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Fraser Island Adventure

We’ve been back from our Fraser Island adventure for a week now and I’ve finally got a few minutes to sit down and write about our trip. In typical Jewkes holiday style, we had quite a bit of rain, even a tornado warning on our last night on the island but thankfully the rain was only ever at night or on our travelling days. I’m so grateful I talked Linden out of camping this time around, it wouldn’t have been pleasant.

We spent 5 nights on the island at Kingfisher Bay Resort in a 2 bedroom villa. Her’e’s our travel diary.

Day 1 – We dropped Minnie off at her boarding kennel and made our way up the coast to Nambour for the night. We arrived later than we were hoping so didn’t get much time to spend with my beautiful friend Louise and her boys but it’s always great to catch up with her when we are nearby. Linden got out for a surf in the rain so he was happy after a long day of driving.

Day 2 – Our 13 year wedding anniversary! We visited Noosa in the morning and the girls had a great surf. The water was so clear and the water temperature was perfect. Mid-morning we drove up to River Heads where we were to catch the barge across to Fraser Island. We were surprised at how unobtrusive the resort is. The whole resort is nestled into the trees and it’s so very quiet. We had booked a 2 bedroom fully self contained villa so we could cook our own meals. Having our own laundry was fantastic too to get wet towels dry each day. The resort pools were lovely and clean and it wasn’t very crowded the week we were there which was great. I couldn’t believe how quiet the resort was. We were only woken up each morning by birds singing in the trees.

Day 3 – Lucy turns 10! We gave the birthday girl a choice of sights to visit and she chose Lake McKenzie. Lake McKenzie is around 10km from the resort. I’m glad Linden decided to drive, the tracks took a bit of getting used to and I don’t think I would have had the confidence, especially when another car comes towards you and you have to find a passing bay. Lake McKenzie is just how I remembered it from 15 years ago. Still crystal clear water and incredibly beautiful colours. We took a lot of care not to use sunscreen or insect repellant as these have been damaging the lakes and people are asked not to use them. All food must also stay locked up in cars so as not to attract the dingoes. We had a magical hour or so swimming and playing before heading to Lake Birrabeen. Lake Birrabeen is less crowded than Lake McKenzie but just as pretty with pure white sand and clear blue water. We also drove to Lake Boomanjin which is the world’s largest perched lake and has an incredible tea-coloured water.

After the lakes we stopped at Central Station and went for a walk along the boardwalk to see Wanggoolba Creek. The rainforest in this area is so beautiful and Wanggoolba Creek plays tricks with your mind. It looks like there is scum sitting on the top of the creek until your eyes adjust and you realise it’s the quartz sand underneath the crystal-clear water.

Day 4 – Another big day planned with a trip to the East Coast. We drove about an hour to get to 75 mile beach and drove along the sand highway to the Maheno Shipwreck. Once a luxury steamship, then during WWI she was used as a hospital ship. When she was retired, was sold to Japan as scrap metal. In 1935 she was being towed up the coast from Sydney when a cyclone hit and she drifted onto the beach on Fraser Island where she was abandoned. In WWII she was used as a target for bombing practice.

The beach was a lot more crowded than the inland tracks with 4WDs, campers and people fishing. We saw 2 dingoes walking along the beach. Fraser Island is thought to have the purest strain of dingo in eastern Australia.

We then drove north to Champagne Pools and spent a while exploring the rockpools. There were whales jumping out of the water just off the beach. It’s towards the end of the migration season and there were lots of mothers and calves putting on a show. The rockpools are a popular place to visit and swim with lots of small fish in the pools.

After cooling off, we drove to Eli Creek and spent an hour or so floating down the creek on our inflatables. It’s a crowded spot with visitors and tour buses but it wasn’t too busy that we didn’t enjoy it. Eli Creek pours 80 million litres of freshwater into the ocean every day. It’s clear fresh water was beautiful to swim in.

Day 5 – With whales still in the area, we decided to take a morning whale watch cruise. The boat picked us up around 7.30am and we were taken up to Platypus Bay where the whales usually play. We weren’t disappointed, seeing around a dozen humpback whales. There were mothers and calves and the calves were very active breaching and waving. It was so beautiful to watch. One mother and calf came right up to the side of the boat which was a nice treat. The conditions weren’t the best with choppy water and a bit windy. Thankfully we didn’t get seasick but a few passengers didn’t fare so well.

