Tag Archives: australian travel

Where are we now?

A lot has happened since the last post. We are now in Darwin and plan on remaining here at least for the next 12 months. Hubby and I both have decent jobs and have moved into our own place. However, inspiration smacked me in the head this morning and told me to finish our story, so here it is.

Thankfully our journey back into civilisation (Cooktown *cough*) we relatively uneventful. The next plan was to head back down to Cairns to collect our roof rack that had snapped off the car in the roll over two week prior. However, as we have skipped Cape Trib on the way up, due to the unseasonal weather, we made the decision to stop there a couple of days on route to Cairns.

View from Cape Tribulation Camping

View from Cape Tribulation Camping

Morning sunlight pouring through the trees at Cape Tribulaiton Camping

Morning sunlight pouring through the trees at Cape Tribulation Camping

Besides the scary, bumpy, windy road into Cape Trib full of speeding cars, we had a lovely 2 full days.

The same owners that owned Punsand Bay at The Tip own Cape Tribulation Camping, which is where we stayed.

So what did we do in Cape Trib? I got up early and took some stunning photos of the sunrising over the water and through the rainforest 🙂

 

 

 

Jungle Surfing

We also went Jungle Surfing through the Rainforest.

And visited a fascinating Exotic Fruit Farm for a tasting, which I loved, and tried some really interesting fruits including:

  • Tahitian Lime
  • Pommelo
  • Yellow Sapote
  • Dragon Fruit
  • Sapodilla
  • Black Sapote
  • Jaboticaba
  • Rollinia
  • Atemoya
  • Guanabana (soursop)

Check out the weird fruits below! But seriously, this was awesome! And for around $25/pp including transport to and from the farm, great value for money!

Black Sapote ripe and green, Pommelo and yellow Sapote

Black Sapote ripe and green, Pommelo and yellow Sapote

I wish we had more time to spend at Cape Trib. The activities we could do were nearly endless. Next time we will horse ride on the beach, explore all of the other beaches and natural springs and relax.

Next stop Cairns to fix our car.

Through the Ruins of Paronella Park

The Tea Rooms, Paronella Park

The Tea Rooms, Paronella Park

José Paronella arrived in Australia from Catalonia in Spain, in 1913. In 1929, after spending a number of years in Australia, José purchased 13 acres in 1929 and started to build his pleasure gardens and reception centre for the enjoyment of the public.

there was a waterfall, hydro electricity, tea rooms, a castle, a ballroom, swimming pool and over 7000 tropical plants in the extensive garden, all built by José.

A view from the Falls at the front of the Park. On the left is the castle and at the bottom left is the hydro plant

A view from the Falls at the front of the Park. On the left is the castle and at the bottom left is the hydro plant

Unfortunately there was a flood and then soon after JosĂ© died of stomach cancer, his wife died some years later and his son as well. His son’s wife was left to run the park and in 1977 she sold it.

Sadly, in 1979, a fire swept through the Castle. There were a number of cyclones and floods in the following years and the park fell into ruin.

A pic from the night tour, this is the castle

A pic from the night tour, this is the castle

In 1993 the current owners found the park, bought it and work on maintaining and preserving, rather than rebuilding.

The park has won a number of awards and it’s easy to see why.

We purchased our tickets through RACQ for a 10% discount so it was about $39 each. This includes entry into the park, a day tour, a night tour and 1 nights accommodation in their campground and your ticket is valid for entry up to 24 months. Really it was great value.

The park itself is just stunning! I was able to get some lovely daytime and night time shots.

The Tea Rooms

The Tea Rooms

We loved our time here! The guides were fantastic and the staff in the cafe/reception were amazing. The park is beautiful and a truly unique attraction in FNQ.

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A Day Trip to The Land of The Clouds

After 6 glorious days we left Byfield and resumed our journey north to Mackay.

From this point forward we will be staying in caravan parks. I’ve never been up this far north and I want to spend some time in the larger towns. Unfortunately you don’t find free camps in bigger towns/cities so we have to stay in caravan parks for ease of access.

Anyway, the next stop was Mackay. I spent a couple of hours in Mackay CBD and while the historic building trail I was following was very interesting, the town itself was pretty average.

