Monday, July 27, 2009

Charters Towers Qld

The Main Street of Charters Towers I am actually crossing the road.

The Library was a former hotel.

Friday night saw us camped at the Campaspe River Rest Area sitting around a campfire enjoying company of other fellow travellers. Earlier we were serenaded by a gentleman playing the Clarinet. He went down into the riverbed which was very dry and sandy so lovely musical notes blended in with the lovely bush sounds. It was a lovely spot and very popular we were very fortunate to arrive there about lunchtime because by evening it was standing room only, The Campaspe River Rest Area is situated 90kms east of Charters Towers.

We were one of the last to leave the next day and arrived in Charters Towers, the free camping spot near the Mobil Garage was no longer available so we offloaded Jimny and set about finding a place to stay. We came upon the Big4 Aussie Outback Caravan Park and were sited next to a red Denning Bus also from our home state WA namely Barry and Irene. After making their acquaintance we spent happy hour with them, we were ideally placed as a Country and Western Singer was entertaining us just opposite. He played three evenings and entertained everybody between 5pm and 6pm. We dined with them at the Waverley Hotel (another delightful old building)where cheap meals were the bargain of the day. I had crumbed chicken and vegetables for $5 and Bill enjoyed a T-Bone steak for $10 we couldn't cook it ourselves for that. Charters Towers is a Gold mining and Cattle area and it boasts many opulent buildings dated back to the early 1800s lovingly restored and cared for. Many of the stores were housed in these old buildings.

This Post Office was built in 1892

It was interesting to see Target based in a lovely stained glass displayed building and even the Police Station has it's home in a 1910 building and is a rare surviving example of early 20th century Police Barracks. It was practically destroyed by fire in 1988 but it was rebuilt to the original plans. The Tourist Information centre was originally the Stock Exchange building. We explored on Sunday but hardly anything was open, they must be one of these rare country towns that closed their doors on this day. We did manage to have a coffee in the only coffee shop open in town and visit an old miners cottage. The shops will also be shut on Tuesday for the peoples day at the Show, some are also closed on Monday. We also went up to the lookout where there is lots of WWII Bunkers jutting out of the landscape.

Two of the old WWII Ammunition Bunkers

There was also lots of lovely trees bearing fruit like tiny apples. They were bitter to taste. We also saw a flock of red tailed cockatoos although they proved rather elusive to photograph. We decided to stay another day and we have washed the bus inside and out ready for our next trip which will be at Reid River about 60kms up the road towards Townsville. We should be in Townsville by Wednesday..

Old Bank of NSW Building

(Soon after the discovery of gold, the Bank of NSW opened an agency in Millchester. In 1874 it relocated to Mosman St, Charters Towers. In 1888 Walter Eyre and William Munro were invited by the Bank of NSW to design and supervise the construction of the elegant 2 story brick premises on Gill St. 5 of the goldfield's 8 banks chose to reside on this street.)

This two storey brick building that the Qld National Bank built in 1891 became City Hall in 1950 Charters Towers was granted city status in 1909.

Happy Birthday Trent!!!!

Talk again soon

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hughenden Qld

Our Camping Spot at Julia Creek

We have been camped up next to the Hughenden Show Grounds last night and will be staying again tonight. It is $6 per night with no power or water.

A Coolibah Tree near the Showgrounds

We left Julia Creek Tuesday and travelled to Richmond.

Lake Fred Tritton located at the edge of the town of Richmond Qld

We are definitely in Rodeo Country the popular style of dress is Western Shirts & Jeans with cowboy boots and Hat for men, women and kids alike. Richmond is halfway between Townsville and Mt Isa on the overlander way. It is a RV friendly town and we stayed on a free parking ground just one street away from the town centre. We were joined by a couple me met from Port Hedland at Julia Creek Terry & Elsie, they also arrived here today. The towns in North west Queensland have lovely wide streets probably followed on from the Horse and Bullock era.

This beautiful flower grows abundantly in the area it is called Flinders Poppy

Hughenden has links to a prehistoric past with over 3000 fossil specimens from the cretaceous period have been found near the area, varieties include many marine reptiles,

Porcupine Gorge

Muttaburrasaurus, Hughenden Sauropod, Qld Pterosaur and a large selection of shells, molluscs and fish. This is further evidence that this part of the country was originally covered by sea. We travelled 63kms today to investigate Porcupine National Park and again we weren't disappointed the gorge was spectacular even with its volcanic black rocks. We move on tomorrow and will probably pull up halfway to Charters Towers.

White Cliffs Creek near Porcupine National Park.

Talk again soon

Monday, July 20, 2009

Julia Creek Qld

The rock face near the old mine

This unusual flower was on the vegetation near the mine

We left Mt Isa on Sunday morning and just the other side of town was an old mining town Mary Kathleen it was once a thriving town but now all that is left is the cement pads where once buildings were.

