Gin Gin Free Camp

Gin Gin would have to be the most RV friendly town in Australia even though it officially isn't recognized as such. Gin Gin is a small town in the Bundaberg Region, Queensland, roughly 50 kilometres inland from Bundaberg on the Bruce Highway.

They have a 48 hour free camping on north end of town right on the main highway about 350km from Brisbane. There are also two toilet blocks. There's lots of grass and trees, and a covered picnic area with tables and seating. You are within walking distance of the shopping facilities in Gin Gin, which Rob took advantage of as he needed to suss out some information regarding satellite TV antennas, so he walked into town, it was that close!

The town is fantastic for  RVers of all sorts. There are two caravan parks and you can also camp at the showgrounds. Gin Gin is an extremely traveller friendly town with a good variety of shops, pubs, amenities, an information centre and more. The have lots and lots of caravan and big rig parking right in the middle of town (close to the IGA) with the huge park like divided road.

Around Gin Gin the country is very pretty. You will see lots of sugar cane fields, although there were also orchards as well as farms growing various fruits including pineapples, citrus, mangoes and macadamias.

25 things to do before you leave

We are about to embark on another trip. I find it is always helpful to have a checklist of things to do before leaving on a trip or holiday. Our motorhome is kept in basic readiness nearly all the time, however there are certain things that I need to do at home and put in the motorhome before we can actually leave and others that I'd like to achieve if time allows. My desires and your would differ because of personalities let alone factors such as pets, house or pet sitters coming in and the priorities you give to such things such as a garden. There is a list at the bottom of the post if you want to skip the chatter!

For the first time we will be having a house sitter come and stay. She can look after the bins and the mail for us. Though we have arranged as much as possible for all mail to be electronic, some still comes through. Also I have most of my bills paid electronically too. This is  handy for when we are home too!

During the week before we leave, I prefer to run down the stock of food in the fridge and freezer before we go for a couple of reasons, more room for house sitter's own foods and less wastage esp if there is a power cut (if place is vacant for any length of time). If I didn’t have a house sitter, I would like to turn off the fridge and freezer while we were away. I transfer a lot of the food into the motorhome for your trip.

I like to ensure all the washing is done. I hate the idea of coming home to lots of washing nor would I like anything ruined because of mould or stains etc.

I would like to have the gardens weeded as much as possible especially before a long trip as I find the weeds seem to grow at a much faster rate than the rest of the garden. I like to whipper snip the edges and picking up the twigs and bark is another not so necessary chore that I would like done as it just never stops and there would just be even more to pick up.

We are fortunate to have a friend who loves to mow the lawns while we are away and who are we to deny him his pleasure.

Obviously one should remove all rubbish and compost before locking up.

Jump in your motorhome or RV and take off, knowing that you have done everything you should have.


I’m a list person so here is the list in point form. The order may change according to your priorities but I’m sure it will help you to set up a list that is perfect for you.
  1. Book house sitter/pet sitter.
  2. Book any accomodation or festival tickets if needed.
  3. Is there anyone you want to visit or meet up with on your trip, then make your arrangements as appropriate and ensure you have your contact lists with you preferable in 2 different locations eg your phone and a hard copy.
  4. I’ve taken to taking photos (or scans) of all sorts of things, my tickets, my drivers license, my other important cards eg my Visa cards, my meds even a copy of my medical report summary from my doctor. It’s ideal to leave a copy with a trusted family or friend too.
  5. Set it up that your regular bills are paid automatically by your bank or pay them in advance.
  6. Ensure all vehicle maintenance is done.
  7. Fuel up your vehicle esp if cheaper at home.
  8. Notify friend to mow lawns
  9. Fuel up lawn mower
  10. Weed your gardens
  11. Pick up bark and twigs
  12. Whipper snip the edges
  13. Run down food in fridge and freezer by using up what you can and not buying anything unless it’s for your trip.
  14. Check out your packing list to ensure you have everything you need in the motorhome, eg your favourite pillow, pantry and fridge stocked. (There's another post coming re a check list for stocking your RV)
  15. Ensure all washing is done. Wear only the clothes you are not taking with you in those last few days.
  16. Don’t forget phone camera chargers for each etc.
  17. Set timers if you don’t have a house sitter, for lights in rooms, preferably to stagger in various rooms through the first part of the evening, like it would if you’re home.
  18. Cancel or redirect mail if you don’t have a house sitter.
  19. Depending on time frame away and if you don’t have a house sitter, turn off power to fridge, freezer, air con and the water to washing machine and dishwasher.
  20. Remove plugs from all appliances including fans, electric blankets, toasters, coffee machine etc
  21. Remove all unnecessary cards including loyalty cards from your wallet or purse.
  22. Last minute: empty any rubbish and compost. (Dont forget to leave note as to when garbage collection occurs for your house sitter)
  23. Ensure all doors and windows are locked if house sitter is yet to arrive.
  24. Take one last walk through the house that everything is switched off, packed, closed or whatever it should be.
  25. Close the door, and set off for a wonderful time away. You’ve done everything you can think of, so take off and enjoy yourself. You deserve it! 

