Friday, 23 February 2018

Brisbane Trip Day 5: Crowdy Bay National Park

I woke up in the morning and discovered that our car fridge wasn’t working (I’d turned it off overnight and it would not turn back on) and the key remote for my car wasn’t working either. My feelings of apprehension all came back so I went for a walk to the beach, this time through the track just near our campsite rather than down the road, and I felt better straight away – seeing the ocean always calms me down.

Back at camp I made a cup of tea and set up the annex in case we had more rain (it was still quite grey). The kids gradually made their way out of the tent and we had a lovely relaxed morning around the campsite. The national park ranger came passed and I let him know I hadn’t paid yet – he gave me a payment slip and said I could pay anytime that day over at Diamond Head Campground. I asked about walking over and he said it would take about half an hour on the inland track, and gave me directions.

We decided we’d walk over and pay, maybe have a swim there if the surf was calmer, and walk back via the headland walk. We set off around 11.30 – it had been drizzling on and off but nothing heavy. The track started from the far end of our campground and wound through fairly dense bush. Not far into our walk we saw a dead snake – it gave us all a fright until we realised it was dead, then we were able to stop and have a good look at it – some birds had started to peck at it but it was mainly intact. I realised at this point that my camera battery was flat – I took a few photos using my phone but not as many as I normally would – I missed my camera a few times, although I also enjoyed walking without stopping to capture images. Amelie wasn’t keen on the walk so we were counting animal sightings to make it more interesting – we saw lots of birds, ants, a few butterflies – the dead snake was the most exciting. There were also several cool looking flowers – banksias, Christmas bells, and some white flowers and purple flowers – watching out for them made it more interesting as well.  We walked past (and had a look into) Kylie’s hut – an author called Kylie ?? used to live there and gave the area it’s name. It was very basic but I loved the idea of living there and wandering down to the beach whenever I fancied.

As we got close to Diamond Head we suddenly had a view of the ocean to the north, it was quite impressive. The last bit of the walk was down a track with low vegetation on each side, so we could see the view for most of the way. We arrived at the campground and paid our camping and National Park fees (it was $8 a day for NP fees, on top of camping fees. I was surprised, in most places I’ve only had to pay the NP fee once on entering, if we are staying more than one night).

By this stage it was raining so we went and used the flush toilets (kids were very excited) and sat under a shelter to have some lunch. I checked the radar and the rain looked like it wouldn’t last long, so we sat and played games for a while, trying to wait out the rain. After a while we decided to walk down to the beach and not worry about getting a little wet. We clambered over some more rocks and admired the view in one direction and the interesting rock formations to the south (including a gap in the rocks that looked like it might once have been a natural arch). The girls decided to try the water and it was warm – so they had a swim in the edge of the surf – it was shallow for a long way out to where the waves were breaking, so they just stayed knee deep and had a great time. Liam and I explored the rocks a bit more, watched the kangaroos, and sheltered under a tree when the rain felt heavier.

When the girls got out we figured we were all pretty wet anyway so we might as well start to walk back. As we got out into the open the rain became extremely heavy – we were quickly wet right through to the skin, and since we couldn’t get much wetter, we decided to keep going. Amelie just wrapped her towel around her and the other 2 kids had jackets. I was just in a t-shirt but didn’t feel too cold. The air temperature wasn’t too bad, the rain was a little chilly though. We trudged up the open track from the campground and then debated whether to try the headland track – Amelie would have preferred to go straight back the inland way, the others wanted to see the headlands. We went the longer way – the track led up and down between 3 headlands and there were some magnificent views of the oceans, headlands and off shore rocks. Amelie found it pretty hard going but she kept plodding along. The others walked ahead and seemed to really enjoy it. I tried to keep my hand on Amelie’s back or shoulder to keep her motivated and supported – she was cold and wet and miserable and I am so impressed that she walked the whole way.

Above Kylie’s beach we had a great view of the rocks we’d explored yesterday afternoon. Caitlin took the steep track down from there to the beach which was a much shorter way back to camp – the rest of us went back inland to Indian Head campground then back past Kylie’s hut and the snake. Caitlin was waiting for us when we arrived – and our annex roof was full of water as it had obviously poured here as well and I’d made no adjustments for rain. The kids went into the tent and changed into dry clothes and snuggled under blankets, while I sorted out the roof. I got all the water off and adjusted pole heights and added ropes etc until all the new water was running straight off the roof.

Once I was finally in dry clothes myself I made the hot chocolate I’d been promising the kids since we first got wet. I used milk, cream, coconut sugar and half a block of dark chocolate for a very rich, creamy hot chocolate that really warmed and filled us all up.  My feet were all white and wrinkly after being in wet shoes for so long – it took a while before all our skin started to feel normal again even though we warmed up pretty quickly. The kids played on their ipods and Caitlin chatted with friends on her phone and we had a very quiet time for the remainder of the day. I cooked some rice and we had that with kabana and cheese and everyone settled in to bed fairly quickly and easily.

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