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Travel Australia with Kids

Friday 17th June 2011

Parmiss Keyhani - Monday, June 20, 2011

Let me tell something to you.......Queensland is a MASSIVE state! You can easily spend 3 months leisurely ambling along the coast - but we had to do it in 2 weeks.  So in my mind, we haven't really done the Queensland coast justice - great excuse to have to return!

Although we managed great glimpses of some of the lovely towns, most of the next 10 days was spent driving and there were places we by-passed altogether (like Bundaberg, Gladstone, Townsville).  One place we had been dying to see was 1770 - you get such completely conflicting reviews on this place (it's either love or hate it seems):  well we absolutely loved it!  It was so peaceful and quiet (helps that it was the middle of the week out of peak season) with postcard views and calm waters (with no crocodiles!) for the boys to play in.  Our 4 hours there were certainly not enough, but gave us a good incentive to come back later.

In the everlasting quest for barra-fishing we spent a couple of nights at Boynedale Bush Camp at Awoonga Dam (near Calliope), but alas these waters are getting too cold now for the barra to really bite - the boys all managed a good catch of catfish though, so not all was lost.

I was expecting a balmy change in the weather as we crossed the Topic of Capricorn into Rockhampton, but it was a very cold and drizzly day.  We spent about an hour at the Gracemere stockyards (the largest in Australia) and boy did we stick out like a clump of weeds!  EVERYONE there was wearing boots and a cowboy hat and there I am toting my camera around like a total tourist!  It was fun to watch the auctions though and I managed to find one friendly face in the crowds to explain it to me.  We spent our 1 day in Rockhampton at the lovely Botanical Gardens which also has a very small, free zoo and Kia's day was made complete when we at last found the crocodile enclosure.  It only contained 3 small crocs, but hey it was a crocodile and that's all that mattered.

We had a shopping day at McKay (again a very cold wet day) and spent that night at Peter Faust Dam near Proserpine, where the fishing rods came out yet again with promise of barra fishing.  Amazingly enough, this time we could all see the enormous barramundi in the clear creek water, but they sat there absolutely still even when the lure was thrown very close by. The boys were beside themselves knowing the barra were right there, but not even sparing a glance at the lures!

By the time we arrived at gorgeous Airlie Beach, the long drives had taken their toll and we spent our 2 days there doing very little. They  had some great off-peak season deals for cruises around the Whitsundays but we weren't around long enough even to do that! We second-guessed our decision to rush up to Laura a few times, but it was too late to back track now, so we sighed and made grand plans for doing a sailing holiday around the Whitsundays at a later stage.

A lightning quick stop at Bowen and the Big Mango and off we were again, through the lovely sugar cane towns of Ayr and Home Hill. I had really been looking forward to seeing a sugar cane field burn and the Burdekin area is where you supposedly have the best chance, but no luck!  We even chased down a couple of smoking fields (pretty difficult to figure out where it's coming from when you're driving!) but couldn't get close enough. It's apparently not general practice now to burn the fields and they are cleared mechanically.

We spent a couple of nights at lovely Toomulla Beach (just north of Townsville), then through Tully to see my favourite "Big" so far - the Big Gumboot.  The height of the statue (at just over 8 metres) represents the highest amount of rainfall the town (officially the wettest one in Australia) had in just one year! The drive through the Atherton tablelands was magnificent - although I love the coast, the windy, green mountain roads always take my breath away.  We put in a huge drive that last day to finally arrive at Laura and the Dance Festival campgrounds - big sigh of relief from everyone to sit still for a few days!!

Bustard Bay views - 1770, QLD (08June11)Bustard Bay views - 1770, QLD (08June11)Lovely calm quiet beaches of 1770 - QLD (08June11)Lovely calm quiet beaches of 1770 - QLD (08June11)
It was freezing cold after the wonderful sunshine on the coast! - Awoonga Dam, Boynedale, QLD (10June11)Cattle auctions - Gracemere, QLD (10June11)Cattle auctions - Gracemere, QLD (10June11)Nothing tropical about it!  Tropic of Capricorn Spire - Rockhampton, QLD (10June11)
Tell me he doesn't belong on TV?? - Rockhampton, QLD (10June11)The lovely Botanical Gardens - Rockhampton, QLD (10June11)Cheeky birds everywhere looking to steal our food! - Botanical Gardens, Rockhampton, QLD (10June11)The Japanese Gardens water feature - Botanical Gardens, Rockhampton, QLD (10June11)
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