Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Greetings from Cape Hillsborough, QLD

The last time I wrote Tom and I were preparing for our tour of Fraser Island – what a magical place that was to visit! On the day of our tour, Tom and I got up at 6.15am in the morning and headed over on the ferry to Fraser Island. To start the day we saw a pod of dolphins swimming in the water near the ferry. Once we arrived on Fraser we hopped on our 4WD bus and made a very bumpy trip across the island and up the beach. We saw so many beautiful places on the island and learnt about its rich Aboriginal history. We even had the pleasure of seeing Humpback whales in the ocean as we were driving up the beach and also a Dingo even if it was eating a dead Manta Ray, it was still great to see a Dingo in the wild.

After a beautiful day exploring the island, I braved the cold water of Lake McKenzie, our last stop on the tour before heading back to the ferry. Although it was freezing going in, it was such an great place for swimming and my skin felt soo good afterwards . On our ferry trip home Tom and I sat back, put our feet up and watched an incredible sunset – it was the perfect end to a perfect day!
So Tom and I left Hervey Bay over a week ago and made our way up north to a place called 1770. I drove most of the way which was an adventure for Tom and lots of fun for me! We had beautiful weather the whole way and after finding a beautiful beachside caravan park to stay in, we parked ‘Beauty’ our van and took a few ice cold beers down to the beach to watch sunset. Life’s tough!
After watching a glorious sunset on the beach we decided that cooking dinner ourselves would be too much effort so we rang the local tavern and they sent their free courtesy bus to come and pick us up from the caravan park (I love courtesy Buses – they pick you up and drop you off, free of charge!). To start the night off, we had a couple of games of pool, Tom won 2 out of three games, only because I sunk the black on one of the games, anyway afterwards, we had a delicious dinner together. I had a salt and pepper calamari salad and Tom had fresh Barramundi fish with chips and salad! It was sooo delicous! Nothing beats aussie seafood! Well Gosch restaurant in Stuttgart is right up there!
After dinner, we checked out the live band together but they weren’t the greatest so we jumped on the courtesy bus and headed back to our little home on wheels. The next day when we woke it was beautiful and sunny again so we headed straight down to the beach after breakfast. We practically had the WHOLE beach to ourselves – it was awesome! I went in for a quick swim and although I tried my hardest to get Tom to join me, there was NO chance– I still haven’t managed to get him in the water yet. Maybe once we head up north a bit more where the water’s a bit warmer.
After packing up our camper we took a scenic drive around the peninsula of 1770, we stopped for coffee and some more breakfast at a lovely little café overlooking the water. It was the most beautiful little bay and just as we were walking to the café we saw a mother dolphin with her calf swim right past us only 10 metres from shore! 1770 is a place that we would love to go back to for a longer holiday and I would recommend it to anyone.
From 1770, we continued up north towards Rockhampton. We picked up some supplies in Rocky and after consulting the map we headed out of the city towards Emu Park to a caravan park on the coast I’d picked out. Every time we pass through a major city and pick up supplies I just can’t wait to get away and back on the open road.
We arrived at our caravan park in the late afternoon and after we parked Beauty we noticed that our new neighbours consisted of a colony of bats! Bats are nocturnal, meaning they sleep during the day and are active at night but I don’t know how any of them sleep during the day, they make that much noise. It was ok for us though, it just added to the ‘aussie outdoor adventure!’
The next day, Tom and I decided to head towards Yeppoon to see what the beaches and caravan parks were like there. The beaches were sh%t so we called Petra (Tom’s cousin) to see if she was ready for us to come and visit a little bit earlier than expected. Petra being the wonderful woman that she is, was more than happy, so we made our way towards Stanage Bay!
We decided to stop at the Capricorn Caves along the way and we saw our first wild kangaroos on the drive in!!! Even though I’m Australian it’s still a real treat to see them hanging out in the wild. We went for a tour of the caves with our own personal tour guide. I had never been inside caves like these before and having our own tour guide made it even more special. They even have a natural cathedral inside the caves where they hold weddings and where the acoustics are so good they blow your mind. I’m sure that Tom would have loved a few hours in there by himself to bust out a few of his favourite tracks. Our tour guide played a couple of songs for us and at one point turned out all the lights so it was pitch black – it was seriously cool! He also gave us a couple of candles and we made our own way out of the caves through a narrow passageway – it really gave you a small glimpse of how it must have been for John Olson the man who discovered the caves in the late 1800’s and did all his exploration by candlelight. Needless to say we were both glad to be in daylight again once we got out.
We met Petra at Yaamba and drove behind her to Stanage Bay. The only road going to Stanage Bay is 100ks of mainly dirt road and it was our campervans first ‘off road’ adventure. Tom and I were both a little nervous and excited about how it would turn out. Well after, over an hour and a half of bumping down the road at night and avoiding herds of cows at night, which I might add, not just any cows –black cows that just appear out of nowhere at night time, we made it safely to Stanage Bay – albeit Beauty our Campervan was no longer white, instead she was coated with a layer of red dirt!
Stanage Bay is one of those places, if you don’t know it’s there you’ll never know it’s there. I can see why Petra and Jay love living there. Their back deck overlooks the most stunning bay and their garden is the ocean. We spent the next couple of days relaxing, which consisted mainly of reading on the back deck and getting to know some of the locals there, including two cheeky rainbow lorikeets that often came to the back deck looking for a free lunch. I also narrowly avoided standing on a yellow bellied black python on the front stairs just after I’d woken up one morning so that was quite an exciting start to the day.

