Emerald

Tuesday 30th September, (Emerald).

How plans can change; We are now at Emerald, or at least at Lake Maraboon 20k south of Emerald, on our trip back to the coast via Carnarvon Gorge. We have almost decided to bypass Carnarvon Gorge, as the caravan park we are now in is just so nice, on the edge of a gigantic lake and with abundant bird life, and we will maybe stay here for a week. This will put us behind our schedule a little, and seeing that we will be visiting several other gorges we may not have enough time to spend what we need at Carnarvon. There will always be another time to go that way, unless Linda decides that seeing we came this way to see Carnarvon we should do exactly that.

As I have already stated the caravan park we are in at the moment has turned out to be much better than we expected. We knew that the park was on the side of a lake, but inevitably when one books into this type park one is parked way back from any view of the lake, which makes it no different than any other park. The site we were placed on in this park would have to be one of the best sites in the park for lake views and it also seems to be the regular feeding point for all the birds around here. This is a big win with Linda as it gives her something to occupy her, and some birds to talk to, especially when the cockatiels will eat from ones hand.

The lake itself is enormous, and the dam is also very long. The dam is a couple of kilometres from the park, so a walk not only to the dam but over it to a lookout on the other side will give us a day of good exercise when we decide to do it. I estimate the walk will be about 10k.

Moranbah

Saturday 27th September, (Moranbah).

So bloody hot: It must have been at least mid to high 30’s today.

We have now moved to Moranbah, about 180k inland from Mackay. This is a purpose built town for the workers at the coalmines in the area. There does not seem to be much for tourists to do in the town so we will only be here for two days.

Sunday 28th September, (Moranbah).

This is what travelling is all about. We have decided that Moranbah has absolutely nothing to offer the average tourist, unless they are into coal mines, but what I mean is that we would never know this if we didn’t visit the place. We should have had some idea this is what it would be like, as the few travellers we have spoken to about this town did not even know the place existed. The lack of through tourists in this caravan park well demonstrates exactly that.

The other thing to consider is that perhaps all other travellers have heard what the ants are like in this area; We have never seen so many ants gathered in one area anywhere before. I reckon I alone have killed several million just around our van site, and that has not even put a dent in them.

Mackay

Wednesday 24th September, (Mackay).We had our guided bus tour today and although it was a pleasant change to not have to drive I don’t think we will go on another. With a little looking at information centres we could have found info about all we did see today, and we would not have had to see the couple of things that did not really interest us. It would also be a lot cheaper if I had drove myself and we would not have taken as long to make the trip. I also felt as tired after the trip as if I had driven myself anyway, although it was a different tired, more from the drone of bus engine noise I assume.

All in all though we did enjoy the trip, but to sum it up it was not worth the extra expense to go by bus.

The trip was to the Pioneer valley, taking in Finch Hatton Gorge and waterfalls, and up to Eungella, Pronounced ‘young-galah’, National Park that offered spectacular views back towards Mackay and the coastline. We did also get a fair bit of commentary about the ins and outs of sugar cane growing that was rather interesting.

We did go to see a place we would not have if we had not taken the bus, called ‘The Sugar Bowl’, which was a memorabilia come souvenir shop that was actually rather interesting, especially for Linda. There was a collection of old ‘everything’ from the past that bought back some memories, and the grandmother’s creation was a garden with sculptured plants and such.

We had thought that we would learn of other things, like bushwalks, to do in the area that were not covered by the tour and would then return on Friday to partake in some of those adventures, but we have decided that we saw enough of the area and had a good walk so it will not be necessary to return. This now means that we will have a nice relaxing day on Friday before packing up to leave on Saturday.

Mackay

Monday 22nd September, (Mackay).

We have in fact booked on a bus trip for Wednesday and are going to enjoy someone else driving us around for a change. We will tour the area inland from here and incorporates gorges, waterfalls and such, with meals provided as well; We are looking forward to it.

