So, this is winter in Oz. Well, to be more precise, this is winter along the QLD coastal stretch from Hervey Bay to Elliott Heads and beyond. A bit perfect really in an imperfect country that’s wracked by joyless covid lockdowns and a slow vaccine roll-out.
Still, we’ve been able to travel freely, and on this 3 week camper trailer trip, we booked camp sites on the run, soaked up blue skies and day temps that nudged 23, walked, cycled and hiked to our heart’s content. Nothing, absolutely nothing though is taken for granted, because as we’ve seen, things fall apart ever so quickly.
We made Hervey Bay our first stop. This town has certainly come into its own and makes an excellent camping destination. The Pialba Tourist Park set on the beach is in easy walking distance along the very pretty esplanade to cafes, restaurants and parks (loads of parks – children are well catered for).
From Hervey Bay, we drove to Elliott Heads, stopping briefly at the town of Howard. Here, there’s a popular pub, an equally popular bakery that churns out delicious pies, a drapery store that delights sewers and quilters and a little bit of history thrown in for good measure. Andrew Fisher, Australia’s PM through World War 1 lived and worked as a coal miner here in Howard.
Elliott Heads, 15 mins from Bundaberg is a town that has just one convenience store and one bowls club, so the focus is very much on walking, cycling, swimming, relaxing.
Changes are afoot though in this 1000 strong town. The winds of development are howling with the proposal of 3200 home sites and locals are understandably white, hot furious knowing their idyllic lifestyle will be ruptured. Read about it here https://www.realestate.com.au/news/2-billion-development-for-the-bundaberg-region-has-beach-appeal/
From Elliott Heads, we drove to Woodgate, a town to which we will most definitely return. Its laid back, easy going charm hooked us from the start.
A 30 minute drive from Woodgate is Childers, a town full to the brim with heritage listed buildings.
We mixed up our camping experiences by using FB’s countrypubcamping which led us to Tiaro and Theebine. We couldn’t have been more pleased with our pub choices.
Still wanting to mix up the camping, we headed to Mothar Mt near Gympie for some bush camping. Cobb and Co Nine Mile Camping is set on 50 acres and with lockdowns in place, there were few campers and plenty of space.
In signs of a changing covid world, at dusk on our first night at Mothar Mt, police paid a visit to our campsite to check we hadn’t breached lockdown conditions. After a quick look at our QR check ins, a long chat and wistful looks at our set up, they headed off.
On another note, Victorian number plates dominate camping grounds and naturally there’s considerable talk of the ‘best’ way to return home through locked down NSW. The Newell Highway appears to be the designated corridor, but with just 24 hrs to travel through the state and only fuel stops allowed, it’s destined to be a hard gig for travellers, some of whom are elderly, towing large caravans and have dogs on board.
We’ve been lucky; the last few weeks have given way to travel that too easily bends to whims, last minute decisions and a wonderful sense of freedom. Appetites are whetted, further destinations dangle like carrots; tantalisingly tempting.
For now though, we’re headed home to get double shotted with astrazeneca. Stay safe everyone.