Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Six days ago we set off from home with our trusty little camper trailer all stocked up for five weeks away in the warmer northern climes. Apart from a planned visit to see Sue and Steve in Toowoomba,
Susanne Bellamy and I at the Turkish restaurant...great food and great company!
and David and Rose  in Dalby…the same way we began last year’s trip …we had no plans for a final destination.

We spent a lovely evening with Sue and Steve at the Turkish restaurant in Toowoomba, celebrating mine and Sue’s birthdays before heading back to their lovely home on the side of the range overlooking the Lockyer Valley .The next morning Sue took us for a drive through the Garden City and took us to the Chocolate Cottage for lunch where we sat on the lawn overlooking the valley. WE had a beautiful meal (not chocolate) in the winter sunshine and stocked up on chocolate and Rocky Road to take to our next stop.
The best birthday lunch.
Off to Dalby to visit my cousin David, and his wife, Rose. David took Ian on a tour of his engineering workshop while I went to Big W to try and find my friend Fiona MacArthur’s book. Alas it hadn’t reached rural Queensland yet! We spent a warm evening in their beautiful new home
David and Rose's lovely home...look at the blue outback sky!
and had the ‘blue’ guestroom,
before we set off for Carnarvon Gorge, over five hundred kilometres away.
We arrived in time to set up for our first night in the camper trailer, before dark and wandered over to the camp kitchen to cook sausage and egg sandwiches. We were too tired to cook more than that, and I was in bed by 7.30p.m. while Ian read his first book for the trip! Unheard of for me, but I was still recovering from jet lag. I must have also had a premonition of what was to happen the next day.
A leisurely start to the day…after a brisk start, the morning warmed up and we headed for the gorge. I was wearing my new Blundstone walking shoes which I mistakenly believed I had broken in. Twelve kilometres and six hours later, we arrived back in the bush camp. We were both footsore and weary, but I hobbled back in a pair of socks while Ian carried my shoes. I asked him to put them in the back of the car where I couldn’t see them!
The sights we saw were worth the walk. The gorge is about eighteen kilometres long with well defined walking tracks, with diversions to different places such as Moss Garden,
Absolutely beautiful.. moss in the canyon
Wards Canyon,
Ward's Canyon
the Amphitheatre, the Art Gallery and Big Ben. We only had time to see Moss Garden and Wards Canyon as we had left late in the morning. The walk to those two sites alone involved about ten creek crossings which were very interesting with my poor sense of balance. I was fine until I got stuck on a rounded rock in the middle of the widest crossing
and Ian had to come to my rescue!
We were both exhausted on our return and after hot showers, we wandered over to the camp kitchen for a well deserved wine, beer and hot meal. I was in bed before 7.00pm! Ian commenced his second book.  After a couple of hours, we heard the Hills, out friends from home, arrive. They had driven from Kingscliff and we were amazed at the speed with which Greg set up their camper, while Amanda got the three children into their PJs and into bed.
Sunday was spent relaxing, and reading with a couple of shorter walks to the Rock Pool
and to the creek down behind our campsite where one of our fellow campers had spotted nine platypuses the night before. A beautiful little creek which would its way from the gorge around the camp site.
On Monday morning we were all up early, the Hills were heading for Airlie Beach and we were unsure of our destination. We had to decide whether to turn right at Emerald and head for the coast to take the Bruce Highway north, or head up the centre to Charters Towers, over five hundred kilometres away.
Our battery management system made the decision for us. We had called into an auto electrician in Emerald to have it checked, but got sick of waiting and headed to Clermont, just over an hour north.  It needed some significant work unless we wanted to worry about charging the battery manually each night so Ian decided to get the work done in Clermont. We booked into the local caravan park and headed off to the local pub for dinner after watching the afternoon bird feeding. Gorgeous lorikeets just like home.
The park was quiet, peaceful and restful and COLD. It was forecast to drop to minus two degrees through the night so we spent the evening poring over the map and plotted our route for the next week.
Morning tea stop
 Today we are making a huge trip to north of Townsville where we have booked a warm beachfront site for one night before we head to the Atherton Tableland. At this stage of the trip the plan is to head as far north as Cooktown.
Oh ,and it did drop to minus two. Heading north….
P.S. We got there.
Our camping spot in North Queensland...we had to brave some cool temperatures to get here!

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