For the first couple of nights we stayed at “The Pacific View” on Kings Beach, I had trouble getting to sleep because my bed was level. It’s funny how you get used to some things, even after only five or so weeks. That is not to say a proper matress underneath a proper roof wasn’t a great way to spend a week, but I am kind of liking our camp matress, even if it is often covered in sand.
After our Fraser Island trip, we headed back south a couple of hours to Caloundra, where Angela’s parents had booked a holiday apartment for us all to stay in. It had been a long day of driving (three hours from our campsite to the barge and another two and a bit back to Caloundra), so we treated ourselves to an Indian Restaurant. I broke two of my restaurant rules though – don’t go to one that has no one in it and don’t go to one that doesn’t have Coke (or even a cola based product in the fridge – but the food was alright anyway. Nothing on the Indian Home Diner back home though.
For the next couple of days Angela and her parent’s checked out the town and tourist attractions while I was holed up in the apartment starting and finishing my final two assignements for my first two uni courses. I got 77% for one of them, but no results yet for the essay I spent nearly two whole days writing.
Once I had got all my work and uni stuff out of the way though, Caloundra proved to be a lot more fun than discussing whether or not current cyber-cultures are an extension of human engagement through the aid of communication technologies. They are, for those wondering.
Sunday of that week brought with it some sunshine and offshore(ish) winds, so I went looking for a place to surf while the girls and Dave (Anglela’s dad) surveyed the local coffee shops. Settling on Moffat’s Point I decided to paddle out to the break rather than chance the rocks again. The surf was great though, despite my tired girl arms and I stayed out until I was shivering with cold. I came in wondering if there was something wrong with Queensland. The swell picked up a foot or so a few days later and I had an even better surf out there with minimal crowds and heaps of waves. It’s a shame that was to be my second last surf for the forseeable future, as we continue to head north and away from the swell.
That night we visited the Caloundra Church of God, the only one in the area that had an evening service. The congregation meet right down the back of and inductrial area, in a dark street and it was a raining and cold night. Angela questioned whether or not we should go in, perhaps wondering if we would ever come out. I could almost agree with her, it was very eerie. Still we rocked on in, (late, like we do to almost every church we visit), but despite outside appearanced walked into one of the most welcoming churches we have visited. I think we met nearly all 21 of the congregated members that night and they didn’t even mind that River was noisy through the whole thing. The church itself is a standalone congregation, not part of any denomination (and quite damming of them all if you check out their website, http://thechurchofgod.com.au/), but welcomed a couple of ‘Anglican’s’ anyway.
We visited Underwater World while we were in town and got to check out a bunch of the fish I am going to catch as we cruise around the top end. If only I could find a river as packed with big Barra as the tank there was. We would be having crispy skinned barra everynight of the trip till we got home. River really enjoyed herself here, and was esspecially fascinated by most of the fish big enough to eat her. She can even open and close her mouth like a fish now, which is pretty funny. We checked out the seal show after lunch and the presenter went through how they train the seals to do tricks and stuff. I took some notes so I could try some of it on River.
Australia Zoo was also ticked off our list when we visited on our last day in the ‘big city’. It is only a sort of small Zoo and although I was possitive we would have seen it all in a couple of hours after glancing at the map, we were all pretty tired when we left at the end of the day. Angela and River drew the two longer strawers and got to feed ‘Siam’ the elephant which was really cool. Angela got elephant snot on her and won’t stop talking about the baby elephant she wants to get now. The elephants we saw were about 50 or so years old and between the three of them at a few tonne of food a week. Maybe that is something for later then.
The crocodiles are the big attraction of Australia Zoo (behind Bindi) maybe and there were some big ones here. They don’t do a whole lot though unless you climb into their enclosures and poke them or something, so we didn’t see them do a lot. River had a lot of fun in the kindyfarm where she got to pat a piglet and a sheep and a goat. Later on she patted a koala and a kangaroo, so she had a pretty good day for wild(ish)life encounters. We didn’t see any of the Irwins unfortunately, although we weren’t as dissapointed as the little girl we heard complaining about not seeing Bindi, the whole time River was playing in a playground.
With Australia Zoo done and dusted, we had only one more night in the apartment before we headed north to a little campdground on Tin Can Bay called Poverty Point. Povo it might have been, but the place was pretty beautiful if you could see any of it through the haze of mosquitoes. We had planned to stay there a bit longer and go check out the dolphin feeding on the other side of the bay, but after two nights of no sleep due to constant itchy legs, feet, hands, necks, faces and arms, we slept in, missed the dolphins and decided to high tali it out of there. While we were there a park ranger stopped by and commented on how few mossies he reckoned there were at the moment. Considering they never let up, even through the heat of the day, I don’t think we will be back.
