Leaving Kenilworth Northbound

Finally the day arrived where we forced ourselves to leave Kenilworth.  We have had such a great relaxing time here where we met some really open minded funny people and enjoyed some laughs around the fire.  We know if we don’t leave now it would limit our time as we travel in relation to the heat followed by the wet season in the north of the country.

Before leaving we met up with Karen & Helge for breakfast.  We had a lot in common with them and our conversations always flowed easily.  We will definitely keep in touch as we continue our travels.

Todays road trip will sees us head to the coast for a change with Rainbow Beach the destination.

A mate of the O’Neills on the bus offered them an empty block to park at which our bus mates also offered to us which we grabbed.  We arrived at said block which was large enough to take both the bus, Landcruiser & caravan.  For once we arrived first due to the bus leaving a bit later.  The block was 3 streets from the beach and kind of level but was definitely a very sandy surface.  The neighbourhood looked pretty posh with some large houses with the usual boats and utes to tow them.  The immediate neighbour came out for a chat and offered us a power and water hook up from his house, amazing.  Across the road another one asked if we needed anything and where we were from.   We settled on a part of the block which we figured would leave enough room for the bus complete with trailer to reverse on to then went for a walk through the little town.  Feeling thirsty we headed in to the Deck a bar on a corner which had three levels.  The top level offered great views but as we had Max we could only use the ground level.  Still it was great, I had an alcoholic ginger beer and Kaz an Asahi. 

Deciding on some lunch we went to the local cafe chip shop where a lot of people were buying from.  One fish and chips was enough for us, we headed to the beach found a large rock to sit on then split our bounty between us.  Honestly both the fish and the chips were huge.  The fish was bright white, breaded and was lovely and thick but tender.  The view was pretty amazing with low tide and heaps of 4×4’s driving up and down.

By this time we reckoned our bus mates should be arriving soon so we headed back to the block.  Not long after the bus pulled in and surveyed the block.  Richo decided the best spot and decided to reverse on and up.  With lengths of wood placed to help lift it over the kerbs up it went reversing complete with trailer which had their Prado on board and that’s when it happened.

The heavy weight of bus and trailer combined to sink in to the deep soft sand where it remained bogged.  Poor Richo then had to dig around the rear driving wheels then tried to pull out with no luck as the wheel just spun without traction.  Luckily we have a pair of Max Tracks and take two involved stuffing them under the tyres where hopefully the would help to provide some grip but once again the wheel just spun.  Next idea was to try pulling it with our Landcruiser.  A snatch strap was added after out tow ball was removed and replaced by a heavier duty version.  With revs built up, the slack taken up, I floored it but the bus didn’t move an inch.  Rich then said “put it in 4 wheel drive” this done I selected the elec pwr option then floored it again.  This time the Landcruiser roared, gripped then dragged the bus on to the Max tacks with wheels spinning pulling it forward and out of its bogged position.  The bus was then removed from the block, parked back on the bitumen of the street to the amazement of the neighbours who had assured us that that car will not pull that bus out.  This then left the trailer with Prado on board to be removed which was completed easily.  Of course by this time we now had nowhere to stay tonight but Rachael had shown smarts and called the Big4, we grabbed two large sites then had to ask them to wait until we arrived as closing time was in 10 minutes.  Then with everything hooked back up including our van we all raced for the Big4.  The girl at reception had stayed past her finishing time to book us in, what an absolute legend.  To say a beer was needed would be an understatement.  This kind of drama we don’t want to repeat but at least we know we can get ourselves out of it if it does reappear. With darkness descending we get our sites set up and for a change have a welcome early night.

After a great and peaceful night where we slept like logs we take Max for a walk down to the boat ramp which is adjacent to the site.  On a beautiful sunny calm morning there are heaps of boats being dropped in to the water as each heads out hoping to land that dreamed of catch.  

