Moree

Friday 28th September, (Moree).

6:30 PM

The thermal pool is something different, hot and relaxing, and it does leave one with a feeling that it has done some good. There is no doubt I will be going for a dip on several occasions while we are here. Linda wants to go again tonight, being open till 10:00pm, but as usual will not go on her own.

We visited the information centre today and found there are a few tours that took our interest, one to Lightning Ridge opal mining area, and one to a pecan nut farm. Other than these trips there does not seem to be a great deal more to do here than any other small country town, but we do get the feeling that we could spend a lot more time in the area as the atmosphere is different than that of the last few towns, The pool helps as well I think.

10:00 PM

Linda got her way with re-visiting the pool, and yes, she managed to drag me along with her.

After speaking to several others it was told how these pools are very therapeutic in the aid of Arthritis and such ailments. I do know that it relaxes one very much, to the extent that it will be interesting to see the difference it makes to Linda sleeping tonight.

A conversation overheard while in the pool seemed to sum up the feelings of others using the pool, he is obviously writing down stories of his journeys as well, and went; “How does one put into words about this pool in his report, as to how one can visit them any number of times and all it costs is $15.00 per day, and you get a camp site thrown in as well”. I don’t know how long he is staying here, but because we are staying for a week it only costs us $12.00 per day.

Moree

Thursday 27th September, (Moree).

We have in fact moved on from Goondiwindi and on to Moree, about 100km into NSW, on the Newel highway.

We have booked into the Gwydir Carapark as they worked out the cheapest and they have a thermal pool for guest use. The area is apparently known for its natural thermal springs. The one at the caravan park, according to the sign, obtains water for the pools from 2,500 feet below ground and is naturally heated to 39 degrees at all times. Maybe these are the conditions that are needed to get me into a pool; we will wait and see later into our visit.

We haven’t as yet had a look at what are on offer to see in the area, but there seams to be things to do to fill in time. The fact that we are closer to the township than at Goondi will give us a better opportunity to walk, or ride, into town for a look around, so this will help to fill in time.

Goondiwindi

Tuesday 25th September, (Goondiwindi).

I seem to have been a little lax in putting words down again, missing several days. There was not much to miss though as our visit to Goondiwindi has been a little disappointing.

We visited the information centre on Saturday and acquired a fair bit of information about the area, but when we visited some of the points of interest our disappointment became obvious. One in particular was the Boobera Lagoon, about 20km west of Goondi’ on the road to Boomi. This lagoon was well advertised as being a magnificent picnic spot with tables, seats, shelter and toilets and was also an Aboriginal sacred site. When we arrived at the turn off we discovered a fence blocking thoroughfare, so to our disappointment we returned to Goondi’ with no sight seeing done.

The local Botanic gardens were advertised as being well established and ongoing work was being undertaken, and when we arrived there we decided that it may be worth visiting in about 5-10 years when the vegetation has become established.

Mini Bondi on the eastern side of town; a good picnic spot and fishing and swimming hole could not be located.

The town common and Hilton weir, on the western side of town, another swimming and fishing spot was a crossing over a very dirty river leading to land that is being revegetated.

It now being Tuesday and we have decided we have seen what Goondi has to offer and we now have until Friday paid for in the park with nothing else to do, so I would not be surprised if we up camp and leave a day early.

Goondiwindi

Friday 21st September, (Goondiwindi).

Yes a relaxing time was had at Miles, except for the trains passing on either side of the park all day and night; road trains on one side and track trains on the other. There wasn’t much option though as the other park was similarly situated just a few hundred metres up the road.

We did have a day trip to Chinchilla to have a look around and break the monotony of sitting around and forgot to take my camera. Chinchilla is a nice tidy little town and we may just stay there when back this way, but on just a day trip there didn’t seem much to take photos of anyway.

Linda gave me the impression that she would like to stay in Miles a little longer, but I was reasonably happy to leave there today as there was not much to do and the road trains were really driving me batty.

