Sep 21, 2012

Townsville - Mareeba Qld - Sept 22nd 2012

We stayed two nights at Fletcher's Creek, i would rate it as a good over nighter, some camps were semi permanent with vegie gardens and water tanks standing beside their Van's. I'm all for independently camping but some seem to just abuse the welcoming and almost claim land rights.

Fletchers Creek Camp
Fletchers Creek
In the last two days i have had to plug two of the Van's tires, the 1st was without success, it required 3 plugs but still kept leaking slowly so i changed it for one of the already plugged spares. The other was a slow leak and one plug fixed it but it made us make the decision to get some new tires when we can.

We had Internet reception at Fletcher's Creek but limited phone signal. Our Internet uses a modem that can utilise an external antenna and that was enough to give us the extra signal strength, so i was able to check the Net for tire retailers in Townsville. I sent off four emails to four different companies but only received a reply from one, Tyrepower. We decided to detour into Townsville to check with other retailers but in the end i only tried Bob Jane's and they were dearer than the quote we already had. I made the decision to phone Mareeba Tyrepower to see if they could match or beat the price given to us by Townsville TyrePower and they matched it. So with a three day wait and the weekend coming up we chose to order 6 Maxxis 700 from them as that was where we would be spending a week.

On the way up we called in and stayed at Toomulla Beach, we have been here previously but the 1st time for Kimbo and Ned. It was busier than we had seen it but we were fortunate to be able to claim a section that was reasonably private and there we stayed another two nights. I got the rod out and had a flick with some lures in the creek and caught one small Trevally, it was more than i saw anyone else get. Vickie and i went for a bike ride around the small village which was nice and the 1st time Vick has used the bike since leaving home in July.

With no hurry to get to Mareeba we thought we would call in at Babinda Boulders, another place Kimbo and Ned hadn't visited. This is a beautiful camp and one of my favourites for what it has to offer, limited sites beautiful rain forest setting with lots of birds though this time we did not see a Cassowary like last time. The free camp is just a couple of hundred metres away from the creek and swimming hole, the whole area is well maintained and very popular on the weekends. We were last here in October 2010 and though nothing had changed it was just as beautiful.

Camp Babinda Boulders
Walk Trail

Babinda Boulders Oct 2010

The second day at Babinda it rained for most of the day which restricted us to sitting around under the awnings, watching the storm clouds rolling in from the distance and the surrounding hills covered in misty cloud was something i will never forget and Babinda will lure us back again one day.

Leaving Babinda it was head further North and then take the steep windy road up the Mountain to Mareeba, the more hills the Toyota comes across it seems to just pull harder and better, I certainly don't miss the F250 and so pleased we bought the 'UTE' when we did.

Few of the assorted campers at Mareeba

That's us bottom right

The place is very dry compared to when we were here last
Mareeba Rodeo Ground is to be home for a week while we attend Kuranda and Yungaburra Markets, the latter we did today and found to be a little larger than last visit. My Knife man was there and i bought another Schrade Collectible 'Old Timer' Heritage pocket Knife, these are no longer made under the original USA name having gone under many years ago and taken over by a Chinese Company but still using the Schrade name. So to collectors and those that know knifes the originals are the ones to hunt out.

The top knife is my latest, 
SCHRADE B801Heritage Bone Handle 1986 USA

SCHRADE H194 Heritage USA
Kimbo also found a bargain buying a folding 120w solar panel for $290 to replace the 90w he sold to a traveller at Mareeba. Vickie went in search of chopping boards and of course found one she liked, I think Ned just bought some fruit and vegies, very practical but where's the fun in that ....... :-)

Monday i get the tyres fitted to the Van and we will head to Ravenshoe, we have no real plans after that, Kimbo and Ned will be leaving us soon as they have been called back to Mackay for family duties.

Sep 10, 2012

Kenilworth - Charters Towers - Sept 2012

It's been a while since i have updated our site, our Internet started playing up and i had to organize another modem from Telstra to be sent out to Kimbo's Son's place in Mackay. Hopefully this new one which is the latest WiFi 4G/3G type is a lot more reliable than the previous three Gateway Modems we have had in the past, time will tell.

So what has happened in our lives since the Leyburn Sprints, well we made our way to Kenilworth where we stayed at the Showgrounds for six nights, it's a great spot and though we don't usually stay in pay camps this is cheap at $14 a night including power. Its handy for us as we like to go to Vickie's favourite, The Eumundi Markets on Wednesday & Saturday, i don't mind either as there is always something to check out and this time it was the Goat Pie Stand, These were the best pies i have ever eaten and i have tasted many throughout Australia as my mates will attest to. The Goat Pies were Gourmet and even Vickie who is usually squeamish about eating anything other than mainstream type meat, she also agrees they were delicious. I bought four Take Away but should have bought more.

The main reason for us being up in the Sunshine Coast was to take the Van in to Bushtracker and get a new Thetford Toilet fitted along with the Vast Digital system added to our Oyster Sat, we also had a town water supply connection fitted to the van and wished we had of done that when we first bought the van. Everything went well to plan and the workmanship was of the usual high standard, another reason we take the Van to Bushtracker rather than have anyone else do the work.

We stayed a night at friends Bruce & Barbara's home in Kuluin so it was an easy quick drive to Kunda Park in the morning, it's always nice catching up with them and their kids and they can be assured of more visits when we visit BT in the future, Thanks for the night and living close by !

