The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

26 May, 2014

Gold & Sunshine Coast

We've basically spent the last 4 weeks on either the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast.  On the Gold Coast we stayed at Burleigh Beach Tourist Park while Todd was home from work and on the Sunshine Coast at Alex Beach Tourist Park for a couple of nights and the remaining at Noosa Caravan Park, Tewantin.  The weather has been a real mixture with some great days and a couple of really wet days - generally though the days have consisted of cool mornings with the sun coming out during the day. 

Burleigh Beach Tourist Park, we swapped gum trees for the concrete jungle

The first week on the Gold Coast with Todd was a bit of a shock getting caught up in the daily bustle of the GC as we had been inland for a while where things were a bit quieter.  Was nice to have walks along the beach and pathways, even venturing up to Burleigh hill for walks in the National Park and of course sunset drinks with Todd. Great to end the day watching the sun set with a couple of coldies!

Having sundowners at Burleigh on the hill

 Curlew birds in the caravan park, normally hard to find in the bush.

We moved from Burleigh after a week as Todd was called back to work so headed for Bribie Island to visit Heather and John.  The timing of this visit coincided with the replacement of their carpet so was able to lend a hand removing and replacing some of their furniture. We also checked out the museum which certainly is worth a visit detailing some of Bribie's history . Aboriginal presence in the area spans thousands of years. The island was formed when seas broke through the northern end of a long sandy peninsula between 1822-1839; free settlement following the end of convict transportation in 1839; by 1920's Bribie Island had become a great destination for mass tourism - the steamship ' Koopa' began regular trips carrying 1200 passengers daily. The bridge was built and opened in 1963 with a $1 toll lasting 12 years. We drove over to Woorim Beach (eastern side of Bribie Island) for a walk on the beach & visited the southern Gun Emplacement built in WW11 as part of the defense of Morton Bay

Inside the Bribie Island museum

Bribie jetty, just across from the park

After leaving Bribie we travelled to the Sunshine Coast to Alexandra Beach for a couple of days, stopping on the way for a coffee at the Ettamogah Pub (too early for a beer).  From here we took in the sites of the southern section of the Sunshine Coast - Buderim and Maroochydore.  A day drive up to Mapleton, Montville and Maleny in the hinterland, included a visit to Mapleton Falls, Kondalilla Falls NP and McCarthy's lookout to see what we could of the Glass House mountains.  From the photos you'll see that there was not a lot of sunshine around so was pleasant to do the "scenic" drive in the comfort of the car and the short walks between showers of rain.

No caption required, only check out my new friend Ace the guard dog.

Alexandra Head beach looking south towards Mooloolaba

View over Obi Obi valley from Kondalilla NP

Walking track in Kondalilla NP

Not the best veiw of the Glass House Mountains, should also be a rainbow in there somewhere!

SUNNY!! coast in a traffic jam

To explore the northern section of the sunshine coast we moved to Tewantin, a nice distance from Noosa to avoid the bustling social activities of Noosa itself.  Made a day trip to the Eumundi markets (well worth a visit) and the Ginger factory then back through Coolum returning to Tewantin along the coast road.  We also made another day drive around to Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach returning via Great Sandy NP and along Teewah Beach, Coloured Sands to Tewantin.  At the end of the day we treated the 'Tojo'  to a car spa after coming off the beach - 3 minutes of high pressure jets from all angles to wash the sand out of all those crevasses.

Eumundi markets

Double Island point from eastern beach

Double Island point from Wide Bay (Rainbow Beach)

Sun sets on the surfers at Wide Bay

Fishing off Noosa Spit, gotta be keen!

By this time we had spent 2 weeks on the sunshine coast so returned to Burleigh for more "Todd time" which included more sunset drinks on the hill at Burleigh, a morning trying stand-up boarding which resulted in me bruising or fracturing a rib, not as young and flexible as I use to be!!  Even coordinated our visit with the Broadbeach Blues festival which we attended for an afternoon.  Also watched the first State of Origin match at Nobby's Surf Club which was not the result the Qld crowd wanted - atmosphere was great with plenty of noise although think we were the oldest ones there!

Went to take some photos from Burleigh Hill, my little thing (camera) didn't measure up!

Blues on Broadbeach

Todd on his stand up ..... can't be that difficult!

OK I've got this far, focus, focus, steady ....... splash!!

Well I'll leave Todd out there, that'll teach him for not putting trainer wheels on my board.

Bugger ..... he makes it look so easy.

We had a great time catching up with Todd and Tenelle but needed to say 'see ya' as we packed up starting our trek north to enjoy the warmer weather.

