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NSW Coast...

We have been so lucky with the weather.  Sunny 30 degree days for nearly four months.  We have been watching the weather reports closely since Brisbane has just been hit with severe storms with more to come.  As we drive into Rockhampton for an overnight stay the rain is intense.  Garry runs into the caravan park booking office and returns soaked.  In the caravan the thunder in frightening, the storm must be close.  The rain slowed, and the storms seemed to bypass us.  On the radio the next morning we hear Blackwater (100km inland from us) was hit by the storm, with caravans and houses badly damaged by cricket ball sized hail stones.

As we left Rockhampton I did a little crocodile dance …no more crocodiles.  On the advice from our trusty travel guide our next stop is a town called 1770.  This town marks Cooks first landing place in Queensland.  There is a single absolute beach front, council run caravan park.  On arrival we were a little disoriented to see the sun setting west over the water.  1770 is set on a point which reaches north.  The caravan park faces west over a small bay and the mouth of the river, which further looks back onto the east coastline.  The geographic location affords some spectacular sun sets.  Also troubling at first, is the sight of children frolicking freely at mouth of the river.   It’s going to take a while to turn off the crocodile radar.

Our last night in 1770 we experience a drop in the over night temperature.  Probably sub 20 degrees.  We are freezing, having used only a sheet since August.  It’s 5am and I am begrudgingly hunting around for a blanket.

When back on the road, heading further south to Bargara (west of Bundaberg) we notice a difference in the landscape and vegetation.  It’s sparse with farms dotted along the way.  We miss the tropics.  A stop for lunch a little further up the coast from Bargara, Mon Repos.  Mon Repos is a conservation park for Flatback, green and endangered loggerhead turtles.  They close the beach at night time for turtles to come and lay and hatch their eggs in peace.  Harrison takes a quick dip in the ocean and takes up body surfing.  These are the first waves we’ve seen on our descent, marking the end of the Great Barrier Reef.

With Garry feeling good to drive on, we pushed on further south to Rainbow Beach – here is the southern access point to Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world.  First we take a trip to nearby Tin Can Bay to feed the wild dolphins.  Next we prepare ourselves for an overnight trip to Fraser.  We’ve purchased the necessary permits and packed the car - we are ready.  The access for the ferry is very boggy sand.    We were bogged within metres.  After digging under the car, we are offered help from two guys.  One of them tells Garry, “Start the car again, and the three of us will push”.  I only counted two of them…oh he means me.  The car managed to gain momentum and Garry fangs it onto the ferry.  Meanwhile I’m left to run the 200m to the ferry through near-knee deep sand.  Shortly on the island and we are bogged again.  Note to self: deactivate the ‘dynamic stability control’ feature on 4wd before engaging sand mode.

Fraser is a spectacular and unique experience.  We stay at a dingo fenced resort.  On our second day, with DSC deactivated, we confidently four-wheel drive the amazing Fraser.  Lake McKenzie is a crystal clear lake in the middle of the island.  We stopped here for lunch and a swim.  Time seemed to pass us by quickly here, and we had to high tail it out of there, to make it back to the ferry before high tide.

Hello suburbia, next stop Sunshine Coast.  We stay at the less busy Coolum Beach.  We have a visit from our good friend Sarah Clancy who lives locally.  It was quite handy having Sarah over to take care of Aston, as Harrison decided to disappear on his bike.  It took an hour of Garry and I running all over the park, beach and town before we found him at the local police station.  He decided to ride his bike a kilometre up the main road, dressed only in yellow underwear.  Harrison claims he was looking for Nanny and Poppy’s place.  A very distressed mummy!

We took Harrison along to Robert Irwin’s 5th birthday party at Australia Zoo.  It was a dinosaur themed party.  Harrison loved it.  Dinosaur muffins, free kid hair cut, stage show with Spot the Dog and Bananas in Pyjamas, and the croc show with Terri, Bindi and Robert in tow.

(See our pictures in the GALLERY)