Indulge in a culinary voyage through Taste & Travel, where flavours mingle with adventure. Discover gastronomic delights, from savoury dishes to fine wines, while exploring diverse cultures and landscapes. Embark on a journey that tantalizes the senses, blending culinary experiences with the thrill of exploration and the joy of discovery.

Home of Australia’s vital loggerhead turtle rookery

WANT to experience a destination dedicated to sustainable practices and environmental conservation?

Then look no further than the Bundaberg Region, Australia, the southern-most destination on the Great Barrier Reef and the home of the nation’s most significant endangered loggerhead turtle rookery.

Recently awarded fifth EECO Destination Certification from Ecotourism Australia (25/2/2034), the Bundaberg Region is teeming with vibrant wildlife and crystal clear coastal waters.

Perfect for ecotourists looking to learn more about sustainability while enjoying the breathtaking sights of nature, this region offers something truly unique.

From idyllic parks preserving centuries-old trees and fauna to sweeping coastlines bordered by wild flora – you won’t want to miss out on all the Bundaberg Region has to offer.

Disclosure: As a Booking.com affiliate, Jocelyn earns from qualifying purchases made through links in this post.

Bundaberg region - turtle swimming amongst coral

A Green Sea Turtle swims over a reef next to a coral bommie at Lady Eliot Island. PHOTO: Shutterstock.

Australia’s fifth locale with CEO Destination Certification

The globally recognised ECO Destination Certification process through Ecotourism Australia is complex and recognises the efforts of the tourism industry, local government, and the entire community towards all aspects of regional sustainability, and the Bundaberg Region is the second destination in Queensland and fifth in Australia to achieve the prestigious credential.

Following independent assessment across 91 criteria, the region achieved the certification at the Ecotourism level which is defined as a nature-based tourism destination with a strong commitment to ecotourism principles.

This involves cultural and natural interpretation and education for visitors, and local business engagement in sustainability.

Located about a 4.5-hour drive north of Brisbane, the Bundaberg Region is home to some of the most lauded eco-certified experiences on the Great Barrier Reef including Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, Lady Musgrave Experience, Mon Repos Turtle Centre, and Kellys Beach Resort.

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Mayor Jack Dempsey said Bundaberg Regional Council had led the certification process with support from a range of stakeholders including Bundaberg Tourism, PCCC, and local operators and organisations.

“It is a massive coup for the Bundaberg Region to achieve ECO Destination Certification and sees our community become one of only a small number in the country to do so,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“This achievement demonstrates our community’s respect and care for the natural environment and will ensure we continue to grow in a sustainable way into the future.

“Ecotourism Australia’s independent auditor had some wonderful feedback for our region in making their decision and commended Council for its proactive approach to sustainability.

“This achievement has obvious benefits for our economy but it will also benefit our environment by providing a framework to constantly maintain and improve sustainability practices.

“It is also wonderful for our community members who can be proud of the role they play in preserving and protecting this place we are lucky enough to call home.”

Of the top five Bundaberg Region attractions and traveller favourites on TripAdvisor in 2022, three were nature-based and included Mon Repos Turtle Centre, Bundaberg Botanic Gardens, and Alexandra Park Zoo.

Bundaberg region - Turtle on a beach

A female Loggerhead Turtle flicks sand over her eggs to bury them after laying over 100 eggs above the high tide level at Mon Repos beach. PHOTO: Shutterstock.

Get up close and personal with nature in the Bundaberg region

Fulfilling global best standard sustainability requirements was no small feat, Ecotourism Australia CEO Elissa Keenan said.

“Since beginning its sustainability journey in 2020, the Bundaberg region has made significant strides to achieve ECO Destination Certification at the Ecotourism level,” Ms Keenan said.

“Bundaberg’s application demonstrated a passion for and dedication to holistic sustainability within the region, championing initiatives such as the One Million Trees Project and the popular Milbi Festival.

“Achieving ECO Destination Certification not only supports local Ecotourism Australia certified operators but inspires local tourism businesses to implement sustainability and achieve certification.”

Bundaberg Tourism played a key role in supporting the ECO Destination Certification process.

CEO Katherine Reid said, “The tourism industry of the region has long believed that experiencing our internationally significant but fragile natural assets is the greatest way to educate people about the need for conservation.

“The community and our tourism industry take great pride in our role as custodians of the Great Barrier Reef and the precious land, water, and sea country of the Traditional Owners on which we live, and ECO Destination Certification is a formal acknowledgment of this.

“The Bundaberg region continues to shine as one of Australia’s most exciting emerging tourism destinations, with people flocking from around the nation and the globe to experience our unique offerings, and the knowledge that their holidays are underpinned by respectful, sustainable, and in some cases regenerative business practices will only strengthen our desirability as a destination.”

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What is an ECO Certified Destination?

The ECO Destination Certification program assures travellers that certified destinations are backed by a strong, well-managed commitment to sustainable practices and provide high-quality nature-based tourism experiences within the region.

Becoming a certified ECO Destination means regions will be demonstrating internationally recognised ecotourism credentials to visitors, stakeholders, and the community in a manner that is credible and authenticated.

In other words, it’s not just regions saying they’re sustainable; it’s independently assessed, verified, and audited.

Bundaberg region - Lady Musgrave Island

Aerial viewpoint over tropical waters at lady Musgrave Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. PHOTO: Shutterstock.

About the Bundaberg Region’s Ecotourism Experiences

World-famous Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort is considered the home of the manta ray and holds multiple Ecotourism Australia certifications including Advanced Ecotourism, Climate Action Leader, and Green Travel Leader.

The Resort is located on the southern-most island of the Great Barrier Reef and has received multiple international accolades including being placed in the Queensland Tourism Awards Hall of Fame in 2022 for successive wins in the Ecotourism category.

Lady Musgrave Experience offers full-day eco-tours and pontoon glamping experiences at the second coral cay of the Reef and holds three Ecotourism Australia certifications – Advanced Ecotourism, Climate Action Certified Business, and Respecting Our Culture.

In 2022, the Experience was awarded bronze in the Ecotourism category of the Queensland Tourism Awards.

The Mon Repos Turtle Centre’s ranger-led encounters with nesting and hatching sea turtles and long history of marine turtle research, protection, and education have earned it three Ecotourism Australia certifications – Advanced Ecotourism, Climate Action Certified Business and Respecting Our Culture.

The region is also home to the Southern Great Barrier Reef’s first mainland eco-certified accommodation, Kellys Beach Resort, which holds Nature Tourism and Green Travel Leader Eco Certification.

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About Eco Tourism Australia

Ecotourism Australia is a non-government, not-for-profit organisation, established in 1991, that promotes and supports the ecotourism industry in Australia through building capacity and actively promoting sustainable tourism operations and systems.

Ecotourism Australia is acknowledged globally for its industry standards and recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

Recognised as the credible, national peak body for sustainable and nature-based tourism, their key program–ECO Certification–was the world’s first national ecotourism certification program.

Bundaberg: The perfect destination for eco-conscious travellers

The Bundaberg Region has something for everyone, whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore cultural attractions, or get active in nature.

And with so many eco-friendly accommodations and activities available, it’s the perfect destination for the environmentally conscious traveler.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to the Bundaberg Region today!

***

If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy reading:

A Croquet-lover’s Guide to Exploring the Wide Bay

***

Where to next?

Don’t miss out on discovering your next destination with Booking.com. With countless amazing deals on accommodation and more, you’re bound to find what you’re searching for. So, why wait? Click the links here to explore BOOKING.COM today and plan your next trip.

 

***Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with Booking.com. When you make a booking through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.***

How Melbourne couple Bryan and Lyndel did it!

HAVE you ever dreamed of packing it all in and exploring Australia with a caravan?

Melbourne couple Bryan Crow and Lyndel Harris did just that—quit their jobs as a florist/funeral director and business administrator to chase their dreams of adventure.

After six amazing years on the road, they’ve set up a home base on a riverside property near Bundaberg in Queensland, but won’t be stopping for long.

They’re now launching adventure tours for other New Age caravan owners who want to find out how they too can live on the open roads.

So, if you’re looking for some travel inspiration or tips, why not join the New Age Caravans Social Club on their adventures?

But first, let’s look at how they got to where they are now.

