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Sunday, 23 December 2012

199 - Bribie Island

Peter & Ger.....aaaaah ain't luv grand

As we are still in Brisvegas, we took the opportunity to visit our great friends Peter and Geraldine who live at Bribie Island. Now Bribe Island to our current abode at Caimra is about an hour and a bit all on super highways, so it was a pleasant trip, with the traffic quite light for Brisvegas.
Thought we would go for a quick spin in the runabout (he he!!!!)

We haven’t seen Peter and Geraldine since we embarked on our adventure to Darwin. Actually on one of  the first blogs we did four odd years ago, and again also around March we featured Peter and Geraldine.
Peter, yours truely and Ger, sucking on a chrissie ale....as you do
So it was great to catch to catch up, but also to celebrate their marriage on the 10/11/12. Hey how ironical is that. Of course the evening was full of much guitar playing, with the bride in fine voice, a meal of chis and fips, and many ales consumed to celebrate their wedding and Christmas.
Pete, tuning up with the Bride checking out the Lotto results of course

As we always do, we stayed overnight, and headed out mid-morning for our drive back to Camira. Great to catch up and no doubt will get together early 2013.
Pump it out Peter
Stay tooooooned for a street Xmas Party


Sunday, 16 December 2012

198 - North Stradbroke Island

Alan, The Bride and Helen  waiting at Stradbroke Island Ferries

While we are hiding in Brissy during this holiday period, it was decided to visit North Straddie, a favourite holiday spot for Alan, Helen and families. The bride and I have never spent any time in Brissy, always heading towards the south and north coasts, so we jumped at this opportunity to visit the island.

Our relationship with Alan and Helen goes back to 1979, and as their working persona was also hospitality management. That meant we didn't get together that often, however now we are both working for Ms Gillard, it is an apt time to again enjoy some R & R with these great friends.

I had visions of North Straddie to be like Fraser Island in a way, however was convinced that the island has sealed roads, with caravan parks, shops and the dreaded newsagency.......so the bride was impressed......can't go a day without putting lotto in!!!!!

The main parking area at Cleveland (base side suburb of Brisvegas)
The Big Red vehicular ferry
The whole set up reminded us a lot of our days on Fraser Island, when either catching the commuter ferry or the barge to and from the island.
The girls having a pose before boarding the barge
Tea or coffee madam??????????????????
The upsairs deck was really cool. Comfortable chairs, lotsa goodies to munch on and the view spectacular.
The barge was chokers
Once we arrived on the island at Dunwich, which is a little bit ordinary to be kind, we then headed off  to Amity Point, then along the beach to Adder Rock. That was a lot of fun, hadn't been beach driving since we had our Susuki on Fraser Island.
The camp ground at Amity Point is perfect for kids, and for the keen fisherpersons. Being right on the calmer side of the island (in the passage actually) with a swimming enclosure for safe swimming. There are several neato shops from seafood to clothing apparel, and a great sports club.
We headed off to Adder Rock Camp Ground which was my pick. This camp ground was right on the beach, and accessable by normal cars, however Alan and Helen usually camp down the beach in the dunes. Unfortunately the Val wouldn't get to those dune type camping spots....draaaaat!!!!! Adder Rock appealed to me for all sorts of reasons, however the au natural yoga practiced by the local hippies was right up my alley. Might join them next time (he he!!!!!!)
Alan checking out Amity Point
Didn't take any photos around Adder Rock, however our next destination was the famous Point Lookout. This is an area fairly up market in the residential arena, with a surf club, over priced hotel, rip off shops and the usual holiday rentals. Unfortunately the beach was closed due to rough conditions, so we took the odd photo and promplty nicked off. I can say now "been there done that."
Point Lookout Beach...................rough as guts
This is a little beach to the north of Point Look Out
As we were booked on the 3pm barge out of Straddie, we really didn't really have a lot of time to pussy foot around. So in summary we visited Dunwich, Amity Point, Adder Rock, Cylinder Beach and Point Lookout. We had lunch at Amity Point Sports Club, the girlies spent favourably at the clothing shop, the bride visited the newsagency, and we had ice creams waiting for the return trip in the barge.
All in all a great day out, but not long enough. One did give a bit of thought of going over to the island after the silly season, taking the Val and RetroLiner, however the 300 buckeroos just for the barge is a little to much for this little black duck.
Stay toooooned for Bribie Island 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

197 - Moore

All camped up at Moore
After our last campsite we had decided we needed to move closer to Brisvegas, and as Brad and Eva, decided to head to Kingaroy, we decided to fast track our final destination of Camira in the western suburbs of Brissy.