From here we headed north to the Burrum Coast National Park for what turned out to be four or five of the most unorganised days camping we have been through so far. To start with, we headed into Woodgate, the town closest to the park entrance, only to find out the road in was closed and the only other road was about 40minutes drive north. We wanted to go to the Woodgate Uniting church that night, so this meant driving into camp, setting up, then driving back out the 40 minutes to get to the evening service. After church we decided to go to the bowls club for dinner, becasue it was already late and I had to make a few calls for work before we went out of reception again. I sent Angela and River in to order dinner, only to lock my keys (and shoes in the car) before I entered. With no shoes I couldn’t go in for dinner and with no keys I didn’d dare show my face to Angela, especially becasue we had already lost the other set. With the help of a tent pole, a tie down strap a cable tie, 35 minutes and Les, another bloke in the carpark, I managed to get into the car, although not before my dinner (chicken parmi) went cold (sad face).
Back at camp, we ran out of milk the next day, so decided to drive into Bunderberg and get some. I picked up some bait while we there there too, becasue we forgot that as well and I couldn’t find any pipis. Back at camp, we ran out of gas two days later. Normally this wouldnt be so bad, becasue I bought two cylinders, so one at least would always be filled, but I had forgotten to get the last empty one filled when we were in Bundy, or Caloundra, or Raibow Beach, all places I could have done it, since it was emptied. Despite all of the setbacks though we had a lot of fun camping at Kinkuna.
For starters, I caught my first mud crab in the crab pot I found on Fraser Island. It was only 11cm, a little smaller than they need to be, but exciting none the less. We had no choice but to let him go anyway, because I had no string to tie him up with. In the same little creek, Angela caught a couple of little bream on a small minnow lure which was a bit of fun.
I also tried my hand a catching beach worms. I spent about two or three hours at it for three days and caught two. On our way out of Bundy we pulled into a tackle shop and I bought a worm pump. I am not going through that sort of frustration again. Even though beach worms are hard little buggers to catch, the two I got landed three whiting, so I was pretty happy with that (one of them was even legal size, the other two had to be released).
We were also visitied by Wesley, Jarod and Corralie, who were on there way up to Cairns for a whirlwind trip in Wesley’s Transit. They made it pretty close to our camp too, despite the soft sand, and might have made it further if they had at least let the tyres down to something lower than 50psi. I ended up towing them the last couple hundred of metres in (and back out again), but having some company around the fire was definitely a welcome change. Plus they brought marinated chicken drumsticks, which is always a winner. Jarod blogged their whole trip on facebook.com if you are interested in checking it out. They made it to Cairns, but the Transit broke down on their way home, so they got back a day later than expected. Actually as I write this, they are still in Newcastle and Wesley has a Tafe test in a couple of hours.
After Kinkunu (Burrum Coast) we headed north for the Deepwater National Park, just south of Agnes Water. I was keen to stop here because Agnes has the northern most surf beach on the east coast, and I couldn’t go past it without getting the board wet. Our first day in Deepwater was miserable. One bloke we spoke to the next day said it was the worst day he can remember in the six years he has lived in the area. It was raining and cold when we got up and it was raining and cold when we went to bed. That is all that happened all day. I tried some fishing, but got too cold and wet. Angela and River spent most of the day playing in the tent.
The bad weather did bring some good though, in the form of 2ft of swell off the Agnes Water point. We headed into town that morning for church, and had a great time afterwards talking with a bunch of the locals over some cake and tea. River ran wild playing with the few dogs wondering around and a soccer ball she found. After church, we followed the signs down to the beach, where despite the long weekend crowds, surf school just paddling out and a local kid telling me my board was too short, I was greeted with a very fun little point break. The wave was dominated by old local guys on long boards, in particular one bloke Mario who spent most of his time trying to make the gap between the two sections and a significantly large rock. He made it too, most of the time.
As far as ‘last surfs for a while’ go, this was a cracker, even if I did end up with a long board in my kidneys after a young bloke lost it trying to get over a wave. I am not sure how long I was out, but I was cold when I got in. The cold wasn’t so bad, but I was so tired my arms weren’t paddling me onto waves any more. To top it off, I went fishing that arvo with a couple of scraps of chicken and landed a 25cm Dart after about five minutes. Like most of my fish so far though, 25cm is just undersize, so I let him go. I think we will come back to Agnes again one day.
We packed up the next morning. We hadn’t had showers since leaving Caloundra (11 nights I think), so Angela was pretty keen on washing under water, rather than under baby wipes.
River is growing up. We keep on calling her a baby, but she is now most definately a toddler. Walking is now her main form of transport and we spend hours each day just letting her walk around and explore. Her communication is getting better and although she can’t say any words, she can mostly tell us what she wants with a few less random sounds. Becasue she has started walking and exploring, we have had to start telling her off a little bit, which she isn’t a huge fan of. Most of the time though when we do, she freezes as if we can’t see her when she isnt moving, then slowly turns and smiles at us, as if that will convince us to let her climb up some stairs or into the water by herself.
Currently we are at Laka Awoonga just outside Gladstone, but more on that next time, this post is already long enough.
Until next time
Brendan, Angela and River.