The afternoon was spent relaxing around the pool. After a couple of very long and busy driving days, a rest was just what we all needed. We decided to have dinner out at one of the resort restaurants. We chose The Sand Bar which was more casual bistro style dining.

Day 6 – Our last day on the Island, we decided to go back to Lake McKenzie. We wanted to visit Lake Wabby with it’s green water and sand dunes but the weather was meant to turn nasty in the afternoon and it was a long drive and walk into the lake so we didn’t want to risk being caught out. We spent a couple of hours at Lake McKenzie and it was just perfect.

Later than night the storm was coming and we were getting emergency text messages warning to take shelter as a possible tornado was approaching. Thankfully it didn’t come to the Island, we just had a lot of rain and lightning. The girls went to join a Junior Eco Ranger night and made some new friends playing games and having dinner.

Day 7 – We caught the barge back to the mainland and drove to Coolangatta for the night. Torrential rain almost the whole way there and horrendous traffic meant we arrived a lot later than we hoped and weren’t able to get to the beach.

Day 8 – It rained again in the morning and surf conditions weren’t good enough to swim or surf so we went for a walk, then met some family for brunch before heading home from a wonderful holiday.

Sorry to load you with such a long post. Until next time x

Almost the holidays

One more week of school and then we can start to wind down for a couple of weeks school holidays. At least that’s the plan. I’ve been finding it difficult to function well lately with a lot of noise in my brain and a busy schedule. A brave face and smile and no-one is the wiser. People just don’t want to listen to complaints and I don’t feel like I can talk about my concerns. Whenever you mention how you are feeling, there’s always someone that’s doing it tougher than you so you soon learn not to bother speaking up.

Poor Linden must get sick of me pouring out my thoughts, he’s the only one that I feel I can be honest with. Sometimes I doubt he’s actually listening, though it does feel good to get things off my chest.

A couple of weekends ago, we had a lovely visit from home – my sister and her husband came to stay for 3 nights. We went to Bald Rock and Boonoo Falls on the Sunday and I was very proud of Michelle making it to the top of the rock.

Last weekend the 4 of us did the Casino Fun Run and had a great morning together. Linden did the 5km run and even managed to win 3rd place in the over 40s group. The girls and I ran the 2km. Lucy is keen to start Little Athletics next term so we have signed her up and will see how she goes. I’m sure she’ll have fun and make lots of new friends. Alice is going to try it out and see if she wants to continue but she’s not as interested as Lucy.

Mum has decided to come and visit for a few days during the first week of the school holidays so we’re looking forward to seeing her and having a shopping day in Lismore.

Our Fraser Island holiday is coming up soon and I’m keen to make a short video of our trip if I can. I also decided to buy a dome for the Gopro so I can get some over/under split photos at the various lakes. We’re all looking forward to the adventure and have planned out a rough itinerary of ‘must see’ things while we are there.

Hopefully I’ll have lots of photos to show from our trip.

Until next time x

Winter Fires

Halfway through another school term and the world is spinning so fast at the moment, I’m struggling to keep up.

Alice has settled in well to her new school and seems to be doing really well. Last week was Book Week and they had a dress up day where she chose to dress up as Pippi Longstocking yet again. It seems to be her ‘go to’ outfit that she’s comfortable in and I won’t complain as it’s very easy to organise. The last time she dressed up as Pippi was back in Year 1 and I managed her hair much better this time around I think.

Lucy has been doing well at Athletics carnivals and was awarded Junior Girl Champion at the Upper Clarence District carnival. She would have competed against 4 other local schools and came first in 100m, 200m, long jump and the relay. She came 2nd in the 800m. She then went onto Zone in Lismore last week and while she didn’t place there, she had a really great day.

Last weekend we went to Ballina for the day to do some shopping and while we were there we had messages to say there was an out of control fire that was threatening the town. We managed to get home and there was thick smoke and road closures but the town seemed to be okay. The power was out for a while and phones and internet were out for a few days. I was very nervous that night not quite sure what the status of the fire was but luckily it didn’t jump the river behind us so the town was safe. We went for a drive the next day to see the damage and were surprised at how far it had spread. I’m glad we weren’t home to witness the helicopters and emergency services crews. I would have been a lot more stressed if I was home when it was all happening.

