Monday 30th September, (Brisbane).

Linda, Mat, Lou and family went into the city for a look today, I believe they drove a short way and then caught a train, then returned the same way.

In their absence I took the opportunity to do some maintenance. The water pump for tank water has been failing, with the switch playing up, so I dismantled and repaired it, it will now do until next time it plays up and then I will replace it.

If not mentioned earlier, I have had a car radio aerial for several weeks now from when I almost fitted a car radio. I decided to fit it to the caravan and see if it would be as effective as the TV aerial that I normally use. It turns out that the aerial seems to be much more effective and efficient, but camping in a remote area will be the true test to see what reception is like. The other benefit will be the lack of having to erect an aerial every time we set up camp.

I also set out to find a mechanic to do a service on the car and decided to find if reception had one to recommend. Their response was to get a mobile mechanic to come here and do it. This seemed like a great idea as normally leaving the car with a mechanic result in my having to find somewhere to go, and something to do while the work is done. This way I will be at home and there will be no waiting; what a great idea, I will have to wait to find out the cost to see if it is really beneficial.


Sunday 29th September, (Brisbane).

The past couple of days have been a little of a worry to Linda as Matthew and family have been travelling up from Melbourne by car. She tends to worry about anybody travelling on anything other than a short trip, so a trip from Melbourne to Brisbane in two days is a big worry. They arrived here ok last night, all seemed in rather good health and temperament considering the long trip.

As one can imagine then, since we have been here a lot of our time has been spent preparing for Matt and Lou’s visit, although when they turned up last night one wouldn’t think we were anything like prepared for them. It is very nice to see them again. I was a little disappointed though, as when they pulled up the first out of the car was Elly and she ran toward me, then straight passed me and headed for Linda. She did after a little while come around and gave me a hug. Jay, not surprisingly, didn’t take to me right away, but has come around this morning and is acting like I’m his best mate.

Apart from area familiarisation and shopping not much else has happened over the last couple of days, with the exception that we went to visit Deris and Danny yesterday. We didn’t think before we arrived there that it was VFL grand final day so when we arrived we joined in with their friends in a footy and barby day. All enjoyed and had a good time.

I guess for the next week we will have a noisy and interrupted time with the family, but I reckon we will be able to put up with it and then look forward to continuing our travels.


Chapter 16

Brisbane family visit, to home for Christmas.

Wednesday 25th September 2002, (Brisbane).

We have arrived at Brisbane, and just as well we left early this morning. With all the kids running around and the crows with their early morning calls one did not get much of a chance to sleep past 5:30 to 6:00. Anyway arriving early in Brisbane found us on a site that was quite unsuitable to our needs. The reason I booked early was to ensure we would get a site suitable for erecting the tent on the same site as the caravan, for Matt and family to sleep in. The site they allocated was quite narrow so, as per their suggestion, the only place to erect the tent would either be in front of, or behind the caravan. The site was so sloped at the rear that it would have been at too much of an angle for the tent to expect anybody to sleep in, so it was decided to park the van to the rear and erect the tent to the front, as it was more level there. The main problem with this idea was the van being so high off the ground at the front that apart from the awning poles being too short to support it, I was not at all happy with the security of having the van situated in that pose.

I sent Linda to the office to originally enquire about whether they had some decent supports, and when they came to see what the problem was I had decided that the site next door would be a better one if we could move. A few booking changes and the site next door was freed up for us, so we moved lock, stock and barrel next door.

If you hadn’t gathered already, arriving early gave us more time for all the mucking around with management and moving. I’ll add as well that the temperature here today would have to be the hottest we have experienced for a fair while, in the low 30’s, and that did not help the temperament at all!

With the extra time we were going to have we had planned to go to the chocolate shop we favour near the airport, as my supplies are very low, but that will now have to wait.

Even with the heat I decided it would be better to erect the tent today as well, because I could foresee that if I left it until the weekend when it was needed somebody could move into the site we were originally on in our absence. If this were to happen the chances are they would encroach on to our site, that one being so narrow, and we would then not have enough room to erect the tent. Either that or I could see me making a proper prick of myself asking them to move over, being something I would prefer not doing.