There is also a mine site and below is the most bluest water we have ever seen. It is an old Uranium Mine which probably caused the blue in the water.

The photo doesn't do it any justice at all. We parked the bus and drove through the area. We walked through Cloncurry but as it was Sunday nothing much was open. We stopped for the night at a roadside rest area halfway between Cloncurry and Julia Creek.

Today we left late as we were not going far and we parked up beside a lovely Creek along with a few others. There seems to be a locust plague as there are lots of locusts flying about. We drove into town but nothing much seems to be happening at the moment. There are Rodeos held nearly every weekend in the area.
Talk again soon

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mt Isa Queensland

Mt Isa township from the lookout

Thursday saw us leaving our ideal spot and making a big trip up the road. We camped overnight at a free camping area at a WWII Air Strip. We arrived at lunch time and settled in at by about 4pm the place was packed with Caravans, motorhomes and anything inbetween. We met quite a few people during happy hour. The night was absolutely freezing. Two couples we have met since in Mt Isa, a couple from Busselton WA and another couple from Swan Hill. Thursday we drove a whole 50kms to Mt Isa and parked just out of town, we took Jimny out of the back and drove into town to check out the accommodation. We managed to get a lovely spot in the Copper City Riverside Caravan Park. We parked in an area normally used by the coaches and have a lovely view of the pool and with the camp kitchen. Great for havachat as he talks to everyone that comes in to cook their meals. Hey it gives me a break!!!

How is this for camping?Our own outside kitchen and swimming pool

We spent the night a little warmer as we had the heater on. Here you have the air con on during the day and at night you switch to heaters. Now about Mt Isa. Well it is one of the biggest cities in the world with an area of 41,000 square kilometres and a population of around 20,000 people. This region is described as an oasis in the Outback. Nestled in the Ochre red Selwyn Ranges on the banks of the Leichardt River, Mt Isa borders the Gulf and the Savannah Country to the North, the Simpson Desert to the West, the rich cattle country to the South and the pastoral grasslands to the East.

A statue of a miner

It is also very much a mining town and the town is dwarfed by the Mine which overlooks the town. Copper, lead and silver are mined here. They also hold a Rodeo which will be on in early August. Alas we will be miles away by then. It also has a street called Rodeo Drive which is paved by the names of legendary rodeo riders it is also known as The Mt Isa Walk of Fame. A lovely clean city and a great place to spend a couple of days. We leave tomorrow for more adventures heading towards Townsville.

The Mt Isa Mine overlooking the town

Talk again soon

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Camped by a Billabong, under the shade of Eucalypt Trees

I thought I might tell you what the locals say NT stands for: Its Not Today ,Not Tomorrow, Not Then, Not Tuesday ,Not Thursday Not by Truck and Not by Train it makes our WA (Wait Awhile) seem tame doesn't it. We are in Queensland!!! Yeh!!! We have been away for over four months and we have travelled in 4 states. We passed over the Queensland border at 11.30am NT time or 12.00pm Qld today. At the roadhouse they advised us to turn out clocks forward 5 years and 30 minutes as if.

Sunday morning we left Katherine after a farewell dinner with Hedy & Russell who are going over to the West and we are travelling East. We stopped for lunch at a quirky little place in Larramah. The shed was covered with handwritten signs. Do not go into the kitchen do not look into the kitchen. If you don't like my prices there are other roadhouses further up the road. We should have caught on when we read that one. We ordered a Hot beef Roll, a meat pie and a cappucino $24 thank you very much. Roll was $12, pie was $7.50, coffee a steal at $4.50. We stopped for the night at a roadside camp at Newcastle Waters. After settling in we met another couple, Dave & Shirl who were travelling in a Denning Bus & trailer similar to ours. We left about 9am and stopped for lunch at Threeways and then we turned left towards Queensland. Our new friends were there also. While we were driving along we were listening to talking books and the latest one was the Peter Falconio and Joanne Lees story, a little bit spooky as we were near the area. To make matters more scary it was July 14th the date it all happened years ago. I was so glad when we turned off the Stuart Highway. We stopped briefly at Barkly Homestead and decided to travel on to Wonarah Bore for the night.

Wonarah Bore

We pulled in beside Dave & Shirl. We enjoyed another happy hour with them, the night was quite windy and cool, great for sleeping. Tuesday, today we are only travelling to Camooweal about 270kms up the road. We parted company with them at Camooweal as they were travelling straight through to Brisbane as there is problems with the motor on their bus.

Our personal Billabong

We found a lovely parking spot just out of town beside a Billabong. No one else around and did the washing. Its just what you do in the middle of nowhere. Brolgas appeared on the water about dusk. It is a lovely spot although internet is sketchy.

