After deciding that the paradise town of Agnes Water in Queensland was the place Glen and I definitely wanted to put roots down and live, it then took a whole two years to actually get around to doing it.
Well, we did have a lap of Australia to complete, not to mention a tour around Tasmania and also six months in the UK and lets not forget Glens numerous jet set business trips taking him all over Australia. But now it’s time! The gypsy life of travelling in a tin box is final. The confusion of where to get our mail sent to is over. The out of date SatNav sending us down the wrong path to dead ends has thankfully finished.
Our long slow crawl of 650 km’s from Byron Bay in NSW to mid Queensland took us four months to our final end point. But that’s OK because there was still so much to explore, there was always a village to sniff around, a peninsular to view, a beach to swim and a National park to walk.
So after feeding the dolphins at Tin Can bay a few weeks ago (see last post), we headed down to the coast to Rainbow beach where the rock is layer upon layer of coloured sands. The beach is in fact a four wheel drive highway which runs 50km all the way along the beach to Noosa, far quicker than going 100km on the Bruce main highway. What a way to commute! We hung out there for a few days, we even went on a 4 wheel drive tour along the beach and back through the many sandy tracks through the rainforest.
Leaving Rainbow beach and continuing north, we passed through a place called Maryborough which was a surprising town. Not just because it had beautifully preserved colonial streets and some of Queensland’s richest history and heritage architecture. But Maryborough is also the birthplace of Pamela Lyndon Travers, the creator of Mary Poppins. I loved the fact that all the pelican crossing lights had Mary Poppins crossing the road instead of the usual stick man. They also had a proper English cream tea shop in one of the old colonial buildings over looking the river. It would’ve been rude not to stop and sample some of their local scones and copious amounts of tea!
Once our hearts and bellies were full, we carried on towards Bundaburg, which is one of our main service towns 120km’s south of Agnes Water, the other one being Gladstone which is the same distance north. Bunderburg itself is quite industrial and nothing much of interest once you’ve filled up with Diesel and had a mooch about Aldi. So we got what we needed and headed for the neighbouring seaside suburb of Bargara which was beautiful.
Bargara borders on “Mon Repos” which is the main nesting ground for Loggerhead Turtles in the South Pacific Ocean. It’s where the turtles return, 30 years after they were born, to lay their eggs on the beach and then a few months later millions of tiny hatchlings try and make it out to sea and just one in a hundred survive to adulthood.
At this point Glen flew out of Bundaburg to attend a few business meetings in Melbourne and Sydney, leaving me home alone with the turtles. Such a hard life! I then drove the van north spending a few free nights along side a river, then picked Glen up from Gladstone airport a week later.
So enough putting off getting to our final destination, enough of this nonsense gypsy life, enough putting off having a permanent view out of our lounge window, so we finally took the sign that said, ‘Discovery coast, historic town of 1770.
I must admit there was a tiny part of us that wanted to accidentally miss the turning East off the Bruce Highway to Agnes Water and keep going. “Oh go on then, it’s only 20,000km’s to do another lap after all!’ However now that we’re here, we are wondering what took us so long.
Golden sandy surf beaches, flanked by National parks, rocky headlands, pristine estuaries with magnificent views where the surf meets the reef, it’s also easy access to the Southern Great Barrier Reef, so you can swim with tropical fish and turtles all year round. It’s also one of only 3 other places on the East coast that you can see the sunset and sunrise over the ocean.
To top it all off, the small evolving community is right up our street. They have a local Circus duo act who offer lessons, so I’m sure with a little practice, Glen and I will soon be able to propel each other across the beach! They have fortnightly markets, they have cafe’s selling turmeric chai Lattes, they have a chip shop for Glen and a Yoga class for me. They also have an outdoor community stage for Glen and I to practice our shared thespian talents! What more could we possibly want?
When we first arrived, we sauntered to the beachfront caravan park, deciding this was the most central place nearest to town for us to stay. From there we were going to head to the local real estate office to see what beautiful property by the beach they could rent to us, however we weren’t banking on the caravan park being fully booked. We didn’t feel the need to book in advance, because it was out of holiday season and the town is quite a trek to get to, however we forgot about the migratory habits of the Grey Nomads. The Grey Nomads are retired people who live in the south of the country and make the migration every year up north where the weather is warmer. So there were row upon rows of Grey Nomad caravaners, taking up every available site. Hmmmmm, we weren’t expecting this, so we had to leave the town with our tail between our legs feeling very stupid, especially when the owner of the caravan park said, ‘Was it an impulse decision to come here then?’ and we reluctantly replied, ‘No, we’ve been planning it for 2 years.’
So we headed towards the neighbouring town of 1770, which is a peninsular of National park where the estuary meets the surf and named because its where captain cook first landed in Queensland in 1770. Here we found another campground in amongst rainforest with a bush track leading to the sandy pristine beach, which actually suited us just fine.
When we went into the office to book, Glen suddenly announced to the main man on the desk. ‘Were you in Byron Bay in February and helped us to rescue a stray dog?’ A quite normal question to ask when first arriving somewhere for the first time one would think?! Before the owner dismissed us as one of those “weird one’s”, he took a proper look at us, then his face broke into a wide grin. ‘OH my god, yes, you were the one’s who found a wounded Beagle on the road and we helped you find the owners!’ This is a long lost dog story which I won’t go into here, but suffice it to say it was a happy ending, especially for us as the owner was so thrilled to see us again (what are the chances of bumping into someone you briefly met and who lived 650km’s away) that he gave us a discount for our stay.
We’ve only been here 5 days and already we’ve bought our weeks supply of organic veggies at the market, swam in the crystal clear waters and walked the numerous bush tracks in the national park, watched the sun setting over the calm waters whilst clutching a cool glass of chardonnay. We’ve seen a Turtle, Echidna, Kangaroo, Monitor lizard, Pelicans, rare Rainbow coloured bee eater, Emu and lots of colourful butterflies. Oh yes and not to mention two dogs learning how to paddle board!
So we are now going to take a step each day to become a local. Whether that’s joining the voluntary beach clean up group once a month, signing up for turtle egg tracking, spending time with the orphaned kangaroos at the Kangaroo sanctuary, going on Scooteroo’s motor bike tours, taking a boat to the barrier reef, learning stand up paddle boarding, hiring a canoe at sunset, performing a pantomime on their local community stage, holding a MindBody workshop in the local Yoga yurt, selling my Turtle T shirts at the local markets, and of course last but not least, getting a few projectile practices in with Meraki Circus duo.
We have no idea whether we’ll be living here for a month, a year, 5 years or for the rest of our lives, but one thing is for sure, it’s going to be fun to working it out.