FLANAGAN RESERVE, SOUTH EAST QUEENSLAND

FLANAGAN RESERVE

Another camping adventure awaited us with a new social camping group.  Bright and early we left North Brisbane thru Beaudesert and followed the Mount Lindsey Highway 33km to Rathdowney. We then drove through Rathdowney and just past the school we turned right into Boonah-Rathdowney Road. We followed the road for 7kms then turn left into Upper Logan Road and approximately 4 kms followed it to the end the intersection. We then turned right into our destination, Flanagan Reserve.



Flanagan Reserve is 12 hectares of bush camping located on the upper reaches of the Logan River. Set in the shadow of Mt Maroon just near the border between Queensland and New South Wales, Flanagan’s Reserve started life as a large well treed paddock of 28 acres surrounded by private pastoral properties, with an occasional resident caretaker in a caravan at weekends. It then cost $2 per night with no charge for dogs. It is about Five years since our last visit and we found quite a few changes. The old tin shed drop toilets have been superseded by a small amenities block, with two toilets, one shower for each set plus a handicapped toilet and shower. Hot showers are 2 minutes for 20 cents and cold free. The washing up area is under cover and surprise, surprise, a free washing machine. The building blends in beautifully with the surrounding bush and extensive landscaping has been started.

The Logan River runs down one side of the camping area so you can, as we didn’t, choose a spot overlooking the river. The river, which is fed by Barney Creek, starts in the hills not far away near Mount Barney, so it isn’t the wide flowing river. Fire places and tables with bench seats are strategically placed around the grounds.

Since it has been a very dry summer, there is a decided lack of grass in some sections. The spring fed Logan River is flowing, but with water being drawn for amenities there isn’t the luxury of watering the sites. Management is very environmentally friendly and aware in other areas as well. Ashes from the fireplaces are compressed to fill holes in the roads around the reserve and camping on the riverbanks is strictly discouraged.


That night we had a communal campfire and camp oven buffet night. Everyone brought their camp ovens or dish to share and try to impress the group old and new.
Everyone mixed it up so we didn’t  cook the same thing. Eg. roast lamb/beef, tapas, entree, desert etc etc…


The plan was to place your camp oven or dish in a communal area to select from like a buffet. Dinner was served about 7pm, We then enjoyed the food and relaxed relieving stories of the past days 4wding adventures .


Next morning near the river bank, we walked to a little grave that’s dated back to the early 1800’s when this whole area was a stopover for the drovers and cattle drives. In this instance, the young mother didn’t survive the birth of a baby and the baby died as well. It is a very peaceful place where they are buried. The gravesite has been restored and will be getting a plaque put there to tell the story.



A couple of other items to look out for are the old survey tree, which is believed dates back to the turn of last century, and the billy tree.  Visitors are invited to hang their old billies in one particular gum tree – it makes quite a talking point.


Fishing is mainly for bass and believe it or not, other than lures, local grasshoppers are excellent bait for bass. There are photos of catches in the office Other visitors include lots of birds including grey babblers, who were very busy gathering sticks for their nearby nest, apostle birds chortling away, yellow tail black cockatoos in the tall trees plus the usual assortment of lorikeets, kookaburras and magpies. Possum family members are very regular visitors every Wallabies are on the adjoining cattle properties and very rarely come into the reserve itself.


We found the campers here extremely friendly. Flanagan’s Reserve is ideal for motorhomes, caravans and campers who are fairly self sufficient and very reasonably priced. In fact it is the best value camp in the area and the only one with hot showers that takes doggies. Gerard and Juanita work in with other camping areas nearby and have regular meetings. There is no lack of communication between the various owners/managers which is a nice change – they are all working together to make their district the most presentable they can to attract campers. There is a nice little site with reviews on other nearby camping areas to visit whilst in the area as well as a brief piece about Flanagan’s

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POVERTY POINT, COOLOOLA NATIONAL PARK. QLD

POVERTY POINT, COOLOOLA NATIONAL PARK. QLD

One of our secret campsites is Poverty Point in the Cooloola National Park. The Cooloola National Park is an incredible diversity of landscapes, stretching from the North Shore of the Noosa River, through open wallum heathland, to mangroves along Tin Can Bay.  There are tropical rainforests, crystal clear lakes and mammoth coloured sand dunes, including the Carlo Sandblow.   There are stunning beaches framed by high dunes, wildflowers, woodlands, Blackbutt forest, tranquil lakes, waterways and rainforest.



