We arrived in Agnes Water before lunch and headed straight to the town of 1770, just a few kilometres up the coast.
1770 is where Captain Cook first landed in Australia and it’s obvious why he liked what he saw.
We parked the van on the cape and took in stunning views of the town and ocean including two large sandbanks which protrude the sea.
Anna had managed to leave the keys in the ignition and lock the doors to the van as we arrived.
Luckily with so many doors it was inevitable that we had forgotten to lock one of them. She showed a fine level of flexibility in climbing through the kitchen, over the iron bar separating the sleeping area and into the drivers seat to recover the keys.
After lunch we went for a walk around the area, discovering empty beaches, dramatic cliffs and a forest full of butterflies. I enjoyed the latter much more as Anna is afraid of anything that flaps, even the usually non-terrifying butterfly.
We returned to Agnes Water later that afternoon and after gathering a few supplies, we found a nice campground in some woodland. Reading reviews that the ranger collects money at around 7am the next morning we intended to leave before then, naughty.
I messaged Emile and Georgie (our neighbours in Bundaberg) to let them know about the good spot and they arrived shortly after, parking their van next to ours.
The campground led onto a picturesque beach surrounded by forest, so naturally, we wandered down for the sunset.
We hadn’t been to a supermarket for a few days so needed to get creative with dinner that evening. Using spice sachets from instant noodles and a tin of pumpkin soup, we managed to make a pretty decent curry!
From my time working in the bottle shop, we still had a bottle of Bombay Sapphire. We decided to use some of the Bundaberg soft drinks as mixers for that, with varying levels of success. Blood orange was delicious but lemon-lime-bitters was not.
We had a few drinks with E & G and chatted away until it got too cold at around midnight.
Setting my alarm for 6am the next day, we made the short journey from bedroom to cockpit before seeing that we were in fact locked into the site until the ranger had collected his money, bugger!
Having got back into bed, I was glad of the extra sleep as half the gin had vanished the night before and my head wasn’t too good.
After another stroll on the beach that morning we returned to Agnes Water and had a lazy day on the beach.
Despite the ocean being cold, I made the most of swimming and body surfing in it as this is supposedly the last place on the coast where you can do so without fear of sharks, jellyfish, crocodiles or a mixture of each!
That evening we met up with our camping buddies and stayed just out of town at a kangaroo sanctuary.
Around 200 roos come and go as they please and are all pretty happy around humans so you oftrn get approached when one fancies a scratch or a bit of a fuss.
The owner set up the sanctuary as an orphanage for joeys and it is definitely needed.
Driving along the roads in Australia, you see hundreds dead kangaroos who took on trucks and lost.
We happily played with the friendly kangaroos before relaxing next to the van that evening.
Emile and I built a bonfire which we had some drinks around.
It was great until the owner of the sanctuary came and joined us. He’s an odd bloke and a strange option for manager of a campsite. Slagging off both backpackers and Australians, spouting conspiracies of China taking over the world and WW3 being close, maybe lighter topics of conversation would be more appropriate.
He did finally leave and the mood lifted again!
Agnes Water is not only a safe place to swim but the last surfable beach on the coast so before leaving I had to take advantage of this.
The waves were small but fun so Emile and I headed into the water, him with around 20 years more experience than me!
I was glad of his experience as he gave me some pointers and I had a good session despite freaking out a few times. The water is so clear here, the board’s shadow is easily visible on the ocean bed, in the corner of your eye it looks just like an approaching shark!
After surfing we sadly had to part ways with E & G, they can afford to spent longer in places due to their roadtrip being 12 times longer than ours!
Anna offered to drive the van to our next stop, Rockhampton, the beef capital of Australia.
Driving through some epic scenery (I think it consisted of the great deviding range) and past fields and fields of cows, we arrived at the Kabra Hotel.
We had been recommended this pub as it offers a free campsite to those who patronise the place.
Although we mostly cook in the van to save money, we were always going to eat a famous ‘Rocky Steak’ when in town so it was an easy choice to park up here and eat steak at the same time.
It is next to a commercial and noisy trainline but after a huge and tasty steak and coming off three days of drinking we had no problem sleeping.
From Rockhampton, we drove towards the coast and to a town called Yeppoon.
We stopped off but didn’t find much to do so decided to take a drive down the coast and explore.
Not two minutes after I set off was there a police car signalling for me to pull over.
I’ve never been pulled over in the UK but this is now my third time whilst driving abroad (should have been four but I ignored the potentially corrupt Vietnamese policemen).
It turned out Anna had forgotten to put her seatbelt on and the eagle eyed but extremely fair police officer was informing us of a potential $400 fine should one of his more anal colleagues catch us.
We arrived at Bluff Point, a beautiful area of headland with a good walking track, had lunch and pursued the mini-hike.
The views were stunning as we walked over this dormant volcano and we even saw turtles swimming in the ocean from the top of the cliff.
As we were taking all of this in, a voice behind us whispered “you’re not alone anymore”.
I turned to find a European man with a ponytail smiling at me, we took that as our queue to move on!
We drove another few hours north before stopping at a free site just off the highway. We parked next to a Scottish man with a westie and suddenly I missed my two dogs (both westies).
The man who’s name I can’t remember (sadly yet unsurprisingly I remember the name of his dog, Monty) recommended Eungella national park, a few hours drive north. We made that our next destination and set off there the following day.
The long drive seemed much longer as we ventured through endless sugar cane fields. These didn’t provide much of a view but eventually we were surrounding by lush green mountains and rainforest. The journey was worth it.
Our first stop was Finch Hatton Gorge where we went for a nice walk/scramble/paddle through rainforest, boulders and streams before finally reaching an idyllic swimming hole overlooked by steep rock faces and high rainforest.
Not too far from here is Broken River, a rare place where you can observe platypus. Arriving at the time they are supposed to be most active, we waited patiently by the river bank before catching sight of some.
I didn’t realise how small they are. I always imagined them to be badger sized, not their actual build, similar to a large rodent.
The drive to our camp for the evening, free in the week when the local rodeo isn’t using the field, offered an awesome surprise as we drive through a beautiful mountainous valley and up a winding road, literally into the clouds.
The view from the top was incredible and luckily there was a pub with the best views available. Without any hesitation we stopped for a drink.
The rodeo ground wasn’t a bad place to stay either with mountain views complemented by a beautiful sunset.
Feeling good after an early night and a movie, we set off early the next morning toward Cape
Bramall Lane Hillsborough which is much nicer than it’s name suggests.
We were staying at a paid camp right on the beachfront and managed to convince the staff to let us check in early.
Not only was our plot within hearing distance of the ocean but every so often a kangaroo would hop past, stopping to see if there was any food going or for a quick scratch.
The weather gets noticeably hotter the further north we go so whilst the sun was too much for our English skin, we did some laundry and relaxed with a beer in the shade.
As it cooled down slightly and the tide went out, a walkway to a nearby island was uncovered so we walked out to it before the tide came back in.
We had intended to watch the second leg of State of Origin and the England vs Panama game that evening but fell asleep and missed both. Just my luck to miss England’s biggest ever victory at a world cup..
We woke up early so as to catch the sunrise on the beach. The local kangaroos and wallabies all congregate here in the early hours which makes for a pleasant wake up.
It also emphasises the need for a better camera!!
After breakfast we took another walk down the beach and built some stone stone stacks, both therapeutic and satisfying despite nearly being crushed a couple of times!
I will end this post on some pictures of Anna looking funny behind some condiments and being thrilled at the size of this avocado for no other reason than that they made me laugh!