Well it’s as outback as I am likely to get! We stopped along the Highway at Barkly Homestead which is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the Northern Territory. It was nice, had a pool and good showers to wash the 34 degree sweat of the day off us. So far it’s the most expensive petrol at $1.99 a litre, and given its location, it was not surprising.
Today we headed for the three way junction that intercepts the north/south Sturt Highway. We checked out the township of Tennant Creek but due to the mesh on every shop window, we decided we didn’t want to stay there on a Friday night (or any night really). The Devils Marbles are not far down the road and we visited this site which was interesting. Wycliffe Well the UFO sighting spot was on the way but didn’t entice us to stay so we punched on through to Ti-Tree. Tomorrow Alice Springs and in ensuing days we will visit Uluru and other iconic spots, because it would be Un Australian not to!
Feeling a little homesick and having enjoyed three months on the road we decided to make tracks home the long way – via the Outback. Our first night stop was at Campaspe River, and a micro-bat made its way into our caravan during the night. I turned on the outside light and tried to encourage it out the door whilst cowering like a little girl waving my torch around. Despite this, the little bat managed to get out safely!
Faced with new sights and sounds and decreasing humidity, we encountered outback Queensland and found that although the roads are long, there are lots of new things to see. The landscape changes all the time. A police car went past and put its lights and sirens on just as it did which I thought was for us. Seconds later a stolen black HSV came shooting past us along with two cop cars and a third was another 20 Kms back. Eventually we found the group on the side of the road, I guess the culprits ran out of petrol.
We made pretty good time and made it to the border in a few days, staying at Cloncurry the second night.
This bright orange fiberglass mango is a tribute to the Kensington mango which is the variety grown in Australia. To celebrate it and support it we joined in by purchasing a refreshing mango sorbet. if I could have stolen the Big Mango, I would put it in my backyard!
The weather included warm showers and humidity with 28 degrees in the day and 22 degree overnight temperatures. Opportunistically the first day we were there was a Saturday and we perused the Airlie beach markets. Our plan was to enjoy some fun sea activities they have on offer everywhere including sea kayaking, jet skiing and sailing. Alas the weather was too rough for kayaking; but we did get a couple of cruises in.
At first we took the passenger boats on a day ticket to Hamilton Island where we saw some people we knew from Adelaide. Every good travel story includes a surprise meeting! We had a lovely lunch and wine here, as well as a bus tour and a swim. We headed back late to Daydream Island and looked at reef fish and clambered around the island’s rainforest walk before getting the last boat back to shore.
Taking another cruise to Hook Island, Whitehaven Beach and Daydream Island proved too much for me. After a basic lunch sandwich on the boat the glass bottomed reef boat lurched once too often for my delicate stomach. Its true – I am a brave but sad sailor!
From the Sunshine Coast, it’s quite a haul to Rockhampton then Mackay. But we did it in a couple of days and as warned, there was nothing much on the road between Rocky and Mackay except for us singing along to our ITunes playlists. We chose Seaforth Caravan Park as it was in a quiet, small seaside town outside of Makay and drove in to see friends. This was a highly anticipated visit for me; as my friends Dawn and Sherrie were from my school days. I never made it to Dawn’s wedding when I was 20 so now I have finally visited…….better late than never!
We met up for lunch one day at Eimeo Pub overlooking Mackay and on Anzac Day met up again at home for pizza, spiders and all day chats.
We stayed at Cotton Tree Caravan park for a few days which is next to Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast. There I got to meet up with Deb, a friend from work days past. It was good to catch up. Andrew and I explored surrounding areas including Noosa and the coast, and watched the movie “Oblivion” at the cinema which was interesting.
After hitting the roads and heading north again, we set our sights on the next Big Thing Queensland is known for – The Big Pineapple. Unfortunately it has not had the same attraction rate as the Big Banana and along the way it fell into disrepair and shut down. It has since reopened, but in a smaller capacity and the current owners are working on it. One can only imagine what it was like in its heyday. From that perspective I felt a little ripped off that I didn’t get to see it sooner, but I had some pineapple ice-cream and got over it.
The Big Macadamia Nut is on the property but is in a no-go area as it is falling down so I could only get one angle. The site was also hosting a music festival the following day so we couldn’t wander around much.
yes…..there really is one.
This was in the oddest of places, found in a garden centre shop. It is in the book of big things and it caught my eye as I recognised it, didn’t even try to track it down. Unfortunately I got a rear shot only as It was after closing hours and I wasn’t game to go walking in the long grass to get a picture of the front.
Big Redback on the Dunny
Brisbane has crazy traffic that is on many levels; we seemed to go round and round in ever decreasing circles. In the end we found where we needed to go to see Andrews friend James for sushi and a beer. We also made time to kayak on the river and check out the city view from the water before a massive storm tested out the durability of the van. Lucky for us, we made a good van choice.
While staying at Broken Head we decided to take a day to go check out Nimbin in all its infamy.
The Big Joint also happens to be in Nimbin, rolled out for the “MardiGrass” demonstration against marijuana prohibition which is held each year in the first week of May. It now resides in the Nimbin Museum which outlines the history of marijuana.
The town is colourful and attracts hippies, smokers and curious tourists (of which we form the latter). Only a minute out of the car and we were approached by young dealers in the car park asking if we wanted any and an old lady in the street who had “dope cake” for sale. Instead we opted for a healthy lunch at the rainbow café and checked out the interesting shops along the street.