I now consider that all has worked out well in the end and my frustration demonstrated with management not considering my booking with more seriousness proved to be futile.

Sunshine Coast/Coolum

Monday 23rd September, (Sunshine Coast/Coolum Beach).

A very relaxing day was spent yesterday doing absolutely nothing, and it was enjoyed very much.

Today we ventured back up to Noosa Heads and walked about 10k around the National Park. Some of the scenery was quite spectacular, especially the rugged coastline. Linda made a comment on how blue the ocean water was, so below are a couple of pics to try to demonstrate not only the water but the rugged coast as well.

A call from Matthew yesterday revealed that they would in fact be coming to Brisbane later this week. Linda is now thrilled to find out that she will meet them after all, I am too.

We have noticed another spectacular aspect of the Sunshine coast today, thunderstorms, we had one the other night that Linda said only lasted about half an hour; I didn’t notice being asleep, and this afternoon we experienced another. One minute it was sunny and warm, the next it was pouring and a thunder storm, it lasted about 30 minutes, and then if it wasn’t for getting dark it would have been sunny and warm again.

We have now decided that we will put up with the holidaymakers and stay here until Wednesday as planned. Well we decided before the thunderstorm arrived, which would have convinced us anyway, with everything getting wet. If we had planned to move tomorrow we would have wanted to pack up tonight and the storm would have prevented that.

Not much planned for tomorrow, so this could be an ideal time to close this chapter and start another from arriving in Brisbane on our way to our going home for Christmas.

Sunshine Coast/Coolum

Saturday 21st September, (Sunshine Coast/Coolum Beach).

The Hinterlands is an area to the west of the coast and along the Blackall mountain range and is an area that offers great views of the coastline. Unfortunately I am not showing any photos as the total coastline was very misty and they were not 100% clear. The area also offered several small interesting towns, if one is inclined to stop and investigate them, and several waterfalls. Again it was unfortunate that not much water flow resulted in disappointing shots, although we did get an appreciation of what they would be like in full flow. Overall though the drive in the Hinterlands is one I would recommend to all in the district.

Linda has been making comment lately about how she is not going to enjoy our visit to the Sunshine Coast this time because of the school holidays. I now know what she meant, because as of today all the holidaymakers have made camp in the caravan park and at present the park is full of noisy small kids, and big kids. This tends to detract from the peacefulness we have grown accustomed to in parks up until now.

Sunshine Coast/Coolum

Friday 20th September, (Sunshine Coast/Coolum Beach).

A leisurely drive down the coast was the order of the day, but it turned out too leisurely and we did not get to the southern end. We will no doubt be back here some day so I guess something will be left for next time.

The Sunshine Coast is not what I expected, I was told that it is different than the Gold Coast but I guess I still expected it to be somewhat similar. The main difference I noticed is that apart from the Maroochydore area established housing is restricted to very close proximity to the coast where the Gold Coast is spread out inland a lot further. It was a strange feeling driving along the Motorway, only a couple of kilometres from the coast, and it seemed like one could have been anywhere in a remote area.

There seems to be heaps to do here so I think we are going to enjoy returning here several times. If one were to stay at different parks there would be no trouble filling in time whenever we return.

After finding out more about the climb up Mt Coolum to a lookout Linda is already having reservations about the climb, but we will see when we get there, Probably Sunday, as tomorrow is a tour of the Hinterland.

Sunshine Coast/Coolum

Thursday 19th September, (Sunshine Coast/Coolum Beach).

We had a trip to Noosa Heads for a look around today, and boy is that a big money area. It is an area that one could easily find things to do no matter what ones preferences would be; activities are very diverse, especially in the boating field. We intend returning again for a day trip as the Noosa Heads National Park have numerous walks and if the short one we went on today was any example, they should be very interesting.

We were talking today with a couple we met earlier at Rollingstone about a lookout a little south of here, Mt Coolum, that offers spectacular views of the entire Sunshine Coast. We had intended to visit it and are aware that it is a little steep, but when they said that she stopped at the sheer rock face section Linda cringed as if to say that’s it I’m not going, but we will go there and find out for ourselves.

