Saturday, July 27, 2013

Talking road trips

So lets chat about road trips, me I love them because you get to see places you would normally just fly over and never get to experience.  On our recent road trip with Teddy, we decided to go to places we have wanted to stay at for a long time but in the need to get somewhere else we have  just driven past primarily due to the distance from the highway.

For those that travel north by car regularly in Queensland they have probably enjoyed the wonders of 1770 in the past, but for us, we had never been there before - its 60 kms off the highway and for many years when road travel was the main form of transport, the road itself was suspect.

I am glad we made the choice to finally discover this wonderful place, the roads now are excellent and once you get into the Agnes Water and 1770 area (named by Captain Cook himself) you can definitely see why this place is so popular with those in the know.

I was surprised that it wasn't as isolated as I had thought it would be and it's a bustling little township and yes full of NINKERS and all people retired looking for a great beach holiday slightly warmer than its southern beach counterparts, with the added bonus of nice accommodation, good restaurants, beaches and beach walks that go for miles, lovely BBQ areas on the beach and plenty of things to do including boating, diving, fishing etc.  Given its location it probably isn't a place you just drive to and drive back from, its a place to stay for at least 1 night, if not more.  We were there for 2 days and found plenty to fill in our time.  With a great pub come eatery right on the beach, with sunsets to die for - note the sun rises in Agnes Water and sets in 1770 - so depending on your preference choose the side that you will enjoy most. Both areas also have a great array of accommodation styles, from the cheap and cheerful, caravan parks right on the beaches and extremely up market 4 star plus accommodation with it all.  1770 tends to be the lagoon side, with Agnes Water being the surf beach which is paroled  Only 5 or so hours from Brisbane, this place is great for a warm winter beach holiday - I even ventured in the surf as it just looked so inviting and the day was up in the mid 20's so definitely warm enough for swimming in winter. We stayed at 1770 Sovereign Lodge which was a Balinese style accommodation and very pretty, great views, lovely gardens with a good size lounge area and possibly the best bed I have ever slept in.

Heading further up we decided to go to Yeppoon, while we did stop here on our last road trip it was dark when we got in and we did leave first up the next day.  This is another spot that doesn't lack for great wide beach areas with plenty of surfing and situated off Keppel Bay offers a great gateway to the Barrier Reef without the need to driving further up north. We stayed at Kinka Beach which was a quiet little beach area - a Caravan Park and a few older style Motels, but there are plenty of these little beach areas some more isolated than others - Kinka was a little more isolated ie:  not much here but only a few minutes drive to anywhere in the area. I must admit after reading some of the travel apps we were not sure about this motel, as some people seemed to rave about it, and others cast some doubts.  We definitely thought Kinka Palms Motel was nice for an older style budget style accommodation, and right across the road from the beach, very quiet, but with good size bathroom, nicely stock kitchenette and clean and again in the right price range for our road trip.  Don't go past Yeppoon its a lovely little town, with a lot of do and offers some great beach areas, fishing and of course diving and island getaways.

Both of these areas are just a days drive from Brisbane and both have accommodation of varying styles, so for us and possibly other retirees they offer good value holidays we were able to pick up older style Motel accommodation for $100 a night (1770 was twice this amount and the most expensive we stayed in) and while not the 5 star luxury we use to enjoy, were clean, roomy, self contained, close to everything and right on the beach.  The days were definitely that 5 degrees warmer and it was nice to be in shorts and T's all day even at night.

Last road trip up North we went through Airlie Beach but didn't get the opportunity to stay here, so after our Yeppoon visit, off we went up to Airlie for our 3 night stay.  Last October there was heaps of roadworks both up to this area and by the way there still is, so the drive does take significantly longer than it should as you get stopped every half hour or so, and also the main street of Airlie was being torn up, unfortunately it still is and it didn't appear that too much had been done in that time.  

Airlie Beach was the first major tourist destination I went to as a kid, and perhaps my memories of this area are of those days before major tourism and holidays where the standard, but with the main street still in disarray there really isn't much in Airlie Beach or its surrounding areas to do unless you use it just as a gateway to island hopping and reef touring.  It definitely has lost its shine to me  and it has just become a transit center which is a shame.  It was also raining when we were there, but we met lots of people like us up here but not really interested in doing the island boat trips etc who were pretty bored.  Other than do shopping in cheap sourvenier shops, or eat and drink in street side cafes and pubs with the jack hammers going - this in't a place to just come and visit, it really is a place to come and go from.

The place we loved the most was Harvey Bay, again its been years since we had been there and back then it wasn't much, but boy how this area has boomed.  We stayed at Shelly Beach on the main drag only 1K from the main center at the Shelly Beach Motel for $90 a night and while this was again an older style Motel, it has been refurbished and is fantastic value for money. The owners have a beautiful garden area, a nice BBQ area as well and the broadwalk area is fantastic and beaches with lovely sand easy to walk on and enjoy.  There is heaps to do in this area including trips to Fraser Island, diving trips and lots of day excursions around the area so less than 4 hours from Brissy offers a fantastic beach holiday environment. We will be going back in the near future.

Why do we love the road trip though you ask, because we get away, experience new places and can do all of this quite easily on a budget. This is a big country and there is so much to see, and so many places we have never been to.  We take our own food and enjoy exploring areas without the need to be spending all the time, really outside of petrol and accommodation which we have now learnt to be happy in the older style motels it doesn't cost much, but we enjoy the warmth, lovely beaches, we meet nice people and experience new things, without spending a fortune.  They are good fill ins between the big holidays.

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