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It’s time to get back to work after spending up big in USA. Joe got a job in Perth so we’re on our way back. It’s a short term role for a few months in Perth CBD and the plan is to rent an apartment in the city. We thought the Hilux may not fit in an apartment carpark and a small car is better for a city runabout anyways. The market for small cars is way better in Brisbane, plus we wanted to take our bikes and thermomix across so instead of flying we bought ourselves a little Suzuki Baleno in Brisbane. It cost less than the thermomix it’s transporting and did a great job driving across the Nullarbor on the hottest February day on record! We made it across in about 3 days, driving for 18 hours a day and sleeping in a tent on the side of the road.
Before we left, Sharni flew back to Perth for a weekend for an engagement party and then another friend Ellen came to visit us back in Brisbane. Sharni and Ellen had some girly time together down at Gold Coast. Also we snuck in a quick walk up Mount Ngungun in the Glass House Mountains on our way to dinner with Ellen’s family nearby.
We are back in Australia! Reunited with our Hilux after it was locked up in Phil’s garage for 4 months. That’s nearly a year of cumulative time spent in Phil’s garage including 4 months whilst we were in South East Asia, 3 months working in the Pilbara and 4 months in USA. Thanks Phil!
We thought a camping mission with Phil was well overdue so we headed off to Crows Nest National Park for the Australia Day long weekend. It was tough to find somewhere to camp, everywhere around Brisbane was fully booked.
At camp we enjoyed some bush walking. Crows Nest National Park is famous for rock wallabies and we managed to spot one chilling on a rock. They’re pretty elusive creatures and it’s the first time we’ve ever seen one in the wild. We also drove the 4WD track to the town of Esk and back. One night Sharni cooked up a camp oven roast whilst the lads had a beer or two around the fire. Afterwards we walked down to the creek. Rock hopping over water at night after a few beers was quite exciting. We caught a yabby with our bare hands!
Back to Brisbane we go to our expedition base camp – Phil’s house. Time to catch up on the blog, clean up the car, take the crap off the roof racks and slot her into Phil’s garage where she will lay dormant for 4 months whilst we travel overseas. Thanks again Phil for having us stay a few days and looking after our gear whilst we’re away.
We had a day up our sleeve so Joe took a day trip to Bribie Island just north of Brisbane with Phil and son. We enjoyed some beach driving and fun in the sun and water. Snuck in one last fishing session and after a couple of months of poor fishing results (landing mostly catfish after catfish) Joe caught a good table fish – a big flathead. Hooray. Finally a fish to take home and cook. Good size too at around 70cm. Had a surprising kick for a flathead and took a few minutes to pull in. We cooked him up the next day at Phil’s house and it was delicious.
That’s it for this chapter of our trip around oz. We’re off to USA in a couple of days with a bucks party in Jamaica followed by a wedding in Cayman Islands and then a couple of months travel around USA.
Our last stop before getting back to Brisbane was visiting Sharni’s friend from Katherine who is now living in Noosa Heads. We crashed at her house for a couple of nights for which we are very grateful for. Noosa Heads has plenty to do – lots of trendy shops, many restaurants and pubs, great beaches and good walking trails through Noosa National Park. It’s pretty busy though, abundant with tourists. Another creature abundant in the region is the cuddly Koala. We saw our first ever wild koala while walking up the coastal track in Noosa National Park. It was pretty high in the tree so couldn’t get a very good photo. Apart from Koala spotting we also walked up Noosa Hill, went to the surf club for a drink and went to Irish Murphy’s Irish Pub for dinner to celebrate our 4 year wedding anniversary. Joe celebrated with a traditional steak sandwich. Next night we visited the folks who we spent new years with last year and had a fun night playing table tennis, backyard golf, darts, poker and some other games.
Leaving Banana, Joe picked a camping spot a comfortable day’s drive south where he could do some fishing. Claude Wharton Weir, near Gayndah, was the campsite of choice. It’s free too. To no surprise Joe caught several catfish (again). Just getting the experience needed before starting up his commercial catfish business. Such is the reliability in which he can catch these buggers. Fishing into the night saw two turtles and a huge eel landed. Asking a chap camping nearby whether eels were good to eat, he said “not unless you’re Chinese.” Not being Chinese, the eel was chucked back along with the turtles and catfish. The eel violently twisted like a corkscrew to try to escape the hookup and caused a big birds nest in the line. A bad tangle in the dark is enough to demotivate any fisherman. Even a great one like Joe. Time for bed. Next morning heading out towards Noosa Heads we passed by the big orange and stopped for some happy snaps.
Bananas are Sharni’s favourite food. So when we discovered there was a town called Banana in Queensland we thought it prudent to visit. On the way there from Charters Towers we got ourselves a new battery at Emerald. Installed the new battery in the carpark at Super Cheap Auto and she was good to go.
What a novelty it was to visit a town named after the world’s greatest food. Actually the town isn’t named after the fruit but after a yellow bull from the region. Still the name alone was good enough for us to stay a night at the caravan park and have a beer at the pub. They only charge $12 a night without power at the caravan park. Super cheap. With a hot name like Banana, such cheap accommodation can’t last once the word gets out. Snap it up while you can.