AFTER two long years of hiatus due to Covid, we finally hit the road with our caravan in late June. Although we enjoyed many short caravan trips in Victoria in 2021, I felt we were out of practice. I thought the best way to get back into caravan travelling was to go with the flow.Unlike other years we had no set itinerary, plan or destinations. The main focus was to escape the cold winter in Victoria and enjoy the sunshine in relaxed and simple caravan living for a couple of months. We upgraded our camper to a pop top caravan in April. With some trepidation we headed north again in search of the warmth and a carefree nomadic life.
We were heading from Lake Cargelligo to Cobar following Google maps. About half way in, we were stuck on the dirt road, couldn’t drive forward any more because the water was running on the road. It had rained heavily the day before and the edges of the road were too loose and slippery to turn around.
This was our fifth visit to Queensland. Even so there were still some places we hadn’t visited before. We were basically cruising around but tried to explore those places that we had driven past on our previous travelling and also to revisit our favourite places. We stayed in commercial caravan parks, free-to-low-cost facilities at RV-friendly towns and national parks. Attending parkrun every Saturday morning along our route gave us a weekly structure. For someone who likes routine and thrives on planning, it was surprisingly exciting not knowing which parkrun I was running the coming Saturday. Every parkrun I visited was unique but the friendly welcome was the same everywhere. I could feel a common thread of the strong community spirit wherever I went. Cobram, Bourke, Rockhampton, Mackay, Bowen, Cardwell, Airlie Beach, Yeppoon, Wandoan and Numurkah, 10 different parkrun events in 10 weeks was indeed a very special experience for me. I carry memories of those beautiful places and people I met when I run parkrun back home in Inverloch.
The landscape changed from the rich fertile soil of the food bowls to cotton fields to sugarcane fields then to pineapple fields and mango orchards as we continued our travel north. We finally felt the warmth we had been looking for when we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn near Rockhampton. We put our winter clothes away and swapped to t-shirts, shorts and sandals. The winter doona was replaced by a summer lightweight blanket. I started to understand the limitations that come with travelling in a caravan and made peace with them. Caravan life helped me realise that I don’t actually need that much stuff to live a comfortable life. We travelled as far north as a place called Ellerbeck near Cardwell in tropical North Queensland, just south of banana fields. The heat had certainly intensified by then so we enjoyed cooling off in several swimming holes at naturally fed creeks. The cool, striking blue coloured water of Cardwell Spa pool was especially delightful.
I encountered countless beauties on our travels – the expansive sky that stretched above me and made me feel so small, astonishing sunrises and burning sunsets, silence with the periodical rustle of the wind in the trees, majestic high green peaks, the tranquillity of the full moon night, calm creeks and soothing beaches.