Monday, 27 March 2017

Back on Track & On The Road Again

 Yes, the RRs are travelling again. But a "different" adventure this time as much of our time away will be spent "house-sitting" in Innisfail.

 We left home with 'Ada' at the end of Feb. Destination "Dylisglen" in time to celebrate Master Landon's 2nd birthday and my 65th..OMG - I really am an "old woman" now!

On the way we stopped overnight at Ceratodus Park - a lovely "free" camp spot 10km north of Eidsvold, and our 2nd night stopover was at Duaringa. We had planned to stay in the RV park but the area was over-run with flying foxes so we actually camped behind the local pub. What else could we do!!!!!

When planning our travels this time, the OWO decided it would add a little 'excitement' to the adventure if we took a few of the 'back roads' between destinations. So the back road it was from Duaringa to 'Dylisglen'.

Sometimes one can 'discover' some interesting little gems along these 'detours'. To our delight we found a beautiful gem in the middle of nowhere.

1956 Olympic Torch Memorial
Croydon Commemorative Park is located on the Marlborough-Sarina Road, which was the main road between Mackay and Rockhampton back in the fifties, before the Bruce Hwy existed. A terrible road for travelling (nearly rattled our brains out!!!) but it was worth the detour to find this little gem. Here at the park is a wonderful memorial marking the place where the Olympic  torch was exchanged on its way to the 1956 Games in Melbourne.  Who knows, this may become the 'Little Gem Adventure'!

We stayed ten days at "Dylisglen", celebrating birthdays and creating more beautiful memories with our youngest daughter and grandson --- and no rain like last year to dampen the big day activites, thank goodness!

Burdekin Bridge, Home Hill
With a sad farewell and a promise to FT regularly, we continued our travels north, stopping overnight at Home Hill. There is another great "free" camp area here with free showers and a camp kitchen for travellers across from the railway station. The old building now houses the local information center, and inside we discovered another little "gem" ---- a wonderful photographic display depicting the building of the magnificent bridge that crosses the mighty Burdekin river, and links the towns of Ayr and Home Hill. Certainly worth stopping here just to visit the info center.

Time to move on. Next stop --  the "Pera Court Hilton", Townsville. Mrs OWO spent 5 wonderful days with her "stitching sister", Miss Carmel, enjoying "girlie" activities. You know, things like shopping, lunches, morning teas, stitching, card making, more stitching, more shopping, more lunches - you get the idea!! It was pretty hot and humid in Townsville but the weather didn't dampen our enthusiasm to enjoy our time was like being on a "retreat".

Leaving the comforts of the "Pera Court Hilton" we continued north with a 2 night stopover at Big Crystal Creek campground in the Paluma Range NP. This is a lovely campground with great facilities and a short walk to a very cool swimming hole.

It is many years since we last visited this area (back in the 80's) and neither of the RRs could recall travelling up the mountain to Little Crystal Creek and Paluma, so we took the opportunity on day 2 to explore a little'.

Paluma is a very interesting village, I would go so far as to say a "ghost" village. There are no longer any businesses open there, although there are some good walking tracks and interesting historical info. The road to get there, although sealed, is very steep, narrow and winding. There are fantastic views out over the valley and across to Hinchinbrook Island.

Leaving the mountain behind we took a short drive into the town of Ingham - stopping in at the Frosty Mango - yummy! Whilst in Ingham we stopped for a short walk around the Tyto Wetlands. This is a lovely area but it was so humid that the RRs were only able to walk around part of the park before retreating to the air-conditioned vehicle to return to the campground for a cold shower.

After two short days in the bush is was time to pack up "Ada" and head for Innisfail. This will be our "base" for the next 8 weeks - in a 3 bed air-conditioned home with an in-ground pool on 11 acres. From here we will be able to explore more of the Atherton Tablelands, coastal towns and beaches north to Cairns and south to Cardwell and, many of the beautiful NP's in this region.

Yes. It will be an "adventure" with a difference!!!

At the time of posting, far north east coast residents in Queensland are battening down in readiness for TC Debbie. On Thursday the RRs were getting 'cyclone' ready but thankfully we will not have to deal with the arrival of Debbie, only the wind and rain effects at this stage. Our thoughts are with our friends in Townsville and family in Mackay who may now be facing the ferocity of Debbie.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Gorgeous Gorges

Daily journal extract --Saturday, 9th April - Monday, 11th April

Saturday - an interesting day -- 

 After leaving our free camp spot early we decided to take the advice of local roadworker, Greg, and chose the route towards Mt Garnet rather than the rougher route to Mt Surprise. A very good decision as this road had been recently graded after wet season wash aways and was very good travelling. It brought us out about 12 kms from Mt Garnet on the Savannah Way.

Creek crossings a-plenty in this region
Travelling west along the bitumen we were surprised to find a coffee stop with a sausage sizzle set up at the gates to a property about 25kms from Mt Surprise. As we drove past the organisers waved and we decided to turn around and support these folk. Another good decision. They were a lovely young couple with three boys, and they were raising funds for the Mt Surprise primary school.  We spent over an hour chatting them about their plans to open a van park on their property in June. It would be a lovely spot to camp and they had some very good ideas to attract campers. They are listed on Wiki Camps, just look for Pinnarendi Station, Mt Garnet.