Disclosure: As a Booking.com affiliate, Jocelyn earns from qualifying purchases made through links in this post.

New Age Caravans - four people near a beach

Bryan Crow (left) and Lyndel Harris, and fellow caravanners Kaye Browne and Brian Pickering catch up for lunch in Hervey Bay, Qld. PHOTO: Jocelyn Watts.

Bryan: Funeral director and florist

Bryan’s florist business led him to funerals—an interesting pairing, but one that makes sense when you consider the common ground they share.

After growing up in a flower market garden, it seemed a natural choice for Bryan and his sister to go into the floristry business.

“We had florist shops for years. In fact, we still own a flower shop on the Mornington Peninsula,” Bryan said.

“I started out doing floral arrangements for funeral directors.

“I’d be delivering flowers to the funerals and the directors would say to me, ‘Bryan, can you get here a bit earlier so you can help me unload the coffin and put it here, or there, and do, this or that?’

“So, my funeral business evolved from that. Even when I was a funeral director, I was still doing all the floral tributes that go on top of the caskets.”

Lyndel: Queen of Can-do

Lyndel was a real force in the business world. She worked in administrative roles and even took her career one step further by co-owning a computer franchise.

“I preferred to work behind the scenes, where other staff would ask: ‘Lyndel, can you book that? Lyndel, can you follow this up? Lyndel, can you get me this, or that?’

“So, I became known as the Queen of Can-do!”

Ballroom dancing was also part of her life in Melbourne for many years—an enjoyable pastime she was passionate about.

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The ‘bizarre’ story of how they crossed paths

A funeral parlor might seem like an odd place to meet, and Bryan and Lyndel’s story of how they crossed paths is nothing short of bizarre.

New Age Caravans - Couple next to a beach

Bryan and Lyndel in Hervey Bay, Qld.

“How we met was bizarre really,” Lyndel said.

“It was in December 2001. My dad passed away and as a family, on Christmas Eve, we contacted the funeral director we’d driven past. That was Bryan’s funeral home.

“We walked in there as a family, and Bryan did all the arrangements.

“I found I could talk easily to Bryan, but I didn’t have a thought in the world about meeting up for, you know, coffee or anything afterward.

“Anyway, some years later, again as a family, we walked into Bryan’s funeral home again. He greeted us at the door, and I could see him wondering about who was missing.

“That was my eldest brother, 52. Bryan did the arrangements for his funeral too.

“On the night before my brother’s funeral, I had a phone call saying my brother’s partner’s son had also died.

“He came from Queensland to support his mum at the funeral, but he died in a trail bike accident.

“So, here I am, on the phone at 11.00 pm on the night before my brother’s funeral to Bryan, trying to say, hey, listen, this family will be in turmoil tomorrow.

“We had two family funerals within five days of each other, but got through it ok.

“Then about a week after that, or thereabouts, Bryan rang up and said if I’d like someone to talk with, to just come and have a coffee.

“So, we did the following day, and basically things progressed from there.”

Retirement started looking more luxurious

Bryan and Lyndel are no strangers to adventure.

“As a scout leader, I’ve done lots of camping, but I got to the stage where I’d had enough of tents and thought if I’m going to be camping in retirement, I’ll do it with a bit more luxury,” Bryan said.

“At that stage, Lyndel had an on-site caravan out in Daylesford, Victoria, but it was not getting enough use.

“We just looked at our lives and thought, ‘We should get out and enjoy life while we’re still young and healthy enough to do it.’

“So, we sold Lyndel’s van and then talked about the funeral business going up for sale.

“We started looking at big motorhomes, but people said don’t buy a motorhome—you’ve still got to tow something.

“Then we looked at caravans and they all seemed to have that horrible old brown timber inside.

“Eventually we looked inside a New Age caravan that had full white laminate inside and… wow!

“At that stage, they were building New Age caravans in Melbourne, but the only place you could buy them was on the Gold Coast, and we weren’t going all that way just to buy a caravan.

“So, we kept looking at other brands and talking to other companies, asking if they could make us something.”

“They said yes, but some time down the track, we still hadn’t heard from them.”

Eventually, Bryan and Lyndel spotted a showroom being set up in Epping, just out of Melbourne.

“It was a humongous, purpose-built showroom, and they were rolling out the red carpet as they were pushing caravans into position.

“We were the first to see it; two weeks before it opened. They invited us to the grand opening, and there we placed our order.

“The 21-foot New Age caravan we bought was their top-of-the-range model.

“When we picked it up, they were having an end-of-year sale and asked us if we’d take it home, dress it up, and bring it back to put on display as a showpiece. So that’s what happened.

“We were there on the Saturday and Sunday, talking to people and telling them how wonderful the lifestyle will be, before we’d even slept in it ourselves!”

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Why they hit fast forward on their retirement plans

Bryan, then 62, and Lyndel, 58, had planned to work well into their sixties, but buying New Age caravans inspired them to make their retirement plans happen sooner rather than later.

“So often in Bryan’s industry, he’d see a brand-new caravan sitting in a driveway, and the bereaved partner would say, ‘Oh, we were going to do the big lap next year’,” Lyndel said.

“Well, we’d rather have the pleasure of walking on grass than pushing it up.”

They’ve been on the road now for over six years, travelling an average of about 20,000 kilometres per year, and have no regrets.

Bryan said they take breathers from travelling occasionally.

“Last year we settled down in Sydney where I worked at a dealership for six months, just as something a little different.

“We knew 2022 was going to be a full year on the road with the number of vans that were being sold.

“So, we stayed off the road and away from the mayhem and earned some money.”

Bryan predicted that with international travel now resuming, there’d be a gradual return to the normal number of RVs on Australian roads.

“When Covid shut down international travel, people spent a lot of money on caravans, some about $80k, plus brand-new cars to tow them.

“Their investments have been huge, so they’ll probably get four or five years out of their vans, then it’ll be back to cruising… if their health allows it.

“If you see a guy that’s out there still towing a caravan in his 80s, you know he’s been doing it a long time. That’s about the age when they downsize to a smaller motorhome.

“We’ll probably keep doing it for as long as our bodies let us.”

How to choose between caravan or a cruise.

Get insider tips through the New Age Caravans Social Club

Bryan and Lyndel knew little about caravanning when they first started.

For six years, every weekend off, they’d take their New Age caravan to the Mornington Peninsula, where it was an exciting learning experience meeting other caravanners in the area.

Before long, a fledgling club became known as the New Age Owner’s Club, and they started going to major caravan shows throughout Australia where they’d talk with people who were buying caravans.

“We’d say, ‘We’ve got a social club and these are the benefits of membership. It’s a way to learn, meet new people, and get out and see the country.

“Today, the club has over 2000 caravans throughout Australia and holds regular events.

“Initially, we’d get 20 to 30 vans together at one place for a weekend, but now most people try to rock in on a Wednesday and leave on a Tuesday, so it’s grown from two-day events to four or five-day events.

“The caravan parks love it because it means people are booking in for several days.

“That makes it worth it for retired people because, say in Queensland, they might never have been to Bundaberg, or have just passed through.

“So now, they have more time to do the turtle things, or the Hinkler thing, or go to the Bundy rum or Kalki Moon gin distilleries.

WANT TO BOOK AN ATTRACTION IN BUNDABERG? VISIT BOOKING.COM

New Age Caravans - Turtle on a beach

Caravanners may see the turtles at Mon Repos Beach in Queensland if they take an adventure tour in that area. PHOTO: Shutterstock.

 

“Or, if people just want to sit under their annexe all morning and chat, that’s fine too.”

Lyndel said joining the club was a great way to meet new people or rekindle old acquaintances.

“We wouldn’t have met the people we have if not for this club.

“For example, we were in Charters Towers speaking with other club members that were there, and one of them, as an 18-year-old in the final year of her hairdressing apprenticeship, used to cut my hair!”

Whether you want an immersive three-week holiday or just a quick two-night trip, New Age Adventure Tours has something for everyone.

Explore Australia with friends

Bryan and Lyndel prefer the company of other caravanners when they explore new destinations.

“Nothing beats seeing our country with some caravanning friends,” Lyndel said.

“About five years ago, we did a three-month trek around Tasmania with five vans.

