Sunday, August 29, 2010

Travelling North May-July 2010 Longreach - Winton Part 2

 While we were at Winton we took the time to look around the town at the lovely old houses. It is a town that welcomes tourists and even has a shaded area to park caravans with a new dump point  at the side.
Long waterhole sunset
We really enjoyed camping out at the long waterhole and watching the birdlife and  a partial eclipse occurred on the Saturday night. We also had nice sunsets to the west. The only drawback with  the waterhole area is that it is inaccessible after rain and if it rains while you are there you need to move quickly.

Truck MuseumPart of musical fence
During one of our looks around town we came across the  truck museum and at the back of there was the musical fence.
Lynn" playing the drums"

part of musical fence

 This set up was accessible to all and had a variety of hanging and fixed objects
- all junk that people could strike etc with a variety of sticks to make whatever music appealed to you at the time. the fence itself was connected to sound boxes so when the strands of wire were plucked or struck they also made more sounds and the different wires all had different sounds. We both had a lot of fun playing the musical fence.

 From Winton we drove north to a small rest area where we had planned to stop he night but found it was going to be too difficult for our big van to access so we just had M/T there and continued north to Stampforth where we thought we might stop but as we approached the tiny town we came across lots of roadworks and when we got there we found there was a large camp for the roadworkers that had virtually taken over the whole area so again we moved on.
Cool water pond
A little further on we came across a bore ( Warianna) just of the road and with some hardstand along side the road and a turning area it made an ideal lunch stop.

Hot artesian bore

  The bore can be seen through the reeds and had very hot water flowing out of it  but the water then made it's way down to the above pond where we saw lots of ducks enjoying the water .  There was also troughs for the cattle to drink from which is why we didn;t camp in the area but moved on to Hughenden.

 From Hughenden we went north again to Porcupine Gorge as we had information that the road was quite good with only a small amount of dirt left. The maps showed that only half the road was sealed. On our arrival there we nearly got caught out by the E- boooking system where you can  pre book a site and the site we initially pulled into was one of them. However a site became vacant just afterwards so we moved onto  that for the next couple of days. We had lovely weather and just took some time to relax and enjoy along with a few short walks to view the gorge. We didn't walk down into the Gorge as Lynn wasn't up to it.

Relaxing  in the shade

Porcupine gorge

more views of the gorge

 Pyramid Rock 
The campground we stayed at was named after this formation.Storyboard at lookout

 Bottle tree at Lookout
  On our way to the Gorge we noted that there were a number of signs indicating historical and geographical features of the area so on the way back to Hughenden we stopped at a few of them . The walk to the Lookout was fairly  short but up a steepish incline so I went on my own and was rewarded with great views right out over the plains to Mt Walker where we had been on previous occassions to view the sunset.

 Black rock gorge

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mareeba Rodeo and Fletcher Creek July 2010

While we were at Fletcher Creek we were visited by 2 horse floats from Tamworth and Armidale with 9 horses between them and the people who were with them  said they were on their way to Mt Surprise to the rodeo and after that they were going onto Mareeba and then back to Charters Towers.

 Our "sundowner " spot
 Fletcher Creek is a great spot about 40 klms north of Charters Towers and we had a top spot with lawn behind the van that went down to the creek's edge which was flowing quite quickly. There was also a besser brick BBQ where we used to join our neighbours each afternoon for a sundowner and Colin used to feed the Kites with cheese.

Fletcher Creek

 Remains of old bridge across Fletcher Creek

 Feeding the Kites

   When our rodeo friends said the rodeo at Mareeba was on the next weekend we decided that as there was a good campground at the rodeo grounds we would go  and check it out. However seeing as we still had some time up our sleeves on a day that was rather overcast and cool we decided to check out Dalrymple National park as the track to access it was closeby.

Burdekin river in Dalrymple National Park

 We were very surprised to see so much sand  and so little water in the Burdekin but there were signs that it had been in flood  fairly recently. As we continued through the park we came across some of the historical aspects of the park including a marker from Leichardt famous trip through the area a long time ago.
Leichardt's marker

 Continuing on through the park we came across some old graves  not far from the junction of the Burdekin and Fletcher creeks. We opted not to walk down to the actual junction but others told us the track was quite okay. We took several side tracks down to the Fletcher on our way back  and saw some quite pretty spots. Me looking towards the junction of the Burdekin and the Fletcher creek.

