Relish food and wine festival 2017 Maryborough

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On the third of June Mavis, Ash and myself attended the Relish, food and wine festival held Port Side at Maryborough. We actually went in blind not knowing too much about the event. $15 each entry was paid at the gate which gave us three plastic stem glasses and access to the most wonderful array of fresh, preserved, smoked, baked, squeezed, fermented and generally scrumptious  delights, most of which are localish.PANO_20170603_120249

There were several cheese producers and many winery stalls, smoked meats and gourmet  (Not a lover of the word gourmet as it is used very loosely these day’s, even the dreaded Slack mac’s use it now) providers of the most awesome delights. The array of relishes, sauces, cheeses wines and craft beer was beautifully presented for our enjoyment.


The option was there to throw a blanket on the grass and enjoy a beer, wine or beverage of your choice with a purchased picnic from one of the stalls or bring your own. Great day out.

We followed this with a trip on the Mary Anne the replica steam engine that generally runs every Thursday (Maryborough market day). What a magnificent machine this is! The original was built in Maryborough in 1873 and was used to cart timber, the history is astounding. The replica was built in 1999.


A definite next year if we are in the area.


Cooloola May 2017 Rant

For those that don’t like blasphemous words change channels now.Steaming mad

We are again camped on wonderful Cooloola beach as we were in February, see (blog

I do not understand why people would come to such a lovely place and leave it in such a bloody mess. Bottle tops, water bottles, cigarette buts, discarded broken camping gear, zip bloody ties, broken ropes, buckets, milk crates, lolly wrappers, snack packets and the disgusting list goes on.

There are dumpsters provided at various points along the camping area but obviously they are too far to walk or drive to for those that carry the BOGAN campers tag.

Surely these people want to return to enjoy the life style, perhaps it is only a place to come to yahoo, listen to loud music instead of the ocean and bird life, drink lots oh and crap in the sand hills behind their camps, don’t get me started on that particular subject!.

Next shitty subject is the flotsam that washes up on the beach. This morning during my morning walk along this beautiful beach I was stunned to see the harvest that has been vomited up by the ocean during the high tide and Southerly wind that we are experiencing.

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Plastic bags in the hundreds, water bottles some with foreign language labels, old pieces of damaged fish nets, broken plastic containers, flower pots, pieces of plastic of all descriptions, how you can gauge ton’s of Styrofoam, I dunno but there was heaps of it and my personal favourite balloons yep that’s right those rubber (or plastic never to break down) things that we humans love to release filled with bloody helium and tied off with string or ribbons (more non degradable crap). These pretty things sore high into the sky until they reach an altitude that forces them to break due to the decrease in outside air pressure thus falling back to Earth usually in the ocean to be washed up on beaches. God I hate them and helium has much better and practical uses eg Donald duck voice syndrome, welding and non flammable airships !


Why cant we release biodegradable doves dyed to the required colour, at least they mostly comeback to Earth without blowing up and they return to their homes for recycling later.

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I think it is about time that we took responsibility for our actions in damaging this our home Earth.

Death penalty would not be too severe for littering or dumping would it????? or perhaps they could be caught, made to wear exploding ankle trackers and blues footy jerseys and wigs during the State of Origin (oh the shame that they would experience Eye rolling smile).

Cooloola Beach February 2017

First trip for the year and it was unanimous that we should head for the beach!

A few dramas at home necessitated a break for some R&R, so National Parks beach camp permit booked on line for two weeks and beach driving permit booked at the same time. We decided to leave home on Tuesday the 21st of February heading South to Tewantin where we got on the ferry for the short trip across the Noosa River to Noosa North Shore.

We picked the low tide at about 11 am to drive the 20 k’s up the beach to our favourite camp spot on a grassy sand hill about 3 meters above high tide mark. Unfortunately all fires are completely banned in the park. Not that it was cold enough to have a fire but we normally burn the OZ Pig for a spot of cooking and the comfort value of watching the fire at night. There was a lot of quality fire wood left in our camp site by some poor bugger that had dragged it up here only to be faced with the ban. I managed to find an area to store it on the van for future use so we poor buggers will drag it home Eye rolling smile.