“Two years ago, we came up to Bundaberg in Queensland. There were three of us Victorians plus a couple from Bundaberg and we travelled up to Townsville, across to Darwin, and down to Alice and Uluru.

“Because of Covid, two on the trip returned to Bundaberg, and we kept going to South Australia.

“That was a four-month trip. Each year, we’ve spent 8 to 10 months on the road.

Lyndel said that going back eight years ago, she never would have imagined herself living the grey nomad lifestyle.

“If anyone said I would, I’d have thought they were crazy.

“Doing this off-the-grid style camping in tours, we’re able to encourage others that have never done it before.

“They might be unsure of what to do away from caravan parks or know how long their water or power is going to last.

“So, it’s not just about seeing the towns, but it’s also a learning exercise, and we love meeting people if they want our advice, helping them get the best from their caravans.

“For example, a single guy was driving across to Perth who asked us to check out his van.

“He called himself a keen cook and was travelling with many cast-iron pots, cookers, and a lot of other stuff he didn’t use.

“He would say, ‘I’m a chef, you know’.

“But he was living on takeaway or frozen food!

“So, we looked through his caravan and suggested he get rid of a lot of the stuff he wasn’t using.

“It’s about travelling minimally while maintaining comfort.”

WANT TO BOOK AN ATTRACTION IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA? VISIT BOOKING.COM

Bryan and Lyndel, living on their terms

Bryan and Lyndel’s story exemplifies courage and resilience—traits we could all use more of these days.

Despite having no prior experience living full-time on the road, Bryan and Lyndel jumped into their New Age caravan without hesitation—and made it work.

Their journey serves as an inspiration for caravanners everywhere who are considering taking a leap of faith themselves, proving anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

***

If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy reading:

A Croquet-lover’s Guide to Exploring the Wide Bay

***

Where to next?

Don’t miss out on discovering your next destination with Booking.com. With countless amazing deals on accommodation and more, you’re bound to find what you’re searching for. So, why wait? Click the links to explore BOOKING.COM today and plan your next trip.

 

***Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with Booking.com. When you make a booking through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.***

Bumbles Cafe: A Must Try on the Gold Coast

LOOKING for a great spot to grab a bite while visiting the Gold Coast?

Look no further than Bumbles Cafe, located a mere 5-minute walk from the heart of Surfers Paradise.

Last week I paid a visit with relatives and we were certainly not disappointed!

We took advantage of their delicious breakfast menu, which was full of traditional favourites like bacon and eggs, as well as some more contemporary options like Halloumi Hula.

The latter dish was my choice—it included halloumi cheese topped with grilled zucchini, pea pesto, poached eggs, and roasted field mushrooms.

It was so delicious that I would definitely order it again on my next visit.

We were all pleased with our meals. The ingredients were fresh and the portions generous—the perfect way to start the day.

The service was also impeccable; the staff was friendly, knowledgeable about the menu items, and quick to clear away plates when we had finished eating.

Besides the amazing food and service, the cafe is full of character. The decor is modern chic with vintage flair, which just added to its charm.

Not only is Bumbles Cafe a brilliant spot for breakfast, it’s also perfect for lunch.

Their lunch menu offers everything from prawn pies to focaccias or fish and chips, through to the Queen Bee Burger or Fragrant Asian Chicken Salad, and more—definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a delicious meal after exploring all that Surfers Paradise offers.

 

NEED ACCOMMODATION AT SURFERS PARADISE? VISIT BOOKING.COM

As a Booking.com affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through links in this post.

 

Bumbles Cafe - Halloumi Hula

Halloumi Hula included halloumi cheese topped with grilled zucchini, pea pesto, poached eggs, and roasted field mushrooms.

Bumbles Cafe - traditional dishes

The breakfast menu was full of traditional favourites.  PHOTOS: Jocelyn Watts

 

Enjoy an unforgettable High Tea

Bumbles Cafe on Budds Beach is also the perfect place for a special moment with friends or family.

Why not book one of their private rooms and celebrate your next baby shower, birthday, or bridal party in style?

Or, enjoy an unforgettable High Tea any day of the week to treat yourself and your friends.

With delicious options like tea sandwiches, quiche, home-made sausage rolls, and smoked salmon blinis, served alongside sweet delights such as scones with jam and cream plus fruit custard tart macarons and raspberry brownie slice—it’s sure to be a hit!

And don’t forget you can select regular, gluten-free, or vegan high teas, plus add on that all-important glass of bubbles for extra indulgence.

Bumbles Cafe - waiter holding a tray of glasses

The service at Bumbles Cafe was impeccable, and the cakes are legendary!

Community hub

Bumbles Cafe owner Kate Madison has never been short of ambition.

From running Cafe Mocha, Madisons at the Oasis, and 3 Beans Espresso Bar—Kate had big dreams for all her projects.

After selling Madisons and 3 Beans, Kate took a break from Gold Coast, but there was no place like home and a year later, she returned, excited about what the future held.

When the former convenience store on the Bumbles site closed down, she couldn’t resist taking a chance on it with ideas bubbling away in her head ready to create something spectacular again.

Customers have often asked her how this quirky cafe got its name—all it took were some doodles of hers, an internet search or two, oh, and maybe a glass (or few) of white wine!

Bumbles Cafe is now an iconic café on Queensland’s iconic Gold Coast.

On weekday mornings, you’ll find lawyers in pinstripe suits holding business meetings over coffee and cake, or book club ladies catching up for a chat—but come the weekend, it’s all about friends and families tucking into some delicious breakfast or lunch dishes.

No matter what your occasion or time of day Bumbles has become part of everyday life on the Gold Coast.

Cafe worth visiting

If you’re ever visiting Surfers Paradise or anywhere nearby on the Gold Coast, be sure to stop by Bumbles Cafe for breakfast or lunch (or both).

You won’t regret your decision—trust me!

From its charming decor and friendly staff to its delicious food made with local ingredients—there’s something for everyone at Bumbles Cafe.

It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a wonderful breakfast or lunch while exploring this beautiful part of Australia!

Bumbles Cafe - Interiors

Bumbles Cafe has several rooms suitable for small and large gatherings. PHOTOS: Jocelyn Watts

 

If you go…

A: 19 River Drive, Surfers Paradise, QLD 4217
P: 07 5538 6668
W: https://www.bumblescafe.com/

NEED ACCOMMODATION AT BROADBEACH? VISIT BOOKING.COM

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Start your weight-loss journey with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet

Interested in losing weight and keeping it off for good? Look no further!

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has designed a fantastic program designed to do just that. With higher protein, low GI eating plans, you can reduce cravings and feel fuller for longer.

Plus, the program includes proven weight loss tools to create positive, lifelong habits that will help you achieve your goals. Ready to start your journey to a healthier you? Click this link to join the program today!

Where to next?

Don’t miss out on discovering your next destination with Booking.com. With countless amazing deals on accommodation and more, you’re bound to find what you’re searching for. So, why wait? Click the links here to explore BOOKING.COM today and plan your next trip.

 

***Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with the CSIRO TOTAL WELLBEING DIET and  Booking.com. When you make a booking through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.***

 

If you’re anything like me, the lure of an RV lifestyle is strong, but so is the temptation of cruising. As a caravanning grey nomad, you can get all that fresh air and freedom, while cruising has all the creature comforts you could want. And as for how many knickers to take on holiday – well, that’s up to you!  Read on for Jan Boge’s tip on that, plus much more.

Caravan or cruise? Why not both?

WHEN it comes to travel, there are so many ways to go about it. You can rough it and camp in the great outdoors, or travel in a campervan, caravan, or motorhome.

You can backpack through Europe, or stay in luxury hotels and take in the sights from a tour bus. Or, you can take a luxury ocean cruise around Hawaii or a river cruise in Europe.

There’s really no right or wrong way to travel, as long as you’re doing what makes you happy.

Recently, I’ve been debating whether I’d become a grey nomad and make a lifestyle of travelling throughout Australia in an RV, or create a holiday atmosphere at home in Hervey Bay and take the occasional cruise, or two, throughout the year.

To help me break down the pros and cons of each option, I caught up with dedicated cruisers Jan Boge and Kate Ayres, and Kaye Browne and Brian Pickering from Food Wine Pets Travel, who are snail-pacing their way around Oz in their caravan.

