Category Archives: Travel Blog

Blog of the 2016 big trip.


IMG_0256I decided to stay a week at our next stop and have a break. I know it hard to believe, but it’s exhausting being on holidays.
When we left home after Alec’s birthday, I had approximately 7 weeks to get to Cairns. At this stage we are 3 weeks in, so a perfect time for a break.

Emerald was our next stop, camping out of town at Fairbairn dam. I found some daycare for Alec, giving me a much needed break and allowing Alec some contact with other children his own age.


Fairbairn Dam.

In all it was not that much of a exciting week. We went for a couple of bike rides, a swim in the caravans swimming pool and spent some time in town at the botanic gardens. We didn’t spend any time around lake Maraboon, the lake that was formed when the Nogoe river was damed. It was just to hot with very little shade.


Alec and I riding across the dam wall.

Alec had great time at day care. He did take a little bit to warm up and was upset when dropping him off. I can’t blame him. It’s been mostly just him and me together since we left home. It’s kinder nice being wanted and I did find it hard to leaving him at daycare.


This is a wonderful idea by the daycare centre. Alec is welcome any time. Apparently he is a pleasure to look after.

Emerald does have a little bit of history with Peta and I. We visited twice together. First time was on our holidays together that was mention in the last blog post and it was a lunch stop on our Cape York trip in 2011.


Peta on our first ever trip together.


Alec and myself 2016


Peta playing on the rail cars at the Emerald botanic gardens so many years ago.


Alec in 2016


Yes I did all the peddling.

Boom Town

Unless you have been living under a rock over the last couple of years, you would know that the resource boom is over.

Blackwater might be know as the coal capital Queensland. However Emerald is actually the major town in the area and is home to all the industries associated with the mining operations. Most of the major equipment dealers and workshops are all based in the town.

Emerald like many towns within close proximity to mining have thrived with the money flowing from the mines into the town. Now with the down turn in the mining sector this has stopped. I was interested to see first hand how this had affected the town.

At first glance the town seems to be thriving. With plenty of traffic and activity. But when you take a closer look, you start seeing all the empty shops and the closing down sales. In the industrial areas you can see a few empty yards but a more telling sign, is yards that are still being used but you can tell that a serious down sizing has occurred.

Talking to a couple of locals. Blackwater has suffered worse. With massive staff cuts by local mines and contractors. At least Emerald has other industrials such as the agriculture, centred around the water from Fairbairn Dam.
In all honesty I think it will be years till things improve and it wouldn’t surprise me if we don’t see another boom like the last one for a long time to come if ever again.

Life in a caravan park

We spent 8 days in Emerald. In that time we got to know the rhythm of a large caravan park. The lake Marboon caravan park would have to be the largest and busiest park that we have stayed at. Mostly filled with older couples, often with grey hair, towing a large caravan and nomadic.

The park would slowly wake up with the noise of boat trailers leaving the park for the dam. As the morning progresses a small number of travels would hitch up they caravans and leave the safety of the park for the open road. The ones that are left go about their daily choirs of doing washing and wiping the morning dew off the car. Often interrupted by a good old fashion chat with a fellow resident. As the day heats up, finding a cool shady spot for a nap is the done thing.

Once the afternoon commences so does the activity. New residents start arriving to replace the ones that left in the morning. This making for some exciting times for the rest of the guests. The backing in of the caravan and set up is always good entrainment. You may get to meet some new neighbours.
As the new arrivals settle in, happy hour starts. With snacks and a cold beverage the couples retire to the annex to relax after a tiring day of relaxing. With the sun slowly dropping , everyone starts heading in doors to the air condition comfort of the caravan for dinner and bed. Often a group will partake in this afternoon ritual together. Sitting around swapping info on the caravan sites, road conditions and how driving at 80km/h on the highways is the best way to annoy interstate truck drivers.


When arriving at  Marboon caravan park you are escorted to you site and if needed assisted with parking your van. In this case a motor home.

Rules of caravans parks.

If you see a Alec during happy hour then food will be offered to him.

When walking your dog you must always offer Alec a pat.

When talking with these nomadic people always start the conversation with which way your heading, progressing to where your from and then how long are you are travelling for. After this important ground work is completed the conversation can progress to other topics.

Blacktown Tableland National Park


We left Cania gorge and continued heading north with the intention of getting to the Blackdown tableland national park. But just like our last big trip we didn’t get to our planed destination. Instead  we spent the night in the town of Dingo. I really need to plan our days better.

The town of dingo is on the Capricorn highway. Only 50km away from the town of Blackwater the coal capital of Queensland.
I can’t really recommend the Dingo Caravan park. Not really a holiday park. The park was a bit rough and was more of a workers camp, with a number of portable buildings containing single mens accommodation and few permanent resistants located in the park.

It was also bit noisey as the road that continues north to a major mining area and a back way to Mackay went right past the park. We had a constant stream of some of the biggest truck in the country driving right past us. Alec loved it and was constantly pointing out the trucks. I must admit I enjoyed it a little to.


I am standing next to the camper taking this photo. One of the many trucks that passed. This one a oversize load. But most were road trains.

In all our overnight stay at dingo wasn’t bad but not a place to chill and relax. I do however give a thumbs up to the Dingo pub, which did a great meal and even opened the kitchen a touch early for us.


