Final Blog of 2019

After our fleeting Kingscliff visit our plans for the next month are very, very work intensive so there won’t be much of the usual Vagabonding stuff in this blog. However, I have thought that at the start of many blogs and some turn out quite to include a surprising amount of excellent Vagabonding moments, Lets see how this one goes.

The famous Kingscliff Surf Life Saving Butts Statues


We booked into an Airbnb in Brisbane for a week so we could get caught up with the hectic work load. Coincidentally, while we were there, the brilliant Kristian Fletcher had organised the annual “Bowies Down Brunswick” charity walk and party. I thought I was a Bowie fan until I met Jenni. We had to go, and go we did.

Major and Mrs Tom at the Bowies Down Brunswick charity party. The girls outfit is a real Soviet Pressure Suit. I mean the girl with the helmet on, not the girl in the flowery print outfit.

The night turned out to the one of the highlights of the year. The evening ended in a Bowie dance party playing just Bowie tracks. This is what happens when you play “Star Man” to a group of hard core Bowie fans.

Jenni leading the group rendition of Star Man

Apart from Bowie night Brisbane was all work so nothing much else to report. Oh except for being stalked by a scary, giant fruit bat on the way home one night.

Those glowing eyes. Giant Fruit Bats are everywhere. Also called Flying Foxes or Megabats. Their wingspans can be up to 1.7 metres. Seeing a herd, flock, cloud, colony of them flying overhead each night is both exciting and terrifying. One of my goals is to get a good pic of one, or even better a lot of them, flying. But as they only come out at night that hasn’t happened yet.
This picture was taken in Brisbane on the 8th of November. Too early for Christmas trees I think.

Oh and while in Brisbane we treated the Mazda to it’s annual top class car wash.


Mount Coolum. This picture is taken from the walkway to the beach from the house in Yaroomba.

The company annual strategy meeting took place the following week. Jenni had booked a beautiful place near the beach in Yaroomba where we all could stay and work and also relax. The strategy event was 3 days of pretty intense work with everyone involved. However, being early birds, Jenni and I did get to walk on the nearby beach most mornings before business started.

One of the good things about getting up early for our walks on the beach is that you miss the crowds. We regularly have the beach to ourselves.
Yaroomba Beach – early morning walks

Some nights we went an sat on the beach to watch the sun set and the stars come out while listening to the waves crash on the shore. It was very peaceful.

Sitting on Yaroomba beach at night enjoying a sun-setter drink watching the stars and the occasional plane taking off from Sunshine Coast airport.

Coolum Beach

Yaroomba is only about 8 kilometres from one of our favourite camp sites, Coolum Beach. Jenni and I knew we could get good internet connectivity there. It was still not quite holiday season so would be quiet. We booked ourselves a camping spot for a few days beside the beach.

90 steps away awaits this view each day. This is one of the reason we camp as much as possible, Coolum is one of the best camp sites for location close to the beach.

All the time we were in Coolum we worked, we walked, we swam and we enjoyed the experience.

Big Sky Coolum Beach. Australia has 10,000 beaches. We’ve maybe been on 100 of them. Every one is different and every one is stunning. Without excuse that’s why I post so many pics of them on this blog.

Coolum beach has crabs. Lots of crabs. Most are very, very small. They are also very adventurous and get everywhere. Including the camp kitchen.

Kitchen Crab coming to make us dinner. If it had been much bigger it would have been dinner.

Not all crabs are so bold. This fella we found skulking in its hole one morning as we walked along the beach.

The Horn-Eyed Ghost Crab, for it is he, scientific name (Ocypode Ceratophthalmus) is Common on many of Australia’s shores, although it is not very common to see this elusive creature. There are a few reasons for this, they have a pale body colour similar to sand, they are nocturnal and move so quickly across the sand that they are easy to miss. Their speed is 100 body lengths per second which is pretty impressive.
All around us on the beach were fancy shop bought shading structures. We didn’t have one. So I robbed a wall off the tent and two poles and a couple of guy ropes. Hammered in sticks I found as pegs and built us a very practical shelter for the day. Worked just as well as the $100 shelters we saw.

Occasionally we went for a walk on the beach at sunset as well. One night on our way back it got quite dark quite quickly. I snapped this picture of Coolum Beach town using the excellent Samsung phone night mode. I love this, especially as it came from a phone camera.

Coolum Beach at Dusk.

We left Coolum to return to Brisbane for a few nights

Our wee Mazda gets its annual pampering. We did have a very special guest to collect. We cleaned out the camping gear and put it all in storage then picked up Judy to drive to Golden Beach for a few days for her birthday

Golden Beach

From one beautiful beach to another. Like many of us, our good friend Judy has a birthday each year and this week it was hers. We celebrated in another remarkable, and little known, location called Golden Beach.

We used to wonder why it was called Golden Beach, now we know. Every morning was like this.

Beach reflections

Or this

Dawn surfer

Or this

Light like this is every photographers dream

I could go on but I won’t. We had a lovely time celebrating Judy’s birthday. Judy’s birthday next year is already booked and we’re going to Kangaroo Island.

Birthday dinner al fresco
My best angle, eagle eyed observers might spot Weeping Angel pattern on my trousers.

The bush fires in New South Wales are having an effect everywhere. This picture is taken in full sun at sunset with no filters. The sky is red because of the smoke in the atmosphere. Not as bad as Sydney but very noticeable,

Jenni and Judy walking home under a blood red sky
The amber sky from the beach. Very disturbing.

