Thailand to Budgewoi

July found us in Thailand escaping the cold winter weather we experienced in Wagstaffe. Really winter has been a non event in Australia this year with abnormally warm weather and virtually no rain.

However Thailand beckoned and off we went, had a chilled out 3 weeks, swimming, reading and eating. We took ourselves off to do a treetop adventure which was loads of fun, even though I’m not keen on heights.

Went to three different areas of Thailand to get a feel for different areas, as it was off season a lot of places were shut and we had our fair share of rain. But who cares it was lovely and warm!

It was a bit cold flying back into the Gold Coast to undertake our next pet/house sit.

We spent an unpleasant three weeks in a tiny flat with two unfriendly dogs, made the most of the area, and got lots of paddling on the creek in, caught up with family, although my sister was in England housesitting!

The exciting thing about being in the area was the early birth of our Grandson, woohoo, we got to see him twice before heading off south.

To get to our next sit in Budgewoi we took a stop at Moonee Beach near Coffs Harbour, using a Stayz home we had a most enjoyable two night stay.

Our hosts treated us like family, so much wine & cheese the first night it turned into our dinner! Spent a lovely day exploring behind Coffs, found two walks in the hills, both with stunning views, one looks north and the other south so its well worth doing both.

Moonee Beach itself has a wonderful headland which can be accessed via a walk bridge, great whale watching spot, it also boasts a useable river which we paddled up on our SUP’s, lovely clear water and plenty of birds. The open beaches were a bit rough and cool to swim in at that time.

Upon leaving we headed south through a lot of smoke to stop at Buleadelah for lunch, cute little town with a good cafe, as it’s only just off the freeway it’s an easy spot to stop at.

Arriving at our next sit mid afternoon we settled in with Mr Harry and his mum and dad.

Situated overlooking the lake with plenty of trees and loads of bird we anticipated having a very enjoyable five weeks.

It didn’t let us down, we’ve had a wonderful time with Harry, trips to the park and beach, walks around the Norah Lighthouse headland, sitting in the sand watching him dig holes with his tennis ball (he’s coming with us in our suitcase), he has just been a joy.

The lakes around this area are very wide and very shallow, however when the wind blew in the right direction we managed to get some SUP paddles in, by following the few marker buoys we managed to stay in slightly deep water. These lakes have an amazing amount of Swans and plenty of Pelicans, they are also surrounded by a bike path, unfortunately not all the way around. We undertook lots of bike rides, some out and back and one circumnavigating the entire lake. A bit of road a bit of footpath and the rest the bike way, it’s great to see these paths in constant use, by both bikes and walkers and dogs!

We went exploring to Fraser and Freeman’s beach, was told to go to Fraser but stopped at Freemans first, walked up to the headland, oops this is the nude beach, we were slightly over dresses, never mind it was very windy and not too warm, which I’m sure if we had been closer to the gentleman this would have been evident haha! Freemans is exposed in more ways than one.

Off we went to Fraser, this is a more protected cove shaped beach there were a few surfers out, you can walk around the rocks at the northern end along a small cove around the next rocks to a huge cave. This is a pretty area and only 20 minutes from home.

We made the trip down to Wagstaffe to catch up with Polly and Megsie from our sit down there, took Harry for a play.

Newcastle for a day trip is only 55minutes from Budgewoi so having a catch up with family there was great.

Whilst everyday bar today has been bright blue skies, the weather has been unusual, with a few days up in the 30’s and a few down in the low teens, thank goodness for a lovely spa and a good gas heater.

Last day today, Harry has been bathed and brushed, house is clean and shiny, so now we think about the next sit in Qld.

Nomad Wanderings NSW

What a wonderful time we had housesitting in Wagstaffe NSW , we had a magical view and two cuddly dogs to look after along with 9 chickens.
We were not to lucky with the weather at the start of our month, however there was hardly a day when we couldn't get out to walk the dogs or ourselves.
Wagstaffe is surrounded by Bouddi National Park, so we got to enjoy bush walking right outside our backdoor.
The parks run right along the coastline, which features rock shelves , sandy beaches and lots of sandstone.
The local area is well established with its history going back to the late 1800’s , being only a short ferry trip away from Sydneys northern beaches, it proves a popular destination for Sydney siders and day trippers.

