Monday, August 15, 2011

Home to Brisbane and Family

Jon has been updating our blog everyday, i have been very remiss in not adding comments until now Jon has done such a good job with the blog and driving, we have made a good team with setting up camp and decamping that it has been smooth sailing with the occational disagreement ha!! i have had a great time and look forward to our holiday next year bye for now and hugs to all who have followed our first adventure.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day Thirtytwo......

Buggar......( At least half of them are stuck on the front of the van.)   We are home after a glorious trip of some 3,900k around Central Queensland.

Those people who know us or are close to us will know that Eileen and I have not had many holidays away in our twenty years together.   I can only blame myself for that, poor decisions, self employment and ruts that we dig for ourselves, I can only hope and pray that we can jam as many of the great experiences that we have had over the last 32 days into the next twenty years and make up for it.

Have just spent the day cleaning the van inside and out and setting up our home for the next year so we save and plan our next foray into Australia's outback.

A big thanks to all of you who have been following our blog and for all of the lovely comments that you have given us, we have enjoyed sharing this trip with you and hope that in some way we may have encouraged some of you to experience the beauty and splendor that is 'our backyard'.

p.s.   I will continue to update this blog (although not on a daily basis) with events and the things that help to shape our lives......please stay tuned.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day Thirtyone......

We decided that we could not spend another night at the Miles caravan park and thought that we would spend another night free camping while spliting our last leg of 339k into two smaller trips.  We thought that Helidon was as good a place as any and set off.

We are constantly amazed at the differing landscapes that we have seen as we have completed this circuit and have noted that as we approach the coast the land is becoming much more firtile.

We had a short lunch stop at Dalby and headed on for Toowoomba and Cunninghams Gap...

I have to admit to having been aprehensive about this range and my fears were not exactly unfounded.  I do believe that Eileen kept her eyes shut for the complete crossing, I think that I did as well.... no just kidding but it was hairy and I'm glad that we had the breaks serviced prior to leaving.
It's not hard to see how the Semis have accidents here.

By the time we had reached the bottom of the range, I wasn't exactly looking forward to setting up camp at Helidon so we decided to push on for home.   I was not familia with the new highway and we were starting to run low on fuel so when we saw a sign for Esk (42k) we thought that this might be our better option.   Boy how Esk has grown since I was last there.   Eileen and I have agreed that we would like to return for a  trip in the daylight.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Day Thirty......Miles

Talk about chalk and cheese... I really must start to listen to Eileen's premonitions.   Eileen had made all of the reservations for the various caravan parks and she had said to me that the only one she was not happy about was the one at Miles..... Her feelings proved justified.

We awoke early at the Weir, took puppy for her walk and arrived at Miles around 12 noon, when we saw the caravan park neither of us were happy with the appearance, but having booked and paid for three nights we figured that we might as well set up camp.   Parked next to a 29 ft Travel Home fifth wheel and a Bus.  Had a look around the town and stocked up on bread, milk and other necessities and went home to have tea and settle down for the night.  What with one thing or the other we both had a fitful nights sleep and woke up still tired.   The park is right on the main road and trucks were constantly stopping and going by and to top it off sometime around midnight a group of drunken noisy kids decided to have a blue in the street out front.  I didn't sleep well from then on, keeping one ear open in case they decided to knock our table chairs and BBQ off.

 On the other hand the Miles Historic Village is absolutely fantastic. We enjoyed our visit and would definitely go back again. The Lapidary section was very interesting, and you could spend a lot of time there.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day Twentynine......Neil Turner Weir

This Can Am with trailer arrived late yesterday afternoon, it looks like a neat outfit although the owner was somewhat unfriendly and difficult to talk to.

Said our good-byes to the friends we had made and began the third last leg of our journey.... beginning to feel sad about going home but realise that we must to save some more so we can do it again next year.

We had been advised that the Neil Turner Weir just west of Mitchell was a good place to free camp so decided to have a look see.

By the time we got there at around 12 noon there were already several vans set up.
It didn't take us long to decided that a riverfront park beconed us and we pulled in.
By 4pm there were around thirty vans enjoying the quiet and peaceful park.

Went for our afternoon walk to the bottom of the weir and discovered that it flowed into the Maranoa.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day Twentyeight......Charleville

Last day at Charleville and can't say that either of us are all that sorry about that.   Three days in this town are probably two days too many.

Today we went to have a look at the Bilby but when we got there, there was no one to be seen.  Had a quick look around and left dissapointed (sign on gate said exactly nothing).   Decided to drive the 3k to the Information center to pick up a copy of the 'Outback Native Timber Walk Guide' that they advertise goes with a walk along the creek to help identify the 18 arid species on show, only to find the place locked up and deserted - again no notices.