On our regular walks Jenni and I were delighted to discover that the beach was inhabited by a Brahminy Kite. As we strolled each morning the kite would swoop and soar. The days the swooping and soaring was right in front of us I didn’t have my camera. The days I had my camera the swooping and soaring took place a distance away. But, one day both items aligned, the kite was close when I had the camera.

Brahminy Kite or Red Backed Sea Eagle in flight.

It wasn’t the last time we’d see such a remarkable and beautiful creature.

The Seagull wonders what the fuck is that?? The guy on the paramotor was having a ball zooming up and down the beach
He did wave each time he zoomed overhead. They look like great fun, I’d love to have a go.

Bees on the Beach

As we did our daily beach exploration we noticed there were several bees either dead or dying on the beach just the the tide line. This one was still alive and walking in circles.

Bees on the beach

Google came to the rescue again. It would appear that if there is a beach between the bee hive and the pollen it sometimes get too laden down with pollen it drops into the sea and gets washed up on shore. It seems to happen a lot.

Lots of bees


Again, while enjoying our morning stroll we saw this poor drowned butterfly. The next picture montage is the sequence of what happened next.

I spotted this poor drowned butterfly or moth lying in the sand
Just then a wave washed over it and it started to wriggle about and try and crawl out of the surf. It was still alive!
Jenni scooped it up and carried it up the beach away from harm
She gently placed it on a piece of driftwood and almost immediately it started to crawl away.
We watched it for a while to check it was ok. We could see it’s right wing was folded over and looked a bit broken.
Jenni gently eased the wing and straightened it out. The butterfly tried to flap its wings a bit. It looked like it was recovering a bit.
It crawled up the driftwood a bit more and stretched it’s wings out to dry them in the sun. We waited for a while to make sure it was ok then left it to recover. We went back the next day to check on it and it was gone. Hopefully not eaten by anything. I still don’t know what type of Butterfly it is, I haven’t been able to identify it from and species charts.


Judy reckoned we should go to the Billinudgel Hotel for lunch one day. So we did.

The Billi Pub was built in 1906. In 1929, New Zealand born Margaret Alice Ring (Ma Ring) took over as the licensee and remained in this position until her death in 1983. (aged 102 years), there’s a portrait of her above the bar.
The Billi Pub retains a lot of it’s original old world charm
The lunch menu was basic but great quality and good value.
Old painting of the Billi Pub hangs in the dining room
I wondered why there was a bicycle hanging on the wall. The plaque underneath reads – John (Naffa) Williams, Aged 79 Years – 36 years this bike carried him from New Brighton to the Billi Pub.
OK, I know you are asking yourself, “What does Billinudgel mean?” Well the NSW railway page says it means ” “The middle ground between the sea and a lake” but I guess the locals prefer the Wikipedia truth which states – The name Billinudgel is derived from Bundjalung Bilihnadhihl, meaning “once belonged to a parrot” as there are parrot murals and motifs all around the town.

You can read more about the Billi Pub and Billinudgel here.

Before we left Golden Beach we saw the kites again. They are very beautiful creatures.
This guy came out one morning. I have no knowledge of indigenous culture I’m sorry to say but I was told he is performing the “Welcome to the Day” ceremony.
With glorious mornings like this it feels right to welcome the day arrive.

And so our brief stay in Golden Beach came to an end.

Maleny – From the coast to the mountains and back

We dropped Judy off in Brisbane, filled the car up again with all our camping gear from storage and drove up to Maleny in the mountains, where we would be spending just one night before going back to Coolum Beach camping. Our overnight stop in Maleny was at the Tranquil Inn. We were the only guests in the hotel. Probably why it was such a good price.

We checked into the hotel then went to the Brouhaha Brewery in Maleny for lunch. They had a good selection of beers. I tried the NZ Ale, it was tasty but a little weak.

We went back to the Tranquil Inn for the rest of the night. Weird being the only guests in a large hotel. The views were pretty good though.

The view from the room was great, would have been spectacular if not for the mist and fog obscuring the mountains.

Coolum Beach (again)

If its not clear by now you should know we love this camp site. It has big grassy level sites and is right on the beach. The difference between our last time here and this time is it is now school holidays and the camp site is packed full of families and people with dogs.

We set the tent up in our new configuration, with a big silver tarpaulin covering the tent. This is how we had our original tent but as we left a lot of camping gear in Tasmania we had to get some new gear on the way up to Coolum, While setting up the tent we discovered we had a stowaway.

Cotton Harlequin Bug Nymph appeared out of the tent tarpaulin as we were setting up the tent. They’re very cute and colourful.

He’s still hanging around the tent, saw him yesterday afternoon crawling up one of the guy ropes.

I can see your house from up here!

You’ve probably seen enough beach shots in this blog taken at early dawn with the sunlight glinting off the shore. Well as readers of the blogs know Jenni and I also like to sit on the beach at sunset with a glass of wine mulling over each days activities and lessons.

Coolum Beach at dusk, so peaceful and empty
Our night time contemplation spot, Coolum Beach
Life Guard hut, never seen anyone in it

And so, it is with a happy heart I end this year with this blog. I started writing this thinking we’d not done much but now I realise Vagabonding is in our DNA. Even when we are busy and in the same place for ages we still find opportunities to explore and learn.

Jenni and Jim, arm in arm walk off into the sunset of 2019 toward a bright and beautiful 2020.
Credit to Judy Kratz for the lovely picture.

As I write this it is 3 weeks until the new year. In that 3 weeks we will have been in Sydney, then Hervey Bay for Christmas and then a week at Woodford Folk Festival. Plenty of material for the first blog of 2020.

Till then

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