Dec 27, 2010

Flew Home for Xmas

Our laptop was returned to us Christmas Eve, new screen & new keyboard along with a new 240v power pack. Everything else was the same including no loss of any hard drive so all contacts in our address book have been retained. I was a bit concerned that even though i had backed up the contents onto an external hard drive before sending the computer away for repairs, i had not backed up emails & the address book, whew! all well that ends well.

Christmas at our home in Perth was much the same as any other year except we were missing our Daughter Erin and her Boyfriend Scott, also both our Nephews were missed as they were working away. We did have some new attendees - Elle's Parents Chas & Rae & Brother Charles Elle came for the day, Elle is our Son's Girlfriend and it was nice to meet them for the 1st time though we are certain they were bemused with just how loud & chaotic our family get together can be.

Temperature's have been around 40 degrees centigrade every day and Christmas day was no different, fortunately we have a swimming pool and plenty of time was spent in and out of the pool in between eating and keeping our fluid levels up.

Santa had left many presents under the Tree and it is our family tradition that we have a secret Santa, a present is given to the recipient without them knowing who it was from and they in turn choose a present and give to the next and so on, by the end everyone had worked out who had bought what, most of the presents turned out to be for Millana & Ruby our Grand Daughters - they must have been very good girls throughout the year to receive so many.

Today things have returned to normal, the temperature has dropped to a more comfortable mid 30, visiting family have all left and Aaron has returned to work so it's just Caddie & the girls & Vickie & myself - SERENITY !!!!!!!

We have three more nights and then it's up to the Airport to fly 'home' to Queensland, we call it home wherever our Caravan is, it's always lovely seeing our family during these return visits but it also reinforces just how much we enjoy the lifestyle that we have. We have been following the weather conditions back over East and we hope that our travels are not hindered by all the recent rain & floods, when we do get back we will be heading down to Newcastle to meet up with our mates Kimbo & Ned, - 2011 will be another journey similar to our 'Mates & Mud' trip we did back in 2007 except this time we hope it will be more 'Mates & Fishing' as we head to South Australia and eventually get to Ningaloo on the West Coast beginning of May.

In the mean time i will continue to ramble on about what we are doing, try and include as many photo's as i can.

Happy New Year & Safe Travels if your on the road.

Dec 7, 2010

Life without a laptop

Where is NIKNOFF ? i hear you all ask, things have been quiet on the blog, well the answer to that is the laptop decided to stop doing it's thing and although it's under warranty nothing moves fast in the service department of Toshiba or so it appears. In fact i am so annoyed with the way our situation has been handled it has put me off having another Toshiba Computer.

So, what's been happening since my last entry, nothing much really, we have been based at Kenilworth for 3 weeks and then went down to Kalbar and stayed at the showgrounds there for 6 days before returning back to kenilworth and taking up residency for another week. Vickie had some more Doctor appointments about her eye and that has compelled us to stay in the area, her Dr is in Maroochydore and only 45 minutes away from Kenilworth, the Eumundi Markets are on Wednesday & Saturday and only 30minutes away so we have been spending our time either chilling out or driving to & fro for appointments or markets.

The weather has been wet much like the rest of the East Coast at present, though certainly not like the floods the inland area's are getting, hot & humid and rain = Queensland at this time of the year, we don't mind it at all but we are getting an unsual amount of ants around the van which we are eradicating with baits & sprays.

We leave here Friday and go and stay at some mates at Maroochydore the night and then onto to Deception Bay where we will leave the rig at another mates place while we fly home for Xmas. Who know's when i will get the laptop back so there is a chance things will go quiet again until then.

To all our family around Australia, our Mates, fellow Travellers we have met and the Lurkers out there [I know who you are] We would like to wish you all a very Happy, Safe & Enjoyable Christmas.

Nov 20, 2010


Some have left today so we may soon have the park to ourselves again.

Well that wasn't the case, with the 5TH Wheeler's leaving last Monday we then had 34 Caravan's camp around us for the next week. The group were part of the Queensland Freemason Touring Club and were celebrating their Christmas get together & AGM. We thought about moving camp to elsewhere on the grounds to give them & us some space but our immediate neighbours wouldn't hear of it, with them insisting we stay where we are. As things turned out they were a good bunch of people and though we would loved to have had our space to ourselves it wasn't a hardship with Roger beside us plying us with home brew Rum at happy hour.

