‘A camping festival for young families, who share in the love of Caravanning, Camping & Music’ is how this event is described on the website www.adventurebash.com.au – and that’s exactly what it was – plus so much more!
We have been looking forward to this weekend, the Inaugural Adventure Bash, since we first heard about it and bought our tickets as soon as they went up for sale months ago.
Chris and I both arranged to take the Friday and Monday off, and we took the kids out of school for the day, so we could get on the road early Friday morning. Traffic wasn’t a problem; the weather was perfect, and everyone was in a good mood. It was a great start, and it only got better from there.
Our destination was Imbil; a tiny little town in the Mary River valley, 160 kilometres north of Brisbane.
We checked in to the Imbil Camping Retreat about 10:30am and were welcomed by Brett and Cheryl, the loveliest of hosts!
We pulled in within 10 minutes of the other two families we went with (Ribics on the Road and 4xgouldsgetaway) and we were parked and set up fairly quickly. The kids took off to explore and Chris and I went for a bit of a wander.
It’s a gorgeous little spot set alongside the beautiful Yabba Creek, with 12 acres of shaded parklands ranging from secluded areas to open spaces for larger groups.
We had heard many good reviews, and it’s easy to see why. The trees and grassy areas are just magic! Everywhere you looked a photo opportunity seemed to present itself. It was the perfect location for the bash.
It wasn’t long before Justin from Trip in a Van rocked up to our van with a sore butt on a kids BMX selling raffle tickets. We had a chat, bought some tickets (the first of many sold to our group!) and he left on Chris’s electric bike. Let’s just say that he left a whole lot faster than he arrived and the smile on his face was a whole lot bigger.
We checked out the tents down in the ‘common area’ and had a chat with Adele from Caravanning with Kids and a few others. It was great meeting people we had previously ‘met’ online – it really felt like we already knew each other!
The weekend was ‘officially’ opened at 2:00 by Justin and Bec from Trip in a Van, Renee from Caravan RV Camping and Adele who gave us the rundown on what was going on and all the important info. Chris paid special attention to when the Round and Round Coffee van opened for business each morning.
Mark Maroney was the first of a fantastic line-up of artists to take to the stage, and his acoustic set really created the mood for a relaxing arvo in the sun.
Our kids took their inflatables down to the river while the adults relaxed and listened to the music until the sun started to sink behind the trees. Campfires were lit, platters were shared, and conversations started flowing along with the drinks in everyone’s hands.
The temperature dropped pretty quickly so we all took showers and changed out of our shorts and into warmer clothes. We had dinner and then traipsed back down with our jackets and drinks and settled in for a great night of live music which included some awesome tunes by Octavian, an amazing band who we have since discovered were featured on Triple J Unearthed.
1 kilogram Donut Challenge
Saturday started off right with a coffee followed by a 1 kilogram jam donut. Say what? Yep. You read it right. Kenilworth is just 19km from Imbil and is home to the Kenilworth Country Bakery which is famous for its 1kg donut challenge.
As if we could let that opportunity pass us by!
Ange had seen on Facebook that they do a 1kg donut challenge – and had signed her hubby Mick up for it. Gian (the Ribic’s eldest son) was chosen for Team Ribic and Chris represented team ADU.
The challenge is to buy a donut for $20 and if you finish it within one sitting (which can take as long as you like) you get your money back, plus your name on a silver plate mounted to the walls. There is a gold plate for those who can eat 2. Wowsers!
They all chose Jam and Cream donuts and all regretted the cream almost immediately. Chris was the first to bow out eating just half, followed by Mick also eating about half, and Gian gave it a red hot go but was also defeated by the giant donut. Not even the staff cheer squad complete with “Eye of the Tiger’ blaring from the UE Boom could spur him on to victory. When I turned back around, the other kids were eating the leftovers and the challengers were lying down in a food coma in the kiddies play area. Nice effort boys!
When I ordered my donut (a more sensibly sized vanilla slice donut) the staff were amazing and took me on a kitchen tour! The new fryers they have are awesome and my donut was picked fresh off the tray in the kitchen. Um YUM!
If you are ever in heading out to Kenilworth or even Maleny I would definitely recommend making a trip (or two) to this bakery. It’s one of the best I’ve ever been to.
We headed back to the caravan park with 3 extremely full men and settled in for another relaxing afternoon. Poor Chris was recovering from his sugar hit and spent a fair but of time snoozing on the towel.
More people started to roll in as the day went on and activities were what woke Chris from his sugar induced slumber. Tug ‘o’ war was well underway and Chris was needed to help even out the teams. After that he was up and back to his normal self.