Good no nonsense pub meals. No fancy lawn grass on this plate.

The follow day we hit the road again and traveled the short distant to the Blackdown tableland national park. National parks advise not to take heavy trailers or caravans up to the tableland, as the road is steep in parts. I did some researched before leaving and found that my trailer would be fine. I guess it comes down to tailer and car combination.


The tablelands rising up above the surrounding country side.

I had never been to Blackdown national park before. The only reason it caught my attention, is that a number of years ago I was driving to Emerald for work and I remember see the cliff faces in the distant. I always wonder what was out there. I’m glad I had a look.

At fist glance the park doesn’t really seem to offer much more than some great views and some bush camping. It’s wasn’t until we went on the 2 km Gudda Gumoo gorge walk and saw the rainbow falls that I really fell in love with this place.


The views were worth the drive. Looking back over at another section of the park.


Glad we got a warning.


Just some of the stairs. And yes I carried Alec down and up them.


I do love a unexpected discovery like this.


I can’t believe these falls aren’t better known. Not much of a mention even in the national parks info.


Alec having a play.


Yes of course he went for a wade. Turned my head for 2 secs.

We only stayed 2 nights. I found the camping a little stressful. The camp ground was on dirt, didn’t have any space to put the awning up and we had a bird problem.


I love national parks. But hate how they plan the camp grounds. Why restrict the site to such a small area.


Our bird problem. These Currawong’s would grab your food as soon as you turn your back. At one stage I counted six  waiting in the trees around us. 


Even look nasty. I can image meeting one in a dark alleyway. Give me you money or I’ll cut you.


On the other hand these fellows didn’t cause a problem at all. In fact this one seemed to pose for the camera.


I gave up trying to keep Alec clean.


How about I give you a nice juicy pear, to really stick the dirt to you.


County town moment of the week.

To the small towns off the major highways. You are all awesome. As you might of noticed we are often getting off the highways and taking some lessor know routes. We are constantly coming across these little dots on the map and being pleasantly surprised. The one thing that I love is you can often stop right next to the park. Which make my life easy when trying to juggle a two year old that’d been in the car for a couple of hours and also trying to make some lunch. Much better than trying to lug everything from a carpark hundreds of metres aways.


Our lunch stop on the way to Dingo. I think it was the town Goovigen. As you can see I was able to pull out the camper kitchen to make lunch right next to the park.

In this case there was also free camping at the show ground next to the park. A council worker stopped by and asked if I was looking for somewhere to stay the night. He also mention a couple of other small towns in the Banana shire had the same deal. It was very tempting.




Boondooma Homestead and Cania Gorge

We left our easter home and started heading north. Our goal for the day was Cania Gorge national park, a touch north of Monto.

However by 1’0clock we were only halfway so I decided to do a over night stop at Boondooma Homestead. Only the second overnighter for the trip so far.IMG_0253


We slowly left the broad acre cropping area of the Darling downs and into the grazing country of the Burnett river area.

Boondooma Homestead is a museum and heritage complex. You think we would be over the historic stuff by now and you would be correct. But I am glad we did stop. It’s a lovely little spot with friendly caretakers and only $7 a night. I don’t think I could spend a week there but for a overnight stop perfect.


Our camp for the night.


Leaving for Cania gorge.

The next day we got going early and made it to Cania Gorge with out any drama’s. Taking back roads where possible.IMG_0251

I have only been to Cania gorge once and that was with Peta on one of our first ever holidays together. This was before we got married. Peta was at university and I was a apprentice. We traveled up the coast to Rockhamption then west to Emerald than down the inland route home. Staying at Cania gorge as our last stop before heading home. We did take photo’s of that trip. However this was before digital camera’s were readily available and and a lot of what was taken were terrible photo’s. I don’t have any of Cania gorge. I do have photo’s of other parts of the trip which you we see later on.

Alec and I stayed at the Cania gorge tourist retreat. The same caravan park that Peta and I stayed at so many years ago. It is located on the edge of the park with easy access to the walks in the National Park. We stayed four days but could of stayed longer. So much to see and do. We did a couple of walks. One of the walks we did I have a very distinct memory of doing it with Peta. It funny what you remember sometimes.


Alec chilling by the a cool water hole on our first walk.


Giants chair lookout. 


This rock over hang is on the walk that I remember doing with Peta. 


The caravan park does a daily feeding of the birds. Even the chooks get in on the action.


Alec loved the feeding and had a look a couple of time during our stay.


Well I had to get a least one good photo.


This picture is from the start of one of the walks. All over the area you can see the destruction left by a major flood. The area has coped it fare share of flooding over the  years. The most recent early 2015.

Our big adventure of our stay at Cania gorge was the drive up to the nearby Kroombit Tops forest reserve and national park.IMG_0248

This sandstone escarpment risers up above the surrounding farm land, and is a great spot to escape the heat. It is also home to the extremely rare Kroombit tinker frog and the silver-headed antechinus. A new species of marsupial discovered in 2013. However the park is more widely know for the the crash site of the WW2 bomber Beautiful Betsy. The plane was lost in 1945 while on a flight from Darwin to Brisbane. It was only found in 1994 by a park ranger checking the results of a control burn off.


