A Travellerspoint blog

Magnetic Island 17/7/2010 - 24/7/2010

We leave Airlie Beach after deciding that we'd like to visit and stay on a tropical island. We rule out the Whitsunday Islands as the only way to get there is via passenger-ferry and the thought of getting all our stuff over is too daunting. Instead we decide to head further North and take in Magnetic Island, a 40 minute car-ferry ride from Townsville.

We are given some great advice by the local accommodation agent and choose to stay at Horseshoe Bay, rather than at Nelly Bay where the ferry docks and where most of the apartment accommodation seems to be. Horseshoe Bay is a sheltered bay on the Northern side of the Island. Our accommodation is directly across from the beach and is a newly renovated complex that only opened weeks before we arrive.
Maggies Apartment, Magnetic Island

Maggies Apartment, Magnetic Island

The view from our apartment

The view from our apartment

Everything is very much on Island time and we relax into the beachside vibe. Unfortunately a lot of the Island is accessible only by walking and with the two kids it is difficult to see many of the more secluded areas. Instead we tend to hang out at the beach and undertake water activities.

One morning we head out to Radical Bay, one of the more secluded beaches that you can access by car (along a fairly rough unsealed road). It is a picturesque little spot with the most translucent waves just rolling in. Very beautiful place!
Nadia and Isaac take a swim in the beautiful water of Radical Bay

Nadia and Isaac take a swim in the beautiful water of Radical Bay

Jane and Nadia take a paddleboat ride

Jane and Nadia take a paddleboat ride

Greg and Jane both do a jetski tour (separately so one can look after the kids). The 90 minute tour takes you out to see some of the more secluded Northern beaches. On Greg’s tour he sees a humpback whale and calf but unfortunately Jane doesn’t see any major marine life. It is however, a thrilling ride and Jane’s first Jetski experience. She’s not a huge fan of them normally, especially when sitting on the beach and you hear the annoying drone of idiots doing “water wheelies” but with this tour you head straight out of the bay and are well off the shore and away from other people.

Greg loves his ride so much that on our last day he hires a ski for another quick burn around (secretly I think he wants to see how fast he can go after learning that Jane went faster than he did on the tour!)
Greg on a jetski

Greg on a jetski

Greg about to take on a jetski

Greg about to take on a jetski


Isaac hitches a ride on the bike and trailer

Isaac hitches a ride on the bike and trailer

Look at me - I'm travelling bike class!

Look at me - I'm travelling bike class!

It's all too much

It's all too much

Posted by mudie 04:48 Comments (0)

Airlie Beach 1/7/2010 - 17/7/2010

We leave the quiet streets of Yeppoon anticipating a more lively Airlie Beach, but are pleasantly surprised at the village feel of our new destination. We arrive late in the day and find our accommodation perched high on one of the hills overlooking Airlie Beach. The Summit Apartments (perhaps the name should have been a hint) have spectacular views over the coast and we can see the Whitsunday Islands in the distance.

Most of the apartment style accommodation in Airlie Beach are on the ranges surrounding the beach, while the backpacker style digs are all in the centre of town. It is a steep walk up to the Summit but the complex is well worth the effort.

Summit Apartments, Airlie Beach

Summit Apartments, Airlie Beach

Looking down over Airlie Beach from our apartment balcony

Looking down over Airlie Beach from our apartment balcony

Airlie Beach is where we are expecting some Adelaide visitors during our stay - Karen and Paul and Jane's parents. They have arranged it so that they can share a one bedroom apartment right next door to our apartment. Karen and Paul stay for 3 nights before heading off on a 5 night bareboat sailing experience, when Jane's parents occupy the apartment. Once they return to Adelaide, Karen and Paul return for a final 3 nights.

We arrive a few days before Karen and Paul are expected and check out the local surrounds. We've heard a lot about the Airlie Lagoon, which is an artificial beach/lagoon in the heart of the village. It has a shallow kids pool perfect for both Nadia and Isaac - Isaac can easily sit and splash away to his heart’s content.

We generally take it easy and enjoy the perfect weather. The biggest highlight of our two week stay is catching up with our Adelaide visitors.