You’ll require vehicle permits when travelling within the Cooloola National Park.   Those permits extend travelling north of the Noosa River to Middle Rocks, south-east of Rainbow Beach. Also travelling along the Freshwater track between Bymien and the beach, the Pettigrew Road, eastern and western firebreaks (Kings Bore Circuit) and the Leisha track


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A  Saturday morning, no so long ago Kim and I packed the Nissan Navara and headed north. First stop was the Eumundi Markets, which were interesting; Kim picked up a dress, a long dress as in down to her toes. She has always thought that long “maxi” dresses look weird and never tried one on. This one didn’t look too bad at all. It also means, I think that she has more dresses than I do jeans or shorts. Once we were done with the markets we headed north again to Gympie and onto Tin Can Bay rd, which lead us to our first destination of Seary’s Creek for lunch and a paddle.




 Seary’s Creek is a most wonderful place with a decent creek which flows out of a swamp. They have put in a lot of board walks and the two swimming holes where you can float and swim from one hole to the other. On a body board, you just float down, which is very pleasant. Both pools have tame yabbies. The yabbies come and nibble and tickle toes if you stand still.  Then we drove into Poverty Point, which is a campsite at the southern end of Tin Can Bay. The road in is loose to packed sand, and a 4wd is required to reach the campsites. There were a few long stretches of deep sand, but the Blue Smurf handled it with ease without airing the tyres down. We camped about 10m from the sand and our fire was just on the bank above the sand.




Poverty Point is a lovely little sandy beach and when the tide goes out it is sand flats rather than the expected mud flats. This little-known spot on the southern shores of Tin Can Bay was developed by the logging industry around 1873 as a despatch point for the timber trade.

Logs were brought to Poverty Point via light rail and, later, trucks to be rafted up and floated to the Dundathu timber mill in Maryborough. We unpacked and setup camp and started a fire and tried our hand at a little fishing at sunset.

The next day we headed to the town of Tin Can Bay. Where is Tin Can Bay you might be asking? And you might be forgiven for not knowing prior to reading this blog. However you absolutely have no idea what you are missing out on by never being there! The funny part is that you have probably driven right past Tin Can Bay on many occasions, yet not known it was nestled just off the Bruce Highway in Queensland just north of Noosa.

It is a very sleepy little coastal village and home to some of the most stunning scenery and fantastic ocean passage. If you are coming by boat then this is a fantastic spot to anchor down for a few days, as it is very sheltered. The beautiful harbour area is dotted with an array of yachts, fishing boats and houseboats all parked up and relaxing. Tin Can Bay offers sensational fishing, great watersports and an awesome doorway to explore the ocean.


But it is something quite out of the ordinary, which makes Tin Can Bay a stand out destination. It is the wild dolphin feeding which happens every single day of the year. Now this is no normal dolphin feeding attraction, these are wild Indo Pacific Humpback dolphins.We headed down to the Barnacles Dolphin Centre, located right next door to Barnacles Café, at the Norman Point boat ramp and ordered some breakfast and waited to see the dolphins come in. We then took a scenic 4wd trek down the Freshwater Track onto North Shore Beach to Double Island to walk up to the Lighthouse and thru the  Leisha track to the Carlo Sandblow. We watched some hang gliders and parasailer’s as they launched off the world renowned sandblow to ride the wind and witnessed a stunning sunset. Back to the camp for some drinks and yarns, we headed back to Brisbane early to avoid the carpark traffic on the Bruce.