It was lovely drive up to Kroombit tops. The road toke us though proprieties and many gates had to be open and closed. We even got to wet the tyres.  

I was under the impression that it was a hard four wheel track to get to the crash site. That might of been years ago. Now there is a loop road with one section open to four wheel drives and subs, that get you to the crash site. The other half of the loop is open to high clearance four wheel drive only. This can be driven instead of back tracking the way you came in.
A lot of effort has been put into the crash site. There is a self guided walking track with information boards position around the site.


The first sigh on the track.


The tail section of the plane. It was a bit surreal walking around the site. Everything still as it was when the plan first went down.


One of the engines.

After our walk around the crash site we tackled the other half of the loop track. It was little underwhelming really. Except for a couple of tricky down hill sections and the odd rough patch. It was a easy drive. If you were driving a Toyota it might of been a adventure. Most likely broken a CV or something silly.IMG_0248

To get back down from Krommbit tops I had a couple of options. We could go down the same way we came up or we could take a more exciting route called the Razorback track. Even it’s name sounds cool but when it’s a four wheel track only. Well how can a man resist.


Like honey to a bee.

This tracks follow the ridge line down the western side of the park. This was a great drive with some amazing views. The first part of the track followed the ridge top with out descending much.


We are on top of the world.


Yes I am standing on the spare tyre to get a better shot of the view. Always safety first.

Once we started going down it was low range first gear all the way.


Yes that is the track down.

It toke much longer than anticipated, it was five o’clock by the time we got to the bottom. We still had a hour a least to get back to camp. So I decided to drive to the town of Biloela which was closer, and grab some dinner for Alec and myself. By the time we got home it was late. Alec slept most the way back to camp after dinner. He was so tired he hardly stirred when I carried him to bed. It was a big day but well worth it.


After a days rest we were both ready to start heading further north.

Cool truck of the week

We had a large four wheel drive truck stay in the caravan park. I was amazed by this beast and something that I can only ever dream of having. It wasn’t till I got closer that I realised I had seen this truck before. Peta and I had seen this truck on our 2011 cape york trip. It was with two other trucks camping at Moreton Telegraph station.


I am in love. For the truck enthusiast, it was built from number of different trucks. Basically it a ford chassis with a very rare International S-line duel cab. 


Small country town moment of the week.

After leaving the woolshed we started heading north. After a little bit I decided to stop at a little town called Jandowae to get fuel.
The only fuel available was at a old service station with self serve pumps including payment. You had to go to a console in the wall, input you pump number, input the amount of fuel needed and scan you credit card. Then the pump would turn on. This process did not seem to work for me and after a couple attempts a bloke walks out of the old shop and gives me a hand.
Any way, a long story short he obviously didn’t have much on and we stood at the bowser for at least 20 mins having a chat. Alec was asleep in the car the whole time luckily. The conversation only stopped when the local police showed up needed some assistance. The guys runs a small engine repair shop out of the building. There was bits of bikes and engines lying all over the place. I bet nothing gets done in a hurry. Thats was one of the reasons we didn’t get to Cania gorge that day.

Picture of the week


Who doesn’t like a good selfie.


Easter 2016 Jondaryan Woolshed




Now easter had been planned for some time. It was one of only a handful of places that I have booked ahead of time. If you have ever camped at easter, then you will know that it’s a extremely busy time of year and you definitely have to book in advance. Some places 12 months ahead. This was the reason we went to Fraser island when we did. The original plan was to go when we started heading north. Fraser Island during Easter and school holidays. Not going to happen. I hate crowds at the best of times.

So the decision was to find somewhere a little west. Get away from the coast and hopefully away from the crowds. At least during the school holiday period.

We ended up at the Woolshed at Jondaryan, west of Toowoomba. This historic centre puts on a great easter weekend. With displays and activities to keep all the family amused.


Lunch in Toowoomba. Picnic point is a favourite spot of mine when in Toowoomba. It has a amazing view.

We arrived on the Thursday before easter. Luckily we did. Most of the prime camp sites along the creek already taken. The next day the camp grounds quickly filled up. I have never seen so many campers in one place. I had trouble keeping a spot for Alec’s grandparents and auntie who were spending the weekend with us. Parking the mav in the spot was the only way to stop everyone eyeing it off.


Just a couple of campers. Thats not everyone. I would need a wide angle lens to get everyone in the shot and thats only the non powered area. At least another 30 caravans in the powered section.


I must smell. Everyone pack up and went after easter. Thats us, the speck under the trees left of the centre in the photo.

We all had a fun easter. Spending the days looking around the historic buildings and machinery. As well as doing some of the activities.


Every little boy loves sitting on a tractor


Some of the old gear on display. I don’t know why that new Landrover was parked on the right. Oh wait that a old one. My Bad.


This old steam engine was up a running.


I have already put Alec to work. The pay is good but the hours long.


The driver let Alec sit in the driver’s seat while waiting for people to get on. Alec wasn’t so happy when we got going. To much noise.


Horse and cart went all weekend. It was very popular.


The grandparents enjoyed the horse and cart ride as much as Alec did.


Alec loves horses now. 


Alec would of been handy when this was needed.

