Our time away, as predicted, was wonderful. We left on the 20th December and arrived home on the 6th January. Our new vehicle, with the camper onboard, behaved beautifully. Philip did all the driving and we were "those" people. You know. The ones that drive at 90kmh! But, we did pull over to let other vehicles pass at any opportunity and at the passing lanes we SLOWED DOWN! Can't say that about a lot of drivers who speed up at the passing lanes.
We didn't leave until after lunch on the first day and made it to our favourite caravan park at Cowley Beach (just below Innisfail). Once again we almost had the entire place to ourselves. Unfortunately the fish and chip shop across the road from the park was closed on Tuesdays so we simply settled for drinks and nibblies.
|This shark (actually two) were very close to the shore!|
|Beautiful Cowley Beach|
We have always wanted to explore the region behind Mackay so the next night we made it to Pinnacle where we stayed at the park behind the pub. It is advertised as having powered sites but once we realised that the power comes from the garden shed via a very long lead we elected to go solar for the night. We ate in the pub as apparently the pie, chips and peas are a "must eat". The reputation was well deserved. We were talking to the owner the next day and he says that he sells, on average, 1400 pies a week. That's a lot of pie making!
The next morning we woke early, packed quickly and made our way to Finch Hatton Gorge. It was beautiful and not unlike walking through Mossman Gorge. Philip walked the whole distance to Wheel of Fire (named after the Fire Trees) but I stopped about three quarters of the way at Calestimon crossing and just soaked up the atmosphere until the tranquility was disturbed by other hikers.
We walked for about an hour before once again hitting the road. Our next night was at a van park in Rockhampton where we were given the perfect spot right beside the amenities and laundry. It was also very quiet. We were guessing that most folks were already at their christmas destination.
Next day was an easy drive to Marc and Suzies place, "Evergreen", at Gundiah. We detoured off the highway and visited Gladstone and Tannum Sands. Gladstone was a very pleasant surprise.
Christmas Day started with Champagne Cocktails with Ham and Eggs and for lunch it was chicken and salad. Later in the day it was a magnificent platter full of cheeses, fruits, salami and a trillion other things. It was the perfect christmas day with over an inch of rain falling gently throughout the day.
Boxing Day was spent in and around the Mary River with family and friends. So much talking with everyone catching up on each others news.
|Our camp on the Mary River|
|Champagne Christmas Breakfast|
|Storms on Christmas Day. The best present.|
|Philip kayaking on the Mary River|
|Boxing Day at the Mary River|
We also meet up with some old friends from Julia Creek who are now living at Leyburn. It was a talkfest and the time passed all too quickly before we where in the car again and heading to the Sunshine Coast for New Year.
|Our Leyburn friends|
|Our friends showing us their timber mill|
|Cruising Pumicestone Passage|
New Years Day we were up bright and early to "bag" a good spot for our bbq lunch. We found the perfect spot beside the boat ramp at Golden Beach. We didn't have long to wait before hubby's extended family arrived. Damien brought his speed boat so we spent the morning boating, swimming, kayaking and enjoying each others company over our bbq lunch. It was the perfect day.
|Golden Beach New Years Day|
|The extended family|
We arrived back at our son's place mid afternoon. Since we left them the day after Boxing day they had numerous guests dropping in so they looked very tired. But as they said, better than no friends at all!
After Gundiah, our stop the following night was 1770. It was a very crowded caravan park but it had a friendly atmosphere. Our walk along the beach the next morning was just what we needed before getting back in the car for another long drive.
|1770 - Tinny Heaven|
The rain began falling through the night and when we woke the next morning there were reports of flooding around Mackay so we quickly packed up the camper and hit the road. Fortunately all the roads were clear and we made it as far as Balgal Beach (just north of Townsville) for our last night. This was a free park so our expectations were not high, but what a pleasant surprise. Beautiful grassed shady areas for parking and and another large grassed covered bbq area between where we were camped and the ocean. There was a stinger net set up with a lifeguard on duty because as you know, we can't swim in the northern waters in summer because of the very dangerous jelly fish. Across the road from the camping area was a great little restaurant/bar that sold, you guessed it, Fish and Chips! They were, hands down, the best we have ever eaten. We will remember this place and will come back, if only for the fish and chips.
|Beautiful Balgal Beach|