Camping at three-dimensional geometric shape Beach

Me: “Good morning….”
Police Officer 1: “Good morning sir. We’re conducting a random breath test, and would ask that you blow into this tube until I say stop.”
Me: “No problems”

Police Officer 2 is having a bit of a look around the car, and then looks up on the roof.

Police Officer 2: “On your way or heading home?”
Me: “We’re on our way…. off camping to Straddie for a week!”
Police Officer 2: (Chuckling)”Leisure mats? Leisure mats? That’s not camping!”.
Me: “Hahahahahaha…. got to have a little bit of comfort.”
Police Officer 1 & 2: “Have a safe trip everyone.”

Anyhow… interuptions out of the way… Straddie… here we come!

The car is absolutely packed to the brim.. the boot is packed to the roof… and any excess gear is forcefully wedged in between the kids and in their foot wells. I’m so glad I spent so much time as a kid playing Tetris… it has really payed off for this trip! :)

North Stradbroke Island.. for those of you that don’t know, is just a hop, skip, and a jump from Brisbane… and is the scene for our next week long adventure. It’s the second largest sand island in the world, and the only way over is via a couple of ferry services, the water taxis, or if you’re an ambitious Japanese tourist relying on your GPS.. even possibly via road???. Our choice for this trip was the Big Red Cat, which leaves from Cleveland at regular intervals.

Personally, I’m glad that there is no bridge heading over to the island and that the ferry is the only option. I’m not sure if it’s because of the anticipation of the arrival, the daydreaming of those extra large fish that I’ll be slaying over the next couple of days, or simply the trip itself, but there’s something almost magical about the ferry ride over.

Keeping with tradition, we arrived at the ferry quite.. quite.. early. It’s a bad habit I have, but I’d rather be early than late. The advantage…. we are first to board and get a prime spot on the top level of the ferry. :) ‘Syd the elephant’ agrees that it was a good idea and is in a bit of a hurry too… “Drive us on Syd!”.

There’s been a lot of planning for this trip… quite a bit of stress at times… but ahhhhh… it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. Not long now, and the tent will be pitched, a beer will be cracked open, and I’ll be smashing the tailor on the beach. I’m finally relaxing… the weather is calm… the blood pressure making it’s way down…. until…

….. ARGHHHHHHHH!!!!! Photobomb!

Atleast they thought it was funny :)

Back to the daydreaming….

…. and enjoying being close to my beautiful bride.

Sometimes we all get a bit caught up with work and other dramas in life, but do you know what? The solution isn’t that hard… when you can make your family happy, you’ll be happy… and it truly doesn’t get any better than that. P.S. I know Buzz hasn’t made an appearance yet.. but he is around… cautiously staying in the car and making sure he doesn’t have a repeat of terrible sea sickness he had the last time he was on a boat :(

The love of my life…. completely relaxed, and extremely happy.

We disembark the ferry at Dunwich, and start the short drive north-east to our camping spot of choice… Cylinder Beach. An absolutely beautiful part of the world, mainly untouched by the commercial hoards of tourists, and a popular spot for both families and surfers alike. It’s quickly becoming our family paradise of choice…

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Now we weren’t too sure of what to expect at this camp site… so we ‘reserved’ two sites together just to make sure we could set up all our gear comfortably. It was the second week of school holidays, so as you would expect, the camp grounds would be pretty busy. The down side of booking double sites like this is that they are slightly back from the dunes… not far back… but also not as close as other sites. However, while booking in with the ranger on our arrival, he advised us that we could take our pick of sites! (<< rewind) ... we could take our pick of sites!?!?! For some reason, unbeknown to the ranger, the camp grounds were pretty much deserted? Hmmm... all I'm thinking at the moment is that I hope I haven't made the wrong choice of camp grounds for our family trip... we're here for a week! "Any idea why it's so quiet?" I sheepishly ask the ranger. "I don't know mate... maybe the weather scared them off?". The week prior was the wettest June on record for South East Queensland... so that's a plausible reason I guess. I just hope it's not because of the drop-bears!! 1 .... 2 .....that was it. Only 2 other families were set up in the entire grounds! And to top it off, through the golden rays of sunshine coming through the trees, we see what will now be known as OUR camp site. Butted right up against the dunes, and at the entrance to Cylinder Beach, is two perfectly situated sites... vacant... free... and begging for us to pitch our tents on. Surely this is a dream? "Quick kids!!! Grab some stuff and go throw it on those sites! Make sure no-one else arrives and takes our spot!" The boys hustle from the car... and the sites are all ours. :) We're getting pretty good at this camping gig now, so in less than 30 minutes, the tent is pitched, the outdoor area is up, tables and chairs are setup, and a cold beer has emerged from the esky! If I was a sook, I'd have a bit of a teary and carry on about how wonderful our setup is, how exceptionally lucky I am to have such a wonderful family, how blessed I am, etc etc blah... but I'm not a sook... and there's a cold beer with my name on it. :) Behold!!!! Our finely tuned setup.....

…. right on the dunes.

And without further ado….. The Buzz finally makes an appearance, and with two thumbs up, it’s official that we are now on holidays.

I guess it’s time for me to take you on a little journey around Point Lookout, but before we pull on our hiking boots and tighten the laces, it’s only fitting that I introduce you to an outstanding member of our group. Not only is he a pillar of justice, a communicator to the fishing gods, and a totem of all that is good… he is also a bloody great person to have a yarn to after a few beers. :)

Let me introduce you to….. the guardian…

No no no! My mistake… that’s just Buzz putting on his “quit writing you’re stupid blog and take me fishing!” pose.

Let’s try that again.

Introducing… The Guardian!

No no no! Bugger… sorry… That’s only Syd the elephant doing a bit of a reccy on the beach.

