Thursday, 23 June 2016

Beautiful Rollingstone Beach Resort

You may have wondered why we have been so quiet this week. 
The picture above says it all... that is where we camped for the last five days. We left Airlie Beach and headed north to Rollingstone Beach, 60 kilometres north of Townsville.  A camping spot that we will be sure to return to. Our van backed onto the beach and we listened to the sounds of the waves lapping the sand as we drifted off to sleep each night. We met up with our longtime friends, Christine and Peter Toth, and had a very relaxing time. Walking, reading, eating, drinking and laughing for five days.
Our campsite on the edge of the beach

The beach there was beautiful and Ian and Peter spent a lot of time fishing and putting out crab traps. A few small fish were caught, but alas no crabs.

The highlight of the week was barracking for the maroons (me) in the outdoor bar as we watched the second state of origin on the big screen.

Fun with the Tothies!

Fishing, fishing, fishing

Great scenery

Relaxation plus

Are there crocodiles?

Great walks every day
One of the best things...and you know I love them...were the sunrises, sunsets and a spectacular moon rise!

The colours of the beach were amazing as the tide went out (A LONG way) and the sunset lit up the rocks.

The setting sun also made us look red! But that could have been the time we spent in the sun.

Watching the boys fish!
Watch out for crocodiles!

A very enjoyable few days... the pictures tell it all.  We've now packed up and moved back to Airlie Beach... stay posted for the fishing charter reports and photos!

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Murphy's Law

Is is really a week since we left Lake Awoonga and headed north! Time flies when you are relaxing.
So we headed off from the Lake on Monday morning and headed for Cape Palmerston Holiday Village on the coast from Ilbilbie. Ilbilbie has been a regular fuel stop since we first headed north with the kidlets in 1988 in a small 16 foot caravan with no luxuries. There used to be a big concrete tank there with live barramundi but it has disappeared some time over the years.
The trip north and then the short drive to the coast took us past sugar cane fields and then past Mount Funnell which overlooks Cape Palmerston.

 The caravan park there was one of the best, great facilities and drive through sites. Best of all, it was only a one hundred metre walk though the bush to a magnificent deserted beach with a deep creek at the north end of it. We explored on our first day, and then set off with towels and books, on the second, but alas we were chased away  by the biting midges. The beach walk was one of the best we've done and the tide went our for miles, leaving cowrie shells for us to add to the collection. On our second afternoon, we walked along the road and discovered a small village called Green Hill not far south of the park. The cheapest beach side houses we have ever seen on our travels.
Mount Funnell
Cape Palmerston stay
Cape Palmerston sunset

We packed up on Wednesday morning and headed  north to cover the two hundred kilometres to our favourite destination-Airlie Beach. On the way north we stopped for morning tea at Kuttabul and remembered how the kids had disappeared into the sugarcane there back in 1988!

Smith style morning tea on the road.

Love pulling up and being able to make a cuppa as we travel.

The first sight of the bay at Airlie Beach is one we enjoy every time we see it. Whether we are off sailing or camping at the Island Gateway, there is nothing to compare to that brilliant vista as you come over the hill from Cannonvale into Airlie Beach.

Our favourite place

For the first few days at Airlie we were favoured with brilliant weather. Clear, deep blue skies and no wind, and winter temperatures in the low thirties. We walked for the first few days, up to ten kilometres each day, explored the local coffee shops for morning tea, and the tavern across the road for dinner on Thursday night. One brilliant morning was spent reading  by the lagoon pool and only a short stroll away from the Beach Book Boutique  and coffee shop next door. Evenings are spent strolling along through the marina to watch the sunset and take some photos. We're doing it tough.

Airlie Beach is truly our favourite spot!

I called into the Beach Book Boutique to meet BJ in preparation for the book signing on Saturday and was excited to see all the advertising!

The weather stayed clear for Saturday and the book launch was great fun. I was interviewed by the local paper and it made the paper online the very next day!

It was good to catch up with reading and author friends, David R Garms, and Lea and Peter Payne. I first met Lea in the bookstore back in 2000 and we used to stock up our reading material before our sailing trips out to the islands!

A successful day and lots of new readers met, and books sold. It was great to meet local author Gail (Gi Gi) Harvey who will also be at the Whitsunday Writers' Festival in September.

Sunday dawned bright and clear but with the forecast of rain and wind,we squeezed in a huge walk before the weather turned, which it did late in the afternoon.

So Murphy's Law kicked in today (Monday) 

Torrential rain and I had decided to wash! While we were over in the park laundry waiting for the dryer to finish and brave the heavy rain back to the once cosy van, a water pipe decided to let go beneath the kitchen sink.
Luckily Ian came back before the van could completely flood, but was still greeted by a Niagara Fall of water when he opened the door.

It took us two hours and all the freshly washed, clean and dry towels to clean up the flood! A quick trip to the caravan place, a new connection, back to the laundry to wash again and all is well.
The weather is lifting slightly, but the winds and rain are forecast to stay around for a few days.

So no more sunsets for a couple of days, and we have bunkered down in the cosy van to catch up on our reading ...and blog. Maybe heading north later in the week... tune in to follow our next adventure.
Some of the fun photos taken on our walks below.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Lake Awoonga - Hopefully the bad weather won't come this far north.

I finished the last blog post with the comment...about the weather. Well, was that tempting fate or what? We settled into our new camp in a  quiet camp perched high above Lake Awoonga... this is the view from our ensuite window!