That meant an over night stop at Kilkivin Bush Camp, before heading down the Black Butt Range. We have been to Kilkivin Bush Camp before, during our "tour of duty" at a motel in Kingaroy a few years ago. Unfortunately a change of owners at KBC meant we didn't extend our stay, based on our this visit..............................that speaks for itself.

We made a beeline for Moore. Yes, we were familiar with Moore as we passed this well known site a million times. Although Moore is on the main road, being the Deagular Highway, come 6pm the road was as quiet as a church mouse.

Moore is an excellent site, with very clean ammenities, soap dispensers and driers, do you mind. If you are there early enough there is power provided for the first two vans in and free to boot, and also adequate shade for the power users. However you have to be early to get these sites.

 A local feeding a local at Moore
We left Moore and headed to our destination. We will be here in Brissy for a couple of months while we hide from the annual silly season. We will however be having Chrissy with some very dear friends, and during this time we will be visiting other areas, so stay tooooooooooned 

Monday, 3 December 2012

196 - South Then West

Eva and Brad @ Claude Warton Weir
We left Clareview Beach, with no real destination. I guess that is where it went all pear shaped for the next week. Being indecisive, we thought maybe we just go to the St.Lawrence freedom camp, which is basically just down the road. Na!!!! to close to Clareview.
Now what we have learnt in moving to place to place is the setting up and pulling down which has become a total pain in the arse. Now I can see why travelers all look to full vans fully self contained. Anyway that's a cross we have to bear.
We then pushed onto the pub at Marlborough, had a look...na to hot....how about the freedom camp at Yaamba.........lets have a look, so off we go. Arrived at Yaamba, na!!!! to noisy from the trucks being right on the highway....so the only choice left was a caravan park in Rocky....Not Happy Jan!!!!!! 
Now what prompted the move to Rocky was I needed to purchase a new lap top, so I guess that was the deciding factor of our nights destination. Now I hate with a passion, structured caravan parks being lined up like tin soldiers, with jumping pillows and kids facilities an at 36 bucks feeeeeerk that! .  Might suit some, but not this little black duck.
Enough for the rant. So we got the new lap top and we moved out of Rocky as quickly as possible.
I will skip through the next three or four days quickly. We decided to go inland and make a bee line for Delulu free camp........ to dirty........then onto Baralaba free camp, closed for road works, finally limping into Banana to the Hotel / Motel caravan park. Well we were stuck there for two days as the rain came in. Ever been stuck in Banana?.......feeeeeerk again. So at this stage not all going to plan at all.
After that episode we headed into Bilo, filled with fuel and headed south once again with the intentions of going to Wuruma Dam, but na!!!! to far of the beaten track, so we pushed onto a freedom camp called Ceratodus Freedom Camp.
At last we have arrived at a freedom camp, where we met initially Brad and Eva, and between us we decided to stay the night. Then another couple turned up, and before we knew it, happy hour was in full swing.......ahhhhhh at last, some normality in our lives. No pikkies sorry!
After a morning board meeting we decided with Brad and Eva to head off to Claude Warton Weir, just out of Gyndah. Brad and Eva left before us, checked the joint out and set up camp. We in turn arrived and set up (four hours later) and settled in for an extended happy hour
Just relaxing at the weir with Eva, Brad and the Bride. Of course the shower tent is out...
'and guess what no one camped on top of us
A board meeting @ Claude Warton Weir
"Here ducky ducky", Eva wants to cook Claude Warton Duck tonight
At the going down of the sun
Next stop Kilkivin Bush Camp and Moore