Each duo has made a lifestyle of their preferred travel styles.

Jan and Kate have just returned from a P&O cruise from Brisbane to New Guinea, while Kaye and Brian recently parked their caravan in Hervey Bay and took a road trip to Queensland’s Magnetic Island.

So, if you were to choose between travelling around Australia in a caravan or cruising a few times a year, which would you choose?

Let’s go over what they said to help you can make an informed decision.

Disclosure: As a Booking.com affiliate, I earn small amounts from qualifying purchases made through links in this post.

Embracing the nomad lifestyle

Caravan or Cruise? Couple on a beach

Caravanners Brian Pickering and Kaye Browne, currently of Hervey Bay, also enjoy cruising.

There are several advantages to travelling around Australia in a campervan, caravan, or motorhome. Once you own your RV (recreational vehicle), it’s considered a lot cheaper than taking a cruise.

You don’t have to pay for airfare or fancy onboard meals, and you can usually find camping spots almost anywhere in Australia.

The price tag for powered caravan sites ranges from about $35 to $65 AUD a night; unpowered sites are about$30 to $35 AUD.

An alternative is free-camping, although the grey and digital nomad lifestyles have become so popular during the winter months, it can be hard to find a spot, even in the vast Australian Outback.

However, compared to cruise ships, this economical alternative means you can spend more time exploring Australia and less time worrying about your budget.

Another advantage to being a grey nomad with no fixed abode is that it’s more flexible.

If you want to stay in one spot for an extended period like Kaye and Brian – they’ve been in Hervey Bay about two years now – and really get to know the area, you can do that.

On a cruise, your itinerary is pre-set, you’re always on the move and rarely have enough time to really see everything. With an RV, you can take your time and see everything at your own pace.

Travelling in an RV can be both good and bad, depending on your preferences. Some people love the feeling of being away from the conveniences of home, while others prefer them close at hand.

For Kaye and Brian, their RV lifestyle is a “no-brainer”.

They love the freedom of choice their mobile lifestyle offers. Their bonus is the fascinating people they meet, not just on the road, but also in the caravan parks where they stay.

This is perfect for them as bloggers at Food Wine Pets Travel, who love telling stories, strange and true!

Among the amazing people, they’ve met is Gai Weaber-Buchal who literally ran away with Ashton’s Circus! Click here to listen to Brian and Kaye’s podcast on Gai’s story.

They also caught up with Gai for her take on travelling solo around Australia. Click here to read fascinating insights into her lifestyle.

However, road safety can be an issue for those embracing the RV lifestyle, but if you follow Truck Friendly – caravan road safety program online, you’ll learn some tips for keeping you safer on the road.

And the bonus for an RV lifestyle? When you’ve finished travelling, you’ve still got an asset (the RV) to sell and recoup some of the money you paid for setting up your nomadic lifestyle.

 

WANT TO CHECK OUT BOOKING OPPORTUNITIES IN QLD? VISIT BOOKING.COM

Cruising the high seas and rivers

Caravan or cruise - two ladies with cocktails

Kate Ayres (left) and Jan Boge are on board a P&O cruise from Brisbane to New Guinea. Photo: Contributed.

Of course, there are also several advantages to cruising the high seas or European rivers. The first is that it’s more comfortable than living long-term in an RV.

When you’re on a cruise ship, you have access to all the amenities—high-quality restaurants and bars, entertainment on tap, sightseeing shore trips, and daily room service to keep your cabin fresh.

If you’re like Jan and Kate who all love the comfort, convenience, and entertainment that cruising offers, then this is definitely the way to go.

Another advantage of cruising is that it’s more social. When you’re on board a ship with hundreds of other people, it’s easy to meet new friends and have fun together.

The solo RV lifestyle can be lonely unless you tag along with a caravan club or similar, but on a cruise ship, there’s always someone around to chat with or play cards with late into the night.

“We booked our P&O cruise and couldn’t fault it,” said Jan, a retired legal secretary and now chaplain.

“The food was great, the service was excellent, and the staff was amazing, but the price of wine was high at $14.50 a glass.

“The beauty of cruising is that you can leave your belongings in your cabin and go off for the day. It’s pure relaxation.

“My biggest decision each morning was what to wear!

“Should I wear this one or that? I take lots of shirts, and lots of knickers, unless I can hand wash them out.

“On this trip, I took 17 pairs of knickers and 11 bras for 10 days! I change regularly. I thought about taking disposable knickers, but they’re the most uncomfortable things.

“I also took three kilos of costume jewellery. It’s not like on a plane flight where the luggage you take is restricted by weight. On a cruise, there are no limits!”

Jan said their cruise offered shore trips to different islands, but because they lived at Hervey Bay where they had access to great beaches all year round, they stayed onboard and enjoyed its hospitality.

“If you’re travelling solo, I’d definitely recommend cruising. It’s very social,” Jan said.

“Of the 2600 passengers onboard, Kate talked to about 2000 of them, I think.

“Three ‘young girls’ took us under their wings. It was so funny. By ‘young girls’, I mean in their 40s, and we stayed up until 11:00 o’clock.

“I’ve also been on a European cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest and there was nothing to worry about. River cruises appeal to me because I have a seasickness problem.

“There are ways to get around that by choosing a room close to sea level and in the middle, or with medication, but river cruises eliminate that issue.

“We’ve already booked another 35-day ocean cruise for next May.”

We felt like goddesses, says Kate

Kate, a retired nurse, said that when her first husband was alive, they cruised around the Baltic and Mediterranean seas.

“I travelled around Australia in a caravan when I married my second husband, because he’d never been outside of Sydney other than during World War II,” Kate said.

“But I love cruising; I’m never going to stop cruising if I can help it.

“With cruising, all the work was done for you. We felt like goddesses when we come back to our cabin which was all made up. How good is that?

You sit back, relax, and order another Pina Colada! When I said I’d love some cheese on my toast, they came back with a platter with blue vein cheese in the middle!”

Kate said you could just take a book and read if you want to, or you can do yoga or go dancing.

“They had ballroom dancing on, but I didn’t go down. I used to ballroom dance with my second husband, so I get melancholy and I think I shouldn’t see it,” she said.

“When you consider how cheap it is to have all that service done for you. It really is economical.

“Cruising is better as we get older. I’m nearly 80. It’s a better way to travel because we see people in caravans who really shouldn’t be towing huge caravans.

“It’s scary. There should be a law that they have to train like a semi-trailer driver.

“Unless you’re really experienced with caravanning, don’t do it.”

Cruising also gives you access to places that are difficult to reach any other way.

Whether it’s an isolated beach or an exotic city far from home, there’s something special about taking a cruise to get there.

If seeing the world is your number one priority, then booking a cruise should be at the top of your list.

Conclusion

So, which is better—being a long-term grey nomad or living in one spot and taking occasional cruises throughout the year?

If cost is important to you and you enjoy roughing it from time to time, then travelling in a caravan is probably your best bet.

But if comfort and socialising are what matters most to you—and if money isn’t an issue—then booking yourself onto a cruise might just be an ideal experience for your next trip.

Me? I prefer the latter, but I’ve also been checking out long-distance train travel, and The Ghan is looking pretty good too!

With so many travel options around, why stick to just one?

Caravan or cruise - cruise ship

For anyone who has never cruised before, these photos from the Hawaiian cruise I did in 2006 give a glimpse of what you might experience on a cruise.

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Looking for inspiration for your next adventure?

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Jocelyn Magazine acts as a source of inspiration to help you tantalise your taste buds and indulge your curiosity while discovering all Australia offers.

So, if it’s time for a new adventure, check out some of our travel destination posts here today!

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Travel back in time on a classic steam train

HAVE you ever wanted to travel back in time? If so, and you’re in the Sunshine Coast or Gympie areas, then you’re in luck… well, almost.

Riding the iconic Spirit of the Mary Valley Steam Train is the closest I’ve come in recent years to experiencing an authentic railway journey in the Gold Rush era. It was the next best thing to actually being onsite in the 1800s.

And, I didn’t need a DeLorean time machine as seen in the 1985 American science fiction film Back to the Future to get there!

I travelled from Hervey Bay to the Gympie Historic Railway Station in my 10-year-old black Nissan X-Trail, picking up my daughter and three of her children along the way.