We however have our minds on our own catch which is a bacon and egg roll complimented by a cup of hot coffee for me and tea for Kaz.  Max will enjoy his usual feed before waiting on the scraps from us.

Having only booked in for one night it’s up to the office to stay another night which is no problem and a bonus that we don’t need to change site.

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XTend Outdoor Annex, Kenilworth Cheese

Having tried to fit our new annex to the van when we arrived at Kenilworth which was getting close to a divorce situation we have Colin from XTend Outdoors coming to ensure everything is fit for purpose.  Colin will also fit the all new walls which are now the correct size.  He ensures us that when he leaves the awning will be fitted correctly with no missing pieces.  True to his word he steps us through the entire operation with every piece gliding together easily due to being the correct size this time.  We set up our new space which gives us double the space of the van with chairs, table and matting to keep us off the grass.  

we also had a go at putting out our roof top tent and amazingly it all went well.

Hopefully this is the last item to be fixed although we have ordered an Armax Snorkel for river crossings which we will have fitted in Cairns North Queensland.  Richo our bus mate has also ordered diff breathers for our Landcruiser and his Prado.  Having celebrated my birthday a few days ago Kaz picks up an item at the post office which turns out to be a cracking set of spotlights for the Landcruiser.  These lights are huge and will turn night in to day with their projected light being up to a claimed 1.7M.

Later we finally take the chance to head to the Kenilworth dairy where they have a little cafe called Poppa’s serving cheese tasting box, snacks, ice cream and a huge selection of gourmet cheeses.  The milk is also the best we have tasted with a rich cream flavour reminding us of our school milk from 50 years ago. We go for the cheese tasting box with a ham, cheese and tomato toasted sandwich. The only cheese we didn’t like was the garlic we also added crackers at $2.00.

Having scoffed that lot we then grabbed some delicious ice cream, Lime and Coconut for me and English Toffee for Kaz both large double servings.

Afterwards we headed over to the Charity shop as our last sales item, the double blow up bed with two pumps didn’t sell so we donated it to them in the hope the sales goes to someone needy.

A while back we chatted to a couple Karen & Helge who were here then left then came back again.  That evening we walked over to their site, had a couple of drinks, a chat and all sat round a great fire.  Karen is Scottish, Helge is German and we actually know Karen’s family from way back in Scotland, talk about a small world.  We had a great night but it seemed to be over in a flash and off to bed we trotted.  

During the night we heard the rain begin and by 3.00am it got really heavy.  We were glad to be tucked up in the van and not in a tent as some people would be.

When morning arrived as usual there was sunshine after a storm but the rain had poured under our just fitted annex and the water had got through our floor matting.  This turned the place in to a pond which we attempted to drain without wearing shoes.  Admitting defeat we had no choice but to drag everything outside then remove the annex to let the sun dry the entire area.  At least this time we could pack all the pieces away correctly marking their positions for reassembly.

With everywhere wet we decided to head out and take a drive to the coast.  We headed for the town of Mooloolaba which we have visited several times over the years.  It’s a lovely small holiday area with the usual waterfront high rises and apartment blocks sitting on the esplanade which itself has lines of bars and restaurants.  One of my favourites is the Lifesaving club which as you would expect sits high just of the beach with fantastic views and people watching position.  As we have Max with us this time we have a good walk along the beach, the esplanade then back to the car.  On the way back we decide to head to Bunnings again as the video we watched showing how to fit a clothes line to the awning was not not suitable for ours.  We kept most of the parts but added a couple of bits which are more suited to our application.  We will have a go at this in the coming days.

On WikiCamps our travelling bible we were alerted to a review written about the Showgrounds we are at.  On opening it the author was having a moan about tents not being allowed on site.  This might be a valid point but as he proceeded to have a go at people who have large vans and four wheel drives that he couldn’t afford.  It seemed to me he had just lost any sympathy I had.  He then went further to call our bus mates rednecks.  We found this funny but again nothing to do with his original point.

