Mouse’s Holiday, part 1: 1400km on the road

Hello!  Still here, still reading your blogs, just busy travelling…

This is the first big trip we’ve taken with Mouse. The first one was a shake-down, and highlighted some of the issues, but a longer trip is a whole other story. Not quite like having a toddler along, but there are similarities. Regular meals and bathroom breaks, can’t be left alone, especially in cars on hot days…. But it’s a joy watching his incredulous delight at the dog beach, with all those other doggos playing, swimming, fetching and sniffing. And even more delight at the 3 acre fenced off-leash dog park, where he was allowed off the lead and to do zoomies, which he’s missed. He hasn’t quite got the idea of coming when called yet, but I can now see I have to give some serious priority to it when we get home; 3 acres is a large area to have to pursue him in should he decide to play Catch Me.

So, the trip. It didn’t start well; our car is nearly as old as the caravan, and it chose packing day to give up on the air conditioning, without which one doesn’t undertake a journey of any distance in Queensland. Net result was the Husband spending 6 hours in town getting it sorted, while I tried to pack as much as I could. Normally, I make a list, we split the task and the job is done smoothly and efficiently. This time, we forgot a few things…. Like the cordless drill which winds down the caravan stabiliser legs much faster than the old hand crank. And my camera. And a second pair of pyjamas. And the guy ropes for the awning. Never mind, we have work-rounds for everything, and it’s good to test our ingenuity! Miz Lizzie has had her undercarriage and suspension rebuilt since you last saw a photo of her, and now rides a good deal higher on larger wheels, which makes her stronger, stops things bouncing around inside and saves wear and tear on her frame.

Mouse was a model passenger. The back seat is wide enough that he could stretch out full length, and he took full advantage. We stopped every couple of hours to let everyone walk about a bit and get the blood circulating again, which meant the journeys took a little longer than usual, but we arrived in better shape as a result.

First stop was Tannum Sands, a pretty beachside suburb just south of Gladstone. The caravan park is just lovely: spacious, in beautiful surroundings directly opposite the beach, well landscaped and cared for. Just one tiny downside: the bitey insect life at night. Mosquitos and sandflies. During the day, not so much, but venture outside at night and the little devils are feasting on you in short order. We’ll be staying there on our return journey as well, so I have dug the tropical strength insect repellent out of the first aid kit to make walking Mouse less of a blood-letting exercise. He loved it there; foxes in the woods behind and possums up the trees made for excellent smellyvision for him.

The second night was at Landsborough Pines, a caravan park 3km from Australia Zoo of Steve Irwin (“Crikey, crocodiles!”) fame. It’s small, and really lovely. Many of the cabins are permanent residences, a few are holiday accommodation, and there’s a separate section for caravans and tents. Between the two is a really gorgeous duck pond/mini lake, complete with ducks, geese, wildfowl, turtles and fish. The water is aerated daily with large jets which make a lovely sound and look spectacular. The amenities were rather up-market for a caravan park, there was a very posh barbecue pavilion overlooking the duck pond, and the only downsides were that one tree housed a colony of rather smelly and noise fruit bats, and we were situated under a gum tree that dropped gum nuts on the roof all night. Once we’d worked out what the noise was, it stopped waking us up!

Day 3 was the longest leg of the trip. We also crossed south into New South Wales, which meant a change of time zone, an hour ahead. It made for a long and tiring day, but our destination was worth it. The White Albatross holiday park at Nambucca Heads is arranged in a crescent around a sea-fed lagoon behind a rock wall breakwater. On the other side is the ocean, and at night you can hear the surf, but you are protected from bad weather. Once again, there’s a mix of permanent and holiday accommodation and sites for tents and caravans. The place is immaculate, beautifully landscaped, well managed and incredibly clean and tidy. The sites are all flat, making set-up easy, and we have an en suite bathroom block for our exclusive use with brand new fixtures and fittings. Mouse is delighted with our stay here, as just around the headland is the dog beach, filled with new furry friends and their parents. If we weren’t fairly sure he’d disappear into the dim blue distance in short order, we’d let him off the lead, but we have at least switched to the 8 metre lead for walks here. The sand is pale vanilla-coloured and very high in silica, so it squeaks underfoot with every step. There’s surf here, as it’s not protected by a reef, which is a novel experience for Mouse, and there are quite a few dogs who have learned to coast in to shore on a wave.

We’re staying here for a week, heading north again on 26th. Tomorrow I’ll tell about the things we’ve done over the past couple of days

35 thoughts on “Mouse’s Holiday, part 1: 1400km on the road

  1. Beautiful 🥰 Glad Mouse is having a fabulous time & cant wait to be there in a few months !!!

  2. gwenniesgardenworld says:

    At the dog school we learned to give your dog a treat when he comes as soon as you call him. They learn that very soon 😀
    We took our dogs with us on our recent trip to France so I know what you are talking about here. It’s like travelling with small kids.