Freemason Touring Group - Disc Bowl Championships

The past week we have driven out to Booloumba State Forest searching for Geo Caches but with no success, we were so close at times with the GPS indicating we were within a couple of metres but we could find nothing, maybe it's gone. Bellbird Creek Tea House was a nice cafe just 4klms out of Kenilworth, very popular with the motorbike riders who are either trail riding in the Forests or the Road Bikes riding the windy roads. They also sell a good range of Fruit & Veg and the coffee & assorted cakes makes for a pleasant visit.

Bellbird Creek Tea House

Hinterland & Surrounds

We came across some horses in a paddock and had to stop to get some photo's of the baby foals for our granddaughters.

We drove out to Tin Can Bay last Thursday via the Gympie - Brooloo Road, stopping at Imbil & Kandanga along the way. Check out Imbil's Quality Car Yard, sure to be a bargain buy here.

No Shortage of Holden Parts at Imbil

Kandanga has a lovely free camp with lots of green grass plus individual bituminous sections for the van's & new toilet block. The town is certainly pro-active in allowing travellers to camp free knowing that most if not all would spend some money in the small town. We had been to Tin Can Bay about three years ago and was surprised how much things had changed, the cafe down at the boat launching ramp hadn't changed and we had a lovely lunch of local whiting, chips & salad. It was one of the nicest lunch meals we have bought and we told the ladies who served us, they appreciated the compliment.

Kandanga Free Camp

Friday we chilled out at Kenilworth, another walk around town and then a pie and coffee at the local bakery for lunch. Saturday it was off to the Eumundi Markets AGAIN! Yes Red Nomad Oz - what a guy i am ! I really enjoy the markets but this time it was raining steadily all day, still it didn't stop me from buying a coffee and listening to Juzzie Smith one of my favourite market artists. Juzzie plays a mixture of steel slide guitar mixed with harmonica, a great one man band. Another group i enjoyed listening to for the 1st time was Mitch Davis & The Dawn Chorus, they are a local Sunshine Coast group with a great sound. Do yourselves a favour and google or You Tube for both Artists and support them if you like what you hear.

With the rain not letting up we drove to Yandina and the Ginger Factory so Vickie could buy some things. Ive been here so many times i choose to sit in the car and listen to the Mitch Davis CD. Then it was back to Kenilworth where it hadn't rained until we arrived back, it also rained fairly steadily all night. Sunday today and we have busied ourselves and packed up ready to head to Kunda Park & Bushtracker Factory 1st thing in the morning, there we leave our van to have the new awning and minor panel damage repaired, we are booked in a lovely unit at Noosaville overlooking the Noosa River. We are hoping the weather clears up and we can get the Hobie Kayak's off the roof racks and get on the river for a peddle.

Nov 14, 2010

Kenilworth & Surrounds

We have spent our time at Kenilworth chilling out and going for a drive every 2nd day, this area certainly grows on us, it is handy to towns like Malaney, Montville, and Eumundi, lots of bush tracks to explore and the coast is only 40 minutes drive away. Every Saturday we have visited the Eumundi markets, we both enjoy the markets, YES even me a bloke finds them interesting though i am more of a people watcher. Many of the stalls are the same as they were when we visited 10 years ago but neither of us get tired of going. I tend to get a coffee from the Bean & Gone stall and plant my backside down and watch & listen to the musicians, I have seen some excellent Artists performing at Eumundi, OKA, Matt James, and Juzzy Smith were a few.

Last week i lashed out and spent $50 on a massage, my back & hips have been aching more than usual lately and i was hoping that a massage would give me some relief. I was a bit concerned about the style of massage as it involved lots of manipulation and stretching and i didn't want my hip joint to pop out as that wouldn't be fun but the masseur knew by working on me that my body has been through the mill and didn't work me to hard but he did manage to loosen me up a bit, enough that i was yawning the whole drive home and fell asleep as soon as i sat down in my reclining camp chair. Of course one massage does not perform miracles.

Vickie would love to live close by to Eumundi so she could visit the markets every week, we know our Eldest Daughter would love it here also because she makes & sells baby & children's wear and the markets would be an excellent outlet, her website is called Millaruby Designs, Who knows what the future may hold but with commitments back home we cannot make a decision nor rule out the possibility of one day having a Base our here, a couple of acres and a shed would be a start.

Last Wednesday we caught up with Vickie's sister Sue and her husband Greg, they were up from Victoria playing Basketball in the Masters Games held on the Gold Coast. They had a hire car so we met up at Woodford for lunch at the Hotel. After a nice meal and catching up with all the family chat we said our goodbyes with them off to battle with the crazy hectic traffic on the Freeway to Surfers Paradise and the Gold Coast, for us it was a leisurely drive back to Kenilworth taking in the magnificient views.

