QLD 2023, 20-29 June: Tropics back to winter

Tuesday 20 – Wednesday 21 June

Today we put Byfield behind us, and follow the coastline for around 300km, to arrive in the lovely little town called Agnes Water.  It is on the coast, along with another town called 1770 (named after its discovery year by settlers) just a few kilometres north on a one-way road in and out.  Geographically 1770 is a little like Palm Beach in Sydney, as it also sits at the tip of a peninsula.

It is one of Queensland’s most popular places to visit, and as we know of friends who didn’t manage to get in as everything was fully booked, we organised our spot about 2 weeks ago. This is not always great, as you’re then dependent on factors outside your control, such as weather.

Well, we are again extremely lucky, and the weather is still fantastic.

We take a walk up the steep hill within the large camp area, to have a look at the view to the coast, which, from this spot, is not all that remarkable. In Agnes Water we enjoy a walk through an unusual forest of Paperbark (tea) trees, and where climbing maidenhair ferns form incredible ‘webs’.  The green of the ferns against the white of the trees makes a stunning picture.

We drive around and enjoy some short walks from the various lookouts to beaches of the clearest water and almost unreal colours.  It is unsurprising that this is a top destination for travellers.

Paper bark tea trees

Thursday 22 – Saturday 24 June: Fraser Coast ( temp. 25-29 degrees)

Moving on today to Howard town, not too far a trip today, only another 200km south, just inland from Hervey Bay.  We have scored the best campsite yet again, with a ‘deck’ over the water on a huge property.  We are absolutely chuffed with this great view.  This campsite has 6 decks that butt up to your caravan, spread around a few dams that are home to various birds and turtles.  All other powered and unpowered sites are scattered around in bush.  The property has a 2.5 km walking track, which we cover, and great sunsets.  Can’t believe how many we’ve been treated to thus far!

We have some drinks and laughs with other campers around the communal campfire.

Arno gets a game of golf in at Howard town (on his bike) as Jen explores Hervey Bay, with its 8km beachfront.

We explore Howard together, a charming place, and we attend a ‘festival’ of witches on the oval, where around 80 market stands sell anything to do with crystals and rocks, natural remedies, healing, massages, hippie clothes, and the atmosphere is entertaining, and the weather couldn’t be better for the occasion. Many of the exhibitors are dressed up as witches, and Arno is highly amused to see one ‘trying out’ different wands, before settling on her choice of purchase.

We move on to nearby Childers, where we have a surprisingly superb lunch of tandoori chicken salad and a wrap at the pub’s fun beer garden. The town has a long strip of shops and cafes, but most are shut on Saturday afternoon. We pop into the tourist information centre, which is housed in the rebuilt Palace Hotel. In here we also see a beautifully made memorial of the 15 backpackers (including Dutch and English) who were killed in the horrific fire in 2000.

On the Saturday evening the camp’s proprietor welcomes everyone into his Diner, and makes his delicious pizza for around 30-40 campers ($10 per person). He tells the story of how he and his wife came to own the property and the background to the building of the diner, and his passion for and restoration of vintage cars over the decades.  He then takes us on a tour of the his current possessions in his garages.  A fun experience for all!

Our deck

Sunday 25 – Tuesday 27 June: more Fraser Coast

We awake to FOG!  This holds until 10am when we head off to the next town of Maryborough, only 30km south.  Whilst we are enjoying the way above average temperatures, we’ve decided to stretch our time here as long as possible, before having to make move back to the inevitable winter again on our way home. The temperature reaches 30 degrees while we drive the short distance to the town and we explore it a little before going to the campsite, which is only a few km out of town.

We have been here on a stop in 2018 when we did a road trip with Jen’s sister and brother in law after sailing the Whitsundays, and we enjoy it again. We drop in at the Town Hall, highly recommended by some fellow campers in Howard, for the incredible painting of its (public) toilets!  These are guarded by friendly volunteers to ensure any visitors don’t walk into someone using the facilities…

The town is the birthplace of the author of Mary Poppins, and many murals, museums, kids interactive displays can be found here.