  3. Your Qld stopover places look lovely… bookmarking them. I’ve always wanted to go to Tannum Sands since someone brought me back a travel souvenir bottle of coloured sands from their when I was a kid. The White Albatross is a nice park, and well located. Like Mouse I really enjoyed the dog beach… it’s great seeing the dogs (and humans) socialising.

    • katechiconi says:

      We’ll be staying in Tweed Heads as well on the way home so I can try and catch up with a friend in Murwillumbah – oh, and visit my favourite quilt fabric shop as well, of course!

  4. kathyreeves says:

    Sounds like Mouse and parents are doing well, and having a good time!

    • katechiconi says:

      Busy day yesterday, lovely quiet day today and hopefully tomorrow, and then a social day on Thursday. Mouse has had some very new experiences and will be spoiled rotten for entertainment by the time we go home…

  5. Nice to hear you are taking a trip. It’s always great to take a break but always great to be back home.

    • katechiconi says:

      When I’m home, I look forward to trips, and by the time I reach the end of a trip, I’m dying to get home! This is our first time doing a long trip with the dog, and while he’s limited some activities, we’re trying new things because he’s with us, which is great.

      • Intellegent dogs are just like interacting and sharing with people. They seem to enjoy the company of humans as companions. I found that out when I brought home my first obedience and boundary trained Doberman. A few years later I adopted a Boxer who became my best friend. To me, larger dogs that are trained are at a whole different level. I am glad you are enjoying the companionship.

      • katechiconi says:

        Mouse is getting better at the obedience thing, but it’s important to remember that he spent the first two years of his life racing and has to unlearn all those lesson while he’s learning what I expect from him. He’s quite smart, despite working hard to convince me that he’s not very bright and needs lots of edible encouragement to learn!

  6. Ah, happy days, how lovely 🙂 x

    • katechiconi says:

      This is turning out to be a really good break. Tonight I plan to sleep like the dead after a quiet, domestic day in the sunshine. Laundry has to happen even on holiday, but all my shirts smell of sunshine and the sea. Lovely…..

  7. KerryCan says:

    The first few days of the trip sound busy and kind of stressful–I bet it’s a relief to be in one spot, now, for a week. Mr. Mouse seems very resilient–adapts well to new situations!

    • katechiconi says:

      The first few days is when we discovered how many important things we’d left behind in our rush. But you’re right, it’s good to be in one place, and if not exactly still, then at least settled. Mouse is very happy here, but I suspect would be happy anywhere he had us and his bed and a regular supply of food!

  8. Sounds like dog and humans are having a wonderful time. As my mother would say, often in French, “Travel changes the mind.” And so it does.

  9. Dayphoto says:

    What a lovely, lovely, lovely world you live in; your descriptive words open up our wonder even more. I’m delighted that Mouse is getting new experiences, which has to make him ever so happy (and able to sleep well).

  10. Glad to travel along vicariously. What wonderful new adventures you’re giving Mouse each day, new fodder for dreams each night.

    • katechiconi says:

      I think he likes travel; he’s certainly pretty blasé about it now. But it’s fun to see him react to new sights and smells: the excitement when we drew up to the dog beach was very endearing 🙂

  11. kymlucas says:

    Sounds lovely. And I’ve actually been to Nambucca Heads, which made this post even more interesting. I see to recall we landed in a cow field/grass strip and The Engineer rescued a seagull by untangling it from a fishing line. And it was beautiful.

    • katechiconi says:

      Wow…. the world truly is a small place. You were lucky to find a field flat enough to land in around here, it’s very hilly. And yes, it really is very beautiful. I walked Mouse along the V-Wall this afternoon in a stiff breeze, and the water was shaded from pale turquoise through to dark blue, with brilliant white caps on the surf, and the waves crashed and thundered. It really lifted my heart, but the boom of the surf made Mouse a bit nervous, poor boy.

  12. tialys says:

    I looks wonderful. What more could a dog (and his humans) want from a trip?

    • katechiconi says:

      Well, I could name a few things the dog would like…. The Husband’s lunch yesterday (of which more later), last night’s roast chicken, even MORE walkies. Well, you get the idea. I’m contentedly stitching away in the sun every day, eating nice food, visiting friends and family and going to bed early because I’m sleepy, not because I have to 🙂

  13. Everything went into spam and I didn’t notice right away. I’m glad I caught up with you. It sounds like fun and learning all the way around. I’ll keep reading. The training for coming back when called is THE most important lesson of all. I kept tiny treats in my pockets not even the size of my little nail and every time my dog came when called, she got one..It didn’t take long to undo what my mother had done the first year. We had bear and coyotes, etc around so coming when called was life-saving for both of us. You already know that though. You’ll get there in short order. What a sad thing the AC went out at just the wrong moment. No driving without one though, here either.

    • katechiconi says:

      The day I’m dead certain he’ll come back when I call is the day I let him off the lead on the dog beach… He’s not a stupid dog, just rather stubborn. By the way, when I go away, I use my phone as a mobile hotspot for the internet, and WordPress often fails to recognise it. If you know I’ll be away, check spam, and once you’ve OK’d one post, the rest should follow.

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