I have been a member of Geocaching Australia for a couple of years now but hadn't followed up with it, sitting here at Kenilworth browsing the lap top's bookmarks i came across the Geo site. In case your not aware, Geo caching is a free high-tech treasure hunt where you use your GPS receiver to find caches hidden by other players. It's a great way to be outdoors, enjoy the environment and do something different. A quick look on the Web Site showed there were a few in the area so today we went looking for hidden caches, so far we have found two in the area, we filled out the note book that is included with our name and date we have found it.

Our home here at the Kenilworth Showgrounds has become very busy, the past four days a Motorhome group called Crocodile Wheelers have arrived for their end of year Christmas get together, the majority have 5TH Wheelers though there are a few small Motorhomes with them. Some have left today so we may soon have the park to ourselves again.

Whatever Photo's i have i'll load up later

Nov 5, 2010


Boy Dog, the poor old thing, whether he had been abandoned or simply strayed we will never know. I phoned a Pet refuge Sunday morning and was advised to take the dog to a vet which i did, Boy Dog as we called him was an old dog with a gentle nature, i was unsure how he would react with me picking him up and putting him in the Ute but he was fine. The trip to the Vet's he just curled up on the seat, occasionally looking out the window, he was obviously used to being in a car.

The Vet was quite happy to take him in and was certain that even if he wasn't chipped that a loving home would be found for him.

Monday our shower screen was replaced and we left Maroochydore and headed back to Kenilworth. We were thinking of going down to Kalbar for a fortnight but have decided to just hang around here, plenty of places in the hinterland to visit and the coast is only 30mins away. Vickie had an appointment with the Orthologist on Wednesday and he was happy with the eye had progressed since her injection, he wants to see her again in 3 weeks time.

New Black Shower Screen

Our time has been spent site seeing around the districts, a lovely drive to Jimna through the forest and a loop back to Kenilworth Via Malaney, such stunning scenery. We never get tired looking at the views of the Mountains & Valleys. We called in at the Jimna Information centre and was given plenty of local information. A visit to the Jimna Fire Tower which is heritage listed and an historically significant Australian Icon. Friends of the Jimna Fire Tower are currently raising funds to restore it.

Photo Courtesy of the Caboolture Camera Club

Tomorrow is Saturday so that means a trip back to Eumundi and the local markets.

Some Kenilworth Photo's

Kenilworth Public Hall

Kenilworth Main Street

Kenilworth Town Park

Kenilworth Cheese & Yoghurt Factory

Vintage Vellocette Motorbike

Oct 30, 2010

Sunshine Coast - Hinterland

We didn't travel too far, we called in at Petrie Park CAW5 #138 but it was already crowded out so we went and checked out Tiaro Memorial Park #139 which is in town. 3 other campers were already set up and there was plenty of space for us, we refilled our water tanks and invited to join the others for happy hour which we did. As we sat around chatting another Bushtracker towed by a V8 Toyota Ute came in, Bruno & Michelle if my memory is correct are known as GORN on the Bushtracker Owners Forum once they got set up they joined us all, a nice mixed group of people from different walks of life, the conversations came easily and it was a nice evening.

The next morning 'GORN' showed us some of their fossicking finds, the gold certainly got my interest! I am going to have to give our detector a work out when we get down to Victorian Gold Country. After saying our goodbyes we moved on 63klms to CAW5 #147 Chatsworth Park, 6klms north of Gympie. It was Sunday and we were waiting to see a Toyota Dealer in town the next morning as a fuel warning light had come on in the Ute.

We spent the day watching the comings & goings and the traffic drive by, that evening the heavens opened up and the rain poured down. No sleeping in when in Qld, the sun comes up early and the birds come alive earlier, i was ready to head into Gympie Toyota when i watched a large motorhome attempt a U turn across some wet ground, I didn't like it's chances and i was correct and down it went. As i was leaving i stopped to see if a tow would help, no tow hooks on the front of the motorhome just a couple of steel brackets, the owner asked if i would give it a go which i did but i wasn't going to stuff my car up by trying too hard, a couple of slow pulls just caused the metal brackets to bend and when the owner then told me he would phone RACQ i left him to it.

The fuel warning light was just a new fuel filter required and i was soon back at camp, the motorhome had left after being winched out by RACQ. Whist Vickie went and did some shopping i got the van packed and ready to head off when she got back.

