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Travel Australia with Kids

Tuesday 7th June 2011

Parmiss Keyhani - Thursday, June 09, 2011

We continued our stay on the Sunshine Coast for another few days. We spent the better part of a day (and a not-so-small amount of cash) wandering and looking around at the more than 600 stalls (didn't actually count them myself, but that's what the brochures say and it sure felt like that many!) at Eumundi Markets.  There were the usual t-shirt, jewellery and bag stalls, but there was also a whole section for "health and spirituality" (from tarot card and aura readings to massages etc) and quite a few stalls with novel products.

We drove through Maroochydore (stopped there for a quick lunch and play in the playground) and made our way to a free camping spot along the banks of the Maroochy River at Bli Bli (quite a nice spot, although the ambience was somewhat marred in the evenings by the local hoons doing wheelies in the large dirt area), and of course the boys wasted no time setting up their fishing gear and were rewarded with their first catch of mud crabs (unfortunately all the caught ones were undersized females and had to be thrown back).

And then an interesting thing happened: Kia struck up a conversation (no that's not the interesting part, that's a regular occurrence) with a couple of very nice council workers on a lunch break at our camp area, who, upon learning that we were going to travel all the way up to Cooktown, insisted that we try and get there in time for the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival.  I Googled the event - it is held every 2 years and involves over 10 different aboriginal communities participating in a weekend full of dance. It sounded great and although it meant that we would have to shorten our travel time up the coast by about a week, we decided it would be worth attending.

We spent the next day in Gympie, getting the car serviced at Performax.  Can't say we were too impressed with this company: from bad-mouthing their rivals to being quite unhelpful with some repairs that they said we needed.  Let's just say our interaction with them confirmed to us that we had chosen the right company (American Vehicle Sales) through which to buy the Chevy.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous, sunny and warm but not too hot and we took the boys down to the huge playground area near the information centre, where they happily made a huge mess in the sand and water play area. 

Next was our unforgettable day in Noosa Heads.  After resolving the immediate problem of finding a parking spot for Optimus (no mean feat in the small chic seaside town, and it took a good 45 minutes), we had nothing but sunshine, warm weather and minimal crowds with which to enjoy ourselves. We ended up at Noosa Spit which is a huge recreation-cum-national park area on the headlands - on one side is a sandy inlet where weekend fisherman spend the day and on the other is the vast expanse of calm, unspoilt beach!  The boys' off-shore fishing didn't go off too well as the current was too strong and their lures kept getting snagged on the rocks.  Nevermind, the boogey boarding and splashing around in the gentle waves was more than enough to keep them happy.  I just couldn't believe that it was June and still warm enough to swim in the sea! Put Noosa Heads at the top of our "we may move here after the end of our trip" list!

One of our must-dos for this trip was Fraser Island - it's been one of Michael's dreams since forever.  But when we decided to get to Laura for the dance festival, we had to shelve that part of the trip (agonizing decision I can assure you!).  So we did the next best thing for Michael's 39th birthday and spent 2 nights at Inskip Point (just across the bay from Fraser Island - maybe that wasn't such a great idea, to be able to see it but just not quite get there???).  Through much fancy Optimus maneuvering, Michael ensconsed us in a beauty of a campspot at Sarawat Campgrounds, with our own little beach boat access to the bay. I even agreed to partake in a bit of boating with they boys - don't get me wrong, I have nothing against boats or being on the water (as long as we have a destination in mind), but the boys just happily trawl up and down the same area for a couple of hours with their fishing lines out!  Give me a break!  But it was Mike's birthday and all birthday wishes are granted.  And I was actually rewarded with witnessing Kiavash land a very nice sized trevally!

We visited Carlo Sandblow - what an amazing site!  It's like being in the middle of a mini-desert right on the coast.  The huge sand dunes shift a little more each day and are slowly swallowing up the scrubland (and the outskirts of the small township of Rainbow Beach).  Then we went beach driving on Rainbow Beach to see the "rainbow coloured sands" - they really should be more careful how they name and describe these phenomena; I was looking for at least the shape of a rainbow if not necessarily all the colours therein!  Very striking nonetheless.

The next morning we woke up at a ridiculously early hour (6am - who wakes up that early???), hitched up in the still silence of the sleeping campground and headed out to Tin Can Bay to feed the dolphins.  Two beautiful Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins waited patiently in the shallows for their daily feeding of fish by mesmerised tourists - the boys even had 2 turns each to feed them. Definitely one of the bigger highlights of the trip so far.  We drove through Maryborough (stopping to pick up our mail) and spent the rest of the day at one of the lovely beaches at Hervey Bay.

Eumundi Markets - Eumundi, QLD (01June11)Love all things Eumundi Markets - Eumundi, QLD (01June11)Got their priorities right! Set up for fishing on the Maroochy River - Bli Bli, QLD (01June11)
Fabulous campspot on Maroochy River - Bli Bli, QLD (01June11)First catch of mud crabs! - Bli Bli, QLD (02June11)Sand and water mess at playground - Gympie, QLD (03June11)Making new friends at the playground - Gympie, QLD (03June11)
Trying their hand at fishing at Noosa Spit - Noosa Heads, QLD (04June11)Noosa Spit - Noosa Heads, QLD (04June11)Lovely beach at Noosa - Noosa Heads, QLD (04June11)He caught a few big waves that day! - Noosa Heads, QLD (04June11)
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