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Normally I would drop a filter into the sand to hook the van into the water flowing from the sand hills behind us but there was a lot of freshly dug and filled in areas near camp that indicate toilet pits used by those without toilet facilities. I bl..dy hate that,but what can you do that’s life!. It’s a lovely drive up the beach to Freshwater camp to dump the toilet and pick up water for shower and wash up. The water is untreated creek water which is not a problem as we have heaps of drinking water on board.

Two very unusual sites on the beach were a huge fish kill apparently reported in the Gympie paper some time back. Literally thousands no hundreds of thousands of what looked like juvenile Leather Jackets all the same size. Was talking to a ranger who said that samples had been taken to try and determine the cause. The dead fish spread from Noosa all the way around the coast to Rainbow Beach. Very sad!


We have been here now for 6 days and have had an Easterly wind every day followed a few days ago by a South Easterly. The result of these winds is pretty rough seas and squillions of blue bottles. For those that don’t know these critters can impart a nasty sting from the long stingers that trail behind the floating body bubble.IMG_4504IMG_4505

I suggested to Mavis that she wear panty hose while fishing for protection. She only had some old stockings and as a consequence set a new fashion trend for the lady fisherpersons. One of the nasty little blighters managed to sting her through a ladder in one of the stockings,not badly thank goodness. For those reading this that don’t know what stockings or ladders in them are,ask your Nana’s Smile.




We have never seen so many pipis/eugarie’s ever on a beach. These little blokes were all pipi babies in massive nests all along the beach,surprisingly there were very few good sized pipis for bait.                                                                                  IMG_4485

Another strange site was again (sorry) squillions of cane toad tadpoles in the fresh water ponds at the base of the sand hills, not a pleasant site with the water almost black with the rotten things. I am sure this pest can live anywhere. These fresh water pools fed constantly from the sand hills, are swamped with salt water at high tide and still they survive Steaming madIMG_4474IMG_4476IMG_4477IMG_4475

Friday saw the influx of thousands (not squillions Winking smile) of happy campers to the area. Saturday had more cars and trailers tramping the beach. Apparently National Parks limit the numbers that can camp here but the beach driving permit is open slather. This sees heaps of happy day trippers on weekends roaring up the beach headed possibly to Rainbow Beach or just fishing and others with jet ski’s in tow going to the sheltered area just over the track at Double Island Point. Sunday was witness to the masses returning to catch the ferry.

Ahh the serenity. It is hard to beat the smell of salt spray and diesel fumes in the morning.Just kidding

 Smile There is actually 24 car’s in this one pic below all racing for the ferry to get home on Sunday. It is an endless stream all day.


In spite of the weekend crowds this is a lovely spot to relax and chill as the week day’s are very quiet.


Below is the patterns made by the rutile washing out through the sand hills in the flowing streams. This fresh water  flow’s constantly. If it weren’t for those that use the camp sites as toilets we would have an endless supply of non potable water for showers and wash ups. Sorry to harp on this but it is an extremely big pet hate of mine.


Finally fish on the plate. Wednesday the 1st March Mavis finally caught fish. The deal is she catches I clean, cook and plate them, I think there is some fairness there some where Smile.  5 nice dart made it to the fridge and the BBQ this night. She did get quite a few more but they were under size so they went back in the drink to grow for next time. Major good fun.

Have I mentioned the March flies,well I guess they could be February/March flies because we have had them since we got here. There are two types, one is a fast sneaky striker that gets his proboscis in before you know it is there, only alerting you by the sting and he has the most insidious fluoro green eyes.


The second is a slow moving dope that just waits for you to swat it.IMG_4524IMG_4526

Have not been stung by one of these and really don’t want to be,they are humongous creatures. Below is the result of sitting and having fivesies yesterday, gotta love the fly swatters. (Ask Nana about fly swatters. Good exercise and no toxic waste in the atmosphere Peace and the ants and little lizards love the by product!.)IMG_4533

So proud of my girl. 12 months ago she was terrified of water,(swimming water that is) and did a water confidence course put on at RV Homebase. Yesterday the 6th of March she braved the surf for the first time for a  swim and thoroughly enjoyed the experience,catching small waves and all Smile. Go Kyd.

Today the 7th March we left paradise and docked at Lawnton Show Grounds for a few days. Guess most good things must come to an end as must this tale until next time, see ya and cheers from us.


This is one fantastic destination. We are currently doing a house sit in Herberton for two weeks. We have passed through but never stayed here before. We decided to do the tourist thing while we were here and make the most of our stay.

