So I’m doing the “Big Lap” of Australia – following the longest highway in the world, over 14,000kms, which pretty much hugs the coast (although due to timing, and seasons, I’m actually doing a big ‘figure of 8’ lol).
Here’s where I was and what I did – which is mainly for my daughters and friends to see !
- Monday 23rd May – Friday 3rd June: Manly Hotel and Wynnum, Queensland. Basically opening a bank account, getting a mobile phone setup, buying a motorhome, buying household stuff, etc.
- Friday 3rd June – Tuesday 7th June: Brisbane Holiday Village, Eight Mile Plains, QLD … first time living in a motorhome !
- Wednesday 8th June: Laidley, free camping.
- Thursday 9th June-10th: Toowoomba (second largest inland city in Australia after Canberra) most cities are by the coast of course.
- Back to Brisbane – round the airport area (for some small vehicle repairs).
- 10th-14th June – Staying at the BIG4 Sandstone Point holiday park at Bribie Island – amazing camp for families / kids – I soooo want to bring my daughters here for a holiday!
- 14th June – free camping, Beerwah Forest Reserve (a couple of kms inland from Caloundra). Surrounded by hippies, new age travellers, drop-outs, and their friends. I got high just by leaving the windows open.
- 15th-16th Rainforest Holiday Village, Woombye (Sunshine Coast). A bit run down, but surprising cool collection of parrots.
- 17th-19th June: Standdown Park
- 20th June: Tin Can Bay – feeding dolphins by hand … how could I resist ?! This is a young dolphin called Luna 🙂
- 21st-22nd June: Cane Holiday Park, Bunderberg – where the sugar and rum comes from 🙂
- 27th-28th June: Rockhampton Riverside Tourist Park Rockhampton Botanic Gardens (wiped out for couple of days with heavy head cold) and Rockhampton Zoo (in the pouring rain) which is FREE! Unbelievable. Amazing 🙂
- 29th June: Rockhampton Kershaw Gardens (still sick, lol)
- 30th June-1st July: Capricorn Caves – great place – recommended!
- Saturday 2nd July: Yaamba Rest Area
- Sunday 3rd July: Ilbilbie Caltex – trucks, trains and noise all night.
- Monday 4th-Wednesday 6th July: The Park Mackay.
- Thursday 7th July: The Leap Hotel.
- Friday 8th July-Saturday 9th July: The Park Mackay. Work and washing stop. Who could drive past a sign for “Platypus Beach” ? Not me for sure.
- Sunday 10th July: Eungella National Park – Broken River. Great place to watch a few Platypus. I honestly spent hours and hours watching them. So amazing seeing them like this in the wild rather than in a zoo.
- Monday 11th July: Gargett Rodeo Grounds.
- Tuesday 12th July: Finch Hatton Gorge (stayed the night at The Leap again).
- Wed 13th-Saturday 16th July: Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park, Cape Hillsborough National Park. Couldn’t resist spending a crazy amount of time with Kangeroos and Wallabies on the beach (up at 5.30am to have breakfast with them!), and hanging around the campground sunning themselves.
- Sunday 17th July: Bloomsbury BP truck stop.
- Monday 18th July: Proserpine – a wonderful name (one of my favourite paintings Proserpine by Dante Gabriel Rossetti), but they call it ProVegas … nothing could be further from the truth! If you have lost your grandparents you will likely find them wandering around this town 😉
- Tuesday 18th-Friday 22nd July: Bowen.
- Saturday 23rd July: Freedom camping in Giru.
- Sunday 24th-30th July: Tasman Holiday Parks, Rowes Bay, Townsville. Some great art along the beach here.
- Monday 1st August: Magnetic Island. Wow. Maggie Island to the locals. Highlight for me was undoubtably the Rock Wallabies. First place I’ve been and thought “I could live here.” Stayed Townsville BP overnight.
- Tuesday 2nd August: Rollingstone rest area.
- Wednesday 3rd August: Tyto Wetlands.
- Thursday 4th August: Ingham. Met a great local artist and had a long chat about art. David Rowe has been an artist all his life and had his first exhibition when he was just 11 years old. Checkout some of his work here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.150887685041849&type=3. or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/david.theartist/?hl=en
Bilyana rest area.
- Friday 5th-11th August: Innisfail. Wettest town in Australia apparently. I stayed 6 days, and it rained at some point on 5 of them. Babinda Boulders…
- Paronella Park. A fascinating and beautiful place – sooooo highly recommended.
- 12th-14th August: Free camping in various locations, including Etty Bay on the Cassorwary Coast … with Cassowaries everywhere.
- 15th-20th August: Cairns Holiday Park.