He even won the Stand Up Paddle Board Comp for fathers and sons, and came a very close second in the adults division. It was a serious business this SUP racing! Some of us preferred to watch 😉
After showers it was time to think about heading back down to the main area with our warmer clothes and drinks for another epic night of tunes and chats.
We all had burgers from the BBQ tent which were delicious! Those guys did an amazing job keeping everyone fed over the weekend.
The fires burned brightly, and the conversations got louder. The music was great and after the kids went to bed, the real party started and continued on past midnight.
Hilarious conversations became a crazy reality when ‘The Travelling Mo’ was born, domains purchased, and Facebook and Instagram pages set up thanks to the outrageous Adele. Be sure to look her up (Caravanning with Kids and now – The Travelling Mo) Most of the conversation from that point on was done via a thumb acting as a mouth on everyone’s hands. You kinda had to be there. Lol.
It was a slow start the next day for many, but everyone came good and enjoyed the hottest day of the weekend. 27 degrees had most of us in swimmers and dipping in and out of the creek.
I took Cooper and Charli up into town and we had a look at the local markets and had a wander through the antique store. Seriously, if you want to see something funny – let your teenagers loose in rooms filled with old stuff.
We only had to walk 2 minutes down the road to find the old Imbil Railway line and Bridge. This captured the kid’s attention for ages! They were ‘diverting trains’, walking along the tracks, and I could hear their imaginations running wild. The old bridge is just beautiful, and the whole experience brought out the inner child in our 2 teenagers 🙂
We would have kept exploring for hours had Chris not called asking for lunch, so walked back and ate before more swimming, relaxing and good music.
The Adventure Bash is a fundraiser for ‘Buy a Bale’ to help our farmers and all throughout the event raffle tickets were being sold, winners being announced, and Mel Ribic was telling us how she wanted to win the fridge. She bought hundreds of dollars’ worth and won all sorts of things (including an eski, a pegless clothesline and a solar cooker), but sadly for her and funnily for us, not the fridge!
Sunday night was as much fun as Friday and Saturday. The fact that all the leftover food at the BBQ tent was ½ price and we all ate dinner around the campfire together, made it even more memorable. The talent on stage were insane with the Dennis Sisters (who were on X Factor), and a 5 person Reggae Band to really set the mood as they finished off the night. I spent so much time dancing and singing and cartwheeling with the kids, it was fabulous!
Monday morning meant time to pack up and say goodbye to our new friends. It may have only been a weekend, but it was one of the best weekends we’ve had in our van so far. We’ve met people we know will be lifelong friends, even if we correspond online more than in person. Catch-ups will be happening randomly throughout the year as we occasionally cross paths, leading up to when we do this all again next September.
This is a huge part of why we do what we do. Meeting likeminded people and getting together to share our adventures is just priceless.
Cheers to the Adventure Bash and to all of the amazing people who came together to make it happen.
Name: Broadwater Tourist Park (Gold Coast Tourist Parks)
Location: 169 Marine Parade, Southport, QLD
Date of Stay: 27-29 April 2018
Type of Park: City/Water/Parklands
Rating: 4 out of 5
A well maintained park, great for families, couples or singles in a great location.
We have stayed here many, many times… And we love it! My first Trip Advisor review on this park was done back in 2016, and that was written after returning on many occasions.
The park is situated right on the beautiful Broadwater, and has million-dollar views.
It had a foreshore makeover a couple of years ago, and now there is lots of lush, grass between the park and the sand. It’s great for kids… And kites. I do believe on one occasion that particular strip of grass was used as a race track between the local police on their quad bike and our youngest who was on her push bike!
The inlet is a great little spot to take the kids fishing as the sun goes down. It’s also where the boat ramp is located, giving easy access to the water for us to launch our jetski! Many of our friends come to this park purely because it is so easy to get the ski’s and boats into the water as the ramp is located within the park itself.
The amenities are good (there are a few blocks), camp kitchens are well appointed and very well maintained, as are the grounds.
There are many cabins… Lots right on the water with stunning views and some further back in the park.
Staff are friendly and very helpful.
Both swimming pools are great… The big shade is great for kids in the hot summer sun. The girls went swimming this weekend, but only for a few minutes as it was ‘freeeezing!!!’ So, I guess heated pools could make this park even better (hint hint!).
We have been telling the kids to ‘go and entertain yourselves’ at this park for a few years now, and currently at ages 10, 12 and 13, they still haven’t outgrown the playground, games room and jumping pillow which is a good thing J
We rate this park highly as it’s consistently produced fun and memorable times no matter if it’s our family of 5, just me and Chris, our friends with kids or our friends without.
