2018 Heading North 6

Following our ANZAC day spent at Yungaburra we headed Norther to check in to Pinnacle Village at Wonga near the Daintree. This was not such a great idea as there were no fish to be had in the river. Non the less it is a beautiful place and it afforded a chance to put some hours on the new motor in the beautiful Daintree River.

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The weather was less than conducive to a great time so we decided to head off to our second time house sit at Babinda. This was only a quick visit to look after the fur babies for a few day’s and to see our mate before he was heading off for a serious operation on the Gold Coast.

The run down to Babinda via Cairns is beautiful, via the picturesque little town of Mossman and then onto the coast road to Cairns. IMG_0730IMG_0740IMG_0750IMG_0771a

When you get board with the trip you can stop and contribute to the roadside art work.IMG_0775aIMG_0772IMG_0773

As it turned out we stayed for nearly a month due to dealings with Centrelink being so frustrating, there was a plus, that I believe that we broke the drought at Babinda because it rained for about two weeks making the stay a very wet one. We did manage to get some gardening done as well as on the previous visit  and the previous efforts proved to be doing well and looking great. The critters missed us and welcomed us back.

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A very intelligent dog that nose a lot.

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A stroll to the creek for a doggy swim.IMG_0819

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Our stay at Babinda was over so we moved on to the lovely Lucinda hopefully for some fishing.

This place is wonderful (even without fish). It is a short couple of clicks to the 4 lane boat ramp and pontoon at Dungeness that gives access to water around the 5.76km long sugar jetty that feeds bulk sugar to ocean going ships for export. Also the  Dungeness Creek and Hinchinbrook Channel. We are spoilt for fishing venues, If the seas are rough the creek is the go.

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Not a lot of fish, but a size record for Mavis and me in a Spotted Guitar fish for her and a nice Grunter for me,both on light Nano rods and light line thus a long fight before boating them. IMG_5051aIMG_0981IMG_0985

Due to the excitement level I have made these pics big! and before we have any scoffers, have a look at the details for eating quality in the above book. Yes it is a version of what we call a Shovel Nose Shark but it is very good on the plate and we can attest to that yum.

My contribution to the day was a great Grunter at 67cm for me also a personal record. Both the great fish taken out along the sugar jetty.

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A another grunter and some Pikey Bream were taken from the Creek but not much more. Can’t complain we ate fresh fish and stored a little away in the freezer for when the fish drought hits.

We were only staying at Lucinda for a week but extended to to the Friday that we were due to be at our next House sit in Townsville (about 2 hours away). We reluctantly left on Friday to get to the house sit before the house owners wanted to depart the following Monday after their hand over. Due to our great abilities to comprehend instructions Eye rolling smile the owners decided to leave on the Saturday instead of Monday.

More to follow! 

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2018 Heading North 5 ANZAC DAY

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We were camped at Yungaburra van park to join the ANZAC day dawn service at the Afghanistan  Avenue Of Honour.

See: http://www.yungaburra.com/the-afghanistan-avenue-of-honour/

          http://www.avenueofhonour.com.au/

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This is one very moving memorial and I would recommend a visit if you are in the Queensland Tablelands area.

On the 24th an Army (5th Aviation Regiment (5 Avn Regt) Chinook CH-47F chopper dropped by and parked at the bottom of the Memorial and was open to the public for inspection. Must say they have come a long way from their introduction into service with the Australian Military of the CH-47C in 1974,now a full glass cockpit is just a small part of the upgrades, lovely machine!.

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We woke to a very foggy ANZAC morning and headed for the Memorial which was just over the road from the van park along with many others, guestimation would be around 200 plus the Military presence of some members of the 5th Aviation Regiment plus a lone Air force representative and an honour guard of Aboriginal Navy trainees.

A very moving service conducted in the morning mist by the lights of the Avenue.

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As dawn broke and the fog slowly lifted we were treated to a flyover of many hundreds of Fairy Martins and House Swallows leaving a thought that they too were honouring the day.

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In fact they were consuming millions of mosquito’s that were here every morning and evening.  These buzzing bugg.rs did not seem to bite but were annoying in any case.IMG_5018 (3)

Following the Dawn Service we headed into town (Yungaburra) for the 9am service, a continuation of an exceptional morning.

