Long story short: Sufficient impetus and a personal mission. So I planned, packed, went.
This is officially my first long solo road trip.
10 days. 9 nights. 2278km
I’m probably being extremely reckless and ballsy to travel alone like this; sleeping in the car, going to areas with no mobile reception, going for long walks in national parks alone etc… Besides putting myself in mortal danger, I thought I would’ve died from the cold, since it was the peak of winter.
But, fortunately (or not), I LIVE. Not only that, I think I’ve finally awoken the insatiable wanderlust in me. Of course, I wished for the comforts of home and the company of friends at times. But despite all the moving around and the horrible mess it entails, I relished in this sense of freedom and movement. That being said, such explorations would be way more enjoyable if it were done with like-minded travel partners.
Overall, these are my findings (sigh, the colloquial of a student):
- If possible, don’t sleep in your car. It’s really like an ice box in winter, and I was told that it’s a furnace in summer.
- Use the front passenger seat as your bed if you need to sleep in your car. Leg-stretching is not exactly the privilege only reserved for the tall.
- If you like your morning coffee/tea/milo/all-that-jazz, I suggest you bring a water boiler (if you’re camping in powered sites). It saves you shitloads of time.
- If possible, stop by the town’s information centre. They have tons of free maps and place suggestions that you might not find online. And TOILETS, yes, toilets!
- Really, travel with someone.
Deciding that the coastal track was way too cliche, I went inland. And, DISCLAIMER: this is the only other time I’ve used a selfie stick. Oh god, I felt so hipster.
Not my whole collection of photographs, but these ought to suffice in painting the picture of my trip.
Day #1: Brisbane to Nanango
Trail left uncompleted.
Reasons: No mobile reception. No one in close proximity to come to my aid if anything happens. Need to reach the caravan park before sun-down.
The day ended with Homestead Caravan Park (Nanango). It was one of the most comfortable stay, despite not having any kitchen facilities. I ended up making friends with a couple of the permanent residents there and, being so well-travelled, they advised me on the routes I should take for my own safety. It was so pleasant that I stayed there the second night.
Kirin (my car!) and me. Oh boy, how messy.
The only bitch that likes me. Lol.
First night’s sleeping arrangement
Tim Shea falls
Pine Gorge Lookout
Huge fig tree!
View on the way to Barker Creek Lookout
Barker Creek lookout
Dandabah Camping Grounds
The walks were not too challenging (obviously, I chose the easier ones). But it’s not exactly fun (and safe) when you’re walking in the forest alone and when the tracks are not always obvious. Still, the views were amazing.
Night 2 sleeping arrangements AND BEYOND!
Day #3: Nanango to Murgon
Misty (and cold) morning to start the day
AND SLEEPING! ohmygod…
This is possibly the most magical dam I’ve visited so far. I was graced with spectacular nature shows, such as flocks of birds flying just above the water surface and birds diving into the water and up again… Plus, it was the first time I saw unfenced horses sleeping in the field!
The day ended in Barambah Bush Caravan Park. It was comfortable, but in my personal opinion, the campsite gave me a ‘trying-too-hard-to-create-the-camping’ feeling. So while it provided good facilities, the experience of camping there was rather average.
Day #4: Murgon to Maryborough
The views were stunning, but you’ve got to be there in person to appreciate it. The tall trees inhibit amazing photographs, but there’s a 360 degrees view of the surrounding mountains. It was amazing.
Hervey Bay, Uranga Pier
The long long Uranga Pier
The pier at the end.
My day ended with Wallace Motel and Caravan Park. The caretaker was really congenial. Long story cut short, he’s one of those caretakers that place more importance on the convenience and comfort of his customers instead of just trying to earn money. *thumbs up!*
I guess, this is what I’d look for in caravan parks. Owners who aim to meet their customers’ needs rather than just focusing solely on monetary gains.
Day #5: Maryborough to Bundaberg
The streets of Childers
The Old Pharmacy
I can’t remember the significance of this statue…
War and military museum. Sigh, some things inside were very heart wrenching.
The old butcher shop
Childers is an interesting town, although not one that I would consider living in. Tons of historical references there.
The day ended with Burleigh Heads Lighthouse Holiday Park. Amenities and kitchen facilities were adequate for a comfortable stay.
Day #6: Bundaberg to Biggenden
Bundaberg was the furthest I planned to travel to for this road trip. After this, I made my way back down to Brisbane.
