Oct 30, 2010

Sunshine Coast - Hinterland

We didn't travel too far, we called in at Petrie Park CAW5 #138 but it was already crowded out so we went and checked out Tiaro Memorial Park #139 which is in town. 3 other campers were already set up and there was plenty of space for us, we refilled our water tanks and invited to join the others for happy hour which we did. As we sat around chatting another Bushtracker towed by a V8 Toyota Ute came in, Bruno & Michelle if my memory is correct are known as GORN on the Bushtracker Owners Forum once they got set up they joined us all, a nice mixed group of people from different walks of life, the conversations came easily and it was a nice evening.

The next morning 'GORN' showed us some of their fossicking finds, the gold certainly got my interest! I am going to have to give our detector a work out when we get down to Victorian Gold Country. After saying our goodbyes we moved on 63klms to CAW5 #147 Chatsworth Park, 6klms north of Gympie. It was Sunday and we were waiting to see a Toyota Dealer in town the next morning as a fuel warning light had come on in the Ute.

We spent the day watching the comings & goings and the traffic drive by, that evening the heavens opened up and the rain poured down. No sleeping in when in Qld, the sun comes up early and the birds come alive earlier, i was ready to head into Gympie Toyota when i watched a large motorhome attempt a U turn across some wet ground, I didn't like it's chances and i was correct and down it went. As i was leaving i stopped to see if a tow would help, no tow hooks on the front of the motorhome just a couple of steel brackets, the owner asked if i would give it a go which i did but i wasn't going to stuff my car up by trying too hard, a couple of slow pulls just caused the metal brackets to bend and when the owner then told me he would phone RACQ i left him to it.

The fuel warning light was just a new fuel filter required and i was soon back at camp, the motorhome had left after being winched out by RACQ. Whist Vickie went and did some shopping i got the van packed and ready to head off when she got back.

Destination was Kenilworth Showgrounds CAW5 #166, this is a top spot, $12 per night with power, green grass and superb views of the hills beyond. Not only that it's a short walk into town and the Cheese & Yogurt Factory. Getting our van parked into the position Vickie wanted it caused me to have a mental melt down, who would have thought it would be so hard to get the van straight, door facing the green grass, not too far under the tree's ..... it certainly did my head in more so because i just couldn't work out why it was pissing me off so much, i have reversed our van into some incredibly tight spots and here i was with all the space in the World.

Getting all past that we really liked the Showgrounds, i went for a drive to Sound In Motion Nambour to arrange a time and price to have a Reverse Camera & Screen fitted. Following my GPS maps I drove via Malaney on Bli Bli road which turned into a detour which then took me up the hills via a one way very steep road, leaving Nambour the GPS directed me the same way except the road was one way, it then re-directed me down a dirt road for 12klms before it came to a dead end! By this time i had enough and accepted defeat, i turned around and headed back to Nambour and along the Bruce Highway to Kennilworth. That 1st Bourban & Coke when i got back was a beauty!!

The next day i had to do it all again as the car was getting the camera & screen fitted, i didn't even bother finding the shortest way and just headed straight to the highway. With that job done it was onto Stegbar in Maroochydore to organize a new shower screen and surround for the Van. Vickie had never liked the white screen and wanted it changed to something that suited the decor better and that was to be black. Another job out of the way it was onto Cooroy and visit SunState Hobie, we were looking at changing our inflatable Hobie to another plastic. Unfortunately Mal the owner wasn't there so i left our inflatable so he could check it out and phone me.

Left Kenilworth the next morning and drove down to Maroochydore where we would be parked out front of some friends home, they live at the end of a court with a lovely park, plenty of space for us and it gave us the local address to enable Stegbar to come out and measure and then fit the new shower screen, also the van needed to be assessed by our Insurance company for repairs so that was another job out of the way.

As usual our luck fails us, Vickie's eye condition has returned and required a visit to a Optometrist who confirmed that she has had another bleed behind the retina and needed to see a Specialist straight away. 10 minutes later she was in the office of an Orthomologist who also confirmed she needed to start having Avastin injections in her eye again to reduce the blood, at $600 an injection we are on the roundabout again.

