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Is Van Life For Me? Part 3: Woodgate beach to Kilcoy

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

Day 3

We survived the night, no hail thank goodness, but no sleep either. Not being my van, and the van actually belonging to a person not a company was quite worrying, what if it hailed? what if the van got damage? What would I do? There was already a crack in the windscreen from a random rock whilst driving on the highway...

When I woke up and opened the door, Childers was surrounded by a very thick fog. No one else seemed to be moving around. I waited for a while for it to clear but then I thought, I could be here for hours, so packed up and I very carefully headed off to Woodgate Beach.

The drive to Woodgate beach was a new experience because it was the first time I had really driven the van on a "non popular" road. This road was not as maintained as well as the other roads so far. There was floodway dips and pot holes. the road was narrower and had lots of on marked bends and intersections. I drove to the conditions and I drove remembering that I was driving a 7 metre long, 4 ton van.

Woodgate Beach

Arriving at Woodgate beach, even though there was stormy skies off shore, was as beautiful as I remembered. I had stopped in here for lunch during an extended road trip up to Bowen in 2017 and I always wanted to come back.

I found the best place to park was right at the entrance to the esplanade. The van easily fitted into the parking space and there was everything you would need. Right next to where we parked was a grassy area, entrance to the beach, the esplanade walking track, lots of covered tables and chairs, access to water via a tab or water fountain, bbq's and an superbly designed amenities block with toilets, indoor and outdoor showers and vanities.

Picturesque Woodgate beach would have to be my second favourite beach, my first being Greys Bay in Bowen. I always love a beach area that is tranquil and relaxing, a beach for me should be a place where when you see it or visit it you instantly relax.

Leaving Childers early having had little or no sleep stressing about the van getting damaged in overnight storms, after making a lovely breakfast, I filmed some footage of the area and dozed off in the van... relaxed, listening to the sound of the ocean...


It wasn't long before the storms offshore started to roll in, the winds picked up and spoiled the day. Looking around, there was storms in every direction. I looked up the weather on BOM and it did not look good. I decided that going back via the inland roads and staying overnight at Gayndah, may not be a wise thing, due to the van being a rental and the flash flooding that may occur in the creek crossings going the back way. I decided the safest way would be to head back along the Bruce Highway.

I got out all the maps and plotted the best and safest route back, with limited kilometres. I knew that my old faithful Gunalda was high up and I would feel safe there. I got back onto the highway and a few minutes down the road, I hit a wall of water. The rain was so hard, even with the fastest setting for the windscreen wipers, I could not see more than a metre in front of the van, very dangerous. I saw a car had pulled over on the side of the highway and I pulled in behind them. The wind and rain was hammering the van and with the thunder and lightning to boot, I made the right decision. I waited until the worst of it had passed and in the pouring rain I continued to Gunalda Rest and Camp area.


I arrived at Gunalda Rest Area, it was still raining and I was exhausted, exhausted from driving a vehicle I did not know in severe weather and that I had not had a lot of sleep the night before at Childers. This day certainly gave me a good insight into 'REAL' van life. I parked the van on the gravel high section and crawled into the bed and fell asleep.

When I awakened a few hours later... The change in the weather was unbelievable! The sun was shining and it was very hot. I decided that I would head closer to home...

Finding a safe place for the night

This well known Park shocked me... and I no longer felt safe. I drove around the park to see if I could find a place to stay. I was very shocked to see that most of the park, had been taken over by what looked like people who were actually living there! There was cars, vans and tents with so much stuff surrounding their dwellings there was no way they had only been there for 20 hours which was the maximum limit for the park. People living at the park was not what scared me, it was the fact that when I was driving around to try and find a spot to park, these permanent dwellers came out of their dwellings and 'stared me down' while I was driving around. Being a solo female traveller, I felt very scared and I did not feel safe staying at the park, not even to pull up and use the toilets.

So listening to my inner voice in my head and remembering what so many Van Life You Tubers, I checked Wiki Camps decided to move on...


In the darkness I headed to Kilcoy. I located a small Free Camp site in Kilcoy. There was only a couple of vans there and a tent that did not look permanent. I parked the van, crawled into bed and fell asleep.

The following morning I woke up and was pleasantly surprised. I opened the van door and it was so quiet all I could hear was the sounds of nature and I noticed ducks heading across the parking area...bliss. I decided to get the mobile out and film my surroundings, record a coffee and chat explaining about the previous day, I made some breakfast and a coffee and relaxed for a few hours.

Speaking to my son Kevin about the events of the previous night, he suggested that I go and spend the day at Somerset Dam that was very close to where I was. The limited Kilometres and staying within the limit, was still stressing me out, but after Kevin making me realise that it was better to enjoy the trip and that a being a few kilometres over did not matter and that it would only cost a few dollars, I decided I would head for Somerset Dam...

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This blog is intended as an information only. Any opinions given are not meant to upset or insult anyone. Information given is correct at the time of publishing but may change at any time. Travel Adventures Australia or the author in no way accepts responsibility and/or liability for the facilities, actions and services of individual operators mentioned in this blog. In no way does Travel Adventures Australia or the Author endorse any specific venue.


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