A Travellerspoint blog

Roadtrip to Brisbane

Cardwell, Townsville, Airlie Beach, Mackay, Bundaberg & Hervey Bay

all seasons in one day 28 °C

Cardwell
After picking up the Jucy van we left straight away heading south of Cairns trying to escape the heavy rain and the flood warnings .We managed to cover about 200km before we lost the daylight and it started to get dark. We did manage to find a campsite in a place called Cardwell just in time for the heavy rain showers to start hammering down! The campsite wasn't busy so we parked in front of the camp kitchen and had our poor man's version of a pot noodle before our first night in the van. The next morning after breakfast we had a quick stroll to the beach only before we were told by the reception staff to be careful as 6ft crocodiles have been seen on the beach! At first we thought she was joking but we were wrong and the next day we realised it. That was when reality struck us that we did have to be careful around lakes etc... After our little morning stroll we jumped back into the van and made our way down the road and less than 5mins into the journey the road was blocked off with a traffic officer telling us the road was closed due to it being covered with over 2 meters of water in some parts (our van was even two meters high). That afternoon and evening we parked up at the rest area layby with all the other cars/campervans and guess what it was right in front of the croc infested sea, but we did have a canadian carrying binoculars on patrol who claimed to have spotted several crocs in the water! We just spent the time chilling, praying for no more rain and chatting to fellow Jucy van travellers until the road finally reopened the next day.

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Townsville
We didn't really plan to stay in Townsville but yet another road block as again the roads were flooded made the decision for us, so we found a nice campsite near the sea and stayed for 2 nights hoping the floods would clear. We spent some time the walking along the sea front and leight had a swim in the rock pool as the sea is not safe due to the box jelly fish which like to kindly sting you. We also made friends with a couple from Germany called Claudia & Dom so had a few beers and a BBQ on the campsite before trying to head south again.
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Airlie Beach
Finally we arrived in a place we wanted to go rather than be dictated by the weather! We checked out the Nomads campsite where we could get a discount with the Jucy van but it was quite a small campsite, fairly busy and very hot/humid. We jumped back in the van and checked out another campsite just on the edge of town and decided to stay due the spacious and tropical surroundings. On driving in we also saw some familiar faces from the previous towns we had stayed in during the floods. The main town is one road and has quite a busy vibe but still pretty scenic especially around the harbour. Our campsite was across the road from a sports bar so we had a drink in there a couple of nights. We booked a Whit Sunday boat trip (fast boat) so we were picked up Sunday morning with the sun shining! We also hired a stinger suit which reminded me of a gymnastics leotard for the snorkeling and off we jetted out to sea. We sat talking to a couple (Karen & Lee) from England who live in Sydney and started to notice the grey clouds ahead and our nice sunny day was about to change. As soon as we stepped onto the Whitehaven beach the heavens opened and it started to rain! After a drenched lunch (literally water floating on your plate) we got back on the boat to head to a spot on the barrier reef to snorkel. Although the weather wasn't helping we could still see the colourful coral and fish although luckily I didn't notice the stingrays on the bottom (leight later informed me). We gave back our stinger suits and put back on our wet clothes only to be wet again due to the fast boat hitting the waves on the way back. I must admit it wasn't the best trip (but we did enjoy the company of Karen & Lee) we have been on due to being wet and cold .....I'm sure it's great in the sunshine! That afternoon we drove until dusk to Mackay to camp for the night. In Australia it's a big no no to drive in the dark mainly because your more likely to hit kangaroos so we tried not to where possible.

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Mackay
1 night stop in a not so friendly campsite with a not so friendly Subways (the sandwhich type).

Bundaberg
Another 1 night stay only to be woken up by the builders relaying the tarmac paths on the campsite at 7am (it was also my birthday and I kind of hoped for a better start to the day)!

Hervey Bay
After the not so good start to the day we made the hour journey to our intended stop and arrived in a lovely small campsite on the morning of my 28th birthday. The sun was shining so we took a walk to the beach and leight wrote me a nice message in the sand. Later that sunny afternoon we relaxed around the pool and took a dip in the mineral spa. After a roast dinner at the local Boat House restaurant we had some birthday cake (one of the best Victoria sponges I've had) and enjoyed the rest of the evening with a couple of drinks! We stayed for a couple of nights just relaxing and had a good BBQ, that's one really good thing about camping in Australia as the majority of campsites have very good facilities i.e this one had the outdoor mineral spa!

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If we could sum up our roadtrip to Brisbane in 5 or so words/statements.

1) Cyclones, Rain & Tornado
2) The Jucy love bug
3) Really nice campsites in Airlie beach/Hervey bay
4) Lovely birthday
5) Great way to see places in a campervan

Random sights/things on our roadtrip to Brisbane.

1) Gem waking up in the night claiming she couldn't breathe (it was pretty humid on the first few days down)

Posted by Gem-Leight 15:36 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Darwin & Cairns

storm 30 °C

Our arrival to Darwin definitely didn't go to plan as we sat in the departure lounge of Denspar airport (Bali) and watched our departure time come and go. Another passenager informed us that the flight had been cancelled due to technical reasons (back to Bali for another night then). The next day our re-shecduled flight finally took off after another 4 hour delay. We hoped all our bad luck was over for the day but we was wrong as our next bit of news was that Darwin was on a cyclone alert with the cyclone hitting the city around 15 hours after after we arrived. The gods were definitely not with us but at least our new base for the next 5 days didn't let us down. We checked in the Travelodge and probably spent more time in the room than we planned as the outside weather wasn't in a happy mood with crazy winds and rain. Inbetween the rain we did explore parts of the city checking out the wave pool at the marina, window shopping at the shopping complex and walking around town hoping the rain would stop. We were both disappointed as we hoped to visit the two national parks but due to our new friend the cyclone they were both closed during our stay.
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The flight from Darwin to Cairns took less than a couple of hours and the plan was to land and then get dropped at one of the campervan hire shops to try and find our new home. There was about 6 different companies on the same road but I didn't expect the road to be about 6 miles long so my idea of walking with the rucksacks quickly turned into a taxi ride. The other problem I didn't count on was that all the campervan hire shops shut on Saturday at 12pm and don't open on Sundays meaning our stay in Cairns was not going to plan. We found a not so good hotel which was basically like a metal prison bed in a room with a noisy fan and waited for Monday to come. What came before Monday was our old friend the cyclone who decided the best route was to follow us and bring along his friends wind and rain and there sure was lots of both. We did explore the main indoor shopping center and when the weather eased off we got down to the seafront and seen the pretty cool lagoon. Monday finally arrived and so did our new home the green love machine! When we picked up our new home we found out there were road floodings on route as a result of the cyclone and was advised to hit the road and try to get as far south as we could and that's what we did.
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If we could sum up our visit to Darwin & Cairns in 5 or so words/statements.

1) Really hot with crazy humidity
2) Our green love machine
3) Cyclone
4) Rain, rain and more stupid rain
5) Wouldnt go back

Random sights/things in Darwin & Cairns.

1) Me & Gem with our Chicken roast take out in the hotel
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Posted by Gem-Leight 14:01 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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