Bundaberg to Baffle

We left the Sunshine Coast on Saturday 29th April in the morning and tracked about three and a half hours North to the well-known town of Bundaberg. We were offered some accommodation by an old school friend of mine Steph and her husband Chris with their two kids Ben and Emily. Ben was really looking forward to seeing the Bundaberg Distillery and it was one of the things that we had on our bucket list so instead of going straight to Steph’s to drop off the camper, we ended up visiting the Bundy Factory first. We tasted a little bit of rum and purchased a few nice bottles, enquired about the tours then headed to Steph’s to set up. We knew we would be back at the Bundy Factory before long.

Steph and Chris live in a small town just outside the main part of Bundaberg, called Sharon. They have a spacious property where we were able to set up our camper. That night we had pizzas and chatted. The river that is close to their home is the Burnette River and it is certainly impressive. Like most waterways up here, it is full of life and the water is warm.

We spent a day at Bargara Beach, which is the main tourist beach in Bundaberg. It was fairly quiet the day we went and we all had a great day. The sun was just warm enough and the surf was shallow and calm. We drove the Prado onto the sand and used the awning for shade. Brock and Chev had a great time chasing the ball. I had a swim with little Ben (Steph’s son). We had to resort to calling my Ben ‘big Ben’ and Steph’s Ben ‘little Ben’ to avoid confusion. We all had some good friend and family time together.

Tuesday came and it was time… time to do the Bundaberg Distillery tour. We would like to extend a bid thanks to Steph for driving us around that day and accompanying us on the tour. I have to say, I was not a fan of rum before I did the tour but the factory and the different flavours and variety of Bundaberg really impressed me. I found myself enjoying tasting the different rums and the liqueurs, when previously the smell of rum almost made me gag. I am a changed girl since going to Bundaberg, that is for sure.

Ben, on the other hand, has always loved his rum and this was the only museum and tour I have ever seen him in his glee with. The Bundy Distillery is impressive and has a very noble and historic aura about it, the smell of molasses floats thickly in the air and the vats and storage areas are really interesting to see. The tasting at the end was by far the best part of the tour!

After the Bundy factory Steph, Ben and I caught up with Chris at a cafe and all had a really nice lunch together. Then we headed off the Bundaberg Barrel, which is where you can taste the famous Bundaberg Ginger Beer and range of lovely brewed soft drinks. What a great day we had!

Wednesday came and it was time for Ben and I to go on another road. We took off and headed South to the highly spoken of town called, Hervey Bay. It was absolutely beautiful. The weather was perfect. We found one very quiet little beach where the tide was out, so we walked across the strange hard but mud like sand to reach the water, which was over a kilometre away. We laughed at the soldier crabs who ran in little packs away from us and admired the water and uniqueness of the place. We had lunch at a waterfront restaurant then went to the more touristy areas. The 2.2km pier was long but was extremely interesting and Ben watched enthusiastically as locals fished. Life teams under the pier and the locals told us that the fishing is amazing there. On the way back to Bundy we visited the small towns of Burram Heads, Burram and Woodgate, stopping quickly at Woodgate for a beer and a game of pool.

We can not thank Steph and Chris enough for their hospitality. It was great to catch up, great to have time for a girls movie night (Beauty and the Beast, hell yeah!), great to have nice meals together, play some games and get to spend this time together. Ben and Ben enjoyed their nightly chess games and good times were had by all. Ben and Chris got to go out fishing for a day and explore the Bundy river system a bit more. Thanks again guys!

Yesterday we left Bundy and drove about 50 minutes North to Baffle Creek. We are at a great little campground, called Rocky Point, right by the wide, salty river. We are having fun fishing and relaxing here and we are getting ready to have sweet chilli fresh caught mud crab for lunch. We’ll let you know how we go. Just a couple more sleeps until we meet my family in Agnes Waters. Pretty excited!

 

 

Public Holiday Fun on the Sunny Coast

Hello, out there! Thought I had better update all of our Pal’s and Gal’s on our travels. We hope everybody had a great Easter and Anzac Day. Our Good Friday was actually an awesome Friday. We spent the day with David and Cheryl. We rode on David’s Jet Ski over to an island in Noosa and spent the day picnicking on the beach. Cheryl bought her stand up paddle board along and I learnt how to do that, it was heaps of fun and I’ll be sure to pick the paddle up again next time I get the opportunity. Went all went for a ride out to the waves on the Jet Ski with David and got to admire the beauty of Noosa’s beaches from the water, then had a couple of beers, a swim and a relax. There was plenty of people about, some had hired boats and were fishing off them or having a miniature on-board party. Some were just out to have a swim or a surf and others were just happy sitting on the beach reading a book. What a great lifestyle!

On Easter Saturday Ben tracked up to Noosa again and spent the day fishing on the Noosa-Cat. He bought back a good feed of shark fillets and some pearl perch. The next night we had the freshest and most delicious home made fish and chips ever!

Ben has been working hard every day still and the days are cooling down a little here. It is normally mid to high twenties during the day and then is reducing to under 15 degrees at night… brrrr. Last night it was only 9 degrees overnight. So we are glad to be moving onwards and upwards on Saturday to Bundaberg where I am really excited to catch up with an old school friend Steph and Ben is really excited to hit the Bundy Factory.

