Australia – an epic journey

NSW – Victoria –  Queensland We spent three months in Australia, between 1st October 2003 and 8th January 2004. After we arrived in Sydney, our journey took us north, from New South Wales into Queensland – up the coast through Brisbane to the tropical north of the state. Then we wandered down, alternately inland and […]

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The Campervan

We have been confidently telling everybody that we’re going to buy a campervan in Oz – it’s the cheapest way for four of us to get around and it will provide an exciting part of the whole adventure for the girls. We’d even decided what colours we were going to paint it if it needed […]

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Camper Day!

This is the day that the girls have been looking forward to for the last 3 months – the day we collect our camper van. After packing everything up into our rucksacks, for the last time in 2 months, we carried them the ½ mile to the van rental place. After 45 minutes of paying, […]

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The Pacific Highway

Aah, “the Pacific Highway”. What kind of image does that name evoke? I could see it in my mind – a delightfully quiet road, with the sides lined by swaying coconut palms and little shacks beside the road serving ice cold cokes in a bottle. Of course, its nothing like that – but then we […]

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Bonny Hills

Last night we arrived at Bonny Hills, a small village south of Port Macquarie. We’d turned off the Pacific Highway to take a smaller coastal route, and the Lonely Planet had told us that the campsite at Bonny Hills had the ‘best views on the east coast’. This was more our kind of place – […]

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Moving up the coast

We left Bonny Hill this morning to continue our drive northwards, towards the sun and some warmth (Bonny Hill, 18 degrees and rain; Cairns 30 degrees and sunny). During the night we were woken by two terrific thunderstorms, which managed to find ways to penetrate the campervan and drip onto ‘my’ side of the duvet. […]

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Yamba to Byron Bay

Just one night in Yamba, waking up to the sound of the sea crashing onto the breakwater. There’s something magical about sleeping near the sea – the sound of the waves all night long, and the fresh air blowing over the campsite – mind you, a bit too fresh last night! We took a slow […]

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Byron Bay

We’ve now continued up, to the town of Byron Bay. There’s a couple of beautiful beaches, and a lighthouse on Cape Byron, the most easterly point of Australia. On our trip 10 years ago, this was the first stop we made on our trip north on the bus, after an overnight trip from Sydney. Then […]

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Zooming past the Gold Coast

Today we moved from Byron Bay, to the Glasshouse Mountains, north of Brisbane. Before we left Byron Bay we drove up to the lighthouse, and had a run around at the most easterly point of Australia. Our original plan was to move 100kms north, but in the end we moved 350kms, past the Gold Coast […]

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Fraser Island – Day One

We’ve just returned from Fraser Island, where we’ve been camping and driving around. Fraser Island is a bit special – it’s the world’s largest sand island, and you can only drive it with a four-wheel-drive vehicle (4WD). So we weren’t going to be able to get anywhere in our campervan, so it meant that we […]

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Fraser Island – Day Two

We woke up to a glorious morning –the sun was shining, and the ground was dry. Although there had been some rain in the night, it hadn’t got any of us wet, so we were all cheerful as we tucked into porridge and bacon ‘n eggs (we think that must be a proper camping breakfast) […]

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Fraser Island – Day Three

Camping mornings start early, with the dawn – and tea was on at 6am. As we surfaced we realised that we were definitely in backpacker corner of the camp – surrounded by half a dozen identical 6-man tents. Fraser Island is a popular trip for backpackers, where the hostels in Harvey Bay (where they all […]

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Driving around Australia

Today we’re at Rainbow Beach, halfway up the East coast of Australia – in fact, we’re almost exactly halfway on our drive between Sydney and Cairns. We’ve driven 900 miles north in the last two weeks, plus another 200 miles around Fraser Island (the fun stuff…). And we’ve got about another 900 miles to go […]

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Caravan parks in Australia

Okay, there’s no avoiding it. I’m going to have to talk about Caravan Parks. What has my life come to that I’m reduced to this? Some of the places we’ve stayed at have been pretty impressive – the park we’re in at the moment, Rainbow Beach, has lots of tropical palms as landscaping, lots of […]

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Finally getting closer

We’re involved in a bit of a mad dash ‘up north’ at the moment, to get to Mission Beach in time for Charlotte’s birthday. That’s involved some long days of driving, and we’ve driven 1,300 kilometres (about 800 miles) in the last two days – which has meant most of the day in the van. […]

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Monday morning blues

It has now been 16 weeks since I stopped work to go travelling round the world. And I thought I’d mark the moment by sharing with you some of the Monday morning blues that I’ve experienced since then. And you’ll notice that my Monday morning blues have been a little bit different to ‘9-5 Monday […]

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Birthday Girl

Today was Charlotte’s 8th birthday. She’d been looking forward to it all month, and counting down the days the minute she woke up each morning. So it was no surprise when Charlotte woke up at 5 o’clock in the morning! Our plan was to make the day last, with little surprises along the way, and […]

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A day trip to the reef

We’ve now driven 2,800 kilometres, and arrived in Cairns, nearly the most northerly point of our journey – with a combination of long driving days and quite a few stops, its not been to bad a journey for us all. Cairns is the starting point for trips to the Great Barrier Reef, and other things […]