One of my favourite activity’s was the damper making. This was a extra cost and had to be booked in advanced. Everyone was rostered on some time over the weekend to attended a class.

Oh course Alec got spoilt on easter Sunday.



Even got to meet the easter bunny. I am glad I wasn’t in that suit. It was a 30 degree day.

As a camping experience the busy easter long weekend is not always a great time to go. However at Jondaryan it wasn’t that bad and I take my hat off to the organisers.
I was told it was the biggest easter they’ve had, but still managed to keep the toilets clean and the bins empty. Which few places I have been can not achieve that. The atmosphere was great and very family friendly. There was a distinct lack of bogan behaviour that I have seen elsewhere on long weekend events.

We made friends with our fellow campers around us. Each others kids wandering between camps and all playing together. Alec as usual making himself at home at any camp with food. Apparently I never feed him.


The kids playing with glow sticks.

Once easter was over I decided to stay at Jondaryan a little longer. Both Alec and I needed a couple days rest. I also had some car parts getting shipped to me that didn’t get to Brisbane in time before we left home. This required a trip into Toowoomba. Then day spent in Oakey while the Mav to got a service and the new parts fitted.

There is not a lot to do in Oakey. We did find the local library. Which Alec spent the whole time pulling random books off the shelves, we didn’t stay long. Had a play in a park, a walk along Oakey creek and watched a coal train pass though town. After lunch Alec fell asleep in the pram and I spent the next 1 1/2 hours walking around town. I have now seen a good portion of the Oakey, maybe too much.


Still managed to find a baby chino in Oakey.


It was a pleasant walk along Oakey creek.

We ended up spending 11 days at the Jondaryan woolshed. With easter taking up 4 of those days. Between doing choirs the other 6 days we did manage a bit of fun.We had a paddle in the creek a couple of short bike rides around the historic village and just spent time chilling.


Have I mentioned Alec loves the water.

We also went on two unplanned drives so Alec could have nap. It was hot during the day and we didn’t have the camper under shade. The first trip we drove out to the Cecil Plains township and through the Kumbarrilla State forest. Cecil plains is large broad acre cropping area and was interesting looking at the crops and machinery.




Lots of cotton in the area.


We stopped on the side of the road as the header was coming toward us down the row. Alec was fine till it got closer and turned around right in front of us.



Alec wasn’t to fussed with having a look at this one after the header experience. I was excited however.

The second day trip was up to bunya mountains. We pretty much drove up, had some afternoon tea and drove back down. It’s a lovely drive and a good place to escape the heat. We will have to explore the area more. But not this trip. Being so close to home we can this another time.

Eventually we packed up the camper and started heading north. The open road and no plans ahead of us.


Scary moment of the week

Alec had a unplanned swim in the creek. He was busy throwing sticks in the creek and I was in the process of rousing on him to get away from the edge. I was walking towards him to pull him back when he fell in. It was a couple feet drop into the water. I jumped in and rescued him. He had little cry mostly from the shock. Then to my amazement wanted to go back in.
End result a wet but perfectly fine Alec. A half wet dad that was pretty much recovering from a mini heart attack and one damaged iPhone. Luckily the phone was able to be repaired in Toowoomba.

Photo of the week


Alec slept the entire time during the damper making class. He did however enjoy the end product.

Town/City of the week.

A big thumbs up to Toowoomba. Not only is it a lovely city but it has the best play grounds. The pic below is a interactive activity board. Alec liked the lights and cool noises. I had fun playing the variety of games.

This wasn’t the only play ground we came across. We found one in a shopping centre with large touch screens with games.


The four round bits on the pillars are buttons that light up. The games revolve around the lighting of the buttons in a sequence  depending on the game. You have the option of a one or two player games.


Alec’s Birthday

We traveled from Bellingen to Brisbane with out a overnight stop over. It was the biggest days travel we had done.

Because we were going home there would be no camper setup once at our destination. Allowing us to have a big travel day. I had also organised my parents to have dinner ready for us. Fair payment for accommodation I think.
Our trip home went well. Nothing exciting really. We did gain our hour back. So glad to be back in Queensland and have the correct time.

The reason we are back home is there is a very special little man that has a birthday to celebrate. Yes, Alec is turning two. Where has the time gone.


Alec getting a haircut with help from Grandma. You have to look your best on your birthday.




Blowing out the candles with help from Dad.


Alec showing Uncle Wayne how to use the sand pit.


Having fun opening presents.


Where is a Alec?


There he is.


Dad loves the noisy toys.


Thats a good book.

We had 2 weeks at home. In that time I didn’t have a spare minute. In between a birthday party to organise and catching up with family and friends. I was busy getting ready for the next stage of our trip. Unlike our first departure where I knew we would be home in 5 weeks. This time I was packing for a extended time away. As well as preparing to travel in some more remote parts of the country.

A big thank you to everyone that helped and attended Alec’s Birthday. You all made it a great day.
I big thank you to Alec’s favourite Aunty for the cake and decorations.

With Birthday party over and all packed again. We were both keen to hit the road again. Easter long weekend here we come.


Ok. Sorry about the delay on this post. It has been a busy couple of weeks.

