Frying Pan Creek

I thought I’d start off todays post by explaining how this little blog came about.  As you’ve seen we are a family who loves to camp and we wanted to meet some more like minded peeps so we created a “secret” Facebook group (this means that only the members of the group can see the posts) so that we could plan a monthly camp in a different destination each time. We invited friends and family whom we knew loved to camp and told them to invite others.  This way we would get to explore new areas and meet new people.

We also use the group page to share different tips and tricks and have a few laughs.  Its all in good fun!

Our first ever camp we planned was at Frying Pan Creek in the Chichester State Forest about 30 minutes from the small town of Dungog in the Hunter Region. The camp ground is quite easy to access with a 2WD and a caravan but in wet weather it would be recommended to have a 4WD as it can be quite slippery.

There is over 100 camp sites at Frying Pan with the creek for swimming, one drop toilet that is kept as best can be by Forest Rangers and a couple of tree swings.  The area is dog friendly but they are to be kept on a leash  at all times and obviously you need to clean up after your dog.

There is plenty to do up there from swimming in the creek, bush walking, 4WDing, fishing or take your push bike or motorbike and explore that way.

We arrived on the Friday on a beautiful sunny day to a flat camp ground of lush green grass and shady trees.  We set to work setting up camp with a stop for lunch and a quick beer.

SONY DSC
We like to set up in  a big circle so that we can have a cosy camp fire in the middle.

That afternoon was spent relaxing around camp and Trish and I decided to take our cameras and go for an explore.

SONY DSCSONY DSC

SONY DSC
Can’t you just imagine this as a little fairy garden!

The next day we awoke to another beautiful sunny day and after breaky it was time to hit the river. The FREEZING cold river! The temperature stopped me from getting in but not the kids….or the big kids!

SONY DSC
There was a perfect swimming hole not far from our camp that was about waste deep and had a nice little sandy beach to walk down into the water.

 

That afternoon there was a massive downpour of rain that lasted a couple of hours. But we didn’t let that stop our fun, we had  fantastic group of people and even though it was wet it wasn’t cold so it just didn’t matter.

We all ran from camp to camp pushing up canvas and quick shades making sure nothing caved in from the weight of the water and the kids played all afternoon in the rain.

SONY DSC
Who needs an umbrella when you have a rubber dingy!
12779164_10153664071301284_1225161891161816451_o
Time for some bubbles after the rain

That night we had planned to have a big camp oven cook up on the fire…sooo it was time to improvise and we all put our camp ovens on our little propane burner stoves and still managed to hook into a delicious roast whilst the rain kept coming.  It was a good test for everybody’s campers and tents because it rained steadily all night and luckily nobody got wet!

We awoke on the last day to another lovely sunny day.  We all had a slow breakfast having a big cook up.  There were smells of bacon, eggs, sausages and pan cakes all over the campsite and then it was time to pack up.  Luckily those of us with canvas campers and tents had all put tarps over the top so our setups were all quite dry.

After pack up on the last day we try our hardest to get a group shot at all of our camps, of course that doesn’t always workout for us but if we can manage it, its nice to have the memory of everybody that attended.

12771728_10153664072281284_5201256829512500902_o
The Aussie Camping Capers Clan

Frying Pan Creek is a beautiful spot and we’ll definitely be heading back there, especially with so many different camp grounds to explore!

 

Cheers

Ez & Trish

xx

 

(Words by Ez, photos by Trish)

Cape York – Part 4 – The Tip

So…where were we…oh thats right! Car trouble…again! The Hilux had gone into limp mode, the boys stopped and worked on it a few times but eventually we took it to the RACQ mechanic at Bamaga who was kind enough to let them work on it in his workshop and use his tools but it was soon obvious that the Hilux would be staying at the mechanic workshop, at least for the night.