So as you may have gathered we moved on today and are now at Goondiwindi, on the NSW border. The road we travelled today, Leichhardt highway, would have to be the roughest bitumen road I have ever experienced. Not previously knowing the condition of the road I ended up a little quietly concerned how the caravan would handle the quite large bumps, so some areas were travelled a little slower, but she seemed to have taken the trip in her strides and survived without problem. The main thing than concerned us was the catch on the fridge door that constantly worked itself somewhat loose and we had to keep a close eye on it as we did not want the food from the fridge on the floor, which has happened before.

We went through a different criteria today for selection of which caravan park we were going to stay at. In the past we have studied our several books on parks before making our move and generally pick our selection to stay at when we arrive at our destination. Generally our selection seems correct but sometimes we have wondered whether our decision was correct after viewing other parks in the township. This time what seemed would be our selection was the furthest from the township, we prefer parks close to town for the convenience, so we decided that when we arrived at Goondi’ that we would investigate all parks, there being three, and make a decision then. The first was the one we selected and it seemed to meet out expectations, the second was the last on our selection list mainly because it did not have a rating and when we spotted it we saw what was probably the reason why, it didn’t look very nice at all. The third was in a position close to town that we would normally give first consideration but there charges were a little obscure and we also took into consideration some advice we were given about not staying at parks close to town due to the possibility of louts lurking. After checking this park it seemed a little too small and the only site they could offer us was one nestled in a back corner of the park and secluded. This did not suit me, but Linda did not seem to worry, so we ended up picking the one we originally selected anyway. I guess this means that there is not much wrong, so far, with our selection practices after all.

One gets the impression that there could be a fair bit to do in this area, but I guess we will find out tomorrow when we investigate.

Miles

Chapter 10

Inland Toward Home

Tuesday 18th September 2001, (Rockhampton/ Theodore/Miles).

A change of mind involving our travel arrangements has occurred, we have decided, for several reasons, to head inland south to Melbourne area in readiness for our trip back to Tassie. I am still calling Tassie home as we have spent all our lives there and we do still own the house, but when we return after our visit the caravan will be what we will call home.

Our original reasons for travelling south via Brisbane do no longer exist, as Matthew and Louisa are no longer visiting as a lack of funds dictated the circumstances. It is probably just as well they decided not to make the trip, as they probably would have booked with Ansett, like they usually do, and they would have lost their money with the demise of the airline over the past week. We have not heard anything from Linda’s friend whom she intended to visit, except that she may not be visiting either, so we no longer have any real reason for visiting Brisbane. I would have liked to visit my sister Deris, but it is intended to visit for a reunion next year so we will catch up with her then.

We also considered, in the back of our minds, that a possible result of retaliation by the Americans against the alleged Terrorists, possibly war, could effect our travel situation and as Linda pointed out that if things do get to the worst possible scenario she would prefer to be back home when it does. As a result we have decided to immediately begin our travels south to Victoria so we will be closer to home and therefore possibly in a better situation to get back there.

We don’t intend to make a rush and dash to get to Victoria, travelling at a reasonably slow pace, but it will be in the back of our minds that we may have to make a rush trip.

The trip started yesterday with us starting off west along the Capricorn Highway to Westwood and turning south along the Leichhardt highway. We travelled down to Theodore where we set up camp overnight at a campsite in the township. It appears that camping areas along this highway are not as existent as they are on others, I guess because not as many tourists use this road, or at least we don’t see as many, and the caravan parks that we have seen do not look the most inviting. We are now prepared for stopping at rest areas so we look forward to the opportunity for an alternative to caravan parks, as it will be a saving on parking fees.

The campsite was a novel change with the site being a rather pleasant place to stay, peaceful with no traffic passing, no loud noises to wake one early in the morning, no pressure to move out by a certain time and I could have actually spent several days there. Maybe we will stay at a campsite for an extended stay one day.

