Charlie Moreland has a special place on our hearts as the very first place we took our kids camping and the first time we used our Camel Camper trailer.
Thought it fitting to return once again and Christen our newly acquired upgraded camper trailer. We purchased a second hand Goldstream Camper about a month ago and have been chewing at the bit to get away.
With Connor playing Saturday Rugby and Charlie Moreland being only about 1.5 hours out of Brisbane we would be able to make it there by lunch time.
Got there a little after midday and were pleased to see that it was not too busy, located a reasonably level site close to Little Yabba Creek. 15 minutes later the camper was level, set up and fridge running on gas. Very pleased with the set up times, our Camel Camper took about an hour or so, so the Goldstream has lived up to one of our expectations.
The wind out Fiamma awning is very fast and easy to erect. The kids are at a great age and Connor loves to help, he is very proficient at getting the stabilisers in place and winding them down.
Had a fun playing Trac Ball in the open space and a lovely bush walk along the creek. Still some flood damage to one of the bridges that has not yet been fixed. Last time we came it was a bit warmer and we had a beautiful swim in the creek, bit too cold this time.
Nothing like the joys of sitting around an open campfire and cooking a meal. Stoking up the BBQ and watching the hardwood turn to coals is so very relaxing.
The kids were exhausted and in bed by about 6:30! What luck! Must have been the marshmallows.
For dinner Sam and I had fillet mignons cooked over open coals, potatoes in their jackets and steamed vegetables, all washed down with a bottle of Moet, now that's camp cooking!
Arose nice and early and enjoyed a BBQ breakfast then off to Kenilworth cheese factory. Unfortunately there are no tours on weekends but the store and tasting was open, walked out with a nice block of matured cheddar chosen by Connor.
Across from the factory is a fantastic kids playground, including a flying fox. Our kids had a ball, where were these parks when I was growing up.
Back to camp in time for lunch then a casual pack up and back home. All on all a great short stay and a good first shakedown for the Goldstream.
After a couple of months in the planning we finally got away at 7:00am with the Prado packed to the brim, the parents and kids all fed and watered and the Camel camper trailer in tow.
Wooli is four and a half hours south of Brisbane just east of the town of Grafton. Fortunately a non-eventful trip, with the kids occupied with a few games of eye-spy, a movie on the DVD player and a couple of games on the Nintendo DS. We enjoyed our usual stop over at the Macadamia Castle, just north of Ballina for cappuccinos and milk shakes, not forgetting a packet of hot macadamia nuts. This is a regular stop when we are travelling in coastal northern New South Wales, the coffee is always great and a welcome relief.
Turning up at the Solitary Islands Resort at midday and finding our riverside campsite to be very large, well grassed and in fact on a river, only enforced that we had made the right decision for our 7 day stay. We had initially booked in at the Wooli Camping and Caravan Park, after making some enquiries on www.myswag.org we changed our booking, this turned out to be a very good decision.
Setting up was easy on the large site as we situated the camper to take advantage of the astro-turfed pad, locating the pad under the camper soft floor and our awning living space. The pad was raised higher than the surrounding grassed area and would serve well should we experience some rain (as it turned out this was a smart decision). Our site was well defined by palms and lilypillys and provided great privacy from the neighbouring sites.
The location is idillic, only short cast to the beautiful Wooli river, I was eagerly eyeing off the river bank and planning a spot to throw in a line.
The Solitary Islands Resort is a far cry from a bush camp, with powered and watered sites, hot showers, swimming pool and a jumping pillow, however there is still a bushy, non commercial feel about the place.
After settling in for the night we were awoken by the sound of rain on the canvas, we were not overly concerned as we always set up the camp and have the roof falls to direct any water away from the camper.
The rain continued and was torrential for the next couple of days. It rained for all of Saturday and Sunday with rarely a break, as it turned out it rained about 100mm in those two days. We were all going cabin crazy (or should I say tent crazy) so we ventured out into the wet and had a drive to the neighbouring Minnie Waters and Diggers Camps and explored around the township of Wooli.