Other highlights of our two weeks include:
- Dinner out at the Rum Bar and Fish restaurant with Karen and Paul, we splash out and hire a sitter for the night.
- Dinner out with Jane's parents at the local Mexican restaurant.
- Lazing around the apartment complex pool and having poolside picnics.
- Nadia starts “swimming” by herself with the aid of floaties and a pool noodle.
- Enjoying the lagoon and walks along the coastline.
- Jane and Karen have a luxurious spa pedicure and have beautiful toes and feet.
- It's Tour de France time and Greg and Paul seem determined to watch the coverage late into the night while enjoying a Bacardi and Coke (or two.. or three...)
- Isaac gets his first tooth.
- Nadia and Isaac love reconnecting with their Grandparents and Karen and Paul.
- Nadia has a ball running from one apartment to the other and every morning regularly goes out the balcony to see if our visitors are awake yet and ready for an early morning visit.

Nadia swimming all by herself

Nadia swimming all by herself

Isaac floating in the pool

Isaac floating in the pool


Karen's very blue toes

Karen's very blue toes


Jane and Karen enjoy a drink on the balcony

Jane and Karen enjoy a drink on the balcony

Isaac and his new toy

Isaac and his new toy

Karen and Nadia on the balcony

Karen and Nadia on the balcony

Jane's Parents with Jane and the kids

Jane's Parents with Jane and the kids

Paul reads Nadia a story

Paul reads Nadia a story

Greg and Jane take advantage of free babysitters and take up Jane's parent's offer to head out for a whole day with Karen and Paul on their yacht. We are picked up by Paul from the beach and tender out to the d'Artagnan where Karen waits for us. Unfortunately the day we’ve chosen doesn’t start out too well - it’s our first day of rain and wind at Airlie and it’s a wet ride as we leave the Bay and head out to sea. It just happens to be the day that a large Cruise Ship (Pacific Dawn) is visiting Airlie and we sail up to get a closer look. We then head out and experience two hours of sailing into the weather and find a sheltered bay to lay down the anchor.

As if by magic, we enter the Bay and the wind and rain dries up and the sun shines and we have a wonderful afternoon. We swim/jump from the back of the boat; enjoy lunch on the deck and Jane and Greg decide that they are happy not to return to the kids. Unfortunately the tide starts to go out and it’s time to up Anchor and head back to the real world. We motor back in to Airlie as we've spent a little too long in the bay and Karen and Paul need to be anchored for the night by 4pm (to meet the conditions of hiring the yacht). We enjoy a few drinks on the deck watching the sunset before we head back to the mainland. We have enjoyed a great day out on the water and vow to one day return and attempt a bareboat adventure once the kids are old enough.

dÁrtagnan - Karen and Paul's yacht/home for 5 nights

dÁrtagnan - Karen and Paul's yacht/home for 5 nights

Paul at the helm

Paul at the helm

Karen takes charge

Karen takes charge

Jane's turn to navigate

Jane's turn to navigate

Jane and Karen about to take the plunge off the back of the yacht

Jane and Karen about to take the plunge off the back of the yacht

Pacific Dawn up close

Pacific Dawn up close

Our two weeks fly-by and before we know it, all our visitors have left and we are ready to head further North for our final 800kms.

Posted by mudie 04:00 Archived in Australia Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Yeppoon 25/6/2010 - 1/7/2010

On Friday morning we leave Mooloolaba by 8.30 in the morning, after packing the night before - we know we have a long day of driving ahead of us. We are hoping to get as far as Yeppoon (580 kms and 8 hours plus away) but if the travelling gets tough then we are prepared to stop off at 1770/Agnes Waters after 309kms (about 6 hours).

The first two hours is quite slow going, but the traffic thins as we get to Maryborough. We stop briefly to refuel and end up picking up a backpacker who is heading to Townsville. Jane is initially not too sure about it but after meeting David and warning him that it will be a cramped few hours in the backseat squeezed between two carseats we offer him a ride. Coincidentially he is originally from Yeppoon and gives us a few tips on the area. He keeps the kids entertained and regales us with stories from his overseas backpacking adventures and somehow the hours fly by so we push on to Yeppoon.

Yeppoon is a beachside town, 20 mins from inland Rockhampton and is the mainland access for Great Keppel Island - the Southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. It is located on a very pretty coastline.