Now Bellingen isn’t a place that has any one particular meaning for Peta and myself as a couple. It however has a very big meaning in my life and for the Kethel name. Having said that Peta and I did visit many times.
Belligen is where my family originates and a huge part of the family still reside in the area.

The old home

This farm house was built around the same time as the dairy started. It is still in use now.

My great great grandfather Alexander Kethel come to Australia from Scotland in approximately 1880. Around 1890 he toke up a selection in the Hydes creek area and after much hard work to clear the land started dairying in 1902. It was then that Alexander planted paspalum to be used as a feed crop. The first to do so, which revolutionised the dairy industry on the north coast.


This is part of a plaque recognising the effort of the early pioneers of the Bellingen area.It is located in front of the court house on the main street.

A butter and bacon factory was built in Bellingen and Alexander was among the first directors and was chairman until his passing in 1917.
The farm was passed down to his son another Alexander Kethel then onto my grandfather you guess it Alexander Kethel.
The farm continues today. My uncle Colin taking over with the passing of my grandfather in 2006.

As you noticed Alexander is a prominent name in the Kethel family. Every first son was called Alexander until my grandparents. Who for some reason did not continue with this tradition. However it is used as a middle name. Alec is named after my grandfather. Peta and I were not trying to continue the tradition. In fact I only realised it went so far back when doing the research for the blog post. Like a lot of my generation family history is not something that I had paid much attention to.

Alec was chosen instead of Alexander for two reasons. Number one, it would only get shortened anyway. And secondly my grandmother always called my grandfather Alec. Emphasising a C sound instead of the more common X sound.


Our first stay in Bellingen we spent catching up with family. So I decided to go back on the way home to do a couple of things that I wanted to do.


We got to visit my Grandmother on her 93rd birthday


Alec showing his great grandmother some pictures of our trip so far.


Our second stay was more relaxing. We got a couple of bike rides in and had a afternoon relaxing by the river. However the main reason I wanted to do a second stay was to give us time to drive up to Dorrigo.


Dorrigo is a beautiful little town sitting on top the mountain range west of Bellingen. The area is known for it potato’s and dairy farms. It also has a number of national parks and is well worth the visit.
On the way up Alec fell asleep so once at the top I decided to keep driving. What is the golden rule. Never wake a sleeping baby. I came across a tourist drive which did a loop from town and through a number of national parks and state forests. I really enjoyed this drive. We stopped for lunch at a lovely camp and picnic ground located in the Nymboi-Binderay national park. This will have to put on the have to go back list.


Our lunch spot.


A section of road on the loop.

After completing the tourist drive we had a look at Danger Falls. But not with out a stopping at the sewage treatment plant on the way. Yes, you read that right the sewage plant. Someone that works at the plant has a sense of humour. I will let the photo’s tell the rest of the story. Funny enough this is a special spot for Peta and myself. We came across this sewage plant many years ago. We both thought it was hilarious. When back home we would get asked about our trip away and of course we would mention the sewage plant. For some reason we got some funny looks.


Behind the overgrown shrub the sign says Turdle Farm.


Oh course the Lavatree



Dangar falls


Got to have a cute selfie shot.

We also stopped at the skywalk. Which is located in the Dorrigo national park. Peta and I always stopped here. It’s a amazing view and has a nice coffee shop.


Peta in 2013


Alec and I in 2016


Alec in 2016


Alec loves his scones just like his mother.

Once heading down the range we stop at a water fall that flows under the road. There is stopping bay for the tourist and you get a good view as well.


Peta in 2013


Myself ( Peter ) in 2013


Alec and myself 2016

With Alec second Birthday fast approaching we left Bellingen and made the trip back to Brisbane. The first part of out big trip over.


Port Macquarie and Worm Farm

I am going to confuse everyone and skip our stay at Bellingen. The reason behind this is I ran out of time to do all the things I wanted. I plan to stay in Bellingen again after our stay in Port Macquarie. I will do one post for the two stays.


From Bellingen we went on to Port Macquarie. It’s been that long ago since I have been to Port Macquarie. I might as well say I have never been. If my memory serves me correctly. I was around 10 years old on a family holiday. Certainly Peta and I had never visited Port Macquarie together. This is going to be a place for Alec and myself to discover. A mates wedding was the reason we come this far south.

Friends from Brisbane also travelled down for the wedding and a Uncle and Aunt offered to baby sit Alec while I attended the wedding. We all stayed at the Flinders Beach Caravan park.


Matching camper trailer’s and four wheel drives. No wonder we are good friends.

The trip down went well. Got away at a decent hour and made it to Port Macquarie by lunch. The going a little slow due to roads works. Which didn’t bother me as Alec was fast asleep. A lot of work is being done on this section of the highway. Soon it will be all duel carriage way.

I had booked for 5 nights. However I had to extend our stay a night because I broke my bike. The repairs would not be completed in time.

I was keen to go for a ride and explore on our first day in Port Macquarie. We had only just left camp when the bike broke. I had walk the bike back. Alec wasn’t impressed and was a little upset when I got him off the bike. Note to self if the gear change doesn’t work. Kicking it doesn’t help.


Yep it broken. Thats not really the words I used when it happen.

