Wicked camping in oz

Trip Start Jan 23, 2012
Trip End Jun 09, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Thursday, April 12, 2012

We picked up our camper at 2pm and hit the road as soon as possible. Please note we did not have a choice on our van decor, but felt that this blog needed to be dedicated to the van! Our first aim was to reach the city of Townsville, but as our insurance doesn't cover night time driving (thanks to Kangaroos!), we only made it as far as Tully, via Mission Beach.  First up we got supplies and petrol then hit the road.  Sophie drove first as got the most driving experience, and was happy to be a manual although 3rd gear is very difficult! 

There's not a huge amount to say about Tully - from our experience anyway. We parked up at around 6pm at a rest stop, set up our dinner and tucked into a luxurious noodle-based dinner. There were a few other campers at the same rest stop, which was reassuring as we thought we'd pulled up in the middle of nowhere! That night, we didn't get a particularly great night's sleep, thanks to a couple of drunk Aussie blokes knocking on the van at 4am...but what can you expect at a free rest stop inbetween a camp site and a supermarket!

The following morning, we noticed we'd inadvertently parked up outside Tully's main tourist attraction, the boot, which measures the most rainful they have ever experienced in one year (7.9 metres). In fact, we had inadvertently arrived in Australia's wettest town and on cue the heavens opened up!  So we packed up and hit the road south towards Townsville.  On the way we stopped at a rest stop at Francis Creek for Neill to take his first go at driving in 6 months.  He soon was well into the driving despite the lack of 3rd gear and was loving it!  We enjoyed a lovely lunch of noodles cooked from the van in a shady spot in Townsville, before heading off again (hoping to reach Bowen). 

The drive consists of a lot of very straight roads, dozens of creeks (which we look out for crocs everytime) and beautiful scenery, as you'll see from the photos.  We pulled up at Bowen at approximately 5pm and visited a tourist info place on the front.  Bowen is the first stop in the Whitsunday region and is also where they filmed the Darwin element of the film Australia.  The front was very windy and the Whitsundays are supposed to be windy until Sunday - making a trip to the islands slightly difficult.  Anyway we were pointed to a local campsite and headed there, after scoffing at the price we decided we could find somewhere cheaper and headed south towards Airlie Beach

Long story short we couldn't find anywhere cheaper! And as the sun was setting fast we pulled into a campsite on the edge of Airlie Beach costing us $25 for the night, but included a kitchen with tv, toilets, bbq, laundry and even a swimming pool!  We cooked up a storm of pasta and sauce in the kitchen with the other campervan renters and watched a bit of Bargain hunt and The Simpsons on the TV while drinking lots of Goon to celebrate the fact that since picking up the van we have now driven over 600kms!  Not bad for just over 24 hours and already a third of the way to Brisbane! 

That brings us up-to-date, we spent a lovely quiet and relaxed night before treating ourselves to bacon sarnies and heading down to the beach front.  We are staying for one more night before heading further south to Rockhampton.
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