I can not rave enough about this Historic village. It is privately owned and staffed mainly by  permanents with some volunteers helping out. It is not only old rusting stuff from years gone by but includes a massive collection of fully restored and working machinery and buildings. We quickly decided to take advantage of their pay for one and come back for another two days. Believe me one day is definitely not enough.  

Most day’s there is a timetable for the operation of some of the items. Day one for us was a Ruston steam engine. IMG_3506

An old Dennis fire engine.IMG_3510

A superbly restored 1923 Harley idling away in gear wheel turning.IMG_3556aIMG_3557



And the blacksmith making some very interesting gear.


As I Have said to rave about this place does not do it justice so I will post a heap of pics which will be just a brief expose of the Village.I will leave the pictures large so they can be expanded for a better view if you fancy.

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We capped day two off with camp oven stew damper and billy tea,it was great. img_3703img_3704

It is impossible to show all the wonderful sights to be seen in this place. Suffice to say it is a must see if you are in the Tablelands. 

Winter escape 2016 part “C”

As mentioned in part B, Dimbulah is a top spot about 40kms West of Mareeba in FNQ (Far North Queensland for the uninitiatedSmile) and is on the way to Chillagoe another great town in the area that was mentioned in our post “Atherton Sept 2015 to see Sarah our Grand Daughter In Law.” Love it as well. See

Dimbulah was developed to service the Tyrconnell Gold Mine in 1876 then in 1828 tobacco was introduced following a large influx of Italian migrants. Today large fruit veg and nut growing areas exist along side the FNQ staple of sugarcane.

We checked in for 5 day’s but have decided to stay longer. I have managed to get some difficult jobs checked off the list so far and have plans for more to come, not to mention that the van has never looked better due to a thorough and detailed clean (even the solar panels and roof). The winter weather is superb only chilling off slightly at night. No humidity rain or bl..dy mold on everything.img_3469

You have no idea how difficult bat sh.t is to remove from a vans roof. Unfortunately at Pinnacle village in the Daintree we managed to park under fruiting trees that the bats loved. It was a source of amusement for me, no wrong word Sad smile, concern is more like it,  that in the middle of the night they would drop passion fruit sized seeds from a great height onto the roof after masticating the goodness from around them. Mavis would nearly put dents in the ceiling in fright at the noise,poor girl Open-mouthed smile I was so worried for her!

The first State of Origin was a drama for us a muggins had not renewed the Vast satelite renewal and there was no telly here at Dimbulah, even if there had been the Saturn aerial for the telly in the van had fallen off the roof at some in determinant time and place, bugger. It takes 3 blo.dy days to re register that Vast card so we went to the local Pub for the game (great move! ). Mavis’s new blue rinse made a statement for blo.dy sure Smile.

I have defected and choose to be a identified as a Queenslander but lovey stays true to the State of her birth Cockroach country NSW. I know it is State of origin but it adds some spice to life when we are at odds Smile, not that that takes much.

What a great outcome for the game and the Pub was the perfect place to view it, lotsa good natured country heads and Mavis even had some like minded friends.


Saturday was market day and train day in Dimbulah. After brekkie we had a walk around the markets near the railway station then coffee at the bakery.  img_3466img_3467

The Savannahlander train passes through Dimbulah on its way from Cairns to Forsayth and return, a four day trip with tours along the way.


           The Dimbulah station has been made into a museum depicting the life and times of the area, from the gold rush days to tobacco growing and stories of some of the local identities, Well worth a look. Volunteers open the museum and provide tea coffee and bikkies for the transiting passengers and locals, only asking for a donation. Ice creams and cold drinks are sold.


Part “D” to follow later.

Winter escape 2016 part B

Departed Maraboon the next morning for the shopping run into Emerald then off to Theresa Creek Dam near Clermont via Sapphire and Rubyvale. Stopping for lunch in Rubyvale we bumped into neighbours from RV. Steve and Pauline were in the Rubyvale van park but not too happy with it, they weren’t allowed to use their own washing machine or shower in their van and had to pay a premium for the park showers and machines, all on top of unfriendly reception. Guess that is another badly run park off the Christmas list.