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LEST WE FORGET

2018 Heading North 4

Well the worst has happened to the outboard.  Thursday the 19th of April, took it to Bill’s Marine the Yamaha agent in Cairns.

They found that the cooling galleries were nearly blocked with corrosion. So much for fresh rinsing after use in salt water. I can only guess that the previous owner was not too meticulous with rinsing because I was quite a.al about it. The quote for repair was $600. Bugger but told them to go ahead. The motor was 17 years old but started first pull every time and was before this, a very reliable machine. The work that they were going to do would have brought her back to good as new.

We left the boat and motor with them and headed back to our Tinaroo camp. A most unwelcome call from Bill’s Marine informed us that they later found the block was cracked which made the motor terminally ill.

I sat on this news for a couple of hours before ringing them to fit a new motor. The response was that they had one in stock but would probably not have it done until Saturday. Not so it was finished Friday and we drove the two hours back to Cairns to pick it up.

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They went through the” run in” procedure with us (straight forward) and showed us what they had done. I asked if they had run the motor and the response from the boss of the workshop was in the affirmative.  Looking at their pre delivery all the relevant boxes were ticked by them including running the motor up to operating temperature.

Guess what after dropping the boat into the dam the motor would not start. A long wait in case I flooded it but still no joy!

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Monday morning we left Tinaroo at 0630 and arrived at bills in Cairns two hours later, where I took the boat off the truck and straight in to the workshop. I now hate this little motor because  they hooked up the water and fuel and first pull it was running. Now I am not technologically dyslectic and consequently I was extremely embarrassed. Perhaps I am loosing it (NOT).

We got back to Tinaroo and packed up the camp to move on to Yungaburra to attend the dawn service at the Afghanistan Avenue of Honour. See http://www.yungaburra.com/the-afghanistan-avenue-of-honour/

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The van park by the lake and beside the memorial was welcomed so we/Mavis could do the needed washing and I could run in the new motor which I now have a renewed love affair with cause it starts yeha . Embarrassed smile

Tuesday was Centre link day trying to sort out my rejected aged pension card application and updating Mavis’s details. We think it was sorted fingers crossed after a lot of document copying and submissions. Don’t they need a lot of information,yes sir I had cereal and a cup of tea for brekkie this morning.

We got back to camp to find an Army Chinook CH-47F chopper parked next to the memorial and open to the public. This bird was from Townsville and is operated by 5th Aviation Regiment. What a great thing for the 100 year remembrance of the ending of the Great war and to remember those lost in all the conflicts since.IMG_4974

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The dawn Service on ANZAC morning was superb and deserves it’s own post,stay tuned.

To be continued.

2018 heading North 3

Wooo Hooo we made it.  At around 8am the road to Ingham was opened so we joined the queue and headed  North.

IMG_0488  We were told that the road was still closed to Cardwell but decided to risk it anyway. Upon arriving at the Northern outskirts of Ingham the road was again closed with the professional lolly pop blokes saying that there was a meter of water stopping us from going through.  We hung a right and parked within site of the road block and had a cupper, after which I decided to remove the wasp nest from the exhaust of the diesel heater.  Industrious little beggar had filled the 60mm long exhaust pipe and most of the muffler with brick like mud, insect food supply and eggs. It was worse than a Toyota factory exhaust. Funny that!  We had the heater serviced by Spinifex Caravans when they replaced the hail damaged roof on the van.  When we went to pick it up the service had been done but they could not get the heater to run. The aircon was running flat out as they thought that the van was too hot for the heater to start. Wasp construction site demolished but heater still won’t work. Angry smile 

The road was opened just as I was about to re install the exhaust so that job was put on hold for a later date and we hit the road.  There was only a couple of spots with water over the road, the worst being around 200mm deep and flowing fast.  So much for the lolly pop guy’s meter deep! Incredible the amount of water everywhere beside the road, at one place Mavis spotted a large croc in the flood water flowing out of the cane fields as we drove past hope he had a liking for cane toads.