Our observations of Charleville (right or wrong) are of a town that has no soul or pride and has all but given up, it appears dirty and unloved and I suspect that this photo of the Railway Hotel just about sums it up.
Broke, Busted'n'Burnt.

If it wern't for the Bailey Bar we wouldn't have stayed.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day Twentyseven.......

Bailey Bar Caravan Park - Charleville

Although somewhat higly-pigly in the way they locate the vans, it seem to work and everyone is very friendly.  Have run into a couple, Col and Jocelyn, who we met earlier at Tambo, they have a motor home and also come from Brisbane.  They have a unit in SouthbankApartments and Col is also an x-real estate agent.  They have been four years on the road and we have shared our favourite spots and likes and dislikes with them.

Drove into town today to get some supplies and have a look around.  Big town, sprawling and not as well loved as Tambo.

When we took puppy for her walk we saw (heard first) a large group of Galah's sitting on the power lines, they were squawking and flapping their wings and doing lots of antics like hanging upside down from the wires.

On the way home we also noticed that the park was doing a Lamb on the Spit with apple crumble and billy tea so we booked a couple of seats.  The tea was top shelf and the company great - we had a good time after which went home to fill out the Census Form.

I noticed a couple of motorcycles camped nearby so went over for a chat and to find out where they were heading. 
 I met Tommo and Bevan and their partners who had come from Brisbane (ironically, very close to home).
They said that their goal was for an eight week trip around Australia with emphasis on Western Australia, but their plans had come somewhat unstuck as Tommo had damaged the swingarm on his trailer and they were waiting for a replacement to come from Brisbane.  Bevan did a neat fiberglass repair job on the trailer body while they were waiting for the parts. 
Riding 1800cc Honda GoldWings with trailers, I have to admit to being a little envious but as the temperatures droped to o degrees I was happy to have the comfort that we had.... perhaps a few years ago....
I wish them luck and will follow their trip with interest on their website.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day Twentysix...........

A short drive today, just over 200k, but my goodness, how the terrain has changed.  Getting a little more hilly and definitely more lush as there appears to be a better supply of water here, at least the creeks and rivers have water in them.  For the first time we saw kangaroos and emu on the side of the road as we drove along.

We were driving along somewhere between Tambo and Augathella when I turned to Eileen and said 'There must be a politician who lives around here', she said 'How do you know that?' and I said, 'Easy, this is the best bit of road we have driven on in days'.

Arrived at the 'Bailey Bar Caravan Park' at Charleville at 12.30pm.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Days Twentyfour and Twentyfive.....Tambo

Tambo located on the banks of the Barcoo River was established in 1863.   It is reported to be the oldest town in Central Queensland.

In 1846 Sir Thomas Mitchell, during his fourth expedition,explored this area looking for a great river flowing north-west when he discovered the Barcoo River (which he called The Victoria) near Isisford.

A Biography of this man can be read here

Eileen and I are very impressed with this small town with a population of around 350.   There is quite a bit to see and it is perhaps the cleanest town we have seen in our travels thus far.

Today we took a pleasant two hour stroll along the Coolibah Walk and this afternoon along main street to the lake where the bird life is nothing short of spectacular.  Here are a few photos of the things that we saw along the way.

A Kingfisher looking for breakfast in the Barcoo

A graceful Red River Gum overhangs the Barcoo

Tambo Post Office

Tambo Town Hall

I took these photos off a plaque outside the old Town Hall.  They depict the western escarpment of the Carnarvan National Park and are situated a short distance east of Tambo.  This is one place we would very much like to see but could not fit in this trip.... perhaps next year.

So as the sun sets in the west and we lay our heads down to sleep tonight, it is with fond memories of this beautiful town that we know we will revisit sometime soon.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Day Twentythree......

After five nights at the Longreach Discovery Caravan Park (reportedly the largest in Australia), we are very happy to be packing up and moving on.... can not recommend this park and would not stay here again.

A little bitch....  This park has around 400 sites and charges $40 per couple per night most people seem to only stay one or two nights so there is a mass exodus each morning and a continuous daily influx of new vans, trailers, motorhomes, fifth wheelers and cars using the many cabins of various size and style.  Assuming that the park is only half booked (certainly not the case during our stay), the income would be approximately $8,000 a night or just under $3 million a year.  Not sure on staff levels, but only saw 3 ladies at book in and 2 groundsmen so wages do not appear to be an issue.  So whats my bitch you might say?  Here they are....

First.  Appreciating the fact that water is a precious commodity in the outback, perhaps there may be an excuse for the fact that the park is a complete dust bowl.... but is there?  there is nowhere for the vans to discharge the waste run off of the precious water that they do use.... surely there is a case for collecting this water and using it on the grounds and planting some trees and shrubs and a bit of grass.

Second.   Very few sites had a slab or even a level area for an annexe.  Due to people letting their waste water run wherever.   There were bogs all over the place.