After driving around town yesterday it came to realisation as to why I have not been around this town taking photos in the past. The town does not do anything special for us and there doesn’t seem to be much interest in taking photos of the buildings, as they don’t seem to be anything special. I have and will take scenic photos of the area though, and we will see about around town.

Tuesday 23rd September, (Mackay).

We went for a short drive to the northern beaches today and checked out a couple of caravan parks in the area. One of which was one called Bucasia caravan park that we had heard quite a bit about, but it did not come up to our standards and probably has Midges. Another called Seawinds was also below our normal standards but decided that it could be worth a short stay being rather cheap for the area.

There are some nice beaches in the area and that is probably all that is going for the area unless one is a fisherman.

Mackay

Saturday 20th September, (Mackay).

We did stay an extra day at Midge Point, which we thoroughly enjoyed, but our feelings about returning have been dampened a little by the fact that there is in fact several types of insects present, including the dreaded Midge. We were not bothered too much by the insects, the biggest problem was with them being so small they still get into the caravan through the flywire, but there were a couple of people that were bitten rather badly by the midges. Even though we were bitten a few times they did not seem to bother us too much, perhaps after being bitten rather badly in the past we may have built up somewhat of an immunity to the effects.

There were also some reports of people having an argument with a crocodile in the nearby creek, but then there were some long time residents that said that this could not be true, so we will not worry about that one too much.

We met a couple, Carol & Graeme Brine, who were parked next to us and had a get-together one night. We were a little surprised to later have them give us their address and phone number and insisted that when we are at the Gold Coast we must visit, and she would even cook us a meal. We will probably take them up on their offer, but we are still a little surprised as we didn’t think that we hit it off well enough for this sort of offer to occur. Then they may be the type to make this offer to all and anyone.

We have now moved on to Mackay. We decided to stay at a different park than in the past, Andergrove Top Tourist this time, as this is one rule we must adopt in towns of multiple visits. This may give us a different opinion of the town, as was the case at Bowen.

After only being here since this morning we have recalled that we in fact have not seen much of this town, I haven’t even been round town taking photos. There does seem to be several day trips to be made in the area and we may even do a bus tour while here as they run them from the park we are in.

Midge Point

Wednesday 17th September, (Midge Point).

It has been demonstrated once again that one can’t listen to what some people say about places we intend visiting. We are now at Midge Point and are so far rapt in the area, we had people at Bowen tell us that they hated the place and would never return again. They suggested that the insects were the biggest turn off, and the park management were too regimented and overpowering about how and exactly where one can park the caravan, we have so far found that none of this to be factual. It is now late in the evening and we have found that there are no more insects here than at any other place we have been, probably even less. The management were as friendly as we have experienced.

We actually quite enjoy this area and are now contemplating booking in for a couple of extra days and staying less at Mackay. This is one of those parks that instantly gives one that feeling of peace and quietness, and that our stay is going to be very enjoyable. We are aware that moods and first impressions can have a big influence on ones feelings about an area.

Bowen

Tuesday 16th September, (Bowen).

Bowen; The place, when back in 2001, I had my introduction to what Midge bites can do to a person. Since then we have heard several stories about Midge bites. For example some say they don’t bite at all, rather they urinate on one and this being an acidic constituent causes a bad irritation. Some others say that rather than a bite they lay their eggs under the skin.

We found a brochure at the information centre produced by the Bowen council informing much about the dreaded midge. If this brochure is accurate, and one would have to believe it is, it is very informative.

It seems the Midge does actually bite in the same manner as a mosquito and the saliva deposited causes an irritation. It also seems that they only bite in a four day per fortnight cycle depending on the moon position and tides. My interpretation of the description is that the female requires blood for production of eggs and the biting period is for four days leading up to a full moon and again leading up to a new moon, generally a fortnight apart, so if one keeps an eye out for these moon cycles we may be able to ease the problems with these insects.