I have worked a few shifts at Greencross Vet Kawana Waters, the girls there have really been great and I enjoyed helping them out.

Last weekend we had a look around Mooloolaba beach, it is a beautiful spot, full of hip cafes, beach goers and surfers.

Leah Maloolobah

Anzac Day was a quiet one, Ben went fishing off Mooloolaba with a mate from his work and caught a few nice Mack Tuna to add to the freezer. He had a great morning on the water. There was a bit of swell but not much wind and the fish were on the bite!

Ben Tuna

So, today is pack up day and tomorrow morning we will scoot up to Bundy. We have loved the Sunshine Coast and it would be really easy to hang our here for longer (even though we have been here for over a month). Fossil Park has been great for the price but we are getting a bit over the traffic noise here and there is another couple who have been here for the last few days who are creeping us out a bit. Our hot water system hasn’t been working since we have been here and so cold showers are getting a lot less refreshing and a lot more chilling, especially since the nights are cooling down so much.

Well, next time I blog it will be from Bundaberg! So, I’ll catch up with all of you there. We are due in Agnes Waters (near Seventeen Seventy) in early May to catch up with my family. Yay! Looking forward to it. Glen and Amanda will be seeing us in July in Townsville also super excited about that!

Things we have learnt and things we need to remember about the Sunshine Coast…

  • Live life to the fullest
  • Hasting’s Street in Noosa is like ‘the land of the beautiful people’
  • Maroochydore and Mooloolaba are as tropical and wonderful as they sound
  • Rick’s Garage is an amazing place for a burger and a had crafted whisky
  • Be positive and active and follow your dreams
  • Ocean Street in Maroochy is awesome and so is Macchu Picchu
  • Impressive mountains on one side, beautiful beaches on the other
  • Sun and smiles
  • Aussie World Pub and Aussie World shops, unique and handy
  • The Bruce Highway is busy
  • A good conversation is always better than good technology

Bunkering Down at Fossil Park

Check out my new e-book at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/714918

Hey guys, it’s been 15 days since my last blog so I thought I’d better catch everyone up. Well, it’s April now so we have officailly been on the road now for 5 months. We are still staying at Fossil Park near Aussie World and the Sunny Coast. Ben had been working hard during the week and we have been seeing some sites on the weekends. I have been getting a couple of locum shifts at Greencross Vet in Kawana Waters and I have been writing. My first novel is now officially an ebook you can check it out at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/714918.

We caught up with Ben’s Uncle and Aunty again, David and Cheryl. We joined them for dinner in Noosa and they took us for a drive around the beaches of Noosa and into the National Park. Noosa is a truly beautiful town it is loved by those with lots of money but also by those who love surf and travel. It is definitely the shiny diamond of the Sunshine Coast. After dinner we walked the streets of Noosa. There is some very classy restuaraunts and homes lining the pathways. At night they light the trees with fairy lights, which makes it seem all the more magical. We got some icecream and then went back to their apartment for a while. It was a great night, we love spending time David and Cheryl, they are positive, happy and very relaxed.

There is something about the Sunshine Coast lifestyle that allows you to be who you want to be and do what you want to do. Melbourne should seriously have a look the way work is put on the back burner a little here and life is bought forward. Most businesses closed by 5pm and tradies are normally home by 3pm, Sundays are quiet days where only the bare essentials are accessible and most shops are closed. After work, the residents are outside, exercising, surfing and socialising. What a life!

We have been to a few waterfalls over the weekend. The valley at Mapleton Falls was a site for sore eyes, it was thick with trees and was so deep that it reminded us how tiny we, as humans, really are. The look out there was impressive.

We also went to Buderim Falls but these were probably the least impressive falls we have seen to date. On the other hand… the Kondalilla Falls and National Park was stunning and although there is a bit of walking involved to get to the falls, it was worth it!

On the way home from the falls Ben spotted this shiny gem amongst the rocks of the Sunshine Coast… The Big Barrel. It had wine tasting and craft beer tasting and a great cheese platter, what more could you want in life?

We did visit The Big Pineapple as well but it was closed due to the category one cyclone that passed over us… oh yeah, the cyclone, probably should tell you about that. We survived the off shoot of Cyclone Debbie really well. Yes, we got over 200mL of rain and yes, the winds were strong and scary. It kept us and the dogs inside the camper for an entire day, the annex floor got saturated and it turned the turf farm that we overlook into a river. Chevy was freaking out a little so Ben let the dogs lie under his legs in the top part of the camper, while I read my book in the annex. When the strong wind started late at night, we started to worry, the annex began bending and moving and when one side started to collapse Ben made the call for us to get in the car. The dogs jumped in the back and we drove to the Aussie World carpark away from trees and other objects to wait out the storm. It calmed down around an hour later and we returned to the camper. Everything on the annex floor was wet but thankfully there were no broken poles and no permanant damage so we faired pretty well. Considering that some people, including one of Ben’s cousins, had the windows of their homes blown in.