Innes Park, Herb Muller Park, Barolin Esplanade
Innes Park (yes, I get it. I’m obsessed with this park…)
Views of Barolin Rocks from Herb Muller Park
The roads and the beaches reminded me of Cairns, yet Bundaberg feels different. Can’t really put my finger on it, but I’m already thinking of my next trip there.
Photographs of this tunnel would be meaningless if there isn’t any nonsensical human doing idiotic stuff. So yeah, selfie mode.
Normanby & Schuh Lookouts
Normanby and Schuh Lookouts
‘Wow’ was all I could say.
This is the most India-ish Aussie gets, I think!
I spent the night in Mountain View Caravan Park. The owner was kind enough to let me use the kitchen’s electricity for free, seeing that I was only staying for one night and would be sleeping in my car. *thumbs up!* Additionally, he would also go around the park to check if everything was well with the residents. Ahh, nice caravan park owners. *thumbs up again!*
Day #7: Biggenden to Gympie
I didn’t exactly see any rainbows, neither was it as magical as some other beaches I’ve been to. Still, Rainbow Beach is definitely worth visiting. And yes, you CAN actually drive your 4WD ON the beach.
I ended my day in Standown Caravan Park. The most scenic park amongst all.
Day #8: Gympie to Kingaroy
It’s pronounced as ‘mother’.
Really nice place for a picnic. Unfortunately, it’s not wet enough (don’t mean to sound wrong. okay, maybe I do, but just a bit).
The night was spent in Kingaroy Showgrounds. Probably the most disappointing caravan park amongst all. Maybe my standards were raised by the previous caravan park owners, but I personally wouldn’t go back there if given a choice.
Day #9: Kingaroy to Dalby
The air perpetually smell of pee.
(No photographs, though)
Was told by my friendly Nanango camping neighbours about it. This was my second visit to an open air museum (first would be in Herberton, Cairns). As with all museums, it’s more about experiencing the displays personally, rather than looking at photographs.
My night was spent in Glasby’s Caravan Park. While this park doesn’t exactly provide any kitchen facilities (only rainwater for drinking), I felt extremely comfortable there. The owner and the residents were really kind and caring. Knowing that I’d be sleeping in the car, one of the residents actually left her blanket outside her caravan for me. Ahh, the nice people you get to meet…
The orange-est sunset I’ve ever seen. (Alas, not very clearly reflected in the photo)
Day #10: Dalby to Home
I ended up cutting the trip shorter by 1 day for various reasons. But in all honesty, I headed back to Brisbane with a heavy heart. There were a few more places I wanted to visit, but they were closed. And a part of me was dreading to lose sight of the magnificent views of the mountains.
The never tiresome view.
Still, this trip was probably the craziest and most daring thing I’ve done alone so far. But it was an important that trip I had to make; a matter of now or never. I was indeed alone, but I wasn’t too, at the same time.
Anyhoo… How can one conclude a road trip without trying new things?
This taste like cucumber.
This reminds me of Meatlug in How to Train your Dragon! I’m still waiting for it to ripe…
Got them from one of the markets I went to. I was really intrigued by the weird looking fruits, so naturally, I asked the seller shitloads of questions. She ended up giving those fruits to me for free, in the name of exploration and ‘trying new things’! Not the first time that happened!
The random musings of The Tng
I reflected much during this period. I remember a comment that made me felt like an imbecile at that point of time. I was told that I needed to be more knowledgable; something I don’t deny at all. One has got to keep learning, isn’t it? Yet, how does one measure the degree of being knowledgable? While I might never gain all the bouts of knowledge in the world, I make do, learn along the way and survive. Would it be wrong to live like such?
I guess, you don’t need all the knowledge in the world just to live, because it would be gained in the process of living. You observe, you listen, you learn. But from my very limited pool of knowledge, I’d say you probably need more balls. Because it takes courage to look like a fool, to make mistakes and to learn.
It was a good trip, full of ups and downs (literally and figuratively). Some nights really felt like they weren’t going to end, but thankfully, they did. I guess, this trip made me realise how the heart can ache when one looks at the sky full of stars. Somehow, the beaches, in all its glory, is actually capable of losing its magic. And I probably also realised how, at times, I wish I can shrug off that need and portrayed front of being independent, strong and individualistic, and just have someone to be strong for me when I can only be weak.
But in sum, I’m just grateful to be graced with all the kind people I’ve met along the way and the splendour and beauty of this amazing land. Till next time. (:
I brought you everywhere, but still, I wish you were there.