We ended up having to hire a small car to get around and spent our first night at the Seisia Holiday Park.  Our friends J & K had to get a cabin since their roof top tent was now living at the Mechanic with their ute.  Marty and I camped next door in ours with Wilso in his usual spot swagging it under the ute awning.

Seisia is the most northern community on mainland Australia. The holiday park is right on the beach and has stray/random dogs (quite a lot have collars on) roaming around everywhere…along with horses that you occasionally see one of the local kids riding…no saddle, bridle or any other gear…just cruising around on possibly a wild horse…which is pretty cool!

The amenities were clean and therefore fantastic! Especially after spending a few nights free camping without any, and there is a kiosk/cafe which again is amazing when you haven’t seen decent coffee for a week or so!

That night we decided we couldn’t be bothered cooking and needed a decent meal, we headed to the restaraunt at the Cape York Peninsula Lodge.  We were a mess, hadn’t showered in a couple of days but didn’t care, we deserved a delicious meal and that it was!

The next day was spent getting ourselves organised. The boys went back to the mechanic to go through a process of elimination to try and work out what was going on with the Hilux whilst K and I set about finding a place to stay that would house all 5 of us.  We decided on Loyalty Beach.  The only problem was that the little Toyota Yaris that we’d hired to get around in was not allowed to go off the tar roads so it was back to the car hire office to find another (Marty and I had actually taken one of the seats out of the back of the Navara for a second engle fridge that we used as a freezer and therefore made it only a 4 seater, not very helpful with 5 people). We decided that a Land Cruiser would do the job to get us all around together.

We hired the “beach house” at Loyalty Beach….which actually turned out to be a two story open air shed…not quite the luxury we were hoping for…but hey…it did the job!

Loyalty Beach is another beach front park with a small kiosk at the front desk and you can also book tours there, I can’t speak of the amenities as we didn’t need to use them.  The staff are all very friendly and all came over for a chat to hear our story (which I’m sure they’d heard many times before) when they saw that we had the whole of the inside of the Navara pulled out, airing out in the sunshine for days on end! The park also has a fantastic restaurant and bar that has a great vibe and delicious food.  Perfect for happy hour that then continues onto dinner whilst you watch the sunset over the beach.

So today was the day we were going to the tip! We all piled into the LandCruiser and off we went.  There is a bit of a walk when you get there but it is definitely worth it!

We had vowed that when we finally made it to the tip we would do the Salty Rain Dance….its amazing the looks you get when you break out into dance at the top of a hill….

After we’d had a beer at the sign, had a swim in the Coral Sea and done our little happy dance at the top, we headed on back down and dropped into Punsand Bay Corrugation Bar for a drink and some lunch and ended up sitting with some other campers and sharing stories of our trip.  It was great meeting other people and seeing how they had faired the Tele Track.

On the way back past the local Mechanic we dropped in to check on the Hilux and were informed that they couldn’t find the issue and there was no way it was driving back out of town.  We’d have to book it onto a barge to be sent back to Cairns.  We decided to make the most of our time up here since we’d be spending another couple of nights until we could get the ute on the boat and the others on a plane!

The next day was a tour of Thursday Island, an Island of the Torres Straight Islands located approximately 39kms off the coast of the Cape York Peninsula. You can get a return ticket for around $116 each on Peddell’s Ferry and they also combine tours with your ferry ride.  We did the Thursday Island Tour with a local Guide.

The bus tours takes you around the whole of the Island and stops off at Green Hill Fort with its under ground tunnels and rooms that house the historical museum.  You’ll also stop off at the local cemetery where you learn about the traditions and rituals of the local islanders regarding the death of loved ones and see the beautifully decorated headstones.

There is then plenty of time to check out the lovely bars and restaurants before you head off back to Seisia on the Ferry.

We had one more night before Marty & I had to start heading back down towards Cairns. We spent the night back at Seisia and went to the local fishing club for burgers, footy and karaoke.

