Noosa was Fun but we like Bundy Rum

Trip Start Sep 28, 2009
Trip End Apr 22, 2011

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Where I stayed
Bundaberg East Cabin & Tourist Park
Noosa River Caravan Park
Big4 Noosa Bouganvillia Holiday Park

Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Tuesday 2nd November 2010

Distance 147km
Accommodation                   $35/$39
Weather                               Sunny - 26 degrees / Rain 20 degrees

It's amazing to think its November already, we always knew the second part of our trip would start to speed up, but Christmas is only a few weeks away now and we haven’t come half as far as we thought we would have by now.  Still it’s better to take our time and see as much as we can rather than racing round and just seeing the inside of the van.  We are back on the road again today, heading to a town called Noosa Heads which a number of people have told us to visit.  As we travel up the Bruce Highway we pull into a small town called Beerwah, now firstly you’re thinking we have pulled in to this town because of its name, but you are very wrong.  As cool as the name is it is also home to the Big Mower and the Big Chainsaw.  What we didn’t realise, and the reason it is good to go in search of the Big Things, is that it is also home to the Glass House Mountains and Steve Irwin’s Australian Zoo.  We pulled up outside the zoo and went to see how much the entry fee was.  We don’t mind a good zoo and we’re sure this one is brilliant but we have spent a lot of money on attractions this week and we have to try and keep to our budget.  At $58 it was a bit more than we want to spend so we took a few pictures and drove up to the Glass House Mountains lookout point.....this being free. 

The name was given by Captain James Cook who saw nine prominent peaks on the horizon and they reminded him of the glass furnaces from his home town of Yorkshire. There are actually sixteen mountains which make up the Glass House Mountain range.  All of them are volcanic plugs that burst up through the earth crust millions of years ago, once covered in sandstone this has eroded over the years, leaving behind just the volcanic rock.  There is also a 360 degrees lookout tower, now set up for tourists to view the fascinating mountains, but it was originally built as a fire watching tower and was manned as an early warning system for brush fires. 

Back on route we drove into Noosa Heads and around the town before going to find a campsite.  Today is the Melbourne Cup (big horse race) in some states in Australia this is actually a bank holiday.... probably because no one works that day any way.  For the last month we have been seeing offers for restaurants and clubs all doing some kind of event for Melbourne Cup day.  As we drove down to the main beach front in Noosa, there were a number of lovely alfresco restaurants that had events going on.  Every bar and restaurant had a big screen and one bar had everyone dressed up in suites and cocktail dresses with big hats like they were actually at the races. We booked into our campsite just as the main race started, Gary had a bet on one of the horses but it never came in. 

Tight arse Tuesday again and today we are going in search of an Eagle Boy’s pizza company, who advertise a large pizza at just $6 on a Tuesday.  The only one open at 3pm in the afternoon was 10km away, not a problem as we are still driving round in the van.  Opposite the pizza shop is an Ezy video shop, which do cheap DVD rental on a Tuesday...only $2. So we headed back to the Campsite with two pizza’s and two DVD’s for a night in front of the TV.  On the way back we saw queues of motorists being pulled over by the police and getting breathalysed!

Wednesday 3rd November 2010

We are staying on a Big 4 caravan sites, the big four’s are probably our favourite chain of  holiday parks as they always give good service, nice friendly staff and their facilities are always spotless.  Bougainvillia Holiday Park was not one of their better sites, as the facilities were a little shabby but our pitch was one of the best we have had so far.  It is a lovely big site with bushes all round so you are not squashed in with your neighbour’s window facing yours.  We got up early as normal, once that sun is up, so are you.  We dressed for a bike ride, made a picnic and packed up our DVD rentals for returning.  The plan today was to ride the 12km to Noosa Main beach, return the DVD’s, and have lunch on the beach.  Australia never disappoints when it comes to bike tracks and once again Noosa had a number of them all round the town.  We followed the river most of the way before we arrived at the beach front.  It was a hot day but good conditions for a gentle ride.  Most of Noosa is flat but the shopping area we rented the films from was at the top of a very steep hill.  We were a sweaty mess by the time we got to the top.  With the DVD’s returned we quickly popped into an internet cafe, (the campsite charged outrageous amounts of money for wifi) to check emails and send some messages, we then rolled back down the steep hill to main beach and found a quiet spot to sit and have lunch.

