Tag Archives: western Queensland

South Oz to Outback Queensland!!!

Well, what a trip! As with most travels on the road there are ups and downs…we did have a number of ‘downs’ pre-trip (not worth going into) but one thing that did cause concern was our batteries.

Day 2 – Peterborough Rest Area, SA – woke up to low voltage throughout van – and it was freezing!! Turned on diesel heater – no go, lights dim, loo wouldn’t flush!! Bugger! So it was a mad dash on a Saturday morning to nearest battery shop (Port Pirie) for 4 new batteries. B installed Sat arvo and then we were off again! Big thanks to Neville Coe of Coe’s Autoelectrical!

Then on to the Flinders Ranges…we thought! Held up for 4 hours just outside of Port Augusta due to Bike Race. Eventually we made it to our favourite stop: Willow Springs Station.  We did a 3 month work stint here many years ago and when we return we are always made to feel like family.

Sunset views @ Willows Springs Station

Check out their website (above) to see what’s on offer: from bush camp sites to 4×4 tracks to hiking trails to doing absolutely nothing! I took Jeda’s photo @ 8wks at the woolshed, so tried to replicate the photo again 4 1/2 yrs later, but not with much success!

Jeda @ 8weeks and recently 4 1/2 years

After a few days there it was onwards to Blinman, Parachilna, Farina, Lyndhurst (for fuel) & Marree. Had read a bit about the restoration of Farina and the underground bakery so stopped over a couple of nights to check out the ruins and of course the bakery! Absolutely beautiful fresh baked bread daily (only a few months a year so check website) – highly recommended!!!

Farina’s freshly baked bread

Stopped a night in carpark of Marree Hotel. Shouted ourselves dinner in the pub. By around 5pm the carpark was full of travellers! And by 8am the next day most had gone! From here we headed up the Birdsville Track. Smoko at Clayton Station – they have a lovely spa tub that is worth a stopover, stopped a night at Cooper Creek (no creek!), onwards past Mungeranie as we had stopped here before. Only took us 2 days and we arrived in Birdsville late afternoon.

We did have a mishap on the track though. Scored a broken rear window from a Road Train. It happens (1st time for us). B taped it up best he could till we could get it repaired.  Only a few days before the road had been closed due to rain. Graders were working frantically making sure traffic could get through due to Big Red Bash starting soon.

Smashed rear window

We parked up on the Birdsville Common with thousands of others! Did some long needed washing and minor repairs. Then it was time to sign in to the Big Red Bash Volunteers Hall in town. B signed in and I volunteered at the time as they had a number of people unable to attend or fulfill their roles. I was allotted Road Marshall for one shift and two shifts on Toilet Duties (Loo Angels).

Then too soon it was time to head out to the Big Red Bash site for B’s first setup shift. I will post a separate blog about the bash when I get time to edit my thousands of photos!! Let’s just say it was BRILLIANT!!! The concerts were great, the performers were terrific, but the event as a whole was a wonderful experience. We met some lovely volunteers and had a great time, made even better because we were able to take Jeda. I even hung out in the ‘mosh pit’ for a few performances (took me back to 25 long years ago!!)

After the Bash, we went back to Birdsville common for a day or so then we headed up to Boulia for the Camel Races. Free camping included with your ticket. By the time we arrived there were hundreds of campers there. We spent 6 days and loved it. They had entertainers for 2 nights but it was so cold we bailed early for a warm caravan!

Relaxing before the race meet begins

From Boulia we headed to Middleton, Winton (Hotel), Barcaldine, Anakie, Duaringa (Hotel), Lake Victoria, Mt Perry to Hervey Bay. Recommend Winton Hotel carpark for free camping and a great pub meal (find info on Wikicamps).

To sum up – yes outback Queensland is dry, dusty and remote – and beautiful. It is DEFINITELY a  must do for all Travellers. Don’t be put off by distance, dirt or cost. Support the people of the Outback by visiting their ‘backyard’.

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Winter on Da Block

Well, it’s well and truly winter time in the Clare Valley!! No frost just yet but plenty of cold icy winds and some rain. The newborn lambs are bleating around the district which is a lovely sight. The paddocks are all green, the weeds/grasses profuse and the workload still constant!

B has been busy weekdays with some casual work so weekends are all go getting things done around Da Block. We are heading off to the Big Red Bash near Birdsville in a weeks time so the countdown is on! Looking forward to this outback concert – another Bucket List item nearly ticked!

We have put in another rainwater tank to take advantage of the winter rainfall. We’ve had a few bonfires, watched things in the garden flower, mulched the rock garden and watched grass grow madly through it!! 😦 And given our caravan diesel heater a work out on these cold nights (and some days!)

This will be my last post for a while whilst we are ‘on the road’ – heading to Western & Central Queensland then might get the tinny wet on the east coast?! Till next time…..

…Autumn on Da Block

From a hot & sweaty summertime we have graduated to a cooler and a bit windier autumn. The trees are turning bronze & gold letting us know the cool weather will be on it’s way! Exactly what I love! The vineyards look beautiful now vintage has finished, autumn colours abound.

Excavations on Da Block went well: the new septic is in, heaps of plumbing trenches, installed two cattle grids, digging some tree holes, solar panels installed and much more. We were able to setup a rock garden on a long bank with beautiful huge Bluestones and the Yuccas & Agaves I’ve been nursing and cuttings from friends. Unfortunately the pumpkins & rock melons I grew from seed didn’t survive – I’ll have to watch more ‘Gardening Australia’!!

I’d like to give a plug (for any local’s reading this) to Terra-Firma Earthworks & Contracting based in Clare, SA – brilliant job and attention to detail.

B painted up the inside of a container to be his ‘tool shed’. It’s taken time but we are seeing progress week to week. We moved the van for the 3rd time to the container pad (better for when the rain comes). We’ve just had a couple of dust storms when it was really hot which was a new experience.

Today I have the heater on!

Looking forward to a break. Heading north to the Big Red Bash (www.bigredbash.com.au) in July as B volunteering setup/pack up. We are able to take Jeda to the concert in the desert as dogs are allowed. John Farnham is headlining with Hoodoo Gurus, The Angels, Daryl Braithwaite, Jon Stevens, Kate Ceberano, Russell Morris, The Black Sorrows and more…..

Western Queensland here we come!!!

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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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.