were also joined by another couple who were from South Australia and they were also travelling in a bus. They are spending a week visiting all the Gold Coast theme parks with their three kids.
Next day and we rise a little later than usual and take a walk in to the Main Street of the town. We have never heard of this place but it seems a lot of folks do as the coffee shops are very busy and there are the usual weekend toys out including some fancy cars and motorbikes in addition to some motor homes and caravans. The sun is shining and everyone is enjoying the relaxed vibe.
We then take a drive to Broadbeach to grab an ocean fix. This place is really nice with a fantastic beach and boardwalk. It also provides a great view of surfers paradise and the Gold Coast massive skyscrapers including Q1 which we have stayed at a few years ago. Max also enjoys a splash in the ocean before we get in the shade for some lunch then heading back to Canungra.
Later on we treat ourselves and order a wood fired pizza and then head over to the O’Neills bus and watch a fantastic game of AFL footy on the big telly with Geelong winning the match with the last kick of the game against the Bulldogs.
Saturday we are up to take a drive up to the world heritage listed Lamington National Park. It’s a steep and torturous 36K drive up the green mountains with hairpin bends, one way sections, blind crests and passing places. Thankfully Kaz is driving as she is not the best passenger even on normal roads. I get the best of the views as Kaz is unable to take her eyes off the road for a second. At the very top we reach the O’Reillys rainforest resort which is a bit chaotic with very little opportunities to park and of course being a National park we are not allowed to do much as we have Max in tow. There are a great number of walking tracks in to bush ranging from 1.8 to 21.4K all of different levels and terrain. We decide to make our way back down to the village as we can’t do anything and we won’t leave Max in the car. The return trip is just as hairy and again Kaz handles it without issue.
Tonight we have another treat as we head down to the Canungra hotel for food and drinks with our bus mates. Strangely we are in the same part of the lounge where a wedding is taking place. I look across the room as the bride in full wedding dress is walking through. I smile my congratulations to which she walks over to our table and asks how our evening is going. We again congratulate her and she chats a bit more before walking off!! Not sure if she thought we were part of the wedding party but it sure was strange. Having had a good night we walk back up the hill in pitch darkness and use our phone torches to navigate.
Sunday we headed to the town of Nerang for supplies including dog food then returned to again have a walk through Canungra where we swap our gas bottle (first time on the trip) and also grab some fire wood to use on our newly purchased fire pit. Tomorrow we will leave to head further north so we have a quiet night having packed up our kit again.
Having spent some time at Glenugie it was time to move on. This place has been a really great stop and we will definitely return here.
Today we head to Tullera which is a bit north of Lismore in NSW. It’s around a two and a half hour drive but we decide to stop in the small town of Yamba.
This place is really nice, clean and not too busy. We had a walk around the centre which had the usual mix of shops you regularly see in a costal town. We went in to the caravan park to ask the cost of a night here would be and laughed as the girl at the desk said $75.00 a night. We left pronto laughing as we went.
Back on the road we soon arrive at the farm in Tullera just north of Lismore that we would be spending one night at for a bargain $20.00 a night with power and water included. We quickly got the power on, connected all our devices to charge then connected the water, got heaps of washings done in our machine in the van then filled both our water tanks with 60 litre tanks. It was then hot showers in the van and five o’clock cocktail time whilst taking in the stunning views.
Later on when I took Max for his last splash and dash pee, I noticed over the hill on the other side that a huge lightning storm was happening. Then about three am we were woken up by the same storm above us and the rain then came hammering down but thankfully for a pretty short time. The following morning arrived with the usual sunshine you get after a storm.
Another day another drive. With a new COVID outbreak starting in NSW we reckon it’s best for us that we get to and through the border in to Queensland before the outbreak grows and Queensland close the border or make anyone crossing from NSW have to quarantine for 14 days. So with that in mind we get on to WikiCamps and find a great campsite inland of the Gold Coast in the town of Canungra. This place is spotless, huge, roomy with great views and is only 600 metres from the town. We book in for 2 nights the a short time later added another 2.
Today we decided to take a drive to the towns of Lawrence and Maclean. We had an idea that we might want to make a stop in these two but we thought since we had time we would visit both without the need to stay.
We kept the road to Lawrence interesting by staying off the freeway which entailed us getting on a ferry to cross the river over to Lawrence. The ferry only held about a dozen cars and the river crossing took all of 5 minutes.
The Lawrence stop was supposed to be at the Lawrence Tavern which sits close to the river and when we arrived to take a look we were glad we didn’t bother bringing the van. After a short walkabout, and I mean short as there was very little to see, we then motored on to Maclean.
Maclean named itself “The Scottish Town in Australia”, it has 200 tartan painted power poles and hosts a Scottish Highland games competition complete with pipe bands. To avoid looking at every pole we head in to the information centre where we get a map of the town which shows every tartan painted pole and their location. Lucky for us the Graham and MacDonald ones are pretty close together as the town has some pretty steep hills.
Later we treat ourselves to fish and chips which we scoff up at the towns viewpoint in Lions Park. The views are spectacular over the Clarence river and surrounds
Before long it’s time to return to Glenugie and start to pack up as tomorrow we will move on.
Probably one of our shortest drives to Glenugie. We drive up the 2k dirt road just off the highway and turn in to a private tree lined driveway.
Yoremmup is a private property sitting on a large acreage where will stay for a bit. The place is owned by Glen & Glenda who are travellers themselves who allow self contained vans to stay in their immaculate grounds.
