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NSW towards Queensland

all seasons in one day
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08 May 2018

Hervey Bay

Leaving Byron behind, it rained most of the way north. We arrived into Hervey (said Ha vee) as the sun was trying to peak out from behind the clouds. We'd made reservations at Scarness Tourist Park which is right on the beach. We were greeted by the lovely Marilyn and she let us know that they had had a couple of cancellations and if we wanted to, we could be right beachfront- a few extra $$ at $50AU. The site was ideal - on the end, close to "facilities" and beautiful views out of both sides of the van, so we took it.

Jim worked on our laundry and I walked down the Esplanade insearch of a post office (post cards for my Mom) and an ATM. Found the post (which BTW are privately owned here in AU) and the friendly woman behind the counter guided me to the closest bank.

By the time I got back - Jim and I were both ready for dinner. I noticed on my little walk, that there was an Irish Pub close by so we decided to check out Houlihan's.. Can't say that I've ever had a bad time at an Irish Pub. Houlihan's didn't disappoint. Food in AU tends to be pricey but my suggestion is - pick a pub and look at their daily specials. Today's was Guinness chips??? Well, it was actually a Guinness beef stew pie (gotta love these Aussie pies), with chips (French fries) and salad for $12 - couldn't beat that price. It was delicious and much than more than I could eat - Jim got a chance to enjoy it also.


09 May 2018

Again, it rained overnight but we woke to beautiful blue skies. Internet was pretty good so I worked on the blog a bit, went for a walk on beach and just a short walk down the street to Enzo's for lunch - realllllly good!!! And the view - incredible. We might just get lost here in little Hervey Bay.

We talked with Marilyn about a sunset cruise on one of the local boats. Her recommendation was the Blue Dolphin. She called up but found out no sunset cruise tonight but they did have a day sail tomorrow - smaller group and more like an Eco sail - sounded good to us - plus they would pick us up right in front of the caravan park.

Did have one new adventure - the camp has it's own possum which lives in a box in the camp kitchen...I got to feed her.


10 May 2018
Blue Dolphin

Jody picked us up just a little after 0800 and we were off. Today's cruise (it's a sailing boat but unfortunately - no wind today so we motored) would be with another couple (Abby and Dan) and a group of Chinese students studying the environmental impact of industry on the local waters. They joined us with their instructor Yvonne. Today was a day on the water for them to put into practice what they'd been learning in the classroom. It was a bit like being back at HUST.

We wandered the waters off Hervey Bay and got to see a fair amount of sea life: bottlenose dolphin, humpback dolphin, a couple of turtles and six or seven dugong - which are the cousin to our manatees. This region has been hit with cyclones recently and in the case of Hervey Bay it wiped out much of the seagrass which is what dugong feed on. Yvonne and Pete (our Captain) were both amazed and encouraged at the number of dugong we saw - three different pods and about eight in total. That might not sound like a lot but Yvonne said that generally we would be very lucky to even see one.


There was a quick stop at Pelican Island for a swim in the crisp, crystal clear water, morning tea and we headed back. Our cruise was listed as a half day but leaving at 0800 and returning at 230pm, it was perfect.

Again we headed to Enzos for a late lunch, worked on blog a little more. Thank God for good internet!!! Also, got to chat with Marilyn. She and her husband Phil have managed this park for a number of years and we learned that they were retiring as soon as the owners could get a replacement- which was proving a bit of a problem. Marilyn and I discovered we're only about a month apart in age.....I assured her that retirement will be wonderful. Best of luck!!!!!



11 May 2018


Hervey Bay was one of those places that we could have stayed for quite a while. We took a chance on an unknown going there and were REALLY sad to be leaving. Although we had second thoughts about staying "just one more night), it was time to move on.

Heading north, we knew it wold be about a 5 1/2 hour drive which is about the max we like to do in a day. Driving here is not like driving 5 hours at home. There is a ton of construction with the attempt to transition from two lane roads (yes, one in each direction) to four. The only freeways (as we know them) are in the major cities...and some of them are not free). Note: if you're traveling in AU - get a mobile pass from the rental company. Sometimes you're not even sure if you're on a toll road or not - not always cheaper but just makes things easier and if you don't take care of your tolls within three days - it's a whopping fine...tons of license plate readers..

We arrived into Yeppoon (like harpoon) - late afternoon. Made dinner in the van and were treated to lovely sunset.

Being that our campervan sits right next to the walkway to the beach, we get a fair amount of "hellos". One couple, stopped and chatted for a while. Retires, Frank and Ruth, stopped, chatted for quite a while, sharing some of their travel and life experiences....a lovely, gentle couple :-)


12 May 2018

No internet here so it was a nice relaxing day. We woke to an amazing sunrise and a huge beach - much bigger than when we went to bed. Who knew the tides here were so drastic. We walked into town along the beach which seemed like a large sand boulevard. Back for some trip planning and we walked in again a bit later to catch some lunch.