Friendly and helpful
200+ sites including water view, ensuite, powered slab and powered grass sites. Large and flat – easy to get in and out of.
Location – it is close to Surfers, the Broadwater and the parklands which are great to ride to with the kids. The aqua splash is set up just down the path, and there is a fun little waterpark for the kids to have a play in.
Maccas is over the street if you like their coffee – if not, the Donut Shop D Point Ten makes great coffee. There is a supermarket and some other little shops right across the street as well.
Clean, well appointed and relatively modern amenities
We had heard of many people having items stolen from this park and considered ourselves lucky as it hadn’t happened to us – until Australia Day 2017. Cooper’s near new scooter was stolen one night along with quite a few things belonging to other people. It is commonplace to see people chain their Weber’s down to deter theft.
It can get very busy during the school holidays (this could be negative or positive – it depends on if you like lots of people! J )
It’s quite loud due to the location – you will hear sirens, cars racing and loud engines through the night. But this is to be expected as Surfers is less than 5ks away.
The park is quite strict on the 10am check out time.
The beach/Broadwater out the front can be overcrowded with PWC (which again is to be expected in most waterways on the Gold Coast).
What do you do when you hear your mates are headed down to the Broadwater for the weekend? You book of course! And that’s just what we did – jumped on the phone and secured our site for 2 nights.
We have been staying at the Broadwater Tourist Park on and off for years now, and we’ve always enjoyed our stay.
It’s a lovely, well-maintained park in a great location. Beautiful trees, lots of lush green grass out the front of the park, and a great little piece of beach right on the Broadwater. The park has its’ own boat ramp, making it an easy decision to take the Jetski down with us.
We did a bit of a shuffle to get everything down there. Chris towed the van down in the morning and then brought the truck back and went back down with the Jetski and the smaller hilux. I picked the kids up from school and went down in the truck.
Traffic was great, the weather was great, the kids were behaving as they usually do and I could tell straight off that it was going to be a great weekend overall. And it was.
We arrived about 5:00pm and Chris was already well into happy hour with the others. The kids ran off and I started dinner. Mexican is our traditional ‘night one’ dinner – always loaded up with lots of guacamole and sour cream and washed down with some homemade kombucha.
A few of the guys took the kids across to Maccas for waffle cones (tradition at Broadwater!) while I tucked into my homemade coconut custard, brownie and raspberries. (It was the last day of my gut cleanse which meant no dairy, bacon, mushrooms and so on for 2 weeks!)
The usual night time chats and drinks helped us wind down for what is always a great night’s sleep – man I love our bed in the van! Our eggshell mattress topper is tops (haha).
I was up at sunrise to capture the magnificence that is the sun peeking over the horizon, onto the water and through the palm trees; Chris was up to capture his coffee. It’s always lovely to sit at the table and chairs down on the grass to watch the sun come up. If I drank coffee, I’d probably say ‘it’s lovely to drink my morning coffee and watch the sun come up!’
The sunrise held all the promise of a beautiful day, but it didn’t turn out quite that way.
The girls managed a (very) quick dip in the pool and emerged covered in goose bumps with lips turning blue. It wasn’t long before the ominous clouds started rolling in, the wind picked up and the rain started to fall – heavily. The clothes airer was blown over 3 or 4 times, and all the chairs got drenched as everytime the gusts of winds came through, the water poured off the awning like a river from the sky!
The girls took hot showers and then all the kids spent some time in the games room before coming back into the van to play 5 Second Rule.
Thankfully the clouds disappeared, the sun reappeared (just like it promised at sunrise) and the jumpers came off! On went our swimmers and into the Broadwater went our Jet ski.
The Broadwater is just great for skis and boats, especially on days that start cold, wet and miserable, and surprise everyone by becoming Summery quite quickly! We were one of just 3 skis on the water. Chris took the girls across to Straddie, and then we hooked up the tube and spent a couple of hours trying to flick the kids off and into the water. Everyone had a blast; the sun was shining and the water was warm. We played until the kids were exhausted and couldn’t hold on anymore.
Lunch was a BBQ, and the beers and wine was flowing again by 2:30. We all took our chairs to one van and settled in for an afternoon of good conversation while the kids entertained themselves.
The rain clouds returned, along with a few spits of rain, and the temperature dropped pretty quickly. It really was like 4 seasons in one day!