One more try….. drum roll please…..

Introducing…. THE GUARDIAN!

Proudly created with washed up seaweed, standing boldly at the entrance to our site. His purpose in life …. keep an eye out for schools of bait fish, keep us safe from the drop-bears, and make sure I can stumble back to our campsite at night. :)

Ok… back to that tour. :) The north-eastern side of North Straddie is lined with a good half a dozen or so little coves separated by great rock pools and deep gutters…. the ultimate fishing paradise.

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To the east is the wild and untamed Pacific Ocean.

The perfect place to just grab a nice coffee, sit on a cliff face, and just take it all in.

My favorite shot of the entire trip, apart from the ones of my family of course. :) The perfect wave…

Now, if you haven’t been sold on the place yet… how about this. The day we arrived was the first day of the humpback whales migration north, and we witnessed 100’s of whales passing by. A mixture of large streams of spray as they surface, tale slapping, pectoral fin extensions, and breaching. A fellow tourist proclaimed that Point Lookout was the closest to land the humpbacks come on their migration, but I’m yet to confirm that. Never the less, they were very close to shore, and the latest numbers estimate over 16000 humpbacks will pass by Point Lookout on their migration north. It’s an amazing experience, and we won’t forget in a hurry seeing two whales launch completely out of the ocean right next to each other just like synchronized swimmers… absolutely breath taking and one of those moments that make you rethink about how wonderful nature is.

Whilst we couldn’t get any info on the following two pieces of art, we’re pretty sure they were part of the indigenous whale welcoming ceremony. Pretty cool.

Apart from whales, you can also spend countless hours watching the dolphins swimming by and performing for the onlookers, and spot turtles surfacing for air and promptly returning to the depths. If you spend enough time getting back to nature, you may even be rewarded with the calming site of a manta ray gently gliding near the surface of the water. Incredible!

A little further south along the hike, you’ll hit Main Beach. 32 kilometers of perfect Queensland sand, and open for 4wds and beach camping. When the Skoda grows up and becomes a Navara D40, this is where we’ll be camping. :)



Bailey is obviously chuffed about his new seat.

Point Lookout out of the way, I guess I’d better touch on the fishing. Well….. the Tailor run hadn’t started, so that put a huge dent in my plans, however there’s always bread and butter species like whiting, bream, flathead and dart right? Well yes… and no.

Second day there and we could here a little bit of activity on the beach. The boys and I ran down past the GUARDIAN to sus it out, and were greeted with this?

Curious, we wander over to have a closer look only to find out it’s mullet netting time. Oh Oh! Thousands, tens of thousands, most probably tens of tens of thousands of mullet are being pulled into the beach in large fishing nets being hauled by tractors. Not only are there mullet, but there’s also hundreds of dart and bream. “Bailey!”. Before I could get the stench of mullet from my nostrils, Bailey has his hands in the commercial fisho’s nets, and his freeing all the fish! One, two, three…. large mullet are being set free by my legendary son! Oh no… this is not going to go down well! “Oi! Stop that!”. I’m running over to Bailey as I know you don’t mess with a mullet netters fish, but then unexpectedly I slow my protective run down to a curiously brisk walk. Bailey has confronted one of the fisho’s and has told them in no uncertain terms that he’ll be throwing back all the fish that aren’t mullet before they die. He’s a bloody good egg my son.. and one after the other he’s running from net to net, weaving between the tractors hauling up and down the beach, and freeing all the fish that aren’t mullet. The mullet fisho’s are stunned and start giving him words of encouragement and thanks. By the end of it all, the mullet are in their cages, Buzz has saved hundreds of other fish, and one of the fisho’s comes up to us offering Bailey three large mullet for his trouble. And do you know what happens next? Buzz gives the fisho the dirty look, puffs his chest out, and says “No… we don’t eat mullet”. Absolute character. :)

We make our way back to the campsite and share our yarn with Gae. I really hope the netting doesn’t spoil the fishing for the lads.

The following day.. it’s crunch time. Lets fish. The bay around the corner has a ridiculously deep gutter with a single entrance/exit, so that’s the spot I’ve eyed off for the kids. If there’s nothing in that gutter, there’s not going to be any fish around.

Unfortunately, it was quiet. A handful of small dart, a couple of winter whiting, and all was looking pretty dismal. Until “Dad! I’ve got one!” Zach has pulled a nice plate size flathead from one of the holes, and he’s winding it in like a champ. “Keep it’s head down mate.. don’t let it get it’s nose out of the water. Ride it in with one of the waves!”. With the drag giving the fish the run it needs, Zach toys with his catch and times the perfect little wave to help him beach the fish. He’s done it! He’s beaten the odds and managed his first ever flathead! With chest out, head high, and with an unintentional dicky walk, I stride on over to where Zach is making sure anyone around could see that my son has caught his first flattie. Good on you mate! :)

And on that positive note, it’s probably time I start to wrap things up. I know I rabbit on a bit too much sometimes. :) The rest of the trip was a mixture of exploring rocky headlands….

…. burying Buzz in the sand …..

… and relaxing on the beach watching the sun set.

If you get a chance, do yourself a favour and get over to North Straddie for a break. It’s the perfect way to recharge the batteries. Until next time, stay safe and tight lines. :)

P.S. If you eat too much of this stuff …..

… you’re bound to lose your teeth. :)

Ciao….



4 Comments

  1. Bec Kelderman wrote:

    loved it!!!!! Rabbit on anytime!

  2. Mel wrote:

    What a wonderful holiday. Funny and inspirational. I am hooked. Thanks.

  3. Ann wrote:

    Right, we’re going! Love the post, your sons seem (lovely) characters:)

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