Month Fourteen on the Road – December 2019

MONTH #14
Currarong > Currarong
816 kmIn Muddie
$312.05FUEL
$713.62GROCERIES
$3,179.70TOTAL SPEND
8FISH CAUGHT

We settled into our new home at Holiday Haven Currarong earlier than expected due to a precautionary evacuation of Bendeela free camp. Currarong is AWESOME……. There isn’t much out here in regards to services/supplies with the exception of the bowls club, caravan park and takeaway/restaurant/general store but the location and the surrounding coastline is something next level. If you haven’t been here pop it on the bucket list.

This was our second Christmas on the road since we left Brisbane in 2018 and boy was it different to last year. Last year it was just Brendon and I up enjoying the wet season, painted cray and pork belly in Cape York. It was the ultimate quite Christmas. This year we were really lucky to be invited to share Christmas with the Bell family and it was an awesome day. Either way we still missed our families which is just part of living on the road.

We were pretty lucky and caught a glimpse of Santa, and on Christmas morning we had some willy wagtails hatch in a tree just outside our camp.

Like most people on the South Coast of NSW December was filled with ups and downs associated with the festive season and the fires that continue to devastate the area. Living in the caravan park we have seen first hand how the fires have effected the tourism industry of the entire South Coast. So if you haven’t got plans for your next holiday head down it is a truly beautiful place.

With nothing else major to report for the month this is how we went…..

Distance Travelled = 816 km

Expenses

Fuel: $312.05
Groceries: $713.62
Eating Out: $151.30
Alcohol: $273.77
Accommodation: $600.00
Truck: $0.00
Camping Gear: $113.81
Boat/Fishing Gear: $189.97
Entertainment: $0.00
Personal: $354.50
Bills: $341.35
Misc/Incidentals: $87.20
Permits/Licences: $42.13
Total: $ 3,179.70
Weekly Average: $718.00

Facts

Cheapest Fuel: $1.45 (United, South Nowra NSW)
Most Expensive Fuel: $1.46 (United, Culburra Beach NSW)
Big Things Seen: None
Nights Free Camped: 0
Nights Low Cost Camped: 0
Nights Caravan Parks: 0
Nights Family Friends Sitting: 31
Times We Set Up Full Camp: 1
Longest Stay (Nights): 31
Shortest Stay (Nights): 0
Days On The Road: 0
Boat Trips: 0
Fish Caught: 8
Fish Caught - Brendon: 8
Fish Caught - Leah: 0

Favourites

Location - Brendon: Currarong, NSW
Location - Leah: Currarong, NSW
Campground - Brendon: Holiday Haven Currarong, NSW
Campground - Leah: Holiday Haven Currarong, NSW
Fishing Spot - Brendon: Big Beecroft (Mermaid Inlet)
Fishing Spot - Leah: n/a
Activity - Brendon: Snorkeling at Bosom Beach
Activity - Leah: Exploring the Currarong Coast line
Meal Out - Brendon: Christmas Dinner with the Bells
Meal Out - Leah: Christmas Dinner with the Bells

Summary

Not being able to get out and about this month lead to a very acceptable weekly spend of $582.51 for the month of the festive season.

Our top three expenses were groceries, personal expenses and bills.

Groceries were up a little this month with one substantial shop and buying those extra little treats that make the festive season.  It doesn’t take much to add up these days but there are somethings that are just a tradition.

Personal expenses of over $350 what the…. well this included Christmas presents and my splurge on Rockwear Boxing Day sale. What can I say you have to make the most of a bargain. 🙂

And bills like I said in our previous post we have now moved to pay by the month for most bills. It does suck when you add them all up at the end of the month and think about what you could have spent the money on.

With our evacuation from our first campsite we learnt this month how important it is to have an emergency plan no matter where you are staying. It’s not a bad idea if your camped next to others to give them your phone number just in case you are away from camp!

Let’s talk about our favourites for the month, we didn’t get out too much so keep that in mind.

Town – For both Brendon and myself it would hands down be Currarong NSW our new home. Besides here the only other places we visited was Nowra, NSW and Callala Bay, NSW and neither compare to Currarong.

Campground – Unfortunately this month we didn’t get out to explore any other campgrounds so will have to skip that this month.

Fishing Spot – Brendon had a great time with kingfish at Big Beecroft.

Attraction – This month the highlight activity for me was exploring the Currarong coastline by foot and on the paddle board. Even though I did lose my sunglasses exploring the water was spectacular with the amount of marine life.

Meal Out – Hands down Christmas lunch with the Bells. With pork, beef, roast vegtables, prawns and caramel tarts what is not to love..

So January we will continue to work here at Holiday Haven Currarong until the kids go back to school. We are really excited that we have organised some friends to come and stay with us. We haven’t seen the Off the Track 4×4 crew and Amanda and Matt since October 2018 so can’t wait..

~ Leah

Month Thirteen on the Road – November 2019

MONTH #13
Balcolyn > Currarong
1,525 kmIn Muddie
$509.37FUEL
$573.92GROCERIES
$2,179.15TOTAL SPEND
0FISH CAUGHT

November was a great month with only good news to share. 🙂

We travelled from my (Leah) parents place in Lake Macquarie down to the South Coast of NSW which we will be calling home for the next few months. It is such a beautiful part of Australia and we can’t wait to explore it…

We had a family holiday with my family for a week in Batemans Bay, it was also to celebrate my 40th birthday. It is a spectacular place and meant lots of family time and eating. My sister, 2yo nephew and I got into some rock painting which I will continue during my travels, it is pretty cool.