Third.   Unlike most of the parks that we have been to, there was no one to show you to your site and make sure that you were parked and the girls in the office did not seem to worry about what sort or size van you had and had little idea as to what would fit where.  Chaos!

Have just discovered that the Managers have a list of work that they wish to do including sealing the roads inside the park but the Owners (Discovery Holiday Parks Pty Ltd) don't want to spend any money. I wonder what their other 3 parks are like.... guess we will never know as we won't be staying at any of them.

Rant over....

In comparison we arrived in Tambo this afternoon at the Tambo Mill Motel and Caravan Park and reception was great with the Owner taking us to our site and making sure that we were settled and had everything we needed.  Here is a photo of our site, we were parked under this magnificent Boab which had this plaque under it.... Touching and nice....

The road in is third world as is much of this seemingly forgotten outback road system and I was reminded of this little sticker that I saw

An example of this totaly inadequate road system, we were stuck behing an old car towing a van between Longreach and Barcaldin and he was flat out at 80kph in a 110k zone.  Now appreciating that he had every right to travel at his pace, the problem was that we did not have the power to be able to pass him with safety so were stuck at his speed for 60k and by the time we pulled into Barcaldin there was a string of 6 vans.  I have two issues with this event

1. I can't believe that in the 100k between towns the Council (read Government) has not supplied one overtaking lane. 

and 2. I feel so sorry for the truck drivers who must take their lives in their own hands on a dail basis as they contend with this rediculuous lack of forsight as they go about their daily job.

I wonder how long us City folk would last before revolting against our Government leaders.... and now they want a High Speed Train to service the shoreline huggers... give me a break, lets get the roads right first.   We simply must eradicate this 'I'm all right jack' attitude that has crept into our Australia.... Perhaps we need another World War - dare I say it.

Must close now, have woken up with a dose of the erks.....

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day Twentytwo........Longreach

Today is our last day in Longreach so we took a drive around the local area, in particular we had a look at the school where Dylan did his first placement and the hospital where Noah was born.

These photos are for Dylan.

We will break camp this afternoon and be ready to move on in the morning to our next stop... Tambo.

We went into town and did some shopping, Eileen and I both purchased a nice shady hat and I also got a nice belt.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Day Twentyone.......Ilfracombe

Slow start to the day but decided to drive to Ilfracombe to check out Machinery Walk and have a look at the caravan park there (we had heard good reports) and have decided that if up this way again we would stay there.

Above is a short history of the town and surrounds.

The more we look around the outback, the more we can see just how much both of the world wars have influenced, contributed and moulded the outcome that we see today.

The following photos are for Jason..... Thought they may interest you

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day Twenty......

Another Big Rig arrived today, incredabily these people had purchased their van from the same dealer as the previous one and were camped on the same site.  

This one was 35 foot lond and they had broken a leaf spring on their first trip and were not real happy.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Day Ninteen.....

Yesterday we had set up our site next door to another fifth wheel, we thought that ours was comfortable but this one weighed in at just over 6 tonne (twice our weight) and was pulled by a Chevy Silverado 6.5 litre V8 diesel (economy was 25litres to the 100k).

We had a chat and said farewell as they pulled out today....  Nice couple have spent the last two years on the road.

After we set up yesterday we took Pepper for an evening stroll and saw these two Brolgas having a dance.  They truly are an amazing bird and their antics are interesting to witness.

Today I was going to spend on my own at the Australian Stockmans Hall of Fame as Eileen wanted to clean and cook as well as look after puppy because she knew that I was most interested in this part of our trip....(she is a gem).

I love the history of the bush and find it utterly fascinating reading about the hardships that our pioneers had to persevere.

Twenty years ago I last visited this museum of history and I have to admit to a little dissapointment as to the ongoing work of the trustees of this wonderful place.... very little has changed and there are few, if any, new additions to the complex as well as unfortunately some broken exibits. (talk about resting on ones laurels).

They should take a lesson from one of their own exibits.....

Good, Better, Best
Never let it rest
Till Good is Better
And Better is Best 

The grounds are splendid and the interior is kept at a constant cool temperature in order to preserve many of the artifacts.   I spent a wonderful contemplative five hours lost in wonderment and marvelling at the resiliance of so many of the people who not only survived the hardships of the droughts, the wars and the depression but continued to survive and even in some cases mass vast fortunes

We just can't comprehend and don't understand the meaning of 'Doing it tough'.....

Day Ninteen Part Two...... Interesting Perspective

And here is a photo of the Homestead and surrounds......

All that in the middle of nowhere and the closest neighbour hundreds of miles away.

The story of the Kidman Family is equally interesting....

The red dots on the following map represent the land holdings that the Kidman Empire owned.... Most people today haven't seen as much of Australia as he owned..... Thats incredible....