The Great Budget 4wd Trip Around Australia – Week 3

By on Published: April 23, 2016 | Last Updated: February 26, 2020 in AUSTRALIA, Travel Stories with 2 Comments

This week we continued north through Queensland with the end target being the city of Mackay.

The weather wasn’t great this week – so we suffered from a few soggy tent mornings!

Luckily we stayed dry inside, but having to wait for the rain to burn off the outside meant we were often slow at packing down in the mornings and hence setting off – at least that’s our excuse anyway!

Distance Travelled:

532km

Spot of the Week:

Platypus at Broken River, Eungella National Park, Queensland

Free Camp of the Week:

Waverly Creek Roadside Rest Area, Queensland (Nice grassy area set back from the road with good toilets and picnic tables)

Tip of the Week:

Always have at least 1 x packet of wet wipes in the car! (See Disaster of the Week)

Disaster of the Week:

No shower for 6 days! After we left Yeppoon, we didn’t manage to find a camp with a shower until we got to Mackay and without any wet wipes, we were getting stinky to say the least! By day 3 of no shower, we had to take desperate measures and resorted to a sponge bath from our washing up bowl! Luckily the campground was empty so no one else had to endure the views!

The Budget ($ AUD):

Fuel – $98
Groceries – $270
Camping Fees – $24
Chemist – $12 (cream for unidentified insect bite that made Steph’s foot swell up for 2 days!)
Coffees – $10.50 (big treat in Yeppoon!)
Total – $414.50
(OOPS! We didn’t do so well this week as we needed a lot of groceries, so we’re really going to have to scrimp and save over the next few weeks and perhaps look for work earlier than we expected!)

 

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Day 1 – Yeppoon to Byfield

Lure Cafe

After spending a wonderful night chatting away with some friends, we decided to stay another day and explore the Yeppoon area a little more.

After a delicious breakfast, made by our delightful host, we headed into town and found a lovely little café called Lure and enjoyed a big treat of a coffee and respite from the rain.

We highly recommend Lure – great coffee, delicious looking food and free wi-fi all with a spectacular view of Yeppoon main beach and Great Keppel Island.

After this, we headed off to see Farnborough beach and the nearby Byfield National Park.

After a quick stop at the quaint Byfield Store, it was time for lunch and we found a lovely little picnic area at Waterpark Camping Area in the National Park.

 

Day 2 – Yeppoon to Waverly Creek Rest Area

Yeppoon

After grocery shopping in the morning, and with enough food to get us through the next week on board, we were off … well, sort of.

We decided to visit the beach at Yeppoon one last time and make yet another roadside coffee. (Maybe we should be looking for a coffee sponsor!)

Another short day on the road, we only travelled 190km from Yeppoon(!), and we arrived at our destination for the day!

Waverly Creek is a roadside free camp, which we found on the WikiCamps app.

If you don’t have the WikiCamps app you definitely need to download it now – it has been a fantastic planning tool on our trip and we couldn’t be without it!

 

Day 3 – Waverly Creek to Gargett via Sarina

Sarina Beach

A quick visit to Sarina Beach for a cup of tea and some snacks, we were then into the Sarina Library for some more blogging time.

We love these towns that offer free wi-fi and charging stations in their libraries, what a great initiative for locals and travellers.

Writing and catching up on emails and social media on the road can be a pain at times, so anywhere you can access good free wi-fi is a lifesaver.

After a few hours of work, we were then back on the road for an hour before setting up camp for the night in a free spot at the rodeo grounds of the lovely little town of Gargett, just west of Mackay.

There’s a first for everything and camping out in a massive field used for rodeo was one for this week!

 

Day 4 – Gargett to Broken River Bush Camp, Eungella National Park

Broken River Bush Camp

After a peaceful night’s sleep at Gargett, we made our way west out to the town of Finch Hatton.

Here there is a section of the famous Eungella National Park, which includes a stunning, tropical gorge with a great walk to some cascades and swimming holes.

Having not had a shower for a few days, we stopped to skinny dip at the Wheel of Fire cascades at the top of the gorge!

No sooner had we dried off however, and a torrential downpour started – soaking us to the bone again!

Soggy, but not disheartened, we got trudged back to the Landy and continued west towards our planned camp for the night at Broken River in the heart of Eungella National Park.

The main reason for our visit to this park was to sneak a glimpse at the unique platypus, as this is the most common place in Australia to see these shy and rare creatures.

Getting from Finch Hatton up to Broken River, through the town of Eungella, had us climbing up the range on one of the steepest roads I’ve ever been on in Australia.

When we got to the top, the temperature had dropped significantly and getting out to admire the view of the valley stretched below, we realised we were standing in the clouds!

There are plenty of places to stay in this area if you are also trying to see the elusive platypus, but we, of course, opted for the budget option of Broken River Bush Camp, which is a national park spot, again only $6 p/person p/night.

This was such an awesome spot, as we were camped right on the banks of the Broken River.

At dusk that day, we were about to set off for a walk to chance our luck at seeing a platypus, however, we didn’t even need to – within a few steps we spied our first platypus in the wild, swimming in the river only metres from our campsite.

 

Day 5 – Eungella National Park

Perfect blue skies greeted us this morning and finally, we could have a rest day, well mostly!

We did do a little work, but pretty much hung out at our stunning camp reading, drinking way too much coffee and spotting more platypus.

In the afternoon, we did manage to motivate ourselves to head off for a 2 hour walk through the tropical forest of the national park, which was stunning – apart from the insane amount of leeches! ERGH!

 If you are ever at Eungella don’t forget to keep an eye out for the strange but delightful Marge and Colin, the notorious Platypus Hunters!

 

Day 6 – Eungella National Park to Mackay

Sugar Cane

No more time for goofing around, it was internet day after 2 days of no phone signal!

Mirani a lovely little town in the cane fields west of Mackay has a lovely library with excellent wi-fi facilities, so we stopped here for a few hours to catch up online.

Before we knew it, 4 hours had slipped by and we needed to hit the road to get to Mackay to catch up with family.

 

Day 7 – Mackay

Mackay Lighthouse

Success, we made it to Mackay in time to hang out with family before an early venture into town for some sightseeing and to sort out a dodgy tyre on the Landy.

Turns out, the tyre was cactus and we were lucky it made it that far!

Oops!

The dodgy tyre was replaced with one of the spares (we always carry 2 spares – 1 on the roof and I on the back door) and we were set for more adventures.

A new replacement will need to be ordered and then be fitted when we arrive in Townsville, QLD.

 

So that’s another week gone folks, looking forward to getting to Townsville soon!

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About the Author

About the Author: Creator of Big World Small Pockets, Stephanie Parker is a budget travel addict! Originally from Jersey in the Channel Islands, Stephanie backpacks the world collecting tips, advice and stories, to share with a smile .

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There Are 2 Brilliant Comments

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  1. lyn barden says:

    Great post. Australia is such a beautiful country. Tripping around your way sounds great. I’m thinking of doing the same. Good to know the pitfalls.

    • Steph says:

      Thanks for reading Lyn and glad you’re thinking about the trip too – it’s certainly a big undertaking, but definitely rewarding. Keep up to date with our journey and learn more with us as we go along!

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