Camping trip to Stradbroke Island

Yesterday the other half, my dog and I got home from an amazing 6 days up at the beach, camping at Stradbroke Island. I won’t lie, while I had a great time I was beyond stoked to get home. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a flushing toilet, a shower, a comfortable bed, hard floors and not having to sweep your feet every 30 seconds when you jump inside to get something.

The shower I had that night was the best shower I’ve had. Ever.

You don’t even know.

Mario spent his days fishing, and caught a few whiting and something else. I would tell you, but to be honest I didn’t pay attention. I was very excited for him for catching something, but given I don’t eat fish I wouldn’t know the difference between whiting and trout (although if he’d told me he’d caught a shark I would be very impressed albeit freaked out). He managed to run out of bait while we were there, so we went into town and bought more on the second last day. In the end he didn’t use all of the refill, so we gave the leftovers to some friends he had made while fishing (they had nearly managed to hook a stingray but the line broke at the last second and it got away).

For a bit more of a run down:

Day 1:

Campsite at Stradbroke Island

We arrived and it was spitting with rain. Thankfully it held off enough for us to unpack, and after shuffling the tent and gazebo around a few times finally settled on the position for our equipment. It wasn’t until the last night that we discussed it and realised how we could have done things better, but I think we did things pretty darn well given that we were still in a hurry to get things up as fast as possible in case it started to pour again.

Day 2:

Fishing on Stradbroke Island

Our first full day camping, and the weather hadn’t much improved from the previous day. Needless to say most of it was spent undercover, although Mario did get out for some fishing and had some  success. There were a few sun patches here and there, and while the temperature was humid it was bearable. We cooked up our first roast, and I discovered I really don’t enjoy eating the mammoth-sized Costco marshmallows. We ended up giving them to our neighbours for their sons, who reported back to us that they had 3 the first night, 2 the second night, and they really loved them (no word on the sugar high that the parents had to endure).

Books read: I finished “Last night at the Viper Room: River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind“, and began on “Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist” by Michael J Fox (it discusses his life after his Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis).

Day 3: 

Kangaroo and her joey on Stradbroke Island

What a contrast from previous days! It was insanely hot. I went for a swim, and in the time it took for me to walk back up to the sand dunes to our camp site I was already hot and sweaty again. I burn very easily so was reluctant to spend too much time in the sun (despite putting on 50+ sunscreen), although my dog and I made frequent trips over the sand to dunk ourselves in the water. At the end of the day we noticed Missy’s tail looked broken, and after freaking out a bit, I approached doctor google (thank goodness for the patchy reception on the sand dunes) to find she had “limber tail”, funnily enough caused by too much swimming. It suggested that she would be right again within 48-42 hours, and sure enough, the following morning her tail was back up flying around in the air and thumping on the sand. Phew!

We also made our first trip into town to get some more water and ice, which meant plenty of driving up the beach (and air con to escape the heat). We also treated ourselves to some ice cream.

During the afternoon I noticed that Missy was quite alert looking up at something, and upon turning around discovered a kangaroo and her joey, about 50m away. I grabbed my camera, and while the ‘roo kept an eye on me she didn’t seem too concerned by my movements (although I stayed well away so as not to alarm her). What was most impressive was my dog, who made zero attempt to bother the kangaroo and not because she was being lazy. When I had first noticed and gotten up to take a look Missy had begun to move, but upon being commanded to stay, she stayed put. It’s so great to know that we can have her off-lead and she will still be responsive to commands.

Books read: I finished reading “Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist” by Michael J Fox and also the second book in the “Diary of a Supermodel” series by Lily Tinker (my friend’s new book series). I had asked Mario to pick a page number and a number between 1 and 6, and the book he chose was an Australian travel book by Bill Bryson, called “Down Under” (who would have thought an Australian would read an Australian travel book).

Day 4: 

The hammock overlooking the beach

We started the day with breakfast, before another trip into town. This time we explored a little around Point Lookout, which was a nice little town with loads of facilities and a nice cafe culture at the top of the hill. To be honest though, I can’t imagine spending a family holiday on Stradbroke Island – surely taking your car over there (which cost us $140 return), plus a holiday home is pretty expensive? It doesn’t cost that much to travel to Rainbow Beach, but they’re very similar in style. If anyone has rented a holiday home at Straddie before, I’d love to hear the reasons that convinced you to stay there.

We also bought Yahtzee at the shop, and despite Mario’s insistence that he hates board games, I managed to convince him to play. It didn’t bode well though when I scored a yahtzee on my first go, and sure enough, I flogged him 🙂

Overnight we had opted to leave the windows of the tent open since there had been quite a nice breeze blowing. I woke up randomly at 2am in the morning (I checked my watch), and realised I heard the faint patter of light rain. I jumped and went outside to close the external windows, and was shocked to see there was quite a bit of lightning in the sky. I also heard the distant rumble of thunder, and tossed up whether I should go check the radar to see if there was a storm on its way (to get reception at camp we had to stand on the sand dunes). I decided it wasn’t worth it, and after a trip to the loo, returned to bed. Upon climbing back in, Mario rolled over and said “maybe we should close the windows”, to which I replied “I just did that?!”, and started to tell him about the storm. I got no response, and realised he had passed out asleep again. In the morning he had no recollection of the conversation at all!