We moved site to the river end of the camp to enable the Queensland Caravan Club to take over the entire centre section of the camp.  One by one they started to arrive and it seemed there would be even more to arrive but apparently they had around 36 cancellations this was either due to COVID or they had seen the weather forecast.  

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Birthday, Roof Top Tent, Late Night

In a few weeks time our plan is to be ready to drive up to Cape York.  With this in mind we had a rethink about our ground tent and decided we would rather be off the ground.  With this in mind we got on to the 4WD Superstore to check out some rooftop tents.  Deciding on a 4 person one complete with awning we got the card out and confirmed that we would collect at our nearest store on the Sunshine Coast.

This entailed a drive of about 50 minutes which was really easy.  The guys at the store helped us get it out of the packaging as we could fit it there and then.  This sounded great to us but when it was unwrapped then thrown on to our roof rack the two guys left us on our own to fit it.  This was never going to happen.  We just put our ratchet straps on and headed back to Kenilworth.

Richo our bus mate has one of these tents on his Prado.  He knows his way around them and was a blessing when he fitted ours with a tiny bit of assistance from me.

Richo and Rachael not only printed some stickers for the Land cruiser and caravan promoting our online sites but also fitted then as well.  

The ground tent we advertised and sold very quickly on Marketplace to a great buyer who turned up on time and without drama.  Next to go was the fire pit we purchased as we are sticking to our somethings in equals something out plan and once again bought by a top bloke.

We also had to move as the site we are on was booked out by the Queensland caravan club who are also taking over the middle of the entire camp area we are in.

On the 5th of July we celebrated my birthday.  I have to say I have never had so many people come and wish me happy birthday as I have at this camp.  From kids to adults all took time to celebrate it.  I also received many birthday wishes from home in Scotland and from Facebook friends.  Also a jazzy birthday collaboration from Brian, Rhonda and Keelen back in Geelong which was funny to watch.  Our bus mates surprised me with a 1kg donut cake complete with candles and gifted me an amazing personal stubby holder.  

Later we went to the local pub and enjoyed some food with great company.  Drinks were enjoyed including a wicked cocktail which was too easy to drink.  Later we returned to the big bus which has a wicked gazebo.  A fire was lit, we had some great tunes, a singalong and were joined by another couple of travellers and had some great laughs.  Amazingly and stupidly we eventually headed for bed at 2:30am!!  

Not the best pic but you get the idea.

Me Richo and Joe were the last men standing in fact we were the last ones period as all the smart people went to bed hours earlier.  It was however a great day and night which we all enjoyed.

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Bunnings, Brisket Pies and COVID

Having survived another night of constant rain which still continues this morning, we have to venture outside on to the saturated grounds to give Max a walk.

Then having watched a video by trip in a van on YouTube showing a simple way to add a washing line to an awning we head to Bunnings in Gympie.

Having collected all the bits required we head back via the town of Imbil once more.  

There is a Deli in town who produce fantastic gourmet brisket pies which we are dying to try.  We did try before and the place was closed but this time we are in luck as we catch it just before it closes.  Our luck is in again as there are only two of the pies left.  

Instead of going straight back to Kenilworth we sit in a little covered wooden gazebo in the town and tuck in to the pies.  I can confirm that they didn’t disappoint and taste amazing with fluffy pastry, a crispy crust and stuffed with chunks of melt in the mouth brisket covered in a tasty gravy.  Definitely recommend these, they are delicious.

Amazingly on the way back the rain stops which is very much welcomed.  It will at least help the grounds lose some of the water but will take several days to dry out.

We then get news that a person with COVID has visited Kenilworth.  We are yet to find out exactly where in the town but rumour has it that it might have been the pub.  The advice is to monitor yourself and if any symptoms at all, then get tested immediately.   We will have to keep watch in case the advice changes and tests are ordered which would result in a 14 day quarantine for us.

tonight our bus mates informed us they were having a quiet one tonight just as we were about to tell them the same thing. Tomorrow we will be up early and head to the coast to collect an item we have purchased.