We had a lot of time in Port Macquarie but we didn’t get a lot of time to explore. We had washing and shopping to do. Oh course, find a bike shop. We did manage to go on a rain forest boardwalk at the Sea Acres National Park. It’s a 1.3km walk which didn’t take that long. We spent more time at the cafe eating yummy’s. I think we earned it.


Alec loves the cafe lifestyle.

Of course we did manage a beach swim.



Port Macquarie wasn’t a big adventure as some other places we had visited but it was nice to catch up with friends, relatives and help celebrate a mates wedding. Now I know what there is to see and do we will have to come back. Oh I guess I better visit my mate and his new wife.

I was keen to leave the hustle and bustle of Port Macquarie and find a place to chill for a couple of days. I had already decide to return to Bellingen but not straight away. We had some time up our sleeves. In deciding on our next stay three things came apparent. I didn’t really want to go on the highway again, I had never explored the area west of port Macquarie and we were not far away from the Slim Dusty centre. So a plan was formed.


Now I know what you thinking. Slim Dusty? That doesn’t sound like Peter. And you are correct. I am not a fan of country music or of Slim Dusty. However I do respect Slim as a great Australian icon. However the main reason on going is that Alec’s Grandfather is a fan. So I thought I better stop and have a look. Maybe get a couple of photo’s for grandad with his favourite grandson at the Slim Dusty centre.


Alec enjoying his time at the Slim Dusty Centre

The centre is just out of Kempsey on the highway heading south. We visited on our way to our next camp. It wasn’t that bad. Very well put together and if you are into Australian bush history it’s the place for you. We really didn’t fit in the correct age group. I don’t think many prams get pushed around the place. More likely wheel chairs.


The famous purple Ford and caravan Slim used to travel the country in.

After quick stop in Kempsey we headed west.

Our next camp was on a property that had a small scale worm farm. Intune Earth Worm Farm. The owners had set aside a small section of land next to a dam for camping. It was a wonderful little spot. It was basic camp site. A small camp kitchen shelter, a canoe that could be used on the dam and a worm composting toilet. The toilet was worm a fill bucket under plastic chair with a hole cut into it.


Basic, but it worked. You covered you poo with hay after each use.

The owners, Warren and Roslyn are lovely people and we got a tour of the worm operation as well as a cuppa. Warren even came down one afternoon with beers.

For all you worm needs.


Do you have worms.


These boxes are full of worms. They are fed mostly cow poo.


Warren and his worms.

We stayed for 2 days. Most the time bumming around camp. We did go for a drive on the first afternoon and a walk the second morning. It was good to stop and relax. It was so peaceful.


The lovely little dam.


Alec having a play.



The first 2 nights this lovely fellow decided to have a feed of pine corns above our camp.


The resulting mess.

Once on our way again we decided to take the back roads to Bellingen. On our way we passed through Slim Dusty county and had to stop at the famous pub with no beer at Taylor’s arm.


The green line is the route we toke from the worm farm to Bellingen.


It does have beer now.


Had to have a play in the cubby with no cordial.









A pub lunch always goes down well.

We drove on country lanes and forestry roads as we headed north to Bellingen. It is really pretty county.


Some of the road that toke us to Bellingen

We found a great look out. I bit of a drive up but well worth it.


The view was amazing


All look outs should have a tower like this.

Our trip slightly longer than intended by a road being closed and of course the occasional wrong turn. We made it to Bellingen with out any major dramas and got to see some amazing country that you miss when on the freeways.


Stupid thing of the week.

You guessed it breaking my bike.

Cool thing of the week.

Having a poo in a bucket of worms.


I really like this photo of Alec. It’s a failed selfey. Which I cropped.  


Pebbly Beach


Our next camp was a place I have wanted to stay for a long time. Pebbly beach, in the Yuraygir national park. Peta and I had visited the park a number times but had always stayed in the little sea side town of Red Rock just a little further south.

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Peta 2007


Alec and I 2016

Holidays 2007 016

Peta 2007


Alec and I 2016

Yuraygir national park covers a fair chunk of coast line, beginning just south of Yamba and extending 65km south to Red Rock. Pebbly Beach camp ground is in the southern end of the park. To get there you turn off the highway almost exactly halfway between Grafton and Coffs Harbour, drive through a state forest, down a beach and across a tidal creek.


Just like Fraser island the tide played a major part in our travel plans. The day we left for Pebbly beach high tide was around mid day. Not the best timing. However if we got going early we should get across before full high tide. It was only 120km trip after all.

Plans are only good if you stick to them. We didn’t even start on time. Alec and I both slept in. By the time we had packed up and farewelled our new found friends it was mid morning.

After short drive down the Pacific highway, we turn off into a state forest. Drove though the forest and into the national park with no problems. We stop and had lunch at the  station creek camp ground before we headed down the beach.

We arrived at the creek crossing right on the high tide. Looks like we were in for a wait. For the next 4 hours Alec and I played and swam in the creek.


I found out the best way to cross the creek. Some locals were happy to offer advice. It’s a popular spot for a day out with the family. One guy was keen to talk four wheel drives, as he had the same car as me. Although it did have a diesel V8 engine conversion done. Just a touch jealous.

