It’s been a while since our last post from the fields of shining opals at Lightning Ridge. We spent our first couple of nights in Queensland in Nindigully, the ‘township’ is really just the 150 year old pub that offers free amenities for campers (Camps5 site 824). The camp sites on the banks of the Mooney river are great, the amenities at the pub are fine for a free service, but the cost of the counter meals more than compensate for the free camp site if you feel that you should give the pub some of your custom as we felt we should. Jake caught his first fish on the Mooney river, just a little-ey though so had to be thrown back… but the yabbies – the biggest we’ve seen yet and we caught a great meal of them.
We had a whirlwind stop at Goondiwindi skate park to wait for the Toll delivery man to make a school drop to us and then onto Toowoomba for the night. We were on a mission to get to the theme parks at the Gold Coast before the NSW school holidays began. We’ve changed our plans around Brisbane a little, deciding not to go to Stradbroke Island in the end – the cost of getting there and back was too much for the couple of days that we had planned stay, we’ve decided to push on and spend more time on Fraser Island instead.
We found a great campsite in Canungra (Camps5 site 703), about 30 mins from Wet ‘n’ Wild and Movie World, so decided to stay there for the week while the kids got their thrills at the theme parks. My favourite was the ‘Kamazee’ ride at Wet ‘n’ Wild and the dolphin show at Sea World. Ben’s favourite ride was Lethal Weapon at Movie World and Aqua Loop at Wet ‘n’ Wild. Indianna loved Tweety bird and Buccaneers’ Bay at Wet ‘n’ Wild. Jake loved the ‘Flowrider’ at Wet ‘n’ Wild, the stunt car show at Movie World and the Jet Rescue ride at Sea World. Tobey’s favourites were Mach 5, Flowrider and the Black hole at Wet ‘n’ Wild, the Jet Rescue ride at Sea World, the stunt car show, the 4D movie, the Scooby Doo ride and the Batman ride at Movie World… so the majority of things then!
Whew! That was a hectic few days, far too much for the laidback life we’re becoming used to!
On our journey north from the Gold Coast we picked up a couple of stragglers… my parents have joined us from NZ for a couple of weeks. They have their tent and have hired a car to travel along with us. It’s great to see some familiar faces again and the kids have been so excited at the prospect of Nanna and Poppa joining us.
So travelling in convoy we made our way north to the (soggy) Glass House Mountains, we’re starting to see the dampness that Queensland has been suffering through for the much of the summer, there is no significant flooding, but the ground everywhere feels waterlogged. Despite the rainy weather we loved the area around the Glass House Mountains and a little further north into the Sunshine Coast Hinterland with it’s cute little villages (like Montville and Mapleton). We made it to the famous Eumundi Markets too and Jake finally picked up his much-wanted stockman’s hat… he’s starting to look like a real jackeroo now, we might lose him to the next campdraft!
We’ve had another smaller companion on our journey for the last few days (or weeks… really who’s to know?) When emptying the car out in preparation for new tyres in Brisbane we found evidence of a “mouse in the house”! We have no idea how or when he (or she) got in there but he had made a nice little nest in a tissue box that had found it’s way under the seat. Have no fear though, hunter Tobey was on the case with a mouse trap and a spoon of peanut butter. Got-cha!
Next stop… Fraser Island. We have really been looking forward to Fraser, you hear only fabulous things about the place, but I have to admit I was a little anxious in the days before getting there. With the warnings about dingos and tides and limited campsites I was hoping this wasn’t going to turn pear-shaped! We had a few logistical issues to sort through to get all seven of us from the mainland to the campsite (as our extra two seats in the back of the car are not accessible when the car is packed up). We made it eventually though, no thanks to the discontinued barge service from Urangan Boat Harbour (be sure to book your barge crossing from River Heads if making the crossing at the mid-way point of the island) or the crossing of Eli Creek in the dark (be sure to slow down at the 30km sign!). We stayed at the Dundubara campsite, choosing this partly because there are more limited options when you have a camper and partly because is has a dingo fence around the campsite. It’s a great site too with hot showers (be sure to take your $1 coins) and free gas BBQs and the ability to have open fires, which some of the other campsites in the more forested areas do not allow.
We LOVED Fraser Island. It is so diverse and so beautiful in many many ways. There are obviously the white sand beaches, but the forests are incredible. To think that everything that grows on this island grows in sand is amazing… there are some pretty enormous trees growing in that forest! Then there are the perched lakes and the crystal clear creeks running all over the island, the fishing, ship wrecks… just wonderful. We spent a week there and got to see about half of the island. The inland tracks are in pretty good condition, but they ARE sand tracks and your travelling times anywhere are slow because of that. As for the beach – that’s like a highway, footpath and airstrip all rolled into one! We did get to see a dingo too, for all the warnings of mating season and aggressive behaviour we thought we may have left Fraser Island without spotting one dingo at all, but we managed to see three of them and they all acted in pretty much the same way – they were not scared of coming near at all, they’d have a sniff around and then continue on their way along the beach. Pretty cool seeing them in the wild, the three we saw were not at all skinny like they are often meant to look. For our next trip to Fraser (for I’m sure there will be another) I think we’ll probably opt to camp at the hundreds of sites available along the beach. There are so many beautiful spots and the dingos or goannas really don’t seem to be a major problem.
We’re in Bundaberg now and while stopping in at the information centre I had a lady come up to me and say “Are you the Malpass family?”, the very first people to recognise us on the road from our blog site! Jacquie and Peter Croft are from Inverell, travelling with their two boys and they are telling their story here, I’m sure they’d love you to have a read. Safe and dry travels Croft family, who knows, we may bump into you again as we make our way to Cape York too.