The next day we drove back to Cooroy and met up with Mal at SunState Hobie, Mal is one of if not the biggest retailer of Hobie Kayaks in Australia, Mal helped us out when our Inflatable developed a fault and replaced it under warranty, so having a good experience with him was enough for me to return and give him the opportunity to quote on a trade in and change over for a new Hobie Revolution. We already own a Hobie Outback and very happy with it but i chose the Revo this time as they have a good reputation for handling the white water, faster and easier to paddle. Before deciding i took the demo out for a quick paddle / peddle on Lake McDonald, it confirmed what i had heard and decision was made. Mal made the changeover at a price we couldn't refuse, he took the time to explain things that Ranger Camping hadn't and even fitted two Scotty rod holder brackets. If your in the market for a near new Hobie Inflatable 12is contact SunState Hobie and speak to Mal.

The new shower screen turned up and brightened Vickie up until being told by the installer the perspex was scratched and would need to be replaced and that couldn't be done till next week. Now with two Hobie Kayaks i needed to change our Rhino Roof Bars to wider one's, anyone interested in 3 x 1500mm Rhino Aero Bars contact me.

So here we are, our Mates have gone to the Gold Coast on a pre arranged trip and we have spent the day at Eumundi Markets, a dog has just been abandoned in the street [according to Vick] so i can predict more anguish.

Any photo's will be uploaded later.

Oct 22, 2010

Carmila Beach - Calliope River

I had heard about Carmila Beach many times but had never visited ourselves, this was our opportunity. Turning off the Bruce Highway at Carmila we drove approximately 12klms along the bituminous Carmila Beach road before taking the sandy track to the right and the many camp area's along the beach. All camps are well above the high tide mark which is just as well because the sea is very tidal here and can go out a kilometre or more, it reminded us of 80 Mile Beach on the West Coast except the sand at Carmila is muddy clay and difficult to walk on without sinking.

We choose a site about 1/2 way along the track, most spots had campers already set up but none were camped on top of each other. We put the awning out, even though it is damaged and doesn't roll easy it is better than not having any shade, i also put the shade wall up to protect us from the morning sun. Not long after getting our camp set up the wind started blowing and that set the scene for the next 48 hours.

The wind got worse and then the rain started coming down, we couldn't get the awing down as it was to dangerous, the shade wall was like a sail so all we could do was wait until the wind dropped off, this happened in the middle of the 2nd night, it was like a switch had been turned off. We quickly got out of bed and in record time removed the shade wall and rolled up the awning, washed our feet and got back into bed. Then the wind started again ... but we didn't care at this stage and went back to sleep.

Photos make me look like a liar ... Calm before the storm

Carmila Beach would be an excellent camp in the nice weather, fishing is reported to be good, two large creeks to explore with much evidence of mud crabs about. We would definitely return here but if it's windy - forget it!

The rain hadn't stopped for a day and it continued to come down in a steady flow, the track out was muddy but we had no problems. Before leaving we dumped our cassette contents in the dump site provided and headed back onto the Bruce Highway, and drove onto Calliope River a distance of around 340klm. We don't usually drive distances like that anymore but with the rain coming down it wasn't worth stopping apart from a quick stop for smoko at St Lawrence free camp site. This is another well provided camp area and worth staying at.

By the time we arrived at Calliope River the rain had stopped and we had a clear sunny sky, we initially entered the 48hr camp area from the Eastern side of the river there were a few vans camped along the edge of the road nose to tail and it didn't look to attractive to me, the other side of the river was different though with quite a few campers they had plenty of area to space themselves out. So we turned around and continued down the highway a couple of kilometres before being able to cross over the river and double back to the Calliope River camp ground.