We are lucky as we get the place to ourselves which lets us relax as mad Max can wonder around off leash. There is also a dam, some great picturesque seating and a massive fire pit with an abundance of wood around supplied by our hosts. Grafton is also not far from the property for supplies. Our plan here is to chill, read books and watch the Kangaroos and Wallaby’s wonder around. Since the weather will be in the 20+ with bright sunshine for our time here we may stay longer. We are getting plenty of solar power but water will ultimately mean we will have to move on at some point.
Having had a great time at Nana Glen we are actually heading south back to Nambucca Heads. On the way we drop in to Coffs Harbour as today there is a market on. We wondered if it would be possible for us to park as we have the caravan attached. Turning in we are happy to see a bus parked and motored on through to find a spot. The market had all the usual stuff plus a stage with a singer. Unfortunately I think every dog owner in Coffs Harbour have decided to visit the market today. This puts us and Max on edge so we decide to leave and take a stroll along the boardwalk which is crazy busy but has less dogs.
Heading back to the van we grab a couple of breakfast rolls then take a drive to the far side of the bay and take another walk around the sea break with it’s massive concrete blocks. We loved the boom the ocean made as it smashed in to the blocks in an attempt to knock them over.
Back on the road we make good time and arrive at the Ingenia White Albatross holiday park where we had booked in for a couple of nights but we decided to increase this and made it for four nights. This place is in a great location for touring the area and the site were allocated and the people next to us was outstanding. It even has a Bar/Restaurant at the entrance.
Whilst here we travel back to Coffs Harbour as we had quite a few things to get done. First was to swap our rear view/reverse camera monitor at Jayco which they swapped out without issue. Having this new monitor will save us a heap of hassle which we have suffered since we fitted the thing. We then headed to the 4WD Superstore where purchased a fire pit and carry bag. Then it was off to Bunnings for a few items. On the way back we took a couple of diversions first to the big banana then in to the town of Uranga which was forgettable but at least we gave Max a good run with his frisbee. We returned to camp and had a good walk along the V Wall which is a huge wall of rocks as a defence against the rough seas. People have been allowed to cover them in positive art which makes for a good read.
Next day we headed down to the local shopping centre where we heard we could get our first COVID jab. We were lucky as we managed to get the last two available. These are the AstraZeneca version which Kaz reported hers to be easy whilst mine felt like a dry needle type. Later we both developed mild headaches but I had a big increase in temperature which then escalated to getting chills and then the shakes with muscle spasms which resulted in me heading to bed. Luckily for me I woke about 2 hours later and felt pretty fine but retained a bit of a headache. I also could not get back to sleep for at least 3 hours. Overall we both felt a bit funny for the next few days.
After a leisurely morning we are back in to it and today’s destination is the little town of Nana Glen. A tiny town but a real nice place to visit which we were tipped off about by the O’Neills with the bus. On the way we head in to the town of Kempsey and collect some supplies. Surprisingly this included food and no alcohol. As we were making good time and our spot was booked we stopped on the way north at Nambucca Heads. We are amazed at the views this place has to offer and the vibe is definitely chilled with an abundance of beaches around. It is however pretty steep in places and tight to get round but worth the hassle. We motor on but decide that we have to return here for at least a few days, it’s not like we are in any hurry.
We head through a number of country roads and having checked out another place then move on. We arrive at the Nana Glen Sports Recreation & Equestrian Centre and are welcomed by the O’Neills on the bus waving and directing us in. We meet Lee who is the caretaker for John the owner.
Lee welcomes us with a big smile and an immediate chilled outlook whilst inviting us to set up wherever we like on this huge property. Like old hands now we set up in record time although we needed John to provide a very long extension cable to hook us up to power but as the water is from the creek we decide we will use our own tanks. Later on we head over to the bus and continue where we left off last time. As the night went on we started to think about food. No worries says Rachael who then makes the most amazing toastier with her machine. Sceptical at first at the contents, I can tell you they are so tasty and as I write this post I am imagining me eating one right now. The pig I am I managed to down two off them, yum. As darkness descended we sat around the huge tv and took in an afl game then it was off to bed.
The following day is a big day for Nana Glen as it’s Bale Day and we are set up at the venue where all the activities will take place. John drops by in the actual Jeep used in the advert on tv for Jeep staring Jack Thompson. He also has a few other Jeep vehicles in his collection of stuff.
later the event gets underway with 2000 people in attendance and surprisingly it is a free event. There is a gold coin donation for parking although most folks just line their cars along the boundary fence. We head over a bit later as we figure with all the food trucks in attendance we may as well eat here and support the traders.
There is face painting, a screaming castle, machinery on show, Jeep’s of course. Whilst eating our food we take in the aboriginal smoking ceremony in front of the bonfire which will be lit after dark. There is also a stage set up and a few singers are doing their stuff and we have a good stroll around. With the announcement made that the bonfire is about to be lit we sprint round to grab a good spot. A group of aboriginal people have lit a small fire in an urn which they will light the fire with but as they attempt it the fire is just not lighting!! We then hear the Indian drummers firing up and parading past what should have been a bonfire. Looks like they were sent on early as a distraction from the non fire.
The drummers were very good and also had three fire dancers doing their thing alongside a number of other dancers. By this time the aboriginal people brought out a leaf blower and finally managed to get the bonfire lit.
It was then time for the main event on stage which was a Creedence Clearwater Tribute band who were very good.
think they might turn the smoke machine down a bit next time as the band members were disappearing from view a few times. With a decision made to go back south again to Nambucca Heads tomorrow we have an early night