The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

28 February, 2015

Woolooga, Qld

Our stay in Tweed Heads was extended for a few days due to cyclone Marcia as there was no point moving further north - the weather was wetter and the rivers rapidly rising.  With the weather easing we packed up and headed towards Gympie on Sunday morning as we were scheduled to commence our house-sitting duties on Monday.  It was reported that the Bruce Highway was closed at Gympie due to flood waters so decided to stay the night at Eumundi and wait for the flood water to recede as the house we were sitting was 35 km north west of Gympie at Woolooga.

Eumundi camp, toilet block made from used containers and the mural on the side is the market body painting display.

Stayed overnight at Eumundi - $15 per night staying in the Market car park where they have built nice new facilities. Monday morning headed out towards Gympie as news indicated that the Bruce Highway had been reopened.  Driving through Gympie were amazed at the flood levels as parks and football ovals were still deeply underwater.  All was going well until we got to the Wide Bay Turn Off 10 kms north of Gympie where we had to cross the Mary River in order to get to Woolooga. Here we stuck a road block as a large tree had wedged itself under the bridge and the water level was still basically lapping the top of the bridge (normally 20 metres below the bridge).  We stayed for 2 hours while the overhanging 6 metre branch was cut away and bitumen repairs done to the road.  Plenty of people to have a chat to as there would have been approx 20 cars and trucks held up!  First time I have been happy to see 10 council workers carrying out roadworks!!

The fork of the tree caught on the LHS of the bridge and another 7 metres or so protruding from under the bridge on the RHS

Road blocked - patiently waiting for the repair work to be carried out.

Finally arrived at Woolooga and our house sit late afternoon and were made to feel very welcome by owners Ray and Carol.  They left the following day and we enjoyed a wonderful 4 weeks surrounded by lovely gardens and a pool which got a lot of use as the weather was very warm/humid.  While house-sitting we took the opportunity to explore the local area going on several drives, calling into markets and seeing some historic pubs.

The back yard we were looking after

Had to have a windmill photo, Ray's container turned into a bush shack.

That's me looking after the pool, a tough job .... hehe.
One of the afternoon attractions was the various birds which called in while we had happy hour.

This is Joe, who flew in late afternoon for a feed

Sometimes had to compete with these Rainbow Lorikeets

Double Barrel Finches would also drop by late afternoon for a splash in the rock pond.

Ray was a regular at the Woolooga Pub so just had to fill in for him!!  Thursday afternoon was the social time for the farmers in the area so were able to meet some real characters.  The Woolooga Pub is renowned for having the oldest twin publicans in the World which at the time I thought was a big call, but having met the publicans (Bill & Brenton, aged 85) would not question the statement.

Woolooga Town -  the pub, Community Hall and Rusty Ute cafe.
On one of our drives we headed south east of Gympie to Kin Kin and back via the Mary valley.  The road to Kin Kin had a selection of letterbox art work from worms made up of several used gas bottles to various animals.  One piece of art work that took our eye was an eagle gate.  I missed it when we first passed by but was pleased we went back when I saw the gate, very impressive.

Some fancy gate art work on our drive from Gympie to Kin Kin

Lunch at Kin Kin pub, The pub was renovated in 2007 and now is a favorite lunch stop for bike and car clubs.

02 February, 2015

Northern Beaches

We decided to head down to Tarree to visit good friends Norm and Maureen who had just moved into a new home and we were assured our van would fit in their drive way!  We have not experienced Northern NSW beaches so decided to travel down the coast and spend time calling into some of the towns.  Had a weekend @ Brunswick Heads - Todd and Tenelle were able to come down for the and had a great fun filled couple of days.  Tenelle's parents also came down on the Sunday so were able to spend time catching up with them as well.

Looks easy, even the pooches look relaxed

Steady as we go, did spend some time on top of the water.

The walking bridge to the sea

Spent a lot of time under the water!!

Todd with the old couple

After having coffee at a top Coffee Spot in Brunswick Heads, we drove down to Yuraygir National Park hoping to find a camp spot for a couple of days.  Not too many spots left as quite a few people camping so pushed onto Brooms Head where we stayed in the Caravan Park which turned out to be cheaper than in the National Park and have more facilities.  Lovely spot to stay although would not like to be there at Christmas or Easter time as the park is full.  Decided to stay a couple of days and drove out to Sandon Beach/River (road very pot holed and would be slow going if we had the van), up to the Look out which was spectacular.  Drove out to Redcliffes (Yuraygir National Park) & had a walk along the beach which was littered with blue bottles.  I went for a quick swim but Hels would not go in because of the blue bottles!

Looking from Brooms Head lookout south towards Sandon and Back beach

Sunrise at Brooms Head

Brooms Head weather rock.

Next stop was Grassy Heads however on the way we needed a coffee fix and the best option was McDonalds at Grafton and whilst waiting for our coffee ran into our next door neighbour from Darwin - unbelievable!!  Grassy Heads is a lovely spot and we stayed at Grassy Head Holiday Park which came recommended and did not disappoint.  Also staying there were friends Geoff and Jan so was good to catch up with them again.  While staying at Grassy Head we drove up to Scotts Head, another small coastal town which offers fantastic sea views and a good surf break.

Table and seats over looking the surf at Scotts Head

Scotts Head overlooking the bay

Grassy Heads

After spending two nights at Grassy Heads headed to Tarree to visit Norm and Maureen for three nights.  They had just moved into a new home and also had a new family member - Perry a miniature poodle.  Friday night we went to the Bowls Club for dinner and as we walked through the door we bought the usual raffle tickets and at 8pm the first number drawn out was ours!  Hels and I were winners of a meat tray.  Well you should have heard Norm carry on - he never wins anything!  It was not long before one of his numbers were called so that kept him quiet.  By the end of the night Norm and Maureen walked out with 3 winning meat trays - you could not get a bigger grin on Norm's face! Had a great catch up with plenty of laughs - thank you Norm and Maureen for your hospitality.

Made scones in the webber for Norm and Maureen wedding anniversary.

Leaving Tarree decided to stay a night at Moonee Beach, north of Coffs Harbour, and stayed in the Caravan Park where we were greeted by friendly staff (would definitely go back again).  One of the features of Moonee Beach is the mouth of the River has large sand flats which disappear under a metre of water at high tide but other times are exposed where kids can explore the water pools.  Un-beknown to us this would be the last time we saw sunshine for nearly a week.

We were committed to house sit out of Gympie in a weeks time and as a Low was forming off the Coast near the Qld/NSW boarder we decided to stay away from the beach front parks.  We headed for a Tweed Heads Caravan Park which was in a sheltered position away from the coast. What was going to be a couple of nights turned into a five night stay as tropical Cyclone Marcia formed off of Rockhampton causing heavy rainfall all down the coast, closing the Bruce Highway at Gympie.