Sunday, 2 December 2012

195 - Clareview Beach

The tide is out Clareview
We left Gatha.........what ever, with a reasonable goal of meeting up at Armstrong's Beach, which is just south of Sarina with Ted and Susie, however we both had things to do in Bowen, so we went our own ways to Bowen.
So the bride and I went into Bowen...................and like all these places on the east coast of Queensland, we have been there before, however from our last visit two years ago, and now.....man what a difference. Now Bowen in our days of living in Mackay '82 to '94, Bowen was known as the "arm pit" of Queensland, but since they made the movie in parts "Australia",  the town has undergone some tremendous facial improvements, and what a lovely part of the world it is now.
We did what we had to do in Bowen, and headed off to our destination Armstrong's Beach. So down the highway we went, took the back road to miss Mackay and headed into Sarina, where we caught up with Ted and Susie at the local supermarket.
We wandered off to Armstrong Beach, however on arrival we just couldn't warm to the place, so we said our goodbyes to Ted and Susie, and initially decided to visit a retreat in Sarina called Goodys, see our blog around September 2010.  Being a fairly difficult place to get to, we then decided to give that the flick as well, and decided either on Camila Beach or Clareview.
We turned into Carmila, however we didn't get along to the beach area, with warnings the Val would get bogged and the "sand flies will kill ya mate."  So off to Clareview Beach CP. Now there is only two parts between Brisbane and Cairns  that you see the ocean. Those spots are at Clareview and south of Bowen.
The beer garden area overlooking the beach
Now Clareview is a "fishing community" made up of a lot of retirees, with all the houses on the beach may I add, a freedom camping area, with toilets and a dump point, and of course a Caravan Park. Once again we have been to this park quite a few times, and you can see the last entry early 2011.
Although we had intentions of only staying a couple of nights, we ended up there for a week. Why I don't know. It was really quiet, a little to quiet, and unfortunately the beach there isn't the best beach in the world. Very rocky, extreme low tides and exposed mangroves. However at low tide, which is most of the time, I spent most early mornings and afternoons walking out to the extremities of the beach to enjoy a bit of Yoga.
  A few of my mates coming over for happy hour
This birdie up close and personal
While we there at Clareview we did attend the Melbourne Cup afternoon with the bride winning the sweep. A nice $120 do you mind. That helped pay the rent.
As before it was very quiet there, as most vanners and back scratchers, were only over nighters. Although I did meet one couple on the beach taking advantage of the morning sunshine working on their all over tans (he he!!!) while on my morning constitution.
So the final night at Clareview arrived, and we were fortunate to meet up with Keith and Jean, who set up camp just down from us. Afternoon drinkies were the order of the day, and it was a little sad that we were going the next day, as  Keith and Jean were a real fun couple, of which we still keep in touch with by email, and no doubt will meet again in our travels.
The next week of our travels was a real downer. We all have them, so stay tooooooooned!!!!! 

Saturday, 1 December 2012

194 - Still Soutbound

The Motley crew, Ted and yours truly, just north of Bowen
We left Reid River with our destination either Home Hill or the free camp just north of Bowen, called Guthalungra. We were told about this site by Dave, Rosie, Rob and Maggie, two fantastic couples we met at Bushy Parker just north of Townsville, however they had mixed thoughts about it.

So from Reid River we took the back road from the Charters Towers to Townsville road to Giru, joining up with the worst nightmare ever "The Bruce Highway" We stopped in Home Hill, didn't really want to stay there anyway, so we got a few groceries and decided to head off to Guthalungra. I have driven the road between Mackay and Townsville two million times, however couldn't place this free camp for love nor money. So setting the trusty GPS it was then off to our camp.

Then as the GPS said "you have reached your destination" straight away I knew where we were. "Good God" was the cry. This place has got to be busier than the Prime Ministers Office.

The parking lot at Guthalungra
Now what I can see there has been improvements to the area, or restriction, depending on which way you look at it. The camp itself seems to have been fenced off to what seems to be the original camping area,  making it only possible to camp on a newly paved road area.
Yep, great new toilets, and bbq's in the park area, however you might as well settle in on the Bruce Highway proper and the northern rail line. So apart from putting up with the noise of a gazillion trucks every five minutes, the feeeeeeeerk'n trains run every ten minutes, the camp area is cosy to say the least. Also what I can see with the fenced off areas, one can see signs of a caravan park in the making with power outlets in position...mmmmmmmmmmm!!
Anyway stayed the night and had the mandatory happy hour with Ted and Susie and also another couple who were parked behind us, whose names I have lost in the brain matter, sorry guys.
Yep you guessed it........happy hour at Guthalungra
 Sunset @ Guthalungra
Stay toooooooooooooooooooned for Clareview Beach


193 - West then south bound from Bivouac

Here I am looking glamorous with my favourite sign.
After leaving Bivouac Bush Camp, and sometimes I ask the question "why" as it was so nice there, we moved onto Reid River which is a free camp east of Bivouac with Ted and Susie. This was a marathon drive of about 50kms. Both Ted and I were totally exhausted after such an horendous drive (he he!!!!!)