COOLOOLA NATIONAL PARK AND FIVE ACTIVITIES NOT TO MISS!
1. CANOEING
As featured on Queensland Holidays, canoeing along the undisturbed Noosa River is one of the finest ways to experience nature at its most tranquil. Boats or canoes can be hired at Tin Can Bay, Boreen Point or at the Harrys Hut camping area. Make sure not to miss the peaceful everglades and the breathtaking reflections of the surroundings on the river’s clear, pristine waters.
2. FISHING
For keen anglers, Cooloola also offers a great spot for fishing. Cooloola and Teewah Beach includes catches of whiting, bream and Flathead, while inland river fishing is also popular. You need not worry about obtaining a fishing licence since none is required; however, there is established size and bag limits for fishing in the tidal waters that visitors need to comply with. Popular fishing sites include the Kin Kin Creek and Noosa River.
3. BUSHWALKING
Bushwalking or hiking is one of the most popular activities on Cooloola because of the numerous excellent walks in the area. Prepare your walking shoes because you’ll surely be in for a treat. Several walks start from the Elanda Point, and four at the Harrys Hut camping ground. Boronia walking track (1.8 km, 1 hour) along Kin Kin Creek reveals the life of cedar cutters who worked in this area from the 1860s to the 1890s. Poona Lake Walk (4.2 km return) leaves from Bymien picnic area and leads through melaleuca woodlands, scribbly gum forests and pockets of rainforest. Long distance walkers are also sure to enjoy the Cooloola Great Walk that’s up to 102 kilometres, complete with walkers’ camps. And if you’d like to try out more adventure, pack a tent for the two to four day Cooloola Wilderness Trail.
4. FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE
Like Fraser Island, access to Cooloola National Park also requires a reliable 4WD vehicle with high clearance. There are plenty of established tourist drives you can enjoy at Cooloola. You can take the Cooloola Way, a 32 km dirt road that connects the Rainbow Beach Road Kin Kin-Wolvi road, or drive through the banksia and taller forests with views over Cooloola sandmass. Other tracks include the Freshwater Road and Kings Bore Track. Before departing, though, it’s essential to be aware of the road conditions and directions by speaking with the area rangers.
5. CAMPING
Should you wish to experience and explore the Cooloola National Park for a longer period of time, then you can do so by setting up camp at one of its 15 camping sites. There are a number of formal and informal camping grounds, complete with facilities, as well as wilderness camps you can choose from. Take note, though, that the only camping area which provides safe fresh water is the Freshwater Camping Area adjacent to Teewah.
Whilst Fraser Island might be the more well-known section of the Great Sandy National Park, there’s definitely no denying that Cooloola National Park also have spectacular sights and activities you can never miss.


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STRADBROKE ISLAND, QLD

STRADBROKE ISLAND, QLD 
We’ve done both, often, Morton Island is the one that would be most likely described as a ‘Paradise’, but Stradbroke, or Straddie as it’s known, is much more rugged and without doubt,  our favourite of the two.

We left straight after work on Friday evening so as to maximize our time on the island. We checked in Whalewatch Ocean Beach Resort, which was a perfect location and views aplenty.



The next day we were up early morning with the birds just before sunrise and headed to Point Lookout Headland Gorge Walk, where we strolled past a family of grazing kangaroos, so tame Kim almost touched them. We saw a family of five small black cormorants watching for fish from the tree they have claimed at the bottom of the cliff. There were sea eagles, manta rays, turtles and dolphins, even an echidna. 



Early morning is always best for an early walk before it starts getting crowded. We preferred something light for breakfast, so we headed to Fishes Cafe at the Point on East Coast Road. They had everything from Canadian pancakes to eggs Benedict and a Whale Rock Big Brekky special with bacon, sausage, tomato, mushrooms, hash brown, baked beans and English spinach. After breakfast our first stop was Amity Point, which was a small fishing town on the north east point of the island. We wandered the seafront watching the fisherman cast their lines as pelicans stood in wait for any scraps. We headed to the north of the town and onto the purest sandy beach and watched a swarm of crabs trying to escape.  We kicked off our shoes to felt the soft sand between our toes (which squeaked as we walked) and had a quick dip in the warm ocean.
The best thing about it all was that the beach was pretty much deserted. We left Amity Point behind and headed into the islands interior. Straddie Island is the world’s second biggest sand island (after Fraser Island) and is covered with Eucalypt and Pine Forest and dotted with a few freshwater lakes. We stopped for a walk at Blue Lake, a 3.5 mile return journey through the forests which takes you to a viewpoint overlooking the lake. It was a pretty warm day and all we wanted was to jump in and go for a swim. Luckily that’s exactly what you can do at Brown Lake. As the name suggests the water of the lake is brown from all the decomposing material it contains, so not very attractive to look at. But in 30 degree heat it was pretty refreshing to get in. 



