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Tales of the travels, trials and triumphs as we explore Australia in a converted bus

Motorhome Travels - March 2004


Relaxing in the river at the reserve - [Click for a Larger Image]
Relaxing in the river at the reserve

Norm and Thel moved into the motorhome with us on Tuesday. We have decided to go to our favourite spot, Flannigan's Reserve near Mt Barney. This has got to be the most relaxing place we know and with all the dramas they had in getting ready to leave NZ, they probably need to relax.

Playing with remote controlled cars - [Click for a Larger Image]
Playing with remote controlled cars

Friday, Tomorrow we have to head back to the coast so Norm and Thel can catch a plane to really start their world trip. On Friday night we planned to watch a movie but got involved in the Mt Barney Grand Prix instead. John and Glenda brought over some tiny remote controlled cars and so we played "race around the rubbish bin" for an hour or two. I don't want to say who won - but I will say that the younger generation had far less crashes!

Friday night it rained - and rained. By morning the quiet stream had became a raging river. The trip back to the coast was delayed by a detour caused by some serious flooding. However, after a stop to check out an internet cafe, we made it back and delivered our passengers without further drama. Saturday evening we joined Norm, Thel, Grant and Kellie for a meal at the local pub.

The back packers are packed and ready to go - [Click for a Larger Image]
The back packers are
packed and ready to go

Sunday morning - The travellers were still worried about the amount of gear in their packs! After much packing, repacking and discussions (some relating to high-heal shoes), they were ready to go. They looked great standing there with their packs on, huge smiles, ready to take on the world (and spend their kids inheritance) - you go guys!

Mark and Gail and family at their house on the Gold Coast - [Click for a Larger Image]
Mark and Gail and family at their
house on the Gold Coast

Sunday afternoon - we had arranged to meet the Gold Coast chapter of Kustoms of Australia (car club) for a photo session. After the photos were all taken we headed off to find Mark and Gail Bennett - the guys we bought the motorhome from almost exactly one year ago. After a few testing hills (Mark did warn us) we arrived at the Bennett ranch. We had a nice BBQ on the deck and talked about all the places that Hobohome had taken us (plus some less interesting stuff about nursing and hospitals and stuff like that). We really did not intend imposing for more than one night, but Mark very generously offered to show me how to change the fuel filters in the motorhome and help with a few other bits ... Tuesday evening we pulled out of their driveway with lots of work done on the Moke and motorhome. Many thanks guys!

The plan is to head North on Thursday (yes I know we have been saying that for a few months now - this time we are really off!)



Goodbye to Martim and Michelle - [Click for a Larger Image]
Goodbye to Martim and Michelle

This week seems to have been a week of goodbyes.Last night we said goodbye to our good friends Martin and Michelle, we are going to miss these guys - they have been a tremendous help to us in many ways. We look forward to staying in touch and sharing stories over a drink somewhere down the track. We also said goodbye to Grant and Kellie (we were looking forward to being with them on their 11 week anniversary :-) ).



After leaving the Gold Coast we took a couple of days to make our way north to the seaside resort town of Noosa. Here we met up with Peter and Donna and thoroughly enjoyed soaking up large quantities of sun on Alexandria beach. We met lots of nice people and really enjoyed the weekend.

From Noosa we continued north via Tin Can Bay where we watched at 7am while a large crowd gathered near a small pier.

Mystique the friendly dolphin - [Click for a Larger Image]
Mystique the friendly dolphin

It seems for some years now a friendly dolphin arrives every morning to be hand fed to the delight of the onlookers. Sure enough, as we watched he arrived and gently moved among the 20 or so people who had purchased a small container of fish, and collected his free breakfast.

From Tin Can Bay it was a short run up to Maryborough, home to Bill and Phyllis (the opal miners who we met at Duck Creek back in October last year). Bill arranged with a friend of his, Frank, for us to park the motorhome on a small farm just out of town. It turned out to be a nice quiet spot and apart from being able to explore Maryborough and her history, we have been able to get quite a few small jobs done around the motorhome. While we are here on the Fraser Coast we decided we should visit Fraser Island. We arranged a two day 4WD safari for Sunday and Monday.



Fraser Island

Some background info first...