The ride back seemed a lot quicker, but it probably is when you’re not stopping to take photo’s every few minutes and admire views.  We had a long cool shower when we got back and then cooked spaghetti bolognas for dinner.

  Thursday 4th November 2010

The rain woke us about 2.30am, thundering down on the roof, it never stopped for the next 32 hours.  What do you do on a wet day, when the van is already set up so you can’t drive out and the wifi is too expensive so you can’t make a backgammon board!!

The wood that goes between our bench seats to make the bed up in the back of the van, has been staring at us for weeks looking very plain.  We decided to turn it into a backgammon board so have been looking for paint or something to do the job.  Yesterday we bought a pack of permanent marker pens and a ruler.   After lunch we set about marking out the board with bottle tops to get the size and then coloured it in with the marker pens.  It takes me back to my childhood colouring in on a wet afternoon.  By the end we were really pleased with the result but had to let it dry before we could have a game on it.  In all this time the rain pour down.....apparently it’s the wettest summer in fifteen years......wasn’t that the last time we were here???

Friday 5th November 2010

Some habits are hard to break, buying DVD’s and then selling them on Ebay once we have watched them is just one of these hard to break habits.  DVD’s are very expensive in Oz so the only way to keep it cheap is to buy them and then sell them on again.  The only shock what how expensive their postal service is.  To post a DVD to Victoria from Queensland was over $11 we only charged $5 for postage....still it’s all a learning curve.

We are moving campsites today but only 8km down the road, we are meeting up with friends of Mark and Diane’s who live in Noosa so we are moving to a campsite near town to make it easier to get home after our night out.   Having packed the van up we headed for the supermarket to get a few bits and then to McDonalds to get some wifi and so I could put last week’s blog on.  We must have spent two half hours sorting out the blog, checking emails and catching up on the news.

Our new campsite is very busy, it’s right on the beach and a great spot if you have kids or a boat...or both.  We didn’t unpack as we are only here for one night, we just set the chairs up and sat enjoying the sun until it was time to get changed and head on out for our blind date with Mark’s mates.  We walked to Hastings Road which was about a 45min stroll along the river and arrived at the Surf Club in good time.  It’s very funny waiting for people when you have no idea what they look like, we spent the whole time pointing out prospective candidates, only to have them walk into another restaurant, or we smiled knowingly at people as they walk up to us but then watch them walk on past slightly confused. When the real Karen and Dean did turned up they were really friendly and much better looking than any of our previous choices.  Before entering the surf club we all had to sign in and then find a table on the beach front.  It was very busy but not too noisy so plenty of opportunity to chat.  Mark and Diane’s ears must have been burning because the common subject was obviously them, how we know then, how they know them, funny stories, etc...   I also found out that Karen has a love for Diane Gabaldon books as well.....see if you haven’t read her books ladies you’re missing out.  It was a good evening the conversation never dried up, we had a few drinks and a lovely dinner.  They offered us a lift back to the campsite and came in for little look round the van, everyone loves the van.  Bit embarrassing though we had already set the bed up so the van was a bit mother would be ashamed of me.

Saturday 6th November 2010

Distance                               271km
Accommodation                    $Free
Weather                                Sunny - 27 degrees

We left Noosa Heads to continue our journey north, well we actually we went south for 20km to a Saturday Market in a town called Eumundi which was meant to be out of this world. We arrive shortly after 10.30am and struggled to find a parking space, ending up paying $4 in the main car park.   The market was massive every time we thought we had come to the end we turned a corner and there was more.  It was lovely stuff too, not your usual market tack, and loads of freeby tasters.  We had popcorn, ginger beer, banana smoothy, olive oil, nuts, caramelised basaltic vinegar, sausages, you name it we tried it and left will full bellies and not a penny spent.... other than $18 on a silver ring shaped as a gecko.

Australia like the UK encourages you stop every two hours for a rest, and as we were doing a long drive today we took their advise and made use of one of their well maintained rest stops.  These are just grassy areas just off the main road, most have toilets, some have BBQ’s and picnic tables. This one was a particularly beautiful area, with a lovely lily covered lake and fearsome gaggle of geese that came marching over the bridge to great us.

Inspired by how pretty the rest stop had been and the need for us to get some free camping under our belt we went in search of an overnight stay rest stop for tonight’s accommodation.  We have two very good camping books with us, one shows all the holiday parks and campsites in Australia and the other shows all the free sites and national parks in Australia.  We had a look through the free sites and found one just on the out skirts of Bundaberg, which is our next destination and home to Bundaberg Rum.