On one of the days we drove out to the Mackay hinterland, to Finch Hatton Gorge and Eungella National park / Township.

Finch Hatton Gorge is a beautiful secluded section of Eungella National Park. We did the short 1 hour walk to the Araluen Cascade Falls. On the way back we came across our first snake, a tiny baby black. We stamped and banged the ground and it slowly slithered away.

Araluen Cascade Falls

Araluen Cascade Falls

Eungella means “Land of the Clouds” and the township definitely embodies this being 1280m at its zenith. The drive up the mountain is not for the faint hearted, thankfully we weren’t towing at the time. It is the oldest and longest stretch of subtropical rainforest in Australia and it’s been cut off from other rainforests for roughly 30,000 years. This has guaranteed that there are a number of strange critters not found anywhere else in the world.

We did a couple of very short stops at lookouts around Eungella.

View from Sky Window Lookout

View from Sky Window Lookout, Eungella

A walk around the Historic Eungella Chalet where the backyard looks out over a cliff and a number of random woodcarvings have been placed.

Wooden carvings on the lawn outside of Eungella Chalet

Wooden carvings on the lawn outside of Eungella Chalet

Then through the cane fields, with stunning mountainous backdrops, back to our campsite.

Cane fields with mountains in the background

Cane fields with mountains in the background

Exploring Five Rocks Headland

Looking behind us towards Stockyard Point

Looking behind us towards Stockyard Point

At about midday the tide was going out, so armed with our wet suit boots, drink bottles and a camera we traversed the rocky crop on the north side of Little Five Rocks Beach.

Yesterday during our exploratory trip to Stockyard Point Lookout we could see that there was another tiny remote beach. A quick check of the maps confirms this to be the case. So with a hop, skip and a jump were on the second beach.

From here we weren’t able to positively ascertain whether or not we would be able to reach the headland. The rocks were all different sizes and we couldn’t see if there were any obstacles that might stop us from getting across. We decided that the only way we would find out is by attempting it, then we could always turn back if we got stuck.

Climbing over the rocks

Climbing over the rocks

Over, across and through the rocky outcrop we went for about 30 minutes and finally we came to the channel separately us from the headlands. On the other side of the rocks was another perfectly remote beach.

The channel separating us from the start of the headland

The channel separating us from the start of the headland

As the tide was nearly at its lowest point, we were able to walk the short distance to start of the headland. It soon became apparent that the headland is actually separated by small channels. We traversed 3 channels, about half way along, before calling it a day and turning back around to our campsite.

Back onto Little Five Rocks Beach. When the tide is out there is a huge sand plain

Back onto Little Five Rocks Beach. When the tide is out there is a huge sand plain

The View From Up Here – Stockyard Point

The little township of Stockyard Point is named after Stockyard Point, which makes sense. Stockyard Point, the lookout, is a short 1 minute drive on the outside of the township.

One of the days we were exploring Byfield, we drove up to the Point and found that we had phone reception, everyday for the remainder of our visit we drove up there to get our technology fix. Besides the phone reception, we had the most stunning uninterrupted views of the coastline.

To the left of us was Little Five Rocks Headland and our own private beach.

Little Five Rocks Headland

Little Five Rocks Headland

To the right was Nine Mile Beach. As a side note, we drove along Nine Mile on our explorations. I really don’t rate the beach, it was scummy, full of rubbish, barren and obviously used for driving only. But, from up high it looks lovely.

View of Nine Mile Beach

View of Nine Mile Beach

In my previous posts, I mentioned that near our campground there was a corridor of butterflies, well, we found more at Stockyard Point!

More beautiful butterflies

More beautiful butterflies

Off the man made track we found a couple of memorial plaques. Both men died in 2005 in different months, one was definitely in an accident in Byfield and the other memorial plaque had no explanation.

Stockyard Point, what a great view from here!

Memorial Plaque

Memorial Plaque

Byfield National Park Stockyard Point_A Girl A 4WD And A Trailer-18-2

Second memorial plaque

 

 

The Ugly Side of Byfield

A sea of pumice and rubbish litters Little Five Rock Beach

A sea of pumice and rubbish litters Little Five Rock Beach

More rubbish.

More rubbish.