Arrive at Theresa Dam and camped right on the water front with a carport beside the van and the boat in the water out front of our camp.img_3340_thumb2img_3344_thumb2img_3358_thumb1img_3350_thumb1

This is a top spot with great facilities for $15 a night per couple. No power (generators can be used between sociable hours) no plug in water but tank water available for drinking and potable town water available also in tanks definitely come with full water tanks if camping here. Great hot showers and toilet facilities and redclaw on tap if you are lucky. Phone reception is available if you drive to the top of the hill that is just before you enter the park.

We checked in for a week but decided to stay longer by adding another week. Redclaw were not scarce but elusive for the first couple of days until we realised that they loved par boiled spuds and not the dog biscuits that were supposed to be the ducks guts. We only had 4 traps ( 4 each person are legal) due to my negligence in packing so the hauls were not great but none the less good and we were getting good numbers. Decision was made to pick up some groceries check the essential internet and buy 4 more traps at Clermont. This was done on Friday 06/05 and we went back to the van to make bait holders and attach ropes and floats. Fridays dinner was prepared by Mavis and was a redclaw Mornay on a bed of rice yum oh.

All of the new traps were taken out and set for the mornings pick up of the bounty on Saturday and what a bounty it was.


Hard to believe but we scored 60 redclaw during the pick up on Saturday with the 8 traps, some were monsters. It was the best ever haul for us anywhere. 62 were taken on Sunday.


Went to town Saturday to get water and vinegar to pickle some redclaw (great on bickies for fivesies). Rang friends Rob and Jewel who were just setting out to go to the gulf country. Told them about Theresa Creek Dam, a place they had never seen and they messaged back about 30 minutes later to say they were on the way to meet us, rendezvous Mothers day Sunday.

Plan in place to take Mavis to the cafe at the office at Theresa Creek Dam for menu posted fish and chips with salad glass of bubbly and desert $15, how good is that for Mummy’s day. My every intention is to send a bill to all the kid’s for $15 each for the mothers day lunch. I will make a blo.dy fortune :-).

Lunch was great fish perfect and chips crisp mmmmm. The only downer was the time it took, I think they were overwhelmed with not only campers but locals from Clermont area.

Rob and Jewel did not get there until Monday 09/05 as they were enjoying exploring places that they had never seen. Next morning Rob bought 4 cray pots from the kiosk at the dam. Wouldn’t ya know they were cheaper than the pots we bought in town 😦 img_3354_thumb1

Several great days were spent with Rob and Jewel just relaxing and exploring the dam. We saw Jabiru, Brolgas, a huge variety of water birds, kangaroo and wallabies. Even saw two roo’s boxing each other, oh and a small wild pig that was feeding on the banks of the dam every morning that we went to check our pots. Wonderful place to spend a couple of weeks.



Finally time to head off on Friday the 13th and head for Townsville to say gidday to Grandson Lachlan. We pushed through to Macrosson free camp just out of Charters Towers leaving a short run to Townsville the next day.

Spent the night with Lachlan Lauren and Maison in Townsville and left the next day heading for Pinnacle village in the Daintree. We needed to slip past Babinda where Judy the birthday girl lives. Her Daughters have arranged for a surprise party for her in Cairns on the 21st of May.

Overnighted at the Garradunga pub almost free camp. Bought a six pack of XXXX bitter and was charged $20 ouch , but it was a good spot to camp. img_3362_thumb1img_3364_thumb1

Holding our breath we passed Babinda (hoping to not be seen by Judy), heading for Cairns and on to the Daintree arriving Monday the 16th and checking in for 2 weeks.

The boat was off loaded and the rods rigged for the assault on the fish population. Two days of fishing only managed to produce 3 keeper Pikey bream and a range of under sized fish.

Saturday saw us driving to Cairns and checking into the Pullman Hotel for the party that night. Judy was out the front of the hotel with a heap of family when we arrived and was pretty teary as she gave us big hugs. A great night was had by all with pre going out drinks in the pool shelter followed by taxi’s to the Greek restaurant for dinner. img_3426_thumb2img_3400_thumb2img_3367_thumb2img_3368_thumb2

Did I mention the late wet season that crashed down on us starting on Friday night. Heaps of rain all the way up the North and it is still coming down as I write this on Tuesday the 24th.

Plan “A” was to spend 4-6 weeks here but it ain’t looking good at the moment,we will decide by next Monday when our 2 weeks is up!