Text as Art

A brief montage

What is Text as Art?

The Text as Art is a curated short term outdoor exhibition that celebrates the written word. 10 writers have been commissioned to create short written works in response to 10 locations in Bourbong Street which is the main street of Bundaberg.

10 visual artists have been commissioned to produce short term artworks in response to these written works. The result adds a vibrant festival vibe to Bundaberg’s CBD and throughout the Crush Festival, which is a 10-day program of arts and cultural experiences.

Family and friends

It just so happens that we are here in Bundaberg visiting Michelle's sister once again and waiting for the CMCA's annual rally (Australia wide motorhome club). What a delight to find that it coincides with the Crush Festival.

I mentioned that these artworks are linked to writers. Well we were blessed to meet one of these writers on our travels, Kat Apel. She is a published poet with one of her books, Bully on the Bus,  being used in Qld schools to help stem the tide of bullying. This chance meeting has herald the start of a friendship and I sent her a message that I was in Bundy and we arranged to view the Text as Art together.

A fun morning looking around.

We had a great morning together viewing all 10 exhibits and the corresponding stories/poetry. I must have taken 50 or so photos, (who's counting). So rather than bore you with all of them I will just present the best of the 10 writings along with their artistic representations.

It all starts at The National Bank on the corner of Maryborough St & Bourbong St

Text as Art

We'll start with #1 of course and it just happens to be the one inspired by my friend Kat and her poem about the piggy bank.

This tardis is part of #10 too! I had to put it in esp for my friend Joh!

Hurry up and get here!

Do get to Bundaberg as soon as possible to view them in person if you are close enough. For the rest of us there is these photos. Click on the images and you will get a larger image which you can read or see more details.

Copyright ownership

The subject - the writer then the artist

1. National Australia Bank – Kat Apel & Adrienne Williams
2. School of Arts – Lonnie Toy & Marlies Oakley
3. Brick wall adjacent to School of Arts/driveway – Sam Ephraims & Jay Feather
4. Bundaberg Regional Council – Jake Thompson & Taylor Klassen
5. Civic Centre fronting Buss Park – Jo Williams & Judith Bohm-Parr
6. Tree located in nature strip in front of Buss Park – Jassy Watson & Lynda Vertigan
7. Burnett Mary Regional Group – Annette Tyson & Paul Perry
8. Moncrieff Entertainment Centre – Wendy Davis & Michelle Pacey
9. Civic Arcade floor (157 Bourbong St) – Cheryl Ratcliffe & Jeremy Kiraly
10. Telstra Exchange – Jenny Gilbertson & Julie Hylands

Post Script

Kat took some photos of me during the morning. Sometimes this is what I have to do to give you a decent shot! LOL

What I have to do to get a good photo for my friends!!!

Bush Camping at Deepwater

A nice spot for a bit of R&R
After time in Bundaberg with my sister, we headed north towards 1770 and Agnes Waters right next to the Deepwater National Park.

Eric, Marion & Rob sit around the campfire every evening

When we free camped or rather bush camped at Victoria Lake, we met this lovely couple, Barry and Lyn and they invited us to camp on their private property near 1770 at Deepwater when we were in the area. We took them up on the offer. The property has a couple of sheds and caravans with lean-to type sheds on it for various family members as their extended family come and go frequently using the property too. It is an open forest with a big clearing, ideal for camping. They gave us limited access to tank water, a toilet and some electricity for the lights in the large undercover area with a table around which to sit, socialize and craft. There's a nearby camp fire area and there's lots of firewood to be scrounged from the surrounding bushland.

A visiting wallaby gets curious. And yes a tiny little bit of rain fell during our stay.

It was a very quiet spot with wallabies and lots of birds visiting. The property is also alongside a swampy river which you can see but really couldn't get into at all. I certainly wouldn't want to swim in it but it might be good for fishing. We didn't try.

Marion and I stroll along Wreck Bay

We really appreciated this offer and we stayed at Deepwater for a week with a blessed nothing to do except relax and craft. Thankfully for Rob, who doesn't like to sit and do absolutely nothing, his brother, Eric and his wife were on their way home after spending a month or so caravanning further north. They came and stayed 5 days with us. It was wonderful to catch up with them and hopefully now that Eric has retired we may have a few more trips together.

