Big4 Adventure park, Whitsundays

We’re definitely in the tropics. It’s pleasantly warm, and this week it’s been wet. That’s the tropics. Sunshine and rain, rain and sunshine – the recipe for gorgeous gardens full of rich colours, green palms and ferns,  and lots of birds.

We’re so pleased we treated ourselves to this particular caravan park. It’s only slightly more expensive than all its nearby competition, but it has so much going for it.

The sites are big and individually bordered on both sides with tall lush ferns and spacious areas of green grass to the rear of each caravan. It’s pleasant not to be back to back and up close and personal with other vans to our rear.

P1050102

Big private sites

There’s plenty of space everywhere with large shady grassed areas, very inviting for outdoor activities and games.

P1050105

Playing bocce

The pool is big and heated to 28°.

P1050124

Heated, landscaped pool

P1050127

A cooler day so sun loungers are empty.

They have a mini golf course, a giant chess set,  a small menagerie of farm animals and heaps of other activities. The sow in the menagerie is due to give birth any day now, so with school holidays just over a week away, a litter of newborn piglets is sure to bring lots of joy to the visiting ankle biters.

P1050122

Mini golf to be played under a tropical canopy of lush ferns

All of the staff seem very happy in their jobs, and all that I’ve spoken to can’t speak highly enough of their bosses and their work place. I’m sure that’s the reason for the fantastic atmosphere around the park. One particular staff member, Mel runs a lot of the free activities for guests. For the adults she puts on pancake breakfasts, coffee and cake quiz morning teas, and wine and cheese afternoons by the pool. She also runs activities for kids clubs. I bet she helps make some memorable and happy moments for the visiting families.

The park also puts on movie nights several times a week in an outside cinema.

We’ve just come back from a trivia morning tea. Mel thought it was a funny touch to include a face creaming machine for wrong answers. However it didn’t seem to be working, so I suggested she try it out.

P1050116

Mel demonstrating the creaming machine.

P1050117

Yep, it works.

P1050119

A good sport.

I hope the park owners appreciate her and pay her well. She’s perfect in her job, they couldn’t get better. Paul says she’s like gold.

P1050109

Infectious happiness – that’s Mel.

We were reluctant to come here, thinking it was going to be one of the overpriced parks where we would be paying premium rates for such things as jumping pillows, pool water slides, playground equipment and any number of other things we’d not be likely to use. Not this time though, the owners of this Big4 certainly haven’t forgotten the adults. We’re being well catered for. Congratulations, Big4 Adventure Park, Cannonvale (Airlie Beach).  You’ve made this a wonderful place for both children and adults alike to stay, and you’ve created a work place where your staff are happy to be working. Loving this place.

Advertisements

The big swim

We’ve been in Robinvale now for almost a week. Robinvale is on the Victorian side of the Mighty Murray. The Murray forms the border between the two states with NSW having laid claim to the actual river.

The Mighty Murray.

The Mighty Murray.

The first few days here were glorious, with temperatures around 30 most days. We went in the river for a dip one day, but Paul was a bit reluctant to venture far from the bank. There can be strong undercurrents here, so it’s wise to be cautious I guess.

Undercurrents aside though, I couldn’t resist the challenge of swimming from ‘Victoria to NSW’. There was a guy in the park who was swimming it twice a day. I approached him and asked of the dangers, explaining I’m a reasonable swimmer but more consistent than strong. He was thrilled to accompany me across and back, and I’m pleased to say we weren’t troubled by any undercurrents. So, I can now boast that I’ve swam from Victoria to NSW. I was elated to have done it, but really it wasn’t that far, or that hard. Paul’s just a bit of wus.

Our van is backed right up to the rivers edge almost. It’s stunning. The first few nights we were very lucky to have NSW retired farmers on either side of us. We shared happy hours and dinners with them on the banks of the Murray under the shade of a big weeping willow. They were wonderful people and we enjoyed their company immensely.

How good is this for a camping spot.

How good is this for a camping spot.

I must say, they blew the stereo type of ‘tunnel visioned’ country folk right out of the water. I’m used to being very cautious when I play the devils advocate and approach subjects such as boat people, refugee camps and length of processing time, drug legalisation and several other topics that have a tendency to create heated discussions on occasions. It was refreshing to meet people with whom these topics could be discussed openly and without reticence. I’m so used to feeling like I’m being attacked by a flock of Hitchcock’s birds most times when I put my point of view forward, so to meet like minded people was like a breath of fresh air.

That’s the real beauty of life on the road. You get to meet so many wonderful people from all different back grounds that you wouldn’t otherwise meet.

We leave here tomorrow for Pinaroo in SA where we’ll be doing a couple of months work on the wheat silos all going well. Hope we can tolerate it, but if we can’t we haven’t lost anything and will have had another of life’s experiences we otherwise wouldn’t have had without this trip.

Long termers

The caravan park we’re staying in has most of their larger sites for bigger rigs kept mostly together. From speaking to the owners, at least half of these rigs seems to be being used as a home rather than holiday accommodation.

One man is now travelling on his own after his wife passed away five years ago. He has been on the road for 18 years now in total he tells me. A couple I met yesterday have been on the road for six years and she said she never wants to go back to a house. They do occasional house sitting and each time she does it re-enforces to her the woes of owning a house with the constant maintenance, cleaning and expense.

Another couple we met in our first week here has now been on the road for 16 years, they love it and are on their 2nd van now. Their advice is to stay at farms where-ever possible. They also love the wide spaces in the free camping areas or national parks.

Yesterday I met a middle aged woman travelling in a small motor home on her own. She does house sitting all around the country and calls her motor home, ‘a suitcase on wheels’.

Everyone seems to love life their on the road and not many have any desire to see it end. Everyone has stories to tell of places they’ve been and seen, and adventures they’ve had.

I had thought we might have been a bit ambitious thinking 6 – 8 years (possibly even longer) would be the go. But after speaking to so many people I’m realising that isn’t ambitious at all. Time will tell, but I don’t think it’s out of the question that we’ll still be on the road at the ripe old age of 78 (20 years from now).

I can’t wait now to get going. Whilst this park is pleasant, it isn’t on a beach front, riverbank, or edge of a forest. I want to be able to walk out of the van and into nature without having to get into the car. I want million dollar landscapes on my doorstep from my $120,000 home on wheels. I want to get started on this new life. Only 19 more sleeps…..