Yehaa the sun has come out (Thursday the 26th) and the river looks great, fish or not, the boat goes in tomorrow.

Guess what absolutely no fish and quite disgusted to be paying $43 a day for no returns Sad smile so we are moving on. 

Finally gave up on the Daintree and we moved up to Dimbulah for a couple of weeks to do some badly neglected maintenance and cleaning of both the van and truck. This is a lovely little park where you are encouraged to use their water to clean vans and cars.

More to follow in instalment “C” of the Winter escape.

Winter escape 2016 part A

Winter escape 2016 ( North of course)

Our sojourn to the north for winter was slow in the planning because the new canopy on the Effy took a while to fit out with lighting and battery for the two Engels one a drinks fridge and the second a freezer. img_3332

We invited friends Bob and Grace to stay in our house for as long as they liked to see if they could live at RV Homebase. Bob is very keen but Gracy needed a little convincing, but apparently is now totally convinced.

We moved our van onto the hard stand the day that they arrived so they could put their van in our garage and settle into the house. It really only took the day to show them how the place works,( washing machine solar water booster etc.) while we stayed in our van.

Two days after they arrived we bid them farewell and headed off to Wandoan for a gathering organised by Pete Shadforth.

The first night was spent at the free camp at Kumbia (great spot Hot showers coin operated and power supply was also coin operated if you need it and clean toilets!) with six other couples, followed by the run to Wandoan where we camped in the Juandah Historical Site.

The camp was to give the town a boost by attending their annual show and celebrating ANZAC day with them. It was a pretty good turnout from RV Homebase with about 17 couples camped with us. We were invited to march on ANZAC day as the grey nomads.

We spent 5 nights at Wandoan and had a ball, great locals with equally good Rvers!


On the 26th we packed up and headed to Theodore pony club grounds to crank up the washing machine to clear the dirty cloths cupboard. As is the rule, the washing machine was playing up by stopping mid wash to have a rest for several minutes before continuing. Fortunately for Mavis’s sanity it miraculously healed itself under threat of discipline with very nasty words thrown at it. Washing completed!

The next stop over was the Springsure Lions Park just for the night before heading to Emerald to stock the larder with supplies that we could not get at Wandoan.

The decision was made to make for Lake Maraboon / Fairburn dam for old time sake to see if there were any familiar faces there at the van park as is generally the case during redclaw season. (redclaw are the most delectable critters and they are caught in fresh water dams see We drove past the van park entrance to have a look at the boat ramp then back to the street in front of the park to leave the van while we were to walk around the place.

While reversing the van I noticed in the mirror that we had completely lost the left hand front wheel (Bummer). Plans changed by checking into the van park to effect repairs and put the van back onto 4 wheels instead of the three remaining. Job done within a couple of hours, new wheel studs fitted and spare wheel securely fitted to the disc brake. It is a credit to Spinifex Vans that I did not even feel that the wheel had come off and the brake disc did not touch the ground, what a machine, love it! lost wheel

Another positive about checking to Maraboon Van Park was to discover that it had changed hands from Top Tourist to being privately owned. The consequence of this is shown in the major drop in tariff to $35 a night and the improvements implemented by the new owners. The park has been tastefully extended with more powered sites and unpowered camp sites. A magnificent licensed bar area serving Redclaw lager (of course) along with other beers wines spirits and cocktails all at very reasonable prices. There is a lovely covered deck area outside overlooking the lake and an inventive menu of pizzas or full meals many featuring redclaw and other yummies. They do what they call a meals on wheels run for food ordered from the bar or office direct to your van, how good is that if you don’t feel like cooking :-). Happy hour is from 4 to 6 pm $3 pots and $4 schooners of Redclaw lager (had to try a few to confirm their palatability and it is superb!:-) or any other beer on tap.

Departed Maraboon the next morning for the shopping run into Emerald then off to Theresa Creek Dam near Clermont via Sapphire and Rubyvale. Stopping for lunch in Rubyvale we bumped into neighbours from RV. Steve and Pauline were in the Rubyvale van park but not too happy with it, they weren’t allowed to use their own washing machine or shower in their van and had to pay a premium for the park showers and machines, all on top of unfriendly reception. Guess that is another badly run park off the Christmas list.

Part B to follow.