Nestled in the heart of the Sunshine Coast hinterland, the Mary Valley Rattler runs between Gympie and Amamoor stations.

This vintage C17/967 locomotive and wooden carriages take passengers on a journey through picturesque rural landscapes and quaint country towns, providing a uniquely charming experience that is not to be missed.

So, jump on board with us and enjoy the ride!

Mary Valley Rattler - Gympie Station

Waiting to board the Mary Valley Rattler at the Gympie Historic Railway Station.

 

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A Brief History of the Mary Valley Rattler

The Mary River line, launched in 1881, was an important transport link in the region’s Gold Rush era for transporting materials and equipment in and exporting the gold out from the area.

As the golden era ended, local calls for the railway line to be expanded through the Mary Valley to cater to the fast-developing agriculture, dairy, and timber industries.

In 1915 the rail line was extended to Brooloo, which led to the establishment of small townships at Kandanga, Imbil, Amamoor, and Dagun.

The line operated for nearly 100 years before being closed in 2012 for safety reasons.

However, thanks to the Gympie Regional Council providing funds and a passionate group of volunteers putting in the hard yards, the Mary Valley Heritage Railway was restored as a major tourist attraction.

They were successful in getting the heritage-listed railway up and running again in 2018 and now tourists can enjoy all the Mary Valley Rattler offers while supporting a vital piece of Australian history.

Whether you’re a railway enthusiast or just looking for a unique way to see the stunning Mary Valley region, the Mary Valley Rattler is sure to be a highlight of your trip.

You’ll love the Rattler’s friendly, casual atmosphere

There’s no need to worry if you’ve never been on a heritage railway before—the friendly Mary Valley Rattler staff are more than happy to help you with anything you need.

When we arrived at Mary Valley Rattler’s historic railway station in Gympie, a friendly volunteer was there to greet us. She even offered to take our photos with our cameras in front of the entrance.

Inside, a welcoming attendant checked our bookings and gave us an overview of what was available at the station while we waited for our three-hour Classic Rattler Run to start.

The Rusty Rails Café had delicious food options for breakfast or lunch. We could also choose a Rattler Railway Company Coffee or other beverage.

The gift shop was stocked with railway souvenirs and the museum with memorabilia from bygone eras. There was even a porter in a period costume who was happy to be photographed.

As a not-for-profit organization, any Mary Valley Rattler purchases we made supported its ongoing restoration and preservation, so the future of this historic rail experience is ensured.

Mary Valley Rattler - Boarding

Boarding the Classic Rattler Run from Gympie to Amamoor and return.

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Visiting the bygone era of coal-fired locomotives

Once we were settled in our seats, we sat back as we waited for your journey through the scenic Sunshine Coast hinterland to begin.

Soon, the smell of burning coal filled the air, steam hissed and the engine tooted as the train pulled out of the station.

We were on board one of several vintage carriages filled with visitors from Mackay, Maryborough, Hervey Bay, Gold Coast, and New Zealand.

Pulling us was the C17/967 locomotive that was built in 1950 at Walkers Limited in Maryborough, Queensland.

Mary Valley Rattler - Google Maps

As Jeff, the volunteer carriage attendant, punched holes into our vintage-style train tickets, he fueled the kids’ anticipation by telling them about the Harry Potter-like tunnels they’d see on this trip through the Mary Valley.

Another volunteer asked around for any birthdays, anniversaries, or other celebratory milestones that anyone onboard was having on or near that day.

Our Mr 13, who was about to turn 14, ducked for cover, anticipating that everyone onboard singing Happy Birthday to him would be embarrassing!

However, a number of other passengers volunteered to tell of their special days.

Looking around the carriage interior, our trio – Mr 6, Miss 9, and Mr 13 nearly 14 – were fascinated with the polished brass railway luggage racks overhead, the leather 1950’s bench-style seats, and other historical fittings.

Mary Valley Ratter - Amamoor platoform.

Amamoor platform.

Through the open-air windows that had wooden shutters, which could be pulled down or up to open or shut, we watched the world go by.

As we crossed old wooden bridges and went through tunnels, pulled along by a full-scale, genuine steam locomotive we felt like we were travelling back in time.

The rolling hills blanketed with farmland and quaint townships offered us a visual escape from our fast-paced lives, adding to how brilliant this adventure felt.

For the next hour, the train rattled along, taking us on an enjoyable journey through the township of Dagun and on to Amamoor, a quaint little town filled with old-fashioned shops and market stalls.

There we watched as the rail staff turn the C17/967 locomotive around on a huge turntable before heading back to Gympie.

Mary Valley Rattler - Amamoor

Turning the Mary Valley Rattler at Amamoor.

Dagun, the next stop on the Rattler’s journey

The ‘All Aboard’ call came sooner than expected and we were soon back in our seats, anticipating our next stop at Dagun where the locals welcomed us with live music and market stalls, as well as delicious tastings of local wine and cheese.

There were also old-time games available to play, making this a perfect opportunity to enjoy the company of friends and/or family while exploring what makes these places special.

All too soon, again, we were back on the Rattler returning to Gympie.

As we rolled into Gympie, the town that is reputed to have saved Queensland, it was time for one of nature’s greatest shows: the annual display of jacaranda flowers.

We were treated to an amazing Spring show of purple blossoms. Miss 9 was especially pleased to see the display… every year in early October, in the lead-up to her birthday, jacaranda trees bloom just for her!

Mary Valley Rattler - Dagun

Market day at Dagun.

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You’re spoilt for choice of things to do on the Rattler

There’s no shortage of options from which to choose when it comes to a Mary Valley outing:

  • The Classic Rattler Run takes passengers on an exciting adventure on the C17 steam train from the Gympie Historic Station through the scenic Mary Valley and the small town of Dagun, before arriving at the Amamoor Heritage Station.
  • The All Stations Train allows passengers to explore more of the region, stopping at both the Heritage Dagun Station and the Amamoor Station.
  • The Rattler Tasting Train is a fun experience for the whole family. Hop on board the Heritage Railmotor RM76 – which traditionally ran the Brooloo line to Gympie providing a daily link to the town for shopping, transportation of goods, and children getting to school.
  • Ride with Driver Experience lets you ride as a guest in a cab with train drivers (18+ years old).

Choice of packages

  • The Mary Valley Rattler’s Ride and Dine package includes priority pre-boarding, assigned seating, morning tea onboard, lunch at the Rusty Rails Café, and a bottle of water.
  • The VIP Club Car package allows you to enjoy priority preboarding, cheese plate and beverage onboard the Club Car, access to the verandah for stunning photos, plus water and a souvenir cooler.
  • Pets are welcome aboard on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays (terms and conditions apply).
  • Get your day underway at sunrise with the Rattler’s drivers on a Light Up & Workshop Tour, which includes a hearty breakfast of your choice in Rusty Rails Café.

Education trips and special occasions

  • The Mary Valley Rattler offers an educational and fascinating journey back to a bygone era for students of all ages.
  • The Rusty Rails Café at the historic Gympie Station can cater to up to 120 people, with a menu that has been designed to be light and contemporary.
  • Special Occasions can be tailored aboard any of their fleets, with dedicated staff on hand to help plan the perfect event.
  • Ample parking is available for coaches, and they recommend pre-booking for groups of over 10 people.
  • The Rattler regularly hosts themed outings such as Halloween and the Agatha Christie-styled Murder on the Mary Valley Rattler. 

Visit the Rattler website for more information.

Experience the beauty of rural Queensland, Rattler style!

If you’re looking for a fun day out, with beautiful scenery and a friendly, casual atmosphere, the Mary Valley Rattler is definitely worth checking out.

It’s an experience you won’t soon forget!

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the gorgeous Sunshine Coast hinterland—all while supporting a vital piece of Australian history.

We’re sure you’ll love the experience!

Mary Valley Rattler - Return Journey

Spectacular scenery on the return journey to the Gympie Historic Railway Station.

 

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If you go:

Gympie Historic Station

Tozer Street, Gympie, Queensland 4570, Australia

P: (07) 5482 2750

E: info@maryvalleyrattler.com.au

W: maryvalleyrattler.com.au

 

Mary Valley Rattler is open 7 days a week except for Christmas Day.
Please note its hours may vary on public holidays.