If you wonder why I hang this sign out well......................it definately keep the other campers from camping right on top of you.

However we camped right next to Ted and Susie, and the whole camp stayed empty all night, apart from a couple of "back scratchers" and they were away from us anyway that was it for the night.

Both rigs at Reid River freedom camp
Now Reid River camp site is really an overnighter. Nothing there really apart from somewhere to hang and have a long happy hour. Toilets were clean and plenty of water available, although not drinkable, but good enough to wash up in and have a shower off the back of the van. mmmmmmmmm!!!
I know my sign is good, but not that good, to empty a whole camp site (he he!!!!!!!!!!)
A very empty Reid River Camp Site, did I do thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!!!
After our night at Reid River it was decided to push onto to a freedom camp site just north of Bowen.
Stay tooooooned!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

192 - Bivouac Bush Camping

Well before I get into this post and others, I have created another blog to carry on from the other one. I have done this because of an upload of photo issues associated with the original site. So lets hope this will give me another couple of years of trouble free blogging.

For those joining this site as a stand alone blog, you can always go back to our original blog http://theretroroamers.blogspot.com . This blog is just a carry on from this original blog
The camp area at Bivouac Bush 
While at TNC we weren't to sure which we head. The thoughts were to go into Charters Towers , then down the inland road to Clermont, then Emerald, and so on. On the other hand we can go straight down the coast road, which I really didn't want to do, as we have done that stretch a million times, and we were warned of the road works and the feeeeeerk'n trucks.
Still with a bit of  indecision, we left TNC and headed up to the Blue Water rest areas to say good bye to the great folks we met at ""Bushy Parker" who were camped there.
As I didn't have a lap top, and I had read a bit about "Bivouac" I was keen to venture to this spot. But again the negatives went up...as in the distance we were from Townsville, the inland road blah! blah! blah! I was also advised of a freedom camp at Macrossan which is a about the same distance out of CT as ""Bivouac"
As luck would have it, a nearby camper at Blue Waters was on line and being the cheeky little bugger I am, asked them to check out Bivouac Bush Camp for me. After viewing the site....that was good enough for me. So off to Bivouac it was. Anyway, if it is no good we can go to the freebie anyway  

The Drovers Kitchen @ Bivouac
Anyway we checked out the freebie at Macrossan, and although I thought it was cool, the bride wasn't keen on the spot due to the lack of shade. So enough for that. Bivouac was basically across the road, but in off the road for three kilometres..................so hi ho, hi ho, it's off to Bivouac we go.........hi ho, hi ho. Three kms or so later on a good gravel road we arrived at our destination. 
What a great spot. Not a lot of other campers, no one lined up like sardines, friendly faces and no kidz. This will do us I said to the bride and @ $120 a week good value.
All camped up @ Bivouac
Now all I can say about Bivouac Bush Camp is sensational. We had power and water, handy to the "unisex" toilets and showers, and the Burdekin River was a slow stroll down from the camp, of which being so low at the time we were there, made swimming, fishing and skinny dipping very enjoyable.
Another view of our camp
A very sedate Burdekin River
The beach just below the camping area, great spot for that au natural swim
The Burdekin and the Fanning rivers met at Bivouac
My pet name for the bride is "Chook" So here is Chook feeding the chooks
 We stayed at Bivouac for about 11 days, and in all honesty I could stay there forever. A great place to drop out, and if you need to go to the big smoke of Charters Towers, of which we did quite regularly, only a half hour away. The only negativity with Bivouac was there is no dump point, hence we needed to take the "porta potti" for a drive on a regular basis.
CT is a nice town, and even though we have been there before on our way to Undara two years ago, this was the first time we had a good look around. Nice place!
During our time here we paled up with Ted and Susie, who were heading south as well, however it was decided to join Ted and Susie and head south along the coast road as well.
Next stop Reid River Freedom Camp and beyond.