During the heat of the summer holidays last year, my partner and I took a two week long trip down the East Coast of Australia. We set out from Brisbane with just our car, a tent, two surfboards and an esky. We had vague plans of stopping to stay with friends along the way but it was a liberating feeling to start out with a ‘let’s just wing it’ attitude.
I have close family friends who own property near Bendigo in Victoria and we planned to spend a big New Year’s party with them around the pool, and in the surrounding country. Living in the city can really put a strain on the most patient of us, and we both needed a break and a chance to change routine.
The distance from Brisbane to Melbourne, for those not familiar with the size of Australia, is about a 20 hour drive, and we had plenty of sights to stop at along the way. The coast road is the most scenic for tourists and provides the beaches, national parks and taste of seaside living that most visitors crave. We stopped in Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour and arrived near Newcastle on the first day to stay with friends who lived right on the beach.
Shoal Harbour and the beaches near the city of Newcastle and further down towards the Central Coast of New South Wales are pristine, safe, and very close to hiking trails through national parks. For visitors who want to camp, there is a $5 app called Wikicamps which provides information on all of the free camp spots throughout Australia, complete with directions on how to get there and the services offered at each site. There is also an excellent book called ‘Camps: Australia Wide’ by Philip and Cathryn Fennell which gives useful information on camp grounds, some free, some not, and a lot of pictures to help readers find that perfect spot.
We took mostly inland roads on the way down and there are so many camps to stop at along the way, which is by far the cheapest and most interesting way to see Australia. Driving can be boring, but it is flexible and gives the opportunity to stop whenever and wherever you like! Continue reading
To many, the arrival of autumn’s mild days, chilly nights and heightened rainfall is one met with minimal enthusiasm; it is an unwelcome reminder that the even less desirable conditions of winter are just around the corner.
In Australia, autumn begins to unveil itself in March, and folk are forced to bid goodbye to their globally sought-after summers for yet another year. However, Continue reading
Just over twelve months ago, Reef tour provider Lady Musgrave Island Experience began operating out of Bundaberg Port at Burnett Heads, just four hours’ drive north of Brisbane. It is the most southern port in Queensland with an accessible departure point to Lady Musgrave Island, ‘the jewel of the Southern Great Barrier Reef’ and a true uninhabited coral cay.
Kununurra is an isolated but scenically beautiful area in the far north of Western Australia. It’s located at the eastern extremity of the scenic hills and ranges of the Kimberley Region, bordering the Northern Territory.
Local scraper operator Peter Shaw has been working the farming fields on the outskirts of Kununurra for the last six months and believes the area is a ‘hidden gem’ in Australia’s remote outback. In his time away from his home on the Sunshine Coast, Peter has extensively explored, hiked and camped his way around the area and been to some of the most secretive places known only to the locals. He credits his adventures to long-time local Phil Bloomfield, who took pride in the unique surroundings and spent many weekends giving Peter some of the ‘best times of his life.’
Photographer: Peter Shaw
There is an airport located in Kununurra, but the best mode of transport in this area is definitely by four-wheel-drive, and to access Peter’s recommended sights it is essential. Hiking is one of Peter’s favourite activities and some of the views from the mountain ranges are something few people have seen. The area around Kununurra produces a very dry heat throughout the winter and, heading into the summer season, it is often hit with torrential rain and humidity. These extreme temperatures can make it a difficult place to call home, but they do not detract from its appeal to those who do.
Mon Repos Turtle Centre is situated in the township of Bargara on the Central Queensland coast, in the region of the Southern Great Barrier Reef. The centre serves multiple purposes: a recreation area, a marine turtle nesting site, and a turtle research and conservation centre. It is open to the public and offers turtle nesting encounters to visitors.
My family and I live nearby and are regular visitors to the centre. We have picnicked in the park, swum at the beach, cycled the tracks, and joined in several night-time turtle encounters.
I recently spoke with Cathy Gately, head ranger in charge of the Mon Repos Turtle Centre, who said that the park is critical to the survival of the loggerhead turtle. Continue reading