Lake Awoonga from the back window of the van.
As we set up, the sun was warm, a kookaburra was perched in the nearby tree watching us, and there was no wind. We opened up the awning, set up our camp chairs and tables... including my grandmother's lace cloth that we take camping. Some nibblies and a wine as darkness fell and all was right in our camping world. We kept a check on the weather at home via BOM on the laptop as the east coast low approached Nambucca.

Yep.. Guess who was camped in the van in the area that got 'incredible' rain. And wind. And thunder. And lightning. We were up from about 1.30am trying to secure the awning and worrying about the weather. Would have been interesting in the old camper trailer!

Next morning was clean up and dry out!
Drying out the next day

In the afternoon we went for a long walk and I was pleased when the Fit Bit buzzed in at 10,000 steps for the day but it always gives me a fright! The scenery around the lake is beautiful and there is hardly anyone here. We didn't pass one person on our walk around the top of the lake but were intrigued by the sound of bagpipes coming from the recreation area... the mystery was when we got there, there was no one there! 

This view reminded me of Lake Taupo in New Zealand..minus the snow.
The clouds were building in the west and the promise of a pretty sunset beckoned.  We set off for our second walk just before five and Mother Nature delivered.
I experimented with different settings on the camera and got some fabulous shots.
Gorgeous sky... we should have realised what this meant for the weather through the night!

Sinister sky ...and wind up high

Someone else held the camera for once

Sun behind the clouds

Pretty sky over the lake

The colours got deeper after the sun had set

So another early night snug in our van until about eleven o clock when the strong winds hit. Gale force winds of over forty knots shook the van and threatened to tear the awning from the side of the van. After considerable debate, and great reluctance on my part, we ventured out into the wind and the dark (in my fluffy dressing gown!) and pulled the awning down. A couple of vans over from us were having the same problem and Ian went across to help when ours was safe.

The three vans were safe and secure but not so the three young men who had set up camp along from us. They had set up a Quick Shade Gazebo over their swags, and when we saw it at dawn, it was shredded and all the metal was twisted out of shape. They packed up and broke camp just after the sun was up and we tried to catch up on two night's sleep.

We spent a leisurely day sitting in the sun  reading, and then headed for for a short drive along the lake and the Boyne River. Unfortunately the weather and the wind has meant no barramundi fishing this trip.

Tomorrow we will break camp and head for Cape Palmerston...I am not going to say anything about the weather and tempt fate this time!
More from the north soon...

Thursday, 2 June 2016

The rest of Week 1

On Tuesday morning we packed up and headed north to Hervey Bay...but first
here are the rest of the photos from the Mooloolaba and Brisbane visits.
A glorious sunset on the way back to the Sunshine coast

Taken from the car at 100 km per hour!

Thelma, Aunty Maureen,  and Anne..Aunty Maureen is a huge supporter of Australian authors. Check out her bookshelves.  I smiled, special treatment for Kakadu Sunset. it is in a brown paper bag for dust protection!

A visit to the Kombi and surfboard show. Fundraising for farmers in Central Queensland affected by drought

Ian's birthday lunch with cousins and friends
The new van set up at Mooloolaba
Ian's birthday lunch venue
The view from the restaurant
As we travelled north on Tuesday we were dismayed to see how dry the landscape was. The rain event forecast for this weekend is much needed there.
Travelling through Maryborough was nostalgic... I love the old Queenslanders.

An original Queenslander in Maryborough
Fraser Island from Point Vernon

 We settled into our new home the Sun Lodge Park at Point Vernon and headed off to visit more cousins! You can tell I am from Queensland... family everywhere!

Lots of sightseeing: Hervey Bay has changed so much since I went there for holidays as a small child on the sixties! The bay is still beautiful and so calm. We looked out to Fraser Island and remembered the great time we had there on a visit a few holidays back.

Dinner with  Leanne and Bill in their beautiful new house on Tuesday night and then off to the pub at Urangan on Wednesday to meet Uncle Col, and Janice and Ian. More cousins! A fabulous few hours spent reminiscing.
The view of Urangan pier and the beautiful bay from lunch

More cousins and the wonderful Uncle Col at the end of the table

Thursday... we were up bright and early to travel to River Heads to meet fellow author Helene Young and her husband Graham, and spend the day sailing across to Fraser Island. Unfortunately there was no wind... although lots of dark skies.

A fabulous day spent on the water: great company, great food...including home made scones and bread, baked on Roobinesque ... their 48 ft catamaran.

Anne on Roobinesque

How many captains? Ian, Helene and Graham on the beautiful Roobi

A portent of things to come... bad weather heading this way for the weekend

Fraser Island...North White Cliffs where we moored for the day
Home made scones baked on Roobinesque by Helene! Yum!
Carol Linsley... I always think of you as we drive through Childers! What a great trip we had together in 2000.
 On Friday morning we bid farewell to Hervey Bay and headed north in search of warmth! We had our usual stop in Gin Gin to have the best cream buns in Australia for morning tea..and annual traction and were devastated to find they were not as good as usual! Only a three hour drive to Lake Awoonga, and a quick set up in a lovely site over looking the lake. We were immediately surrounded by bird life!
Two visitors to welcome us as we set up the van

Stay posted for the next report from Lake Awoonga. Hopefully the
 bad weather won't come this far north.