But the best part of my birthday was the present from Brendon. He totally suprised me with a pendant he made out of a six pence he found metal detecting and a zircon we found whilst fossicking in NT. It is one of a kind and means alot not only because of where he sourced the materials but because he spent so much time learning how to make it and then making it.

We had no repairs or replacements to Muddie or any of our gear fingers crossed that now we are having a break from the harsh environments we also have a break from that. Soon Muddie will have a break from having the tinny on top full time, towing the camper and having a full fridge in the back. We do still have to get the air conditioning looked at but that is nothing urgent as it is alot cooler down here and we survived the 40°+ earlier this year in NT.

With a great month and lots of celebrating we also had one of our cheapest.

This is how we went…..

Distance Travelled = 1,525 km

Expenses

Fuel: $509.37
Groceries: $573.92
Eating Out: $116.20
Alcohol: $88.00
Accommodation: $30.00
Truck: $6.00
Camping Gear: $231.42
Boat/Fishing Gear: $80.99
Entertainment: $0.00
Personal: $121.63
Bills: $310.14
Misc/Incidentals: $6.99
Permits/Licences: $104.49
Total: $ 2,179.15
Weekly Average: $508.47

Facts

Cheapest Fuel: $1.44 (Woolworths Petrol, Morisett, NSW)
Most Expensive Fuel: $1.53 (Woolworths Petrol, Batemans Bay, NSW)
Big Things Seen: None
Nights Free Camped: 12
Nights Low Cost Camped: 0
Nights Caravan Parks: 1
Nights Family Friends Sitting: 17
Times We Set Up Full Camp: 2
Longest Stay (Nights): 10
Shortest Stay (Nights): 1
Days On The Road: 6
Boat Trips: 0
Fish Caught: 0
Fish Caught - Brendon:
Fish Caught - Leah:

Favourites

Location - Brendon: Batemans Bay, NSW
Location - Leah: Batemans Bay, NSW
Campground - Brendon: Bendeela, Kangaroo Valley, NSW
Campground - Leah: Bendeela, Kangaroo Valley, NSW
Fishing Spot - Brendon: None
Fishing Spot - Leah: None
Activity - Brendon: Seeing all the wombats at Bendeela
Activity - Leah: Seeing all the wombats at Bendeela
Meal Out - Brendon: Leftovers from Birthday Lunch
Meal Out - Leah: Birthday Lunch

Summary

Woo Hoo!!! We came in under budget for the second time since we hit the road last October. With an average weekly spend of just $508.47 it meant that we were $148.37 under budget each week.

Now to be honest this great work was helped along by having no repairs to Muddie, we stayed with family for 2 weeks which lowered accomodation and food expenses (but put on a few kilos), the rest of the time we free camped and we did alot less kms than we had been doing over the past few months.

Our top three expenses were groceries, fuel and bills.

Whilst we stayed with family for half of the month we still like to pay our way when we are allowed too. The remaining two weeks that we free camped we made sure we had enough supplies to get us by as the closest major centres where 30 mins away and there was no access to fast food. Which is a good thing really.

When you own a 4WD fuel costs are always going to be up there especially when you are on the road. So whilst we did less kms we were still doing a fair bit of driving. In general fuel prices are significantly cheaper down here compared to where we have spent the last year which is a nice change.

Our expenditure on bills has gone up and will stay up from now on. This is because before heading off in October last year we paid for the insurance for both Muddie and the camper for the full year. Now without having so much disposable income we were not able to do that. When we pick up some work this is something we plan to get out of the way. We also had Roadside Assistance due and we would NEVER go without that.

So what about our favourities for the month, strangely we agreed on everything this month….
Town – Batemans Bay, NSW was both of our favourite. For me it was spending a family holiday there. For Brendons it was about the proximity to so many things to visit and do.

Campground – For both of us Bendeela Free Camp in the Kangaroo Valley, was our favourite. The grounds were green with plenty of space to spread out, they even open up a second section on weekends and holidays to give everyone enough room to enjoy their time. The water in the river was quite low but it was still ok for kayaking, paddleboarding and going for a swim. But what made the place was the wombats that come out on dusk and casually walk around eating until dawn. They are not bothered by people taking photos near them, but it is requested that you don’t touch, feed etc.

Fishing Spot – Once again another month of no fishing but I have a feeling this will change when we set up in Currarong.

Attraction – The highlight for both of us was definately the wombats at Bendeela. OMG… they are so cute and totally chilled out.

Meal Out – My favourite was the birthday lunch with my family. Brendons was the home made buffet we had one night of some leftovers.

Next month we will be hanging around the South Coast untill we start six weeks work at Holiday Haven at Currarong. We are going to help out for the madness that is school holidays in a caravan park. This will give us some very valuable experience of working in a caravan park. It will also be our second Christmas and New Year in the camper, how time flies.

~Leah

Theresa Creek Campgrounds

Address: Theresa Creek Dam Road, Clermont QLD 4721, Australia
Location Description:
Cost: Low cost / Donation
Type: Campground
Features:
  • Tents
  • Camper Trailers
  • Caravans
  • 2WD Access
  • 4WD Access
  • Dog Friendly
  • Toilets
  • Showers
  • Bins
  • Drinking Water
  • Non-Potable Water
  • Generators
  • BBQ
  • Fires Permitted
  • No Phone Reception
  • WiFi Available
  • Kiosk
  • Restaurant/Cafe
  • Playground
  • Gas Refills
  • Information
  • Boat Ramp
  • Fishing
  • Swimming

Description:

When we drove into the Goldfields area of Central Queensland it was exactly what I expected large open areas of dry land and dust with some mountains scattered through the landscape. After seeing so many dry rivers and lakes I did not expect much from Theresa Creek Dam Campsite.

