Being new arrivals in Australia we decided that kitting ourselves out with camping gear would enable us to explore the area where we're living in an easy and affordable way.
Fortunately friends of ours, Ben (originally from South Africa) and his wife Michelle (an Australian), have camping experience and more of the useful and necessary gadgets and equipment that we hadn't had time to accumulate yet.
We recently headed off for our first overnighter with them. They had chosen Mount Mee Forest Reserve, which is about 60km north of Brisbane at the northern end ofthe D'Aguilar Range. It adjoins the Brisbane Forest Park.
We stayed in the Archer campground which is easily accessed from the northern entrance to the reserve after going through Woodford town. The road to the campground is dirt, butwe didn't have any problems driving there in a wagon. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended to access some parts of the park. The campground has toilets, but no showers, thank goodness for Ben and Michelle's camping shower. And the water is not safe to drink, so you either need to boil it or take your own.
After getting our camp set up we spent some time in the nearby creek, which was great fun for the children who climbed over rocks and enjoyed the cool water. The scenery in the area is beautiful with rainforest, eucalyptus forests, hoop pine plantations and delightful rocky creeks.
There is a lot to explore in the reserve and surrounding areas. Ben and Michelle have previously visited the Gantry day-use area, which is about 150m from the southern entrance to the park. There you can see the remains of an old sawmill that operated until 1981 and there are walks from the picnic area. Also in the reserve is the Broadwater picnic area, which is adjacent to a large waterhole, and the Neurem Creek campground.
Near the entrance of the Mount Mee reserve we went through the Neurum Creek Bush Retreat, a privately owned camping and caravanning spot. Owner Simon Gavin says that it's a popular spot for a number of South Africans, who are members of a Strathpine church that visits regularly. It looks like a good spot for camping and might be worth a future trip. They hold regular events including wine tastings and a music festival in September. There are various amenities on the 127 hectare property that accommodates the campground, including hot showers. Platypus, turtles and several species of fish inhabit the creek, red deer frequent the area and rabbits, hares, wallabies and kangaroos can be seen in the evening or early morning.
More great places to visit
A place that has quickly become a favourite for our family is the water park and play area at Pandanus Beach in Wynnum, Brisbane. There is a great play area, a fair amount of shade, and some water spouting whales to provide wet fun, especially in the hot weather. There is a great walkway for bike riding and there is also a big wading pool with a slide nearby.
Lone Pine Koala Park
Lone Pine Koala Park in Fig Tree Pocket, Brisbane is a great place to see Australian animals. We visited a short time after arriving in Australia as we were all keen to see Australian animals for the first time. The park is apparently in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's first and largest koala sanctuary and has been visited by a couple of famous people including Queen Elizabeth II and the Pope. Animals at the park include kangaroos (that you can feed), koalas, wombats, dingoes, snakes and birds.
The Places I've Been feature will appear regularly in Sabona.
Tell us about the places in Australia that you've been to and enjoyed visiting with your friends and family.