Feb
06
2010
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Great driving holidays – Cooktown to Mount Surprise (Qld)

By Australia / Queensland /

HEADING south and inland from Cooktown down to Mt Surprise was, well, a bit of a surprise – a pleasant one. Definitely take the short-cut and head along the top of the Atherton Tablelands, and cut out going back through Cairns. It’s a great drive that’s fairly easy until you reach Rolleston. From then on its only bitumen for the width of one car, down the middle of the road, so drive your campervan and carry your load carefully especially on corners, as chances are others coming towards you are using the middle of the road too! The other half of your lane is orange dirt and badly corrugated, so it’s slow going. Every now and then you will get a double land of bitumen, but not often, and no there’s no phone reception from thereafter either. It feels like the road is never ending, but it’s because of the slow going and the frequent pull-offs you have to make….

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Feb
01
2010
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Great driving holidays – Cairns to Cape York (Qld)

By Australia / Cairns / Queensland /

CAPE York is absolutely totally out of this world. No word can sum it up, no matter how much you try to describe it. Quite simply, you just don’t know how great it is until you experience it for yourself. I bid farewell to Sheree and the kids (they are having a week in Cairns) while myself and the film crew head into the unknown territory of Cape York Peninsula. Firstly, there’s a few very important things to remember. If you are travelling along, as in only one vehicle, make sure you stick to the Cape York Development Road at all times! If you are lucky enough to have a support vehicle or vehicles with you, then venture off on to the Telegraph Track. We had only one vehicle, but we still saw so much and had the best time ever. Once you get past Laura you will feel like you are in a different country. It isn’t that far…

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Jan
26
2010

Great driving holidays – Mossman to Cooktown (Qld)

By Australia / Queensland /

THE drive from Mossman to Cooktown is brilliant. It isn’t an easy drive, but still it’s really worth the while. Make sure you stock up on everything before you head off and there are plenty of stops along the way including some great photo opportunities. Cooktown is a place full of wonder and it certainly wasn’t what I expected, that’s for sure! Simply put – it is stunning and there is no other way to describe it. And the history you will see and learn is astounding. I knew so little before going there it was actually embarrassing. For starters, the lookout will take your breath away and if you are an avid photographer, you will spend hours – even days – taking photos. The Mt Cook lookout is the first port of call to get your bearings and start your adventure of the area. From there we headed back into town to the James Cook Museum. This museum is…

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Jan
14
2010

Great driving holidays – Cairns to Mossman (Qld)

By Australia / Cairns / Queensland /

WHO ever would have thought that a place like Mossman was only a 90-minute drive north of Cairns. Tucked away in the beautiful hinterland and on the base of the Daintree. Mossman hides one of the most spectacular and entertaining places that is simply unforgettable – The Karnak Playhouse, owned by world famous Diane Cilento! It is so enchanting, I could have stayed there forever. They do world class stage performances and when you throw the setting into the equation, it’s really something out of a story book. After leaving the Playhouse, we took in the Mossman Gorge. Once again, somewhere you simply do not want to leave after experiencing it. The scenery is so untouched, which is awesome to see, and make sure you take your swimmers as the big swimming hole is fantastic! Best of all, you don’t have to be fit as you can go to the main viewing platform. It’s an easy 250m stroll with only…

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Dec
15
2009
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Great driving holidays – Mackay to Ayr (Qld)

By Australia / Queensland /

We decided to deviate from our intinerary, something we have become very good at! Although sometimes it is not planned at the time. So after Mackay, we decided to stop in Ayr, a great little town 80km south of Townsville. It’s a good old country town, buzzing with busy farmers and tonnes of produce. There is still enough sugar cane to sink a battleship, but two things Ayr has that not a lot of these small country towns have are, one, it is right on the beach, and two, it has an enormous water supply in the Burdekin River and Dam which flow through the southern side of town. Water is never a problem around here, even though they have balmy summer days all year round. Produce is grown by the hectare and therefore there is nothing better for a campervanner/caravanner than roadside stalls from which you can stock up on supplies. Just 10km south of Ayr is a little…

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Nov
30
2009
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Great driving holidays – Emerald to Mackay (Qld)

By Australia / Queensland /

LEAVING Emerald and heading back out to the coast in the campervan was a welcome relief. I’m not saying anything bad about Emerald, it’s a very unique place, but to head out to where the Great Barrier Reef begins and see the view just says it all. Pulling into Mackay we ran into trouble. Big trouble, so it’s worth taking note of this if you’re driving around Queensland in your hire campervan from DriveNow or caravan. We had all pulled over on the side of a newly tar-sealed road to wait for the others. We got out, I walked up to the motorhome to speak to Sheree and, just at that moment as we were standing there and talking, a delightful truck tears past doing about 90km in a 40km zone, showering not only myself but the motorhome with stones … and there goes the driver-side window. Luckily it missed my head! The window shattered into a million pieces all…