When the weather finally cleared we we able to better enjoy this wonderful place. Unfortunately a little cold for swimming, would be great in summer.
The fishing in the river is great, caught a heap of good sized bream with the best fishing at the entrance of the river. Easily accessible sandy beach was just the spot for a few hours fishing in the early mornings. With bait and tackle readily available and reasonably priced in Wooli what more could you ask for.
Nothing better than seeing the smiles in the kids faces when they catch a fish (or just get a bite), the simple joys of life. They have as much fun playing with the soldier crabs and freshly pumped yabbies as they do casting the rods. Connor turns out to be a bit of a champ with casting, can cast just as well with a side cast Alvey or a Shimano spinner.
Noticed that a fellow in Wooli hires out tinnys. Decided that this was a great way for Connor, Grampy (who was visiting for a few days) and I to spend a few hours. Great service, the tinny was delivered to our campground and launched at the ramp, can't ask for better service.
Was great on the water navigating through the numerous oyster leases and having one of those rare male bonding times.
Connor got the shock of his life when his little rod doubled over and line stripping from his reel, after a few minutes battling with the fish, with the drag working overtime, Connor finally landed his largest fish to date, a lively Longtom. After gently removing the hook we released Tom and waved goodbye.
Caught and released a few bream and a keeper flathead (my favourite)
Honestly we had better luck fishing from the bank and beach than we did from the boat. Not complaining, I'm sure that if you had your own tinny you could do a fair bit of exploring and check out the best spots.
Solitary Islands have canoes and kayaks that your can borrow free of charge. We had fun with these and took turns paddling each of the kids, Connor got the hang of if quickly and Jardine was happy to sit still and be chauffeured around the river. There are some quite substantial Yabbie beds in easy rowing distance so fresh live bait is easily obtainable.
Too much excitement for some.
Had a great dinner and a few beers at the Wooli Hotel, recently renovated and extended, this pub was more than expected is such a small town. A few ales a well cooked steak was just what was needed after a hard day of doing very little.
The easter crowds started to dribble in on the Thursday. What was earlier in the week a quiet place started to have a bit of a buzz with kids and parents on holidays enjoying themselves.
Good Friday arrived too quick and was time to pack up camp. Gear all stowed, Camel in tow we waved farewell to Wooli with a promise to return again.
Decided on a short two night stay at Coolum on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. Mum and Dad were staying at one of the apartments on the beachfront and we thought that this would be a great opportunity for Connor and Jardine to spend some time with their grandparents.
Having not stayed at the Coolum Caravan Park, Sam and I were not really sure what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised by the well maintained condition of this old style van park, very clean and recently renovated amenities block and well maintained open grounds. By 'old style' I mean no pools, jumping pillows or other resort style facilities, just traditional style with the basics.
The park was really quiet with only a hand full of other campers using the un-powered sites. The un-powered sites are in the best location in the park, situated on the slight slope of the grassed dune and close to the beach. I imagine that this would be quite busy during the holiday periods. In our opinion the unpowered sites are preferable to the powered ones. We almost had the park to ourselves on Sunday night, very peaceful except for the sound of the rolling surf.
Our well grassed unpowered site was directly opposite the entry to the beautiful Coolum surf beach, I think it was about 20 to 30 steps and we were enjoying the patrolled beach.
Coolum has two patrolled beaches, one in the main swimming and busiest area and the other right out the front of the van park, doesn't get better than that! On Monday morning we were the only ones swimming on the beach, we had our own personal life guard!
The kids loved swimming in the surf and Connor loved trying out the Boogy Board that Grampy gave him for Christmas. The weather was perfect and the surf was spot on. Jardine, as always loves playing in the shallows and building sand castles and dams and collecting treasures.
It was a nice change going out for dinner on a camping trip, had a great meal and a few coldies at the Surf Club overlooking the surf beach as the sun went down.
We didn't really spend much time at the camp, what with swimming at the beach and later enjoying the lovely pool at Nanny and Poppy's unit.
All up it was a great weekend and we will definitely be back.