After a quick dip, like lonely sailors looking for the shore, we’re hungry again.  Put it down to the holiday hunger phenomenon. We headed to The Little Ship Club on the water at Yabby Street, Dunwich, which serves a great bistro-style lunch and as the name suggests is, in fact, a sailing club. There’s a lovely lawn, with picnic tables and sun loungers, and a gentle breeze swishing through the palm trees. Island bliss = found. After a big morning walking we headed back for a dip in the pool and a late afternoon barbie for dinner.


The next morning we woke ready for our encounter with Manta Rays. After a quick briefing session we climbed into the zodiacs, still on land. The dive centre is nowhere near a marina or boat ramp so these zodiacs are on a trailer attached to a tractor. And so the tractor drove us down to the beach and deposited the zodiacs in the water. Not quite as easy as that, as the waves threatened to push us back on the beach before we could get in deep enough water to deploy the engines but our captain did really well to get us out pretty quickly. He took us out to ‘Manta Bommie’, an area just off Straddie Island as soon as we got in the water I could see a ray and a turtle in the distance but they swam off pretty quickly. But undeterred our snorkel guide kept us swimming along and within a couple of minutes we had a Manta Ray directly underneath us. They are so graceful and move through the water with seemingly little effort for something so big (this one must have been 6ft wide).



 We swam for a while following this fella before our guide shouted out to follow him to another Manta Ray, and then another, and then another. Soon enough I had 3 rays in direct snorkel view, it was amazing. And then I heard our guide shot ‘TURTLE!’, and Kim looked around frantically to try and locate it. But she needn’t bother as it swam directly beneath me, so close I was tempted to reach out and touch it. We followed a few more Manta Rays before it was time to get back on the boat. Everyone was full of beaming smiles as our guide explained the various behaviors we had been watching, such as the two Mantas following each other where actually performing a mating dance. There was time for another quick snorkel before the boat headed back and was hauled back on land by the tractor.  We headed for sunset drinks at The Beach Hotel, which had killer views. I grabbed a frosty and Kim had a cruiser and set up camp on the perfectly positioned deck before grabbing some classic pub grub from the bistro. Fresh seafood abounds so Kim couldn’t pass up a Caesar salad with fresh prawns, and a perfectly cooked rib eye.

Early next morning was time to head home. We decided for and early mark, so the traffic wasn’t backed up heading home. We enjoyed another visit and always head back at least once a year.




Straddie Is a sub-tropical island, is located 30 km southeast of Brisbane, Queensland and it is the world’s second largest sand island, about 38 km long and 11 km wide!   From endless summer adventures to awesome “whale-watching “winters, Straddie Is the perfect spot for a holiday, short break or day trip.

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COOLUM, SUNSHINE COAST QLD

COOLUM, SUNSHINE COAST QLD

We were up and early for a day up the Sunshine Coast with our Kelpie pup (Shari). We take our pup everywhere we can, we don’t believe in leaving her with people or left at home while we enjoy ourselves. Today was Shari’s day. On the M1 we headed north one hour to Coolum.



Coolum is a surfing and golfing mecca, with a carefree holiday atmosphere distinct from its neighbouring beach towns. It’s long shopping and entertainment strip has a stunning outlook across a large beachfront park, and its leafy backstreets quietly traverse this beautiful coastal town in constant view of Mount Coolum, a grand volcanic dome that presides over the landscape.
About 1 kilometre north of Coolum, Stumers Creek is the estuary to the surf beach. The creek splits into two and runs into a shallow body of water which is ideal for swimming.



A short walk took us down to the unpatrolled surf beach. This is a great place to fly kites, take 2.5 kilometre stroll along the beach to Coolum, or enjoy the surf.

If it’s picnicking you want, there’s a shaded grassy picnic area with toilet facilities just a hop away from the shallow swimming area.

Bordering the swimming area is a grassy bank, where you can sit and watch the kids playing, fishing, or boogie boarding.





Kids seem to have a great time running up and down the sand dunes (which at present, are under regeneration).

This is a dog friendly area so Shari enjoyed the freedom of splashing around freely, chasing her favourite ball through the shallow waters and generally having a great time.


Stummers Creek is also a drop off point for parachutists, always a great sight as you see them glide gently down to the sand, but none for today.

Often you will see paddle boarders and kayakers alike enjoying the peace and quiet as they silently drift down the creek.



Stumers Creek is very popular with the locals, and on a hot day, like today parking can be at a premium. We thoroughly recommend Stumers Creek for a lazy, relaxed day out.

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