Not to many spots available on the rivers edge so we choose to camp back away from the rest and found a nice level spot on green grass. One nice added touch was the hundreds of finches feeding in the long grass, our Friend Heather would have loved it. We also had a couple of Kookaburra's that paid us a visit looking for any handouts, of course with Vickie and her habit of feeding any animal we come across, they didn't leave with an empty stomach - so much for our steak for tea that night.

There is a small bridge crossing the river here but it is closed to traffic, it doesn't stop people walking over it nor fishing from it. I gave it a shot each day but apart from seeing some small fish and feeling the lure get hit a few times i had no luck, i didn't see anyone else catch anything either.

Our allowable 48hrs is up today and we will move on, no idea where we will end up, hopefully it wont be far.

Oct 17, 2010

Toomulla Beach & Groper Creek

Ok, 3 days have gone by so i may as well write this all down now or i will forget.

We had planned on staying at Hulls Head near Tully for at least a couple of nights but 105mm of rain over night and with more forecast we decided to just move along. We had no plans on where but as things turned out it was to be Toomulla Beach, and to our delight it was a beautiful camp site. We were also pleased to see John & Julie [Bushtracker Owners] whom we had met briefly at the BOG Muster at Herberton, apart from them and one other Caravan and two tents we had the place all to ourselves.

We went for a walk around the street's and checked out the beach, the ocean is certainly not attractive being tidal & rough it always has a murky brown colour. We spotted one snake sunbaking and it quickly got out of our way but that was enough to make Vickie jittery so it was back to camp where we had happy hour with John & Julie before the rain started coming down. We both then went to our vans and watched the last few minutes of the Commonwealth Games Netball Championship with Australia versus New Zealand, the result was so close unfortunately Australia lost.

Toomulla Beach has a 2 day limit on camping, we only stayed one day as we had decided to get down to Groper Creek for a spot of fishing. It was the 1st time for Vickie here, i was here with Kimbo 3 years ago when both girls flew home for a visit. Last time we had Kimbo's tinny and i wasn't going to be putting the Kayak's in here not when Crocs had been ripping crab nets apart. I did fish off the bank and though i caught some fish nothing was worth keeping, 7 Cat Fish, 2 Bream & 1 Grunter, the bream & grunter were undersize so back they went. Bait was fresh prawns caught off the bank with my trusty throw net.

Images of Groper Creek late afternoon & evening

Whilst i was talking to someone Vickie called out to get my attention, i thought another Cat Fish, but Vick was pointing out to the water and there was a Tinny sinking. Lack of commonsense, putting 4 large blokes into a flat bottom punt and to make it even more stupid they had a child around 1-2 years of age with them. The only good part was the child had a life jacket on and one of the blokes swam ashore with her. One of the other campers quickly launched his boat and they went out and towed the submerged and turned over boat back to the ramp. They lost a bit of gear so maybe that will be a lesson learn.

We stayed 2 nights at Groper Creek, we thought about staying longer but decided to move on and see what else we could find, we were thinking Carmila Beach but before we got there we decided to call in to Arlie Beach & Shute Harbour. It has been 16 years since we were here last and things have changed a lot, we have booked into Flametree Caravan Park for two nights, i'm not thrilled by it but it's Vickie's trip too so here we are and then we will head down to Carmila Beach.

Images of Shute Harbour

Oct 12, 2010

Babinda - The Boulders

The weekend before we left Mareeba the Walkamin Country Music Club had their annual Country Music Festival at the Rodeo ground, the headline act was 'The Sheik From Scrubby Creek' - Chad Morgan, not being big fans we didn't bother going instead we sat around our van watching the Commonwealth Games and listening to the show, if what we heard was an example we didn't miss out on too much. Saturday night they had a more country rock atmosphere with a Creedence Clearwater copy group, apparently they have street musicians and a few concerts on in town as well. Judging by the amount of campers that came to the Rodeo ground I'd be surprised if they classed it as a success.

Monday we finally left after enjoying 3 weeks at Mareeba, we could easily have stayed longer it's that kind of place. Three years ago i stayed at a camp near Babinda, Vickie had flown home from Townsville and i was to pick her up in Cairns, I was keen to show her the beautiful camp and area known as the Boulders so that was our next destination.

