Beautiful Beaches, Bargara, Bundy and more…

Trip Start Apr 05, 2011
Trip End Nov 15, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Tuesday, December 20, 2011

With only a couple of weeks until Christmas and a date set firm with Rod's family just south of the border we opted to continue hugging the Queensland coast on our journey south. We broke the trip into six stopovers which consisted of Kinka Beach, the town of 1770, Bargara, Woodgate, Rainbow Beach and Coolum Beach.

Having no firm itinerary we were delighted when we stumbled upon the sleepy little seaside hamlet of Kinka Beach which is located just south of Yeppoon.  Having tucked the van away under the shade of a large tree in a rustic little park we were free to explore.  With overcast skies and intermittent showers our time at Kinka was spent with walks along the beach and exploring the delightful nearby town of Emu Park.

Our second stopover was at the town of 1770, which we had earmarked before we even left home and we were not disappointed.  Beautifully located wedged between the shore of the inlet and the hill side, the camp ground was a mere slither of land with cozy little sites.  Our days here were filled with lovely walks up around Bustard Head where we could admire the stunning rock formations below and gaze out over the ocean for miles.  While walks along the beach led to the very appealing 1770 Hotel where we couldn’t resist partaking in a sundowner, sitting along the gorgeous timber ledge overlooking the water and distant ranges.

We meandered through the local markets, took a drive around the delightful resort town of Agnes Waters and out to Spring Beach where we could have walked for miles without encountering another sole, ah… the serenity.

Whilst we had been encountering intermittent showers throughout our stay it was on our last night that we were treated to the most amazing storm.  As the thunder growled and the lightning cracked across the evening sky we sat tucked under our awning.  A curtain of water cascaded down over the awning creating our very own waterfall.  The rain was relentless and it wasn’t long before we were ankle deep in water.  Now we know why so many campers had sandbags around their sites, obviously regulars!  We thoroughly enjoyed our time at 1770 and will miss the shrill of the curlews and little bush turkey that visited each afternoon.

Having loved 1770 so much we were wondering how we would be able to get enthused about our next stop… (not that we had any idea where that would be!) and then we found the quaintest little park at Bargara.  Sprinkled with colourful cabins and tight little caravan sites, the owner gave us a brilliant site by the top of the seawall.  Not only did we have stunning views along the coast and out to sea, we were so close to the water we actually got wet from the sea spray!

Whilst each night we drifted off to sleep to the sounds of waves crashing along the seawall our days were filled with exploration along the coast line to places like the unspoilt village of Elliot Heads, Kelly’s Beach and inland to the bustling city of Bundaberg.

Our highlight however was a visit to Mon Repos.  Our timing was perfect for during November and December it is nesting season for the large endangered Loggerhead Turtles which come ashore at night along Mon Repos Beach and lay their eggs.  (If you are lucky enough to be there during January, February or March the hatchlings rise from the sand and make their journey down the beach and into the water.)

The beaches are closed to the public at night during this time and rangers escort organized groups onto the beach to witness the laying of the eggs.  As required, we purchased our tickets in Bundaberg and then at Mon Repos that evening we joined the queue at the information centre to be allotted our predetermined group and await the subsequent arrival of turtles on the beach.

Starting at 7pm it was 10 past 9 when the third turtle of the evening came ashore and our group (#3) was called.  We all assembled and were guided down a dark boardwalk and onto the beach.  We followed the ranger along the beach to our turtle, the only light source being the glow from the dim lit moon.  Having had a torrential down pour every night for weeks, we were so glad that tonight of all nights it had decided to take a break.

There was a large trail where the Loggerhead had made its way up the beach and to the base of a sand dune.  As it dug its hole in preparation for laying its eggs the group was moved up to form a half circle around the rear of the turtle, keeping out of its line of sight.  Whilst the groups were simply too big (60 people), we did eventually get the opportunity to see her lay her eggs.  This was amazing to witness, however what amazed us more was how unperturbed she was (remembering she is wild) by the mass of people and the human interaction during what would for us be such a stressful time.

As she was busy laying her eggs the researchers were busy measuring her shell (94cm long), scanning and tagging her (being that this was her first visit - a first time mum).  The ranger even took a few eggs as she laid them and gave us the opportunity to feel them.  Once she had finished laying her 127 eggs we were able to move around and get a clear view of her.  She was gorgeous, or maybe the word cute is more apt… regardless an amazing creature, her massive shell, flippers, long neck, big head and lovely eyes, we were just in awe of the chance to be so close.

Having laid her eggs she set about using her back flippers to fill in the 40cm deep hole before using all her flippers at which time the group was getting covered in sand as she flicked it back on everyone!  It was a magical experience and once she had been sure to cover the eggs she worked her way around to face the water and made her way back down the beach and out to sea. 

Apparently she will be back in a couple of weeks to lay another 120+ eggs… she does this four times during the laying season.  The eggs are from several different fathers and once laid, that’s her job done she never sees them again or goes back to check on their hatching.  Only 1 in 1000 of the hatchlings make it to adulthood and the female does not start producing eggs until around 30 years of age.  With the Loggerhead an endangered turtle we now understand why the protection of their breeding is vital to the survival of the species.

