Before camping in Tannum Sands, we drove through Gladstone, hoping to find something of interest that didn’t involve heavy metals, heavy machinery or heavy fees. When we saw the sign to Tondoon Botanic Gardens we headed there. After our marvelous experience at Emerald, we’ve discovered how wonderful these public projects are!

Aisha with walky-talky, November 2010
The botanic gardens were an excellent space in which to try out our new hand-held radios. It didn't take Aisha long to master the technique of CB radio communication.

Fishers family, November 2010
Here we are, November 2010!

At Tondoon Botanic Gardens, Rockhampton, November 2010
We liked walking through the rainforest sections. One path was completely covered in moss.

At Tondoon Botanic Gardens, Rockhampton, November 2010
And we spied some beautiful blue fruit on the ground.

At Tondoon Botanic Gardens, Rockhampton, November 2010
I'm not really sure if it was edible. We smelled it but weren't brave enough to take a bite.

At Tondoon Botanic Gardens, Rockhampton, November 2010
The girls clowned around on the bridges and ran about freely. Aisha kept one radio with her, so we let them run as far as they wanted.

At Tondoon Botanic Gardens, Rockhampton, November 2010
David read this sign and said, "Easy. This is just a snack." We didn't end up walking the whole circuit — we took a side-path and ended up close to where to we started — much to my relief!

At Tondoon Botanic Gardens, Rockhampton, November 2010
We have a new appreciation for cultivated botanic gardens.

At Tondoon Botanic Gardens, Rockhampton, November 2010
Some of the sections were absolutely stunning. We didn't have time to explore all of it.

At Tondoon Botanic Gardens, Gladstone, November 2010
The girls are now the ones who hush me when they see a wild creature. We could see this bush turkey's huge nest. It was about three metres in diameter and a metre high.

Tondoon Botanic Gardens, Rockhampton, November 2010
I was relieved to see that this typo was caught before the sign was finished.

The road south of Gladstone, November 2010
We took a winding country road for part of the way to Tannum Sands, and the hillside was full of this long grass that was very hard for the eyes to focus on. We thought it looked trippy.

David cooking, November 2010
We arrived at Tannum Sands after dark, and David whipped together a fantastic meal on an electric barbecue. He has been specialising lately in madras curry burritos with potato, sweet potato and carrots.

After all this water play inland, the girls had started imagining what it would be like to play on a beach in larger waves. We were happy to stop at Tannum Sands so they could have their beach play!

Our site at Tannum Sands, November 2010
Our overnight site at Tannum Sands was right on the beach at the esplanade.

Brioni collecting shells, November 2010
Brioni started a terrific shell collection, although upon closer examination we had to return two shells to the water because they were still home to live creatures.

Calista and I walked up the beach, and the hand-held radios were great in providing contact between David and me. I was able to inform him that I found a playground further up, and he let me know that the kids were building terrific sandcastles.

Tannum Sands beach, November 2010
The weather was quite variable. Sometimes it looked like it was going to storm, and at other times it was hot and sunny.

Brioni and Aisha with their sandcastles, November 2010
The girls made lovely sandcastles and decorated them with shells, but — alas! — they also learned an important lesson in real estate location, location, location!

After trying out a little bit of swimming in the surf (with David and Brioni experiencing being bowled over by a strong, incoming wave), the girls retreated to the safety of a tidal creek high up on the beach.

Swimming at Tannum Sands, November 2010
The girls prefer to swim where they can touch the bottom if they have to, and this little creek was perfect for their heights.

Calista venturing into the water at Tannum Sands, November 2010
Even this creek lured Calista into the water.

Calista swimming at Tannum Sands, November 2010
She ventured in quite deep and even started swimming properly in her float suit. This is the first time this summer that she has voluntarily swum out to deeper water.

Swimming at Tannum Sands, November 2010
Later we saw signs warning against crocodiles (this far south?) so I'm not sure we would recommend this place for swimming in the future.

Aisha's ball-track, November 2010
Aisha made a terrific ball-track in the sand, using the slope of the dune and her own carvings to direct the ball down into the water.

When we were all beached out, we retreated inland to the beautiful parklands along the esplanade.

Tannum Sands playground, November 2010
The girls enjoyed the local playground. I spoke to the cleaner who said it was due to be replaced early next year. (I wonder what they'll do with this equipment?)

Calista and Aisha, November 2010
The girls used the little cubbies to create elaborate games about household routines.

David and Aisha cooking, November 2010
Aisha helped David prepare our early dinner. It's much easier to cook in the daylight!

Kite surfers, Tannum Beach, November 2010
We ventured back onto the beach again to watch the kite surfers. This stretch was the playground to half a dozen kite surfers, and they demonstrated varying skill level. It was fascinating to watch.

I had heard about Tannum Sands from our friends who had come camping with us at the beginning of this trip, so it was lovely to finally visit the place of legends. We’ve been on the road now for three weeks now, but it seems much longer. When we’re having fun, when we’re living life to the full, we enjoy each moment longer, and it stretches out our perception of time. I wish we could stay on the road for another couple months — I’m happy to keep travelling. But home and Grafton beckons.