Destination was Kenilworth Showgrounds CAW5 #166, this is a top spot, $12 per night with power, green grass and superb views of the hills beyond. Not only that it's a short walk into town and the Cheese & Yogurt Factory. Getting our van parked into the position Vickie wanted it caused me to have a mental melt down, who would have thought it would be so hard to get the van straight, door facing the green grass, not too far under the tree's ..... it certainly did my head in more so because i just couldn't work out why it was pissing me off so much, i have reversed our van into some incredibly tight spots and here i was with all the space in the World.

Getting all past that we really liked the Showgrounds, i went for a drive to Sound In Motion Nambour to arrange a time and price to have a Reverse Camera & Screen fitted. Following my GPS maps I drove via Malaney on Bli Bli road which turned into a detour which then took me up the hills via a one way very steep road, leaving Nambour the GPS directed me the same way except the road was one way, it then re-directed me down a dirt road for 12klms before it came to a dead end! By this time i had enough and accepted defeat, i turned around and headed back to Nambour and along the Bruce Highway to Kennilworth. That 1st Bourban & Coke when i got back was a beauty!!

The next day i had to do it all again as the car was getting the camera & screen fitted, i didn't even bother finding the shortest way and just headed straight to the highway. With that job done it was onto Stegbar in Maroochydore to organize a new shower screen and surround for the Van. Vickie had never liked the white screen and wanted it changed to something that suited the decor better and that was to be black. Another job out of the way it was onto Cooroy and visit SunState Hobie, we were looking at changing our inflatable Hobie to another plastic. Unfortunately Mal the owner wasn't there so i left our inflatable so he could check it out and phone me.

Left Kenilworth the next morning and drove down to Maroochydore where we would be parked out front of some friends home, they live at the end of a court with a lovely park, plenty of space for us and it gave us the local address to enable Stegbar to come out and measure and then fit the new shower screen, also the van needed to be assessed by our Insurance company for repairs so that was another job out of the way.

As usual our luck fails us, Vickie's eye condition has returned and required a visit to a Optometrist who confirmed that she has had another bleed behind the retina and needed to see a Specialist straight away. 10 minutes later she was in the office of an Orthomologist who also confirmed she needed to start having Avastin injections in her eye again to reduce the blood, at $600 an injection we are on the roundabout again.

The next day we drove back to Cooroy and met up with Mal at SunState Hobie, Mal is one of if not the biggest retailer of Hobie Kayaks in Australia, Mal helped us out when our Inflatable developed a fault and replaced it under warranty, so having a good experience with him was enough for me to return and give him the opportunity to quote on a trade in and change over for a new Hobie Revolution. We already own a Hobie Outback and very happy with it but i chose the Revo this time as they have a good reputation for handling the white water, faster and easier to paddle. Before deciding i took the demo out for a quick paddle / peddle on Lake McDonald, it confirmed what i had heard and decision was made. Mal made the changeover at a price we couldn't refuse, he took the time to explain things that Ranger Camping hadn't and even fitted two Scotty rod holder brackets. If your in the market for a near new Hobie Inflatable 12is contact SunState Hobie and speak to Mal.

The new shower screen turned up and brightened Vickie up until being told by the installer the perspex was scratched and would need to be replaced and that couldn't be done till next week. Now with two Hobie Kayaks i needed to change our Rhino Roof Bars to wider one's, anyone interested in 3 x 1500mm Rhino Aero Bars contact me.

So here we are, our Mates have gone to the Gold Coast on a pre arranged trip and we have spent the day at Eumundi Markets, a dog has just been abandoned in the street [according to Vick] so i can predict more anguish.

Any photo's will be uploaded later.

Oct 22, 2010

Carmila Beach - Calliope River

I had heard about Carmila Beach many times but had never visited ourselves, this was our opportunity. Turning off the Bruce Highway at Carmila we drove approximately 12klms along the bituminous Carmila Beach road before taking the sandy track to the right and the many camp area's along the beach. All camps are well above the high tide mark which is just as well because the sea is very tidal here and can go out a kilometre or more, it reminded us of 80 Mile Beach on the West Coast except the sand at Carmila is muddy clay and difficult to walk on without sinking.

We choose a site about 1/2 way along the track, most spots had campers already set up but none were camped on top of each other. We put the awning out, even though it is damaged and doesn't roll easy it is better than not having any shade, i also put the shade wall up to protect us from the morning sun. Not long after getting our camp set up the wind started blowing and that set the scene for the next 48 hours.

The wind got worse and then the rain started coming down, we couldn't get the awing down as it was to dangerous, the shade wall was like a sail so all we could do was wait until the wind dropped off, this happened in the middle of the 2nd night, it was like a switch had been turned off. We quickly got out of bed and in record time removed the shade wall and rolled up the awning, washed our feet and got back into bed. Then the wind started again ... but we didn't care at this stage and went back to sleep.