Eventually the tide was low enough to cross. Still not a full low tide but the water shallow enough to cross. Years gone past I had always drove straight across. However due to the natural movement of sand that part of the creek is little deep these days. Now the safest option is to drive up along the bank a couple hundred metres, then cross and drive back to the exit. This we did no problem.

Finally we made it.. Ahh not quite. Just before we got to the camp grounds the track was blocked by a on going vehicle recovery. A four wheel drive was being winch off the beach. The vehicle doing the recovering was on the track to the camp ground. Another 10 min wait before we could continue.


I don’t even think he should of been driving on this part of the beach.

I have no idea what happen but by the smell, the car that was stuck it will need a new clutch. It also had a terrible metal on metal scraping sound when driving. That’s going to be a expensive trip to the beach.

We did eventually set up camp. I chose one right on the beach. For the next 3 days we didn’t do a lot. The first day the only time we left camp was to go to the loo.


Not a bad spot I reckon.


Why go anywhere when this is the view from camp. Looking north.


Looking South

The second day we found a shady spot a spent the afternoon on the beach.


Most likely asking me  “whats that? “. If you look closely you can spot our camp in the distant.


Having a play in the waves.


Alec loves his bucket and spade set. At one stage it was my job to go get water for him in the little square container.

The third day we went for a morning hike. Not to far. We found cubby house and Alec explored the rock pools.


I can’t keep Alec out of the water.


Nice place for a cubby house.

It was just so hard to get motivated to actually do anything. We had water views from camp, plenty of food. I soft bed to have nap in, books to read, time to just have a play and very few people to disturb the peace. Alec seem content to just hang around camp as much as I was. I think we were both in need of a well earned rest.


I taught Alec how to blow bubbles. He did have the wrong end in his month once.LOL


We also played with play doe.

It came time to leave and luckily the tide worked in our favour. Low tide was at midday. I slowly packed up and by 10 o’clock we were ready. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to cross the creek that early. But to my surprise the water level was lower then when we arrived.

Another guy in a old yellow Toyota troop carrier was at the creek crossing not sure if it was low enough to cross. He didn’t know about the easy way. I went first then as agreed I hung around till he was across. I crossed with out problem but to my surprise the guy in the Toyota decided to go straight across. He made it fine, a bit of water in the cab mind you. He was hardly concern. Made for a good couple of pics.


Drive down into the creek.


Crossing down stream.


Thats one way to do it.

We said our bye’s and continued on our way. Our next stop, a very familiar place.


Stupid thing of the week.

Try to remember bacon isn’t cooked. Before you put it in the scrambled eggs.



A touch proud of this shot.

Caloundra and Woody Head


After leaving Fraser island we desperately needed to do washing, a restock and a general cleanup.

I decided to change the way we travel a little. I realised that even a short drive with a pack down and set up made it a big tiring day. I also found that Alec didn’t mind being in the car. As long as the wiggles were playing of course. So I have decided to stay less places but stay longer in each place. This will mean we will have longer travel days. But we will have the time afterward to catch up and relax. The less times I have to pack up and setup the better.


Alec often has a sleep in the car. The plush toy is Dingo dog. I got him on Fraser Island. I couldn’t help myself.

So with this in mind I skipped our overnight stay at Inskip Point and continued south to find a place to stay. We stayed for three nights in Caloundra. At the Dickey beach caravan park. This is very nice park with all the amities you could want. Perfect. I little pricey mind you. But like everything in life nothing is free. Just glad we were only staying three nights.

We had a lovely couple of days in Caloundra. We even managed a swim and couple of bike rides in between chores.

Our next stop was Iluka. More specifically the Woody head camp ground. In the Bundjalung National Park. Peta and I had camped Woody head a couple times over the years. It’s a great little spot. The camp ground is run by National parks with designated camping sites with good clean amenities. It is is right on the water. With a choice of surf beaches’s or rock pools on the headland to play and swim in.

The trip down was going to be a real test on our new way to travel. Caloundra to Woody heads is around 350km. We got away early and had a good run though Brisbane and down to the border. Yes it did feel weird driving so close to home.

We had a late morning tea break and a play once over the NSW border. I had trouble finding a park with play equipment. On my map I saw a park not far of the highway with a swing set symbol. When we got to the park their was only a swing set. Well the map wasn’t lying. We didn’t stop long and kept heading south.
Only 1/2 hour up the road Alec was getting restless and making bit of noise. So I decided we might as well find a decent park and stop for some lunch. This daylight savings thing was really throwing out our routine. We ended up at at one those new roadside stopping bays. It had a great park and covered areas to sit down and eat.

After lunch we continue on our way. The only other exciting thing happen was we got to drive through the new tunnel south of the Byron turn off. Which is part of the new section of road that bypasses Ballina.


We spent 3 days at Woody heads. We did the usual swims and beach plays for the first 2 days.


The 3rd day we went for a bike ride into Iluka and rode around the harbour. A 15km bike ride in all. Longest one we have done in a while.

In the afternoon we went for a ferry ride over to Yamba. The ferry takes about 1/2 hour and $16 for a return fare. Alec was free. We only had 1 1/2 hours in Yamba. So we had a play in a park and had some afternoon tea. It was great afternoon out. Well worth the fare.