We ventured over to Palm Beach on the ferry for lunch with some friends , it's a great trip. Something else that was easy to access was the Postmans Ferry trip up the Hawkesbury, full of history from the 1800's our Captain had many a tale to tell, the trip takes around 3-4 hours with a luncheon supplied. Highly recommend if you are in the area.

For a day trip we went out to Wisemans Ferry , long windy road but great spot for lunch, we checked out the museum and the convicts road, imagine cutting through rocks and trees to make a roadway going north.

Whilst staying at Wagstaffe we drove up to Budgewoi to visit another sit we are doing. Shared a lovely lunch with the Homeowners, but we knew we had to be back to put the chickens back into their coop. It would take us an hour to drive back, and we drove into rain which then caused the darkness to descend quickly. Upon getting home first job was to put the chickens to bed, up I go with an umbrella, in a pair of Crocs 4 sizes to big for me as the pen was quite muddy, oh and did I mention slippery! Here I was with the bucket of grain , but alas not a chicken to be seen! Now I think how can you loose 9 chickens that are fenced into a large area, no feathers meant no foxes had gotten in, gates all closed, where oh where were the chickens? Torch going I searched, finally seeing a tiny smudge of white, there they all were up a tree, some so high I could only reach them with the broom handle, wet and bedraggled they sat! After much muttering and prodding I got them all down and Don held their inner gate open to make sure they all went to bed! Lesson learned they roost in trees, just as well they gave us lovely eggs.

Riding with some locals around the bike paths was a great way to spend a day, and there is plenty of pathway to explore. If you like hill work this is the area to ride in , we went over the bridge to the flat areas, thank goodness.
As the area is surrounded by water we managed to get out with our SUP's, trying not to come off as the water was rather cold. Brisbane Water is a huge body of protected waters, with lovely housing around large portions of the waterways.
All in all this is a picturesque area of NSW and we would recommend a visit to the area, would love to come back in summer.

Wherever you are enjoy your travels, you only live once, get out there and participate in the world.
Until next time
Von & Don
House Sitting Adventures

NSW Road Trip

After finishing our last housesit we had a week to spare before the start of our next job. With this in mind we took a leisurely few days heading south.

First stop Byron Bay on a picturesque day, time for a swim and some lunch, then a walk along the famous beach to The Pass for this lovely view.

Then it was off to our overnight stay a little further south, were we got to enjoy the company of the lovely Yogi, taking him for a play on Seven Mile beach, then heading back for an early morning swim the next day. This is such a beautiful area of northern NSW.

After a short drive south, through various areas of road works that seem to be never ending on the Pacific Hwy we drove into the lovely town of Yamba for a 2 night stay. Grabbing a great Airbnb we settled in, then went exploring, Yamba is set on a river with the mouth at the edge of town, two big break walls give easy access to the ocean for the local trawlers, Yamba is on the south side and has lovely beaches on offer. The main beach boasts a ocean pool and a surf club, with nice headlands to walk around. A quick 19 minute drive has you at Angourie with its surfing beach and National Park.

Back in town and walking back to our home base we came across the Wednesday market, yippe, fresh ginger, turmeric and 3kg of raw honey,  and a hot coffee, we swam both days with dolphins joining us on the second morning, wonderful. Wind was cold so no SUP paddling at this stop. Sunsets here were spectacular.

Next stop Forster for a 3 night stay, once again we grabbed a Airbnb very close to everything. Forster is a bigger town with a huge lake system, in actual fact there are 3 lakes with Forster being on Wallis, then there is Smiths and Myall Lake, they are all large bodies of water with Wallis heading out to sea at Forster.

