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May 14th 2012
Published: June 10th 2012
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14th May ’12 Leaving Sydney and the start of the Motorhead Motor Home Adventure!

Howard and Matty set off to fetch the Motor Home while the rest of us packed up and got the gear down to the road to wait for them. We weren’t sure how long it would take them but knew when they pulled up we would just have to jump in and not hang around.

Once they arrived we had a mad scramble to put the bags in and then we shot straight off. Well this was our first introduction to the motor home and it was bigger than I had expected but with 4 of us plus bags everywhere it wasn’t long before we realised that we had to get the gear stowed away. As we flew round corners the stuff flew everywhere and ‘assume the position’ or ‘brace brace’ became the catch words of the whole trip. It was like the scene from Mary Poppins where the maids have legs and arms holding everything in place before the canon gets shot!! I have to say by the end of the journey all us passengers could get a place on the England cricket team!
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Our stop for the night

So we left Sydney via the Harbour Bridge and headed up the road north to see how far we could get before dark. The novelty of catching flying objects, laughing manically and playing cards – which always involved singing The Ace of Spades whenever it appeared passed the time pretty well.

That night we stayed in a free camp area in a layby next to the river, called Riverside Park in Kempsey. We found a Woolworth’s supermarket and got our supplies in and had cooked chickens for tea. Deb threw a classic wobbler at the price of her jar of coffee - $10, which she had thought was on special offer for less, we all didn’t know whether to quake in fear or laugh – so we laughed!!

Putting up the beds for the night was like a scene from the Krypton Factor, the tables and seats had to be dismantled and various bits fitted into different sections, we only found the missing piece for Rob and Matty’s bed the next morning, which gave them a very uncomfortable first night!

On the plus side we got our first view of the fantastic night sky, absolutely filled with stars and the Milky Way was really clear.

15th May

We were off at 7 am as Howard woke up and just started driving, we quickly learnt that we all had to be up and the main seating area bed stowed away before we set off in future, as we went flying round corners the beds and those in them went everywhere!

We were all knackered, smelly and ratty and more than relieved when we eventually stopped a couple of hours later at a mcdonalds. After a bit of food and clearing away of beds things seemed a bit better and Stacy and I visisted the information centre and I managed to get a gorgeous koala bear for Emily.

Back on the road we passed by the high rises of Brisbane and entered Queensland. We stopped at the gorgeous Byron Bay for lunch and Stacy and I jumped out to find a loo while the others had to drive on to find a parking bay large enough for the motor home. We sat on rocks looking out to sea watching all the surfers. We managed to loose Stacy – I thought she had gone off looking at souvenir shops but we eventually found her waiting for us at the camper van. The trees in the area were full of parrots which was a great novelty to us.

We carried on to Bribie Island where we eventually found a campsite, which was strangely reminiscent of the Summer Bay caravan park from Home and Away! Being on a campsite meant we could all have a shower and we had power so we could put all the lights on, use the microwave and watch tv – luxury! Here it was we saw the first episode of the eagerly awaited new tv series – Bikie Wars, it was so bad it was great!! We are now all hooked and want to get the dvd set when it comes outand are eagerly awaiting the second episode next week. And yes they call Bikers, Bikies out here – just seems so wrong some how lol.

We went out for a walk along the sea front about 9pm and found everything was shut! As we had all had a bad nights sleep last night we were ready for bed quite early and as previously agreed rotated beds.

16th May
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Meeting the locals

Today we dropped the others off at Australia Zoo first thing and Howard and I went off to visit the Glass House Mountains. Taking a motor home up winding mountain roads is no mean feat we soon discovered. Not only is it difficult getting up small roads but we were constantly on the look out for low hanging trees branches and when we missed our turning ended up stalling and it took about 5 minutes before the engine would start again. Still we got some great views but decided taking the MH off the main roads wasn’t a good idea in future!

We ended up at a small seaside town called Caloundra which was a nice little place and we ate our sarnies watching the kite surfers. We looked around the town and found that even the second hand book shops were really expensive – so our plans to get a cheap copy of LP Fiji went out the window. We walked along the lovely coastal walkway and then headed back to find a McDonalds – for free wifi, this involved doing a U turn in a B&Q type shop parking area and going up and over a curb on 2 wheels!

We did however make it back to pick the others up on time and they all sounded as if they had had a fabulous time at the zoo which made me wish we had done it. Then it was back up the road again until dark and another free camp stop in a rest area in Childers. This time though we found a pub and it did $10 roast dinners so we got a good meal that night.

17th May

By now we have all had a turn in each of the beds and everyone agreed the back bed was the best – by now we have also decided to leave it as a bed during the day so people can kip if they want to – except Matty who has adopted the bunk over the cabin as his hidey hole. The others decided that me and Howard should have the back bed as he is doing all the driving and can’t sleep during the day, which I have to say I was happy to agree to! They were going to take turns with the other 2 beds.