We were lucky enough to meet another couple, Gaz & Lyn, who would be heading off the same day as us and therefore we didn’t have to travel alone. We stuck to the bypass road for the trip back down but stopped in at a couple of little spots on the tele track to see a few of the crossings that we missed on the way up.

We spent the night at the Archer River Roadhouse.  The camp ground was nice and shaded, the amenities clean and you could get a feed and some general supplies at the roadhouse.

Marty and I decided to take a different route after Archer River and turned off at Musgrave Station to go through the Lakefield National Park and would meet up with Gaz & Lyn at the Lions Den Hotel that afternoon.

One of our most favourite places on the whole trip was the Lions Den Hotel on the Bloomfield Track between Cooktown and Cape Tribulation and of course it was the one time in the whole trip that I didn’t have my phone or camera attached to me at all times so I have no photos.  You walk in and are surrounded by history…and underwear…I’m not kidding, it is hanging on the walls all around you!

There is powered and unpowered sites along with onsite cabins and safari tents.  The amenities include showers, toilets and a laundry and there is also bbq facilities and a kids play ground.  The meals and atmosphere are great and then in the mornings you can score breaky and a coffee…although you do have to be willing to line up!

We headed down the Bloomfield Track towards Cape Tribulation.  We’d heard that it could be a tricky road with steep climbs and river crossings.  It was quite windy and steep but we’d had a LOT of hot weather since we’d been away and did have any trouble with river crossings or slippery roads, although we did stop for lunch and a swim in one of the river crossings!

Marty and I had been to Cape Tribulation before so apart from stopping to have one last beer with Gaz & Lyn at the the Cow Bay Hotel where you’ll find the Bulls Bar, the longest single timber bar-top in the world!

After leaving our new travel partners we headed into Port Douglas where we would spend one last night before meeting up with J & K and Wilso in Cairns the next day.

I won’t do a post on our time in Cairns or the trip home.  Due to the fact that Marty and I had been there only 12 months before and the others were running low on cash after having to pay for flights and putting the hilux on the barge from Bamaga we really just hung out at the lagoon on the Esplanade, did a few touristy things like the Kuranda Rail and Skyrail and the night markets.  After we left Marty and I headed home on our own and stopped at a few spots until we got to Caloundra where we stayed with family for a few nights before heading home to Maitland.

As I said in my very first post of this series one of the best/worst holidays we’ve ever had!

Have you ever had a holiday like that?? Comment and let us know.

 

Cheers

Ez. x

Weekly Photo Challenge – Numbers

Well we have skipped a couple of weeks of the weekly photo challenge over at The Daily Challenge but hey, life’s like that sometimes i guess we will just say we got busy living life rather than documenting it……That’s my excuse anyway!!! 🙂

So this weeks theme is numbers. I love this theme  this I think is a super awesome photo to go with it.

IMG_6895

This tree is at the Bramwell Junction Road House, Queensland.  The Road House is the last fuel stop before Bamaga at Cape York and the gateway to the famous 4WD track the Old Telegraph Track. Lots of number plates are lost at the first 4WDing crossing on the track and they are collected here on the tree.

Cheers

Trish & Ez xx

Cape York – Part 1 – And We’re Off!

So a couple of years ago Marty and I decided that we needed one more big holiday before heading down the parenting path. It was a toss up between going to the United States or going to Cape York. We weighed up the pros and cons and figured that after setting up the ute and buying all the gear we’d need for a big camping trip, it would probably cost around the same as a trip to the States only we’d have all of that gear forever to plan more trips in the future. So the Cape won!

Quite a bit of work had to be done to Nigel the Navara, but that will have to be a post for another time, and quite a bit of gear purchased to prepare for a 4 week trip through the Queensland outback and straight to the tip!

1240574_10152213688093572_2005720226_n

So on 7 September 2013, 5 of us bounced out of bed at an ungodly hour with way too much energy and set off on what would be our most memorable holiday ever. It was somewhat of a disaster but also some of the most fun we’ve ever had.

