Saturday, May 28, 2016

Cape York adventure starts

After a couple of nights in Cairns we set of on our Cape York adventure about 10.00am.
Cairns beautiful waterfront
After heading north past Port Douglas we tacked the mountain range to Mt Molloy. It was a hard pull on the car and Myrtle but we took our time and did it easy. First stop was at Mt Carbine Pub for what was to be a snack, but ended up being 2 beers for Shane and a lemon squash for me! 
The remote Mt Carbine Pub
Shane enjoys an early morning beer
It was now my turn to drive onto Lakeland. There is not much in Lakeland but I have been here before as my son Shane worked up here for a while. We stopped at the roadhouse for a  bite to eat and then we headed of for Laura. The Quinkan Pub in Laura has camping out back for $24 (powered) and we will also be leaving Myrtle her and tent it the rest of the way up the cape - should be interesting! The setting up of Myrtle in 30c plus was pretty exhausting. Dinner at the pub for me was disappointing, Shane liked his but mine was crap. But we had a good night listening to the Townsville Army Band, who were very very giod and chatting with our neighbours Lorna and Ian from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. 

Townsville Army Band entertaining us
Early the next morning we went for a drive out to view some Aboriginal rock art. Quinkan rock art refers to a large body of locally, nationally and internationally significant Australian Aboriginal rock art. This particular art is a unique characterization of "Quinkans" an Aboriginal mythical being, found among the sandstone escarpments around Laura. 

It was quite warm and the walk consisted of lots of rough rocky steps. It took us a while but we did it and it was worth the walk. 

The area where we are staying also has a number of interesting castle shaped ant hills. These beauties are around Myrtle. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Kurrimine Beach, Queensland

Well we have had a very wet and windy time in Far North Queensland (FNQ) so far. This time of the year is normally dry but the area has had an unseasonably hit of wet season. A few of the roads up in the cape have been closed due to flooding. But according to the authorities and locals after a few days of no rain the roads should all be ok again. So tomorrow we head into Cairns to get ourselves ready for our Cape York adventure. For any of my international readers if you look at a map of Australia, Cape York is the pointy bit on the right hand side. But for now we are in Kurrimine Beach just over an hour south of Cairns. I have been here before as my son Shane, and his partner, now wife Stacey lived here for a while. Kurrimine Beach is really a holiday location with a permanent population of around about 700. The two major towns either side of Kurrimine are Innisfail and Tully where we went for a bit of an explore today.
Innisfail was originally known as Geraldton until 1910. It is the major township on this Cassowary Coast Region and is well known for its sugar and banana industries although I did see a few farms growing avocados. Being an old town that was once very prosperous it has some beautiful preserved buildings. 
This spectacular church towered above the street
Tully is also a sugar and banana growing area. But with an average annual raining exceeding 4,000 millimetres (160 inches), and the highest ever rainfall in a populated area of Australia (7,900 millimetres / 310 inches) in 1950, Tully has the name as being the wettest town in Australia. Although a rivalry exists between Tully and nearby town of Babinda for the title. In 2003 this giant gumboot (the Golden Gumboot) was erected as a monument to the towns climate.
The Golden Gumboot

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Charters Towers, Queensland

Tomorrow we leave Charters Towers after two nights here. Even though it is a big country town with a population of around 9000 and built on Gold and Cattle it has started giving me a bit of a tropical feel as it is only 90 minutes from the east coast of Australia. Back in 1871 from a chance discovery of gold by a young Aboriginal horse boy Jupiter Mosman and the proclamation of a goldfield in 1872 Charters Towers was born. Back in the bustling golden days this town was the second largest in Queensland, consisting of 11 crushing mills, 65 hotels and one of the first regional towns to have the Stock Exchange in Australia.
There are some stunning Queenslanders in town. 