Forster boasts a wonderful walking track right along the coastline with a huge sand hill in the middle of the walk. You can walk along One Mile Beach and up or around the dune to continue along the cliff top walkway, continue past Pebbly Beach around the hill and over to the main town beach and another sea water swimming pool. We ended up doing a circuit of 12km from our   accommodation. Winter had set in so no swimming whilst here although the ocean looked very inviting, once more the dolphins came to visit us.


After three greats days in Forster it was back on the road for our final leg to Newcastle for a family overnight stay, as usual Newcastle laid on a beautiful day, so we walked to Nobby Beach for some lunch then down the river for a coffee before heading back to our family’s home.

Starting the next morning we headed south to our next Housesitting assignment, Wagstaffe here we come. Spectacular day to arrive no wind, no clouds and picture perfect view from our new home. Our homeowner was to stay until the next afternoon, so we got lots of preparation for the sit with our two new doggie mates. Since we arrived it has been wet, although today we got a paddle in before the rains came back. No walk for the dogs today as it’s now bucketing down, which also means the chooks have had to stay inside their home.

When the weather clears we will go exploring, so until next time enjoy your adventures no matter what they may be.

Burleigh Heads Adventure

A five week housesit in the lovely Burleigh Heads has offered us a chance to participate in areas of the Gold Coast as a visitor.

With such a wide range of activities and areas to explore we have filled our time. What with walking our lovely house sit dog, in the morning to get the paper and in the late afternoon for a good walk, we have still managed to get out into the Hinterland, or as it’s sometime called the Green behind the Gold, the hills beckon with a multitude of bush walks available for all levels of fitness. We walked not long after a big storm, so lots of water in the many waterfalls for us to oh and ah over, and lots of photos, actually 110 photos so some culling was in order there.

If you are contemplating going bush walking,  check the tracks are open and note how much time you need to allow yourselves. Take plenty of water and tell someone were you are going. The views are certainly worthwhile.

If like us you love the water then your time spent here can slip by with you either swimming, surfing, paddling, Sup paddling or just lazing on one of the many beaches.

Burleigh offers easy access to the ocean as well as Tallebudgera Creek for some flat water, a little further south you encounter the beautiful Currumbin Creek, with a lovely big estuary, used by many ( including us) for swimming laps, and paddling Sup’s.

There are plenty of walking and cycling tracks around Burleigh, you can walk/ride the length of the Esplanade, from Miami headland to the start of the Burleigh National Park ( no dogs in the park). At the Miami end you have a wonderful viewing platform were you can take in the length of the coast.

Farmers and Arts and craft markets abound on the coastal strip, and its not hard to fill in a morning at one of these, and of course not forgetting the amazing amount of good coffee shops and restaurants. Plenty to keep the most discerning happy.

There’s a lot more to the Gold Coast than the Theme Parks to keep you busy when you choose to stay, although these of course are a lot of fun for a day. My pick is to go Whale watching during May to September, a must for all visitors.

Burleigh Heads Beach
Coast line from the ocean
Broadwater serenity, thanks to K Mellen for the use of her pic.
Southern view of the Coastline
Northern view of the coastline
Salvatore Deli Burleigh
Dog Park Currumbin Estuary
Best place to throw a stick. Currumbin Estuary dog beach

Hervey Bay to the Gold Coast

Gold Coast Hinterland
Reflections on the Water National Park
Hiding behind a Waterfall

House sitting in Hervey Bay was loads of fun! We did day trips to Maryborough for the markets, plus checked out the Mary Poppins Heritage Walk whilst there.

We also cruised up the Mary River on a full moon tide, this trip can only be done on a very high tide, highly recommend this cruise if you are in Hervey Bay, full day with a great lunch served. You get to see both cattle and cane farms along the way, with an informative commentary by the captain on the regions

The Fisher Boy

history.

A day trip to Bargara was enjoyable with a great bike ride of around 2 hours on the bike paths, past Mon Repo were the Turtles come to lay their eggs and onwards to the Burnett River which flows through Bundaburg. lunch at the Windmill cafe was a good stop for a late lunch. Cyclone Debbie had just been through the area so the river and the sea were very brown and quite choppy. I imagine on a normal day the beaches would be lovely. Maybe next time!