Theresa Creek Dam Campgrounds is located 22 kms South-West of Clermont, Qld like the name suggests it is right on the edge of the dam and when we were there was plenty of water (and redclaw). It is quite a hidden oasis in the middle of the outback offering lots of space and water for you to enjoy your holiday.

The road into the campground is sealed all the way from Clermont so it is accessible for all vehicles and all setups.

The campground offers a range of campsites, with the sites not being defined it means that any size set up can enjoy any area of the campground. There are no powered sites at the campground so you are dependant on a generator (between 8:30am – 8:30pm) or solar for your power needs. The ground surface of the sites is dirt so I would suggest a ground mat and some good pegs as it can get a little windy. Whilst there is lots of trees around that provide shade there is not a lot of vegetation that provide privacy between sites.

There are two sections within the campground one is located near the kiosk/cafe and one on the other side of the bay. Both have their benefits so here is a little bit about the two areas:

Near the kiosk/cafe – Main benefit is the proximity of the kiosk/cafe, amenities blocks, boat ramp, designated swimming area, day-use areas and kids playground. The grounds in this area appear to be well maintained in regards to watering and mowing of the areas that are grassed. There is very limited sites on the waterfront so you may have people walking next to you to access the water if you camp down there. The waterfront sites are mostly shaded and it would be difficult to depend purely on solar, the non-waterfront sites offer shaded, partially shaded and un-shaded areas. Most of the sites with the exception of the waterfront ones are gently sloping.

Opposite side of the dam – The area generally has less people, there is access to the marina where you could have your watercraft moored up. There are also some camping shelters. It is also suitable for larger groups due to the space and not having so many people to be concerned about your noise. The area has limited trees, especially on the northern aspect so assume solar panels would do well.

The campground has ammenties blocks with flushing toilets and hot showers. They were quite run down and could definitely do with an update, but they served their purpose. During our stay, they appeared to be working on some additional smaller amenity buildings. There are large bins provided in a few locations to dispose of rubbish. The day-use area located next to the kiosk/cafe offers shaded seating areas, electric BBQs and kids playground. You are allowed to have campfires but check on current local fire restrictions.

The kiosk/cafe sells a small range of basic supplies including drinks, groceries, gas and ice. The cafe has a surprisingly very large range of options including cakes, burgers, fish and chips and real coffee. Meals can be taken back to your campsite or enjoyed in the cafe area that looks over the dam and the playground.

The dam offers access to all types of water activities both motorised and non-motorised. The boat ramp within the campground makes it easy to launch your boat which you could leave tied up overnight in front of your site. If paddling is more your thing there is plenty of water to explore in your kayak or paddle-board. There is a designated swimming area for the safety of swimmers however, during our stay the water was quite murky.

For the kids there is a great playground located next to the kiosk/cafe which will keep them entertained for hours, the area would be suitable for bikes and there are large areas to kick a ball or hit a six.

Theresa Creek Dam also hosts various events over the year including music, movies, raffles etc which are advertised on their facebook page.

For the anglers there are plenty of fish in Theresa Creek Dam but you need to obtain a fishing permit from Department of Primary Industries . If you are after a fish, the dam is very seasonal so plan to go in the summer, there are opportunities for both landbased fisho’s and those with watercraft, be it a kayak or boat. Theresa Creek Dam is also well known for redclaw which you don’t need a permit for. Ensure before you head out that you are aware of any any rules and regulations.

Dog are allowed but must be on a leash at all times, other restrictions also apply and are available at the front desk on check in.

There is no booking for the campground, it is first in first served basis. You need to check in at the kiosk on arrival, if you arrive after hours just pop into the office in the morning. For current opening hours check their facebook page.  Sites are charged per couple and kids are free.

There is an abundance of wildlife that call the dam home, including rainbow lorikeets, ducks, shags, turtles, fish, redclaw and these cute little nocturnals that I think were bandicoots. All of these provide perfect photo opportunities and enjoyable just to watch. They are wildlife though so do not feed them and keep domestic animals away.

It is important to remember that that phone reception is patchy so it is EFTPOS is not always available so they request cash only.

The dam is also a glass free area, so all drinks need to be in plastic bottles or cans.

Phone and Wifi access is not reliable but you MAY get something up near the kiosk/cafe.

Closest Services:
Chemical Toilet Dump Point: Onsite
Water: Non-Potable water available onsite
Waste Transfer Station: Large bins onsite
Container Exchange Point: Grand Hotel Clermont, 72 Capella St, Clermont


About The Area:

Clermont was the first inland settlement in the tropics established in 1864. It was born after the discovery of gold in 1861 in a gully now known as Nelson's Gully. Word spread of the gold and by the end of 1862 there was more than 1000 miners working in the goldfields. This was then followed by another gold rush as more fields where discovered in the area.

In 1916 Clermont was devasted by flood waters from a cyclone on the East coast. When the water subsided the town was in ruins and 65 people had drowned. Three pianos were found in trees surrounding Sandy Creek, this is why there is now a replica piano in a tree just out of town.

Since then the Clermont area has played an important role in various industries including sheep, cattle, horses, timber and grain. It was this coal mining population boom in 1980's in resulted in Theresa Creek Dam being built in 1983.

These days Theresa Creek Dam is the main water supply for Clermont and the destination for lots of recreational activities.