GET DIRECTIONS

VIEW MAP

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With thanks to the Mary Valley Rattler for hosting us for this very special experience.

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If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy these:

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Magnetic Island: The best wedding anniversary pressie ever!

By Brian Pickering and Kaye Browne

IT’S funny how people perceive other people’s lives.  Take for example the reaction when we messaged a few friends and family we were about to take a short break.

The replies were swift… “What! You’re going on a ‘holiday’?… But we thought you WERE already on holiday… a permanent one!!!”… accompanied by classic exasperation emojis.  Very funny.

But despite being ‘on the road’ for the past three years in our 20ft New Age caravan, (and loving it!) sometimes you just need to take a break from the everyday routines we all endure whether travelling or in a house!  Plus our imminent wedding anniversary was all the excuse we needed to ‘Getaway’.

As it happens, we feel very much at home here in Hervey Bay just north of Maryborough in Queensland so much so we’ve stayed here – with occasional trips north to Bundaberg and south to the Gold Coast and Brisbane to visit friends for some house-sitting – for just on two years.

Time flies when you’re having fun and we love the vibe of the place and have made many new friends – in fact, we’ve met and socialised more in ‘The Bay’ than we ever did living in Sydney for two decades.

Like everyone else, our travel plans were impacted when COVID-19 hit – but luckily working online means we can do what we do anywhere there’s enough Internet coverage.  We now call ourselves ‘Slow-Mads’!

So why a road trip to Magnetic Island just off the coast from Townsville in far North Queensland?

Why not – especially as Brian’s parents used to holiday there when his father was stationed with the Navy during WWII in Townsville and the pair used to regularly have romantic weekends on ‘Maggie’ when he had days off.

It didn’t take long to decide it would be fun to visit the place they loved so much for our own wedding anniversary – especially as friends Col and Jenni regularly holiday there and raved about it.

Magnetic Island - palm trees

DESTINATION MAGGIE: Magnetic Island, North Queensland.

 

Disclosure: As a Booking.com affiliate, Jocelyn earns from qualifying purchases made through links in this post.

NEED ACCOMMODATION ON MAGNETIC ISLAND? VISIT BOOKING.COM

Fly or drive? Fly or drive?

In round figures, the cost to fly from Hervey Bay to Townsville (via Brisbane four hours south of Hervey Bay) is around $1,200 per person!! We reasoned flying would mean lots of airline departure lounges, buses, and taxis, and miss the changing scenery below.

Sure you might arrive the same day but what’s the rush?

So we made the decision to drive. Ok, so it’s roughly a 12–14-hour road trip, but the stopover points we planned in advance made it all well worthwhile.

Trip planning

It goes without saying Australia is a BIG place!… So it’s important to plan ahead.

The mantra… ‘Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance’ comes from our previous work in mainstream media, but it also means it’s worth the effort to spend some time planning which hopefully relieves you of any headaches and worries during your trip, knowing everything has been ‘locked in’.

With so many people now ‘hitting the road’ post-COVID lockdowns, it’s important to make sure you book ahead for accommodation that suits you!… unless of course you have a small camper-trailer and are happy to ‘free-camp’ along the way.

Kaye wanted to see some of the less well-known beach-side towns en route so some of the names mentioned below possibly won’t be at all familiar.

Each location has a separate link to the accommodation plus a short update of where we stayed and what we thought of each place.

Important safety factor!

While two people can usually share the driving, it’s always a good idea not to do much more than three to four hours a day in total, and less is even safer.

This is due to the ‘fatigue’ factor and we actually saw the results of several ‘prangs’ and even a large truck and trailer which had, unfortunately, slid off the road even though the road was dry at the time.

Plus driving can get pretty boring cos only the passenger gets to see left and right while the driver has to focus on the road ahead!.. That’s why we made this trip of about 1,200 k/ms (14.5hrs driving) over a four-day period.

We’ll have more detailed updates on each location down the track! Meantime with our ferry booked to the island on a Saturday, we left Hervey Bay on the Tuesday prior.

Hitting the road

Tues – From Hervey Bay 2hrs 42mins (226kms) to…

1. Miriam Vale Hotel

9 Blomfield St, Miriam Vale QLD 4677
We did a podcast with pictures a while back when we stayed at this lovely old hotel with heaps of history.
Check out the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TXcwCPW5CU

Originally, we ‘free-camped’ in our caravan out the back as we still had our little dog Chica. This time we stayed in a lovely self-contained cabin. Mitch the owner has upgraded and expanded the hotel over the past two years, and the food, staff, and amenities are excellent and the town – although very small – has a lot of charm and history.

Magnetic Island - Hotel

Miriam Vale Hotel.

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Wed – From Miriam Vale 2hrs 32mins (213kms) to…

2. Yeppoon Beachhouse

58 Farnborough Rd Yeppoon QLD 4703
http://www.yeppoonbeachhouse.com.au/

This was a very pleasant surprise. We’ve never actually stayed in a backpackers hotel, our verdict? Excellent!

We could see the beach and hear the waves crashing overnight but best of all it was super clean, with the shared kitchens (one downstairs one upstairs) and facilities constantly monitored and cleaned by very friendly owners and staff who were amazingly helpful… Price for a single room with Queen size bed, etc (as opposed to a shared dormitory style) was very good too and while backpackers tend to be ‘party animals’ it was surprisingly quiet while we were there.

Yeppoon itself is another hidden jewel in our view.

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Thurs – From Yeppoon 3hrs 43mins (340kms) to…

3. Sarina Beach Motel & Restaurant

44 Owen Jenkins Dr, Sarina Beach QLD 4737
https://sarinabeachmotel.com.au/
Well, this is where we celebrated our Wedding Anniversary! – A LOVELY location right on the beach. Plus, they have an amazing restaurant – ‘The Palms’ – with excellent food, etc…

Sarina township itself is a bit ‘old/quaint’ about 10 minutes away from the beach where we stayed but friendly to tourists.

We liked Sarina Beach and its very comfortable bed #Unit 18 so much we re-booked for two nights on our way back south which is when we also managed to have a chat with the co-owner, Meaghan Thompson to find out what’s kept her, her husband and (now) five kids here for the past 14 years!

You can listen to the podcast or read a full transcript here: https://foodwinepetstravel.com/travel/169-podcast-the-serenity-of-sarina-beach-meaghan-thompson

Magnetic Island Road Trip - Hotel

Sarina Beach Motel.

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Fri – From Sarina 4hrs 10mins (354kms) to…

4. Alva Beach Tourist Park (Ayr)

20-36 Braby St, Alva QLD 4807
https://www.alvabeachtouristpark.com.au/

This was our longest drive, with both of us sharing every hour and a half, and while not our favourite stopover, we were very impressed with the owners/caretakers of this park who were VERY accommodating, allowing us to upgrade from what we had originally booked online (old tiny cabin room only)  to a really nice self-contained 2 bedroom ‘tiny-home’.

Best of all, they had been given boxes of fresh locally grown fruit and veg and generously invited us to help ourselves.  A wonderful surprise and we’re still talking about the yummy vegetarian meal which resulted.

Magnetic Island Road Trip - Alva Beach

Alva Beach at Ayr.

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Sat – From Alva/Ayr 1hr 19mins (103kms) to…

5. Ferry to Magnetic Island

An easy drive to Townsville where we eventually found the local Woolies and stocked up on some basic ‘goodies’ so we could avoid having to eat out for every meal every day. We’d been warned food and drinks are generally higher on the island because of transport costs – but we later discovered they’re not that bad.

There are several options to get to Maggie.  Passengers can get a speedy catamaran which gets you there in 20 minutes.   The car ferry takes about 40 minutes and although you can get out of your car and use the onboard café we chose to stay there, windows down enjoying the sea breeze!

Cost? – Well the advertised cost for a return trip WITH your own car is around $220.
However, booking through Defence Holidays NQ – http://www.defenceholidaysnq.com.au we were able to get a reasonable discount. They can also offer discounts on local accommodation bookings so worthwhile checking them out!

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Sat – 1 pm ferry From Townsville to…

6. Island Leisure Resort

6 Kelly St Nelly Bay Magnetic Island
http://www.islandleisure.com.au/
Just 1.5Km from the ferry wharf, and 100 metres from the water in Nelly Bay the resort has beautiful high-ceilinged self-contained rooms.