The campgrounds, while clean at first glance, as you look harder you can see the marks left by man. Cigarette packs, glass bottles, sheets of unidentifiable paper litter the corners and crevices of our camp.

As we make our way down to the beach we find it’s worse. Rubbish washed in by the ocean builds up where the beach meets the cliff. It is mixed in with piles of pumice stone. The only way to the beach is through these piles strewn with rubbish.

This disgusting mess reminds me of Moreton Island where the same atrocity has occurred. Unfortunately a number of national parks we’ve visited are in the same sorry state. It’s disgusting the way “visitors” treat these stunning natural and sometimes sacred places.

“Leave it better then you found it”, is that really so hard?

An old TV floating in a creek of sludge

An old TV floating in a creek of sludge

 

Welcome to Byfield National Park

From Carnarvon Gorge we headed east to Rockhampton. We stopped overnight in Duaringa at an awesome free camp and headed into Rocky early the next morning.

We only stayed one night in Rocky, to prepare for our 6 day trip in Byfield National Park. During the day we went to Rockhampton Heritage Festival at the Heritage Village and walked around. It reminded me of Pioneer Park in Griffith.

Rocky to Byfield Town

Rocky to Byfield Town

The next morning we drove to Byfield National Park, approx an hour and a half drive north east of Rockhampton. There is a tiny little town called Byfield, it is a small hippy town at the entrance of the park. We stopped briefly and I bought what could possibly be the most amazing brownie I’ve ever had in my life!

Our campground was at Little Five Rocks, about a half hour 4WD through sand dunes and forest, just outside of another tiny village called Stockyard Point Township.

A quick point about the village. It was a strange little place, which even the local lady at the petrol station in Rockhampton didn’t know about. There was a mixture of tiny seashacks, sheds and a couple of beautiful mansions. It seemed empty on our arrival, however we saw a lot more activity closer to the weekend.

View from the top of the hill looking down to Little Five Rocks Beach and the headlands in the background

View from the top of the hill looking down to Little Five Rocks Beach and the headlands in the background

Anyway, we loved the campground and the site that we booked. The campground was on top of a hill that backed onto the beach. The layout of the grounds was great with toilets and an outdoor shower in the site next to us. We were the only people staying there for the majority of the time so we had the whole place to ourselves.

Butterflies, thousands of them

Butterflies, thousands of them

Water running down the hill into the ocean

Water running down the hill into the ocean

The Little Five Rocks Beach was a short stroll through some lovely bush and a corridor filled with butterflies. BUTTERFLIES! A whole corridor filled with them and when you walked through they were disturbed and would fill the air like magic!

Past the butterflies and there was a little fresh water creek running down the hill into little waterfalls, rockpools and little wooden bridges before heading out to the ocean.

Further down the hill and onto the small, remote beach. No vehicle access and no one else around.

We enjoyed 6 relaxing nights in the park and had a couple of adventures, more info to follow.

Pretty grass in the afternoon

Pretty grass in the afternoon

Mud Crab – From Net to Plate in Less Than 25 Minutes

Warning: this post contain images and explanations of how to kill a mud crab

Today I had the freshest mud crab I’ve ever had in my life. In reality, it’s also the freshest seafood period I’ve ever had.

Doug, a friend of the family, lives in Bundaberg and so while Mum and I were boozing at the Bundaberg Rum Distillery, Doug and Hubby were setting pods to catch some muddies for dinner.

The one that didnt get away!

The one that didnt get away!

We all went and checked on them a few hours later and to my absolute delight we had caught 3 big ones and 2 babies which we threw back.

Doug is an avid fisherman and also an avid cook when it comes to the fresh stuff he catches. He showed me how to kill them with a knife through the butt into the brain and then how to pull them apart and clean them.

Bundaberg Mud Crab, the killing

Bundaberg Mud Crab, the killing

We cooked using the following recipe. A dollop of butter in a bowl with about 6 cloves of garlic finely chopped, a couple of tablespoons of ginger, some lime zest and juice of half a lime. Mix it all together, added the crab and cooked it in a hot frypan until the shell turned pink.

Bundaberg Mud Crab, in the bowl

Bundaberg Mud Crab, in the bowl

Bundaberg Mud Crab, in the fry pan

Bundaberg Mud Crab, in the fry pan

The final verdict, wow! From the nets to the plate in less than a half hour, the most amazing seafood I’ve ever had. I really wish I could have bottled the smell and the taste, I would have made a fortune.