Nearby Attractions:

Closest Tourist Information Centre: Cnr Herschel and Karmoo Streets, Clermont Qld
Things to do around Theresa Creek Dam include:
- Go in search for gold at the surrounding goldfields
- Play spot the frog in the train murals in Clermont
- Stroll along the Memorial Walk and enjoy a picnic at Hoods Lagoon
- Visit the famous 'Piano in a Tree' and 1916 flood marker in Clermont
- Enjoy a scenic drive through Peak Range Park
- Drop into 'Copperfield' ghost town, Queenslands first copper mine
- Visit the historical center to learn all about the history of the area
- Fossik for gems in the gemfields in nearby Rubyvale


Closest Town And Distance: Clermont - 22kms

What We Liked: The wildlife, tranquility and view made it very easy to relax and enjoy the dam whilst Brendon could drive to the general fossiking areas for the day.

What We Didn't Like: The facilites were run down and needed some work. However, it appeared that this was something they were addressing.

Photos:

Month Twelve on the Road – October 2019

MONTH #12
Alice Springs > Balcolyn
4,560 kmIn Muddie
$1740.30FUEL
$604.04GROCERIES
$5,899.46TOTAL SPEND
FISH CAUGHT

October saw us start in Alice Springs, head over to the east coast and then south along the coast to Lake Macquarie. It was a great month as these route allowed us to spend time with our friends 3 Escape Together, one of my besties Meegan and our families. It was so great to catch up with everyone, but I am sure by the time we said our sad goodbyes they were still keen to hear about our adventures.

Spending 2 weeks with each of our families meant we could take over garage space and back yards and clear out some stuff that we really didn’t need and give the camper a really good clean. We also gave the inside of Muddie a good clean, after travelling through the outback with no air conditioning it was well and truely needed.

This is how we went…..

Distance Travelled = 4,560 km

Expenses

Fuel: $1,740.30
Groceries: $604.04
Eating Out: $204.30
Alcohol: $120.48
Accommodation: $0.00
Truck: $2,840.60
Camping Gear: $0.00
Boat/Fishing Gear: $0.00
Entertainment: $0.00
Personal: $46.99
Bills: $178.45
Misc/Incidentals: $159.19
Permits/Licences: $5.11
Total: $ 5,899.46
Weekly Average: $1,332.14

Facts

Cheapest Fuel: $1.40 (Woolworths Petrol, Morisett, NSW)
Most Expensive Fuel: $2.05 (Jervois Station, Plenty Hwy, NT)
Big Things Seen: Big Banana
Nights Free Camped: 7
Nights Low Cost Camped: 1
Nights Caravan Parks: 3
Nights Family Friends Sitting: 20
Times We Set Up Full Camp: 0
Longest Stay (Nights): 14
Shortest Stay (Nights): 1
Days On The Road: 11
Boat Trips:
Fish Caught:
Fish Caught - Brendon:
Fish Caught - Leah:

Favourites

Location - Brendon: Newcastle, NSW
Location - Leah: Hervey Bay, Qld
Campground - Brendon: Burke River, Boulia
Campground - Leah: Burke River, Boulia
Fishing Spot - Brendon: Burke River, Boulia
Fishing Spot - Leah: Burke River, Boulia
Activity - Brendon: Fossiking at the Mud Tank NT
Activity - Leah: Catching redclaw at Burke River Qld
Meal Out - Brendon: Balinese Red Claw, Hervey Bay Qld
Meal Out - Leah: Everything at Mum's place, Balcolyn NSW

Summary

Once again we were over budget, I am thinking that it needs to be adjusted but with mainly being due to unforseen expenses it is a little hard to plan for them. So the weekly expenses worked out to be over by $694.23.

Our major costs related to Fuel, Muddie and Food.

This month we drove the most we have done since we left Brisbane 12 months ago. October 2018 saw us drive 4,413kms as we made our way from Brisbane to Balcolyn to Cape York. Funnily enough we ended this month in Balcolyn. Driving these distances definately puts up costs with the most we paid for fuel was $2.05 per litre.

The electrical issues were finally sorted out after being looked at by a few different people. But the Plenty Hwy, NT took its toll with two blown tyres on Muddie and the camper required roadside repairs due to the corregations –  exhaust for the heating system snapped and thesplit pin for the trailing arm suspension started to rub on the poly water tank. But the worst was that we had a requirement for the wheels to be interchangable between the camper and Muddie. This was agreed to in writing and when we tried to move the camper spare onto Muddie it did not fit. So at 10.30 Brendon had to make up a spacer plate on the side of the road which with the tools at hand took until 3am.

Our last big expense was food. It is WAY to easy just to grab something to eat from a servo or fast food joint when you are travelling. But I can gladly say that our grocery billl was a still acceptable amount of just over $150pw. We planned for travelling days with quick breakfasts, snacks and drinks brought from the supermarket, sandwiches for lunch and quick easy dinners. Whilst staying with our families we got some meals covered we also made sure that we paid our way when we were allowed.

The three nights that we stayed in a caravan park in Alice Springs, NT did not cost us anything as it was still covered by RACQ. We would definately recommend that you get the top level roadside assistance that you can afford before travelling. The money we have saved is way more than what it cost us. Staying with friends and family meant no accomodation costs this month.

So what about our favourities for the month….
Town – Brendon’s favourite town was Newcastle, NSW it is a great location. Walking distance from the CBD is the Port of Newcastle, the lighthouse, ocean baths, the beach and lots of community parks and areas to enjoy. Mine would be Hervey Bay, Qld, I had never been and even though it was a quick overnight stop I saw enough to make me want to go back. The slides in the park on the water are awesome, even for adults.

Campground – Both of us agreed that the best campsite for this month was the free camp on the Burke River at Boulia, Qld. It is a great free camp with plenty of space to spread out, you can swim in the river and there were plenty of red claw. See our review of the Burke River Campsite here.

