As mentioned previously, we finally left Tamworth on Friday 31st January. We’d lined up to work on a sweet potato farm in Rockhampton thanks to Kevin (his brother in law’s place). We received a call to say it was too wet to start work at the original time and so we were able to take the longer route north (our original plan was to just get there as quickly as possible!). Our first stop was Nambucca Heads (2 nights) where we were able to catch up with some of Simon’s relatives (Uncle Tim and Aunty Lil, Trent and Katie, and Junise and Dean) and meet Junise and Dean’s baby, Violet. Unfortunately we were a week too early to meet the Trent and Katie’s new arrival! Once again, we neglected to take photos while we were there…
On our way up from Nambucca we stopped in at the Big Banana for a few photos (you can’t not do these things on a holiday like this!). We didn’t go in and do any ‘touristy’ things though.
Our next stop was Lismore to catch up with my cousin Jillian and her family. Unfortunately we were about 3 months too early to meet their new addition as well! And again I neglected to take photos… The next morning we enjoyed the NSW/QLD time difference due to daylight saving and made our way to White Water World on the Gold Coast. It opens at 10am, and is about a 2hr drive from Lismore, so we left at around 9:30 and got there at 10:30! We had a great day going on all the rides at least twice each. There were hardly any lines due to it being a weekday out of school holidays and slightly overcast.
We’d had enough by mid afternoon and booked ourselves into a caravan park on Bribie Island. We went for a bit of a walk around the next morning before heading off to Gympie. Here are some photos from the beach – It was a lovely place!
As I said, our next stop was Gympie where we stayed with my friend Lyn (who was a housemate in Charleville many years ago!). It was another lovely catch-up. On our way there we did a climb to a lookout in the glasshouse mountains. Despite the steep climb and the construction work going on at the top, it was worth it for the views!
We didn’t stop at the Ettamogah Pub…
We DID stop at the Big Pineapple and this time we DID do a bit of the touristy thing 🙂 We went on the little train around the plantation.
And eventually we made it to Gympie 🙂
We had seen another all you can eat Pizza Hut as we drove through town so Lyn, her aunt, Simon and I all went out for a most enjoyable feed 🙂 The following morning we set off not too early and headed for Bundaburg. We found ourselves a lovely campsite in the Bangara Caravan Park. We had a bit of a look around Bundaburg on our way through and booked ourselves in to see the turtles at Mon Repos.
We had a delicious dinner of fish and chips on the beach at Bargara.
“Mon Repos supports the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland and is the most signficant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific Ocean region. successful breeding here is critical for the survival if this endangered species.” (http://www.bookbundabergregion.com.au/accom_result1/mon-repos-nightly-turtle-encounter/)
The way it works is you book in and pay $10 to see the turtles. People see the turtles in order of booking, not arrival on the night. People are split up into groups, and we were group 5. Rangers monitor the beach while the visitors look through the display and information centre, watch documentaries about the turtles, and enjoy presentations by other rangers. As the turtles are seen on the beach (either a nesting turtle or hatchlings), a group is taken to the beach to view them. We were all given strict instructions on how to behave on the beach including when cameras could be used. At this time of year (first week of Feb) there was a chance to get either the nesting turtle or the hatchlings. By the time our group was called down to the beach it was almost midnight. We were off to see a nesting turtle. As it turned out, this turtle was a bit shy, and many in our group were not very good at obeying the instructions to be still and quiet, so she turned around and went back into the sea without laying her eggs. As disappointing as that was, on her way back she came VERY close to Simon and me! We had chosen not to take the camera with us as there was so little opportunity to use it. We were told that she would most likely just come back the next night and try again. We stayed down on the beach for a little while in the hopes that one of the rangers would spot another turtle coming in to nest. Instead, we got to see hatchlings!! After seeing the big mama turtle, the hatchlings were TINY! Their little shells are about the size of a matchbox with their little heads and flippers poking out. Simon and I stood down near the water and had a good view of the hatchlings making their way down the beach. As they were hit by the water, tossed around, knocked back up the beach several metres, sometimes landing on their backs, they would just pick themselves up and try again! They were so cute 🙂 We were even given a chance to hold one of the babies and feel just how strong those little flippers are! It is hard to believe that there’s a good chance that none of those little hatchlings will make it to adulthood, and if they do, it is 30 years before they will be back on the beach to lay eggs.
I’ve found some photos on google images since we didn’t take any of our own.
The next morning we headed back to Bundaburg to have a look through the Bundy Rum distillery. You can’t go to Bundaburg and not do that, I reckon! Even though I’m not a drinker, I still found it interesting. And of course there was another ‘Big’ thing to pose near for a photo!
From Bundaburg we travelled to Rockhampton (lots of roadworks on the way!!!!) where we stopped for about a week with Simon’s sister Naomi (Simon’s sister) and Joey while we waited out the wet until we could start our work on the sweet potato farm!
More on our Rocky adventures in the next post (I really am trying to get this blog up to date!!).