Woke up at 6am needing to go to the toilet. Ablutions are annoying when you need to put on shoes to get to them. After going and realising the bathroom was free I went back and got all my gear and had a shower. Got back and lay down to read for a while so as not to disturb my neighbors any more than I had already – opening a van door is not exactly quiet. After a breakfast of muesli that I shared with the ducks that were stalking me I attempted to boil some water using the gas camper that was supplied in the van. I lit it, put a saucepan of water on it, then when a lady walking by looked at it oddly I went and checked it. Damn thing had gone out, so I had to readjust it’s position. A couple of hours later the water finally boiled since only half of the flame thing worked and I got to have my coffee. Felt rather shamed of my attempt to boil water. Won’t stuff that up again.
After finishing the book I’d been reading as well as writing a blog post I packed up my gear and made to leave. Packing up a van is so much better than a tent – just chuck everything in and go! But before I went I had a long conversation with the lady who managed the park. She had just come back from managing the park at 1770 for 10 months but only came back to be nearer to Brisbane due to family weddings and stuff. She gave me some advice about the camps at 1770 and we also talked about wicked vans and how they got in trouble for some of the stuff they had on them. She said that she had a 50 or so year old guy who rocked up in the fuck bunnies van and was really embarrassed about it. I wish I had the fuck bunnies one. 🙂
Took an odd way to get to Maryborough. turned off the Tin Can Bay exit then turned left just before it just to try out a different way. Turned out good since the road was virtually mine, however the water glimpses didn’t exist and all I had were views of State Forests. I did drive over a snake though and let out an involuntary “aargh” but I don’t think the wheels hit it and I did see it in the rear view mirror.
Arriving in Maryborough I saw a cool sign so stopped to take a picture, then went to the toilet – just in time as it happens since they’re wasn’t any rest stops on the road I took. Then went to one of my favourite parks in all of Queensland – Queens Park. I like it because it is beside the river, has a fig tree, a fountain, big guns and a band stand. Plus the trees are really pretty. Sat watching the river eating a banana and nectarine, then walked around the corner to Portside. Portside is their name for the old town, heritage listed buildings with either museums or restaurants in it. I stopped in at a cafe to get a flat white which was better than some of the ones I get in Brisbane. The place was unique in that it had glass flooring so that you could look at some barrels in the basement. I tried to compliment the coffee girl on her coffee making but it just came out all wrong with bad timing. It was weird being in a country town where the waiter guy serving me had trendier hair than some I see in the city. Is it the internet’s doing or something else?
I’d seen enough of Maryborough by then so took off to Harvey Bay and Burrum Heads. Took the turn off to Burrum 3kms out of Harvey Bay so have no idea what it’s like these days but even on the edges I could tell it’s pretty developed. The billboards on the road there also helped me make that call, $700 000 units is pretty developed to me. Burrum Heads is about 30 minutes from Harvey Bay but almost a world away. There is a butcher, bakery, grocery store, real estate and fish and chips store and that’s it. Not only that but you better eat early cause they stop making fish and chips at 6.15pm – not that I wanted any. There are two caravan parks in town and I chose the beachfront one due to it’s closeness to both the beach and shops. Booking in the lady told me I had the pick of the park and could walk around and make my choice. You can either stay on one side of the road nearest the beach – which is more crowded for that reason. Or I could stay across the road where there were less people. Since I’d have to walk to the water either way I chose more private and picked a spot where there were no neighbours and under a big tree. $24 later and it was mine.
First job I had was to take a swim in the water just in front of the caravan park. It’s really just the mouth of a river but is still choppy enough to have a mild amount of waves. When swimming I have a routine and it goes like this: get in, be impressed that I got in, think that is enough, realise I have nothing else to do, stay in and get sand in my shorts, start enjoying it, put my head under, wash sand out of shorts, get out. The best thing about camping near the water is that you don’t have to dry off before getting in to any car. This means you can drip dry in a chair reading a book and eating lunch, which for me consisted of a bacon and cheese roll from the bakery since a pie or sausage roll was my only other choice. I read “The further adventures of a London Call Girl” by Belle De Jour since I had finished the book Cheryl lent me earlier in the day. I also put some headphones on and worked my way through the never played playlist on my ipod while I charged my iphone at the powerpoint.
About an hour in to it I was interupted by an old guy called Jack asking me about the van. Turned out he had one like it that he’d done up himself and offered to let me see it. Since it was 2 spots away I took him up on the offer nervously. He had a good set up with a real half size fridge, drawers, air conditioner, huge ass beer esky, tarp at the back and single bed inside. He was camping with his son who has a full camper set up, but they don’t usually camp together. He spends most of the year touring about but he does have a house somewhere. He offered me a beer which I declined but I did show him my wicked van. For the rest of the day we waved whenever passing.
After that I went for a walk and watched windsurfers, guys being fisherman guys in a group and old couples walking hand and hand. I don’t think I’ve actually seen anyone my age. Since I had nothing better to do I sat on a rock and admired what I think are the A380s of the bird world – Pelicans – gliding around the top of the point. There were about 4 of them and I don’t think I’ve seen pelicans ever glide for so long. On the way back I saw a guy in a phone box, something that is incredibly rare in this day and age.
Back at the ranch I decided to cook me some rice for dinner. Pull out the camp cooker, spend 20 mins trying to find the matches, go buy some matches, light up the cooker, heat up water till it bubbles at the bottom, run out of gas. Spend 2 hours boiling it on the bbq top and eat the wretched but edible satay rice. Had every expert in the park come buy and offer tips on how to cook my meal better which did actually help when they suggested to put a lid on it. Anyone would think I’ve never cooked before. 🙂 Lucky I wasn’t super hungry cause it was a failure.
After “dinner” I had a shower and then went to bed and read and blogged for a while. It was around 9pm when I went to sleep. So after 2 days of camping, what have I learned:
- A private part of the park doesn’t mean private, it means people will talk to you more
- Chris McAndless may have lived on a bag of rice, but cooking rice on a camper takes forever! Don’t take food advice from someone who died of starvation
- When using a camp cooker, ensure that firstly it has heat on all sides and secondly it has gas in it
- When losing matches, check just inside the drawer where you can’t see them because that is where they’ll be. They’ll only show themselves however after you’ve bought a new set
- When hiring a wicked van and you are australian, pretend to be foreign. It’s much less disappointing to the campers around you than if you say you are from Brisbane. I will become german at the next camp since I almost qualify being a lesbian and all.
- Always wear thongs to have a shower, it sucks getting clean than walking in the dirt back to the van
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