During their time with us, we did a day trip up to 1770. As the crow flies, it is not far but one can't drive directly from their place to 1770, instead you have to go about 70km in a round trip. We visited many of the lovely beaches in this area where Captain Cook was possibly the first white man to ever land in this area.

Michelle and Rob at Agnes Waters
We also did a few short drives to look at the local area - Baffle Creek, Rules Beach and a very short drive on the beach before deciding it was a bit too soft sand. We had a night out at only place in the area - bistro at Baffle Creek tavern. It was a freezing cold evening that night and with the poor service and the food taking so long to arrive, we decided to move inside the bar. We said goodbye to Eric and Marion and enjoyed a few more days before Rob was itching to move on again. I'd love to go back there again in another trip to this area!

Family time at Bundaberg

Rob and I had a week spent in Bundaberg with family. There's nothing exciting really to report. We have been here many times and since this was principally to catch up with family and be of assistance to my brother in law as he recovers from hip surgery, we stayed home mostly.

I enjoy spending time with my niece. She's a gorgeous 7 year old. Though not actually shy, she is a quiet one who loves reading and watching the TV. She's happy playing outside once she gets it into her head that technology is off limits for a while. I had a go showing her how to make a tied fleecy blanket and she did about half the fringe with me. I think this may be the beginning of craft time together! Her bike skills and road sense needs working on so we frequently went around the neighbourhood with her riding and me walking. It was great to watch her interact at her school carnival. She did very well in her first race.

My niece and her blanket she helped make.

Oh well after about 10 days we were ready to move on (The best way to remain friends with family is not to stay too long in one go! LOL

We are travelling with a loose plan. We had already decided that we were not going to do a lot of travelling this winter. Just sticking within a smaller area closer to the coast with Gladstone as our northern most town with Biloela and Tara being as west as we planned. ie 550 x 300km sq or 340m x 190miles sq)

We enjoy winging it as we go. We have a general idea where to go but are more than willing to change course as we meet people and listen to what they have to recommend. We are quite happy with this loose planing and it has worked out exceptionally well this winter with some unexpected invitations thrown in. It has certainly has worked out well with no regrets.

The Robbiebago on the road through a forest

The Robbiebago motorhome has performed magnificently with no real dramas which we really appreciate.

Free camping at Calliope

Free camping at Calliope Rest area is wonderful. There are places on both sides of the river with most being reasonably level and grassy with toilet blocks on both sides.

Campers on the southern bank
There is a 48 hour maximum stay. We missed the turn off on the northern side. As it turned out, we are glad as we preferred the southern bank, not that we knew that at the time. That was just a happy coincidence. The southern side gives easier access to the boat ramp and swimming too if that's important to you.

A closer view
There is plenty of room for large rigs as well as caravans, and often plenty of sites but it was rather busy with the north side being almost crowded during our winter time stop. The temperatures are very warm this year, so much so, that some braver people than I were swimming. I guess there is fishing. It would be an ideal place for canoeing and kayaking too.

A boat ramp on the southern bank for water sports and fishing
There is an old bridge that has be closed to road traffic but you can walk from one side to the other. Being so close to Gladstone, it is a popular spot on weekends.

Michelle standing on the old bridge with the new one in the background
We took a walk to the north bank which is much higher above the river thus looking down. It is also more bitumen with grassy verge for parking but it is much more crowded. It is also closer to the museum and little takeaway shop which we enjoyed our chips there. We intend to come back another time for the museum when the markets are on as well.

Low cost camping at Dululu

Our stay in Dululu (pronounced Do Loo Loo!) was not planned however our stay at Lake Victoria was cut short due to heavy cloud cover heralding rain. 

The campsite at Dululu is OK. We have stayed here back in 2012 and not much has changed since. It is a flat area with some concrete pads but mostly it is grassed except on the tracks or heavy camped spots. Powered sites are available for an extra cost. There is a portable building serving as a shower unit but it is cold water only, the hot water appears not to be working anymore. It is a clean site and there is a good covered BBQ with tables and nearby is a well serviced and clean toilet block. It is a 48 hour stop.

Sunset at Dululu

The pub is within walking distance but was closed at the time of our visit due to a fire in 2015 that gutted a lot of it. One of the locals tells me it is under new ownership who hopes to have it up and running again within 12 months. Extensive renovations is obviously needed there, so maybe next year.

Morning Mist at Dululu

Sadly the town is dying especially without the pub as it's social hub nor are there any other shops in town. No work, people can't afford to stay.

One of the campers entertained himself by building this miniature model camp site and then setting the perimeter alight. I love the caravan with the solar panels on the roof and the portable ones on the ground!

Close up of the miniature model caravan with its solar panels