So long between blogs I didn’t realise. I have been putting bits & pieces on my Facebook site but neglecting here. Will amend!
We have been on a friends farm again north of Clare, SA after working in Mintaro for the winter. It’s been great to see the changes in the weather over the past couple of months – being from a humid Queensland background B loves the heat whereas I’m more happy with the cooler days, but at least it’s a dry heat. The garden on the farm is beautiful (have posted some pics) and is a credit to ‘C’ who has done a magnificent job over many years to produce such a joy to walk around. The serpents that live in the area in the summer do make it a hazardous duty to weed but that’s to be expected.
B has been in charge of artwork installations around the garden, welding & cementing in farm/artsy fartsy structures that ‘C’ has created. We also have an orphan calf who needs feeding twice a day as her Mumma went to Cow Heaven due to a brain disease.
Grain harvest has just finished here with not many dramas thank goodness (e.g fires – see drone pic) B & I had a day in the ‘Big Smoke’ and went to the Adelaide 4×4 Show to check out the latest in caravans and everything in relation to 4×4’s. It’s been 13 years since we’ve checked out vans and equipment – haven’t times & features changed! I thought it was quite ‘flash’ to have a little washing machine built in to the front of the van, now it’s a standard fitting!!
Christmas Day came & went. We enjoyed the company of friends for a big day of food, wine and snore-fest in the early evening!
In between we found ourselves a piece of land not far out of Clare! We do love this area of the Valley and had been looking for a long time and a block with a shed became available. It will be a place to ‘change over’ for trips as we still intend to travel as long as we’re able (especially in the cold winters) We have a few things lined up for 2018 which I’ll share in my next post…. hint – BRB!!!!
Have a safe & Happy New Year – bring on 2018!!
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!
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……
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.
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.
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.