Bundaberg Mud Crab

Dinner is served!

 

 

Maryborough – Birthplace of Mary Poppins

Maryborough, a quaint historic town born in 1847, is one of Queensland’s oldest towns.

We drove into Maryborough one afternoon for a few hours, just to see what was there.

First stop, the information centre. Even on a Thursday this place was bustling. We picked up a couple of free brochures and one of the elderly gents working the information centre gave us a quick look around the Town Hall in which the visitor centre is located.

The Heritage Centre

The Heritage Centre

We decided to participate in the free self guided walking tour around the town. The brochure we were provided was a wonderful source of information with wonderful stories and a simple map to follow.

I loved walking around the town, taking some pic of the old  buildings. I read stories about  the original settlers, about births, deaths and everything inbetween. Some of the more fascinating aspects of the tour was the following (Please note, these were taken from the brochure):

Hubby with the Mary Poppins statue next to the former Australian Joint Stock Bank

Hubby with the Mary Poppins statue.

“The Former Queens Hotel was rebuilt in 1883 after the 1876 fire. The Goodwin Family opened the first hotel in 1864. In 1866 , the proprietess , a young single woman saved the life of a baby who was accidently dropped into a cesspool.”

“Former Australian Joint Stock Bank – in 1899 during the time her father was the manager of this bank, Helen Lyndon Goff was born in the residence above. Later using the pseudonym PL Tavers, she wrote the Mary Poppins series of books.”

“Riverside Apartments. In 1853, Edmund Uhr built a home for his family on this site, however the house was destroyed by a fire in 1889. During rebuilding, a headstone marking the grave of two of the Uhr children was unearthed.”

Riverside Apartments

Riverside Apartments, where the headstone marking the grave of two of the Uhr children was unearthed

“Former Customs House Hotel. The hotel was used as a setting for filming in 1989 of the movie “The Delinquents” starring Kylie Minogue.”

Former Customs House

Former Customs House

These are just a few of the intriguing sites on the walking tour, with 46 in total to see. The free self guided driving tour had plenty more sites to visit as well. All in all, a great way to spend the afternoon and a marvellous tourist experience for the budget traveller.

The Post Office - the oldest surviving masonry Post Office in QLD and the Post Office Hotel

The Post Office – the oldest surviving masonry Post Office in QLD and the Post Office Hotel

Tasmania – Trip Costings & Stats

Starting Point: Brisbane
NSW – Griffith
SA – Adelaide
VIC – Melbourne – Ferry across to Tasmania
TAS – Right around – Ferry across to Melbourne
SA – Adelaide
NSW – Griffith
Ending Point: Brisbane

Total Km’s: 10,000

Total Time Away: 28th February 2014 – 22nd April 2014 (7.5 weeks)

Average spent per week: $940

Budget: $800

Category Budget Actual Difference
Fuel $2,200.00 $2,043.83 $156.17
Alcohol $400.00 $515.50 ($115.50)
Food $1,450.00 $2,035.67 ($585.67)
Accommodation $500.00 $614.50 ($114.50)
Touristy stuff $850.00 $899.00 ($49.00)
Personal Items $100.00 $131.00 ($31.00)
Other $500.00 $814.50 ($314.50)
Total $6,000.00 $7,054.00 ($1,054.00)

Notes:
1. I budgeted more fuel then I think we will normally need. This was due to the long, detoured trip we took to see friends and family.
2. Alcohol – should have guessed that would happen with all of the wonderful wineries in Tassie
3. Food – same happened with food as with alcohol above
4. Accommodation – we stayed with friends and family until we got to Tassie and once we came back over to the mainland. The last 4 nights in Launceston we also stayed with friends so this helped to keep the cost down. We did take advantage of free/cheap camps in Tasmania.
5. Touristy Stuff – lots of free things done. We blew the budget with the expensive cruise around Strahan.
6. Personal – ok
7. Other – this was mainly car servicing and repairs.
8. note: this budget didn’t include the ferry fare of $700

Route Around Tas in Purple

Route Around Tas in Purple