Fishing Spot – Now we didn’t really go fishing this month the closest we came was catching some red claw at the Burke River, Qld. But I know if we had the time Brendon would have definately had a line in at Hervey Bay, Qld.

Attraction – Fossking for gems at the Mud Tank off the Plenty Hwy, NT was definately a highlight for Brendon. Unfortunately, whilst we left with lots of pretty clear gems/rocks I don’t think they would be something to retire on. For me it is back to the Burke River and catching my first ever Redclaw.

Meal Out – This month both our favourite meals we enjoyed with friends and family. Brendons favourite was the wicked balinese style redclaw that Maria from 3 Escape Together whipped up with the redclaw we caught. For me it was my mums cooking. Huge thanks to Maria and Mum for our favourite dishes for October 2019.

November will see us continue down to the South Coast of NSW where we plan to spend the next few months. We are going to enjoy a holiday with my family before heading back into the workforce for the Christmas School Holidays to top up the bank accounts.

~Leah

Burke River Campground, Boulia (Free Camp)

Address: Selwyn Road, Boulia Qld.
Location Description: Head out of town along Burke Street, towards the Boulia Showground. You will see a camel farm on your left. Once you get to the showground you will notice a camping area, this is NOT the freecamp but camping only open during showground events. Follow the road all the way around where it turns into a track, continue along the track till you reach a large open area on the river. This is the beginning of the camping areas.
Cost: Free
Type: Campground
Website:
Features:
  • Tents
  • Camper Trailers
  • Caravans
  • 2WD Access
  • 4WD Access
  • Dog Friendly
  • Bins
  • Generators
  • Fires Permitted
  • Phone Reception
  • Fishing
  • Swimming

Description:

This is a great outback free camp located right on the banks of the Burke River. Depending on the time of year after travelling through kilometers of dry landscape it is a great change to see a river with water. Located near the cross roads of the Plenty Hwy, NT to the West, Diamantia Devlopment Road to Mount Isa, Qld to the North or Birdsville, Qld to the South and Kennedy Development Road to Winton to the East it is the perfect location to stop off for a few hours, overnight or an extended stay and recharge the batteries before you hit the road again.

Once you get off the sealed road at the showgrounds it is only a short easy drive into the camping areas. Whilst it is a dirt track there is nothing to present a huge issue for 2WD or larger rigs (the grass can get a little high) you may want to just take it slower for your own comfort.

The campsites are freerange and people have set up various camps right along the river bed. However the big open space that you drive into on entry to the campground is best suited to larger set ups. The remaining sites that people have made up range in size from a single to group set ups. The base of the campgrounds when we where there was mostly squashed down high grasses but it is dirt underneath so at other times of year it would be dirt. The sites are either flat or have a gentle slope and are surrounded by shurbs offering some level of privacy between sites. They are also mainly shaded by gumtrees which may cause an issue for solar.

There are no toilets, showers or access to drinking water within the campground. There are some toilets at the showground but we cannot confirm whether they are open for use by the public at anytime. There are a couple of bins for rubbish disposal which appear to be emptied regularly. If the bins are full take your rubbish with you to avoid feral animals spreading it and ruining a great campground. The local waste transfer station is only a short drive from the site.

Fire are permitted, it is best to use the existing fire spots within the campsites. Ensure that you check the current fire restriction status for the area before you go to the campground.

The water level of the Burke River varies considerably with the volume of rain from within the catchment. But when the water level is suitable it is a great location for a swim and the locals also pop down. Depending on the time of year there are also redclaw and fishing within the river.

We visited the campground in September and were warned by a couple of locals that some brown snakes had been spotted in the campground. We personally did not see any but it is important to keep in mind that they may be around.

Closest Services:
Petrol Station: Herbert Street, Boulia Qld.
Water: Herbert Street, Boulia Qld. (beside council building or in the park up the road)
Chemical Toilet Dump Point: Hamilton Road, Boulia Qld.
Waste Transfer Station: Bedourie Road, Boulia Qld.
Container Exchange Point: Mount Isa, Qld. & Winton, Qld.


About The Area:

Boulia is part of channel country that passes through outback queensland. Given enough range the dry creek beds fill and water flows across state boards into places like Lake Eyre, Goyders Lagoon, and Coongie Lakes. These channels play a vital part in the cattle industry.

Once a year the sleepy town comes to life when it host the Melbourne Cup of Camel Races, the Great Australian Camel Race. The event draws people from all over the country to come take part in the event. But it is not just racing camels, it is racing lawn mowers & yabbies too. There is facinators, live music, fireworks and fun for the kids. And if that hasn't sold the event you camp onsite and enjoy a drink next to the campfire.

The more mysterious side of Boulia is the famous Min Min Lights. It is said that back in in 1918 a stockman was chased down by some mysterious floating lights near the site of the Min Min Hotel but by the time he got to the town of Boulia they had simply vanished. There are more recent accounts of the lights being seen but they aren't something everyone can go out to see, the Min Min Lights look for you.


Nearby Attractions:

Closest Tourist Information Centre: Herbert Street, Boulia Qld.
There is lots of things to have a look at and do in the Boulia area including:
- Min Min Lights Encounter
- Boulia Camel Races
- Boulia Hertitage Centre
- Min Min Hotel Site
- Old Police Barracks
- Corroboree Tree


Closest Town And Distance: Boulia, Qld. - 4.5km

What We Liked: It was great to be able to camp at a convient location on a river (with water) in the middle of the outback. Going for a swim and catching some redclaw was a great bonus.

What We Didn't Like: It is very common in places that you can have fires but there was so many existing fire sites, meaning that you had to set up on or nearly on some ashes. This could easily be fixed by people using existing firespots.