The Spinnakers at the Keppel Bay Sailing Club (combo casino, sailing club and restaurant) overlooked the beach and was busy on this sunny Sunday afternoon. We ended up sharing a table with Vanessa a teacher from nearby Rockhampton. Food was good and again I took advantage of the "special", a cold beer and a great chat. We tried again for a sunset cruise with a local company but their minimum was four and as of that afternoon there were just a two...us ...boo!!

I'm really getting the hang of our campervan. The kitchen area is narrow - a bit too narrow for Jim, so I'm doing the cooking. Now, that's a bit different for the Burkes.

Our schedules usually take on a life of their own when we travel and this trip is no different. Looking ahead - we're now on our 7th (or maybe 8th) revision.

It was a lovely evening and a great one to sit outside and enjoy a star show that rivals our Arizona night time skies.

We were actually going to stay for three nights but decided to leave tomorrow. The park only charged us a $10 cancellation fee. Tomorrow we'll continue north to Airlie (air lee) Beach. I've been in touch with Tam from Airlie Beach Day Sail and we will be going out with them either Monday or Tuesday.

Before we took off, we stopped for a short visit with Frank and Ruth and Frank presented me with a little memento of our time in OZ- a pendant made with crushed opal shards and a couple piece of Australian Opal that he found many years ago.


Sailing the Whitsundays - a dream come true!!

13 May 2018
Airlie Beach

It's Mother's Day in OZ today and I was able to give Mom a call or rather a SKYPE. My sister, Peg is visiting from DC and I was able to see and talk with Mom. Told her, not to worry, we'll be home in about two weeks.

Another 5.5 hour drive heading towards the Whitsunday area of Airlie Beach. The views are changing. The hills are smoothing out and it looks like what I imagine the Serengeti might look like. Huge brown plains stretching as far as the eye can see with the iconic eucalyptus trees dotting the horizon.

Staying at the Seabreeze Tourist Park..huge park, great location but one of the bathroom blocks was under construction so there ended up being a back log for showers in the am. Also, found out that what was advertised as good wifi...was not. One of their routers was down and service in the kitchen area was "supposed" to be good - not really

Sailing tomorrow and meeting at 810 in front of Sorrentos at the Marina. We were told it would be about a 15 walk but we decided to check it out ourselves. Beautiful walk over on the waterfront boardwalk. It actually ended up being more like 30 minutes.


14 May 2018

We were up early and Jim's breakfast scones ended up moldy so we decided to head to the marina and grab brekkie before our sail. It was fun watching the marina come to iife. People wandering off their sail/power boats to head in for showers. Groups were starting to form for the Whitehaven Beach tours. As the buses arrived people lined up, paid and got fitted for their stinger suits - which are light weight wet suits. Technically, stinger season is over BUT...you just never know. Oh...stingers are box jellyfish - you DO NOT want a run in with one of those.

We met Dale (our captain) along with Wolfgang - the unicorn mascot, Mike and Jacinta (Aussies from Sydney) and Fran, Holly and Megan (Brits - Mom and two daughters- here on holiday). Since we were all very prompt - we got started early.

Needless to day - It was an awesome day!!!!! A little choppy on the way out due to wind (15-20 knots) and tides but it didn't matter - Dale gladly handed the helm over to anyone who wanted to sail....my hand couldn't go up fast enough. It's been about ten years since I've sailed and these were unfamiliar waters but I was in heaven. Not wanted to be a helm hog...I made sure I backed away to give others a chance. Jacinta decided she wanted to drive while under power and Holly took her turn at the wheel - I think she's hooked.

The sailing was matched only by the nurishment provided. Our food was catered with Alain Antonius who used to own a lovely restaurant in the area. Dale is lucky to have him as their caterer. OMG the food was so good. No ham and cheese sammies here. Alain sends the bases for this tapas style spread and Dale put it all together.,,along with baking bread as we cross the channel with rails pretty close to the water.


The day ended, as all good sailing days should, with a spirit (or two) on the patio as the sun set and we said our good byes to new found friends.


15 May 2018

Boy,,,did I sleep well. Well, except for a bit of a throbbing toe (nothing says a great of sailing like a broken toe)....yup mine.


It was time to move on - heading to Townsville to break up our trip to Cairns.

Did a quick gas up and coffee break in Cardwell....so beautiful....BUT!!!!


I always enjoy sharing the really good things about our trips and traveling - now time to share a piece of self inflicted stupidity. When we close up the campervan, we "always" check a couple of times to make sure that all is secure. Note to self: look up. We inadvertently forgot to close the vent to the roof. Vent meets overhang in the grocery store parking lot was not pretty. We called Apollo Rentals and they arranged for us to get it repaired in Cairns. Hopefully, it won't rain before then. Wonder how much this is going to cost us????

It was late afternoon by the time we got to Townsville and Rowe's Caravan Park. Their wifi is great so I get finished up my previous posting and go that posted. Steaks and Blue Cheese from Tilda Tilda for dinner. On to Cairns tomorrow...will keep you posted.

Posted by pjburke 00:32 Archived in Australia

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Beautiful scenery. Glad you're having a great time.

by Sue

Beautiful photos! I hope your toe feels better
Patty! Did you have to call a toe truck? Continued safe travels!

by Brenda

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