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We got some running repairs done on the camper as there were a few annoying things we wanted to have fixed before the warranty runs out and over the last two days have made a couple of new friends at Fossil Park, Matt and Linda, they are from South Australia. We will be here in the Sunshine Coast until April 28th and then we move upwards and onwards to Bundaberg. I’m looking forward to catching up with an old friend from my school days, Steph, when we get to Bundaberg and Ben is looking forward to the rum tour and factory. We will then head to Seventeen Seventy and catch up with Barney, Tracy, Jasmine and Mum and Dad. Very excited!

Caloundra, Maroochydore, Noosa & Australia Zoo Fun!

Check out my article at http://tropicalist.com.au/jingellic-and-the-bridge-hotel/

G’Day everybody, time for an update on our travels! Well, we are still staying on the outskirts of Sunshine Coast near Aussie World at Fossil Park, Glenview. Ben has been working hard during the week and sticking it out in the heat to build up our funds. The crew he is working with seem to be pretty good and they have enough brickies that they are knocking up one house per day, hard yakka!

The weather here had been hovering around 30 degrees every day with occasional rain. It is very sunny today. The days are muggy but we are getting used to it and the nights are pleasant. I have been typing away at my keyboard. I got my first article published on a travel website. You can check it out at http://tropicalist.com.au/jingellic-and-the-bridge-hotel/.

You’ve probably all been hearing about the cyclone that is due to hit Northern Queensland early tomorrow morning. Luckily we are not that far North yet so we will miss the brunt of it, might get some rain and a bit of wind but should be all good in this part of the state. We are thinking of all of those people who live further up and we hope everyone stays safe.

Caloundra

We visited Caloundra one night after Ben finished work, this is about 15 minutes from where we are staying and it is a fast-growing suburb in the area. The beach at Caloundra is beautiful and surrounded by paved areas and has a public seaside pool. There is a tavern there that looks out over the big blue. People here have a great lifestyle, they work and then they go for a swim or a surf. They live life outdoors and by the sea, it is great and very inspirational to see.

Maroochydore

On Friday night we ventured into Maroochydore in search of a night market that they say is on every second Friday there. We didn’t find the market (must be next Friday) but what we did find was a funky little street called Ocean Street. There are many different bars and eateries lining the street and it is a hot spot for good food, live music and fun times.

We ate at a place called Machu Picchu, which specialises in South Amercian tapas. The food was vibrant and brilliant. Ben’s not a dessert person but he especially enjoyed his banana fritters with caramel sauce and vanilla gelato, my dessert had a crazy amount of chocolate but was great. The mains and dips were surprising and tasty. We plan to return to Ocean Street again for more good drinks and dining and Machu Picchu holds a rum club on a Thursday night, which allows the tasting of top shelf rums from all over the world at half price. As you can imagine, this is right up Ben’s alley so we will mostly likely go back for that.

Noosa

We visited Noosa on Saturday night so that we could see Ben’s uncle David for his birthday. We had dinner at PK’s, the special there is wood fired pizzas and they are fresh and delicious. It was great to catch up with Ben’s uncle and aunty David and Cheryl and his cousins James, Thomas and Hayden. They are a refreshing family to be around, they are absolutely lovely people who love life, they are caring, excited about everything and positive.

Noosa is a beautiful area, there are lots of shops lining the water and big boats in the channel.

Australia Zoo

Yesterday, we planned to go to The Glass House Mountain’s to have a look. To get there, we had to drive down Steve Irwin Way and go past Australia Zoo. Well, we saw the zoo and did a U-turn. We wanted to go there at some stage anyway and it was only 9am and the weather was great. Why not now? We asked ourselves.

We spent the day admiring the animals and walking, it’s a big zoo, so there was lots of walking. The snakes were mesmerising, the crocs were eye-opening and the rhino’s were incredible. We loved the main show at the Crocoseum and it was great to remember Steve Irwin, one of the most influential Aussie men of our time. We got to marvel at clever birds and slithering snakes during the show and watch the power and stealth of Charlie the croc. The tigers were majestic and all in all our day at Australia Zoo will remain as one of our favourite Sunshine Coast memories.

We’re not planning on leaving the Sunny Coast any time soon. We’re going to build up our funds and have a really good look around first. More about the Sunny Coast coming soon… but for now here’s some pics from Australia Zoo.

From Gold Coast, to Brisbane, to the Sunny Coast

Hey everybody, hope you have all had a good week and a good St Patty’s Day. It’s been an unexpectedly busy one for us. On Monday we left the Gold Coast and drove to the Southern suburbs of Brisbane. It was under an hours drive but Ben had work lined up in Brisbane so we figured we would be better off being as close to his work as possible.

We stayed in a very basic caravan park, with outdated toilets and showers and an unappealing swimming pool and were paying $40 per night for the privilege. Ben’s work was spread out over Brisbane and it took him an hour or more to get to and from work. He was laying H blocks on commercial sites. The area of Brisbane we were staying in had a pretty bad reputation and so we reconsidered our original plan to stay in Brisbane for six weeks.

“We didn’t leave home to be stuck in city traffic and pay $40 per night to stay in a bad area,” Ben said. I thought about that and realised he was absolutely right. We had arrived in Brisbane Monday, he worked Tuesday and Wednesday, we spent Thursday sight seeing and by Friday morning we were out of there and headed for the Sunshine Coast.