 When we headed north towards Mareeba we started to run into rain and as we had to go through a lot of roadworks north of Greenvale our vehicle and caravan were very muddy by the time we reached our stopover at Ravenshoe. It was wet there too and quite cool. However  It was a lovely surprise to catch up with some friends that we had met at Mitchell, and sit around the fire for a chat.
 The next morning when were leaving we had planned to get a gas bottle refill and post some mail but  we hadn't reckoned on a public holiday for the Atherton Show so we couldn't get anything done. Our friends from Mitchell weren't up when we left  so we couldn't say goodbye to them. They were also going to the rodeo but not leaving for another couple of days. However late in the morning after we had setup at Mareeba and were heading into town to get those things done which we couldn't do at Ravenshoe we were pleasantly surprised to see them arrive.

The number of rigs and grey nomads at Mareeba was a real eye opener for us as weren't used to seeing such large numbers of rigs. By the time the rodeo got under way there must have been 800 or more rigs of all sorts and particularly large motorhomes. although we were there a week we only had to pay for 5 nights camping as there was no charge for camping when the rodeo was on. However there was only a very limited number of powered sites so most people had to rely on generators etc.

Mareeba Ballooning

Mareeba is a well known ballooning spot and several mornings while we were there the balloons came over first thing in the morning.

Rodeo action

 Getting a rider ready the chutes

 Barrel Racing - Females

 As we had paid to  attend the rodeo the fee covered the 2 days of action so we could wander over and check out what was happening as we pleased instead of having to go and spend the day there.

 We have friends who live in Mareeba but spend most of the winter months prospecting for gold on their lease near the Palmer River. A phone call earlier had revealed they were away but a chance visit found them home for a few days to get a few things done before heading out again. It was great to catch up with them again even though they were home for such a short time.

Sunday morning at the rodeo grounds saw a bit of action in our area as it was discovered that chairs had been taken form outside our van and the van next door. Our neighbour thought that the culprits were a group of young people who were sitting around a fire not far away and a visit revealed that someone was sitting in his chair and on further investigation Lynn found our chair in the back of a Ute. When Lynn when to find the cops or security he could only find an organiser who just moved the group down to the main camping area for the overnighters..

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Train Trip 25/07/2010

 We are currently staying at one of our favourite places  at Rifle Creek north of Mount Molloy
but the weather hasn;t been too kind to us.  Although it isn't cold it is showering and overcast so that each day we have had to run the generator to keep up our power.

 Today we decided to go down the range to Port Douglas as they have markets on a Sunday and hopefully the weather is better on the coast.

On our way down we noticed signs indicating that a prawn trawler was in and selling prawns at the marina, so after spending some time wandering around the markets we paid a visit to the marina and bought a kilo of beautiful cooked tiger prawns.

While we were having lunch we kept on hearing  the whistle of a train and initially thought that it belonged to a sugar train as the sugar harvest has started but then it kept on sounding very regularly so we thought that it belonged to a fun park train.

 However on our way back to the vehicle we came across the " Ballyhooly" which is a small open sided train which runs 3 times  on  Sundays for a 4 km run to St Crispins . As it was about 3/4 hour before the next train went we wandered around the Mirage shopping centre  to kill time.

 Backing up the Ballyhooly to pick up the carriages for next trip.
 Unfortunately the showers returned just as our train set off and being open sided we had to sit in the middle of the carriage so we didn't get too wet.

 Bally hooly
 The journey took us past the marina and then through some mangroves before wending it's way past some of the big resorts at Port Douglas.  The whistle was blown lots of times as we crossed footpaths and roads and even just for fun as we passed some people walking along .
 Eventually we arrived at St Crispins where we were all off loaded while the train was turned around on the turntable. The little station there had a lovely out look over a big pond that connected to the river. It was well stocked with lots of fish and possibly crocodiles.

 Lake at St Crispins station

 Engine going onto turntable

  Coming back ready to hook up for return journey.

