Our previous camping experience taught us an important lesson — Lesson 05 — for sanity’s sake, make yourself a camping checklist. Although ‘taught’ is not entirely correct — in order to be ‘taught’ one must ‘learn’ — and some people are slow learners. Having successfully failed to make myself a camping list, it was pretty much inevitable that this trip would involve the absence of an important piece of equipment — the billy. Unfortunately, I remained unenlightened by this epiphany until half way to Coochin Creek. Then I was faced with a choice — find another billy, or suck dry teabags and crunch dry noodles — mmm…
It’s actually quite difficult to find a billy in a foreign town, and having traipsed around Beerwah for far too long I came to the crazy conclusion that Woodford would save me. So, I drove half an hour in the wrong direction — back to the good people at Home Hardware who furnished me with the hatchet during our first experience. And, thankfullly, they came through for me again — they’ve got everything. Then I fumed back down the mountain, almost apoplectic with rage at my own stupidity (always driving carefully of course) — plus one billy but minus the better part of two hours. But then calm descended as we entered the campsite.
This is one of the main attractions of camping — anger, angst and aggression melt away in the overwhelming peace of nature — even in a man-made campsite with a bunch of other humans around. The stress and tension and worry of everyday urban life becomes diffuse — everything becomes slower, less urgent, less catastrophic. Those of us who are uptight become down-loose.
Coochin Creek, is a neat little camping area with only 21 sites. Some sites allow you to camp right beside your car, others have separate car spaces. K found the toilets intriguing. They look just like a normal toilet block, but as you approach you get the unmistakable whiff of the long-drop. I was surprised to find my daughter take this in her stride — I was expecting her to be too grossed out.
You can fish in the creek, which is more the size of a river, so we came prepared with rods and whatnot. What we didn’t come prepared for was the mozzies. These things were in plague proportions and they were BIG. We’d never encountered such an onslaught before so we were caught short in the insect repellent department. This leads us the Lesson 06 — always take heaps of insect repellent — you never know when you will come under siege. The mozzies we get in Brisbane are tiny little buggers that itch like hell. But these big Coochin Creek mozzies didn’t seem to itch (and we MUST have been bitten). So, although they were annoying, they didn’t send us berko-itcho.
The fishing was a bit of a debacle. We spent a lot of time caught in the trees (even the ones on the other side of the river) and other snags. And I spent fully half the time re-rigging. There are definitely decent size fish in the creek — we saw them jumping right out in front of us. But they weren’t going to fall victim to our incompetent angling attempts — so, no fish for dinner.
Setting up camp was a little problematic this time. We bent a few tent pegs beyond recognition. I’m not sure if this was due to hard ground, or rock or roots — but it was too difficult for me, so I left it to K :
You may have come to the conclusion by now that the billy wasn’t the only thing we forgot this trip and you’d be right. Lesson 07 — always take your camera — there are bound to be memories you’ll want to capture. These dodgy shots were taken on a phone. Which again reminds me of Lesson 05 — for sanity’s sake, make yourself a camping checklist. And this is exactly what we did after this trip. There’s a lot of stuff you need for an overnighter, but you don’t need to expand it much for two or more nights. You’ll see the most important things are in all capitals :
(click to get the full list)
Again, we chose a tent site on the periphery and in the morning we were rewarded with a beautiful, uninterrupted dawn glow. There’s something very peaceful about long shadows :
(click for a larger slideshow)
K says : There were a lot of mozzies and they were huge. We could also fish but we did not catch anything except leaves and weeds, etc. There was not a lot of wildlife except mozzies. I did not like the long road to the campsite, but on the way we saw an eagle. On the way home we went to Bribie Island. We had chips and a crusty sausage for lunch — it was yummy. We also went to the beach for a swim and another go at fishing. There were lots of blue jellyfish.
Despite the mozzies, lack of camera, running out of insect repellent, and the whole billy thing, we had a pleasant enough stay at Coochin Creek. But it won’t be top of our list of campsites to revisit. If you’re into fishing (and mozzies) it’s a great little spot — and would be especially beautiful if you had some kind of boat or kayak or whatever to get out on the water and putter or paddle around the various nooks and crannies. There’s bound to be crustaceans in amongst all those mangroves too. There’s a boat ramp close by.
Coochin Creek is a bit over an hour north of Brisbane. Past the Bribie Island turnoff but before you get to Caloundra. The instructions on the government map say you can’t turn right off the Bruce Highway into Roys Rd, so you should continue to the Caloundra turnoff and then turn back south. But, if you haven’t got a super-high vehicle (eg. a bus), you can actually exit left at Roys Rd and there’s a little highway underpass. The site is well signed and easy to find. As with the other National Parks campsites we’ve been to so far — you book before you go through ParksQ :
click to view Coochin Creek campsite map
click to view Glasshouse Mtns map