Before leaving Brisbane we visited Wynnum, which one of Brisbane’s more beautiful bayside areas. Here’s some pictures from our day at Wynnum.

Living Near Aussie World

Yesterday we got back on the road and drove for just over an hour to get to a place called Fossil Park, which is a short drive from Sunshine Coast and 5 minutes down the raod from a place called Aussie World.

It’s a bit of property just near the Bruce Highway, it has nice grass to camp on, a toilet and also power and running water. It’s a $15 per night honesty box system and we are much happier here than what we were in the $40 South Brisbane caravan park. Ben has even made his own outdoor shower with our hot water system.

Ben will start working in the Sunny Coast on Monday and so yesterday we spent the day checking out Aussie World, which is just down the road from our camp and is a fun park with a strip of unique looking shops and a really cool pub. Today, we went into the Sunshine Coast to enjoy a bit of sun and surf. We went to the Eumundi Market this morning, which is full of amazing and interesting goods. We got some salami, passionfruits and tried some snap fried hungarian flat bread with cheese and speck topping. Then we headed through the mountain roads to the amazing beaches. We stopped near Mooroochydore for a swim in the beach, the ocean water here is warm but the waves are rough. Ben is really confident in the waves but I learnt that I do have a bit of fear of waves. They are so powerful and unforgiving but I think the more I swim in the surf the confident I will become (with a little help from Ben of course). We then stopped in Maloolabah for a beer at the tavern and a $12 parma. It was a great day!

Adventure To & Within The Gold Coast

Firstly, apologies for the belated blog everyone, the last two weeks have been a little bit busy. I left you guys when were in Taylors Arm at The Pub With No Beer, for the last 10 days we have been in the Gold Coast.

Our journey to the Gold Coast was a long one, on Sunday 26th February we said goodbye to the locals that we had made friends with at The Pub With No Beer and left Taylors Arm. It was surprisingly hard to say goodbye as they were all so keen for us to stay and we really loved the camp area. We headed for Grafton, where there is apparently a good free camping area by the river. The rain was pelting down and so we stopped in at the local pub in Grafton for a rest and a beer. After speaking with the bar man and learning that they were expecting 200mL of rain over the next few days to come we decided not to camp at Grafton to continue north to try and escape the weather.

That afternoon we arrived at Bonalbo. Bonalbo is a really small town in north country NSW. We found a pub called Dog ‘N’ Bull where we stopped to eat and have a beer. We had no set plans but as it was getting late, we knew that we would camp somewhere near there that night. It was at that time that I pointed out to Ben that we had drunk beers in three different pubs that day. Bonalbo has some free camps around it but they also have a small short stay caravan park in the town. It was $25 for the night and had clean showers and toilets and a washing machine, dryer and a kitchenette. We bunked there for the night and left the next morning.

That day we drove and drove and drove, we looked at a few different free camp options and discovered that although WikiCamps is a good app, some of the descriptions and marked camp areas are quite inaccurate. We went through Bonablo, Old Bonablo, Urbenville, Muli Muli, Woodenbong, Unumger, Grevillia, Rukenvale and Kyogle. We had no luck in finding somewhere we wanted to camp for 4 days until we were due in the Gold Coast and the heavy rain seemed to be following us.

After much deliberation we decided to keep driving. We ended up crossing the boarder into Queensland and stopped just outside Logan and Beaudesert in a free camp that was basically a dry grass filled paddock. There is a moderately busy road running down the side of it and there is a river which is the colour of caramel flavoured milk. The river is hard to get to, you need to walk through long grass, over barbed wire and  into a paddock, which very steep. We let the dogs have a swim in it but even though it was hot, it wasn’t inviting enough for us to swim in. We stayed in the paddock for 3 nights, there was back packers that came and went but nobody we really spoke to, we exchanged food with a Brazillian couple which was interesting and had a wild pig visit our camper at night but the rest of the time there wasn’t much happening.

We got to Gold Coast on Thursday the 2nd March (one day earlier than planned – as we could not stand the boredom anymore). We checked in at Big 4 Holiday Park Gold Coast, which is 5 minutes drive from Movie World and Wet ‘N’ Wild. We planned this because we knew that Ben’s Mum, Chris, her husband Mick and our 8 year old nephew Alix were coming up. The holiday park here is really good, the pool area is great and had a water slide. There is a off leash, fenced in dog area and the amenities are modern, well maintained and clean. There is also a jumping pillow and farm animals to feed for kids. There is a BMX track and a cafe near the pool area that has nice and reasonably priced food and drinks. We have seen koalas her, flying foxes, lizards, geckos and plenty of cane toads.

We met a couple, Amanda and Adrian, who are also traveling (going South) with their little girl, Ella and their dog, Jed. Adrian is in the mining business and as he is on a week on week off, fly in fly out, roster they still travel during the weeks he is not working. This work option good for Ben at some stage.

While Chris, Mick and Alix were here we had activities on every day. They arrived Monday, we took Alix to Movie World Tuesday, Wet ‘N’ Wild Wednesday then SeaWorld Thursday. They left Friday afternoon. In the time were weren’t at theme parks, we were swimming with Alix in the pool or going down the water slide or feeding the farm animals or having something to eat. It was full on but it was great to see them and we are so happy that we were able to make it to Gold Coast to spend some quality time together. Ben and I also took Alix to a shooting range and to ten pin bowling one night.