- 21st-28th August: Atherton. I happened to be there for a memorial and dedication of the end of WWII in the Pacific.
- 25th August: Tolga Bat Hospital. Totally amazing day. Bat-tastic ! I’m half considering volunteering for the baby bat season … 200-500 babies to bottle feed for four months !
- 1st September: Free camping at Broken Creek.
- 2nd-7th September: Tamarind Gardens Tourist Park in Almaden and Chilligoe Caves.
- 8th-12th August: Atherton. Couple of days work, and wiped out with a cold.
- 13th-14th September: Greenpatch Campgrounds, Gordonvale. Great free campsite with toilets and showers – thanks Cairns council!
- 15th-19th September: Tasman Holiday Parks – Cairns Cool Waters.
- 19th-20th September: Free camping at Rifle Creek, Mount Malloy.
- 21st September: Tropic Breeze Caravan Park, Port Douglas. Wildlife Park including Breakfast with Birds … such a 5 star place.
- 28th September: Free camping at Rifle Creek, Mount Malloy.
- 29th September: Lakeland – not much here – but a totally surprisingly good collection of sculptures – really very impressive.
- 30th September-7th October: Cooktown (and Laura – northern-most point with sealed roads).
I hiked up to Quinkan Split Rock cave paintings one day. Ridiculously hot, but only me there, so was quite an experience – viewing paintings – some of which are more than 14,000 years old! Makes you think eh?
- 8th October:
- 9th-11th October: Daintry Village, Dainty Rainforest. I don’t like to shower alone (lol) so fortunately the Gecko’s and Tree Frogs were happy to jump (hop?) in 🙂 Don’t know what bit me, but it had a damn good feed!
- Saw lots of stick-odiles, and a few log-odiles, but also plenty of crocodiles including the 5 metre male cruising his territory. No teeth, but at that size he hardly needs them!
- 12th October: Cairns > Greenpatch free camping, Gordonvale.
- 13th-16th October: Atherton, pretty much a work stop.
Two weeks stuck in Townsville waiting for a motorhome side-window to arrive from Melbourne after a stone shattered it. I did visit Queen’s Park, which is only small, but has some amazing trees and plants, including a nice cacti collection, and a very nice little aviary with some lovely parrots.
- 9th November: Ingham, catching up with a friend
- 10th November: Tully free camping. The wettest town in Queensland gets a gum boot, and Tully has been the wettest town a few years. The thing I didn’t know about roadside fires is the massive number of insects that then take to the air – my wind screen got hammered and I had to close the windows !
- 11th-12th: Gordonvale free camping
- 13th November: Archer Creek free camping
- 14th November: 8 Mile Creek free camping
- 15th November: Fletchers Creek free camping
- 16th-20th November: Charters Towers City
- 24th-26th November: Richmond – including digging for dinosaur fossils!
- These are the fossils I found…
- 27th-29th November: Hughenden, including overnight stop in Porcupine Gorge national park:
- 30th November-1st December: Richmond (again) … because I couldn’t get direct router from Hughenden to Winton due to flooding on unsealed roads 🙁
- 1st December: Hughenden
- 2nd December: Julia Creek Caravan Park
- 3rd December: Matilda Country Tourist Park
- 5th-12th December: Winton … the dinosaur capital of Australia ! (4th/5th Dec Musical Fence)
- 6th December: Australian Age of Dinosaurs
- 7th December: Walk of dinosaurs – the only fossilise dinosaur stampede – it’s truly amazing! You can see three different types of dinosaur, and see how they ran, and where chased, and even turned, by the way the mud is moved. And it’s even better because this is WHERE it happened, so much better than moving this to a museum. Quite humbling to see it with my own eyes.
- 8th December: Australian Age of Dinosaurs – working in the dinosaur fossil lab !
- 9th/10th December: The Musical Fence !
- 11th December: free camping Lansborough Highway, including Walkabout Creek Hotel (McKinley) – the Crocodile Dundee pub! It was not open the day I passed through. And to be honest it’s the most lifeless little town you could imagine.
- 12th-19th December: Cloncurry > Mount Isa
- 13th December: Mount Isa (Sunset Tourist Park) – inc 14th for motorhome 10,000k service. Mt Isa is famous for the mines … so went for a trip down the mines !
- 18th December: Wycliffe Well holiday park- definitely one of the weirdest places I have visited – like an old haunted theme park – interesting history – but today it’s just a really sad place 🙁
- 19th December: Barclay Homestead – great place !
- 21st December: Devils Marbles and Tennant Creek
- 22nd December: Aileron roadhouse
- 23rd December: Arrived in Alice Springs !