What’s your favourite place in your Australian travels?
We’ve featured a number of ours below. We’re hard pressed to narrow them down. What make’s a place a favourite? There can be so many different reasons – even emotional reasons are tied to those places and times when we look back and say, ‘Wow – that was special!’
We’re not mathematicians, but it’s like trying to settle on one probability when there are so many variables, and countless more combinations of them. Fortunately, the right measure of conditions and experiences do come together often. You just have to be out there.
Some of Australia’s natural environments take a lot of beating – many take your breath away through their sheer expanse, ruggedness or beauty. When we’ve been too long in the urban jungle there is nothing like a bush fix for calming the spirit.
We’ve enjoyed wonder and fascination walking in the steps of our nation’s forefathers – realizing how recent and colourful our colonial history is, set against the unfathomable concept and timelessness of our indigenous nations.
The antics and industry of furred, feathered and other creatures we’ve encountered in your travels has given us surprisingly insurmountable pleasure.
Exploring and unearthing a first-rate camping spot can be priceless – the anticipation along with the find – be it the ambience, views, space…. the peace!
Last but not least, what can just soothe the soul – shared campfires, good tucker, friends gained… or at the other end of the spectrum, finding solitude and feeling like the rest of the world is lost to us for just a time.
Below are some of our favourites. No set order or criteria, except to exclude some of the more well known. These are memorable to us for any, or all of the above reasons. They’re drawn from a range of experiences – following tourist trails, being in remote places, and the camp spots – some, we had the luxury of staying a while; others fleeting one-night stays – all favourites in their own way.
CREDITON HALL CAMPGROUND, QLD
We toured to this campground while we were working and based in Mackay. The drive through the Pioneer Valley has its’ own story with charming little townships all along the Mackay-Eungella Road. This is cane farm area and in the right season bright yellow cane train engines contrast against the water-drenched green, as well as the dark back-drop of mountain ranges towering beyond.
There’s a good sealed road getting up the range, but it is sharp and steep. Visitors Guides for the area advise to take care getting up there if towing – it’s definitely better suited to small rigs. We left the van behind and tented for this trip which gave us more freedom to explore – and there was plenty of that to do.
Crediton Hall campground is on the doorstep of the Eungella National Park. There’s great bush-walks, lookouts, platypus viewing platforms, local history boards, cafes, arts and crafts and Eungella Dam all nearby – and what we couldn’t help but notice – not a crowd within cooee!
We loved the camp itself – country space and views, local cattle meandering through, and an open campfire to boot.
We made it a round trip back to Mackay by turning west and returning via Peak Downs. This took us through a much different landscape, with its own intrigue. Just beyond the dam, there is some spectacular views ahead along Lizzie Road where we drove up and down a roller-coaster section of road, followed by a series of S bends. Could make for some interesting 4WD’ing in the wet no doubt.
PETAL POINT, TASMANIA
The north-east corner of Tasmania has few people and fewer facilities, which makes for an inviting prospect for caravanning and camping if you want to get away from it all. There are a number of camping spots amongst this isolation, but not all caravan friendly. We decided to scout ahead without the van, check out the camps for ourselves, and then take the ‘van and all’ plunge.
One of the camps entailed a long detour, and early in the day we had made a decision to pass it by due to the distance involved. We’d save this prospect as a ‘last resort’. As it turned out, this ‘last resort’ was the pick of the bunch for us. It was Petal Point, almost on the north-eastern tip of Tasmania. Great views, open space and we were the only ones there!!!! A short walk to a boat ramp, and another deserted beach. What more could we ask for?
Here we enjoyed four days of total peace and quiet, plenty of space, nice walks, and some whale-spotting. In spite of predicted rainfall, there was only an odd light shower, and for what is renowned as a very windy location (wind-farm being developed nearby at the time) there was mostly just gentle breeze. After setting up camp, we were visited by a security vehicle from the wind farm. Friendly guys, had a great chat and we were reassured that in spite of our solitary location, they welcomed any call for help if we struck any problems. They even offered us daily water top ups and rubbish disposal service! Thought we had really struck a jackpot here. We appreciated their snake warning – saw a few of these, but nothing to spoil the magic of this time and place.
Although we did take the boat off the Patrol, the seas were up a bit, so it didn’t make it to water. We did spend one nice morning retracing the Patrol’s tracks up and down the road in. Kym had lost the handle for the boat-topper. He was a bit embarrassed when after about an hour of searching Lyn asked him what the ‘other’ handle was on top of the Patrol! Needless to say, we don’t have a 2nd handle. We did get the surf rods out and managed to drown some bait and leave some gear amongst the rocks. The tiger flathead we’d bought earlier at Bridport were yummo but.
(Excerpts taken from Tas Adventures 1)
NERANIE BAY, MYALL LAKES NATIONAL PARK N.S.W.
Second night out on our long journey, and we were en route from the Gold Coast to Station Pier to catch a boat – with a few days and nights to spare up our sleeve.
‘Though we had “sort of planned” where we would spend our nights on the way down, nothing was set in concrete. Myall Lakes caught our eye on the map, so plans were de-railed to take a night stop there. We loved it – great views and a peaceful ambience. There was no power or water, and a winding road in, but we thought it well worth the detour.
(Excerpt taken from Our Adventures – In the Beginning)
WILSONS PROMONTORY NATIONAL PARK
Our decision to visit Wilson’s Prom on our first leg through Victoria, was originally with the goal of standing on one of Australia’s extremities. The southern-most tip of the Prom is also the southern-most tip of mainland Australia.
Unbeknown to us, the tracks to that section of the park had been closed due to some serious floods earlier that year. (We have learnt the lesson of doing a little more pre-research since those days.) Despite this disappointment, Wilson’s Prom was far from disappointing. We opted for an unpowered site for a three night stay, and just relished the bird and animal life that had no qualms in stopping in, or close by. We took in several different walks through coastal and mountain terrain with some spectacular views that have stayed with us in our minds eye ever since.
‘The drive from the entrance gate to the camp ground was a memorable journey in itself – for the most part we were gob-smacked by what lay before us. We slowed at one point for a mob of emu going for a casual stroll along the road. Totally unexpected, and another first wake up to some of the hazards we can expect to encounter in this new lifestyle.’
‘The walks, views and scenery are unique. Our encounters with some of the local wildlife were quite special, and ‘close’. The local parrots seemed to show no fear and were quite happy to share “happy hour” with us. Wombats decided that our camp was a good site for dinner. Twice they dropped in for a feed. Not from us, just to have a chew on the grass.’
(Excerpts from Our Adventures – In the Beginning)
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