Alix bowling

Movie World was awesome… highlights – seeing Batman, seeing Austin Powers, the rides, the loony tunes.

Wet ‘N’ Wild was loads of fun… highlights – taking Alix on big water slides and seeing him get a little scared but then so excited that he wanted to do it again, the Tornado, the pizza.

SeaWorld was huge… highlights – the dolphin show, Alix getting to go on some rides and getting to see the Ninja Turtles, Shark Bay, the penguins.

The night before Chris, Mick and Alix arrived Ben got a call from reception saying… ‘there are some internationals at reception claiming that they know you.’ Ben and I smiled at each other, of course we know them, we told them, let them in. The German and Swedish backpackers that we had met in Taylors Arm had said that they would some visit us while we were in Gold Coast so we knew it was them. It was great to see Benta, Sebastian and Oliver again, we had lots of drinks and they ended up bringing their van onto our campsite and staying the night. We cooked a roast in the camp kitchen, played cards and had a good laugh and a relax. We may see Sebastian again in Brisbane as he is still keen to go fishing with Ben.

Yesterday we spent the day near Tweed Heads, on the beach watching a team surfing competition. Ben’s uncle is a keen surfer and his three sons have been surfing for almost as long as they could walk. Watching the surfers was an awesome day out. Everybody thinks of surfers as bogus guys with long hair and a care free lifestyle and this is probably one of the only cases where the stereotype is pretty much spot on. The are fit and strong and they tackle the waves like nobody I have ever seen before. We went to dinner that night with Ben’s uncle at a club in Tweed Heads and then crashed at home after a long day on the beach.

The night before that we had a few drinks with Amanda (Adrian is away at work at the moment) from the caravan across the road. Ben played domino’s with young Ella and we all had a good chat and a laugh. We laughed especially hard when Tony, affectionately called Indian Elvis, came to chat with us after he lost his way in the park. He had lots of stories and even sung a tune for us.

All in all we’ve had a great time here on the Gold Coast, tomorrow it’s onwards and upwards to Brisbane to do some work, build up the funds and then move on.

Travelling North Through NSW to the The Pub With No Beer

Written Wed 22nd Feb 2017

Early Saturday morning with left Shellharbour, about three and a half hours later we arrived at the famous Hawkesbury River. We paddled in the tepid waters of the Hawkesbury admiring its width and the tall cliffs and sandy shore lines. The river itself is a truly amazing site.  The camp ground we stopped at was called Swallow Rock Reach and although it was a nice clearing and the camp area is nice enough, there is a small track you need to walk down to get to a bit of a beach where you can walk in the water. You can see the water from where you camp but there is a very steep bank to get down to it. It is a free camp ground and so you can’t expect too much but the toilets there definitely need some maintenance and an upgrade, especially considering that it seems to be a fairly popular local swimming area. If we had of been staying more than one night, I would have set up our camp toilet so I didn’t have to use the ones provided.

We left Swallow Rock Reach the next morning and tracked over 5 hours to another free camp ground in a small town called Ellenborough, which is about 5 minutes’ drive from another small town called Long Flat. Long Flat has a good general store and a reasonable pub . The camp ground is quite large and very grassy. The toilets there are long drop style toilets but they are very clean and are serviced twice per week. Some of the campers at Ellenborough Reserve appear to have been there quite a while. Whilst others seem to use it as a weekend party area. The river that runs through there is a branch of the Hastings River. The part of the river you can access from the camp ground is fresh, flowing and rocky. There is a stony road that you can walk or drive to get down to it.

The first night we were in Ellenborough it rained and was a fairly gloomy night, we had planned to make some noodles for dinner but given the rain and the fact that we didn’t set the roof up we decided that a pub meal was the way to go. We stopped at Long Flat pub again (we had stopped there on the way in as well) but they don’t serve meals on a Sunday. We stayed for a beer and chatted with one of the locals. Most of the locals at Long Flat pub seem to keep to themselves. We then moved on in the rain and found our way to Bago Tavern, which is just outside the ‘main town’ in the area Wauchope. The lights coming through the windows at Bago Tavern were inviting and offered a chance for some dinner and a bit of time off the wet roads. The meals were surprisingly fresh and quite delicious, especially for a country pub. We munched on duck spring rolls and stir fries. Not your typical pub food, we know, but it was a nice change.

We had a swim/bath in the Hastings River, Ben even laid in the rapids and had a ‘bush spa’. The dogs loved the fresh cool water too and are happy that they are getting more off lead time now that we are out of the caravan park.

After two days at Ellenborough, we embarked on a two and a half hour drive to a very historic and well known pub to most Australians. Yes, that’s right, we’re at The Pub With No Beer in Taylor’s Arm. The pub is full of country music and Slim Dusty memorabilia, it was established in 1903. The walls are literally covered interesting reads, photos and albums. They have a fairly good selection of different beers at The Pub With No Beer and the meals (especially the pizzas) are very satisfying. The bar area is done up really nicely and there is a good outdoor area to sit and have a drink, there is an outdoor music stage but this rarely gets used, even the bands that visit the pub on a Sunday play on the deck, rather than on the stage. It’s an Aussie icon and conveniently had a really nice camp ground across the road, which offers a toilet block and there are showers that you can use at the pub. They do encourage campers to make a $5 donation to go towards the local fire brigade, which we more than happily paid. There is fresh tank water available in the camp ground.