I left the gang engrossed in merry conversation and went down to Mermaid with my bestie to check out her wedding venue (in the pouring rain!). When I got back from our secret wedding business, Chris was in the van with the BBQ on and salad prepared and the kids were showering in the amenities. I took a quick shower to thaw out, popped by trakkies and ugg boots on and then dinner was served. Our plates were filled with Honey Soy chicken kebabs I’d made the day before and salad with some homemade sauerkraut and beetroot on the side. Strawberry kombucha helped to wash it all down.
After the kids had done the dishes in the camp kitchen, Chris and the kids made their nightly trek back across for more waffle cones, and I had my brownies and custard again.
We had a pretty early night as the kids were pooped, and Chris and I like to lay in bed and watch cooking shows on TV, especially Bizarre Foods. This particular night we watched Andrew eat lobster poop saying it was delicious! Hmmm. We are real party animals!
Sunday morning’s we usually take our time and have a bit more fun before packing up, but at this particular park, they’re pretty strict with check out times. So it went kinda like this:
Wake up, grab coffee from the Donut shop across the road, drink it looking out over the water, cook a big brekkie of bacon and eggs, pack up the van, say goodbye to everyone and start the half hour drive home.
The girls and I did manage to sneak in a quick photoshoot before pack up .. and some of the pics turned out rather well!
It’s always sad packing up, but it’s never long before our next trip away. We like to have a few adventures lined up to give us something to be happy about as we vacuum inside the van and wind up the awning.
It was more like a ‘see you in a few weeks!’ than goodbye – which left us smiling as we all hooked our vans up and headed out under the boom gate, across Marine Parade and made our way back to the M1 and home towards Brissy.
This adventure begins on day 4 of our Easter holiday in Central NSW. We arrived at sunset on Day 1, and Day 2 was spent exploring the lovely town of Sawtell and its sensational beaches and coastline. All this natural beauty was just minutes from the BIG4 Sawtell Beach Holiday Park we were calling home for 5 tremendous days.
We hung out with our friends out the front of the park and spent some time relaxing, reading and snoozing. The resting was essential as we were about to squeeze a whole lot of adventuring into the next couple of days.
On day 3 we started at the Butter Factory and worked our way along the gorgeous Waterfall Way, stopping to admire Ebor Falls, Dangar Falls, Point Lookout and a few other places in between. Simply stunning! Read about that adventure here.
This brings us to day 4; waking up at sunrise to start the hour and a half drive down to the delightful seaside town of Port MacQuarie.
Chris has been many times before, but it was a first for me and as soon as we parked and hopped out to admire the views, I started to wonder why on earth I hadn’t been here before! I’d heard it was lovely, and it truly is.
The trees and the coastline give this bustling little town a lovely, relaxed and welcoming feel. We didn’t spend long, but what I saw was enough to convince me that we need to book into one of the caravan parks we and spend a week or so here. I can’t wait for the kids to see this place!
We stopped at Mrs.Yorks Garden to have a look down on the ocean from above, before heading over to Town Beach Park to snap a few more pics.
Along the southern breakwall of the Hastings River there are some fascinating painted rocks. This one pictured was my favourite, but the Cat in The Hat came in a close second!
These bright, colourful rocks are sure to catch your eye if you’re seeing them for the first time and I wanted to know why they were there, so I did a little research.
Apparently it all began as an art competition back in 1995 but is now a bit like an outdoor gallery that anyone can add to!
A walk along the breakwall is the easiest way to see the joyful wall of colour. The painted rocks begins at Port Macquarie’s Town Green, extends along the river, around the point, and a little way along the back of Town Beach.
The car park up this end is a good place to start if you want to explore the wall. There’s plenty of grass and some lovely shady trees, a playground and a skate park. There’s also a caravan park right there …! I can’t wait to go back with the kids as there really is something to keep everyone happy.
From there we started winding our way back up the coast, starting with Crescent Head.
We parked by the golf course and followed a tiny path through some trees and up onto the hill. What we saw we when turned to look down at the ocean below took our breath away and was enough for me to take so many phots that I am still having extreme difficulty sorting through. This would have to be the most impressive and breathtaking ocean view I have seen yet – and I’ve been to some pretty amazing places!
I could have sat and watched the water circling around and crashing onto the rocks for hours, but we didn’t have hours, so onto the next spot we had marked on the map. Southwest Rocks.
As the name suggests, Southwest Rocks has some pretty large rocks jutting out of the sand that you can see along the coastline from the next beach over, separating the beach into two.
There was a lovely caravan park right by the water, and the streets were lined with giant ball like palm trees and tall, pointy pine trees. The main road of the town led straight down to the palm trees and water front and some lovely beaches.
