Aug 26, 2009

New England & Newell Highways

Leaving our camp we continued on the D'Aguilah Highway across to Blackbutt and down to Crows Nest and onto the New England Highway through Toowoomba, Warick & Tenterfield. At Toowoomba we turned at some lights to be greeted by the Police rushing to the boot of his car and what appeared to be getting a gun out, Whoa! we thought what's going on? But then we quickly realised he was rushing to change the traffic lights controller as coming up the road was another Police vehicle with flashing lights and hundreds of Motorcyclists in convoy, we turned onto the highway and were Leaders Of The Pack for a few kilometres untill i stopped to take some photo's.

We stopped at Stanthorpe and visited the Markets in the Mountains where Vickie helped out the local economy by buying some fruit & honey and a pewter spoon for our tea leaf container. We had intended travelling all the way down to Tamworth on the New England but Vickie suggested we branch right at Glen Innes and head to Inverell and Bingara where my Mum used to live. The distance was around the same and another opportunity to visit the Batterham Lookout where Mum & Neil [her husband] had their ashes scattered after their deaths. The lookout has a fantastic view over Bingara and it was another lovely sunset that we watched as we shared a drink and thoughts of those gone.

Bingara is a lovely town though badly affected by the drought like all of Country NSW, we went to the local RSL for another trip down memory lane, we had gone here for a meal with my Mum & Neil many years ago and won a few dollars on the pokie machines and they didn't let us down again with Vickie winning $72 and walking out with $50 of it and a few drinks thrown in. The weather was very weird with temperatures around 35c and hot winds, the State was copping some very strange weather conditions.

We left Bingara and headed out to Narrabri taking the scenic route through Mt Kaputar National Park where we visited the Glazier site and Sawn Rocks, both area's were stunning and certainly worth a look.

Continuing along the Newell Highway we passed through Coonabarabran, Gilgandra & Dubbo. At Dubbo we were stopped and met some other BT owners Ray & Pauline from Balina, after a long chat we said our goodbyes and had to make a decision whether to visit the Western Plains Zoo this trip or wait till we came through again. The decision was not hard as it would have meant staying at a Van Park for the night and i'd prefer to be out in the bush somewhere, so we ventured on with the thoughts of finding a nice camp along the Murrumbidgee River and relaxing for a few days.

We passed through fields of colour which were stunning with the backdrop of a blue cloudless sky. Vickie is suffering from Hay Fever from all the wattle that is in flower and on a dose of Zyrtec, it appears to be helping.

Possibly tomorrow we will be camped along the Murrumbidgee.

Aug 20, 2009

Double Island Point - Kilcoy

Cooloola, Tewah Beach, Double Island, what ever it is known as is beautiful, We paid our camping fee prior to catching the ferry across the Noosa River at Tewantin, 5 nights @ $10 a night is good value, $16 for the Ferry is a bit steep considering the distance and compared to the Ferry's that operate across the Murray River in SA for free.

We took the 2nd entrance that goes onto the beach and stopped to drop the tyre pressures on the truck, 25psi all round makes the 285x75 tyres bag out nicely. The drive along the beach on low tide is an easy trip, we went approximately 20klms and found a lovely camp site almost opposite a couple of deep holes in the water that looked very fishy. With plenty of green grass and lovely shade tree's and large hill behind us we were very happy with the outlook.

With the weekend just around the corner there were many other campers scattered along the stretch but no one was close to cause any concern about privacy or noise. We had friends Darryl & son Mitch drive up from Brisbane to catch up with us which was great, Darryl was the friend that introduced us to the spot 3 years earlier. We spent some time having a fish with no luck and then enjoyed a sausage sizzle and couple of 'coldies' as we caught up on what we have both been doing.

Weather was lovely and warm the time we were on the beach but as each day went past it it seemed to get a bit windier and with very little luck with the fish apart from some dart it was to heart breaking to pack up and head back to the ferry and the mainland again, but 1st we stopped at the car wash and gave the truck and van a good underbody wash and pumped up the tyres again. Back in civilization i gave Bushtracker a call to check on our cupboard drawers we were waiting on and the bad news was they were still a couple of days away, so we went and visited the Ginger Factory at Yandina and then drove to Kilcoy and stayed at some fellow BT owners David & Maureen's cattle property.

They were away for the night but it had been arranged for us to just drive on in and enjoy the serenity for the evening and they arrived home later the next day. We had a lovely evening with them, drank too much red wine and hit the sack as we had an early start in the morning to drive back to Kunda Park. The next morning at 5.30am we were greeted with fog & lots of it, it was really quite beautiful with the fog filling the valleys and wafting over the hills. The drive was fine and very little traffic on the road at that time of the morning.

So the van was dropped off and we went and spend the next 6 hours looking at shops and site seeing along the coastal beaches. Back to pick up the van and pleased with the work that had been done apart from getting no satisfaction with what appears to be a faulty electronic Webasto control. I will take up the issue with Webasto themselves and get it sorted it out that way, still disapointing that we have to take that approach.

