On the day we arrived in Rockhampton (Thursday 11th October), we didn't do too much because it was already quite late by the time we pulled into the caravan park, so we just setup, explored the park and hung around the caravan.
On Friday morning we did our schoolwork and then went to explore Rockhampton a little. After a brief visit to the visitors centre, we headed to ‘Kershaw Gardens’ which is a lovely garden in Rockhampton. The kids rode their scooters around the paths and also rode on the ‘monorail’ which was in the park (we hadn’t seen one of these on our travels around the country until then).
|Riding the 'Monorail' in Rockhampton was hard work!|
|The kids riding their scooters in Kershaw Gardens|
It was a great park to play at. Friday afternoon was a shopping afternoon to re-stock our tiny pantry, and then we went for a swim at the pool in the caravan park before dinner.
Saturday the 13th of October was a very special day for us. It was Liz’s Birthday and it was also the 1 year anniversary of Our Big Aussie Road Trip. We can’t believe that it’s been 12 months since we drove out of Sydney and down to Canberra on the very first day of our trip! The year had gone so quickly, but we have loved every second of it and will cherish it for all of our lives (and our trip is certainly not over yet!). Anyway, it was Liz’s Birthday so the day started off with presents in bed followed by a cooked breakfast. It was nice that it was a Saturday because that meant no school (which both the kids and Mike & Liz enjoyed), so the kids had a play on the Jumping Pillow at the caravan park until we headed out to the Rockhampton Zoo - which is a free zoo in the Botanical Gardens.
|The card that Josh made for Liz's Birthday|
|Mike and Josh enjoying the jumping pillow|
Our trip to the zoo was really great. For a free zoo, it was excellent with a wide variety of animals (both Australian Native and exotic animals). We spent about an hour walking around the zoo and watching the different animals. When it was time for morning tea, we headed to the playground in the botanical gardens and ate some food before the kids had a play for a while until it was time to go.
|Looking for some primates at the Rockhampton Zoo|
|Samuel doing some bird spotting in the Aviary at the Zoo|
|Natalie playing in the park after lunch|
Our next stop was the Tropic of Capricorn Marker. We have passed the Tropic of Capricorn 3 times prior to arriving in Rockhampton, and we have stopped each time, so we couldn’t leave Rocky without taking a photo of us at the marker, because when we left Rockhampton it meant that we had crossed the tropic of Capricorn for the 4th and final time on our Big Trip.
|Our 4th and final crossing of the Tropic of Capricorn|
Saturday afternoon was spent around the caravan park. We had a small ‘party’ with a cake for Liz’s Birthday. The kids jumped on the jumping pillow, rode bikes and scooters around the caravan park and then got ready to go out for dinner to celebrate Liz’s Birthday and the 1 year anniversary of our trip. We went to Sizzler - which we had been to when we said goodbye to Nanna and Pa in Perth - and the kids loved it, so we thought we’d go there again as a special treat. Liz had a great day on her birthday.
|A birthday cake for Liz|
|Liz and Natalie at Sizzler to celebrate Liz's Birthday and our 1 year anniversary of the trip|
Sunday saw us drive out of Rockhampton in order to visit some old friends from Sydney (Mark and Fiona Hodge) who live in Tannum Sands, just south of Gladstone. We hooked up the van and drove south. There are lots of roadworks around Rockhampton (both North and South) which slowed the trip up a little, but it still only took 2 hours to get to the Hodge’s house. It was fantastic to catch up with Mark and Fiona and their 3 beautiful boys. Our kids started playing with their kids immediately and enjoyed some fresh toys and some new playmates, while Mike and Liz caught up with Mark and Fiona. We all had lunch together and then Mike Backed the caravan into the Hodges Backyard so we could stay the night at their place.
|Our caravan parked behind the Hodge's house|
Mark and Fi were heading on holidays early the next morning, so it was really good to be able to catch them before they left for Sydney (it would have been really disappointing to travel around the country and miss them when we got to Tannum!). On Sunday afternoon, we left Mark and Fiona to pack for their holiday and we went out and had a look at the Tannum Sands area. We drove out to the river and out to a few parks that are in the area.
|Natalie enjoyed collecting some spiky plants along the river in Tannum Sands|
When we got back to the Hodge's we all ate dinner together and said our goodbyes (because they were leaving well before sunrise the next morning and we wouldn’t see them before they drove off). Thanks to Mark and Fi for having us stay at your place – it was great to see you.
|Joshua, Sam, Caleb, Natalie, Josh and Noah posing for a photo!|
|The Mason and Hodge Family|
The next morning was a school morning, so we took advantage of having a house at our disposal and did some school (and some washing!) while we were there. Soon it was time to hookup the van and drive south again. We drove through more roadwork and got all the way to Hervey Bay. It was after 5pm when we drove into Hervey Bay, and we hadn’t researched a caravan park, so we stopped at one in town for the night, but decided not to stay there any longer than 1 night because we were planning our trip to Fraser Island from Hervey Bay and the caravan park that we first pulled into wouldn’t store our van for us.
Therefore, on Tuesday morning (after a few phone calls to find the cheapest van park which would store our van) we drove to the Harbour View caravan park, setup the van and then started getting ready for our trip to Fraser Island. We were all really looking forward to going over to Fraser Island, but it did mean getting all the camping gear out and packing the car so we could take it over to the Island (which is a pretty big job!).
On Wednesday, we did quite a bit of school and then went shopping to get all the supplies that we would need for a week’s camping on Fraser Island. The kids did really well keeping themselves occupied while Mike and Liz unpacked the caravan and packed it into the car. The kids were quite excited about heading over to Fraser the next day.