Photos:

Month Eleven on the Road – September 2019

MONTH #11
Kuranda > Alice Springs
2,310 kmIn Muddie
$1567.80FUEL
$576.95GROCERIES
$6,368.06TOTAL SPEND
6FISH CAUGHT

Wow…. September was an EPIC month and we have did/saw so much but that also comes with the big price tag.

We started off in Kuranda and ended in Alice Springs. Along the way we snorkled, went paddleboarding, swam in the ocean, went gold prospecting, found saphires, caught our first red claw, went to the NT for the first time, saw the rock and the Olgas, used the heater for the first time in the camper, had an amazing meat pie, made some great new friends and ended the month with Muddie on a tow truck… again. 🙁

Looking back at all we have done over the last month it is no suprise that we blew the budget for the month. But it was worth every cent and would do it all again except having to put Muddie on a tow truck.

Turns out that we aren’t real good at budgeting or sticking to it but practice makes perfect, right?

But this is how we went..

Distance Travelled = 2,310 km

Expenses

Fuel: $1,567.80
Groceries: $576.95
Eating Out: $224.15
Alcohol: $431.27
Accommodation: $125.82
Truck: $606.96
Camping Gear: $1,474.12
Boat/Fishing Gear: $0.00
Entertainment: $0.00
Personal: $227.98
Bills: $341.00
Misc/Incidentals: $729.81
Permits/Licences: $62.20
Total: $ 6,368.06
Weekly Average: $1,485.88

Facts

Cheapest Fuel: $1.43 (United, 105-115 Cairns Rd, Gordonvale QLD)
Most Expensive Fuel: $2.17 (Shell, 257 Yulara Dr, Yulara NT)
Big Things Seen: Big Boot - Tully, Big Mango - Bowen, Frosty Mango - Bowen, Big Pumpkin - TNQ, Big Watermelon - TNQ
Nights Free Camped: 16
Nights Low Cost Camped: 3
Nights Caravan Parks: 8
Nights Family Friends Sitting: 3
Times We Set Up Full Camp: 4
Longest Stay (Nights): 6
Shortest Stay (Nights): 1
Days On The Road: 14
Boat Trips: 0
Fish Caught: 6
Fish Caught - Brendon: 6
Fish Caught - Leah: 0

Favourites

Location - Brendon: Bowen, Qld
Location - Leah: Ilfracombe, Qld
Campground - Brendon: Tully Gorge National Park, Qld
Campground - Leah: Tully Gorge National Park, Qld
Fishing Spot - Brendon: Tully Gorge National Park, Qld
Fishing Spot - Leah: Burke River, Boulia Qld
Activity - Brendon: Uluru, NT
Activity - Leah: Valley of the Winds hike, The Olgas NT
Meal Out - Brendon: Beef Ribs, Curtain Springs NT
Meal Out - Leah: Beef Ribs, Curtain Springs NT

Summary

Once again we had a significant overspend of roughly $826.88 per week.

Seems we didn’t really pull it in on the luxuries like we were meant to and once again spent to much on booze and eating out. Next month “should” be a little better with hopely no big expenses but we are going to be visiting friends and family so we will see.

We also had some big ticket items purchased this month including a generator and some new hard drives and SD cards. The brakes and rotors needed to be replaced in Muddie and a tyre bead repair was needed.

Even though we spent 8 nights in caravan parks our accomodation costs were low this was due to our stay in Alice Springs was covered by RACQ as Muddie went in for more repairs.

Since purchasing our camper we haven’t needed to use the heater as we have steered clear of the cold weather. But the first time we used it was in mid-October in NT. Yes, it was too cold to go outside without gloves, beanie and a big jacket. Who would have picked NT to be the location.

So quick run down on our favourites for this month:

Town/Place – Brendon’s was Bowen, Qld and it is easy to see why the place is absolutely beautiful and with perfect weather having a dip/snorkel/paddle in the ocean it is hard to beat. But for me it was Illfracombe and not so much for the town but the Wellshot Hotel is awesome definately one of my favourite country pubs.

Campground – We both agreed that Tully Gorge National Park was hands down the best. We stayed at alot of places but this was “Gorge”ous (had to do it). Check out our review to find out more.

Fishing Spot – Tully Gorge was Brendons favourite with landing a few jungle perch in the fast flowing Tully River. For me Burke River where I caught my first ever redclaw.

Attraction – Well both of our favourites were in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Highlight for Brendon was Uluru as he wanted to visit it for a long time and for me hiking the Olgas was on my bucket list. 

Meal – For both of us it was the beef ribs at Curtin Springs Station. They are sourced from the station and really well cooked and huge. Would definately recommend them if you are out that way.

In October we headed back to the east coast to visit friends and family. Then make our way down to the south coast of NSW where we will stay for the next few months.

~ Leah

Tully Gorge National Park

Address: Tully Gorge Road, Ravenshoe Qld
Location Description: Tully Gorge National Park camping area is located 41km from the township of Tully, Qld.
Cost: Low cost / Donation
Type: Campground
Features:
  • Tents
  • Camper Trailers
  • Caravans
  • Disabled Access
  • 2WD Access
  • 4WD Access
  • Toilets
  • Showers
  • Non-Potable Water
  • Generators
  • BBQ
  • Fires Permitted
  • No Phone Reception
  • Information
  • Crocodiles
  • Fishing
  • Bush Walking
  • Look Out

Description:

Tully Gorge campground is a clean, well maintained and specatcular camp ground nestled within the gorge next to the Tully River.  It is surrounded by beautiful rainforest and you can fall asleep listening the the river bubble over the rocks.

