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My favourite places to stay – Brisbane to Cairns #2

The first week disappeared in a flash. Despite a day of grey skies and an afternoon of rain, that was the last. We were not to see rain again for fifteen days. A record!

It took us a couple of days to understand the idiosyncrasies of the motorhome, including the difficulty of finding parking and learning to avoid shopping centre carparks, but we quickly ironed out any First World Problems with Girl Guide Solutions, like stuffing a pillow inside a carryon bag to put my feet on as the seat was too high for me, and mopping up a small leak.

Driving through Auckland fog a day or so ago, I was reminded of the sea mist we came across at Hervey Bay. The day had become sunnier as we headed north from the Sunshine Coast, and we were beginning to feel like we’d landed in summer in the middle of winter.

On the way, we stopped off at Maryborough – the town where PL Travers (Helen Lyndon Goff) was born in 1899. Every September they hold the Mary Poppins Festival and, like many thousands of others, we had to have our photo taken next to the statue of Mary Poppins herself. We particularly enjoyed wandering around the Portside Heritage area filled with historic buildings and story trails.

I was tempted to enter the Genealogy Centre, since the building had been so beautifully restored, but with no connections to the area, I refrained and we continued our walk through the Queens Gardens and Mary River Parklands. We were astonished by a story board about the flooding and the markers on the side of the Bond Store to show how high the Mary River had reached at various times.

But time was moving on so we resumed our journey until GPS turned us towards the sea and along the 17km long Esplanade to find our campsite on the beachfront at Torquay. The closer we got, the deeper we drove into a blanket of grey mist, but by the time we’d found our campsite and set up, the mist had lifted, and we were greeted by the magnificent Torquay Beach with its golden sands dotted with piers.

The adjacent walkway, again filled with picnic spots and trees for shade, was a temptation we couldn’t resist. Across the road from the campsite was an array of eating places, shops and convenience stores, and that night we had a delicious Italian seafood linguine that was divine.

We did treat ourselves to two nights there, and I reckon we walked a good deal of that 17km, including a visit to the spectacular 870 metre long Urangan Pier. The sea mist rolled in regularly a couple of times a day and rolled out again leaving the sky a perfect shade of blue. Without doubt, Hervey Bay turned into one of our favourite places.

As we once again headed north, we decided to return one day and investigate all the places we didn’t get to see. Our next stop became another favourite, albeit totally different.

Our route took us inland to the Bruce Highway, which we soon learnt is the main road we are guided back to each time we move on. We drove through the quaint town of Childers wishing we had time to look around. After a brief stopover in Bundaberg for lunch and a walk along the riverbank to stretch the muscles we continued our journey to Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy. These two small coastal villages were completely different to the built up hustle and bustle of our urban campsites so far, with a tiny but efficient collection of shops and eating places, and beautiful views and beaches surrounding the peninsula.

Seventeen Seventy is so named because it is when and where Captain Cook first landed in Queensland. This time we chose an off-grid bush campground a little south of town where we discovered another First World Problem. Our motorhome did not run to hot water or the fridge when not plugged into a power source. Fortunately, the facilities were brand new and excellent, and the local takeaway shop did fresh grilled fish for our dinner, put with a salad and bottle of sauvignon blanc it was a perfect evening. We even had kookaburras visit.

Where next, you might ask? Check in for the next episode.

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