In December though, I had to leave my house for much longer than a weekend, as I had done a non-simultaneous home exchange with a couple from the Netherlands. They would now stay in my house for six weeks from the beginning of the month.
As two plans had fallen through (one plan was to travel to WA, and the other one to Bathurst, NSW) I decided to just hang around the place a bit and meander through the Sunshine Coast hinterland and take in a bit of the Fraser Coast.
I joined the various CMCA groups (one from Brisbane north, one from Gympie and a CMCA solo group). I met a few women from the Australian Rolling Solo group, and stayed for a night with one of them. I mainly stayed at free camps, but also in private grounds. I just took it as it happened. Went with the flow, so to speak. Around Christmas I was close enough to Brisbane to spend Christmas Day with Adele, Kevin, the children and a friend of the house. After a few weeks on my own it was a welcome visit.
In January I travelled to Toowoomba where I stayed with friend Patricia for a few days, visited friends and did a short house/pet sit for another friend, until it was time to travel homewards as I had promised my guests to drop them off at the airport.
So here is my trip in short, enhanced by some pictures....
3 December: Maleny Showgrounds with the Brisbane Sunshine Wanderers, including Christmas festivities and a walk in the general area along Obi Obi Creek.
4 December: Waiting in the camper, at Steph and Tori's place, for my guests to arrive and being kept company by a very tired cat.
On the 5th of December I stay home overnight with my guests from the Netherlands to help them settling in. I leave the next day and travel north. That night:
6 December: I stay overnight at Jawarra Park (free camp).
The next day I am getting close to Maleny again and decide to pick up a cache that I couldn't do when staying there the beginning of the month. It's at Obi Obi Creek.
The cache name is: Obi Boardwalk
Further down the track I pass a lookout and discover that a cache can be obtained as well, so that's the next one I pick up:
|It's very busy, so I sign the logbook in the vehicle.|
8 December: Overnight at Six Mile Creek Rest Area (free camp).
Before I left I had added a few items to the camper to make it a bit more comfy: a Christmas light (present from Adele), a storage hanger (made from the camper's curtain fabric) and a few matching cushions for the seat.
9 and 10 December: Gympie Showground with a CMCA Chapter from that area.
The members welcomed me cordially and I had a great weekend with them. They even included me in the disc bowling games.
When I leave the showgrounds I travel to another part of Gympie, near the Memorial Park, where I park the camper and go in search for a few caches.
And a few caches:
Making Use of the Rain
In the meantime I have also been in touch with another member of the Rolling Solos who lives near Widgee. I was invited to visit her and find a spot to park my camper. So I did. We hit it off and had a great evening together.
11 December: Overnight at Denise Russell's place (Rolling Solos member).
The next morning I return to Gympie to finish off a few more caches while I have time on my hands.
Because I logged all the caches straightaway the CO (cache owner) of the caches noticed that I was in Gympie. Since we know each other he invited me for coffee. It so happened that I stayed for dinner as well and was allowed to camp overnight on his property.
12 December: Overnight at Keith Carsten's place (geocacher with the SEQ Geocaching Group).
The next morning we talked about the camper and how I had to change the gas bottles so often. I suspected a gas leak, but hadn't been able to find any. Keith checked for me and discovered that the regulater was leaking. So, I rang a mobile gasfitter who installed a new one and I was on my way again. Suffices to say that I still use the gas bottle I had had filled the day before and that was 22 days! Makes a difference from 4 to 5 days!!!
After that I drove to Cooroy where I wanted to join the CMCA Solos. I was told about them at Maleny and it seemed a good time to join.
13, 14 and 15 December: At Cooroy with the CMCA Solos.
|"Secret Santa" with the Solos.|
|Bob from the UK. A delightful man who travels with the Solos for a number of months every year.|
|A handy USB fan I received as a present|
|Christmas tree in Cooroy|
The next few days I travelled a bit on my own. Looked around places, because the Range and the hinterland is such a beautiful area; found a few caches; and suffered tremendously from the heat and the flies, so after Ban Ban Springs I went back to the coast to catch the see breezes...