The drive in presents no issues for 2wds as it is sealed all the way. There are some steep and windy sections that may mean it will be a bit slower drive for those towing but nothing to be concerned about.

It is a low cost campground that is managed by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services (QPWS) so e-tags must be purchased prior to camping. Bookings can be made online, over the phone or at the tourist information centre in Tully. Bare in mind that there is no phone reception there so you will have to book in advance.

The facilities were very clean with flushing toilets and cold showers.  There are no bins for rubbish at the campground so you need to take it out with you.

The area is also has a separate day use area with a designated carpark  which means that you don’t have day visitors parking in campsites. The day use area is used by rafting companies, but they seem to be very considerate of those camping. The day use area also had sheltered picnic tables and BBQs.

The camping area is a large open space with no marked campsites. Non-drinking water taps and fireplaces are scattered throughout. Firewood is not provided and being a National Park you are NOT allowed to collect it within the park so grab some on your way in. Also ensure that you check if there are any fire bans in the area.

Ensure you read the QPWS information board at the front of the camping area so you are aware of any rules, restrictions and warnings for the area.

Closest Services:

  • Tourist Information Centre: Bruce Highway, Tully
  • Chemical Toilet Dumppoint: Tully Showgrounds, Butler St, Tully
  • Waste Transfer Stateion: 360 Tully Gorge Road, Jarra Creek
  • Containers for Change Collection Point: MAMS Tully – 575 Andersen St, Tully

About The Area:

Tully Gorge National Park is also a Wet Tropics Heritage Listed area and forms part of Wooroonooran Important Bird Area. The Southern Cassowary is endemic to this region.

But what it is most famous for it the Tully River. The Tully River runs through the National Park starting at the Cardwell Ranges, which is part of the great dividing range and flows out to the Coral Sea on the east cost of Queensland. The Tully River is a very popular but challenging white water destination with multiple rapids and lush rainforests.


Nearby Attractions:

Whether you are into adventerous activites or just seeing the sights there is plenty to see and do in Tully. Here are some you should check out:
- Sugar Mill Tours
- Visit the Golden Gumboot
- Wet a line in the Tully River
- Climb Mount Tyson or enjoy a bush walk in Tully Gorge National Park
- Take a dip in Aligators Nest day use area or in natures own infinity pool (we didn't get there but it is on the bucket list now.) in Tully Gorge National Park
- Collect a map from the visitors center and take yourself on a self guided tour of the Tully Heritage Trail
- And for the more adventerous rafting or kayaking the mighty Tully River.


Closest Town And Distance: Tully, Qld - 41km

What We Liked: The question is "Why isn't this place busy?" There are only two reasons that I can think of: 1. It is a fair way off the main highway if you are just passing through, or 2. People just don't know it is there. It would definately rate as one of the top QPWS campgrounds that we have stayed at and I think this is due to a the pristine location and the standard of how the grounds and facilities are maintained.

What We Didn't Like: It was really hard deciding what we didn't like about this campground cause it was great but for me it would have to be how cold it got. We were there in October and whilst it was a coolish day when the sun disappeared it got real cold. But this is easy solved by sitting around enjoying a campfire.

Photos:

Batavia Goldfield Ruins Campground (Free Camp)

Address: Portland Road, Lockhart Qld
Location Description: Turn off is approximately 18km east of the intersection of Portland Rd and Peninsula Development Road. It is approximately 1km drive along the track till you get to the first campsite.
Cost: Free
Type: Campground
Website:
Features:
  • Tents
  • Camper Trailers
  • 4WD Access
  • Dog Friendly
  • Generators
  • Fires Permitted
  • No Phone Reception
  • Dingos
  • Bush Walking
  • Motor Bikes

Description:

Batavia Goldfield Ruins Camping Area is on the road out to Portland Roads, Chilli Beach and Lockhart River.

The area is Queensland State Heritage Listed so it is essential that the area is treated with respect and looked after as it played a significant role in the development of the area.

The drive in is relatively easy with no serious obstacles, there are however a number of washouts and fallen trees to navigate through the by passes that have been made by other visitors. Some of the bypasses can be a tight squeeze. Whilst the track is wide enough for a camper trailer I would only suggest it if you are super keen on seeing the actual ruins. Caravans would be out due to the tight turns. This is 4wd only primarily due to clearance.

There are no designated spots for camping so you will see a number of little ‘driveways’ off the track to little sites, suitable for a maximum of 2 cars with rooftops, swags or small tents. Most of these have partial shade and existing fire pits.

If you head past these and toward the ruins (about 1 km) you will come to the first lot of old machinery and ruins. This has a large open area with a firepit in the middle and would be suitable for a group. Whilst this area has heaps of cool stuff to go look at there is no shade available.

The area ranges from sand to hard fine dirt which would require alot of work to get pegs into.

This is a free camp so there are no amenities, water or rubbish disposal facilities. So please ensure that you camp responsibly.


About The Area:

Batavia Goldfield (now known as Wenlock Goldfield) was officially proclaimed in 1892 following the discovery of gold by William Baird at Retreat Creek, a tributary of the Wenlock River. Later three camps were establish, Top Camp (Plutoville), Bairdsville and Lower Camp (Wenlock)

The significance of the area to Queensland history and heritage has seen it become heritage listed. This is some interesting information on the area:
- Historically the most productive area in Cape York in the Depression years of the early 1930's.
- Aborigines (Pluto, Kitty Pluto, Friday Wilson) played significant roles in discovering and working the mining claims.
- Kitty Pluto is the only woman recorded as discovering a goldfield in Queensland.
- The remains of the Huntington mill is rare and the most intact of the two recorded in North Queensland.
- All portable mining equipment was removed by Australian Armed Forces during WWII. In an tactical effort to deny the enemy of resources that could be used to advance them.