03 May, 2014

Upper Clarence High Country, NSW

Upper Clarence Region
After another enjoyable McLeod family reunion at Echuca we headed back to Albury to spend a few more days with Briony before we started to head north and Briony prepared to leave for Canada.  We stayed one night at Nevins Beach East on the Murray - a nice quiet spot about 12 km off the highway west of Yarrawonga.

As we had several of Briony's boxes to take and put in storage in Qld we also decided to travel relatively quickly or limit our camp set ups through NSW stopping generally for longer periods so we could manage the boxes rather than lifting them in and out the caravan every couple of days.

Norm's pet donkey ..... (no the one in the background)
Based on this we headed towards Taree to visit Norm and Maureen (Helen was also keen to pick up the camp fire toaster Norm had promised).  We were keen to catch up as we hadn't seen them since camping together last July in the Territory and would have plenty of travel stories to trade.  On our way to Taree we had a couple of nice camps first at Canowindra Caravan Park - we only stayed one night and didn't hang around for Nicole Kidman who was about to start filming Strangerland the next day! From here we travelled through Gulgong and Muswellbrook finally deciding to stay at Lake Liddell on the opposite side to the Liddell Power Station.  That night we had thunderstorms and woke to a rainy wet camp so decided to move on heading to the coast and Taree.  When we drove through Bulahdelah we decided to stay the night at the show grounds and treat ourselves to dinner at the bowling club that night.  The next morning we were woken by cars and young excited kids voices as in the show grounds also had the rugby oval less than 10 meters from our camp and it was Saturday morning junior sports with car loads arriving all excited and ready to play.  With this volume of excitement we quickly packed up and had a morning coffee in Bulahdelah before heading to Taree.
Couldn't help myself, had to have a piccie, Liddell Power Station at sunrise from our camp

We spent 3 nights with Norm at Taree, Maureen was in Hospital recovering from a knee replacement. Norm showed us around Taree one day and also took us for a drive to Foster another. We made a couple of visits to see Maureen in hospital to say g'day.  Many thanks to Norm for being a wonderful host.
From Taree we headed to Sawtell (just south of Coffs Harbor) for a couple of nights then Glenreagh. We had stayed at Glenreagh last year so just enjoyed not travelling for a week, although did go into Nana Glen and had a great coffee at the "Idle Inn Cafe" worth a stop for a cuppa if your ever passing through Nana Glen.  

Thought this bush shack would be a good project ... Hels was not impressed

The golden dog at the Golden Dog pub Glenreagh must have got hungry since we last visited.

As Easter was approaching and school holidays we naturally headed inland away from the coast and peak period charges.  We found a rustic retreat not far from Tabulam in the Upper Clarence High Country, where we based ourselves for a couple of weeks while exploring the Upper Clarence. Tabulam has the longest single span wooden bridge in the Southern Hemisphere - 972 feet long and has a 15 ft wide roadway on the bridge, being built in drought years & completed in 1902.  The Upper Clarence High Country has several 4WD parks, rain forest areas and great fishing and camping areas along the Clarence River, not that I caught any fish!!!!  One drive we did was north through Pretty Gully and Paddy's Flat.  Paddy's Flat is known for the Tank Traps the Government set up early in the Second World War as they had the opinion that the North of Australia could not be defended and it was proposed to sacrifice everything on an irregular line from just north of Brisbane.  A large number of concrete pyramids were placed across the Clarence River chained together to form an obstacle for vehicles and tanks. When American Troops under Gen Douglas Macarthur arrived in Australia in 1942 it was decided to defend the whole of Australia and the Tank Traps were later towed up onto the western bank of the river where they remain today although some have been covered by sand.  From here we drove through the rain forest in Tooloom National Park.
We also took the scenic drive along the Rocky River Road between Drake and Tenterfield.  From Drake we passed through the rain forest area then followed the Rocky (Timbarra) River back to Tenterfield.  As the road meandered along the river we passed some great camping spots (not really suitable for large caravan access)and good fishing spots ..... I was told!!

Camping out from Tabulum

Tabulum bridge 972 feet long

In the 1976 floods the river rose 54 feet, putting 6 inches of water over the road.

One of the Tank traps at Paddy's Flat on the banks of the Clarence River

Clarence River had many nice spots for a dip, just a bit cool!!

Some of the rain forest along the Rocky  Road

This is why it's called the Rocky River

The Rocky Road, a little squeeze for a big van

Just a big rock by the road

While camping I also had the fortunate opportunity to meet Phil, who runs a Travelling School of Photography.  Phil was able to run through the menu on my camera and explain quite a few features I had not been using.  We also had a couple of early morning walks to take some sunrise photos and hopefully improve my piccies.
Phil giving some pointers on a brisk morning walk

some of my photographic efforts

After a couple of weeks the school holidays had finished and Todd was about to start his 2 weeks leave so we headed to Brunswick Heads and the hustle and bustle of the Gold Coast.