Dotted around the towers Hill lookout are lots of air raid shelters
As in the other mining towns we have visited such as Kalgoorlie/Boulder, it is evident of the past wealth in the town by the stunning buildings.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Ups and Downs

Tonight we are staying at a farmstay called Ups and Downs just out of Roma in central Queensland. It seems like a great place to spend some time with a good amenities block, a great camp kitchen and a toasty big open fire to sit by on this chilly night. Tonight we also got our first taste of a beautiful Queensland sunset.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Lightning Ridge

Lightning Ridge is an opal mining town in New South Wales, population according to the sign coming into town is ?. I love towns like this because the so called locals are sometimes very entertaining.

This is the second time I have visited Lightning Ridge, but last time was for just overnight. Even though we are on a mission to get up north I really wanted to have one day here to see a few things. We have chosen to stay at the Opal Caravan Park which is very nice and has the cleanest amenities I have ever seen. Each night there is lady "Mel", a very funny Bush Poet entertaining to park guests.

Another advantage of this park is it's location, it's only a 200 metre walk to the Artesian Bore Bath. The Artesian Bath is a pool of really hot water - 40c - coming from the Great Artesian Basin, one Kilometre below the surface. Being a mining town everywhere you drive there are mounds of dirt and rock with a mine shaft next to it. It certainly would be a very hard life. I cannot even imaging how the miners managed in the good old days.

Tomorrow we will continue heading north and cross the border into Queensland to a town called Roma.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Eumungerie, NSW

Waking up in Boorwoa was pretty chilly but once on the road the sun rose it's head and Monday turned into a lovely    t-shirt day. For some reason our water pump wouldn't work in our camper "Myrtle" so we had arranged to call into the Jayco dealer in Dubbo to have it checked out. To our embarrassment it worked perfectly for the caravan guy - must have an air lock!! So anyway we were once again on our way to our free camp for the night. We were unable to find the camp we were looking for so decided to head further north along the Newell Highway. We came across the Eumungerie Recreation Reserve in the tiny village of Eumungerie. With its fees only $5 per night and an extra $5 to have power we quickly decided this was where we would lay our heads for the night. There were only four other vans there so we all had plenty of space. We then spent a lovely evening around the campfire with a few of the other campers exchanging life and travel stories. Yes, we certainly are living the dream. Today we head further north to the mining town of Lightning Ridge. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Boorowa, NSW

Leaving Batemans Bay and my son and two adorable grandsons O'Shea and Finn was a bit sad this morning.

Not long into our drive we had to tackle the Clyde Mountain, which is a pretty long steep hill to climb while towing Myrtle. I was a bit nervous but we did it easily, the oil temp did rise slightly but all was ok. The rest of the day's drive was through lush green rolling hills. We fully intended to stay the night in a different town but as we drove into the little village of Boorowa it looked so good we decided this was the place for us to spend our night. From what I have read after aboriginal tribes had gone the town was built on with convicts (mainly Irish) who had received their ticket of leave. Apparently at times it was a pretty hard and violent place to live. It is now a charming pastoral town with a deep Irish heritage. We have decided on a caravan park to stay at tonight as it is only $25 for the night. After having a couple of drinks we headed to the local Chinese Restaurant and had a very nice meal. So tomorrow we will be up early to head further north on our journey to the tip of Australia. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Aussie Adventure Part 3

After a few weeks of getting organised we are finally off on another Aussie Adventure for the third time. This time we are heading north to the tip of Australia - Cape York. We have made a loose itinerary but if this trip is anything like our last two our plans could change and any time. Our first night was spent at a free camp in the north east area of Victoria, Bellbird Creek. We camped behind the Bellbird Hotel in a lush green paddock surrounded buy evergreen trees and other trees covered in glorious Autumn colours. All the owners ask is that you spend some money in the pub, which is not a problem for us!! Waking up to kookaburras, various birds and cows mooing was an enjoyable start to our adventure.

We are now having a couple of nights in Batemans Bay with my son Shane, daughter in law Stacey and my two adorable grandsons O'Shea and Finn. Tomorrow we will be heading inland for our 2,643 km journey up to Cairns.