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Cruising the Daintree River

We’re staying in the Pinnacle caravan park, in Wonga Beach (yes, really, there is a village called Wonga Beach), where we arrived on Sunday 26th. Its been a chance to catch up again, for the girls to spend a lazy day recovering from their exertions at Green Island (especially Charlotte, who probably swam over half […]

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Doing a Burrell

It seems fashionable these days to publish private correspondence between yourself and your friends. So I thought I’d follow the trend by sharing with you a piece of correspondence which we received by email yesterday. It will give you a feel for the kind of abuse which we have to live with! I’m not going […]

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Moving away from the coast

Today, temporarily, we moved away from the coast, and headed up into the Atherton Tablelands, which is a raised plateau just inland from Cairns. The drive up took us from the lush, green coast through an 800m winding climb, to a semi-arid area, dominated by red soil and termite mounds. Normally it is a lot […]

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Our canoe-tastic day

Today was a day full of activities. We started with an early morning canoe trip, starting at 5.45 am on Lake Tinaroo near Yungaburra. Steve, the guide from the hostel, normally takes big groups out on canoe trips, but he doesn’t normally take children under 10, so we presented a bit of a problem. Added […]

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Pressing the pause button

Today was a chance to ‘pause’, to recharge our collective batteries, and catch up on some sleep. Every now and again we get to the point of needing a rest for a day – perhaps to catch up after having 24 hours a day with the girls being too energetic! And today was one of […]

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Great Barrier Reef – Part 2

Today was an antidote to yesterday – a day full of excitement and a bit of adventure! We’d booked a trip to the outer Great Barrier Reef from Airlie Beach. Run by a company called FantaSea, it involved a 2½ hour catamaran trip out to a floating reef platform moored just off reef miles out […]

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Heading through the Outback

For the last day we’ve been driving through the Outback. Although our drive up north was entirely along the coast, we wanted to see some of the inland of Australia as well, so we opted to turn inwards from Mackay, and drive down for a few hundred kilometers through the inland areas. Pretty soon we […]

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Another Outback day

Today was spent driving from Emerald to Roma. On the way out of Emerald we found yet another example of the ‘Big’ phenomena – the Big Easel. The small picture doesn’t really do it justice – so the one below gives better context. There’s something strange in the Australian character that makes them create these […]

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Emily’s Birthday day

This morning we woke up to Emily’s birthday – and like Charlotte she was excited to open her presents and cards, including some from home. We’ve had to choose presents carefully, as when we leave the camper van next month we’ll be back to carrying everything in our rucksacks – so most things will be […]

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Crikey! Nice necklace!

We’ve finally arrived at the Australia Zoo, home of Steve Irwin the Crocodile Hunter. The visit was part of Emily’s birthday present, but just before going in she told us that she didn’t really want to see any crocodiles, which makes up 60% of what’s in the zoo! (Actually Emily told us that she didn’t […]

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Mount Warning

Since visiting the zoo, we’ve been driving down the coast again, leaving Queensland and heading into New South Wales, covering a further 400 miles. We’re now at a campsite at Mount Warning, inland from the coast. The site is in a field bordered by the edge of the forest, and is basically a big open […]

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Still driving

We’ve now driven almost 4,000 miles in 5 weeks, so the picture on the left is what I’ve been looking at for a long time now. It seems amazing to both Sarah and I that Charlotte and Emily have adjusted so well to travelling around so much. They seem happy sitting for hours in the […]

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Still inland

We woke up on Monday morning (the 17th) to strong winds and grey clouds, and the forecast of rain for three days. So we packed up, and instead of staying for a few more days at Arakoon, set off inland. Before we left the coast we called into the local library in Kempsey town to […]

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We continued to drive south, through Dubbo (nope, don’t think there’s a town with that name in the UK), and stopping for lunch and sightseeing at Parkes Radio Telescope. Perhaps, if we’d not seen the film “The Dish”, we’d have driven straight past, but who could resist visiting a film star, and the place where […]

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In one of those curious coincidences that turns into a treat for the girls, we drove back into Jervis Bay this afternoon (where we’ve been staying since Thursday night) at the same time as the official weigh in for the “White Beach fishing competition”. They were catching Meiko sharks, and when we arrived they were […]

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C’mon England

Tired and frustrated with all the Pom-bashing going on over here for the rugby World Cup final, we thought we’d get in the spirit. So today we’ve tarted up the van with a nice logo and tomorrow it’ll be the turn of the face paints. Oh, and a nice official England RWC T-Shirt and hat […]

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Like Christians to the coliseum

Well, although we’re not the biggest rugby fans in the world (I don’t even understand the rules), there seemed to be only one thing to do today, after all of the Pom-bashing in the papers. We decided to go completely overboard and put our head into the metaphorical lion’s mouth – by painting our faces […]

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Coming Second

We’re convinced that Australians and Americans are the same thing – sure their accents are a bit different, and their countries are in different hemispheres, but there are waaaay too many similarities to them. Remember I wrote that nobody ever remembers who came second. Well, that isn’t quite true. In the table of “Countries clearing […]

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Going south

We’re sitting in the seaside town of Pambula Beach – well, it’s a village with a shop and a petrol station, but here in Australia that counts for a town (you should see what counts as a city!). The good news for us is that the weather is improving, and although its still cool, the […]

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