With the Van organised it left us free to continue North, because we left Bushtracker late in the afternoon we stayed a night at a free camp 6klms North of Gympie. All the past week has seen Vickie suffering from a very sore lower back, just as it seems to settle down the roads and constant sitting doesn't help. We called up our mates Bob & Judy who live at Bargara and who had offered us the hospitality of their block they own at Burnett Heads, Not a problem said Bob and later that day we were camped up with Vickie resting her back, and Bob & Judy arranged to show us around in a couple of days time. The rest did help Vick and though not 100% she was able to move around. Bob & Judy drove us around the area pointing out places of interest and then it was back to their superb Penthouse Unit overlooking the ocean for a couple of coldies. Whilst we in the area we went out to lunch twice with them and was really taken by what the area has to offer. We ended up staying five nights,Thanks Bob & Judy for your hospitality.

The Hummock Lookout Bargara Qld
Local Beach
Awesome Wood Carvings at Council Shire Offices
Moray Eel, Amazing detail
Back on the road our next night camp was at Caliope, we have been here before and though it gets busy it is a lovely spot worth visiting.

Camp Caliope
Another night was spent at Camila Beach, we have been here before and didn't see what attracts others and this time it was no different, the tide was out, it was windy and the sand the same dirty colour it was last time, maybe we are getting fussy after spending time at Ningaloo.

Track in at Camila Beach

Tide is out at Camila Beach
Camila Beach
Creek at Camila
 Our mates Kimbo & Ned were visiting their son at Mackay and we were told to come on up, "there is room in the driveway for the Van", so that is where we headed the next morning. We had a couple of days with Vickie resting her back but we all had plenty of elbow exercising as the beers and glasses of wine flowed freely. It's always great to catch up with these friends and we were pleased to hear that they would join us for part of our trip on up to Mareeba.

Whilst at Mackay i was able to do a couple of small maintenance jobs on the van and get the Internet modem connection organised. Both our Van and Kimbo's Van needed a new adjusting bolt on the Hyland Hitch, neither of us know how long the bolt had been broken and it took a couple of goes before we got the correct bolts required. It was then off to do a shop before heading off to one of the most beautiful parts of the Qld Country, Eungella Dam which is situated up the top of a very steep and windy road. Kimbo has a 200 series Twin Turbo V8 and we have the 79 series single turbo V8 neither lack for power and grunt but both of us were down to 1st gear on some bends, but mostly we were able to use 2nd and power our way up. I don't have a Exhaust Gas Temperature gauge fitted but i am certainly thinking of adding one.

We stopped at Eungella Chalet for lunch and had well made and sumptuous Burger's and Steak Sandwiches. The views are breathtaking and is used for hang gliding though no one was doing any leaps of faith whilst we were there. 20klms further on we arrived at the Dam, most of the area slopes towards the water but we found a nice spot where we set up the Vans, awnings and chairs out and we just chilled out watching the birds and boat activity on the water. Places like these make us regret we didn't bring our Kayaks with us, but it has been the only place so far so not such a bad decision.

Launching Ramp at Eungella Chalet
Mick & Vickie NO were not planning on jumping

Camp at Eungella Dam
Morning view with low cloud cover

Camp at Eungella Dam

We stayed two nights at Eungella and planned our next part of our trip, following the dirt tracks along the river for two days passing through beautiful countryside and river crossings, stopping at Historic Bowen River Pub for a couple of coldies and chatting with some locals who told us of another nice camp at Terrible Creek so that's where we headed. Five cattle grids later we arrived at a sign on a gate saying No Motorbikes or Quads, so in we drove. We had already been told that other campers were there and that didn't bother us but it obviously didn't work both ways as we were greeted with "How did you find this" and "This is Private Property" .... well Hello to you to and welcome! Really some people need to get a life, We were told at the Pub there would be no problem with Greg the owner as long as we respected his property, we were also told that he would probably call in and visit us in the late arvo but never did, I did hear the next morning by the Camp Constabulary that he had visited and was very annoyed and no more caravans would be allowed. Well Chinese Whispers don't work with me, IF the owner did have a problem he should have come and saw us and i am sure he would have, IF he actually did call in, Greg if you ever read this, Thank you.

Terrible Creek,
No Luck, it cost me a lure in a tree on opposite bank
Plenty of Kookaburra's at Terrible Creek

We stayed only a night left the place as clean as we found it and travelled further along the tracks finally coming out at Mt Coolom. Here in 1918 four murders took place with the guilty person committing suicide, all to do with Gold Claims and claim jumping though the Law Courts may beg to differ, the Moral of reading the story was 'You Don't Mess With Tom Coolom'. Tom hunted down all four claim jumpers and shot them before calmly seeing a JP and having his last Will & Testament written before heading back to his property, and shooting himself in the head at the place he wanted to be buried.

Following the Bro
Smoko on a track
 Since then we have stayed a night in the bush where we had a lovely camp oven roast vegies and Pork belly, I also have had to change a wheel on the Van as it had a large puncture most likely from a sharp rock or stake. We intend to get new tyres shortly so it's not unexpected as they are very worn down. Presently camped at Fletchers Creek, 40klms North of Charters Towers. We will most likely stay here a couple of nights and catch up with the washing and chill out.