In all the places we visit Alec is adored and are everyone is always keen to find out about our story. At Woody head we met a number of lovely people. One such group was a gathering of lets say youthful at heart ladies from Ballina, on a weekend camping trip. These delightful ladies become Alec’s Woody head Grandma’s. Alec even got given a couple of books and a bubble maker.

Alec and I sat with them on the headland one afternoon while the sun went down. They toke turns in chasing after Alec while I had a drink with them. Thank you, to the Ballina Beauties for the great afternoon the conversation and and playing with Alec.


We had a great time at Woody Head and could of stayed longer. However the next stop has been on my must do list for a long time.

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Peta at Woody head 2008


Same spot 2016

Song of the week.

I don’t have one. Just been listening to wiggles over and over and over. I beginning to think I enjoy them more than Alec. I often find my self singing out load with them. Alec thinks it’s amusing. Especially so when I do the actions.

Gripe of the week.

The cost of NSW National Park camping fees. Yes Woody head is nice. But $32 night. And I still had to pay $1 for showers.

Stupid Moment of the week.


Yes I already had the tent set up. Needed the poles for the awning.

Fraser Island part 2

I am glad everyone enjoyed the last post and photo’s.
After a bit of thought, I have decided to elaborate a bit more on the trip to Fraser Island. Not a day to day commentary, just a bit more info that will help everyone understand the trip that Alec and myself had.

What makes this island so unique. Why do thousands of people make the effort to visit the island each year. Fraser is the largest sand island in the world. The island is 120 km long, with about 5 km a bitumen on the entire island. Most at the resort. So for the four wheel driver, it’s great. The main beach has a speed limit of 80km/h. Which can be achieved easily at low tide. Planes even land on the beach.


The speed limit drops down to 40km/h when passing a intersection or a popular stopping point. Like this one at the Maheno wreak.


The airfields on the beach were marked with signs and witches hats.

There is so much to see and do on the island. Lakes, beaches and creeks to swim and play in. Bush walks and many natural landmarks to experience. All in all it the whole package. Something for everyone. Once you step off that ferry the fun begins.

As mentioned in the first post Peta and I had our honey moon on Fraser Island. We didn’t rough it and stayed at the Kingfisher bay resort. We went out exploring during the day and then come back to a comfortable bed and dinner at one of the resort restaurants.

During our time on Fraser we didn’t take many photo’s. Maybe 5 in total. I went looking for them but can’t find them. What I did relies I have is a Fraser island hat. Brought while on our honeymoon. The hat had long been relegated to a house hat. Often worn when mowing the lawn. I never thought much about it, just another hat. Well I guess it’s a little more important to me now.


I wanted to buy Alec a Fraser island hat to match. But I couldn’t find one. Plenty of adult sizes but no kids. So I brought him a shirt instead.


Alec and I went to the resort and had lunch at one of the restaurants. I found it a little hard re-visting the resort. I wasn’t expecting it to be but it was. I thought about it for a number of days. Why this place. Yes it has memories of Peta attached to it. But a lot of places do. The the only thing that I can come up with is, neither Peta or myself and been there before and we never revisit the place again. So there wasn’t any other memories jumbled up together to soften the blow. Having said that I am glad I went back.


Alec makes a good lunch date. As long as he get chips.

The last topic I would like to touch on is the dingo’s.

In 2001 a 9 year old boy was killed by a dingo. The problem arose due to people feeding the dingo’s and lost their fear of humans. Since that indecent the management of the dingo’s and visiter’s to the island had to change.

Now there are very strict rules in place with penalties in place if broken.

Around the camp sites no food or rubbish are to be left out. Not even dirty wash cloths. No bins in the camp sites. The nearest dump point from our camp was a 1km up the beach.

When out and about. Obviously to can’t feed the dingo’s and no eating unless you are in a fence area. And the one that I found the hardest was always keeping your kids close. Within arm’s reach.

I have no problems with these restrictions. After all it’s for you own safety. However it did make it a little less relaxing for me. I am not normally  a helicopter parent. I often let Alec have some space. Letting him wander up the beach by himself or trail behind me as we walk. On Fraser I could not do this. You saw in the first post a photo of Alec playing in the creek in front of camp. Even though it was only a short walk away from camp. I always drove down. If a dingo wanders by we could jump into the safety of the car.


The entrance to our camp site. The creek is behind me.

We could not even go on any bush walks, as it’s recommended that you walk with at least 2 people. I don’t think Alec qualifies as a 2nd person in this case.

Even with the dingo safety rules and the bad weather we had a great time. I am definitely keen to visit again.


Dad Proud Moment of the Week

We had finished a swim at Eli creek and was getting Alec out of his wet clothes beside the creek. When he was nudie Alec says wee wee, walks in to the creek stands with legs apart and proceeds to do a wee.

Dad Whinge For the Week

Why is it when you order a kids meal. The meal comes in a flash ceramic bowl. Kingfisher bay resort that means you, but your not the only one that does this. If you look at the photo above you will see the big bowl that Alec’s meal came in. The bowl didn’t even fit on the high chair table. I put put his food on a napkin. Oh while I am at it. If you are going to give a child salad. Don’t cover it in salad dressing.

Ok I am done now. Got that out of the system.

Song of the week

Wiggles – Rockabye your Bear


Peter and Alec