We also have the luck to be here on one of the days that the steam train runs and we jump on to be taken along the Mary River and through the large memorial park, where a band is playing.

The weather gods are smiling on this town as well, and the turnout is great.

Our camp has a nice ‘Lucky Bar’ with happy hour where you also pay your fee the day you enter.  Drinks are cheaper than at the local bottle shop..!

We had booked a powered site (the last one available), but in hindsight would have preferred an unpowered site on the beautiful grass as we are on hard gravel and very close to the neighbours.  Never mind, the amenities are super clean and close by, and being on power, we can also use our own washing machine for our sheets, which we hang in the warm sun, and head off for Hervey Bay to do a part of the M2BRT (Mary to Bay Rail Trail).  The ride takes us behind the coastline and residential (much of it holiday accommodation) areas on a superb pathway from one end of Hervey Bay to the other where we head to coast and have brunch and coffee with the view of the 1km pier that looks out on K’gari (recently renamed from Fraser) Island. We opt to cycle along the wide bike/pedestrian path along the water (or just behind the treeline on small dunes) back to the car, even though not a long ride (just over 20km) it was very pretty.

Back in Maryborough Arno has another round of 9 holes, and Jen does some shopping. I know this is getting to be like a broken record, but all three nights we are here, the sunsets are magnificent.

Wednesday 28 – Friday 30 June: hot to cold

We leave in a comfortable 24 degrees drive today and this is going to be a big drive day as we are now seriously making headway towards the QLD-NSW border. We cover a lot of bumpy roads, and Jen is not a comfortable passenger being tossed around.

We stop at a cute town called Tiaro, where Arno queues for a considerable time for the most excellent coffee! We drive via Gympie, to make use of the public weigh bridge to get our caravan and car fully loaded weighed.  For safety reason, it is important to stay within the set weight of van, car and on the tow-ball.  Another interesting experience and we get a report.

We arrive in Dalby by mid afternoon in 29 degrees, and Jen is chafing at the bit to get moving after that long and mostly uncomfortable drive.

Dalby is a nice town set along the Myall Creek, and our caravan park has a key-operated gate with access to the beautiful walk/bike way running on both sides of the river.    We marvel once again at how the Queensland councils really manage to get their recreational areas so attractive and practical, again with art, picnic and barbecue facilities, pretty gazebos, playgrounds etc.  The trail is quite extensive, though we only do a short part of it into the town, where we walk the length of the main street and back.

It’s a balmy evening, and we sit outside our caravan long after dark.  During the night it is so warm, that we don’t even need the covers. That changes when we awake in the wee morning hours to rain and a chilly 8 degrees; the heater is hastily switched on!

The temperature only climbs to 12 degrees by the time we at 9.30am and head further south.  We’ve alternated the driving days with one long, one short, unless we have more than one night at the destination.

Today’s drive therefore is only 2.5 hours and we arrive in Goondiwindi in time for lunch.  We visited this lovely town last year, and we stay at the same caravan park.  It is still a chilly 12 degrees, a lot less that last year and Dom the park-owner advises that today is also the first cold day of this year’s winter here in Goondiwindi. Needless to say the heater is on inside the caravan, while we lunch. 

We put on all our layers to go and do a bit of shopping, and stop at the magnificent Victoria Hotel again to have a beer, where it is warm that all the layers have to come off!  Memories of living in Canada come back, haha…!

We enjoy a barbecued chook from Coles with salad for dinner and watch a bit of television, which is one of the only times this trip that we have decent reception.

And so, while on the border of NSW, we have well and truly re-entered the winter, where a lot colder temperatures await us tomorrow as we will be going for a nice 4 night winter camping adventure in the Warrumbungles National Park before getting home next week.

This post’s route: https://goo.gl/maps/Y3WePjdEj64nfWyd9

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One thought on “QLD 2023, 20-29 June: Tropics back to winter

  1. Bofferds: die schitterende campeerplekjen aan het water met prachtige zonsondergangen, dat is genieten hoor.
    Dus nog een week en dan weer op de terugweg. Doe rustig aan
    Groetjes Ton

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