Books read:  I finished “Down Under“, which I can’t recommend enough. It was to the point that at night, I sat there reading excerpts of the book to Mario, and we were both in stitches! I also began reading a crime novel, “Port Mortuary” by Patricia Cornwell.

Day 5: 

Goanna at Stradbroke Island

Our last full day before heading home, and it started to seem that we were starting to get a bit over it. For people that we are used to having so much to do, and constantly being on the move, while we had appreciated the down time it appeared the expiration point was approaching. We spent the day making our third trip into town, more fishing, and more reading. I got in some time on the hammock though thanks to it being a bit cloudier (the heat from previous days had made it nearly unbearable).

During the day I was stalked by a goanna, which was freaky since I hadn’t originally seen it. I had just gotten up to do something when suddenly there was rapid movement in the bushes. I saw his tail as he ran away and hid behind a tree, which is when I snapped the above pic. I’ve seen quite a few goannas before, but this guy was a monster! We had a staring competition for a few minutes while I pondered what to do. There was part of me that wanted to wuss out and run down to Mario (who was out for another fish with Missy hovering nearby), but decided I would try to be brave. I walked back towards the tent, which the goanna used as an opportunity to approach yet again. I stopped and walked towards him which thankfully he used it as a queue to get away and ran off to the other side of the track away from the camp site. There he remained for about 5mins, before giving up and heading off in another direction.

I had won in the camp site stand off with the goanna. I felt tough.

Apart from that, and other than some incredibly daunting clouds and a storm that apparently smashed Brisbane but dodged us, the day was rather uneventful. We were proving to be quite lucky with the weather given we’d originally been forecast a week of non-stop rain.

Books read: I finished “Port Mortuary” by Patricia Cornwell, and started on another random selection, “Last Night at Chateau Marmont” by Lauren Weisberger (of Devil Wears Prada fame).

Day 6: 

Dog asleep on sand

Home day!

We woke early and had breakfast, then on auto pilot we began packing up the camp site. I had braced myself for thousands of arguments, since that’s what normally happens with couples around now, but there wasn’t anything (have I mentioned I love our relationship – we just seem to read each other’s minds). I had a few moments of losing my brain, and to his credit Mario was incredibly patient with me. The unfortunate thing of being so efficient with packing meant that we had completely packed up by 8.30am, and with the high tide we hadn’t planned on driving until at least 10am. Packing early meant that we had missed the heat of the day though, which was a huge plus.

We ended up leaving at about 9’ish, since we knew the DMax would be able to handle driving in the soft sand. We dropped off the rubbish and headed back to the ferry to see if there was any chance of getting on an earlier one. Mario had booked us in for the 4pm ferry assuming that we would stay the morning at the camp site, and not head up the beach until later. Unfortunately the ferries were completely booked until 8pm that night, and the standby line was already quite large. We decided to go and have an early lunch at a nearby bakery.

Once again, it appeared we were too late since the bakery had sold out of all good food (we didn’t want cream buns for lunch). We found another takeaway further down the street, and ordered some burgers and cold drinks – the heat had picked right back up. It was interesting listening to the locals, but there was a little girl with a loud whistle that grated a bit. After eating, we set up the blanket in the park and chilled out there for a bit, so that we could see if the standby line had any success.

By midday we decided there was no chance on getting on an earlier barge, and the kids running around us screaming in the park were doing our heads in, so we decided to go exploring. We visited the carpark of the Blue Lake, only to see that it was a 5km return walk. In the sheer heat it was something we weren’t willing to do. We continued on to Brown Lake, which looked amazing but were saddened to find out that dogs are not permitted under any circumstances, so again had to turn around. We visited another park, where we were enjoying the serenity until someone started doing some renovation work on their house and the air was filled with the sound of hammers banging (we weren’t having much luck with sound).

Eventually we decided to just drive around the island, so we explored Amity Point (ok I suppose, but nothing worth recommending) and Point Lookout (if you had to stay in suburbia rather than on the beach I would recommend here). Dunwich was where the ferries were based, but other than that and a couple of shops there wasn’t too much else it had to offer.

Finally it got to 3pm, and we made our way to the barge. The guy laughed when he saw how early we were. Finally we were loaded, and on our way home!

Books read: On the 45min trip across the bay I finally finished my last book of the trip, “Last Night at Chateau Marmont” by Lauren Weisberger. All up I had managed to read 6 books over the course of 6 days – quite the effort. It really summed up just how much down time I had had, and felt so much better for it.

When we got back home we unpacked quickly, and while Mario washed the car I headed upstairs for the best shower of my life. Following that, I promptly passed out asleep on the couch until Mario woke me up to go to bed. I didn’t know how I could be so exhausted after 6 days of essentially doing nothing, but I tell you, our bed never looked so welcoming (and felt amazing).

It was great to be home.