We know we are much further North as the weather is devine. When we first arrive in Yeppoon we are not sure whether we will stay for 3 nights and push on to get closer to Airlie Beach (which we need to reach by July 1) or whether to stay for 6 and do another longish drive on the 1st. After a day we realise that the weather is good and that there aren't many options between Yeppoon and Airlie; besides Yeppoon is a nice little place to chill out. We also have some great accommodation in a new apartment complex right on the main beach of Yeppoon. It overlooks the beach with views to Great Keppel Island and is around the corner from the main shopping street of Yeppoon.
Full moon rises over Main Beach, Yeppoon

Full moon rises over Main Beach, Yeppoon

Sunrise over Yeppoon Beach

Sunrise over Yeppoon Beach

Echelon Apartments, Yeppoon

Echelon Apartments, Yeppoon

We spend our days at Yeppoon relaxing on the beach, walking and hanging out around the apartment's rooftop pool. We also decide to do a daytrip to Great Keppel Island. We spend some time checking out the coral and fish on a glass-bottom boat and then spend the rest of the day swimming on a deserted tropical island beach! The island itself is virtually deserted. Even though its school holdiays there aren't many who make the trip over for the day and there are minimal accommodation options for people to stay overnight as the main resort has been closed for 2 years. We don't complain though, as we had the beach to ourselves!!
Nadia fetches the ball on Farmborough Beach, Yeppoon

Nadia fetches the ball on Farmborough Beach, Yeppoon

Nadia and Isaac playing in the shallows at Farmborough Beach

Nadia and Isaac playing in the shallows at Farmborough Beach

Swimming on a deserted tropical island beach

Swimming on a deserted tropical island beach

About to board the ferry from Great Keppel Island back to the mainland

About to board the ferry from Great Keppel Island back to the mainland

Jane and Isaac brave the water in the apartment pool at Yeppoon

Jane and Isaac brave the water in the apartment pool at Yeppoon

Isaac chilling out on a sunlounger

Isaac chilling out on a sunlounger

Posted by mudie 05:45 Archived in Australia Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Mooloolaba 18/6/2010 - 25/6/2010

Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast is our next stop and while it is further South than both Noosa and Twin Waters we are keen to visit it. Originally we had thought we'd visit Mooloolaba first (then head North to Twin Waters and Noosa) but to ensure that we could catch up with Bevis, Anne, and Dave, Claire, Max and Oliver who were at Noosa over the long weekend, we rejigged our plans slightly.. and considering we're only talking about a few kilometres it's not really a big deal.

We are spoilt for choice for accommodation and end up in the Osprey Apartments which have an amazing view over the beach. Even though it is only a two bedroom apartment it has two living areas and is very spacious.
Osprey Apartments, Mooloolaba

Osprey Apartments, Mooloolaba


Osprey Apartments pool from our balcony

Osprey Apartments pool from our balcony


Sunrise over Mooloolaba beach, from our apartment

Sunrise over Mooloolaba beach, from our apartment

The weather during our visit to Mooloolaba is a little hit and miss - it's definitely starting to get cold and the nights are often very cold. If the sun is out during the day it can be lovely but we see our fair share of rain and overcast days during our last week on the Sunshine Coast. Time to start heading North towards the warmer weather.

We have another visitor, but for just one night this time. Greg's sister Dana is heading to a health retreat in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and flies up from Adelaide a day early to spend some time with us. Nadia is very excited to see her and gives her Aunty a huge hug and doesn't want to leave her side - she is especially excited that she will be sharing a bedroom with her.

While Dana is with us we brave a night out for dinner and the kids both behave beautifully. Isaac falls asleep for the whole time and Nadia happily sits up at the table and chats to us all. On Sunday morning before we take Dana to Kin Kin, where Living Valley Springs is located, we once again catch up with Jill in Noosaville for brunch, allowing Dana a chance to catch up with this long time family friend.
Nadia and Greg meet Percy the Pelican at Noosaville

Nadia and Greg meet Percy the Pelican at Noosaville

The rest of the week passes by with plenty of walks along the gorgeous coastline and Greg gets in a few surfs but finds that the longboard is not the right vehicle for the waves. Often he just stands back and watches some of the best surfers he has seen - it looks like these guys surf every day and it's probably true. One day we catch a glimpse of Jessica Watson walking along the beach and we checkout The Pink Lady harboured in the local marina. We take a ferry cruise along the River and man-made canals and checkout some of the most amazing real estate property on the Sunshine Coast... some of the figures that these properties are worth is simply mindblowing!