Fraser Island is the largest Island in the world comprised entirely of sand. It is home to a diverse array of wildlife and features various types of habitat including rainforest and a number of fresh water lakes. It now boasts the protection of a world heritage conservation status and is accessible only via four wheel drive vehicle.

A fallen tree blocks the track on Fraser Island - [Click for a Larger Image]
A fallen tree blocks the track on
Fraser Island

We set alarm clocks (for the first time in nine months) to make sure we were on our way to meet our tour by 6:45am. We arrived slightly late and boarded our Uni-Mog to join the 22 other adventurers (all of whom looked about 10-20 years our junior). The Mog drove to the barge and we enjoyed the 50 minute trip to the island. When we arrived the front of the barge lowered and we drove through the sea water and up a sand bank, and onto Fraser Island.

The sand tracks are narrow, with vegetation growing high on both sides.  Our guide was Richard and it soon became clear that he (despite being a Pom) knew heaps about Fraser Island, its history, wildlife and habitats and he was going to pass all of that knowledge onto us (in some cases twice).

Our first stop was for a walk through the rain forest. This was cut short due to a huge fallen tree that blocked the entire track.  Ok - onto plan 'B'.


Tracey is floating down a clear stream - [Click for a Larger Image]
Tracey is floating down a clear

After a very nice lunch at Happy Valley, we drove along the beach to Eli creek. Fresh, crystal clear water meanders its way along a deep creek to the sea. A very nice spot for a drift

The wreck of the Maheno on Fraser Island - [Click for a Larger Image]
The wreck of the Maheno on Fraser

From Eli Creek we headed further up the beach to the wreck of the Maheno. An unfortunate ship that breaks up the white sands of the eastern side of the island.


We returned to happy valley for the night and enjoyed a BBQ meal cooked by Richard the guide (is he a cook who drives or a driver who cooks?)

Champagne pools is located on the north - [Click for a Larger Image]
Champagne pools is located on the

In the evening we had a chance to enjoy a few drinks and get to know our fellow travellers a little more. Among them were representees from Ireland, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Canada, England, and Finland. An interesting bunch. The four boys from Ireland were lots of fun and Dave even treated us to a demonstration of Irish dancing (on the table) that would put Michael Flatly to shame. Philip is a natural comedian and is wasting his talents working as an air traffic controller (or is he??) Check out the boys web site at www.lost-in-oz.com. After a little falling over and just a tiny bit of broken glass, the management suggested that we might like to vacate the bar at about midnight.

A nice refreshing swim in the lake - [Click for a Larger Image]
A nice refreshing swim in the lake

I'm sure I was not the only one to feel a little seedy as we set off in the Mog the following morning. The swim in lake Wabby came just in time to avoid the revisitation of breakfast. The weather turned nasty during the night and we were treated to the tail end of cyclone Grace that is currently situated of the coast of Cairns. We enjoyed the day despite the wind and occasional rain. and returned to meet the barge at 5pm.

50 minutes back to the mainland and a 35 minute drive back to the motorhome. We were tired and ready for bed!

Upon reflection we feel that the trip was very worthwhile and good value for money at $185 each (all inclusive). Richards skill as a driver and his knowledge of the island made for a very enjoyable trip. For anyone interested, we would recommend The Fraser Island Company, they run various different tours from one day to three days, from camping to 5 star accommodation. Our trip was the 2 day Adventure with cabin style overnight accommodation.

We have now mapped out a bit of a timetable for heading north and across the top of the country taking into account the seasonal temperatures and rain fall. Tomorrow we will leave this quiet place near Maryborough and head further north.



We have travelled quite a distance in the last week. We are currently parked on the banks of Calliope River - well north of Bundaberg. I have been perfecting my "Age of Empires" skills while Tracey works on her tan. The evening light is getting shorter now, as summer slips away. It is hard to believe that we have been on the road for nine months - it sort of feels like time has somehow stopped. I am still inclined to think about my old job at Baycorp from time to time - I wonder what it is like to work there now?  It's 5:45pm and as I write this I look out the window to see Tracey fishing in the river and Tivoli strolling down to see what she is doing - there is no sound and nobody else in sight.  Its a long way from life as an IT manager.


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