During our three months we meet and mingled with friendly locals, even teaching one lady to swim, and leaving my bike with her to learn how to ride.

There are lots of good restaurants and cafes to cater to your every need, I asked on waitress if they only advertised for ” super friendly staff” as everyone who served us were always lovely.

Small towns are so friendly with a smile and ” hello” from everyone .

We look forward to securing another house sit in this area.

A quick 4.30 hours after leaving the area we’re  now sitting on the Gold Coast, in a lovely canal front property with three pooches to care for.

Catching up with old friends while we are here.

We move to Burleigh shortly for a month, so there will be lots to do there, walks in the National Park will be a must, along with swimming at the famous Burleigh Heads beach.

Both Currumbin Waters and Burleigh  boast restaurants and cafes, so my coffee stops will be numerous!

The Gold Coast seems super busy after the laid back Hervey Bay!

Arkarra Tea Gardens & Burrum Heads

Day Trip.

Just a 30 minute trip north of Hervey Bay you will find the sleepy fishing town of Burrum Heads, the Burrum River is a boaties paradise, with wide clear waters, fishermen galore and a lot of Holiday homes and. A large caravan park, full of those ready to laze around and catch a fish for dinner. There is a pathway along the rivers edge, a few small shops and you,ve seen Burris Heads.

You can just imagine the same families coming here Year after year for their annual holiday in the caravan.

Lunch was not an option as I hadn’t packed a picnic, which we could have eaten at the park beside the river. So off we headed to find the Ankara Tea Gardens.

Arkarra is a wetland area with a lovely tea shop and very nice food, you can even grab a beer or wine if you are in the mood, the selection for lunch was very good, healthy and the setting was really lovely, each table was under a Bali Hut roof, and you were far enough away from other guests that you felt you had the serenity all to yourself.

Sitting there in the nice cooling breeze with the smell of fresh wood chips wa slime being in a wellness spa.

After a leisurely lunch you walked through the wetlands, were we saw ducks and lots of little turtles.

They are used to people and as soon as they hear/ see you at the rotunda they pop their little heads up for you to feed them.

Sorry guys we didn’t have anything to feed you with!

Unfortunately it has been very dry here so there was very little water ,  only one area were the fountain, ducks and turtle she are has any real amount of water.

Can imagine in the wet season it would be very pretty walking along the pathways.

Fraser Island Day Trip

A day trip to Fraser is a wonderful way to see a diverse range of scenery.

Start your day with a barge trip over , we went on a tour, so got picked up and dropped off.

Once on the barge it’s a a quick 30 minutes over to the Island.

Be prepared for a bumpy ride as the tracks are all sand and very well used, rollercoaster trip for all the tracks, we were in a comfortable 4×4 so not as bumpy as the big busses. Once you hit the beach the going is smooth and quite quick.

We stopped at Central Station which was once a logging camp, lots of very big trees in this rainforest area.

From there we headed up the eastern side beach to the Maheno wreck, which is gradually being swallowed by the sand. From here we headed north to Indian Head, 15 climb up gave us wonderful views, saw a VERY large shark, Manata Rays, large fish and  gorgeous Turtle , all this from the top of the head.

Back down the beach we stopped at Eli Waters, this is a fresh spring that runs down to the sea, crystal clear water , lovely to float down in or just walk down to cool off. Very popular spot for families.

Our last stop was at the magnificent Lake McKenzie, with it’s fresh water, great for a leisurely swim, the lake is around 30metre in depth and is quite spooky to swim in out further as it is covered in leaf litter which makes the water seem black, close to sure is clear of the leaves so you can see the very white sand.

Long day but it’s well worth the effort to go if you are in this area.

Maheno Wreck
Ladies area for the Aboriginal People
Looking north from Indian Head
Clear water at Indian Head
Eli Waters
Lake McKenzie
Kauri Tree in the forest
Ladies only area
Rain Forest
Trying to move the Maheno Wreck
Rusted out sides of the ship

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Toogoom a Hidden Gem

Serendipity Caravan Park
Beach Shack with the Outdoor Dunny(Toilet)

Whilst staying in Hervey Bay a visit to Toogoom is a must, just 16km north of the Bay you will find this small seaside enclave.