 The weather hadn't improved on our journey back but it didn't seem to matter to anyone as we all enjoyed our little trip through a part of the area which we would not normally see.

Monday, August 2, 2010

OutBack June 2010 Longreach and Winton Part 1

 When we left Lake Dunn it was our wedding anniversary and we had plans to celebrate with a counter lunch at a local hotel in Barcaldine but  our plans went astray. Firstly we checked out one with a nice beer garden  but no meals were served there as it was a Smoking area and then we decided to stock up the grog supplies only to be told that both  items were sold out due to a heavy run on them over the weekend. The next hotel didn't do  lunches on a Monday so as we still had time we decided to head off to Longreach after collecting the mail.

 The road goes through mainly open plain with an unusual row of sorghum beside the road that seems to have fallen from trucks but also appears to have been planted as it is so even.

 By the time we got to Ilfracombe we had passed a number of signs advertising meals etc at a historic pub so we decided to check it out only to be told they don;t do lunches we would have to go to the local cafe.  This appeared to be an interesting set up with an outdoor dining section so we opted for that and had a lovely meal.

  The Blitz based vehicle

  This interesting vehicle was being used as a camper/ motor home to a couple who were WW2  Transport buffs who were touring around and displaying their vehicle at various shows. It was parked across the road from the cafe.
The scenery to Longreach didn't change over the last 20 odd klm's and we arrived there early afternoon. We headed straight out to the camp at the Thomson river and were surprised to see quite a number of other vans there already.  Camping is allowed for 4 nights and we decided to take advantage of that so that we could see the attractions there without rushing.

 Some o

 the rigs at Thomson river, Longreach

 Thomson River

 an interesting storyboard about 2 rivers that form a creek

  Lynn and the DC3

 Qantas museum. Avro , one of the first Qantas planes in old hangar

  While we were at Longreach we played tourists and visited some of the interesting exhibits that were available here. We spent a very interesting morning at the Qantas museum. The little plane in the picture above was on a track so that it appeared to be flying above us.  There were several  small planes travelling on this track.  There was also plenty of interactive displays and films on the history of Qantas and the flying of an old jetliner from England after it had been restored. the original Hanger was also part of the displays and you could do a tour of  a 747 which included a wing walk but we opted not to do that.
 We were also lucky to see a Australian War Memorial display on"  Animals in War" through time so that they included the dogs used in tunnels and bomb detection in the Vietnam and Iraqi Wars.

Entrance to Qantas museum


 Restored plane that was flown from England

 Another afternoon we found the arts and crafts centre which was set up in the old ambulance station which was a beautiful old building with large verandahs  and old housed a historical display about local events in Longreach such as floods etc.

Queensland Ambulance Centre, Longreach

Lawnmowers at Stockman's Hall of Fame

 Their minders

Stockman's Hall of Fame

  We spent another interesting morning at this place. It was really fascinating and the displays were beautifully set out so that they weren't too crowded.  The sheep grazing on the front lawn under the watchful eye of the sheepdogs really tickled us. We think they were also part of an outdoor display that was being run much later.

 From Longreach we headed off to Winton and the country side was much the same with wide open plains and very few trees it was easy to see why some people call it big sky  country. On the way we passed a few rest areas which we noted for future reference as place to stop. Some of them had trees where you could tuck yourself back from the road and the traffic noise although there wouldn't be much traffic during the night just a few trucks.

 At Winton we drove through town and continued on the road to Lark Quarry but turned off just out of town to the Long waterhole where we found a nice spot to camp.  The birdlife were prolific and we were only 4 klms from town.  We stayed here for several nights and saw a partial eclipse of the moon and visited a number of the various activities  the town had to offer.
  We also drove out to the Bladensberg National park one afternoon.  There was an interesting display at the old homestead and we also called at the woolshed but that was quite small in comparison to the one at Yanga ( See earlier blog). From the homestead we drove out to a waterhole and gorge. the country side here was very deceiving as the gorge was below the level of the surrounding area, and trees were the only indication of the waterhole.

 Woolshed at Bladensberg park

 Manager's house

 Main homestead