Still elated from our unique experience the night before, we awoke to the most glorious day, all blue skies and sunshine.  We made the most of our ocean front site, sitting outside sipping on coffee and enjoying breakfast before hitching up and heading the short distance down to Woodgate.

Recommended by friends; Woodgate was another gem of a spot. A yet unspoilt hamlet where kangaroos still hop around town, graze through the parks and laze under the shade of trees through the heat of the day.  Whilst there has been little development a fibro shack on the esplanade will still set you back over $700k!

Here we could choose from walking along the beautiful foreshore path or 16 kilometres of sandy beach, we delighted in doing both.  On our beach walks we were entertained by the millions of crabs which all scurry off and bury themselves as we pass, it kept us entertained for hours!

Our next stopover was in the delightful township of Rainbow Beach where we found a park right in the centre of town across the road from the beach.  Here we were able to take some lovely walks, the first of which was along the charming main street in search of lunch.  As soon as we eyed the lovely big verandah of the Rainbow Beach Hotel they had our business, a lovely fresh and vibrant pub we could sit and watch as the world went by.

Having refueled we headed up to the Carlo Sand Blow.  We followed the pretty trail through bushland which eventually opened up into a vast sand dune.  Straddling the range this sandy area was massive.  We traipsed over to the edge, which being that the sand curved over the range seemed to get further and further away as we walked toward it.  When we did eventually reach the edge we were rewarded with stunning views along Rainbow Beach and out into the bay.  On the western side the views stretched out over the plains below for as far as the eye could see.  People were having a field day sliding down the dunes.

We took a lovely long walk along Rainbow Beach admiring the stunning hues of the coloured sands.  The beach was like a highway with all the 4WD’s making their way back along the beach as the tide crept closer to the cliffs.  Before long the rain began closing in and as we started to feel drizzle we turned and walked back along the vast expanse of golden sand.  We were surrounding by dark grey skies and in the distance the sheets of rain could be seen making contact with the ocean.

On a drive up to Inskip Point we watched as the barges loaded up vehicles and ferried them across to Frazer Island.  The island was so close we could almost touch it, only wish we had the time to visit this paradise and seek out some dingo pups.  Another destination added to our 'do next time’ list!

We were amazed at the amount of campsites around the point.  It was the likes of which we had not seen since the WA north coast.  Tents, camper trailers and caravans tucked away in every nook and cranny, stretching on for miles.  It would be a magic place to chill out with stunning water on either side on this slither of a peninsula.

Our stay would not have been complete without a visit to Tin Can Bay to feed the dolphins.  Here we sat on the pretty bay admiring the lone pelican and numerous black cormorants whilst awaiting the dolphins… waiting, waiting… eventually we opted to move on after all we will be back this way one day when we go across to Frazer Island

We had no firm idea about where we would spend our last couple of nights in Queensland and so we followed the coast…  We knew we were coming into a built up area however we didn’t expect to have such a reaction to the amount of people, traffic, houses… we found it a little overwhelming after the calm solitude we had experienced over the past months.  We wanted our serenity back!

As we passed through Noosa it was just impossible with the big white beast in tow to get parking and go for a stroll and so we continued on to Coolum Beach where we found a camp site tucked away behind the sand dunes a couple of metres from the beach.  Here we could enjoy long walks on the beach and along the foreshore.

The following day we drove back up to Noosa and having fond memories of a childhood holiday spent camped by one of the many waterways we were eager to look around.  We wandered around the Noosa Woodlands and then headed up the other end of Hastings Street and to the Noosa National Park.  It was once again a glorious day and we enjoyed a lovely walk up and around the headlands watching dolphins frolic in the ocean below.  With the conditions so perfect we couldn’t resist wetting the kayaks.  We paddled around the canals admiring the homes and dodging kids jumping from the bridges as we passed underneath!

Back at Coolum, we had lucked in for our last day in Queensland.  The weather was perfect and we were camped beside the quintessential Queensland beach.  Rod caught some waves whilst I sat and finished reading a book, my toes buried in the soft white sand.

Highlights of Beautiful Beaches, Bargara, Bundy and more…:

-          Mon Repos – watching the Loggerhead Turtle lay her eggs

-          Town of 1770

-          Bargara – our sea side site

-          Woodgate – the tranquility

-          Rainbow Beach - the coloured sands and Carlo Sand Blow

-          Kayaking the Noosa canals
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Val S. on

I know I have said it before, but what an amazing time you have had on your travels, and in this latest 'chapter' you made reference to your last day in Qld.
How does one settle after all those adventures??? Surely not a 9-5 day in the office!! Your commentary has been fantastic. Safe travels. V.

G & M on

Again wow! thanks for letting us share your journey. I have just had 3 weeks off work and didn't want to go back this week! Boy it will be tough for you! Keep enjoying as long as you can.

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