Babinda Boulders is a popular swimming hole and picnic area for locals and tourists, and a place of spiritual significance for Aboriginal people. It is managed as a flora and fauna reserve by the Cairns City Council. Reports that 15 people possibly up to 20 all men have died in the fast flowing water and slippery boulders, especially near Devil's Pool & the chute, the most recent being Dec 1st 2008

An Aboriginal legend telling of forbidden love is said to be the reason why so many young men have died at the infamous Devil's Pool at Babinda in North Queensland.

Since 1959, 15 men have lost their lives at Devil's Pool - a popular destination for tourists and hikers, about 58km south of Cairns.

A Cairns tourism website tells of a beautiful girl named Oolana, from the Yidinji people, who married Waroonoo, a respected elder from her tribe.

"Shortly after their union another tribe moved into the area and a handsome young man came into her life. His name was Dyga and the pair soon fell in love," the legend says.

"Realizing the adulterous crime they were committing, the young lovers escaped their tribes and fled into the valleys.

"The elders captured them, but Oolana broke free from her captors and threw herself into the still waters of what is now known as Babinda Boulders, calling for Dyga to follow her.

"As Dyga hit the waters, her anguished cries for her lost lover turned the still waters into a rushing torrent and the land shook with sorrow. Huge boulders were scattered around the creek and the crying Oolana disappeared among them.

"Aboriginal legend says her spirit still guards the boulders and that her calls for her lost lover can still be heard."

The campground area is only a couple of hundred metres away, it's a free camp with a maximum two day stay. The camp is a credit to the council as it is meticulously maintained. We had a large area to ourselves and settled down to relax and watch the birds & butterfly's flying about, that didn't last long as the rain came down heavily, out came our water tank filling bucket and i soon had the fresh rainwater funnelling into the Caravan's water tanks.

Tuesday we went for a walk to the swimming hole and up to the viewing platforms further up the track to Devils Pool. Passing a small monument for a man who 'Came for a Visit and stayed forever' it was a somber moment to think he and many others have lost their lives in the river. The track is bituminous and undulating, the rain forest either side thick, it truly is a lovely 1.3klm walk.

A link to an article on deaths at the Boulders http://fwd4.me/UFb

An excerpt from the Brisbane Times

"Peter McGann was 24 when he drowned in the chute," Ms Schnitzerling said from her home near Babinda today.

"In 1979, he jumped across the short space between the rocks, slipped and went missing."

"It's a 40-foot drop and God knows how deep it is. I don't think anyone's every sounded it out to find out."

Talking to ABC's Messagestick program, police diver Peter Tibbs described the procedure of finding some of the missing.

"I've been called on four times to try and find bodies down there but one of the most interesting of the cases was a young fella called, Patrick McGann.

"We thought we knew he was in there, but we couldn't get to the body because the water is so cold, it's so deep and it flows so fast.

"And so eight or ten times we went down and we eventually cut the logs out of the place underwater and on the last day after we'd almost given up, we cut the last log that was in the chute and the body floated freely.

"And that was five weeks and five days from the time he'd gone missing, so it wasn't a pretty sight, but it was a great relief to get the body out and satisfy the family."

We drove into Babinda and had a look at the shops in the main street, the Didgeridoo Shop was interesting, talking with Judy the owner she told us her son Sani who was only 14 had played didgeredoo at the Opera House, she mentioned that he would be home from School any moment and would play for us. Not wanting to miss this we hung around, Sure enough Sani came in and without a grumble gave us a demonstration of 1/2 a dozen different sized Didgeridoo's. What a talent! Thanks Judy & Sani!

Back at the camp we were delighted to have a Cassowary come in, this is only the 2nd Cassowary we have ever seen in the wild and this was the largest. It stayed around for a while, sometimes in the bush and then would appear in the open. How lucky were we! So sharing this thrill with you ....

Cassowary Bush Turkey......