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Nov
16
2009
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Great driving holidays – Rockhampton to Emerald (Qld)

By Australia / Queensland /

BIDDING farewell to the ocean, regrettably, we set off inland to the vast spaces of the Queensland mining Outback – Emerald. There’s some great roads around there, in fact, Queensland has had awesome roads pretty well everywhere we’ve been so far. But one thing to watch are the road trains as these gigantic things are hauling enormous mining machinery. They take up the entire road, both sides, and their support car often only travels a couple of hundred metres in front, so when you see one – get off the road! And I mean off the road. The truck is usually still travelling at about 80-100kms an hour and if you aren’t off the road, there is no mercy. If there is no where to pull off, try anyway! It’s better to get stuck than get mutilated by one of these babies. Upon arrival at Emerald we headed just past town to Fairburn Dam and Lake Maraboon. What a place….

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Nov
06
2009

Great driving holidays – Bundaberg to Rockhampton (Qld)

By Australia / Queensland /

ROCKHAMPTON is the Beef Capital of Australia – and the world – so they tell me, with over 3500 head of stock going out of Rocky every single week. The drive up from Bundaberg is a good one. Good roads and great areas to pull off the road, too, when those wonderful road trains almost mow you down. You will not see anywhere else in Australia the sheer numbers of cattle roaming the roadways. Obviously not too safe when you are driving, but certainly great scenery! Upon arrival in “Rocky” we were invited to visit the Gracemere Saleyards on one of their busiest days of the year. We were there for five hours and they put through 1400 head of stock in that time! Trucks, dust and loads of cow poo was everywhere so watch your step. One thing we didn’t know about Rocky was that it was home to many, many salties (aka saltwater crocodiles). The river running through…

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Oct
27
2009

Great driving holidays – Maroochydore to the Outback (Qld)

By Australia / Queensland /

AS sad as it was to leave Maroochydore, it was time for some Outback fun! We headed north to Bundaberg, the home of the world famous Bundaberg Rum and I couldn’t wait. The drive up there seemed to take forever, even though it’s a great road to travel on, as I was so excited about our distillery tour that afternoon. Sheree wasn’t so keen … I wonder why? After unhooking our vans and setting up, we headed in the direction of the birthplace of the big White Polar Bear (yep, you know the big fella from the Bundy advertisements on TV?). And there he was, right inside the door waiting to greet us. They make some awesome things in that place, not to mention the liquors – they went down very, very easily, if I might say so myself! Next was the Mysterious Craters on the outskirts of town on the way to Gin Gin. That’s the town everyone claims…

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Oct
15
2009

Great driving holidays – Maroochydore (Qld)

By Australia / Queensland /

It was time for a great week on the Sunshine Coast. Maroochydore – here we come! Staying at the Big4 Maroochy Palms is just out of this world – it’s a 5 star resort. With so much to choose from to do, we decided to go simple and hire bikes and take in our new surroundings – definitely a place I could live. We rode up and down the foreshore on the bike track and the kids had a blast. Then it was off to the Ginger Factory to enjoy in another awesome family attraction. Boston loved the train so much we couldn’t get him off. We think he did about 10 laps! Anais and I took a boat ride, which was very entertaining as they have a pack of sheep doing the haka – very fitting, I thought! Then a day was spent just relaxing at the Big4 park. Honestly, this is the best park we have ever stayed…

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Oct
12
2009

Great driving holidays – Armidale to Ballina (NSW)

By Australia / New South Wales /

LEAVING behind the bitter cold of Armidale, we head out to the coast to Ballina. It’s an awesome drive, very easy going, but just make sure you take your campervan via Glen Innes and then head out to the coast. That’s the best road when in a camper or towing a caravan. There’s some stunning scenery along the way, too, and for once we had no hiccups! When arriving at Ballina you can feel the buzz. It is a vibrant little place and the beaches are awesome. We stayed at Big4 Shaws Bay, which is right on the water with a walkway that goes all the way out on the spit to the heads. The sites here are right on the water, which is just magic! Then it was time for a bit of a challenge and Anais, my 8-year-old daughter, thought a surfing competition was the order of the day (here I am, right, trying to psyche myself up…

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