The protected Bay is a boaties paradise, with fishermen dotted along the jetty and rock wall, being watched by the patrons of Goody’s on the Beach, a  well appointed restaurant and gift shop.

Live music plays between 12- 3 pm for your enjoyment, and it seemed to be a very popular place to buy the childhood favourite a Spider, for those who have have not had the pleasure as a child of one of these, it consists of a glass of a soda of your choice( lemonade, coke etc) then a generous dollop of ice cream on top, small stir and drink with a straw.

There were so many of these served on our visit today that when we ordered something that came  in the same sized glass we were told there were no clean glasses at present.

After a lazy lunch enjoying the relaxing music, we meandered along the foreshore road, to our delight we came across a very old caravan park, Serendipity Caravan Park, who would like to buy it?

Old houses with an outhouse in the yard ( I.e your toilet) and very quaint and quirky homes, all set amongst pretty trees.

 

If you are visiting the Fraser Coast then Toogoom is a must stop!

New Years Eve and New Years Day in Newcastle

Nobbys Beach Surf Club. Newcastle

Happy New Year to you all.

Newcastle put on a nice day for the New Year festivities, with calm, cool weather and a light cloud cover.

The  Foreshore was full off families in the parks, eating and enjoying a few drinks.

Newcastle has a 9pm fireworks display so the whole area of the river foreshore was very busy, they have nice restaurants and food stalls for you to partake of, prior to the show.

We have been housesitting at the top , or east end of Newcastle so we could just walk across to the Fort Scratchley park area for a birds eye view, even took the dog  who was quite at home with the kids , fireworks didn’t phase him at all. With a nice glass of bubbles and a good crowd we enjoyed the 12 minute show.

The Foreshore Newcastle

Today, New Year’s Day was spent with a leisurely walk along the boardwalk, a couple of swims, then  around 4pm we went off to the Nobbys Beach surf club for a $4 Corona and a great hamburger for an early dinner.

Newcastle Walks whilst House sitting

Today started out with an early morning dip in the ocean for me, while Don walked Pip our house sit dog down the road for a newspaper.

hot westerly winds were coming in early and the temperature was rising from around 7am, clear blue skies overhead.

The local Newcastle baths are emptied on Thursday each week, these baths are fed from the ocean tides, but get a little dirty after a week of many swimmers doing laps, and the general public playing in the water, they are emptied right out and then overnight they will refill from the ocean ready for the onslaught of swimmers on Friday.

The local Newcastle area abounds in beautiful  coastline with two sets of baths only 3kms apart. Merewether baths are emptied on Fridays, so at least one set of baths is available to the public.

With this in mind we set off today to walk in 38degree heat with a hot westerly not cooling us down at all, as we walked the wonderful coastal walk from Nobbys Beach all the way down to Merewether baths, once her we partook of the cool water and swam some laps.

If you are in the area the local Surf Club at Merewether has a great $10 pizza and cold drinks are available.

Lovely views out to the ocean, great staff and great food make this an ideal stopping spot whether you are driving or walking.

One the walk back we stopped off at The Bogey Hole, this is a man made rock pool between Bar Beach and Newcastle South Beach. It was constructed in the late 1800’s early 1900’s for a local dignitary as his private pool. It is also served by the ocean, get in whilst the tide has cleaned it out, it will be crystal clear, it can be a bit off when very busy and the kids stir up the bottom by jumping off the ledges(great fun though).

When we got there it was very murky and didn’t look too appealing, so we opted to keep heading north of a dip at Newcastle Beach instead, lovely clear water and very cool temperatures made for a perfect end to a very hot long walk.

Be prepared to spend at least 3-4 hours on this walk to spend time admiring the very picturesque  views along the way.

Take water, although there are lots of water taps along the coastal walkway.