There’s a large swimming pool, barbecue area plus a family room for kids with a pool table, books, videos, and more, and also a laundry with coin-operated machines.

Island Leisure Resort is a great place recommended to us by our friends Col and Jenni we mentioned earlier who’ve stayed there several times after visiting family in Townsville.

It’s a popular option because we wanted seven to 10 days but could only get four days

So, Defence Holidays came to the rescue and helped us organise another location – Details below!….

Magnetic Island Road Trip - Resort

Island Leisure Resort, Magnetic Island.

NEED ACCOMMODATION ON MAGNETIC ISLAND? VISIT BOOKING.COM

7. Canopy Chalet 4

42 Yates St Nelly Bay Magnetic Island – just around the corner from our stay above!
https://www.bestofmagnetic.com/magnetic-island-accommodation/canopy-chalet-4

This was another surprise – A very ‘eclectic’ design of about 12 cabins surrounding a large swimming pool but it was lovely, airy, and had everything you’d need for a great holiday and still within walking distance of the beach – well pretty much everywhere on the island is within walking distance!

A magnificent Magnetic Island Banyan Tree.

Kaye checks out the Sunday Markets.

Restaurants

It was also right next door to one of the many great restaurants on the island; ‘Thai Again’ which Col and Jenni had recommended – and they were right – the food was delicious.  We also got to chatting with the couple sitting next to us – long-time locals who live on the island and as it turns out – we’d spotted their stall ‘Hooked On Maggie’ at the Sunday weekly markets at Horseshoe Bay.

Magnetic Island Road Trip - Restaurant

Brian enjoys a glass of red wine at Thai-Again.

What can you do on Magnetic Island?

In a word… PLENTY! – In fact, we wish we’d had more than 10 days there. Such an amazing vibe about it.

They say there are 23 beaches on Maggie some of which can only be reached by boat so we didn’t get to see them all this visit – but we gave it a red hot go.

There are snorkelling trails and beaches with gentle waves perfect for kids. The Backpackers Base hotel and accommodation was chockers with young foreigners making the most of the re-opened international borders.

One of the highlights of our visit was the Moulin Rogue show at the Stage Door Theatre Restaurant… we can vouch for the idea that it’s a ‘slice of Vegas in the tropics’!

Basically ‘Moulin Rogue’ is a tongue-in-cheek send-up of the classic ‘Moulin Rouge’ cabaret which started way back in 1889 in Paris, France but this performance relied on two key performers who are locals and they were brilliant, a great soundo, and some audience participation.

And the food was great too because when you book they ask if you have any dietary requirements – and they cater to everyone.

Again we got chatting with the couple next to us. (Their story another time).

You can read our full story here along with a video compilation of the night we went!
https://foodwinepetstravel.com/travel/170-video-blog-the-moulin-rogue-magnetic-island

Summary

Now you might think… “WOW!… How much did all that cost and was it worth it?”

Well… cost is relative of course. You might go on an ocean cruise for a few days to a week and spend $8-10k! but after going through all our expenses – Fuel, food, accommodation, etc in round figures it was a little over $4,000.00 for our three-week holiday.

So was it worth it?… You bet! Will we do it again? Absolutely, but if we went back to Magnetic Island from Hervey Bay where we are now or (say from Brisbane or Bundaberg) for a short break, we would probably catch an overnight train and then rent a car in Townsville or on the island.

Estimated savings for the next visit would be about $400+ on fuel and several hundred in additional accommodation there and back.

Still, the sightseeing aspect of the drive was well worth it plus supporting local businesses, etc, and best of all, there are so many accommodation options in all price categories you do NOT need a caravan or camper trailer to do it, although if that’s your preference there are plenty of caravan parks and free-camps on the way.

Magnetic Island/Maggie?… We’ll be back!

NEED ACCOMMODATION ON MAGNETIC ISLAND? VISIT BOOKING.COM

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Where to next?

Don’t miss out on discovering your next destination with Booking.com. With countless amazing deals on accommodation and more, you’re bound to find what you’re searching for. So, why wait? Click the links here to explore BOOKING.COM today and plan your next trip.

 

***Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with Booking.com. When you make a booking through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.***

Muttaburrasaurus langdoni has been voted as Queensland’s state fossil emblem. The plant-eating dinosaur was discovered in 1963 and named after the Central Queensland town of Muttaburra, the hometown of Jocelyn’s father, William C. Scott. Read on to find out why “Mutt” has been declared Queensland’s official state fossil, and what you can see in Muttaburra.

Muttaburrasaurus was voted the most popular fossil emblem

THE Muttaburrasaurus langdoni will now become part of Queensland’s official identity after it topped a popular public poll to select the State’s fossil emblem.

The 12 shortlisted fossils featured dinosaurs from both land and sea, early mammals, and flora, all discovered across Queensland.

Of the nearly 9000 votes cast by Queenslanders, the ornithopod emerged as the clear popular choice.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Muttaburrasaurus will join the nine other unique Queensland emblems.

“The 100-million-year-old, plant-eating dinosaur was discovered in 1963 and named after the Central Queensland town of Muttaburra,” the Premier said.

‘The seven-metre-long dinosaur makes a very big statement indeed.

“I’m sure it will be an enduring emblem Queensland can be very proud of.

“Along with our official coat of arms, flag and badge our emblems highlight the many wonders and beauty of our state.

“The Cooktown Orchid, koala, Great Barrier Reef Anemone fish, brolga, the sapphire, and our official colour – the mighty maroon, are all iconic symbols.”

 

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Travel back in time with Muttaburrasaurus

The Premier said the popularity of Muttaburrasaurus as the State’s official fossil emblem highlights the importance of dinosaur tourism in Outback Queensland.

“I encourage Queenslanders to get acquainted with our new fossil emblem by planning a visit to Outback dinosaur destinations,” the Premier said.

Queensland’s rich palaeontology discoveries have generated worldwide interest among experts and have attracted thousands of tourists to the Outback to see the fossils found firsthand.

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said thousands of visitors travel to Outback Queensland every year to walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs and discover our rich palaeontological history.

“Everybody loves dinosaurs, they generate millions of dollars for the visitor economy, and we want to see Outback Queensland continue to grow as Australia’s paleo capital.”

 

Muttaburrasaurus - building

Muttaburrasaurus Interpretation Centre, Central Queensland, Australia.Muttaburrasaurus Interpretation Centre

The replica of the Muttaburrasaurus langdoni can be found at an interpretive centre at Muttaburra in Central Queensland. The displays include replicas, models and histories for guests to learn more about how this ancient creature was discovered as well as what life was like back then when they roamed our world 100 million years ago. PHOTOS: Jocelyn Watts, July 2022.

Mutt, one of the most complete dinosaur skeletons in Australia

Queensland Museum Network CEO Dr Jim Thompson said while there was an outstanding lineup of nominees for the State’s Fossil Emblem, he couldn’t think of a more worthy winner.

Muttaburrasaurus has been synonymous with Queensland Museum since it was described by our palaeontologists in 1981, and thanks to the iconic replica skeleton that stands proud within the museum, Queenslanders have come to know and love this home-grown dinosaur over the decades,” Dr Thompson said.

“Mutt, as people affectionately call it, is one of the most complete skeletons of an Australian Dinosaur and is a great ambassador for palaeontology and dinosaur history.”

Queensland’s Muttaburrasaurus is a national icon and global treasure

Queensland Museum palaeontologist Dr Scott Hocknull said Queensland’s Muttaburrasaurus was a national icon and global treasure.

“I started volunteering at the Queensland Museum as a kid 30 years ago and Muttaburrasaurus was the first dinosaur fossil I got to work on,” Dr Hocknull said.

“It inspired me then, as it will do for countless budding palaeontologists in the future.

“I used to dig dinosaurs as a kid, but now I do it for real and I can thank Muttaburrasaurus for this.”

The next step in making Muttaburrasaurus the state’s fossil emblem includes amending the Emblems of Queensland Act 2005 to confirm ‘Mutt’s’ official status.

To learn more about Queensland’s emblems, flags and icons visit:  https://www.qld.gov.au/about/how-government-works/flags-emblems-icons

Where is Muttaburra?