This morning we packed up camp and moved on to Miles, a couple of hundred kilometres south. Miles is quite a nice small town and we will stay here for several days. The park we are in is well presented for a place of its size with the exception that it is alongside a main road, but several others we have stayed at have been the same and haven’t really been a problem.

The route we are now travelling is certainly a contrast to where we have been travelling, as the scenery is mostly the same; a lot of flat farmland separated by the occasional hill covered in trees. We were quite surprised to find on our travels today a lookout that covered scenes of a so-called gorge, named the Isla gorge, but it was more like a mini Grand Canyon covered with vegetation.

We have now settled in Miles and are looking forward to a relaxing couple of days.

Rockhampton

Sunday 16th September, (Rockhampton).

About 23 kilometres north of Rocky are some caves called Capricorn Caves. These are privately owned caves, and our visit there today was well worth the trip. Being privately owned one gets a better commentary than government owned. These caves are actually classed as dry caves although when it is wet there are some active limestone formations. The most remarkable part of the caves is one cavern that is used as an actual church, as demonstrated by playing some music the cavern demonstrates really good acoustics. In fact I was so rapt in the splendour of the church cavern, would you believe I didn’t take any photos of it.

We also visited the Botanic Gardens in the area and were quite surprised with what they had to offer. They also have incorporated a Zoo, and considering entry was free, it was quite remarkable. When we are back in the area we intend to spend possibly a whole day there as it could easily be done.

We are now semi packed and ready for a move tomorrow to Yeppoon and stay there for a few days before heading further south.

Rockhampton

Saturday 15th September, (Rockhampton).

The new battery; I have had it on charge all day yesterday with the small charger in the caravan with apparently not much charge being given. Today I fired up the petrol generator and expected the battery to be charged after about two hours, but after running for that period of time every indication was that the battery was still at a very low level. I ended up running the generator for in excess of six hours at high speed providing approximately 10 Amps of charge and the battery still wasn’t fully charged. With this 60 odd ampere/hours today and the 15 or so yesterday put into the battery, must mean it was very flat, seeing it is an 85 ampere/hour battery, and it is still not fully charged. This surprises me as the people I purchased it from assured me it would be ready for use. I have come to a conclusion that before the battery was ready for full use it had to be put through a full cycle of discharge and charge to bring it up to optimal use. This is something I have never heard of before, which if true is surprising after all the battery work I have performed when at work. Unless the test discharge and charge one had to apply to new batteries was actually for this purpose but not actually mentioned. Anyway now that I know that it will be fully charged tomorrow, or should be, it will be interesting to see the result of running the inverter next time we do.

At least I will remember what has happened in this instance and if and when I have to purchase another battery for the car, or whatever, it will be interesting to find out what the condition of it is.

This little exercise filled in today so no sightseeing was done, which probably means we will either will have to stay here another day or two or leave some of it until we return again.

Rockhampton

Friday 14th September, (Rockhampton).

A purchase of a new battery was carried out on Wednesday and installation of it and the inverter was completed. The battery was not in a fully charged state when I picked it up so the rest of Wednesday was spent charging it.

A trip was made yesterday on a loop road from Rocky to Yeppoon on the coast and back to Rocky. The scenery on this coastal route was something spectacular, I almost decided that if I would likely settle anywhere this would be the type of area I would like it to be. The views of the Keppel island group from some of the houses on the hilly areas of the coastline are quite spectacular.

I guess if I had the money to purchase one of the properties here we would already own something elsewhere. The whole of the Capricorn coast is a very scenic area; it gives me the impression that if it were situated closer to Brisbane it would be another area like the Gold coast or the Sunshine coast, taken over by high-rise apartment blocks for tourists. The area still seems to be relatively untouched in comparison, which I suppose is why it is so appealing.