Maybe not ..... How about a Cassowary Rooster !!

OK just kidding ... Here it is - The Cassowary

Some Cassowary facts, A common name for a flightless, swift-running, pugnacious forest bird of Australia and the Malay Archipelago, smaller than the ostrich and emu. The plumage is dark and glossy and the head and neck unfeathered, wattled, and brilliantly colored, with variations in the coloring in different species. The head bears a horny crest. The female is larger than the male, though both sexes are similar in color. They are monogamous and nest in shallow nests of leaves on the ground in forests. Only the male incubates the female's three to six dark-green eggs. Cassowaries are primarily nocturnal. Their diet consists mainly of fruits and berries, although some eat insects and small animals. Cassowaries are notoriously vicious and have attacked and killed men with their sharp, spike like toenails. They are fast runners, attaining speeds up to 30 mi (48 km) per hr.

Our two nights up we have left Babinda and now at Hull Heads which is near Tully Heads, here is a camp site near the Coast Guard Base, prices have gone up from what was $6 per night to $13pn mentioning this to the caretaker Vickie was told there is now hot showers ....

It is a lovely place though and worth a stay, presently we are the only campers and have set up directly facing the water with the Hammock strung up between two tree's. Rain has just poured down so that has topped up all our water tanks again. It also gives me time to catch up on this blog.

Oct 5, 2010

Mareeba Qld - Continued

Life at Mareeba is a bit like Groundhog Day, the days turn into week's and before we know it we are into our 3rd week camped at the Rodeo grounds. Starting on the 7th of October there is a Country & Western Music Festival on at the grounds so we thought we may as well hang around for a while longer and take it in. Being so close to the action we will be able to hear the music if not see it.

All By Ourselves

The other campers

Plenty of Roos here

Our days have been spent either reading or catching up on small jobs, we have been going for drives around the area and taking a different direction each time. The Country side is very scenic with magnificent looking hills and plenty of farming properties growing all types of tropical fruit along with plenty of Coffee plantations.

We have enjoyed visiting Mt Hypipamee crater which was formed by an explosive eruption of volcanic gases which blasted through the granite surface, the water 60mts below didn't look at all inviting not that you would or could swim in it.

Mt Hypipamee Crater

Souita Falls was another out of the way falls we visited, We were able to see the first falls within about 150m of walking. There was an overlook platform letting us see a bit of the falls from its top. The second falls is another 70m further along and you need to negotiate some overgrowth but it was the prettiest of the two.

We have visited the Coffee Works centre a few times to partake of the coffee's and chocolates they have for tasting but our favourite brew has to be North Queensland Gold, Maloberti's Brand. I first went there three years ago when Vickie flew home to Perth for a visit and we have been buying their coffee ever since, plus introducing the brand to family & friends. Today we paid them another visit and bought some more of their medium roast coffee, their property is certainly not as flash as some other's are in the area but they do things the old fashioned way, growing and roasting their own coffee beans. With plenty of Chooks and Cats around the sheds, Bruno giving tours to visitors, Bruno's Daughter Maria taking care of sales & Mrs Maloberti sorting out the coffee beans by hand it's an interesting and charming place. Coffee can be purchased on line at their web site:


There are plenty of Markets on the Tablelands with something on somewhere just about every weekend, last Sunday we visited the Tolga markets, while it wasn't as large as the Yungaburra markets it was still worth a look. This weekend it's Mareeba's turn to have their markets.

I finally got around to getting my Tow Mirrors made for the Ute, I didn't like the after market tow mirrors as it usually meant something strapped on or extra mirrors attached to the existing ones, i had seen plenty of versions where the standard mirror had been extended by some extra length of metal but i didn't like the look preferring to keep things looking factory, so what i did was take the arm off and have an Aluminum fabricator bend me up some arms an extra 100mm longer. I am yet to get them powder coated but this is what they look like. Vision to the rear is now a lot better, in hindsight i would have gone an extra 50mm and i may get Mrk.2 made.

Something different check this site out