Townsville to Sydney
Our first free camping experience
13.06.2011 - 13.06.2011
13/6/11 Kinka Beach to Gin Gin
Up early on the Queens Birthday long weekend. It looks like it's going to be a good for traveling - clear and crisp. Need to fill up van water tank before leaving in case there is no water at Gin Gin Rest Area. I doubt there will be.
Packed up and showered (me) and were off by 10.30am. Saw 3 camels on a property on Emu Park Road heading into Rocky!
Into Rocky to the supermarket for coffee, milk and sugar, plus a snack for Jimmi.
On the road and our first stop a service station to check tyre pressure about 35kms out. I noticed in Rocky that there are more US pickup trucks and less Defenders then inTownsvillle. We saw Ford F series, Chevrolet Silverados, Dodge 2500 & 3500. Queensland is still the land of the Toyota Land Cruiser in all it's ages and variations from ute & flatbed to wagon, with dog cages to full serious well used off road bush recovery gear!
Back on the road to Gin Gin 222kms. Turning out to be a stunning day. Sun is hot, little or no breeze, still a little cool. Flat bottomed fluffy clouds plentiful the more south we head, no rain forecast yet.
Planned to stop at the rest stop at Mt Larcom, its on the right heading south. The rest area is a park across from the pub with a sand play area aand toilets but so many vans and poorly parked that Jimmi had to mount the curb and drive across a bit of park just to turn around. They'd blocked the turning circle! Inconsiderate old fogies. We'll need to be more observant of public holidays, school holidays and the nomadic patterns of the "Grey Nomads" or as we refer to them "Grey Gonads" having experienced bit of the "I'm entitled" attitude that SOME, not all, of the older travellers have. Either their driving (not letting trucks pass), parking (wherever hell I want regardless if it affects others) or in the van parks ("who are you") attitude.
So we'll try for Calliope River in 27kms for a coffee.
Got to Calliope River (105 in Camp6 book) which is adjacent to the Calliope River Historical Village. It's on the right hand side heading south. We made the mistake on the way up of just heading into the car park directly ahead and setting up for coffee at the little under cover benches. This time we saw a guy on a ride on mower and he said to follow the bitumen to the right and instead of driving back onto the highway go straight ahead passed the Historical Village. The camp space next the village is day use only but if you continue down the road it opens out into a large area for 48hr overnight camping (also on other side of the river - possibly accessible from the Historical Village car park after the first turn right where the road becomes dirt?) toilets. Definitely stay here in the future. Either overlooking the river or on the little pond in the camping area.
Went back to the Day Parking area, stopped and made coffee, let the dogs out since there was no one else there. We didn't Check out the Driver Reviver like we normally do if only for a donation because we wanted to give the boys more free time but it was at the entrance to the Historical Village.
Passed the Boyne River Rest Area and on the left side heading south there is a road down to the river where we saw people camping in vans and on the river on boats - looks like a good spot to try. The rest area was on the right heading south. If heading north it would be on the left after Station Creek.
Again Army vehicles on the road, this time heading North, a couple of Bushmasters and two trucks.
Pulled into the Bernie Christensen Rest Area, where the guard dogs were on the way up. Large undercover eating area (no fires) and toilets. It's the sadder of the rest areas, it's looking a little tired and needs a good cleanup. There was a Driver Reviver here though and there were about 10 vans and Caravans - everyone looks you over suspiciously even though we smile and wave. Some wave back others just look.
60kms to Gin Gin.
Into the Gin Gin Rest Area about 4.20pm and we were set up and sitting down to a drink by 5.10pm
Our first free camping! Frig on gas and van on battery which means lights but no power points working unless we hook up the generator so we'll use the stove top for coffees!
I love Ginger Beer!
Found a hidden creekside rest area not on any of the maps
12.06.2011 - 12.06.2011 25 °C
Sun 12 Jun Kinka Beach
Not raining or drizzling so far. Cool and grey day.
A morning walk with Jim and the boys. We took the Cathedral Walk then Chapel Walk and then turned again. We just kept following until it finished on the other side of the van park. It was a longer walk than we expected sinc we'd gone with nothing and in thongs!
Sunny side up eggs for breakfast and a plan to go into Rocky.
Need to replace some of the fastenings and lock on the van door. Still not sitting right even though the van is level.
On the way back on Emu Park Road we took a right turn onto a side road (macAree Rd) looking for a spot to run the dogs then turned right onto Cooroomon Creek Rd and found a rest stop - coordinates (S23.25353 & E150.72637) with a little park by the creek and a toilet block. Perfect spot, we'll have to come here again and maybe stay with the boys.
Did a lot of laundry and read a book whilst Jimmi changed over hinges and locks on the van door to more sturdy materials - finally sick of the flimsier ones it came with popping open or not sitting right.
Spagetti bolognese sauce and the last of the gnocchi for dinner and an early night for me. Packing up and off to Gin Gin tomorrow.
Drizzly all day
11.06.2011 - 11.06.2011
Sat 11 Jun Kinka beach
Drizzling today. Went into Rocky to meet up with Jim's Mom & sister who are driving our Jeep back to Sydney for us and taking the opportunity to visit so relos on the way.
