So what is all about? Well... hopefully, by the time we are done, it will be a comprehensive journal about a family of 5 who have travelled around Australia to see the sights and also do some volunteer work around the country! In Mid 2010 we started thinking about what it would take to fulfil a life-long dream... We wanted to bundle up our 3 kids, pack-up the house, jump in the car and hit the road - probably for about 12 months. It sounds so simple ... At the start of January 2013, after almost 15 months on the road; we finally completed Our Big Aussie Road Trip. We hope that you enjoyed following our adventures, trials and tribulations as much as we enjoyed having them!

13 October, 2012


The great thing about driving along the East Coast of Australia (as compared with the majority of the North, West, South or Central Australia) is that you never have to drive too far before coming to the next interesting place to stop.  For many months, we’ve been driving hundreds of kilometres in each hop just to cover the vastness of Australia, but now that we’re on the east coast, it requires a very different approach.

On Saturday 29th September, we drove about 160Km (which felt like a big drive!) from Forrest Beach to Townsville.  We decided to stay at the Riverview Convention Centre, which is a Seventh Day Adventist centre that has a caravan park attached to it.  It was extremely reasonably priced ($150 per week, with power and water) and we needed to do a lot of things while we were in Townsville, so we decided to book in for a week.  We had the van all setup by lunchtime and so we decided that after lunch we would have a look around Townsville.
One of the locals was watching us setup the caravan

We drove into town and found the ‘Castle Hill’ Lookout, which is a major landmark in Townsville.  The lookout is magnificent and gives a great view over Townsville and Magnetic Island off the coast.  We spent quite a bit of time walking around the different vantage points at Castle Hill before descending back down the steep and winding road to find ‘The Strand’ which is the foreshore park area in Townsville.

Townsville from 'Castle Hill Lookout with Magnetic Island in the background

It wasn’t long before we found the free Water Playground and the kids had an absolute ball splashing around in the water, sliding down slides and standing under the big tipping bucket, while Mike and Liz sat on the grass and watched all the fun.

The Strand water park in Townsville

Josh and Sam enjoying getting wet in Townsville

Everyone was exhausted that night from the big few days that had just passed.  It was the middle of the 2 week school holidays, so on the last day of September (Sunday 30th) we had a very lazy day:  One of Josh’s wobbly teeth fell out in the morning (which he dutifully kept to put under his pillow for the tooth fairy). We watched some TV in the morning and got some washing done while the kids rode their bikes and played around the caravan.  We ventured down to the Ross River where there is a great bike path and recreation area with playgrounds and picnic tables.  After lunch we decided to go to Big W to do some shopping and look for a new bike for Josh (because he has had his bike since he was 4 and it is now way too small for him), so we bought him a new BMX bike which is much more suitable for his size (and Sam now has Josh’s old bike – which is much more suitable for his size too).  Once we’d assembled the new bike, Josh (and Natalie and Sam) spent the rest of the afternoon riding around and enjoying the speed that a larger bike gave him.
Monday 1st October was a public holiday, so not much was open.  We decided to do a big spring clean of the caravan on Monday morning, and that kept us busy all morning.  In the afternoon, we went and found one of the free Lagoon pools and enjoyed a nice swim next to the river.  After we’d had a swim, we went to the skate park where the kids rode their scooters.  The Townsville skate park was well used by the Masons over the week we were there.  Josh got a new scooter in Townsville because his one broke, and he loved trying all the jumps and ramps with a new, fast scooter.  Natalie and Sam also really enjoyed scooting around the skate park too.

One of the free lagoon pools in Townsville

Natalie, Mike and Sam cooling off

Natalie and Sam loved the skate park

The reason that we were staying in Townsville for a week was to complete quite a long list of things that needed to done.  We had organised for one item on our list to be done on each day we were in Townsville, so Tuesday morning was a Dentist appointment for Mike and having Bruiser (our Landcruiser) inspected at ‘Pedders’ (to see if the 1000Km of Dirt road on Cape York did any permanent damage), Wednesday was putting Bruiser in for service, Thursday was another dentist appointment for Mike and Friday was putting the Caravan in for a wheel bearing service.  In between all these jobs, we managed to fit in lots of: skating at the skate park, splashing around at the water park, walking along the Ross River (with the kids riding their bikes), shopping at Big W, Coles & Kmart, and just hanging around the caravan and riding bikes and scooters.  We also liked spotting the RAAF fighter jets which seemed to buzz constantly overhead during the day.
Townsville was quite a busy stop for us, but we got everything done that we wanted to do and managed to see most of the major attractions in Townsville while we were there too, but by Saturday 6th October, we were ready to continue our journey South.
Sam using the resources at the Townsville Library

Josh is now an avid reader and so a trip to the library was perfect for him

Josh using his new scooter - he got quite good by the 4th trip to the skate park

Walking along the Ross River

Some Magpie Geese along the Ross River

The kids loved climbing on this turtle at one of the many parks in Townsville

Mike was the only one to take a fall at the skate park and was a bit sore for a few days!

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