We drove past the Hat Head Bowling and Recreation Park and into Hat Head Beach Reserve. There was a lovely caravan park that was set in the bush, right by a little inlet complete with a busy little boat ramp. There were plenty of people on their inflatables floating down the little stream and out to the beach. I really wanted to jump in! This looked to be the pick of the camping spots for our next family trip away.
Also under the Southwest Rocks banner came the Trial Bay Gaol, a curious place that I’ve wanted to explore for years. I’ve heard ghost stories that have put me off wanting to camp around the gaol itself, but adventuring was never out of the question!
As we drove through the grounds, we could see some people had camped right up hard against the gaol walls. Eeek! It gave me shudders just thinking about nightfall. People seemed to be camped wherever they felt like it; right beside the gaol, in the camp grounds, along the road and on the water’s edge.
The story behind the gaol was intriguing as I found out as I wandered through and read the signs that were dotted around. A couple of large signs warned campers to ‘please do not feed the wildlife’ and it was quite obvious to see why. There was some almighty large kangaroos (that at first looked like statues) that seemed quite at home by the front gates!
Never content to stick to the standard roads, we carefully edged our very lifted Hilux down a tiny dirt road that was covered with overhanging trees. I’m pretty sure we collected a branch or two with the rooftops!
It wasn’t long before the green trees parted in front of us, giving way to a brilliant blue sky and sparkling ocean. When we couldn’t go any further, we pulled up and got out. To the right of us was a tiny beach and huge rock break wall that we could hear the waves thundering up against, and to the left was a calm little beach, dotted with holiday makers.
This was another place I reeeeally wanted to spend more time; just a few hours sunbaking and laying on my floating bed, soaking up the autumn sunshine. But alas, the lighthouse was calling our name! So, we reversed out of paradise, headed out of Arakoon and towards Hat Head National Park.
One would expect spectacular views from a lighthouse, and this one did not disappoint. Standing high on a narrow headland, Smoky Cape Lighthouse is surrounded by the stunning coastal scenery of Hat Head National Park. However, the best views were from our drone.
Chris sent the drone up and I made the ‘long trek’ to the top. I think Chris got the better deal (although I got to close the rings on my Apple Watch! ???)
The lighthouse itself is as beautiful as the views – with its winding staircase and octagonal tower. And while the views from the top were lovely, you could get equally stunning views from further down the path, and in my opinion, the viewing platform doesn’t go out far enough to see around the trees and bush in front. Of course, factoring Easter Sunday into the equation, there wasn’t much room to move with everyone trying to get ‘that shot’.
Thankfully I knew Chris would get the best pics with the drone and boy did he deliver!
As we drove back to the caravan park, I began the long process of transferring the photos and videos from the drone and GoPro across, trying to pick the ‘stand out’s’ as I went. Who was I kidding? Almost every photo from the day taken on the GoPro, the drone or either of our iPhone X’s was spectacular!
It was a whirlwind day, scoping out the dazzling NSW coast for future caravanning adventures.
We arrived back to an almost empty caravan park, with most holiday makers having headed back home, ready to start back at work the following day. We took an extra day off which allowed us some down time, and a much less hectic drive home.
With enough time left in the afternoon, Chris took me on a quick tour through Coffs Harbour. I found it to be quite a bizarre place – rather industrial, with an almost ‘unfinished’ feel about it. A bit like it was going to be an amazing holiday destination, and then attention was diverted elsewhere, and Coffs was left to fend for itself.
We went to Park Beach, McCauleys and the Breakwater … all unique locations and quite photographic as the sun was casting its last glowing light of the day across the water.
I’m not sure I would like to go back to Coffs anytime soon, but maybe there is something about the place that only the locals know about. Who knows? I did read about what appeared to be a lovely walk – the ‘Solitary Islands Coastal Walk’. That might have been nice if we’d had more time.
Maybe one day I’ll find out if there are any hidden secrets that Coffs is holding back on. Until then, I’m happy with my hour or so spent having a quick look around.
Our last night in Sawtell was relaxing, and our morning was a lazy tidy up. There wasn’t much traffic heading home, so we took a few breaks along the way, stopping in at Little Italy for lunch. I had a bit of a wander through the gift shop and museum before we headed home to Brisbane.
It was a lovely end to a fabulous Easter holiday and we now have some great NSW locations earmarked for some of our upcoming family adventures.
Our next group adventure has already been decided and was locked in on night 2 at Sawtell! We’ve all booked in for a few nights at Kingscliffe to celebrate Chris’s birthday in May. Well, it’s our ‘next, next’ adventure, as Cotton Tree is already booked for late April!
Aah .. the caravanning life. From one adventure to the next 🙂