Photos make me look like a liar ... Calm before the storm

Carmila Beach would be an excellent camp in the nice weather, fishing is reported to be good, two large creeks to explore with much evidence of mud crabs about. We would definitely return here but if it's windy - forget it!

The rain hadn't stopped for a day and it continued to come down in a steady flow, the track out was muddy but we had no problems. Before leaving we dumped our cassette contents in the dump site provided and headed back onto the Bruce Highway, and drove onto Calliope River a distance of around 340klm. We don't usually drive distances like that anymore but with the rain coming down it wasn't worth stopping apart from a quick stop for smoko at St Lawrence free camp site. This is another well provided camp area and worth staying at.

By the time we arrived at Calliope River the rain had stopped and we had a clear sunny sky, we initially entered the 48hr camp area from the Eastern side of the river there were a few vans camped along the edge of the road nose to tail and it didn't look to attractive to me, the other side of the river was different though with quite a few campers they had plenty of area to space themselves out. So we turned around and continued down the highway a couple of kilometres before being able to cross over the river and double back to the Calliope River camp ground.

Not to many spots available on the rivers edge so we choose to camp back away from the rest and found a nice level spot on green grass. One nice added touch was the hundreds of finches feeding in the long grass, our Friend Heather would have loved it. We also had a couple of Kookaburra's that paid us a visit looking for any handouts, of course with Vickie and her habit of feeding any animal we come across, they didn't leave with an empty stomach - so much for our steak for tea that night.

There is a small bridge crossing the river here but it is closed to traffic, it doesn't stop people walking over it nor fishing from it. I gave it a shot each day but apart from seeing some small fish and feeling the lure get hit a few times i had no luck, i didn't see anyone else catch anything either.

Our allowable 48hrs is up today and we will move on, no idea where we will end up, hopefully it wont be far.

Oct 17, 2010

Toomulla Beach & Groper Creek

Ok, 3 days have gone by so i may as well write this all down now or i will forget.

We had planned on staying at Hulls Head near Tully for at least a couple of nights but 105mm of rain over night and with more forecast we decided to just move along. We had no plans on where but as things turned out it was to be Toomulla Beach, and to our delight it was a beautiful camp site. We were also pleased to see John & Julie [Bushtracker Owners] whom we had met briefly at the BOG Muster at Herberton, apart from them and one other Caravan and two tents we had the place all to ourselves.

We went for a walk around the street's and checked out the beach, the ocean is certainly not attractive being tidal & rough it always has a murky brown colour. We spotted one snake sunbaking and it quickly got out of our way but that was enough to make Vickie jittery so it was back to camp where we had happy hour with John & Julie before the rain started coming down. We both then went to our vans and watched the last few minutes of the Commonwealth Games Netball Championship with Australia versus New Zealand, the result was so close unfortunately Australia lost.

Toomulla Beach has a 2 day limit on camping, we only stayed one day as we had decided to get down to Groper Creek for a spot of fishing. It was the 1st time for Vickie here, i was here with Kimbo 3 years ago when both girls flew home for a visit. Last time we had Kimbo's tinny and i wasn't going to be putting the Kayak's in here not when Crocs had been ripping crab nets apart. I did fish off the bank and though i caught some fish nothing was worth keeping, 7 Cat Fish, 2 Bream & 1 Grunter, the bream & grunter were undersize so back they went. Bait was fresh prawns caught off the bank with my trusty throw net.

Images of Groper Creek late afternoon & evening

Whilst i was talking to someone Vickie called out to get my attention, i thought another Cat Fish, but Vick was pointing out to the water and there was a Tinny sinking. Lack of commonsense, putting 4 large blokes into a flat bottom punt and to make it even more stupid they had a child around 1-2 years of age with them. The only good part was the child had a life jacket on and one of the blokes swam ashore with her. One of the other campers quickly launched his boat and they went out and towed the submerged and turned over boat back to the ramp. They lost a bit of gear so maybe that will be a lesson learn.

We stayed 2 nights at Groper Creek, we thought about staying longer but decided to move on and see what else we could find, we were thinking Carmila Beach but before we got there we decided to call in to Arlie Beach & Shute Harbour. It has been 16 years since we were here last and things have changed a lot, we have booked into Flametree Caravan Park for two nights, i'm not thrilled by it but it's Vickie's trip too so here we are and then we will head down to Carmila Beach.

Images of Shute Harbour