Camped for the night note the washing on the line strung between the trees.

Talk again soon

Friday, July 10, 2009

Katherine NT

The Boat in the gorge

I really must say that in my opinion the Katherine Gorge is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful!!!!! We arrived in Katherine yesterday at about midday. After settling into the park we partook in Happy Hour with the Bush Poet, followed by a meal at the Park Bistro accompanied by a singer and musician. The Park is very nice lots of shady trees and facilities. Today we were up at sparrow ##** namely the unearthly hour of 5am. We drove out the gorge ready for a breakfast tour of Nitmiluk Gorge via boat. The Katherine Gorge is 29km from Katherine and consists of 13 natural gorges carved through sandstone by the Katherine River, with rocks and boulders separating each gorge.

It was pitch black and freezing when we arrived there. However it didn't take long for the sun to come out and play and we feasted on the lovely view which were awakening also. A delightful mist appeared above the water and we were surrounded on both sides by spectacular gorges.

We crossed over rocks to complete the second part of our tour and in passing were delighted to see up close aborigine paintings.

Some of the paintings

Apparently one of the early explorers Stuart had three daughters, Katherine, Edith and Flora. Various landmarks are named after them. We visited Edith Falls in the afternnon and that consisted of a lovely waterhole suitable for swimming. It was also very beautiful.

Edith Falls a great place for a swim

Tomorrow we will spend some time in the Hot Springs. Sunday will see us on the move again.

Talk again soon

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mary River and Corroboree Lagoon

These Berries were on a tree outside the Visitors Centre apparently they are very poisonous the aborigines used the juice on their spears for hunting. They are known as Strynine Trees
The Lillies in Mary River the crocs are thought to hide among them
Today we had been very busy packing up ready for the next step of our adventure. We leave here tomorrow morning and will travel about 316kms south to Katherine where we are booked into the Big 4 Caravan Park until Sunday morning. We have spent 6 weeks altogether in Darwin and we will pay our last visit to the Wharf tonight for the customary fish and chips. Monday we joined Hedy and Russell and visited the Wetlands Lookout at the visitors centre there. It was a very well set out observatory with lots of interactive things for big and little kids alike.

The Wetlands

We lunched at the Corroboree Tavern. Many of the Crocodile tour boats leave from here and it is situated along side the Adelaide River. After lunch we continued travelling to the Mary River, where the houseboats are available for hire.

Could you imagine a croc underneath here

Tuesday we went out to Humpty Doo to visit friends that have arrived in Darwin. We travelled with them until Alice Springs. So we said a quick Hullo and Goodbye to John and Carol we may not see them again as we are heading East and they are going over to the West. So tomorrow is the day we say farewell to Darwin. It will be sad but we are looking forward to the next phase of new discoveries and new friends.

The Mary River

Talk again soon

Friday, July 3, 2009

Firecrackers and Wagait Beach NT

Darwin at night from Stokes Wharf

What an eyeopener Territory Day was. We drove into town to check out the festivities the city was buzzing. Every possible road or carpark even backyards were occupied by people setting alight their crackers. $100's of dollars worth just gone up in smoke.

Some of the spectacular sights
From little kids to big kids. We didn't go to Mindil Beach where the organised fireworks were held we drove to a road leading to a pier. It was wonderful although a bit scary. Some of the crackers were meant to go up in the air tipped over and headed sideways into groups of people. People scattered adminst shout of laughter. Some little kids were lighting theirs with the supervision of their parents for the first time they were so excited.

Some of the crackers were like flying saucers they went up into the air spinning then turned and whizzed towards you. There were a few spot grass fires around but not too much damage. Even Government House carpark wasn't sacred with debri strewn everywhere and the City was covered in a haze of smoke and the smell of gunpowder. Even after we came home and went to bed we could still here them going off even though they were supposed to stop at 11pm. Yesterday we drove out to Wagait Beach to visit friends Jan & Sherrill at the block they had purchased. It was in a lovely spot and they have been hard at work clearing the vegetation so that they can set up there. It was very hot and humid. We lunched again at Mandurah Beach Hotel which is all openair and faces the water so was lovely and cool. Afterwards visited the site of a WW11 Plane crash site which went down Jan 17th 1945.

WW11 Plane cash Site

We also checked out the Magnetic Termite Moulds which face North and their backs are to the South. Fascinating works of art.

One of the Magnetic Termite Moulds

We arrived home about 5pm in time for happy hour.

This bush is reknown for its insect repellant qualities if you crush the flowers and leaves and rub on your skin it will repel some insects.

knowing my luck I would be allergic to it and still come out in a rash

Talk again soon