Einasleigh river
After a really lovely coffee and such a long chat it was time for us to be on our way. On the advice of Nadine and her partner we detoured via The Lynd (stopping for fuel and checking out the smallest bar in Queensland!) before taking the back road towards Einasleigh. It always pays to chat with the locals and follow their advice. This was another great decision.  The countryside once again changed as we crossed several creeks through savannah grasslands on our way to Einasleigh.
Mrs OWO fishing!

We found a wonderful overnight free camp spot right on the river where we saw our first freshwater crocodile, and Mrs OWO caught her first eating-size fish.
Freshwater croc sighting
Riverside camping
Yep - finally caught a decent size fish in the river!

Sunday -- Copperfield Gorge, Einasleigh

"Savannahlander" rail bridge at Einasleigh
Today we travelled a mere 40kms from the river to the sleepy outback town of Einasleigh. Our overnight camp was the Copperfield Van Park -- recommended by Kevin the mechanic who fixed our vehicle in Mareeba. A very interesting park in that it is an adults only camp - no children under 18 years. A novel idea for "grey nomads" travelling through the area.
The sign says it all!
 Our host, Mark, is the brother-in-law of Kevin, and he was a very welcoming host. This is the quiet time of year for this region and Ada was the only van in the park!
A "lonely" Ada at Einasleigh
The park is walking distance to the Copperfield Gorge and "The Pub", the latter being our first port of call, naturally! Being a Sunday, the pub closed at midday but we managed to meet a couple of locals collecting their 'supplies', before we set out to explore the Gorge. There is a lovely collection of miniatures held in the pub, along with some beautiful photographs and information about the local history.
Sunday afternoon in a country town

One of the beautiful miniatures in the Pub

The "Pub" seen from the Gorge
Einasleigh was a thriving town in the 1800s with gold and copper mining in the area, today there is very little here except for "The Pub" and the Gorge -- even the local police station has been closed since 2005 and the nearest police officer is now located in Georgetown. The "Savannahlander" train still stops here (outside "The Pub") on its regular weekly run from Cairns to Georgetown. The line looks a little "rickety" as it runs alongside the main road bridge into Einasleigh.
Police station and stocks!

We spent the afternoon exploring the Gorge. Such beautiful colours in this natural phenomenon which is like an oasis in a dry and dusty land, and a delight for this amateur photographer.

Looking through the Gorge

Exploring the Gorge

Calm waters in the Gorge

Railway and "highway" side by side
 Monday -- Einasleigh- Forsayth- Cobbold Gorge
Moving on from one Gorge to the next our first stop was Forsayth. The route along the way followed alongside the railway line and changed between dirt and bitumen as we traversed the Newcastle Range.

The "Willy"
Willy's Touring Car info
Forsayth has a rich mining history and there is a lovely park in the centre of this outback community next to the railway station, where a number of interesting relics convey the special history of the region. Exploring the park, the OWO was delighted to find an old relic of a "Willy" -- apparently his grandfather drove one of these funny vehicles from Warwick to Darwin many, many years ago!

Our final destination today would be Cobbold Gorge so after a little more exploration around Caschafor Park, and a coffee break at the Goldfields pub (which has been beautifully restored by the new owners and is also the local post office and local grocery store), we continued on our way along another 49kms of dirt road. The road was pretty corrugated in some sections but again our Ada was no problem to tow.

This is rather interesting country covered in sandstone rocks and huge termite mounds and looked very dry after the Savannah grasslands. However, when we arrived at the Gorge campground around 1.30pm, we were immediately impressed with what we found.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

The Wheelbarrow Way to Chillagoe

Journal entries Wednesday, 6th April to Friday, 8th April

Wheelbarrow Way icon
Wednesday-- The road from Mareeba to Chillagoe is known as the Wheelbarrow Way, so called after the gold mining pioneers who trudged this way carrying all their worldly goods in a wheelbarrow in search of work or to make their fortune. Very few found either!

After leaving Dimbulah and the orchards of mangoes, lychees, and sugarcane, the landscape changes dramatically. Huge boulders and rock formations set the scene for our visit to the sandstone  cave area of Chillagoe.

Tours are conducted here by NP rangers into three caves and there are areas that you can explore on self-guided tours. We booked two cave tours - Royal Arch at 1pm today and Trezkin at 11am tomorrow.


There is more to Chillagoe than the caves though, and we spent the morning exploring the copper mining history of this western town.

Mining area Chillagoe smelter
Chillagoe in 1900's
Smelter tower in Chillagoe
Copper mining in Chillagoe

 The area was originally mined for copper and the remains of the old smelter works can be viewed from an interpretive walk on the outskirts of the town. The brick smelter tower can be seen as you enter the town. In the early 1900s the smelter employed over 1000 people. Although there is a lot of history to explore in and around Chillagoe, the main attractions now are the wonderful caves that can be explored on guided tours.