Nearby Attractions:

Batavia Goldfield is on the road to a few iconic attractions of Cape York.

It is on the main road out to Lockhart River, Portland Roads and Chilli beach.

Portland Road marks the eastern end of the famous Frenchmans track.


Closest Town And Distance: Archer River Roadhouse - Approx 52km

What We Liked: The history of the area and all the remaining machinery that was left around to go discover.

What We Didn't Like: The limited shade in the main camping area.

Photos:

Have we found Australia’s Best Meat Pie?

We think we have…..

Brendon about to try the Gemtree Meat Pie.

This delicous meat pie is made from home made pastry and a minimum of 290g (Yes you read that right, 290g) of rich beef filling. Now I know what you are thinking that is nearly the same as a lunch rump steak at your local, and trust me you will be full as a goog after this one.

290g of Meaty Goodness in this Pie

As you can see from the picture this pie is not all sauce and it is not going to drip down the front of you. The steak is so tender and along with the chunks there is also shreaded beef. I was a little concerned when I read the board and it mentioned papper as I am not a huge fan of pepper but it is definately not a prominent flavour.

But it is not all about the filling… The pie has a golden flakey top and the crust is not too thick so it is cooked through and holds its shape when taken out of the foil. Even with all the weight of the filling.

Golden Pastry Lid on the Gemtree Pie

And they are only $8.00……… But they do sell out. We had to wait 30 mins for one to cook but so worth the wait.

Gemtree Menu Board

So where can you get your hands on one of this flakey beefy parcels of goodness?

Gemtree Caravan Park on the Plenty Highway in NT. You can not drive past without stopping in.

Gemtree Caravan Park, Plenty Hwy Northern Territory.

Where is your best pie from?

Month Ten on the Road – August 2019



MONTH #10
Pennefather River > Kuranda
2,310 km In Muddie
$1293.47 FUEL
$782.1 GROCERIES
$3,391.14 TOTAL SPEND
47 FISH CAUGHT

After nine months in Cape York we have started to head south west for the next chapter of our adventure. The past nine months have been amazing, we have been lucky enough to meet some unreal people to share our adventure with, have some awesome experiences all within a magical place. Cape York is and will always be a very special place to us and with only scratching the surface of this diverse area we will be back…

Second month of trying to forward budget and we blew it…. again! Interestingly enough by pretty much the same amount. It is proving to be harder than we expected to stick to a budget on the road when your life is so unpredictable. But if it helps keep us in line and not working for a little longer it is worth the effort. So for now we are going to stick with it.

So this is how we went..

Distance Travelled = 2,310 km

Expenses


Fuel: $1,293.47

Groceries: $782.10

Eating Out: $155.50

Alcohol: $333.05

Accommodation: $371.40

Truck: $235.50

Camping Gear: $0.00

Boat/Fishing Gear: $26.93

Entertainment: $0.00

Personal: $9.00

Bills: $154.19

Misc/Incidentals: $0.00

Permits/Licences: $30.00


Total:
$
3,391.14
Weekly Average: $765.74

Facts


Cheapest Fuel: $1.67 (Weipa Service Centre, Weipa Qld)

Most Expensive Fuel: $1.95 (Independent, Lockhart River, Qld)
Big Things Seen: None
Nights Free Camped: 11

Nights Low Cost Camped: 14
Nights Caravan Parks: 6
Nights Family Friends Sitting: 0
Times We Set Up Full Camp: 8
Longest Stay (Nights): 6
Shortest Stay (Nights): 1
Days On The Road: 10
Boat Trips: 12
Fish Caught: 47
Fish Caught - Brendon: 44
Fish Caught - Leah: 3

Favourites

Location - Brendon: Pennefather River, Cape York Qld.
Location - Leah: Stones Crossing, Cape York Qld.
Campground - Brendon: Pennefather River, Cape York Qld
Campground - Leah: Wenlock River east of Stones Crossing, Cape York Qld
Fishing Spot - Brendon: Pennefather River, Cape York Qld.
Fishing Spot - Leah: Janie Creek, Cape York Qld.
Activity - Brendon: Fishing at Pennefather River, Cape York Qld.
Activity - Leah: Night excursion to see if turtles had come ashore to lay eggs
Meal Out - Brendon: Zinger Burger - Wild Cape Cafe Mapoon, Cape York Qld.
Meal Out - Leah: Wild Cape Burger - Wild Cape Cafe Mapoon, Cape York Qld.

Summary

Okay with an average weekly overspend of $150.40 it was time to take a good hard look at why we were so over budget.

This month we couldn’t blame bills or truck repairs, we simply blew out on what could be classified as luxuries not necessities. Food, booze and accomodation. Yep a little too much fun…

Food was over due to doing a little bit of a cook up and stock up for the next few weeks whilst we are travelling south.

Booze well we are both to blame, finally into civilization that sold Brookvale Union Ginger Beer, I lashed out and had a drink or two (of course Brendon needed to drink with me. lol!)

Accomodation turns out even low cost camping in National Parks for 14 days can blow the accomodation budget. Looks like free camp where possible from now.

We have decided to buy a generator we have been getting by without one but to keep up with all our gear and two fridges we are going to join the gennie bandwagon. So that is a big expenses budgeted for next month.

Next month we are going to continue south west to Uluru through Central Queensland. Brendon is really looking forward to striking it rich in the goldfields at Clermont. And I am hoping for some water we can swim and paddle in without being eaten.

~ Leah