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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Travels on halt for new canopy

Hey there! Since arriving back in Brisbane after our Western Qld short jaunt we have put our travels on hold for a month or so as we get a new canopy built for our F-truck.

The old canopy was great but cumbersome getting access to things inside, as we had an outboard motor, tyres & a car fridge to navigate over to reach chairs and storage items towards the front. Anyone who owns a canopy like ours might understand what we mean. So we bit the bullet and organised the building of a 5-door aluminium canopy for the old truck. Our ‘Tinnie Tosser’ boat loader & tinnie will still go up top and the same items will now have a new, more accessible home in the canopy.

I’m hoping ‘B’ will not forget my photos and display boards too! Somehow all the ‘mens stuff’ gets first preference in trucks – has anyone else noticed that?! 🙂

After that we are back to Ayr in North Queensland for the Cane Season. So if you are passing through Ayr on either the first or third Sunday of the month when the Plantation Park Markets are on, drop in and see me, mention my blog and I might be able to find you a photo memento too hard to resist!

If you are travelling north this winter don’t skip Ayr. It’s a lovely small town with some great cane fires for photo ops – the Burdekin region is one of the last remaining areas to burn their cane so stop for a night or more and check out what Ayr has to offer – it’s only 85klms from Townsville.

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Market Day – Easter Weekend Bjelke-Petersen Dam, Murgon

Recently we spent a family Easter weekend at Bjelke-Petersen Dam near Murgon (west of Gympie). We were lucky enough to have fine weather nearly the whole 4 days. I have uploaded a few photos of the dam & its wildlife in my catalogues. On the Sunday the park put on a market which we decided to join. There were around 30 stalls, not bad for their first market. If you ever get the chance go take a look or camp there – it’s a lovely spot (probably better when there’s not so many people there though). There are powered & non-powered sites & cabins. Lots of birdlife, if you own a boat you’ll enjoy the dam for waterskiing, wakeboarding, fishing & redclaw. Can’t tell you how the fish are because we didn’t try. It’s a lovely place for a day out – and for those who like their wine, there’s a Wine Trail in nearby Moffatdale!

Market Day in Kilkivan, Qld

I don’t know if you have heard of Kilkivan but it’s a small country town north west of Gympie. We were lucky enough to be passing through when they were holding the Great Horse Ride (see photos under ‘Outback’). It was quite an impressive display with over 500 riders. Whilst there we camped in the old rail yards with permission and put our stall up the next day. Unfortunately most of the riders were not advised of the market so not many people showed, but we met some lovely people and Kilkivan is a lovely town to stop in if you are ever out that way.

Visiting Western Qld Dams

Our rig outside Clermonts Finnigan Hotel

We finished the cane season in Ayr and we decided to head south to do some routine maintenance on the van. On the way we thought we’d check out some of the dams we hadn’t visited before.

First stop was Finch Hatton which has a beautiful Gorge. Then on to Eungella Dam up in the hills west of Mackay – tested out our F-Truck at least on those steep mountainsides. Plenty of room around the dam and bird life was in abundance – especially a Darter who squawked all day and night! We had visits from a couple of friendly horses grazing around the dam edge most days. Didn’t catch any fish but enjoyed the surrounds.

Next on to Lake Elphinstone (north of mining town Nebo). Unfortunately we had bad weather the whole time – windy and rainy, so we kept going. On to Clermont and Theresa Creek Dam south-west of the town. We loved the wildlife there. It was a bit more ‘structured’ – with a kiosk and sheds for shelter (and you had to pay to stay), but it’s worth a visit. You will be knocked out by the amount of waterlilies covering the dam and the cattle that continually spend the day munching on them, up to their neck in the water. We were woken to the sounds & sites of lorikeets (so tame they eat from your hand), miners, apostle birds, spoonbills, brolgas, egrets, darters, comb crested jacana (or lilly trotter), magpies & magpie geese – a heap of photo opportunities!

Unfortunately we had to keep moving, so next stop was Clermont where we continued our history lesson of the area with a lively old fella called Bernie Bettridge and his wife Jeanette. He is solely the ‘Master keeper of Clermont’s history’, going from his stories and photos he showed us. He comes out to the dam every afternoon to talk and meet the travellers – he invited us to his home and we spent two fascinating hours checking out all his ‘treasures’ he’s collected most of his 80-odd years. You begin to wonder what will happen to all his things when he’s no longer around to ‘teach’ and show younger Aussies all about their past.

Bundoora Dam at sunset

From Clermont we headed south-east to Bundoora Dam (near German Creek Mine). This would have to be our favourite spot on our short trip. It’s mostly used for the workers for skiing and recreation. No fish to speak of but some Redclaw near the dam wall. We had a beautiful sunset and sunrise the first day, but after that the wet weather set in, which was a bit disappointing, but didn’t deter us from enjoying the scenery. Not as profuse in bird life but still a pretty spot and perfect for the locals for fun sports.

Even though it was only two weeks I did get some lovely photos that I will shortly upload to my catalogue for you to see.

Images of Australia on our Nomadic Journey