After around 10.5 hours of driving we stopped in at St. George, Queensland for lunch on the Balonne River and a quick schooner at the St. George Hotel across the road, now it was stated that this hotel had “the best beer in Australia”…but that could have been 10.5 hours of driving talking so we’ll just say that that drink went down well!

001 St George QLD

Then it was back onto those long straight roads to our first stop for the night, Mitchell QLD at the Neil Turner Weir.

002 Mitchell

A slightly less early morning the next day and we hit the road heading for Ilfracombe with a population of around 360.  We stayed at the Ilfracombe Caravan Park, a really neat little park with friendly owners and clean, tidy amenities and the Artesian Spa is just up the road, but just be careful of the local emu’s who like to block the gate!

After dinner we headed up to the Wellshot Hotel where we chatted with some locals and played fetch with the owners border collie. It would would actually pick up tiny pebbles and rest them in the back of your shoe to get your attention to play some more.

FullSizeRender
The Council Bi-Laws hanging in the Wellshot Hotel

Ilfracombe is also home of the “Machinery Mile”, an outdoor machinery museum, some of the machinery is very rare and all of it has been collected within 100 miles of town.

 

20 minutes down the road is Longreach so we stopped in there for some breaky and a snoop around the Stockmans Hall of Fame

 

Now when your leaving Longreach and heading through Outback Queensland you can’t NOT stop in at the Walkabout Creek Hotel at McKinlay, it would be an insult to growing up in the 80’s if we didn’t have a drink at the pub from Crocodile Dundee!

That night we stayed in the small town of Cloncurry, had a quiet dinner and an early night ready for another early start the next day.

Today we were heading for Lawn Hill National Park, a good 6 hour drive in front of us through MASSIVE stations, it really was an eye opener!

DSC_0156
This was the beginning of the never-ending red dirt!
1074872_10151479400386557_728963838_o
Be careful out here in the outback…..cows eat cars!!!

The Lawn Hill National Park, which is actually now known as the Boojamulla National Park is in the Gulf Country region of North West Queensland near the Northern Territory border.  We got a big shock driving into the Lawn Hill Station, it was very red, dusty, baron land that seemed to be in serious drought….and then we hit Adeles Grove.

Adeles Grove Camping park is 10 km outside of the National Park and from the Lawn Hill Gorge.  It is beautiful and lush like a forest! We set up camp and spent the afternoon swimming in the beautiful clear (and quite cold!) Lawn Hill Creek…that yes apparently does have fresh water crocodiles in it but we didn’t see any and then relaxed with happy hour!

 

_MG_2769

020 Adeles Grove
This is what happens when your too big for the rope swing…sorry kids!

025 Adeles Grove027 Adeles GroveDSC_0075

The next morning we headed out for some kayaking and swimming in the amazing Lawn Hill Gorge.

DSC_0085030 Lawn HillDSC_0113_MG_2806DSC_0129

I think I’ll leave you with the amazing images of Lawn Hill and pick up on this on another day!

 

To be continued….

 

Ez.

Weekly Photo Challenge-Earth

We have decided to join the weekly photo challenge over at The Daily Post this weeks theme being Earth

FullSizeRender

EARTH

Such a great  theme, I had a hard time narrowing down my choices but opted to go with something that grows from the earth A native Australian tree, the paper bark tree

I love how the bark slowly lifts in beautiful textural layers Unlike the hard scratchy bark of most trees the paperbark feels soft almost silky .

A part of the Melaleuca  family the paperbark grows to around 15-20m tall & only grows in the warmer coastal areas from Sydney to Cape York. It has beautiful creamy white blossoms toward the end of summer & a small brown berry that looks like a gumnut

This one grows in my street & my children often stop to steal a piece of its beautiful bark when we walk by.

Do you have a paperbark in your neighbourhood?

CHEERS

Trish xo