Monthly Archives: June 2018
We are back in Brisbane after having a few nights in the rain at Yandina. A wet end to the test run in the new van. After leaving Gayndah we headed off to Yandina via Biggenden, where we stopped for lunch. Not a lot happening in Biggenden. Along the way we stopped off at Chowey Bridge on the old railway line. Built in 1905 this was the first concrete arch bridge built in Queensland. Just outside Biggenden is Mt Walsh National Park, this is a particularly rugged park with no camping facilities but a pretty day use area in the shadow of the mountain. It is a steep walk to the top, plenty of warnings about a poor track, rock faces and steep drops. Homealone wasn’t interested and Allthego didn’t want to go anyway. So we went on to Yandina instead.
Our camp site at Yandina was in a great setting down by the upper reach of the South Maroochy River. It would be good on a sunny winter’s day, very hot in summer! There are 10 sites down by the creek. As the rain fell it started to fill and run faster over the rocky base, well below the bank thankfully. I suspect that in flood time this area is swamped. We were under some big figs and our site got muddy and unpleasant in the rain. The rest of this caravan park is a bit dismal, it is given over to lots of full-time residents in very cramped areas. A good test for the van in the rain, no leaks!
We are now planning a longer trip out west to the Desert Racing Carnival in mid August, this includes the iconic Birdsville races. Other races are held at Betoota and Bedourie with the same horses I suspect going around. Back home we have unpacked and settled in. Allthego even watched the Eels go down (again) in the last minutes against St George in the NRL. Enough said!
We are now in Gayndah after having a stopover at Lawless Park, this free camp is set back from the road midway between Goomeri and Gayndah. We good spot under a nice cooling leafy tree, except it is winter and it is cold in these parts. We pulled in here around lunchtime in the hope of a fire pit, and there was! So the T-Bones were out of the freezer to defrost. Also here was a bus with a couple of Nomads on board. She was quite ill, walked with a stick and had all sorts of arthritic and bone problems, spurs every where and we heard about them all. The guy was obviously very caring. They had 3 dogs and 2 cats with them in the bus plus some birds. The bus pulled an enclosed trailer/shed with a small car on board and potted plants, tools etc (like a garage almost), on top of this lot was a boat. He ran a generator until 7.30 that night. Because of her illnesses and travelling discomfort they were selling this lot and getting a longer bus! Hmmmm.
A bit later we were joined by 2 other couples travelling together.
As the afternoon wore on Allthego chopped up some wood, or more accurately split a log portion for the fire, and around 4.30 set the fire. Allthego invited the two couples to join us for nibbles and drinks around the fire. If he hadn’t done this they would have invited themselves as it turned out. Good to be always on the front foot in these things. This lot were good talkers so Allthego didn’t have to say much and let Homealone keep the pace up. All sorts of travel tales and adventures. Entertaining for all. We let the fire subside and they disappeared for dinner, got our steaks cooked and restocked the fire for after dinner. Well, only one of the two couples emerged for this and we kept going with the chat for another hour. Got into bed eventually, exhausted!
The bus went early the next morning a bit after 7 am after leaving the engine running for 40 minutes to warm up and also wake us all up. They wouldn’t get more than 2 or 3 km to the litre, pretty expensive travelling!
Mid morning we set off for Gayndah, only about 40 km up the road and booked into the Riverview Van Park overlooking the Burnett River for a couple of nights. Nice view, comfortable but not flash! Gayndah is all about oranges and mandarins. This is the time of year when they are in season, lots of back packers around doing the picking. An ABBA tribute band was in town for the night and they belted all the great hits. Very audible from the pub on the other side of the river.
The next day we did the round trip to Mundubbera and back. Checked out a bit of the old railway line from Monto ( near the coast) to Mundubbera and saw the old ‘upsidedown’ bridge. Gayndah has the Big Orange and Mundubbera has the Big Mandarin. A number of fruit pickers were sunning themselves on the sand in front of the Big Mandarin and so spoilt a clear shot of the Mandarin, Allthego tried his best to not look too interested.
After lunch we headed back to Gayndah. Along the way drove to the top of Mt McConnell for some great views of the Burnett River and the surrounding citrus orchards. On top was a small Eco Loo facility. It’s funny how these small things attract the politicians. There is an impressive brass plate marking the opening of this loo in 2004 by Nita Cunningham the local member and also at the time the State Minister for Local Government. I wonder if she opened it literally? It still looks pretty new and in good condition after nearly 15 years, I suspect not a lot of use up here.
Back in Gayndah we settled in for the night and will head to Yandina on the coast in the morning.
Well we are on the road again in our new van after a lengthy break. It has been 12 months since we placed the order for the new van. After 5 or so years tripping around in the pop top the time had come for an upgrade. Allthego and Homealone had become some what worn, torn and a little jaded with all the ‘winding up and popping out’ in the Jayco. Not to mention the late night and 3 – 4 am morning dashes to park loos, sometimes in the wet. We had some good fun though in those trips around the country. The new van has an onboard loo and shower and a few mod cons that will make travelling a little easier as we slow up!
The order we placed in July showed up as planned, but a little late towards the end of last February. But, it was rejected by the dealer and subsequently us on quality control issues. It wasn’t up to scratch, basically shoddy construction. So a new order, for a different brand van was placed. The dealer offered us a good deal on a superior van for the same price as the original. We have ended up with more water storage, more carrying capacity and more mod cons. So, apart from the delays, we have ended up with a good setup.
The van arrived a bit over a week ago. After a few days of familiarisation and getting it set up for travelling, we headed off last Tuesday on a short running in trip up the Brisbane Valley, to the near west and north of Brisbane. Formerly a big dairying and timber getting region, it is now predominantly beef grazing, grapes, wine and as you head further north citrus growing. The valley is also the route of an old railway line running from near Ipswich 161 km north to Yarraman. The line has been pulled up and is now a walking, cycling and horse riding route for those who go for that sort of activity. Along the way some of the old railway infrastructure has been preserved, particularly stations and bridges.
Our first night’s stop was at Esk, only a short run of about 80 km to the Esk Caravan Park. Being mid-week it was pretty quiet in Esk. No dramas with the van. The next morning it was a little further north to Nanango and a stop over in the Tipperary free camp on the outskirts of town. Along the way we passed through the old timber town of Blackbutt. Its other less known claim to fame is that it is the birth place of the Australian tennis great Roy Emerson. In early 2017 a cast bronze statue of him was erected and there is a small museum documenting his origins and achievements.
In Nanango we encountered a small electrical issue with the truck-van combo. With the foot on the brake Allthego could turn off the keys, pull them out and still have the truck running. Mmmm. After a little musing it was off to a local auto electrician for investigation. After 30 minutes or so a wiring problem was isolated. Apparently, with the truck brake pedal engaged the van’s battery was giving ignition feedback to the truck… keeping it running…….foot off the brake engine stops. After a of bit of re jigging here and there all was well and we off to Kingaroy for the night. The problem is thought to have been caused because our truck wiring had been done for the van that had been rejected, whereas the replacement van had some slightly different needs. Traps for young players!
The Kingaroy Showgrounds was a pleasant stopover for one night, economical at $18 per night but somewhat spartan ambience wise!
It was cold here too, but Allthego got his first chance to empty the on board loo into the dump point the next morning before heading further north. This task was accomplished without any drama or spillage. Hoping to have a fire and cook some T-Bones at the next stop on the way north before reaching Gayndah.