At Babinda there was not a cloud in the sky and it was bl..dy hot with humidity about 300% (wellll high at least) and we set up camp in the yard of our house sit. Cloths washing under way.IMG_4969IMG_0523

Following is the view from our awning (at least after the washing is dried Smile We have our own personal water fall in the direction of the legendary Babinda Boulders.

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We are fur baby sitting an extremely friendly cat (pudda) and brother and sister black Lab crosses Stud and Milly.  Last time we were here the dogs presented us every morning with a very unwell bandicoot or more to the point deceased. Our first morning this time it was a bush rat.  Going to try and train them this time to eat them instead of me having to dispose of them, it would seem to be just sport to them.IMG_0530Pudda lapping up a scratch from our mate Greg.

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It was a quiet stay here. Mavis did a bit of gardening and I did a few days of mowing and whipper snipping. The mower is a diesel powered Toro 72” cut zero turn and I love it,what a machine, it made light work of the approx. 5ish acres of lawn and I only got bogged once Sarcastic smile.

Brad Ange and the kidlies returned on Wednesday from their quick run to Ayres Rock ooops sorry Uluru. In spite of the km’s travelled they loved it.  We hung around until Saturday due to needing new idler bearings in the truck. These were replaced on Friday by a great young mechanic Trent at Rusty Relics Restoration and Mechanical in Cairns, he new his stuff and was fair with the price, would recommend him any time.

Saturday we bailed and headed for Tinaroo Dam out from Atherton in the Table Lands. Our favourite National Park camp at Kauri Creek.

We have never seen Tinaroo Dam full before, it is amazing to see.

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Being the Saturday before the public Schools return after the Easter break the place was packed. We squeezed into the second last site to wait for those lucky devils that had to go back to school and work to pack and leave. Sunday saw a mass exodus which suited us just fine as we could park by the water and leave the boat in near the van.

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We set 8 opera house cray fish pots on Monday and retrieved them on Tuesday with the bait untouched. We had heard that there was a great lack of red claw in the dam but were very surprised at our result. Mavis did manage to land two nice Sooty Grunter’s from the water behind the van.

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Most unfortunately I managed to over heat the boat motor Wednesday so tomorrow Thursday, we head for Cairns to have it looked at. Hopefully it is only an impeller come adrift, but if the worst has happened I have promised to get Mavis a new set of light weight oars, maybe even pink ones and some new rowlocks to match.

More to follow in Part 4.

2018 heading North 2

We packed the boat up and put her on the roof of the truck on Sunday at Groper Creek due to Willies weather forecasting big rains from midnight Sunday. Of course it didn’t happen until Monday morning and stayed with us right through Monday and into Tuesday. I didn’t get a lot of sleep on Monday night knowing that the Burdekin dam was full and the Burdekin river is connected to Groper Creek. Big tides were forecast. We woke Tuesday to the Creek lapping about half a meter from the van park level.

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   Fortunately we had a small break in the rain giving enough time to do some packing in the dry.  Tuesday was the day that we were supposed to be at Babinda for our friends to give a hand over with the animals and house.  Very unfortunately we only made it to the “Frosty Mango” IMG_4960where we met the road block keeping us from further travels.  Apparently the Highway was cut at Ingham, Tully and Cardwell, Tully being the worst spot.  Nothing to do for it, we set up camp on a section of the old road to wait until we could go forward. IMG_4957IMG_4956

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A bloke with a chopper was making a killing ferrying people backwards and forwards clear of the blockage.  About 10 trips today Wednesday.

The ABC turned up to film the chaos and did an interview with us, apparently impressed with our set up and our calmness with the situation. Yehaaaaa film stars Laughing out loudIMG_4958Things could be looking up, a heap of trucks came through this afternoon, we can only wait and see!

Finally about 8am Thursday we joined the queue to get through the closure and made it to Ingham where we again face a road closure. The closure is rumoured to be opened today fingers crossed.Fingers crossed

March 2018 heading North 1, Babinda here we come

Our trip started from Home. We headed South for Brizvegas for our Grand Daughters engagement party on the night of the 17th of March.