We are now camped up and the next couple of weeks will be slowly heading down to Jeparit Victoria where a Bushtracker Muster is being held and we are looking forward to catching up with some mates we have met and meeting new ones. Sitting here watching the World drive by and half dozing i was awakened to voices, turning around it was a surprise to see a couple whom have been following our travels via this blog, We had met Danny previously at Rapid Bay SA and he and his wife Ann were touring around the Sunshine Coast .... small World huh, Danny knew more about our travels than we did ourselves ... nice to have a Fan Base out there LOL

Aug 12, 2009

Thangool - Double Island Point

With 11 days to get from Alice to Kunda Park near Maroochydore we thought we would have a relaxed drive with time to detour and check out a few places, not wanting to drive long distances each day we were generally on the road by 8-30 / 9am and camped up by 3pm, we called in and visited some mates at Thangool whom we saw two years ago when we travelled North after taking delivery of the van, and the next night at a free camp site met a nice couple who were on their way home to Bowen after buying a 2nd hand Bushtracker, other than that the roads were shocking on the Burnett & Dawson Highways and we were pleased to finally get into Tewantin where we stayed at the Bouganvillia Van Park for a night, it was just enough time for Vickie to do the washing and me to re-fill tanks, empty cassette & general tidy up of the rig before driving down the road to visit friends Brian & Margaret Fox, We all went out to tea at a Thai Restaurant that night which was lovely.

Brian & Marg convinced us to stay the next night at their place so we parked the van on their sloping front lawn and with the help of some lengths of timber soon had it level enough for sleeping in. The rest of the time was spent chatting and working on sorting out all my music on the laptop & getting Brians new IPod talking to his modem. The next day Brian drove us all to visit some fellow BT owners Ian & Robyn who had contacted us with the offer to stay also, they live in an open plan home full of fantastic pieces of furniture and odds & ends on a delightful 40acre property surrounded by forest complete with dam, certainly my type of property.

We had planned on staying that night somewhere around the BT factory to save the early drive in the morning but decided to stop at a free camp near Yandina which was only 20klms away so an easy drive in the morning. We dropped the van off at 7.30am the next day only to be told that our diesel heater we had ordered had not arrived and things would be delayed if we wanted to still stay with that brand, we decided not to rush things and give them as much time as they needed, as things also turned out Vickie's idea of changing some cupboards over to 1/2 cupboards & 1/2 drawers was also feasible so we said yes to that as well, only hiccup is the 10 days needed to have the doors made. No big deal, what does time matter to us? So here we are based at Maroochy River Cabin & Van Park, the cabin is clean & big enough for the two of us, the parking area beside is a squeeze to get the Effy into though.

Went to the Factory this afternoon to get some things from the Van and met up with Ian & Robyn again and also some mates Rosco & Chris who once owned a Kedron and now have a Bushtracker which was in getting a service done on their suspension, A bit a chat and then a quick look at our Van showed everything was going along well, the Webasto diesel heater had turned up and was starting to get fitted and the other work we wanted apart from the new doors had been done, so things are looking good for a pick up tomorrow and then we plan on heading to Double Island for some beach camping & fishing for the next week untill it is time to return to BT for the new cupboard doors & drawers.

Aug 7, 2009

Recent Photos

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Wild Wattle, East MacDonnell Ranges, NT

Full Moon, Roadside overnight camp along Burnett Highway

Tree of Knowledge, Balcaldine Qld

Overnight stop at Camooweal Billabong

Zebra Finches, lunch stop along the Barkly Highway

Devils Marbles, NT

Aug 6, 2009

Alice to the Barkly

We spent six days back in Alice Springs staying at the showgrounds, Vickie took a flight down to Adelaide on Tuesday and came back on Thursday to have her eye treatment administered and i just hung around and filled in the time with Kimbo and mucking around with all the music and movies that Vickie's brother Alan had shared with me.

When Vickie came back we all went out to tea at a Chinese Restaurant, it was very nice. The following day we all packed up and went our seperate ways, Clive & Claudia heading out to Palm Valley and KIngs Canyon & Kimbo & Ned heading to Uluru, we went the opposite way and headed off with the intention of travelling the Plenty Highway across to Boulia but at the turn off we were unsure about the distance between fuel stops as we were told one of the stations had stopped selling fuel, So with only a small tank we dxecided discretion was the better action so we continued on to Tenent Creek and 3 ways where we turned right and continued east on the Barkly Highway, i'm sure the distance was considerably more but at least we knew we could get fuel when required.

The Barkly is uninteresting and we just travelled the kilometres and stopped when required, we have been along here previously and as we had a date to get to the Sunshine coast we didn't bother stopping other than coffee breaks, we were usually stopped for the night at around 3pm though, time to get a fire going and cook a beautiful roast pork in the camp oven one evening.

As i write this we are camped just out of Longreach for the night, alone in the bush on a hill overlooking a mob of other nomads who love nothing more than camping within an arms reach of each other, certainly not for us!

Apologies for lack of photos, i haven't had the chance to download them and get them up here.