The locals here in Taylors Arm are really friendly, they are accommodating and are really interested in the stories of the campers from across the road. They do have their local pest, who tells a lot of tall stories and talks way too much but they all seem to either give him a wide berth or put up with him. The locals do like to sit back, watch and have a laugh when the local pest closes in on some unsuspecting newcomers. Its great entertainment for them, it wasn’t long until we figured out why it was that when this local pest came to speak with us, that all the other locals moved to the other end of the long outdoor tables and began giggling amongst themselves. It seems that they enjoy palming him off to people who don’t know any better for a while and then having a laugh about it at the same time.

Taylors Arm is a very small place and doesn’t have much at all besides one very famous pub. There is one primary school a short bus ride away, which had 7 students last year and it has grown in capacity to 10 students this year. There is no general store and there is no phone reception. The kids here play in the park and on the grassy hill at the pub whilst they wait for parents to stop drinking and chatting and put them to bed. If it wasn’t for that great pub, Taylors Arm would be a very quiet place indeed. We like here though, the pub is really good and the locals seem great. They are quite sick of hearing the famous Slim Dusty song and so most of the music coming from there is rocky and modern, which suits us just fine. There is a river nearby but not near the camp ground, if it was near the camp ground there is a good chance that we would stay here a long while.

Ben’s back to trying to do some bush maintenance on the car and camper again. One of the bolts from the adjustable levelling legs on the camper snapped off in Ellenborough when he was trying to wind the leg up, so he’s going to need to replace the bolt at some stage. He also fitted some new brackets for the light bar to the bull bar on the Prado today only to find out that the bonnet won’t close now. He’ll probably have another look at it later, after a beer or two in The Pub With No Beer.

Joke of the day… this pub is so old that even people who are looking for dinosaurs come here…

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Written Thursday 23rd Feb 2017

Well it’s been a while since we have been this hungover. Last night we had quite a few schooners at The Pub With No Beer with the locals, then before we knew it we were back at the camper drinking beers, scotch and rum with two German and Swedish backpackers. They were called Sebastian, who had come here from Germany two weeks ago and Oliver, who had come from Sweden and had already done quite a bit of travelling in Australia. They love music and a drink and so they weren’t hard to get along with. Sebastian wants to go fishing in Australia and is going to try to catch up with us again up North so that he can go on a charter with Ben.

This morning we found ourselves feeling pretty lethargic and thirsty and so we decided the best cure was some Zooper Doopers, apple juice, cordial and to have a lie down on the cool grass in the shade with our pillows for a while. The dogs were loving it. Yes, we do have a bed but anyone who has ever slept in a tent or a camper before knows that as soon as the sun hits the canvas, staying in bed is damn near impossible. Sebastian and Oliver were just as drunk as we were, if not worse, so we wouldn’t like to be them today, they had to get up early and travel in their little van to Coffs Harbour. At least we can spend today recuperating and then decide how much longer we will stay here before moving up the coast, it’s nice having no time schedule.

If anyone out there is interested in leasing a pub, The Pub With No Beer lease is up for sale. The current lease holders and the locals are pretty keen to get someone new up here to run the famous pub. We are getting to know the locals a little better now the stand outs are Stary (the shit stirrer but a nice bloke), Rochelle (works at the pub but drinks there too), Rolly (an old concreter who doesn’t mind a bit of hunting and a beer here and there), Newman (a Balinese guy, who has married a local girl and stirs and gets stirred by Stary), Gary (a funny guy anf one of the only guys who seems to work around here, always with a beer in hand), Sue (Stary’s wife, who is an ex-bar lease holder herself and loves a chat), Bing-Eye (the local dare devil and weird cat), Nobby (a local fishman and punter) and Daffy (the local pest, he’s hard of hearing but boy can he talk).

There is also a church at the pub, strangely enough. It is an old church that was relocated to the pub in 2001. It has a lot of interesting old tools and brewery machinery surrounding it and more interestingly has the ‘largest beer can collection in the Southern Hemisphere’ (according to the locals) lining every wall of its interior. An impressive site, to say the least.

Written Saturday 25th Feb 2017

We are still in Taylors Arm across the road from The Pub With No Beer. We took a drive to Grassy Head and Stuarts Point yesterday and into the main town here called Macksville. The beach at Grassy Head is up there with the best we have seen so far with aqua surf, rocks and almost white sand. We had a fish in the estuary at Stuarts Point and got some bites but no fish.

We have met Sean at the camp ground here, he is an ex-concreter and ex-security guard. He is traveling on his own at the moment in his caravan. He has a lot of stories to tell about his days working as a bodyguard and as security at big concerts, he had a few beers with us at the pub yesterday and a barbeque at the camper with us today.

A big bull escaped from a nearby paddock and spent the night on the loose. He thought he might like a beer too…

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We are looking at leaving Taylors Arm in the next day or so and heading to a halfway point, between here and Gold Coast. We are hoping to find some more work in or around the Gold Coast area.

