The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

25 August, 2015

Bowen, Qld

After leaving Smalleys Beach we continued our travels further north. It had been some time since we had travelled through Bowen, so decided this time we would stay a few days. We stayed at Harbour Lights Caravan Park which over looks the yacht club and Front Beach.

Bowen is a fruit growing area and is also known as the "salad bowl" of Australia according to the local tourist information.  It is also known for its mango's and there is a big mango outside the tourist information centre. Around town on various building walls there are 25 murals depicting the town history.  What wasn't on the tourist information was the number of mozzies and midgies that we encountered during our stay, apparently they had only been around for the last 2 weeks!!

We stayed for 3 nights and had a good drive around visiting the beaches, notably Queens Beach, Rose Bay and Horseshoe Bay.  Also went up to the lookout at Flagstaff Hill which gave a great view of Bowen and the surrounding bays and islands.

View from Flagstaff Hill towards Rose Bay 

From Flagstaff Hill looking towards Bowen and the harbour.

The town jetty used in the filming of the movie Australia

Jetty from Front Beach

One of the towns many murals on the hardware shop wall.

Continuing north on the Bruce Highway, our next stop was Home Hill about 100 km south of Townsville.  Home Hill is a sugar cane growing area and welcomes the passing traveller to town and encourages them to stay.  You can stay next to the information centre in a side street for free or, as we chose, stayed at the Show Grounds for $12 per night.  This was a one night stop over with the intention of driving into Townsville the next morning, doing a quick shop then out the other side. This is exactly what we did and stayed the following night at Blue Water roadside free camp, on the Bluewater creek.  This is a very popular spot and was full the night we stopped with several 'wizbangs' (camper vans) coming in late. Not sure if we would stay there again but worked out well for us on this occasion.

The next morning we were up early and headed to Forrest Beach, 17 km out from Ingham.

22 August, 2015

Smalleys Beach, Cape Hillsborough NP

Smalleys Beach is part of the Cape Hillsborough National Park, about 50 km north west of Mackay.
We stayed for 9 days, it was most relaxing apart from some of the wildlife which came a little too close at times!!

Smalleys Beach camp area has 11 sites which are generally separated by bush and you camp amoungst the trees with your own pathway leading to the beach.  Sites 8 to 11 are the more secluded which is nice but also has it's problems getting enough sun to charge your batteries from the solar. Infact I think all sites have limitations when requiring sun for solar panels.  We stayed on site 10.

At low tide the mud flat goes out at least 30 meters or more, but at high tide you have a great beach and picturesque bay. Also put the fishing line in a couple of days on good advice from a local who suggested fishing on the incoming tide when the mud flats are covered by half a metre of water. Apparently whiting swim through the channel however they were certainly missing on the days I fished!  Did catch a bream however sent it home to Mum!  On the second day I never felt a nibble but hey that's fishing!!

Smalleys Beach

Our little camp tucked away in the bush

A path leads from our camp to the beach, this was our view.
Being a national park there seems to be an abundence of wildlife including the usual Goanna that stalks you when you arrive and makes a daily inspection of your site just in case you have left some food out.

The kookaburras are plentyfull and sit quitely in the the trees watching to swoop past at any opportunity to grab a sausage or some food from your hand or table if left unattended too long.

Plenty of kookaburras to watch your camp

Curlews in the bush, so difficult to see.

Plenty of Wallabies

Our friendly Goanna, sometimes a little too friendly!

Mangrove Heron

Mud flats at low tide

Red-capped Dotterel (Sandpiper)

On Sunday there was a fire at Ball Bay

The fire made a great spectical on sunset

06 August, 2015

Back in Oz - heading north

It was nice to be back and really enjoyed some of the Aussie treats, like hamburgers with beetroot and pineapple! It was a little too cold for us on the Gold Coast so decided that we need to head north and find some warmer weather.  From Tallebudgera we travelled to Maryborough and stayed for a week before it was time to continue further north.

No stress grazing back in Oz
We moved away from the coast and travelled out through Ban Ban Springs onto the Burnett Hwy - our first overnight stop was Ceratodus free camp on the Burnett Hwy.  We had stayed here on previous occasions and is a good overnight stop.

Only 30 km to the north is Wuruma Dam, we had heard this was also a good camp spot so thought we would check it out.  Yes, would have been a good spot but very busy and with the number of caravans already camping was difficult to find a flat spot to camp, so we had a coffee and continued on our way, noting that it would be good to stay once the 'busy' season has eased.

Our next overnight stop was Dululu free camp, again an OK overnight stop - you could pay $5 and have the use of the showers or free if you are self sufficient.

After crossing the Capricorn Hwy we turned off at Dingo and headed towards Middlemount to look for our next camp at Bundoora Dam.  Bundoora Dam was bulit on German Creek for mining purposes and is located 28 km south west of Middlemount.  This is a popular camping and recreational spot which is used by locals for water sports as well as the grey nomads.  We stayed for 4 days and enjoyed watching the wildlife and just taking in the outback serenity.

Sunset at Bundoora Dam

Kangaroos came down to graze in the late afternoon on the banks of the dam.

Every day we watched the Pied Stilt hunting for a meal

Happy hour is always standard after 5, but what a great back drop

Our spot on the banks of the dam
After leaving Bundoora Dam we traveled north west along the Dysart Middlemount Rd to Moranbah for shopping and lunch.  We continued east along the Peake Downs Hwy to Nebo. We decided to stay at the Nebo Show grounds, we used the facilities along with another 4 to 5 caravaners giving us time to wash and even visit the local pub. After 3 nights we moved closer to the coast staying at Kinchant Dam for a night.  We thought this would be an opportunity to top up with water before going to Smalleys Beach where we needed to be self sufficient.  The park is a bit dated but has a bar and restaurant which we attended for dinner.  The social club runs a raffle and after eating chicken schnitzels we won the chicken meat tray, Hels was delighted ....... I'm still undecided if that was a win but has saved on 4 meals.

White Peacock at Kinchant Dam