Tom and I also were also treated to some of the most superb mud crabs I’ve ever tasted and which were caught by Jay. It was such a luxury to have a whole bowl of massive mud crabs in front of us and I loved every bit! Jay has spent most of his life in Stanage so he took us on one of his famous ‘Tiki tours’ of the bay by 4WD which was an adventure and a half. Jay shared with us the history of the island and also showed us some old aboriginal camping grounds where remnants of the shell fish they caught are still there today.

After a couple more days spent hanging out with Petra and helping out in the ‘school’ where she home schools Jay’s son Harley and another boy Caleb we decided it was time to hit the road and head towards Mackay. We drove back down the dirt road and found that not surprisingly it was much easier during the day. Once we made it back to the highway we drove over 200kms to Mackay and decided to spoil ourselves with a night in a hotel.

With our batteries fully recharged we hit the road again the next day and headed towards Cape Hillsborough National Resort. This is where I am now typing this and just to give you an idea of the beauty of this place, I can see the beach from where I’m sitting and it’s a massive 1 minute walk from our campervan (put your hiking boots on for that one!. There are kangaroos and wallabies everywhere and we are surrounded by hundreds of the most exquisite butterflies. It’s been really hard staying here as I’m sure you can imagine, we have been forced to spend long hours relaxing by the pool, taking walks along the pristine beach at sunset and having long afternoon naps – it’s been seriously tough!
On our walk today through the rainforests and up to the many beautiful lookouts we saw the most amazing butterflies and I’m not just talking about one or two, I’m talking about hundreds and hundreds of butterflies flying together – it was truly a sight that I’ll never forget!

We are spending one more night here, although I could easily stay a few more. Tomorrow it’s back on the road for us – direction Airlie Beach!

I dragged Tom out of bed at 6.15am this morning to come down to the beach and watch sunrise – what a wonderful start to the day - sitting on a practically deserted beach watching the sun come up over the ocean. The colours were incredible but so was the cold breeze! I’m not sure what happened to the good weather, we’ve been having the last couple of days but this morning it was bloody cold and Tom wasn’t having a bar of it. As soon as the sun was visible he started making a beeline back to bed, it didn’t take much encouragement for me to join him. That’s also the great thing about holidays – you can go back to bed if you feel like it. Is anyone feeling like a holiday yet????
So after getting warmed up and sleeping a little more, we had our coffees, packed our van and said good bye to the new friends that we’d met at the park. We decided to check out Eungella National Park, to see if we would be lucky enough to catch sight of the resident Platypuses that live there. Well the park was beautiful – although the drive up there was ridiculously steep and ‘Beauty’s’ brakes were smoking on the way down but that’s another story, we were lucky enough, after much patient waiting to see a platypus, although from a distance we still saw one and it was a thrill.
We checked out Eungella Dam which is strikingly beautiful but it was also seriously eerie, I don’t know how to describe it maybe it had something to do with the fact there was hardly anyone else there and that it was in the middle of nowhere?? I don’t know. I definitely felt a bit spooked being there and found myself already hopping in the car before Tom said “Let’s go!”
So now here I am in Airlie Beach and finally we have an internet connection so I can upload what I’ve written, we just arrived here a little over an hour ago. Tomorrow our plan is to explore Airlie Beach and make plans for our Whitsunday Tour – who knows what’s next!

I hope you’re all well – thank you for all your comments on the blog and to “Yvonne – Australia Misses You and so do we!!!”

Sending lots and lots of love to everyone.

Megan & Tom


  1. Hi Meggie - I miss you all and everything that you and Tom are experiencing on the road. Brings back so many memories.....lots of love and hugs to you both..

  2. Great photos guys from the Billabong sanctuary and you both look great. That beard suits you well Tom...lots of love...