Although it is a few years since we finished our caravanning adventure through Australia we have many wonderful memories to look back on – places we visited, people we met, things we did. It is such a diverse country that activities can range from skiing in the snowfields of the Southern Alps to snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, or at Ningaloo in West Australia.
But ask any caravanner what they like best about caravanning and the reply you will receive most often is,“The friendliness of the people you meet.”
Nowhere is this more evident than in Tropical Far North Queensland, Australia’s top winter destination. While everyone else shivers down south during our winter, some lucky ones are able to escape winter by heading north, to our land of eternal summer.
Far North Queensland acts like a magnet to southerners in winter. From May onward the caravans roll in. Parks fill up. Towns overflow with tourists.
Many ’vanners spend at least three winter months enjoying sunshine, swimming, and fishing as far north as Cairns. Many come to the same spot each year, and so enduring friendships are formed.
Flying Fish Point is situated seven kilometres east of Innisfail, on the Cassowary Coast.It stands on both the beach front and alongside the mouth of the Johnstone River andis one such place. It holds a special place in our hearts, for we spent much time there.We arrived there during the winter of our first year on the road, and used it as a base for many months to visit other areas.
The caravan park there was green and shady, and the owner guided us to a shady site plenty big enough for our large rig.
The park boasts a swimming pool
and store and backs on to a green Oval
belonging to the neighbouring school.
A great spot to take the dogs for a walk outside off school hours.
Rainforest edges the other side
of the Oval
and it was not unusual to see
or cropping grass under the
trees, or even bounding across
The then owners, George and Debbie, with their young daughter Tiani, made us feel as if we had come to a second home.
They were friendly and welcoming. They did everything in their power to ensure that everyone enjoyed their stay, be it short or long.
One of them personally guided each new arrival into their site, leading the way in their white golf buggy. They were always ready to stop and have a chat.
“We like to help everyone get to know each other,” Debbie said, “and for everyone to enjoy themselves.”
They always held a barbecue dinner on Saturday nights – with often fifty or more park visitors attending.
It was here on our first Saturday night that we made friends with other like-minded couples, and organized a group to meet regularly each evening before dinner for drinks during a ‘Happy Hour’.
Jock and Maggie’s story is different. Living on the Gold Coast, they were on the first leg of a trip around Australia. They arrived in a motor home for one night. They decided to stay a second night. And then another. Then a week. Then a month.
They fell in love with the area. One day Maggie told me, “We’ve decided to buy a house up here.”
“But what about the summer?” I asked, “they say it’s pretty hot and humid.”
“Well, we have our motor home,” Maggie replied, “if it’s too bad we can always go south for a while.”
They found the perfect house and bought it. While awaiting settlement they stayed on in the Caravan Park.
At the next Saturday night barbecue George announced, “For those of you who will still be here on the third of August we are having a wedding here. Jock and Maggie are going to tie the knot.”
And so they did.
Shortly before the big day the following notice appeared. “Jock and Maggie are being married on Saturday night. Your presence is requested but no presents please.”
We all turned up to see them married. What a happy night it was!
Debbie, with a little help, had decorated the long table and hung balloons. A bridal table was set up and decorated.
The buggy was pressed into service as a wedding car, and the happy couple arrived in this with their young attendant, Tiani, and were piped in by bagpipes. After all, Jock is a Scot.
After the ceremony we all sat down to our usual Saturday night repast, accompanied by liquid refreshments provided by the bridegroom. For dessert it was wedding cake all round. Truly a memorable night, and one of many happy memories we have of Flying Fish Point.