Bob and Margaret (Mavis’s sister and Bro inlaw) were camped beside us at Lawnton Show Grounds and graciously let Mavis drive their car to allow the rest of us to have a few sherbets during the festivities.  A good night but must say that getting back to the van at Lawnton Show Grounds at midnight made for a slow start on Sunday morning. 

We did manage to get away heading North on Sunday morning at about 9am, filling all the fuel tanks at Gunalda North of Gympie. The reasoning behind carrying full tanks was me claiming more than a little paranoia about the big rains in the North, having in a previous life picked up a  tank with enough water in it to require major work to drain it  from a servo that had only recently risen from the depths of flood waters.  I can tell you that it is a very costly exercise removing the foreign liquid from the tank when there is no drain plug fitted.  Of course BP fuel denied any problem on their part and it was seriously not worth the drama to fight them for costs.

First overnight was at Calliope free camp. 23 57 40 S  151 9 9 E  HEMA 15 J11  # 109 in Camps 8.  It was very surprising how good I felt after the party and sooooo little sleep,  the 500k run to Calliope was not a problem but stopping really did feel good. 

An amazingly early start on Monday morning pushed us on to an unexplored free camp at “Rocky Dam Creek” near Koumala South of Mackay. 21 32 57 S 149 18 0 E         HEMA 15 E8 and # 81 in Camps 8.

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   A great spot marked in the “to return” file due to the great river and a good boat ramp. There were quite a few blokes camped here in swags that were off through the day fishing and crabbing with reports of crabs and grunter caught, so it can’t be a bad spot.

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A leisurely start on Tuesday had us heading for our next camp which turned out to be Groper Creek near Home Hill see http://www.gropercreek.com.au/index.php . I say turned out because we generally tend to make decisions as we travel. This is a good thing for us as we do not hurry our trips unless we have to. We had the water front site #4 and for two days were the only campers here.

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Absolutely love this place. We had just under a week to get to Babinda (about 400k) for our house sit for friends, sooo the boat came off the roof and was set up for some fishing. Guess who left the tackle box at home Eye rolling smile and it wasn’t Mavis! A quick trip in to Ayr for sharp stuff to catch fish on and we were set.  As usual the little vessel performed beautifully and the Kaptan Boat Collar fitted to the side made for a very stable and dry tinny.  Day one produced no keeper fish but day two saw a lovely Grunter and a very nice Pikey bream come over the side along with quite a few under sized fish that happily swam away from the boat. You can guess who caught the large Grunter, the same person that didn’t leave the tackle box at home.

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Groper Creek is a flood prone place as you can see by the height of the home/fishing shacks and the dizzy heights that you have to climb to hook your power lead in.IMG_4938 There are some newer houses behind the shacks and many are permanents. Some go to great lengths to flood proof them with huge ramps up to their garagesIMG_4942 Large poles are positioned along the creek bank in the caravan park to trap the washed down trees and some of the flood debris. Apparently it is a huge undertaking to clean up after floods in the park and it has been lessened by the installation of the poles. 

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The boat was packed up and put back on the roof on Saturday due to the forecast of heaps of rain which did not eventuate.  No matter it was still a great relax and a great place to participate in that endeavour ! Open-mouthed smile We will be back!!!!!!!

BARAMBAH BUSH CARAVAN AND CAMPING PARK 2017

Its not often that I do a rave about a caravan park, but I think the owners of this place deserve recognition for their efforts and hard work.

Located 6 kms from Murgon QLD. and 2 and a half hours from Brisbane, this pet and people friendly camp is great.

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We checked out  this spot after recommendations from our Kedron friends who had their AGM there a few weeks before our visit.

It is a lovely quiet spot with superb amenities and after the recent rains it was beautifully green.

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The powered  site that we were allocated was a little tight and nose down but not impossible. The park was pretty full and well booked.

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Shower, toilet and laundry facilities were beautifully constructed and maintained.

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Great fire places and fivesies areas that were made good use of daily and once a week entertainment provided by management.

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Great meeting area.

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Also great bush walks.

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One of the best toilet dumps I have used and they have their own water treatment plant for potable water due to the fact that all of their potable water is tank water. Health rules and reg’s.Eye rolling smile.

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Cheers until next time.Winking smile