Working our way round the bottom

Last time I blogged (it’s been awhile) we were in Tamworth with vehicle hassles. All fixed we headed off again. We visited some old mining towns such as Hill End, Sofala & Gulgong before heading to Katoomba to see the Blue Mountains.

Then we decided to bite the bullet and visit Canberra, Australia’s capital. We were very impressed by the way ‘us’ tourists are catered for – makes it easy to get around & see everything and without costing the earth.

From there we headed to the coast – the Eurobodalla & Sapphire coasts. Lots of lovely fishing villages – Eden being one of them. We unfortunately started getting bad weather that dampened the mood for touring a bit, but that’s winter in the south.

Then we crossed the border to Victoria and followed the coastline. Found some lovely areas to stop for a while – Mallacoota & Eagle Point. We did have a wonderful encounter with a wild koala near Nowa Nowa whilst we were photographing the trestle bridge. We went inland and stopped at Leongatha and did day trips to visit Wilson’s Promontory & Phillip Island. Found quite a few ‘Bigs’ on Phillip Island but not much else. To do anything cost money, even to see penguins or fur seals. Wilson’s Promontory was much better, except we had a lousy weather day which made for dull photos.

Then it was on to Melbourne for a look. We spent 3 days in the city and we’d had enough! Out of the way of being in cities and around so many people. We stayed at the showgrounds at Berwick (south-east of Melbourne) & then moved to Werribee South (south-west of Melbourne). We will be moving on next week so will blog again after the Great Ocean Road…..

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Southbound….brrrr !

Yes, as you may imagine it is starting to get cold in the southern states! We have been ‘freedom’ camping most of the way down, finding some lovely places to camp and check out what these small towns have to offer.

We spent Easter at Roma Qld and they put on a wonderful country ‘do’ for visitors, unfortunately on Rodeo day it rained but quite a few people still attended. We headed further west to Mitchell to camp on the weir for a while, then south to the NSW border, via Nindigully Pub – we have been there before – a good free camp site but the pub is run down and the staff didn’t seem interested in ‘the tourists’ so our stay was short & sweet.

Crossing the Qld/NSW border we passed through Moree (beautiful old buildings) to camp by more rivers and check out the little towns. We found a little town worth mentioning called Bingara. It has heaps of camping on the Gwydir River, both sides of the bridges. We found that the local council had purchased a lot of the buildings in town and are gradually doing them up. We loved the coffee at The Roxy Cafe next to the Roxy Theatre, which we toured – it had been closed up for 40-odd years before council started to use it again and bring people to visit. The town is very friendly and offers everything travellers need, except watch out getting fuel at the servo – big rigs beware.

We spent a week in Bingara then reluctantly decided we better keep moving on. We are currently in Tamworth which wasn’t on our route, but vehicle hic-ups have forced us to wait out some repairs till done (these things happen as you will know). If anyone is heading south for the winter like us and freedom camp a lot, make sure you have a heater of some sort! We installed a diesel heater in 2012 but hadn’t used it till now (as we were north last year) and it has been a blessing on these cold frosty nights.

Till next time……

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Western Qld bound

In my last post we were in Ayr (Qld), rained in. A week later we headed off south just above the flood waters. We kept an eye on where the water was and skirted around or stayed in one place till it subsided. We visited a number of places for the 2nd or 3rd time, but it’s alway nice to go back and see what has changed.

At Carmilla Beach we had an ‘issue’ with the deep sand; Balgal Beach was beautiful (in between rain showers); until we arrived in Redcliffe (where I grew up) to visit family. At the time the Bee Gee Way was opened and I and thousands of others attempted to get a glimpse of Bazza Gibb. I won’t be changing professions to ‘Paparazzi’ any time soon, as I was in the wrong place for any close-ups of the man. I think the photos and statue are great for Redcliffe – it will bring more people to the Peninsula.

Finally, we have set off on our next journey in the Australian Outback. We decided to head west due to the amount of rain most of the east coast has been receiving the past few months. We haven’t gone far really. We found some wonderful 3 night stays along creeks and rivers for a donation to the councils. Apart from battling the flies and mosquitos, they have been lovely. In Meandarra (between Toowoomba-Surat) we found a great Anzac Memorial Museum with some wonderful war memorabilia. For a little town it has accumulated a vast amount of equipment from the WWI&II – including a Canberra Bomber.

We are on our way to Roma for the Easter in the Outback Festival. I am camera-less at present (just using B’s point & press) and feeling almost naked – mine is in for a major service/overhaul in Sydney. Ordered a new one online (upgrading to Canon 7D) and fingers crossed it will arrive in Roma same time as us!