Muttaburra is located 152 kilometres from Barcaldine in Outback Queensland via State Route 19.

What else is there to see in Muttaburra?

While on an Outback trek in July 2022, I visited Muttaburra, the geographical centre of Queensland, to see the Muttaburrasaurus Interpretation Centre and the Dr Arratta Memorial Museum where my father was the first baby born after Dr Arratta’s arrival in 1925.

Here I’m pointing to where my father, William C. Scott, is recognised as the first baby born in Muttaburra after the arrival of Dr Arratta in 1925. With me is Margaretha Siebert from the Dr Arratta Memorial Museum.

Muttaburra has the distinction of being the town closest to the geographic centre of Queensland. A monument, erected in recognition of this significance is located on Nev Bullen Drive near the Dr Arratta Memorial Museum. PHOTO: Selfie!

 

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Sydney’s Art & Soul, a must-read for culture travellers

05 Oct 2022

WITH its lively arts scene and nature’s artistry on show at every turn, creative energy charges through the harbour city.

Now, as a jam-packed calendar of world-class cultural events weaves its magic throughout spring, summer and beyond, you’ll find innovation meets inspiration wherever you venture.

Here, are the must-do experiences that’ll leave you feeling energised long after the applause fades.

 

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Enjoy a refreshing new perspective in Sydney

For more than 150 years the Art Gallery of New South Wales has showcased extraordinary creativity, and now its hallowed halls are set to unveil their own transformation as the Sydney Modern Project reveals a brand new building, inspiring outdoor spaces, and dynamic galleries.

Feel your mind expand as you explore the works of Adrián Villar RojasDaniel Boyd and Sol LeWitt; feast on Matt Moran’s culinary creations, and discover nature’s treasures on an Aboriginal bush tucker tour in the nearby Royal Botanic Garden.

Discover an icon’s secret stories

The Sydney Opera House is the glittering centrepiece of Australia’s arts scene, and as its pearly sails sparkle in the spring sunshine its stages feature everything from lively musicals to classic concertos.

Get swept away by powerful storytelling at Phantom of the OperaInstruments of Dance and L’Hôtel; discover the house’s rich, hidden history on a private tour, and afterwards, raise a toast as you drink in the views from the Opera BarQuay Quarter Lanes and Bennelong.

Embrace the magic where old meets new

With its futuristic cityscape perched atop historic cobbled streets, Sydney’s layers of living history set a magical scene for all manner of arts events.

At UNESCO World Heritage-Listed Cockatoo Island, the iconic architecture lends an industrial feel to contemporary events, including the upcoming season of Opera Australia’s Carmen and the Mode Festival.

The steampunk vibes continue to inspire at Carriageworks, where 1800s railway workshops host everything from the experimental art festivals to Sydney Dance Company’s New Breed – all just a stroll from South Eveleigh’s innovative eateries.

Venture east to feast your senses

With its twinkling city views, cosmopolitan villages, golden beaches and playful spirit, Sydney’s East is a cradle of creativity.

Become part of its effervescent rhythm as pop living legends Bruno MarsElton John,  Robbie Williams and Justin Bieber hit the stage; be awed and enthralled by Paddington’s eclectic galleries, and let your inspiration guide you to Bondi, where the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition showcases the world’s best creativity and landmark eateries like Sean’sIcebergs and Totti’s serve inspiration on a platter.

 

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Live in the theatrical moment

From the art deco opulence of the State Theatre to the heritage grace of the Capitol and the modern charms of the Sydney Lyric Theatre, the city’s entertainment venues are themselves inspiring works of art – and host everything from Moulin Rouge! The Musical to CinderellaThe Angels Symphony and Aussie comedy greats throughout spring and summer.

Afterwards, head to the Darling Quarter for late-night bites, before slipping between the sheets at The AidenSofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, or Crown Towers in buzzing Barangaroo.

Explore unexpected treasure troves

Wander around The Rocks and you’ll find arts, culture and entertainment as vibrant as the harbour itself.

With its thought-provoking collection of more than 4000 modern works and a rolling roster of world-class exhibitions – including the ground-breaking Do Ho Suh and Australia’s most exciting young artists – the Museum of Contemporary Art always inspires.

Nearby, look for treasures hidden in plain sight on an Aboriginal culture or architecture walking tour, before hitting refresh in YCK laneways‘ secret bars.

Revel in the buzz of diversity

Sydney’s community spirit comes to life in its lively culture. At the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre on the banks of the Georges River you’ll find a busy spring-summer schedule of events, including the Italian Film Series, and the multimedia extravaganza, Where Shadows Meet.

Just 15 minutes drive away in Campbelltown, the offbeat Fisher’s Ghost Festival brings everyone together each November; meanwhile, in Cabramatta, the local Vietnamese community shares its delicious culinary heritage at a delectable range of eateries all year round.

Find joy in the eclectic and eccentric

With its street-art-filled lanes, breweries, and a live soundtrack featuring everything from rock to rap, the Inner West is buzzing with creativity.

Embrace its carefree spirit at the Enmore Theatre, where upcoming headliners include Eskimo Joe and Joey Bada$$.

At The Vanguard, Sonny Grin and Blondie appear between cabarets.

Out and about, you can soak up the creativity at the White Rabbit Gallery, and the Imperial and Factory Theatre, and spend a night or three basking in the inspiration at the atmospheric Old Clare Hotel.

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Romantic getaway: A lovers’ guide to a day in Canberra

LOOKING to whisk your partner away for a romantic night in Australia’s capital city, Canberra?

Whether you’re new to Canberra or just looking for something different, this guide will help you plan the perfect date.

From dinner and drinks to theatre and attractions, we’ve got you covered.

So check out our recommendations and get ready to enjoy a night you’ll never forget!

1. Watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon

Marvel at breathtaking views of the city and surrounding mountains as you watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon.

Taking off at dawn, drift gently with the wind above Canberra’s unique city design from the air with the award-winning Balloon Aloft.

Optional five-star buffet breakfast and champagne toast are available following the flight.

 

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Romantic Getaway - Hot Air Balloons

2. Tour a vineyard with stunning views

Don your walking shoes and get lost among the grapevines at Mount Majura Vineyard.

The winery, located a short drive from Canberra’s CBD, offers guided tours where you can learn about the site, and viticulture, and take in stunning views from the top of the hill.

Wander back down to the cellar door for a tasting of their award-winning Pinot Gris and other delicious varieties.

3. The perfect place for a picnic

Roll out the picnic blanket for lunch with a view on carefully cultivated lawns at the National Arboretum Canberra.

Enjoy spectacular views of the city before exploring a mosaic of living forests and gardens with more than 44,000 rare and endangered trees across the site.

4. Explore Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

For couples who enjoy exploring, you can also head to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve for a walk or hike.

Spot a myriad of native and endangered wildlife as you roam the forest, such as the Bush-Tailed Rock Wallaby.

5. Italian and Sons: the perfect date on romantic getaways

Cosy up for a hearty meal at one of Canberra’s award-winning restaurants, Italian and Sons.

Start off with a drink in the venue’s sleek wine bar at the back, before settling into the restaurant for a wood-fired pizza or traditional house-made pasta.

6. Nightcap lovers rejoice!

Top off the evening with a nightcap at Tipsy Bull.

The cosy, yet sophisticated establishment offers more than 300 gin varieties served deconstructed with botanicals and tonics tailored to your selection.

7. Sleep in luxury

Sleep in five-star luxury at Canberra’s award-winning Hyatt Hotel.

The popular wedding venue is oozing with heritage style and comfort with package deals available for loved-up couples and breakfast included.

Celebrate Romance in Canberra

So, if you’re looking for a romantic getaway, Canberra is the place to be.

With its stunning natural scenery and wealth of luxurious accommodation options, you’re sure to find everything you need to make your special night unforgettable.

Why not book a hot air balloon ride, visit the vineyards, enjoy a picnic, take a trek in one of the nature reserves, or explore some of the city’s best restaurants?

Whatever you choose, we guarantee that Canberra will exceed your expectations.

Book your trip today!

 

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Romantic Getaway - woman drinking wine

Romantic Getaway in Canberra.

***Content courtesy of VisitCanberra***

 

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***Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with Booking.com. When you make a booking through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.***