Sunday 31 January 2016

Bread N Butter Pudding


Serves: 12

  • 6 slices old bread (or let it dry out for an hour) with crusts cut off 
  • butter (enough to butter bread slices)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 litre milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • sprinkle of nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup sultanas (optional)

Preparation: 30 min › Cook: 1 hour  › Ready in: 1 1/2 hours
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C


  • Lightly grease a large baking dish.
  • Butter, then cut the crust-less slices of bread into triangles or squares (you can use any leftover breads) and lay in dish for the best fit (you can be decorative but make sure the whole base is evenly covered).
  • In a large mixing bowl beat 5 eggs on a medium speed and add milk gradually.
  • Add vanilla essence and sugar and continue to mix for 1-2 minutes or until thoroughly mixed.
  • Pour mixture over the bread.
  • Allow mixture to sit for about 10 mins so moisture soaks into bread.
  • Sprinkle nutmeg on top.
  • Place in oven/camp oven and cook for 40 - 60 minutes (check every now and again).

Let stand for 10 minutes before serving with vanilla ice-cream.

Camp Oven Tips#

  • If cooking in a camp oven, place dish on a trivet so the bottom does not burn.  Place a little water in the bottom of the camp oven to create a steam effect.
  • To brown the top of pudding ensure you place coals on top of lid for at least 10 mins at end of cooking process.

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Campgrounds in SE Queensland as at December 2015

Map of SE Queensland Regions

I have recently made contact with all of the
SE Queensland councils and requested a list of all campgrounds in their electorate.

So far Gympie Regional Council, Scenic Rim Regional Council and Sunshine Coast Regional Council have sent through lists.

I will update this post as the rest arrive. Surprisingly some of the councils don't have a list in a format they can issue so they have agreed to forward shortly. :-)

Gympie Region Campgrounds

Click here to download PDF - Gympie Region Campgrounds

Scenic Rim Region (Boonah & Kalbar) Campgrounds

Scenic Rim Region (Rathdowney & Tamborine) Campgrounds

Scenic Rim Region (Canungra, Christmas Ck, Beaudesert areas) Campgrounds

Sunshine Coast Regional Campgrounds

Click here to download PDF - Sunshine Coast Region Campgrounds

Tuesday 5 January 2016

Surge in Showground and Sports Ground Camping in Regional Towns

Available campsites are growing as showgrounds and sports grounds in regional towns get in on the surge of baby boomers retiring and hitting the Australian highways.  This reasonably new camping option ranges in cost from $15 p/night - $25 p/night for 2 person with some offering power and water.  They are a great option if you are travelling from A-B and need a spot to stop.  Either overnight or short respite of a few days.  Allowing you to recharge yours and the van’s batteries, dump grey and black water, restock water tanks and continue on your journey.  Much better option than having grey nomads setting up camp in our truck stops.  Perfect option for a short visit with family as camping on their front lawn is rarely acceptable to local council. And sleeping in your van on the street is a definite no no.

There are already 170,000 powered and unpowered sites available nightly in Australia. Average occupancy rate is 54% thus, 86,000 sites go unused nightly around the country.  Do we need anymore?

Many would say yes, especially for small towns which don’t already have caravan parks or bush campgrounds.  Research says that for every $100 spent in a caravan park, another $138 flows into the township in other expenditures like groceries, fuel, alcohol, vehicle maintenance and entertainment.   Most small town showgrounds and sports club committees struggle to maintain facilities, so extra revenue is definitely a godsend for these guys.  Generally speaking this writer thinks it is a fabulous option and would like to see more of this in small regional towns so that all travellers can take the opportunity to see our great country.

However, allowing more low cost camping where existing business is already catering to the market truly makes it hard for some to compete.  I most definitely would not be mortgaging my house to buy a caravan park lease if I thought council may allow the showground across the road to start competing with me.  Most local council are very aware of the dangers to existing business and are opting to only allow showgrounds and sports grounds in these situations to be used as overflows.  Thus, only used when existing campgrounds are full or there are large events in the region.  This seems to me to be a fair and responsible approach for those specific locations.

I know many would not agree with me as they would like to see more low cost camping available but it is also good to see a range of options prevail.  If the local caravan park goes out of business, those that would prefer to camp with a playground, convenience store, swimming pool, camp kitchen, slab sites and laundries will be forced to camp in showgrounds with very basic amenities.  In times gone by, caravan parks were the domain of the young family.  It was the only holiday option many could afford. It would be great to see that option be there for them in the future.