Last Days at Shellharbour

In less than two days we will leave Shellharbour. This place has been our home for the last four weeks. Tomorrow is pack up day and in the early dark hours of Saturday morning we will get on the road again. Pack up day is always a pain but it brings with it the excitement of knowing that we are heading back into the bush and that we will inevitably find new place to explore. I’m excited about crossing the border into a new state and can’t wait to see what Queensland has in store for us.

I will be glad to have Ben back during the days and happy that he will be able to take his mind and body out of work mode again for a while. We will, however, start the work search again when we get to Queensland.

So, what will we miss most about Shellharbour?

This?

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Or maybe this?

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This place?

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These things?

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These guys?

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I’m not sure… I guess we’ll have to wait and see. You know what they say, you can’t miss something until it’s gone.

You know what else they say… you take the good with the bad.

Good (in no particular order)…

  • Exploring Kiama
  • Gaining some money through Ben getting some work
  • Visiting Jamberoo and the Jamberoo Pub
  • Visiting Robertson and The Famous Pie Shop
  • Harbour Thai
  • Ziggy visiting us
  • The Trees Adventure in Nowra
  • Finding good food and nice places to eat
  • Meeting Justin, Horse and the other guys Ben has been working with
  • Having the rocks, the rock pools, the pool and the beach at our door step
  • Pizza night at the Park
  • Seeing our first live Rugby match
  • The Breweries
  • Beautiful night time walks along the shore
  • Clear mornings and blue skies
  • Acclimatizing to the heat

Bad…

  • Ben working his butt off
  • Having to move camp sites
  • Chevy getting a swollen elbow and having to go to the vet
  • Brock almost getting attacked by a another dog (too close for comfort)
  • The annex getting flooded and our books getting ruined in the heavy rain

Hey, there was way more good than there was bad. We’ll write you again when we get to wherever it is we are going next. Cheers folks!

Oh… for all our fellow foodies, Glen and Amanda, we’re looking at YOU! Here’s a list we’ve been composing of all of our favorite eateries so far.

Ben and Leah’s Favourite Food List from All Around Australia

For those of you who don’t know us well, Ben and I love a good dining experience. We appreciate good food and we love to try new eating spots. We’re not necessarily fine diners, we’re just as happy with a good pub meal as we are with a plate of fresh prawns so this list doesn’t go on how ‘classy’ the place was, it’s about the food and how much we enjoyed it. So here’s the list… we are composing it as we travel this beautiful country so we’ll be updating it frequently. Number ONE is the best we’ve had since we left.

  1. Wheelers Seafood (Merimbula) – “fresh, locally sourced seafood platter, great service and very full bellies when we left, it’s going to be hard to beat.”
  2. Harbour Thai (Shellharbour) – “we’ve been there twice, one perfect dining experience and one really good one, staff are great, great views on the balcony and the food is flavourful and fresh, highly recommend a visit here if you’re in the area.”
  3. Rita’s Tapas Bar (Merimbula) – “Yes, the meals are small because they are tapas but boy they pack a big flavour punch. We had to order more bread so we didn’t waste the delicious sauce that came with the sliced chorizo. Well worth a visit even if it’s just for a cocktail.”
  4. Kiama Inn Hotel (Kiama) – “Pub meals with freshness and pleasing sides such as sweet potato chips. Ben had the Italian Meatball special and it was fresh and delicious. They have a large variety of burgers and do a great of them.
  5. Jamberoo Hotel (Jamberoo) – “They are pub meals but they are good ones! The acoustic entertainment on Sundays is well worth a watch. Interesting pub with lots of visual history on the walls.”
  6. The Bridge Hotel (Jingellic) – “The chef is not only a good bloke but he can cook, the squid salad was a standout and all other meals we had there were fresh and hit the spot.”
  7. Shausha Indian (Shellharbour) – “Took our taste buds back to one of our fave spots at home Arya. Great service, delicious food.”
  8. The Hunt Club Hotel (Merrijig) – “Wood fired pizzas are the go here, they are fresh and delicious. Staff are lovely and the area is beautiful.”

Zig Week and Rugby

Well, it’s been a huge week for us! Ziggy (otherwise known as Craig, CJ or Ziggy Craig) did an eleven hour stint in his little Camry to come and visit us. This is his second visit while we’ve been on the road and we loved catching up with him. Ben has continued to work through the sweltering 30 and 40 plus heat here but he did a few shorter days so he could spend some time with Zig. Here’s some of the stuff we got up to…

Harbour Thai

We had two nights at this restaurant in the time Zig was here, one on the night he arrived and one the night before he left. The food at Harbour Thai is as the boys put it… “Off the hoooook!” The views are awesome from the balcony and all in all the first night there was not far from perfect. Zig said it was worth the eleven hour drive anyway.

On Zig’s last night one of Ben’s work mates Justin (or Super Mario as Ben calls him) joined us for dinner with his son Eligh, we have had a few beers with Justin here and there. He’s a really nice young guy, with lots of stories to tell.