  After a bit of dodgy map reading we finally found the Sharon Nature Reserve rest stop and pulled in at about 5pm.  There were a few campervans parked up already and a group of four girls with a tent.  We got our table and chairs out and started to cook dinner while we still had light, Roo bangers and mash on the gas stove.  You obviously don’t get electric or showers on these sites, but the toilets are clean and you can only stay here for 20 hours so you just shower at your next destination.  After dinner we boiled some water to wash up and then closed the van up and settled down to watch some TV.  There great thing about our TV is that is also runs on the 12v DC point so as long as the Solar panels on the roof keep the four big batteries in the back charged we have TV and lights all night.

Sunday 7 November 2010

  That was by far the best night sleep I have had in the last year and Gary agreed.  Not sure if it’s the silence from being in the middle of nowhere or the fact that we had a big drive and we were both knackered but we slept like babies all night.  We were still up at 6.30am, woken up by the bright sunshine, sat and had muesli for breakfast. 

We are in sugar cane country and all the fields around us are filled with sugar cane. There are also a number of big fat toads which we can only assume are cane toads.  On the way to the toilet, the night before, we stepped over two big toads and a number of smaller ones.  In the morning Gary noticed the two big toads asleep upright squashed between the toilet wall and the water tank....that can’t be comfortable?

Australia is full of unsolved mysteries and one of these was just down the road to where we camped for the night.  In the 70’s a farmer was ploughing his field ready for planting when he hit something hard, upon investigation he found a crater filled with mud, further digging found more of these crates.  Experts were called in and samples were taken, the craters were dated to 25 million years old, but they couldn’t come up with an explanation to why or how they were created.

Distance                               16km
Accommodation                    $29
Weather                               Sunny - 28 degrees / Rain 24 degrees

  We drove into Bundaberg and found the campsite straight away.  Rather than go to the picturesque beach side campsites we have chosen to stay in the middle of an industrial area simply because it is within walking distance or should I say staggering distance from the Bundaberg Rum distillery and our next attraction. Before we checked into the campsite we took a short drive down the road to the Bundaberg Ginger Beer brewery because the tour and gift shop is in a building shaped as a big barrel and I wanted a photo. 

Our campsite might be in an industrial area but you wouldn’t think it once you go through the gates.  It has been set up really well, very green and every pitch has its own on-suit bathroom, with a toilet, sink and shower.  Most campsites offer a few of these but they are usually $10 more.  The afternoon was spent chilling in the sun, I did some laundry and had a long hot shower in our private bathroom.

Monday 8th November 2010 

The rain has caught up with us again, we had planned to ride in to town in the morning and book on a tour to the Rum Distillery in the afternoon, but with the tropical storm that was blowing outside we just stayed in bed all morning and read our books.  It brightened up by lunch time and we decided to chance a walk into town, it had been a few days since we had checked emails and Gary wanted the footy scores from the weekend’s games.  The walk took us about 45 mins down some very unexciting roads and although it looked like it was going to pour down any minute we were actually pretty lucky as it stayed dry though out the walk.  It was however really humid and both of us were sweltering when we got into town.  We had a short wander around all the usual shops before piling into McDonalds for a cold drink and some wifi.  The walk back seemed shorted but then we both got into an in-depth discussion on diets so didn’t notice the pace we had set.

Tuesday 9th November 2010

It was still raining when we woke up but we were determined not to let it spoil our day.  We went to reception once we were up and dressed to book ourselves on the 2pm tour to the distillery.  The rest of the morning was spent tidying up the van and making lunch.  At 1.15pm we walked up the road, followed the signs to the main entrance. The tour was really interesting and our guide was very amusing.  Rum is made from the by product of sugar called Molasses.  Molasses’s is what is left when sugar cane is crushed and then heated up so many times it no longer creates crystals.  This brown chocolaty looking liquid is then pumped from the sugar cane plant next door straight to the distillery where they keep it in two massive five million litre holding tanks until needed.  It is then cleaned, mixed with water and yeast and stored in huge wooden caskets for two years.  The tour ended with a tasting....obviously the best bit. They served a lovely rum liqueur which had a smooth velvety taste, a bit like Baileys but with a sweet chocolaty flavour... we bought a bottle of this for tippling in the evening.

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