Travelling Oz…Last few days, phew!

Photos and a video from the Skypoint Viewing platform

As the weather was bad, not just rain, but windy and wild on the coast, we took an extra day at New Italy. It was a good rest up except that there were limited placed to walk and it was so wet that we didn’t get much chance to get out. We had soup at the cafe at lunchtime and enjoyed having space to spread out our map for planning.

Surf at Gold Coast, there were still major waves from the gale and no swimming was allowed.

We hoped that by leaving on Friday we could escape the bad weather, but in fact we encountered heavy rain whilst travelling on the M1, fortunately it wasn’t as mad as it is closer to Gold Coast and Brisbane. Stephen wanted to drop in on Byron Bay, it was of course the worst possible time as although we had heard Splendour in the Grass mentioned on the news we hadn’t connect it with this weekend and the town we wanted to visit.

It was very busy indeed, but we managed to secure hot drinks in the town and visited the lighthouse before moving on. We explored a nearby campsite, thinking the campers would be confined to Byron Bay, but found it was very busy (and wet and muddy), so took a drive up the coast and finally took a caravan park site in a resort – at Hastings Point. We had to choose a place and why not this one. $71.40 per night, the most expensive we have ever paid, but our site was just right for our van, with some concrete and artificial lawn. It was also pretty sheltered as the gale roared on overnight.

Yesterday was the first better day weatherwise, but still very high traffic. We went to look at a 4WD Sherwood motorhome at a dealership on the way up the coast. We were second on the list and missed out as the first people took a contract. It was a rare find, and this dealer actually had two of them, one person flew in from Perth to buy one., that’s how desireable this type of van is. It’s on a Toyota Hilux, and even the cab was lovely. Not that we really need 4WD, but it would be good to have a more capable vehicle for exploring places off bitumen. We would have had to have had our electrical system swapped out, but they had someone on staff who could do it.

Having given up on that, Stephen wanted to go to Gold Coast to find out why it is a favoured holiday destination. Again, hopelessly busy and the M1 became even more of a monster as we got closer. Strangely, it was easy to find parking near to the beach and the Skypoint viewing platform. We wandered along and found a busy, crowded area of food outlets. Fortunately there was a Sushi bar that had very few customers and there was lots of seating in the mall. We kept our masks on except when eating even though we were outside. We can’t understand why it is such a favoured holiday spot. Of course, the beaches were closed because of the very high swell, but we could still look at them. It’s just the amount of high rise and crowds that makes it unappealing.

Stephen went up the Skypoint and I had a bit of a rest. Then we drove about 45kms north to a free camping spot at Beenleigh. We are just south of Brisbane at this stage. Stephen wants to visit the museum and art gallery and get a feel for the city. That’s a bit tricky as there is only one caravan park that is fairly close and is on a bus service. It will depend on whether we can get a spot. Our present camping spot is within about a kilometre of a train station, so this could be used as a base. Or, we could drive in and hope to find parking as we did at Gold Coast.

Our plan is to drive far enough north in Queensland to hit the overland route to the Northern Territory through Mt Isa, then decide whether to go up and round, or down and across the Nullabour again. We don’t like the heat of going north, but on the other hand the wildflowers would be starting as we come down the coast in WA, so that could make it worth it. Plus, it’s new to us, whereas going south is familiar enough, though we would still enjoy it.

Today we will hit up a laundromat to do some washing. We discussed how long it has been since we last did some washing and were convinced it was about 10 days ago. Then I looked up our bank account as I paid on card, and it was only five days ago. Still, we seem to have enough dirty laundry on hand to justify going to the laundromat, plus we are both getting low on undies.

There should be fine weather for the next few days and it is much warmer, about 10 overnight and 22 during the day.