Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Wednesday 4th October 2006 to Friday 6th October 2006

Wednesday 4th October 2006

Another day day dawned without us as we managed to sleep in until around 8:a.m. this morning, maybe that was because we knew we had a bit of work to do as it was washing day again. However this washing day wasn't just the clothes that we have been wearing, it included the caravan and the Patrol as they were still pretty dirty from some of the roads and road works we have been through since last washing then when we were in Atherton.

After a cup of tea to wake us both up, 'One of Us' headed off to the laundry with the washing and set about occupying her morning making our clothes bright, clean and fresh. The 'Other One' then immediately (well after a little while and a prod or two) pulled out the bucket and washing brush and started cleaning the caravan. The caravan next to ours looked a lot smaller and easier to clean, but the owner of that one didn't consider it a fair trade if I washed his caravan and he had the pleasure of washing ours. Having cleared that option up, he returned to our caravan and started to remove some of the dust and grime that has accompanied us on the road for the last week or two. As there are water restrictions in Queensland, just like most other states, it is not possible to use a hose to wash vehicles, so all this is done using a bucket and sponge or brush. A number of buckets of water and wash-n-wax liquid later, the caravan did look better, however it would be a stretch of the imagination to say it was really clean on the outside. It was another story on the inside though as 'One of Us' had been doing a spring (it is October and that is in the spring season!) clean of the interior.

After washing about 65 feet of external caravan wall at least twice, the task of washing the Patrol didn't look too daunting any more, however as there was a car wash only a few doors up the street from the caravan park, that was where the 'Other One' headed with the Patrol, returning about half an hour later $6 worse off but at least he had a shiny looking Patrol that looked almost the same colour as it was when we left home.

With all that effort behind us it was time to put our feet up for about an hour before driving out of the caravan park and heading off out the road toward Bundaberg Port and the Marina. This was an interesting little drive that took us out about seventeen kilometres between many sugar plantations to the small community at the port and a very large sugar storage facility. We stopped at the marina for a short time before moving on and making our way south a short distance to Burnettt Heads where we drove around the little town and made a short stop at a beach there where there were a number of people swimming under the supervision of a Surf Life Saver. The beach was not very large and was surrounded by black volcanic type of rock that ran out into the water and was used as a breakwater as well.

We then continued on our way down the coast a few kilometres until we came to Bargara which has an esplanade that runs along the beachfront, however to say it is a 'beach front may be a bit of a stretch of the imagination as there is very little beach there, most of the water front is made up of the black volcanic rock running out into the water. Having said that, we were quite impressed with Bargara last time we were here (2004) and still think it is a nice little place, although there are a number of multi story buildings there now that were not there on our previous visit.

From Bargara we drove a little further south as far as Innes Park before returning to the Bundaberg CBD where we found the Woolworths Plus service station and refueled the Patrol in preparation for our journey south as far as Hervey Bay tomorrow. We then returned to the caravan park for the afternoon. A roast port dinner is being cooked in the Easy Cook by 'One of Us' tonight so the 'Other One' can be waited on hand and foot... Well he has just been told the waiting bit is right!!!!!

Bundaberg Port Marina
Bundaberg Port Marina

Bargara Beachfront
Bargara Beachfront

Thursday 5th October 2006

Time to move to Hervey Bay today but as it was only about 140 kilometres away, there was no rush in the morning and we took our time to get organised, however we were still hitched up and out on the road by about 8:30a.m.

We drove through Bundaberg City centre then out through Cordlaba to Apple Tree Creek where we joined the Bruce Highway once more, then made our way south to Childers. This if the town in which the Backpacker Hostel was burnt down with the loss of a number of lives, including the Slarke twin girls who went to school with our youngest daughter Jay when we were stationed in Albany, WA.

From Childers we continued South on the Bruce Highway until we turned east at Torbanlea and made our way in to Hervey Bay. We followed directions from Miss Bossy (Navman) until she guided us to a Big4 caravan park at Torquay. Unfortunately this caravan park did not have a powered site available for a 25 foot caravan, the biggest site they had available was for a 20foot van and ours would not have squeezed into that space. From here we drove down to the Esplanade and headed North along the beach, passing a couple of other caravan parks that had beachfront position and appeared to have powered sites vacant, however we continued up the Esplanade until we found another Big4 caravan park at Point Vernon which looked good and they had room for us so we booked in here for the next four nights, also at the end of the street is a lovely view of Fraser Island, which sold us.

