Beach Drive on Sandy Point, Queensland.

A few pic’s of another beautiful beach drive at Byfield National Parks, Sandy Point. Dropped tyre pressures to about 20 psi. With new powerful spotlights fitted. We need to get moving further north to make Cape York before heading south again then west. Follow us at our Facebook Group – our wee journey, just send a request to join as the group is private.

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

Booloumba Falls, Queensland

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.

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North to Kenilworth, Queensland

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.

Port Macquarie Solar Fix

Arrived at Watsons Caravans Port Macquarie.  We unhooked the van as instructed and left to meet up with our bus buddies the O’Neills who had stayed in Port Macquarie the previous night.  They gave us the good oil in that there weren’t many places to stay in the town but they might stay one more night but might not.

Within an hour Watsons called and said the van was ready for collection and we headed straight back.  On arrival they informed us that they had tested the solar system and had found it working as it was supposed to.  Let’s just say that we were happy that it was working fixed or not.  We also have a problem with the monitor for our rear view and reverse cameras.  Without issue Watsons swapped our monitor with a brand new one which worked perfectly.  Obviously we had been given a faulty monitor from the start.  They then said that they couldn’t let us have this new monitor as they only had one.  Again they were extremely helpful and told us to head to the Watsons branch at Coffs Harbour where we were heading to at some point as we travel north as usual.

Having spoken to the O’Neills re staying in Port Macquarie we decided to leave here and with the help of WikiCamps headed to the town of Goolawah which is an easy drive and we get there pretty quickly and choose a site to park.  There weren’t many folks around and the ones who were there were pretty spaced out.  This is a cheap option at $18.00 for a location which sits almost on the beach.  Another advantage of this one is that we don’t have to unhook from the van making departure a lot easier when we leave next morning.  We took a stroll along a short path lined by trees which opened up on to a beautiful white sandy beach.  Unfortunately on the way back having watched some surfers catching waves the rain started to fall.  The rain got quite persistent and we had no choice but to remain in the van.  This is no bad thing as we got the dominoes out and enjoyed some great rounds.  For the record Kaz won 10-5 then it was lights out and fell asleep listening to the ocean waves.

The dawn arrived next morning bringing with it a stunning sunrise and the views we’re breathtaking.  We packed up and once again we were on the road north

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