Week 74 | Apple Tree Creek to Agnes Water

Day 512: Apple Tree Creek to Bundaberg

Queenslanders can now travel freely within the State and caravans, motor-homes and campers are out in force on the roads again. Freedom to travel, how good it feels!

We are waking up at the free camp at Apple Tree Creek and we are putting our shorts on. That’s another awesome feeling. With temperatures in the 20’s during the day and expected 16’s overnight for the next week we are very excited. It’s so good to feel warm again.

At 10.00am when we depart it’s 22 degrees and we have a short drive of 50km to take us into Bundaberg. Bundaberg East Cabin & Tourist Park is our home for the next 4 nights. Most of the sites have en-suites which is a big bonus. The park is quite old, however the facilities are all clean. The Bundaberg Rum Distillery is a short walk away.

Tonight we are catching up with family friends Ross and Lynn who live in Innes Park. It’s been about 20 years since we have all seen each other. Mum caught us just before we left to let us know that it is Lynn’s birthday today. We had drinks and nibbles on the back deck of their beautiful home which has been very tastefully decorated by Lynn. A roast pork dinner was followed with apple pie and custard. There was non stop chatter and it was so lovely to enjoy a wonderful evening with them. Thank you Lynn and Ross we will forever be friends.

Day 513: Bundaberg

The sun is shining and it’s looking like a beautiful day. I’ve got a board meeting this morning and then we are heading off to the Bundaberg Rum Distillery. To our disappointment the tours and tastings have not recommenced due to COVID-19. The Distillery Store is open and social distancing is being practised with only 10 people allowed inside at any one time. I can’t go past some salted caramel rum fudge. We don’t drink rum, so I’m picking up a special request for my sister Julie.

Next stop is Kelly’s Beach at Bargara. We have been longing to feel the sand between our toes and smell the salty ocean on the breeze. The wind has picked up and we’ve had to put a jumper on! There are plenty of picnic tables and BBQ’s and some creative mosaics on the amenities block and along the pathway. We have a lovely long walk along the beach before returning home. Bargara has grown so much and reminds us of a mini Port Douglas. We can just imagine how busy the area would have been if the southern tourists were here this year. The beach just doesn’t weigh up to our beautiful beach back home at Mission Beach. It reminds us how lucky we are to live in paradise.

Sugar cane farms across the Bundaberg region are now being converted to sweet potato fields. We stopped in at one of the farms this afternoon after seeing the sign “Sweet Potato’s $2” and just look at the size of the bag! Needless to say I’m googling sweet potato recipes to use them up.  The stuffed potatoes tasted pretty good.

Wildlife: swans, pelican, ibis.

Day 514: Bundaberg

Cloudy skies greet us this morning when we wake. There has been a light drizzle overnight and 2-4ml expected today. We are amused by the small amount of rain that is predicted for the day.

Andrew worked in Bundaberg back in the late 70’s. We are catching up with the parents of a friend, from those banking days. Mr and Mrs Ashurst lived just around the corner from where Mum was living before she moved into the retirement village. The last time we were all together was at our wedding in 2003. We had a lovely morning tea catching up on the past 17 years.

This afternoon we are relaxing and checking out Wikicamps to see where we will move onto on Friday.

Day 515: Bundaberg

Today is all about work. I’m prepping for the board meeting next week and Andrew is in charge of the washing.

A trip to the library for some printing only to be told they are not doing printing at the moment. Next stop is Officeworks to see if they are offering printing services during COVID.  Winner, all done and then off to do the grocery shop.  We’ve decided that we’ll head for Miriamvale tomorrow.

Day 516:  Bundaberg to Agnes Water

On our way out today we are heading back to see the Ashursts again as Scott and Lisa have arrived for a few days to see their parents.  We haven’t seen them since 2003 also.  Plenty of chatter again about our journey before heading off at 11.00am.  It’s 24 degrees and it’s so great to be back in the warm weather.

Work is calling….a very late morning tea stop in Rosedale.  There’s a really cute little park not far from the highway. Out comes the laptop and the coffee.  One of the great advantages of working on the road is being able to stop at any point in time.  I’m very thankful for a patient husband who has to sit around or walk Cinta while I catch up on work!

Back on the road again and I’m looking at Wikicamps and suggest to Andrew that we go into Agnes Water and 1770 instead of going to Miriamvale.  It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind right? Of course it is…  I used to be Mrs Organised and had to book everything in advance and know exactly where I was staying each night.  That was until we hit the road.  Andrew and I had a lot of discussions before we came on this journey about me being so anal with organisation.  No plans, no routine is how we ride now.  We usually decide the day before we depart where we will travel to.  Sometimes we don’t make it there and sometimes we do.  That’s the fun and the freedom of the journey.  Jenny – familiar conversation?  Have you been able to take a leaf out of my book yet?  Just let go and do it!