There needs to be some compromise so everyone wins and we continue to see a mix of low cost, bush, showground, national park, and caravan park camping.  All need to prosper and continue to be there for all of us to enjoy at different times. Depending on the type of travel we are undertaking, our budget and our personal needs on the day.  I would think a wise council would be taking all of these matters very seriously into consideration before deciding what is best for their location.

In Defence of Spiders.....

Did you know that spiders eat other insects that we usually find pretty scary, including mosquitoes carrying malaria (the world’s #1 fatal disease) and flies carrying cholera. The presence of spiders in your house is a sign that 2,000 fewer bugs per spider will be there every year.

In your garden, spiders eat those bugs that love to damage your plants! In fact, they're used in organic cotton farming for exactly this reason.

It’s actually rare for most spiders to bite humans, unless they feel threatened in some way. You are more likely to be bitten in bed by a bedbug. Fear of spiders causes more injury than the spider itself as many a panicked driver has crashed from seeing a huntsman drop down from behind the sun visor.

Spiders are terrified of you, and only want to run away from you. They can only see about one foot in front of them so they are exceptionally unlikely to chase you or jump on you on purpose.

Spiders are generally a sign of good luck in many cultures the world over!

Important Note - We do not recommend you handle any dangerous spider or any spider if you are not 100% sure of it's identity. Know your local dangerous spiders and do not interfere with these guys. There will likely only be a small handful in your State or Territory to ever be concerned about and if worst case happens call emergency medical aid. Anti venom is available and unless you are a small child or have an underlying health condition it is unlikely you will have any severe repercussions.

Monday 4 January 2016

Atkinson’s Dam Holiday Park, SE Qld – What a little gem!

I have just spent a few days camping at Atkinson’s Dam Holiday Park, which is approximately 1 hour’s drive north-west of Brisbane.  I didn’t want to fight the Christmas crazy in the prime locations, so looked to stay close to home.   I have had a fabulous time and I am feeling exceptionally relaxed and refreshed, which is my gauge for ‘it must be all good’.   The weather was amazing the first two days and then the rain started to set in.  It is not a problem, as I am set up for most of Mother Nature’s mood swings.  I had a bit of work I needed to do, so I set up office in my tent and it is the nicest office I think I have ever had.   I might even stay an extra day or two.  Home office was never this good!

There are two parks at Atkinson’s Dam but sadly, neither was terribly reputable in times gone by.  Fortunately, this one has new owners and they have waived a magic wand over this old and very tired caravan park and turned her into a surprising gem in a very short 18 months.   She has a rejuvenated cafĂ©, convenience store, slash service station which produces some of the finest pizza I have had in a long time.  Pool and BBQ area have had a spruce up.  The playground looks very inviting but I showed restraint.  Camp kitchen is as tidy as any I have seen.  Bathroom facilities have all had a reno and are immaculately clean.  The cabins have had a respray and the grounds are looking mighty fine. My favourite thing which I thought was just a little non-typical was their fabulous community campfire in a shed.  Feels so very 1800's and is wonderful.  The new owners are exceptionally friendly and obliging and have brought to this caravan park a personality resembling their own.  They have added a jumping castle for the kids and installed their own pet goats to add a little extra bit of character.  I did not feel it lacking in any area at all.  $30 per powered site for 2 persons or $10 per person for unpowered in peak.  Pretty close to perfect.

Community Campfire

Atkinson's Dam Holiday Park is attached to the dam's Day Use Area.  Sadly, the dry has seen this 2 km long dam dry out a bit but you can still have a blast with a jet ski, canoe, kayak, paddle board or small catamaran.  Might be pushing it a bit at the moment to enjoy your wake boarding but if this rain keeps up, she will be good to go again tomorrow.  I have often frequented this dam when she is in her glory and she is magnificent.  The bird life on this dam is spectacular viewing.  The sunsets and sunrises can take your breath away.  As this dam is predominately an irrigation dam her levels drop dramatically in dry times and people forget she is here quite quickly.  So close to Brisbane.  Nowhere near as crazy busy as Somerset and you can put all forms of power boat on her, so nowhere near as much restriction as Wivenhoe.  No boat permit or fishing permits are required.

Definitely suggest you pop this spot on your must do list.  The day use area has toilets, picnic tables, shelter and free BBQ’s.  Whether you just want a quiet and quick escape from Brisbane for the day or you want to sleep over.  You cannot go past this lovely caravan park and destination.  Mention my name.. Maybe you will get a good seat J