They can't turn on the Jeep heater and can't work out the GPS so we're meeting at 11am at The Coffee Club for brunch and some training on the Jeep. Surprising since Jaime until recently had a Cherokee which I would have thought was not much technically different from a Wrangler.
Jimmi and Jaime had the Eggs Benedict, Shirley the mushrooms & haloumi, and I had a Thai Beef Salad - good brunch.
We dropped into the disposal shop after leaving the girls, for more sand pegs, ours are too small.
On the drive, Emu Park Road, to Kinka Beach we took a detour to Keppel Sands. A wide and long stretch of beach so the boys could run and be silly. Still drizzling and cool. Great heater in the Defender.
Back home at about 2.30pm and decided on a nap an hour later.
Jimmi phoned Dad from his iPad and taught him how to use FaceTime. Michele & I set up a MobileMe account for her & Pa.
Dinner was the leftover sauce from last night's Horizon marinated rissole & crushed tomato sauce, adding marinated fireroasted capsicums and gnocchi (gluten free from the Super IGA). the gnocchi tasted like Deb potato when it goes gluggy. Not bad but not inspiring although sauce was yummy.
We went to bed around 11pm and it's been light rain or drizzle all evening. Nothing depressing or constricting. We still took the boys for short walks.
Queens Birthday long weekend
10.06.2011 - 10.06.2011 23 °C
10/6/11 Kinchant Waters Resort to Kinka Beach
Up before the 6.00am alarm for our first coffee. Next door's van had trouble starting but they were off about the same time as our first coffee. Probably off fishing.
A couple of Kookaburra serenade it getting lighter on the lake. More and more birds calls. There's a crow in the tree behind the van and then suddenly there were more calling in turns. Mr Hitchcock would be proud. Sounds like there in the van.
No real sounds of human activity yet at 6.30am.
We started packing up at 7am and we pulled out at 8.10am. It was a light intermittent sprinkle, not enough to get wet. We stopped at the boat ramp 100m on and let the boys out for a pee. Just out of the little town we stopped again at a dam on the side of the road an Jimmi cut a stalk of cane with a machete, cutting small sections which he cut off the outside with a smaller knife. Chew and suck out the cane juice. YUMMY! Sweet and juicy. Kept a piece for later.
On the road again at 8.45am. The clouds are a soft grey blanket lending to cool weather, so long sleeves, long pants and a jacket to combat the cool breeze created by driving with the windows down. Dogs happy, muddy feet and all for the stretch into Mackay and then the coast road, Bruce Highway down to Rockhampton then the turnoff to Yeppoon and Kinka Beach. Julieanne from Coolwaters called us this morning and said they had a spot for us - YAY. Same location as before but no private ensuite, we'll have to share- big deal.
Saw some cane harvesting yesterday so it looks like when the cane flowers it's time to harvest. Sugar mill In production. (pics) pictures taken just out of Walkerstone.
Turn right at the first intersection at the Welcome to Mackay (on your right at the BP). Lots of roadworks in progress. Industrial area development.
Nothing beats the wide load truck with the two lane wide house (pic).
Stopped at the Caltex servo just before Ilbilbie and just after Greenhill, at the Restaurant for steak sandwiches and made espresso coffee.
Off again at 10.45am.
Missed the turnoff for our rest stop, so the next one was at Marlborough, off the main road. It was a park with toilets, play area and covered benches. A Jack Russell appeared out from under a fence and when the dogs caught up with it I got Levi off it with the new remote collar and no damage to the Jack Russell but Levi had cuts to his mouth and nose. Blood smears all over the back of my new pants. Oh well, it'll wash off and Levi OK.
A couple in their 30s turned up with a 1997 defender and a camper trailer - sturdy regular trailer with tent on top, and a large dog - Buddy.
They came over for a look at our new Defender and the back seat modifications for the boys. We talked trucks and campsites, caravan parks and dog spots. They asked the name of our truck - name? We haven't named it! They had an insulated container on the hood of the car for fuel. They use vegetable oil. Not bio fuel or bio diesel. Add magnesium, sulfur and an other additive for water extraction which they can do on the road and carry 3 extra drums to top up. Just down to the fish and chip shop. Said a couple of people have done it to Defenders in the UK.
so back on the road at 2.15pm, we decided on "Ellie" for the main character in "Tomorrow When The War Began" and how she got to borrow her Dad's Landy (Land Rover) for their trip with her friends to "Hell".
Stopped at truck rest area at 2.55pm after a phone call catch up with Jim's Mom. Already on the road and heading to McKay for tonight. Just into Bowen.
Got into Rockhampton about 3.30pm and stopped at the shopping centre to pick up supplies then turned onto Emu Park Road to Yeppoon.
Missed the turnoff (Tampa Road) so had to go into Emu Park, another seaside village with van park and house/villa accommodation and turned off onto the Scenic Route (10) for Kinka Beach and finally to Coolwaters at 4.30pm.
We got site Tree Tops 15 which is in the same area as before but this one backs onto the bush. Not a flat site and is mostly sand. Set up took a bit longer coz we wanted to be level and I decided that since we're here for 3 nights that I would set up more than the last two.
As a result we sat down for coffee at 6.30pm.
Jimmi thought to set up the TV on the Apple Mac to see what's happening in the rest of the World before dinner.