Have put a photo of the rubbish left at a roadside stop on the Moonie Hwy in this post as I am disgusted that this sort of stuff is left by the road we travel. It’s a common occurrence in most states, but in SA we found the RA’s to be a lot cleaner (due to payment for cans, bottles etc) – maybe other states should do the same –  and what about National licencing & Road Rules – don’t get me started!

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Moving on from Ayr

This entry is a bit delayed due to Christmas & New Year and the fact we’ve both been RnR-ing since leaving Ayr. We headed north from Ayr and re-visited some of our favourite spots on our way to Cairns.

A spot to remember at the north end of Mission Beach is Bingil Bay. It is a council area with clean amenities and the most beautiful beach right on your doorstep. We were slightly longer than the sign stated but we were the only ones there so we fit nicely.

We spent some time at Kurrimine Beach (another council run park at a good $) then up to the Atherton Tablelands to Yungaburra. They run a fabulous market which we enjoyed (because I didn’t have a stall!). We spent Christmas there at a van park walking distance to Lake Tinaroo.

Then on to Mareeba for a few days (very hot) and then down to Palm Cove at the north of Cairns. We got there New Years Eve to see the fireworks off the pier. Another council run park right on the Esplanade which I would highly recommend (as there aren’t very many beachfront van parks in Cairns). A week in Cairns then we head south again to a few beach parks we knew.

One place we would highly recommend is Paronella Park at Mena Creek near Innisfail. One thing though – go in the cooler months after plenty of rain so the falls are running. We visited here over 20 years ago and it has been well looked after and has a wonderful history of its owner Jose who built it from scratch. With your entry fee you get a powered site for the night in their small van park next door – they run a night tour as well as tours throughout the day.

At present we are in Ayr again as we had to base ourselves so we could order some more batteries as our’s started to die whilst we were free camping – 4 more are now installed and we are ready to move again. But we have to contend with some flooding that has hit the east coast this past week. We were confined to our van for 4 days straight due to non-stop rain and wind and now the south is getting their share. Lets hope it’s not as bad as 2011 floods in Brisbane.

Will post again soon – new photographs on their way……

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Markets in Ayr Qld 2012

Now we have settled for the Cane Season in Ayr till the end of the year, I have re-commenced my market stall at the local park – Plantation Park – the 1st & 3rd Sunday of each month, and starting from the end of this month a new market will be commencing at the local Masonic Hall in MacMillan Street on the 2nd & 4th Sunday of each month, which will have the whole month covered!

Our van park in Ayr, the Burdekin Cascades Caravan Park has also commenced a market in the park on one Friday night a month for the park residents and visitors only which has been a huge success (especially since you can incorporate your Happy Hour into sampling the goodies on sale).

So if you are heading north or south along the Queensland coast drop into Ayr and enjoy what this small town has to offer. Last weekend Ayr put on the SunWater Grand Parade & Mardi Gras in the main street with floats and food stalls and rides for the kids.

Cane Season in Ayr so far….

It’s well into Cane Season in North Queensland now and “B” has been working some long days. It was a slow start to the season due to a couple of bouts of rain in June/July, which made the paddocks too wet to get the harvesters & trucks into, so most of the drivers had around 6 weeks of extra RnR waiting for the fields to dry out.

But it’s all happening now. The “Burdekin Snow” falls every night & early morning after the cane burns around the region that light up the skies for miles and miles.

I have posted a couple of photos of “unnamed persons” that got bogged in the paddocks not long after going back to work (no it wasn’t just my hubby!) The 4×4 tractors were a Godsend as they towed the fully filled trucks out on many occasions.

Due to the slow start the Burdekin region lost a lot of haul out drivers – and there are still several adverts each week in the local paper requiring drivers…..(Have uploaded a couple more photos on the Fires page, but nothing spectacular just yet…stay tuned!

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Canopy complete!

Just thought I’d upload a couple of pics of the canopy we just had made. We are extremely happy with it and it has passed the ‘rough Queensland roads’ test on the way from Brisbane to Ayr. We came up the inland roads to cut down the traffic – but instead we contended with bad weather, some roadworks and road trains – but it’s still our preferred route than the coast road.

We are now here till the end of the cane season whilst ‘B’ is cane hauling again. Looking forward to some spectacular cane fires again this year – will post them on my Gallery-Fires page for anyone interested during the next few months.

Don’t forget if you happen to be heading to North Queensland this year stop in and check out Ayr – it’s not just for the cane workers, it is a lovely town for tourists to spend some time – fishing in the creeks and estuaries or enjoying the sites of the fires at night.

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Images of Australia on our Nomadic Journey