None of us seem
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Watch Out!!
to be getting much proper sleep but we do seem to have got into a better routine with the van and packing up etc.

We had our breakfast/lunch break in Miriam Vale and this is where Stacy decided to leave the motor home adventure and catch a coach straight up to Cairns. The whole experience is not what she had thought it would be, campervan life wasn’t for her and she wanted to maximise the time she had left so she could explore places properly, take photos, shop, eat good food and get a proper night’s sleep and I can’t say I blame her – I felt exactly the same!

In the back of the MH you can’t see much out of the windows due to the insect mesh and it felt as if all we were doing was driving endlessly, hang on a minute – we were.

So we helped her get booked onto a greyhound and said our goodbyes with the thought that we would all probably meet up in Cairns later for a meal.

We carried on up to Marlborough where we stayed at a caravan park. This really felt like the wilds,
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Kookaburah sits in the old gum tree.....
just scrubby scenery, thin trees and nothing else there. It was a dusty old site, full of insects and a giant moth fortunately in the mens but it did have a pool and once we removed the frog, Deb, Matty and I got in, the water was freezing!!!! But lots of mucking around with all the kids playthings soon got us warmed up and Rob and Howard wet ha ha.

We made a decision to cut out Cairns – we were only originally going there for Stacy to do her dive and as this would save us 700 kms driving and petrol and enable us to stay for 2 nights at another town on the Sunshine Coast/Great Barrier Reef instead. It also made it much easier for us on our Outback leg of the trip. So our next destination was Airlie Beach.

18th May

We had our usual breakfast/lunch stop at a Mc Donald’s in Mackay so we could all try and get on the internet and then carried on to the Seabreeze campsite we had earmarked for out stay in Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands – so named by Captain Cook as that was when
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Feeding the Ibis
he arrived.

The campsite was nice enough, had a pool and a small shopping centre nearby. Our MH was next to a tatty old permanent caravan and soon Nugget (who was named Buster by Rob and Matty until his true name was discovered) the friendly dog next door discovered us and 2 willing playmates. The poor lad spent his life tied to the caravan by a rope and at no time did we see him get taken for a walk, the whole campsite knew him though and made a fuss of him. Rob and Matty loved him and played with him all the time we were there, bought him balls, dog chews and kept giving him bowls of water.

We had read it was a 30 minute scenic costal walk into the town so we decided to do this and then stay there for the evening. The boardwalk was really pretty, hugging the coastline and passing smart apartments overlooking the bay and the marina. The boards posting jelly fish warnings were a bit off putting, they even had bottles of vinegar in holders by them to treat any stings! Obviously this is not the place to swim! There
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Where's the sea???
was a netted off section of the beach in the other direction where you could swim safely though.

It took us an hour to reach the town! Well we did keep stopping and several tinnies were consumed on the way. There was a huge lovely man made lagoon set in lawned areas by the town – clearly due to the jelly fish problem and the town itself was small, laid back and with plenty of bars and restaurants. We found a second hand bookshop and managed to pick up a very old tatty copy of the Australia Lonely Planet for $2 which was a bargin!

We checked out a couple of pubs and ended up in one with a large open air courtyard, a live band and lots of young friendly Aussies out for a party. As usual not knowing the score we started off with pricey drinks but soon discovered the jugs of ‘beer’ for $8 and once again things got messy ha ha. From our trips to the loo Deb and I found out that Airlie Beach was infact one of the main destinations for a party weekend. Deb had her tattoos examined and complimented by lots of young lads who she then got to take group photos of us and I got dragged on the dance floor by one very drunk young man lol.

We decided to try one of the other pubs Deb had read about but when the bouncer refused to let Matty in, saying he had drunk to much when in fact he had only had 2 schooners (they don’t do pints over here) and was the soberest of the bunch we boycotted it and went to another. Here Rob nearly got thrown out as his energetic dancing caused his shorts to fall down! Howard and Matty called it a night and walked back while the intrepid 3 carried on.

We went back to the original bar but the band had finished and a load of disco rubbish music came on so we called it a night, got a kebab and caught a taxi back, we were actually back by 11 pm – even though it felt like 2 am!

19th May Airlie Beach

Eventually we all got up and looking through the camera managed to piece together the night before!! We walked to the local shops to get some food to deal with the hangovers and then just sat round the MH thinking if this was at home we would have all been back in bed!!

Still not to completely waste our first day off we grabbed our swimming gear and headed to the netted off section of beach – but the tide was out!! We found a dead fish which Howard put in a mangrove tree and then it started raining so we had to take refuge in the local skate park.

Back at the campsite only us hardy women dared to go for a swim and it was nowhere near as cold as the previous pool had been. Then we went down to the local pub where they were holding a bucking bronco competition. Suffice it to say none of us entered, no one had alcohol and I had my first decent meal for a while!

That night we watched Hanna on dvd – really good film and had an early night.


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