Another highlight of the week is Nadia's first visit to the cinema. Jane takes her to her see Toy Story 3 and amazingly she sits through the whole thing with minimal wiggling. While the girls are at the movies, Greg and Isaac take the surfboard to Bevis' place at Sunshine Beach to get sent back to Adelaide. There will be no more need for surfboards up North as the Great Barrier Reef inhibits any wave action on the mainland.
Isaac enjoys the jolly jumper

Isaac enjoys the jolly jumper

Posted by mudie 03:12 Archived in Australia Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Twin Waters 14/6/2010 - 18/6/2010


View 2010 Road Trip on mudie's travel map.

On the Monday of the long weekend we pack up and leave Noosa. Bevis has kindly allowed us to unload some of our luggage from the trailer at his holdiay house so we can remove some of the excess belongings that we no longer require. We will arrange to get them back to Adelaide by freight, or they will be picked up on the return journey. It leaves us with a lot more space in the trailer and will hopefully make packing and unpacking a little easier.

Claire and Dave feed us lunch before we make the huge drive to Twin Waters (about 20km!).

Twin Waters is a resort town between Noosa and Maroochydore, but we are staying in some self-contained apartments on the lagoon. (Like Coffs Harbour we can use all the resort facilities but are able to self-cater rather than stay in the hotel rooms of the resort).
Our apartment at Twin Waters

Our apartment at Twin Waters

We decided to stay at Twin Waters for four nights to catch-up with some friends from Adelaide, who just happened to be travelling to the Sunshine Coast while we were on our road trip. Michelle and Matt, whom we met through Jane's Mothers' Group, kindly let us gate-crash their holiday! Tia, their daughter, and Nadia are great friends in Adelaide and their reunion is beautiful - big hugs and kisses all round. It's not long before they share a bath and leave the adults to chat away.
Michelle, Nadia, Tia, Greg and Isaac feed the fish at Twin Waters

Michelle, Nadia, Tia, Greg and Isaac feed the fish at Twin Waters

Nadia and Tia feeding the fish at Twin Waters

Nadia and Tia feeding the fish at Twin Waters


Nadia and Tia on the lagoon at Twin Waters

Nadia and Tia on the lagoon at Twin Waters

Australia Zoo (ala Steve Irwin) beckons on Tuesday and we make it a big family outing. Not only do Michelle, Matt and Tia join us, but Dave and Claire drive from Sunshine Beach (Noosa) with Max and Oliver to also join in the fun. We have a great day feeding elephants and kangaroos; watching live crocodile shows; petting the goats and pigs at the petting zoo and visiting the tigers and all the other animals. There are also some kiddy rides that are popular with the 2 year olds.
Nadia, Max and Tia get up close and personal with a croc at Australia Zoo

Nadia, Max and Tia get up close and personal with a croc at Australia Zoo

Nadia and Tia watch the live crocodile show at Australia Zoo

Nadia and Tia watch the live crocodile show at Australia Zoo

Nadia feeds a kangaroo at Australia Zoo

Nadia feeds a kangaroo at Australia Zoo

We all meet a python at Australia Zoo

We all meet a python at Australia Zoo

Matt and Tia and Greg and Nadia ride the rides at Australia Zoo

Matt and Tia and Greg and Nadia ride the rides at Australia Zoo

Feeding the elephants at Australia Zoo

Feeding the elephants at Australia Zoo

On Wednesday Jane and Michelle (with Isaac in tow) decide to take on the Eumundi markets - apparently the best markets in Queensland. They are not disappointed. The first stop results in some successful purchases and from there on in, we are on a shopping roll!!

While Jane and Michelle spend a small fortune, Greg and Matt entertain the girls around the resort. The girls have a great time riding Nadia's pink bike; playing sand castles and generally running amok.

On Thursday we let Matt, Michelle and Tia have their own family holiday time and check out some local playgrounds.
Nadia on the seesaw

Nadia on the seesaw


Isaac on the seesaw

Isaac on the seesaw

Weeeeeeee

Weeeeeeee

Friday morning is once again moving day (we only have a quick four-night stop this time) but we catch-up with Michelle, Matt and Tia for coffee and breakfast in the park. Nadia and Tia have a last minute play before we head our seperate ways. Once again it has been lovely spending time with some well-known faces from Adelaide, and we are sad to leave them.

Posted by mudie 04:58 Archived in Australia Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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