We had intended to visit the Capricorn Caves, about 23 kilometres north of Rocky that are privately owned and run and apparently quite worth the look, but after some more shopping to further the caravan for remote camping we ran out of time and decided to visit later.

A further clean up of the caravan to rid some more excess weight is the order of the day. Linda has finally conceded that there are items in the van that we could do without, so tomorrow it is go through things and find what we have not used so far, so if they are not needed they will go.

We had a practice run last night on self-power provisioning after about 5.30pm, for about 3 hours, and it seemed we used about 50% of the battery power, not knowing if it was fully charged to start with, so it seems if we do not get a chance to recharge we will have enough battery power for two nights. A problem we may have is with the battery charger in the caravan not being strong enough to meet requirements, but we should not need to use it under severe conditions as we have a petrol generator.

Rockhampton

Tuesday 11th September, (Rockhampton).

Rockhampton is the present location for our visiting and a quote from Linda today as we were looking down on the city from Mt. Archer was “It’s funny to see a city stuck in the middle of nowhere”. I’m sure she meant inland and not close to the ocean, as Rocky is a fair way from the coast, which is the style that we have experienced with most of the cities we have visited so far and I’m sure she will have a change of heart soon when we start travelling inland, which should be soon.

Mt. Archer is a spectacular lookout point for Rockhampton with the exception that the viewing points are blocked somewhat by trees, but a good view is still obtained.

Today was mainly taken up with looking around the area to familiarise ourselves with the district and Linda checking out the shopping centres and such.

I followed up with looking for details and prices for a decent battery for the caravan as we intend soon staying overnight in rest areas using our newly purchased inverter, to drive 240V appliances, driven from the battery. To use an inverter means pulling a heavy drain from the battery, which will result in the battery flattening easily and regularly. I have discovered the regular battery I had installed does not have the capacity to handle the drain and also is not of a construction to handle continual charging and discharging, so the purchase of a deep cycle 85Amp/Hour seemed the way to go. Deep cycle is a battery of a construction designed so it can be constantly cycled from charge to discharge without causing a malfunction, as was the case with the regular car battery. If I find the 85Amp/Hour is not enough the purchase of another and connected in parallel should overcome the problem.

When we arrived at the caravan park here we had an option with a bonus offer provided at the park of paying for a week and receiving an additional week free, we had intended staying for a week anyway. We had preferred not to choose this option as we did not intend staying the second week and if we had chosen that option and decided not to stay the second week we would forfeit our discount, only $10.00 but better than nothing. The result was not to accept this option and now after having a look and discovering what there is to do here it may have been a wise move to stay the second week, but if we need more time there is always the next time up this way.

A decision must be made this week as to our route of travel from here. We had originally planned on going to Brisbane but our reason for doing so no longer exists, apart from Linda wanting to visit a friend from home on a trip there, so we have to decide whether she can wait until Christmas to see her or not. If we decide not to go to Brisbane it would be more convenient for us to re-direct ourselves inland from here to travel south to Geelong for our trip home.

Sarina

Saturday 8th September, (Sarina).

The forecast for today was afternoon showers and possibly thunder storms, so we thought it might be an idea to give the trip west a miss as not being suitable for photo taking. We instead decided to drive into Mackay and have a look around the township and predictably the weather stayed fine all day. Well there will always be next time for sightseeing.

Mackay is a township with a different layout, all cities and towns are different but I mean this one is different, as it is built in an area containing several creeks and a river with the immediate area between being of a swampy nature. Therefore the township is spread out, except for the southern area, making it rather large distances to have to travel to get from one ‘suburb’ to another. The coastline has quite a few excellent beaches and it is strange not to see housing areas constructed close to them. There seems to be one exception to this as there is one housing area built immediately next to a beach, but in this case there does not seem to be any access to the beach for anybody other than the residents in that area.

Tomorrow will be another day for relaxation as there is car racing, the V8’s, on the TV that will occupy my afternoon and I’m sure Linda will enjoy a quiet time as well.