School holidays have started and Linda has already commented that the park is filling up with “bratty kids”. I guess they are entitled to travel as much as we are so if they are a problem we will just have to grin and bear it.

Sunshine Coast/Coolum

Wednesday 18th September, (Sunshine Coast/Coolum Beach).

We made an early start this morning and what a difference it made, we had left by 8:30 instead of 10:00. Firstly the thing we noticed was all the caravans on the road, most must travel before the hour of 11AM. The cooler morning air makes a difference to the car performance, as its temperature does not rise as much. I also noticed that I had so much spare time at the end of the day after setting up, and it was nice to have some time to catch a nap.

We are quite happy with the decision of selecting the caravan park we had. It is situated on the beach, close to shops and is of a standard one would expect being an FPA park. It is one of a group of parks run by the Maroochy Shire council and it would be interesting to see if the others are of equal quality. They are more toward the centre of the Sunshine coast at Maroochydore and the reason we didn’t select one of these is because of the school holidays with people everywhere, especially in that area. This is of coarse only an assumption though as we have never been here before and don’t really know any better.

News from Matthew today reveals that it is doubtful as to whether they are now coming to Brisbane this month, yet another of the plans for the year that has fallen through. They are having several problems at the moment that will prevent them from coming, Louisa’s father is in hospital, not very well at all and she does not want to leave him at the moment, they have to vacate there house soon and don’t have anywhere to move to, and of coarse there usual problem is finances. Matthew suggested that maybe he will come on his own, and bring Jay, so it looks as though we will, or can be, in Brisbane then anyway so whatever happens is of no real problem.

Hervey Bay

Tuesday 17th September, (Hervey Bay).

The Sunshine Coast tomorrow, and an old problem has once again cropped up; School holidays start on Friday and we will be in an area that will be inundated with holidaymakers from Brisbane. The other ill side effect of these holidays is the increase in costs of caravan parks. It’s a pity that we, as travellers, are caught up with increased costs because holidaymakers invade the area that we wish to visit. The other problem as well, is finding a park that has room. This is especially a problem when we haven’t been to the area before.

Whilst looking for parks today I stumbled across one at Yandina, a small town west of the Sunshine Coast that provided facilities galore and is super cheap. The price led me to start enquiring as to why it was so cheap and one suggestion was that it is the park that appeared on TV a week or so ago that featured strange things happening. The complaints were by permanents against management, who seem to want to get rid of them. Whether this is that park or not, we decided that there must be some reason that it is so cheap, so we selected a park at Coolum Beach, a little dearer but we know what to expect.

Hervey Bay

Sunday 15th September, (Hervey Bay).

After yesterday deciding to move on to Hervey Bay today I realised that the Queensland 500 car race was on today and I would normally sit and watch it. The solution was to get an early start so we could part set up so I could sit and watch it. We also needed an early start so we could first select the park to stay at; as it was quite obvious the choice was going to be difficult. There are in the order of 25 caravan parks in the Hervey Bay area, so which one would be the correct selection.

All worked out in the end as our process of elimination proved to be successful once again, and after driving around the district to get a perspective of the area, and the parks, we ended up selecting what was our second choice. The time taken to drive around looking somewhat limited set-up time once we had settled, but it turned out I had ample time to set up in time for the race.

I mentioned to Linda later in the afternoon that I was surprised to have that feeling that some parks give of comfort and the feel of being where we could easily spend quite some time. A look around the area, and a couple of days here will reveal if the feeling is genuine.

Monday 16th September, (Hervey Bay).

A drive around the area today left us with a simple attitude of Hervey Bay: Apart from being the gateway to Fraser Island, Hervey Bay really has nothing else to offer except being a nice place to relax in a calm seaside area. The sea in the immediate vicinity is apparently always calm as Fraser Island acts as a giant breakwater and there is never any surf on these beaches. I suppose this would make it a great spot for fishing, if one owned a boat, as the water is always reasonably calm.

We have booked in here for 3 days so I guess this will allow a full day for relaxing tomorrow. In hindsight it would have paid to only stay here for the two days to give us an extra day to get to Brisbane, but that’s the way it goes, eh.