We are now semi packed for a move tomorrow with the idea of stopping at Midge Point, supposedly not named after the insect just discussed but we will find out. Comments from people about the area and its insects may cause us not to stay there, if true, and possibly move on to Mackay, otherwise we will stay there for a couple of days.

Bowen

Friday 12th September, (Bowen).

Bowen: we are now there and we have changed our attitude of this town. The first time we were here we stayed in a caravan park in the town centre, and sand flies attacked me. This detracted from our ideas of this town somewhat and left here not thinking much of the town at all.

The second time through we stayed at a park a few km south of town and only intended staying overnight as we really did not have much liking for the town and we had travelled far enough.

This time we checked into a park on the coast a few km north of the township, known as the resort area of Bowen. This area is much better than where we were before, being on a beach, and we have found information about bush walks in the area that we are interested in, so we have decided to stay a little longer than originally intended. We have even found a document that gives a full explanation about the cycle, biting cycle, of the sand flies that really does explain all, so this should be very handy in future.

The caravan park we have checked into, the Coral Coast, is also a very nice one, a person gets a feel for a park that one could spend a bit of time at almost as soon as arriving, and this park is one of them.

Tomorrow it is a trip into town to find all the murals the town is noted for and take a few photos; Sunday is taken up with the car racing on telly. Monday and Tuesday are for bush walking and beach strolling, and then we will probably leave on Wednesday.

Monday 15th September, (Bowen).

Went for a bushwalk today around and over Cape Edgecumbe. There was a circuit walk of about 5k, up, down and over several hills, energetic, and 2k from the caravan park making a total of about 9k. This is a very good walk for us, especially me, so it could only do us good.

Townsville

Tuesday 9th September, (Townsville).

Unfortunately we had to forego the idea of coastal towns for a short while. The weather turned rough and with the rain and wind coming in from the sea stopovers at these places would not have been very welcoming, so we went straight on to Townsville. We have been here since Friday and will be here for a week. We should be able to visit quite a few of these type coastal towns on the remainder of our journey though.

We have decided that our travel arrangements will have to involve trips of about 200-250k between places and stay for a week at each and this should get us to Victoria in early December to be in time for Narrelle arriving from England.

We visited the botanical gardens today. Our map indicated there were in fact two gardens so we went to both. One was a little disappointing as rather than being a typical botanical garden it was more of a grassed park with trees. This park would be ideal for a picnic, or get-together, but it was not what we were looking for. The other was in fact the typical botanic garden, so we did our usual walk around looking and taking heaps of photos.

Thursday 11th September, (Townsville).

(Second anniversary twin towers)

We have again enjoyed our stay in Townsville and are now half packed and ready to move further south. We will probably reach Bowen tomorrow and stay for a few days only.

Flying Fish Point

Wednesday 3rd September, (Flying Fish Point).

These ‘bear o’clock’ sessions the locals have here would be the better ones we have ever attended. Tonight was the third night we have been here and there has been a gathering each evening. A couple of campers who have been here for a while start the gathering and everybody close by joins in, even if just arrived at the park and completely unknown. The last two nights we had at least 20 people, and half were different each night, just tremendous stuff.

The park owners provided a bar-b-que lunch today, fish and chips and provide your own salad. It was quite pleasant for park managers to provide a freebie again.

Yesterday we had a trip to Paronella Park, 15k west of Innisfail, as we had heard quite a bit about it, and it was well worth the trip. The park is a semi-restored leisure park that a gent built early this century with the idea of providing somewhere for the public to go and relax and enjoy the scenery. It is built on the side of a creek that has waterfalls and such; there were old buildings that were originally built for entertainment purposes and even a tunnel (tunnel of love) built through a hill. The park has had its turbulent times being damaged by floods etc and the latest owners have tried to resurrect the park to provide for the public what the original gent tried to do.

Flying Fish Point turns out to be just the type location that we intend to visit on this trip down the coast: A small holiday township on the coast with a rather nice beach for walking, and just the type place to relax for a couple of days. We are looking forward to finding a lot more of them.