Our first true beach-side camp was at the end of a long dirt road past sugar cane and pineapple plantations. We didn’t know where we were going, but our smouldering hope of something at the end of a road leading to the beach exceeded our expectations.

Locals have long used the stretch of casuarina forest along the beach north of Bundaberg as their personal holiday campground, and despite the best efforts by landowner Bundaberg Sugar to discourage camping, we found a graffiti-emblazoned sign encouraging us to camp down what looked like a four-wheel-drive track.

We drove down cautiously and passed a number of camps along the way. There was a sole man in his tent and two big 4WDs towing caravans parked in close quarters while their inhabitants chatted around a fire. The track extended parallel to the beach for miles.

We ventured down as far as we needed to — David spied a flat spot with good grass, and we stopped. We were thirty metres from the high-tide mark that was carving the sand dunes out from under the trees that stood as sentinels at the top of the dunes.

The sea was dark and forbidding, and the sand was tainted with very dark mud, turning the grains blue. Not quite the golden beaches of the Gold Coast, but the price was right!

Our location at Norvay Park, November 2010
We were just on the edge of the beach forest, just over top of the sand dunes.

Delaney, November 2010
After we've been travelling, Delaney is always happy to be out of her carseat and able to crawl around again. (She gets terribly mucky — I'm looking forward to her being able to walk!)

The girls were happy to play on the beach. The alternated between burying their dolls in the sand and washing them in the pools left by the receding tide.

Playing in the sand, November 2010
The girls' main game consisted of burying their babies and then washing them again. (Aisha tasted the black sand — she much prefers the taste of pale sand.)

Playing in the sand, November 2010
The high tide had left little pools of water high on the beach, providing a great place for the girls to wash in.

Playing in the sand, November 2010
I thought it was a little creepy to bury the dolls like this, but it kept them amused for hours!

Playing in the sand, November 2010
When the girls were playing on the camp side of the dunes, I let Delaney join them.

Another beautiful sunset, November 2010
Another beautiful sunset to celebrate our fabulous, beach-side location!

For the two days we spent at this location, we let the older girls go to the beach unsupervised. They know not to enter the water alone, and they enjoy playing in the sand so much.

Norvay Park beach, November 2010
When the sun came out, the ocean was warm and inviting.

David later encouraged them all to try entering the surf, and Aisha and Calista were happy in the larger waves. I let Delaney play at the top of the water one morning, and she was fascinated by the endless arrival and retreat of the bubbling waves. It was a lovely beach to collect unusual shells and rocks, and we’ve got quite a collection to take home with us.

Eating dinner, November 2010
The girls love eating David's special fried potatoes.

Brioni washing her hair on the beach, November 2010
I laughed and laughed when I saw Brioni doing this!

Brioni washing her hair on the beach, November 2010
Brioni decided to wash her hair in the little pools.

Brioni and Calista on the beach, November 2010
Calista was a fascinated with Brioni's funky hairdo but not keen to try it out herself.

When we weren’t on the beach, David and I enjoyed relaxing in the trailer with our books. It’s been nice to be so isolated after being in town for the last couple of stops. It’s great to have the knowledge of this location for future reference too. We may want cheap beachfront accommodation in the future!