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Queensland, The Rain Coast

We woke to the news that the lockdown in our area will end tonight Friday the second of July at six pm.   Can’t say if affected us much as we are staying here for another nine days anyway but it is fantastic for the businesses around the tiny town.  

Last night as usual we headed over to the O’Neills on the bus, where Richo and Rachael had invited us to grab a plate then tuck in to an amazing lump of beef cooked on their Webber bbq.  This was accompanied by honey glazed carrots, garlic hassle back potatoes and a beautiful gravy.  All devoured in front of a flaming fire out in the open air.  (well under the massive gazebo).

As the night went on we were joined by another couple who we hadn’t met before.  They are from Victoria and like us travelling Australia but in their case only for one year.  It seems that we will are all pretty much heading in the same direction including Cape York at the very top of Queensland.  As usual the night went on a bit and we ended up calling it a night about eleven thirty.

Next Day

As the heading suggests, the Sunshine Coast is certainly not living up to it’s name as there has been a large amount of rain falling and the ground is getting pretty soft in a lot of areas.  The forecast states that the rain although not that heavy but constant will last until Monday at least.  Works for me as that is my Birthday and we should be able to get out and about.  Amazingly for us, there is a pub in town and we have yet to step inside.  It might be a day to fix that.

Max our Border Collie remains a bit on edge and not his usual self.  There are a few children around which Max tends to bark at and given the chance might even have a chew at.  This is becoming a bit of an issue for us as the last thing we want is for him to bite someone but it’s almost impossible to guard him for every second as people, particularly kids are drawn to his puppy cute looks.

Tonight Kaz has made a tasty chicken and mushroom risotto which is devoured by everyone.

Tonight is another footy night round the fire at the big bus.  The Geelong Cats (our team) win against Essendon.  Which gets the Cats get back to winning ways.  The game is being in part overshadowed by the persistent rain.  Joining us under the O’Neills gazebo where we are sheltered from the rain and heated by a fantastic fire are Greg and Sherrie the people who are travelling Australia for a year with kids in tow.  It’s great fun swapping stories, destinations and having a good laugh.

We then watched as a new van arrived after the 6pm lockdown had just passed.  The poor people were setting up a little pop top van in the dark and were doing well till another burst of rain arrived sending them running for shelter as the rain extinguished their fire.  Tomorrow the rain is forecasted to be the heaviest with the risk of a storm !!

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Queensland Lockdown, Kenilworth

As expected a lockdown was called in Queensland but luckily only for 3 days at this stage.  To be honest the only difference it made to us was the number of people heading out of the camp.  It was quite funny watching a large group from a caravan club working feverishly like ants packing up we assume to get home before the lockdown measures take effect.  

Caravan Club Packing Up

Kaz took a walk in to the town with Max and already people were walking around wearing masks.  Later we did some panic buying, the beer fridge was our main concern and amazingly the bottle shop was quiet.  We did add some of the usual needy items of food but we travel from major towns stocked up pretty much. We also extended our stay here until 11/07/2021 just ensure we avoid most of the herd on school holidays. We will have to move next Wednesday as the entire camp has been booked out by the Queensland Caravan Club who are having a huge meeting.

At times like these we are very lucky to be self contained with bathroom and shower in the van.  

Next morning we walk up to the bakers only to find it closed and the usually bustling street is pretty much deserted with a couple of the cafes supplying takeaway coffee and a certain amount of food.  The local supermarket however is open meaning supplies should not be an issue. 

Main Street Deserted.

Our Showgrounds are now closed and people who could not leave before the lockdown are now stuck at least until Friday.  It is also not possible to enter the Showgrounds or leave unless in an emergency.

So not much to report other than this so I have added a few pic’s around the place.

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Imbil Railway Bridge