PETE'S AUSSIE TRAVEL BLOG
Since 2008 we've done a number of long distance
Aussie jaunts with hopefully many more still to come. As
well as running the business I have been working at Sydney Airport for many years
interviewing international visitors to Australia on their
departure. Among other things I ask them about all the places in
Australia that they have visited during their stay. They have
mentioned numerous places that I haven't been to and many that I haven't
even heard of!! Their stories have inspired me to get out there and
see more of my own country.
The Aussie trips we've done so far have been mainly independent driving trips in our own car. This is my preferred travel method for the freedom that it gives you to explore and the fact that half of the adventure is often found getting there and getting back. Some of the recent journeys have specifically included my new found love for Aussie country music.
I will try and find time to update this page shortly with stories about all of these trips but will start first with our most recent Queensland trip.
URBAN COUNTRY - HORSE STABLES, GREAT MUSIC & NEW FRIENDS
On 1 May 2013 after a couple of hours getting
across Sydney during the morning peak hour we finally made it to the F3
for a trip north just over 1000km to Caboolture. Where?, I
hear you say. Well Caboolture is just outside Brisbane, on
the northern side before you reach the turnoffs to the Sunshine
Coast. While Caboolture may not be on the top ten Aussie tourist
destinations list, it is becoming increasingly known for its annual
Urban Country Festival which is now in its 10th year. It's
also the town where Keith Urban grew up.
It was a bit far for a days drive so we spent a night on the way up in the rather sleepy alternative lifestyle town of Bellingen, just inland from Coffs Harbour. We had a great valley and river view from the upstairs and an amazing sunrise to wake us up. Bellingen made for a nice change from a mundane highway motel stop.
QSEC Main Arena
On arrival in Caboolture we checked into our 5 star horse stable. Yes, we slept in a horse stable at the Queensland State Equestrian Centre which was where all the festival events were held. And when the alternative was to pitch a tent or sleep in the car, why not try the stable. It turned out to be a great choice. They were very clean, had rubber mat flooring, were lockable and there were definitely no horses in sight - and at $20 a night good for those of us who are on a tight budget. The amenities block and kitchen facilities were modern and very clean. Everything was very convenient as all the festival venues were all within a short walk of the stables. There were 30 or 40 stables occupied this year which was only the second year that they have been made available for campers. I'm sure they'll grow quickly in popularity.
Events kicked off on the Friday night with a Rodeo in the Main Arena which is only a couple of years old. On Saturday morning we browsed the Historical Village Precinct which had a great variety of things to see and do. The afternoon saw the start of the main concert which ran through to late that night. It was most enjoyable and featured a number of very popular Aussie country music stars - Lee Kernaghan, Troy Cassar-Daly, John Williamson and a couple of my fave artists, Amber Lawrence and Chelsea Basham. There were also quite a few very talented up-and-coming acts. Even had me down in the mosh pit for Amber and Lee which is something I don't do quite so often these days!!
With Chelsea Basham
The Sunday saw the local markets in the morning and the Urban Blaze, an open-air concert centred around a large bon fire. It was a fitting and relaxing way to end a fun weekend.
We met lots of great friendly people over the weekend. So much so that Trish and Herb who were staying in an adjoining stable are now travelling to Bangkok together with us at the end of August!!
Hats off to all the volunteers from QSEC who looked after us so well. A fun and memorable few days had and I'm sure we'll be back next year.
Time to start planning the next big road trip....so many places still to see and festivals and events to attend.
Crowd photo for
John Williamson on stage
Urban Country Music Festival in Caboolture, Queensland.
Amber Lawrence - a city girl who sings great country and is full of energy. Check out all 3 of her albums.
Chelsea Basham - love her debut album 'I Make My Own Sunshine'. Sings about so many personal life experiences at such a young age.
Queensland State Equestrian Centre - in Caboolture, Queensland.