There’s never a dull moment in Tabulam.

School Holiday Fun

School holidays were as hectic as usual with very little rest time but it was so good to catch up with family and old friends. The first week of school holidays saw us on the Gold Coast for 3 days catching up with one of Lucy’s dear friends from the Central Coast and having an absolute ball at SeaWorld and MovieWorld. The little daredevils are finally tall enough for the big rides at MovieWorld and they dragged me on all the rides with them. The new DC Rivals rollercoaster was as scary as it looks and I felt like I was having an anxiety attack in the queue but I’m glad I didn’t back out and can now say I’ve been on it. They say it’s the tallest, longest and fastest roller coaster in the Southern Hemisphere. You can even pay extra to ride it backwards if you are keen which I most certainly was not but Lucy would have if I had let her. I’m not so sure I’d do it again but the girls loved it.

We also had a visit from one of our Bonalbo school friends who has moved to Melbourne. It was so good to see her and hear all about her new school and what she’s up to in Melbourne.

My best friend came to visit with her two girls and stayed for a few days. We showed them around town, introduced them to the calves along Racecourse Road, explored the river and had a great day at Bald Rock National Park climbing the rock and visiting Captain Thunderbolt’s cave. I loved having them visit and showing her our Tabulam life.

During the second week of school holidays, we flew back to the Central Coast for a couple of days for some appointments. We only had a very limited time to catch up with friends but we were able to squeeze a couple of visits with the girls’ Empire Bay school friends and a lovely dinner with family. We’ll be back again for a couple of weeks in January so will hopefully have more time to catch up with friends then.

The new term has started and we are all systems go with a new school for Alice. She’s now travelling into Casino to get her re-adjusted to a larger school and get her ready for high school. So far so good, she’s coming home all smiles and stories about the lessons she’s doing and the friends she’s met. She has lots of activities to prepare for this term which she is really enjoying. It’s a huge relief to see her so happy.

The frost has burned off most of Linden’s garden but it will bounce back once the warmer weather arrives I’m sure. All in all, our very busy life in Tabulam is going extremely well at the moment.

Until next time x

Birthdays, Sport, Campdraft and a Lantern Parade

June is a busy birthday month for us. We celebrated my birthday with a day trip to Tenterfield. We sat by an open fire in a café for hot chocolates and coffees in the morning, walked around town checking out all the lovely shops then had a delicious lunch in one of the many cafes. It was a perfect way to celebrate having the family all together with no stress.

The next birthday was Alice who turned 11 and I took the girls to the Macadamia Castle for the day. We wandered around patting the animals, watching the shows and even played mini golf. The girls had a ball and were very excited to see a brand new joey in it’s mum’s pouch. The delicious icecream at the end of the day topped of another great birthday celebration.

This week we’ll be celebrating Linden’s birthday and I’m going to attempt to make a Maggie Beer Apple Tarte Tatin. I’ve never made one before but it doesn’t seem too difficult so fingers crossed it all goes to plan.

The girls attended the Zone Cross Country at the beginning of the month and did really well. Alice was happy to have the chance to run the Corndale course and came somewhere in the middle of the field. Lucy surprised everyone by placing 3rd out of around 75 girls in her age group. She then qualified for Regional Cross Country at Nana Glen and earned her first representative singlet. I took the day off work to take her to Regionals and it was a very early start and long day but we were all so proud of her coming 17th in the region.

The very next day they had the school Athletics carnival and both had a fantastic day. Lucy came home with 5 first places and Alice received 3 first places, 1 second and 2 third place ribbons. They really love competing in sport and put all their effort into their events.

I took the girls out on Saturday and we went to watch some of the Campdraft at Mallanganee. I don’t have much of an idea about horses or the rules or Campdraft but it’s amazing to watch. The skill at maneouvering the cattle around the yard is incredible. The horses are beautiful to watch.

After Campdraft, we went into Lismore to watch the Lantern Parade. It was a cold night and very crowded but we found ourselves a great spot right at the front of the parade route. The lanterns were spectacular and everyone looked like they were having a great night..

It’s almost the end of the term, only 2 weeks to go. We have another busy school holiday planned with a couple of days on the Gold Coast and whirlwind trip to the Central Coast.

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