Jurassic Bunyas (cache)
The next stop was at Petrie Park on the Mary River where I had stayed before with Patricia. When I went in search for, and found the cache that was hidden there, I discovered that Patricia and I had been searching for it back then and hadn't found it. No idea why, because it wasn't that difficult after all. ;-)
'Round The Block
17 and 18 December: Petrie Park - Tiaro (free camp).
|The Mary River|
A trip along the coastline through Urangan and Hervey Bay. A pity it's not whale watching season...
Quota Park (cache)
The trip leads further through Maryborough where a friend lives, but I couldn't remember her address, so I had to move on. Will visit next time. Eventually I ended up in Childers, where I saw this beautiful street art dedicated to the local cane cutters and their families. It's in the heart of the sugar cane fields.
19 December: Crescent Street - Childers (free camp).
In Biggenden I stop for lunch at the local park and wander through a few shops.
|Ban Ban Springs rest area|
20 December: Ban Ban Springs (free camp).
Still travelling south I am back at Jawarra Park where I see this big goanna (monitor lizard) walking around my camper:
21 December: Jawarra Park (free camp) (same as 6 December).
Looking for another free campsite I discover a private site on the CMCA list. I contact the people and yes, I am allowed to camp on their property for as long as I want. Great people. I stop over for two nights and they are also great to talk to.
|Mount Beerburrum in the background|
22 and 23 December: At Barry & Marlene's (CMCA members) - Beerburrum.
By now I am close to Albany Creek, so I make use of Adele's offer to spend Christmas Day with them. A friend of theirs, also a woman living by herself (who I happen to know already), has been invited for the day as well, so we have a good time together. In the end I stay for two days as I want to clean the awning, which has suffered a lot during a storm the previous night and do some work on the laptop, because internet connection is sorely lacking on the road.
24, 25 and 26 December: At Adele's - Albany Creek.
The pictures below are of the Glashouse Mountains. Te big one, Mt. Tibrogargan, looks a bit like a vulcano with the cloud formation in the back.
27 and 28 December: Back to Barry & Marlene's (CMCA members) - Beerburrum.
The last days of December and New Year's Eve I spend with the CMCA groups at Buddina State School. I spend some time on the beach and watch the fireworks (in bed!) from the back of my camper.
29 - 31 December: Buddina State School with the CMCA Solos and Brisbane Sunshine Wanderers.
Keith Carstens holds his 'Newbies' Event at Widgee, so I join the group and go caching with Rholanda and Wendy and another girl whose name I can't remember. We spend a whole day on it and find quite a number of them.
Round and Round
Water the horse
Looks May Be Deceiving
In Case of Emergency
They call me tiny
Celebrating the Widgee Event
|Entrance to the woodworks museum in Gympie|
1 January: Widgee Showground with the Geocaching Group.
After the event I decided I had been driving around long enough and went to Patricia in Toowoomba, who I had promised to spend some time with early in the new year.
I stayed at her house and parked the camper, which was not such a good idea in the heat we were experiencing. My fridge and freezer needed more power than my solar panels could supply (the camper became a vertual furnace with doors and windows closed) and so I had to find a power source and charge the batteries. After that I was good for a while.
I learned to play lawn bowls and we went out together to visit friends, the Japanese Gardens, and look for some caches.
We also visited Patricia's son Colin who was house/pet sitting in the area and was looking after a great number of pets, including a few peacock chicks.
Queens Park Wherigo
Airport East Park
Level 5 Native
First and Last
Graveyard Series 1
A lucky bridge
A Cool View
TARDIS Trail - no.7 New Earth
TARDIS trail - no.6 Raxacoricofallapatorius
TARDIS Trail - No.5 The Library
TARDIS trail - no.1 Akhaten
The TARDIS Trail - No.2 Skaro
Of the next episode I don't have pictures. Suffices to say that the camper was parked again with doors ad windows closed and again I had to charge the batteries. Lesson learned: don't leave the camper in the hot sun with windows and doors closed!
8 - 10 January: House/pet sit at Jennifer and Scott's place - Toowoomba.
After this trip it was back to Bribie Island again in preparation for the next one, although, even though it's not travel related, I may post some pictures of my new interior at home.
Till next time.