The manager/owners of the park were very helpful and guided us in alongside the concrete pad with ease. We then set up for our stay before enjoying a lunch that consisted of left over roast pork and salads.

After lunch we pondered how we would go about a visit to Fraser Island and after some consideration we decided to take the Patrol over for the day. Our inquiries revealed that it would cost us about $120 to get there and back and an additional $30 to obtain a permit to take the vehicle over on to the island. This compares to a tour which costs about $130 each and although more information would be gained on a tour, there would also be some restrictions and anyway, the Patrol wanted to see some sand on the beach. (Well that is our story!)

Having made that decision, we then had to drive through Hervey Bay to Urangan where one of the vehicle ferrys depart from, then find a place to obtain our permit to take the Patrol to the island and book our spot on the ferry. We were fortunate enough to get the last berth on a ferry leaving from River Heads (about 20 minutes south of Hervey Bay) at 7:15a.m. tomorrow morning..... Who booked that...??? It's only a bit after midnight! We return from the island at 4:p.m. departing from Ungowa so it should give us a fair time to see a little of Fraser Island whilst we are there as the journey to and from the island on the ferry should take about 45 minutes each way.

Having organised our trip to Fraser Island we headed off back toward the caravan park, however 'One of Us' spied a Woolworths store so we had to call in there for a carton of milk..... We walked out half an hour later with the milk and having spent $71.... I guess we had some other items in the basket that we 'really must have!

We then topped the Patrol up with diesel and returned to the caravan park by about 4:10p.m. where after packing the goodies away, we settled down for Happy Hour just after 5:p.m.. An early night has been ordered in preparation for a very early start in the morning.

Welcome to the Hervey Bay Foreshore
Welcome to the Hervey Bay Foreshore

Anyone for a swim around here??
Anyone for a swim around here??

Friday 6th October 2006

Question: Who in their right mind would be up before the sun when they were on holiday???? Answer: Us...
Well maybe we are not in our right minds, but we were up early, 'One of Us' was out of bed by 5:10a.m. and the 'Other One' wasn't too much longer after that.

With all the days preparations completed, we set off out of the caravan park by about 6:20a:.m. and headed off to River Heads where we had to meet the ferry (or barge) at 7:15a.m. and we had to find find it first. We traveled South for about 20 kilometres until we came to River heads and the road lead straight to the ferry loading ramp with almost half an hour to spare, but we were still quite a few vehicles back in the line. It wasn't too long before the 'Kingfisher Bay Barge' was pulling in to the ramp and soon after we were all turning around and reversing up the barge ramp to take up our positions for the trip to Fraser Island.

The journey to the island took just over 45 minutes during which time we were able to wander around the barge and climb up to the upper decks and view proceedings from on high. On arrival at Kingfisher Bay we were able to drive forward off the barge and up into the resort at that location. We drove through the resort on a sealed road then started out on a road that said Lake McKenzie and Eastern Beach. We had only gone about twenty metres on this road before it turned into a true Four Wheel Drive track, with some areas being covered in timber planking to get vehicles over the sand humps. After about 500 metres on this track we passed through a dingo fence and there was an opportunity to pull of the road and stop to let the tyres down to make the drive more comfortable and assist in getting through the sand patches.

After letting the tyres down to 24 psi we were ready to move off again at the same time as a couple in a Pajero that had done the same. We followed The Pajero along this track for a about a kilometre until there was a traffic jam that turned out to be caused by a vehicle being bogged in the sand up ahead. After a short wait, the vehicles started to move a little then stopped again, this time we could see the cause, it was a driver stuck in the sand and had the idea that to get out of it you had to put your foot to the floor and spin wheels so they spray sand everywhere. Fortunately there were some rangers there who were able to get this vehicle going again then we were able to roll through without any problems at all.

We continued along this track for about an hour, having to pull over in small sandy spaces whenever a vehicle came the other way. The track was sandy and at times quite deep wheel tracks winding between some tall bush and quite high light rain forest country. At one stage 'One of Us' thought she saw a koala in the trees, but still not sure about it at this stage and there is no mention of koalas on the island.