There are a few caravan parks at Agnes Water & 1770.  It’s getting close to school holidays so the prices are starting to jack up and dogs are not welcome at some parks.  We decide to stay at The Reef Caravan Park which is about 5 minutes from the hustle and bustle of town.  It’s located just off the highway in a bush setting.  The park is owned and operated by Bill and Leigh.  We’ve booked in for 2 nights.  On arrival I’m told about the happy hour and fish n chip night at the fire pit.  What a fabulous idea.

We’re set up in no time.  Caravans are socially distanced throughout the park.  There is plenty of space for everyone and we have a lovely grassed site. The amenities have been freshly painted and I love the artwork of Mermaids and Mermen.

It’s 6.00pm and it’s time to head over to the fire pit with a bottle of wine and meet the other caravaners.  It’s actually quite cool tonight in the breeze so I’m all rugged up and it’s lovely to sit around a warm fire.  Most of the other couples are from Brisbane, we are the only ones from the north.  Crumbed red snapper and chips are delivered to the camp kitchen.  It’s the biggest piece of fish I have seen in a long time.  Dinner was so good.  The chips were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  Delicious.  And then there’s dessert.  Leigh has baked a lemon and lime pudding with vanilla icecream.  Wow, we are so full we almost have to roll all the way back to the van.

Wildlife: dead possum, cattle, dead kangaroos.

Day 517: Agnes Water

A sleep in is always good on the weekend.  It’s 7.30am by the time I crawl out of bed and join Andrew outside for a cuppa.  It’s overcast and drizzly this morning.  We have a really lazy start to our day.  Before we know it, it’s time for morning tea.  We’re taking a drive into Agnes Water and 1770.  There are plenty of high rise apartment buildings and people are packed into the cafes.  We check out the caravan parks and to our disappointment the vans are squeezed in like sardines.  There is no social distancing happening here.  It’s such a shame to see such blatant disregard for the restrictions when the park we are staying at are abiding strictly to the rules.  I guess it’s the difference between a small family run park compared to the big greedy conglomerates.

We are both so pleased that we decided to stay out here and not put ourselves at any further risk. Back at the park and Bill visits us to let us know that afternoon tea is on in the camp kitchen at 2.30pm.  We decide to wander over and Leigh turns up with 2 beautiful sponge cakes topped with fresh whipped cream, strawberries, banana and passionfruit.  Wow.  Leigh is a terrific cook and it’s really great to spend time chatting with her.  Her brother lived at Mission Beach for many years and she knows a lot of the people that we know.

We’ve decided that we’ll stay another day…

Day 518:  Agnes Water

Heavy rain fell overnight.  The bathroom mat is damp.  We have both checked everything and can find no leak anywhere in the van.  It doesn’t smell, so we know that Cinta has not had an accident.  The only thing we can put it down to is that the rain has blown in through the air vents behind the fridge.  A quick google confirms that this has happened to many others as well.  There are a few suggestions for fixing it, so we’ll monitor the situation and if we are in torrential rain again we’ll definitely do something about it.

Blue skies are trying to poke through the grey clouds so we decide to take a drive back into 1770.  It’s quite grey and overcast when we arrive so it’s not the best situation for taking photos.  There are a few reflections of the sailboats as we walk along the foreshore.  There’s not many tourists walking around as the Rotary Markets are on.  We drove past but there was no parking nearby and it was quite packed so there wasn’t much social distancing happening there.

We head up to Bustard Bay Lookout.  A short walk through windswept tussock grasslands, vine thicket and coastal woodland takes you to the lookout at the tip of the headland.  The view is spectacular.  Andrew waited in the car with Cinta as the lookout is in the National Park.  There is a driftwood memorial dedicated to the surfers who have lost their lives surfing in the area.  So many, taken so young.

Our next stop is Chinamans Beach a short drive from Agnes Water. The Deepwater National Park is known as the second largest nesting site for loggerhead turtles.  Dogs are permitted on a leash outside of the turtle nesting season (November to April).  Cinta loves her walk on the beach.  The waves are crashing through the jagged rocks on the beach.  Surfers frequent here catching the waves on the unpatrolled beach.  We didn’t see any today.

Back at the park is Riley’s walk through the bushland.  Riley was the owners dog.  The walk takes you to Gnomieland.  Guests are invited to leave a gnome at Riley’s resting place.  There’s some very amusing gnomes!

The park is full of beautiful hibiscus bushes in many different colours and varieties.  We’ve really enjoyed our 3 days here.  The park is very relaxing away from the hustle and bustle of the township.  There’s no bells and whistles just good old fashioned friendly service, interesting conversations and home baked food.  We can’t thank Bill and Leigh enough for the amazing job that they do at their park.  Where to Next?  You’ll have to tune in next week to find out.

Wildlife: kangaroos, pelicans, possums, goannas, parrots, cockatoos.

Week 74 total expenses: $567.14 under budget.

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That’s a wrap for life back on the road.

PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment!

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