Jamberoo Pub

After visiting the blowholes in Kiama that weren’t blowing because there was no wind, we went to the Jamberoo Pub. It’s quite a famous pub in this area, its old, the meals are good and they often have live entertainment. The beer garden is set up really well, so gigs can be performed outside and on a nice day, it’s a great spot to be in. We watched a fellow called Pat Drummond, he is well known in this area (and so is his family apparently) and sings such hits as “Can You Put a Sao in Your Gob in One Go?”. He was amusing.

Trees Adventure – Nowra

We were feeling adventurous one day and so after Ben had worked in the heat for half the day we decided why not go and climb some cargo nets, walk across tight cables, climb rocks and zip line? The platforms and obstacles are set high in the trees and along rock faces. The forest is thick and beautiful and it’s amazing to get a birds eye view of it as you wobble your way across tight cables and swinging logs. It was hot and we were sweaty after completing their two hardest courses but it was fun and in a way it shows you what you are really capable of when you know you can’t fall because you’re attached to a harness. It was something different and I’d definitely consider doing something like it again.

Don Bradman Museum and Chevy’s Fat Elbow

I didn’t attend the Don Bradman museum because I had to take Chevy to the vet, his elbow had turned into a swollen mess. He is okay now and I figured out it was an abscess but how he got it is still unknown. There is still some hardness to his elbow and it’s still not right but it’s about 80% better so on with the antibiotics we go… luckily he’ll eat ANYTHING you give him so medicating him isn’t a chore.

Zig and Ben really enjoyed the museum, the cricket history was awesome and they had a good time. Well worth a look if your into cricket.

Illarwarra Fly and Tree Top Walk

There is a huge bridge that they have built in the rain forest that is suspended above the forest. It’s a bit of a walk to get up there but Ben and Zig enjoyed it. I didn’t go because I had some ear issues, which seem to be subsiding now. The highest point of the spiral is around 700 meters above sea level. The rain forests is lush and an impressive piece of nature and the bridge is an amazing place to view it from. Worth a visit if your good with heights and you’re in the area.

Ziggy’s Stay

Zig set up his blow up bed in our annex because the sites here are just too small to fit another tent on. It worked out well until we had a heavy down pour one night whilst we were at the pub… we happened to have left the annex door open “to let some air in” but we let some of the 49mm of rain in that we got in a couple of hours instead. It rained hard enough that you only had to be out in it for a matter of seconds to be completely soaked through, no shower required. All of our towels and most of Zig’s clothes later, the annex floor was dry enough again to get us through the night. It then rained on and off for the next 30 hours or so. Here’s the thing… last time Zig visited us we had perfect weather before he arrived and then 2 days of down pour when he got there, this time – perfect weather before he came up and then… well you get the picture. We’re not saying he’s the rain man or anything but it is a little odd or um, coincidental you might say.

He left yesterday morning, while he was here there was lots of laughs, music and drinks and lots of good times! There was even a day where we did a pub crawl through Wollongong, we visited the Illarawarra Brewery, the Five Barrels Brewery and the Scarborough Pub, then went to the Warilla Pub for dinner (which is when the HEAVY rain started), I drove and the boys consumed a fair amount of beer and despite the rain, it was a great day. Thanks for the effort Zig, it was great to see you.

Illarwarra Dragons and Win Stadium

Last night we went to see a practice game between the Illarawarra Dragons and the Wests Tigers with one of Ben’s mates from work Horse and his girlfriend and family. Ok, before all you Melbournites accuse us of jumping from the AFL ship to the Rugby one… we just went to HAVE A LOOK. It was really good, the crowd was definitely more subdued than the die hard fans we are used to at AFL matches this was probably exacerbated by the fact that it was only a practice game. In saying that, I’ve seen plenty of people get up and about a little too much during the ALF NAB cup.

Win Stadium and the ground itself are much smaller than the MCG and Etihad. The view from the stand is amazing, you can see all of the ground as well as the ocean and some of the Wollongong beach just over the hill. It’s only $15 entry for the practice game, which was pretty good value. Ben bought a Dragon’s shirt – not because he’s jumping ship… because he liked it and he needed a t-shirt to get into the pub afterwards with. It turned out to be a really good night and we, I mean, they – the Dragons, that is, won!

Stationed in Shellharbour

Hi everyone, Ben and I are still in Shellharbour. Ben has found some bricklaying work with a local crew and they are very happy with his work ethic and quality. Being back on the tools is making him a little sore and stiff again but the money will be great to help us on our way. We are staying here now until Feb 18th then we will free camp our way towards Queensland. We have decided that if we keep going at our current pace we’ll never go home and so after this stint in Shellharbour we are going to do our best to move north a little faster.

I have been hanging out with the dogs during the day, doing washing and organising lunches and dinners. I have been going for walks along the shore everyday and I thought I’d share some of the photos I took this morning.

The seaside pool is really nice. The sand here is quite course and shelly but the flat, red coloured rocks are great to walk along at low tide. There is some nice rock pools, which remind me of miniature windows that allow you have a little peak at some of the secrets of the sea.

We’ve been eating really well lately from satay beef to chicken schnitzels to sweet and sour Mako shark, it’s all been yum. Steak and flathead with vegetables will be on the menu tonight.

For all you honey enthusiasts out there… if you can get a hold of this honey that we found at the ABC Cheese Factory in Central Tilba do it! It’s very delicious.

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