After crossing the island we emerged from the trees to view a clear wide firm beach with surf crashing in from a wide blue/green ocean. After the last hour on the 4WD track, this was a magnificent sight, so we pulled up on the beach, stepped out of the Patrol and admired the view, taking a number of photographs at the same time. The couple in the Pajero had also stopped and we started a conversation with them, ( Ken and Val Elliot) and we created a tagalong tour between the two vehicles and remained together for the rest of the day.

From here we drove North along the beach, although it appeared more like a major highway than a beach as there were streams of 4WD vehicles traveling both ways along the length of this ocean drive, even spotting a couple of whales. It was quite an amazing feeling, driving along this wide flat beach at speeds up to 80 kmh (and being passed by some other vehicles) with the surf on one side and the sand hills on the other. We ended up driving about thirty kilometres up the beach in all, taking time to deviate onto another 4WD track into the bush for a few kilometres to Lake Garawongera where we stopped for a short time in complete serenity, just the two vehicles and four of us, that was until a 4WD bus tuned up and we were invaded by a herd of tourists. We then returned to the beach and continued north until we came to Eli Creek which was a rather crowded fresh water stream flowing out of the sand hills and down into the ocean. There was a huge collection of 4WD vehicles here, most of them parents with children who were swimming and playing in the warm water of the creek as it flowed out toward the ocean, and having a great time.

A few kilometres further north we came to a rusted ship wreck laying on the beach with people walking all around and through it. This wreck, the Maheno, an empty luxurious passenger ship, was driven ashore by a cyclone in 1935 and was used as cannon fire practice during the second world war, but the biggest danger to life there right now is speeding 4WD vehicles passing the wreck when there are children among the spectators around the it.

By this time we were starting to think that we may have to make our way back toward Wanggoolba Creek which is on the other side of the island and where we were to catch the barge back to the mainland. After consideration we decided we had time to drive the kilometre or two north along the beach until we came to 'The Pinnacles' which are really a cutaway in the sand hills that display the sand formations on a range of colours. We made it to 'The Pinnacles' and took time to photograph them from various angles, then set of back south down the beach for thirty five kilometres until around 'One Tree Rocks' where we had to stop and take a photograph of a dingo relaxing on the beach, just watching the world (and a heap of vehicles) go by. We had to turn around and drive back toward him and he just yawned and put his head down on his paws again while we intruded on his privacy.

We then continued south to Eurong where we stopped at the shop in that little community long enough for 'One of Us' to check out the souvenirs. After being disappointed with the fact that there was nothing new to purchase, she decided an ice cream was appropriate, so we munched on one before moving out of Eurong.

From here we started our journey back across to the other side of the island on another 4WD track so away we went for the next 45 or so minutes across the island on a sandy track through beautiful timber country, pulling off the track in the most difficult positions to let passing vehicles get by. We arrived Wanggoolba Creek with about an hour and 20 minutes before we were due to catch the barge, however we were far from first in line. This could have been due to the fact that there were no more berths left on the returning barges so if anyone was late, they would have to stay on the island until the next morning. We did make it onto the barge when it arrived and the trip back to the mainland was a pleasant 45 minute trip over the water before we arrived back at River Heads.

From River Heads we only had a 30 minute drive back to the caravan park where we arrived at about 5:30p.m. feeling rather worn out but having had a great day on Fraser Island. This will be a day we will remember for a long time into the future and it is one that we would recommend to anyone with a 4WD when passing this way. We both agree that this has been a great day.

Tomorrow we intend to do very little and don't expect too much activity to report on the website, however some things are necessary like a visit to the car wash to clean the Patrol of the salt and sand that it gathered whilst driving along the salt water beach and through the sand tracks of Fraser Island. Even Happy Hour had to be shared with the website updating process but after it is all finished, we think we will sleep very well tonight.

Time to let down the tyres
Time to let down the tyres

The Eastern Beach of  Fraser Island
The Eastern Beach of Fraser Island

Eli Creek - Kids having fun
Eli Creek - Kids having fun

Shipwreck on Fraser Island beach
Shipwreck on Fraser Island beach

Fraser Island dingo on the beach
Fraser Island dingo on the beach


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