Gladstone

Tuesday 26th April 2005, (Gladstone).

On Sunday night, at Warremba, one new guest, John, and Adrian started talking about how to cook in a camp oven, it seems that John is a chef. This conversation led to: “Why don’t we have a roast tomorrow and show you”. With this the park management donated some roast beef, and even with a few more visitors, everybody got together and organised who was donating what, eg veggie’s, bread etc. The night turned out to be a real blast, as this is the sort of thing that makes a good night, especially in a farm stay park as that one.

That was yesterday, and today we moved on. We had originally intended to stay at a small town called Moura, but when we arrived there we both thought “Not another small town, we have had enough of them”, so we decided to go all the way to Gladstone in one leg. Hence that is where we are now.

Upon arrival we also decided to stay at another caravan park, Kin-Kora, close to the shopping centre, and is also the highest rating park in town. It has only been the first night and we are already thinking we would rather be at the park we usually stay at, but a few days will tell more as we were neither in a very good mood on arrival and things did seem to go wrong.

Wednesday 27th April, (Gladstone).

If not mentioned before, I have been looking for a pack of garden solar powered lights since deciding not to purchase while back in Tassie. I finally found some at Crazy Clarks and made the purchase.

My use for them is to use at least 4 of them for discharging AA rechargeable batteries individually so I can evenly discharge each set I have so I may get longer life from them.

I also intend playing with the solar panels by joining them together in a 12V configuration with the hope it may suffice as a trickle charger for the car when it is sitting for a long period.

I am hopeful of having a couple left over intact to use as warning lights for awning ropes, and several spare bits.

Carnarvon Gorge

Saturday 23rd April 2005, (Carnarvon Gorge).

We had our first day at the gorge today to see what was on offer and how long it would take to see it all. There are several walks and for us it would be impossible to do it all in one day. It looks like we may need about three days.

Today we chose to do the most strenuous of the walks up to a lookout at the top of the gorge. The scenery on the walk up to the top was spectacular with the different rock formations and vegetation, but when we arrived at the lookout I was a little disappointed as the area covered by the lookout was everywhere but a view up the actual gorge. This was the scenery I was particularly looking for and the girl in the information centre indicated I would get the shots that I wanted, so I was not real impressed, although what we did see was still spectacular.

We will go back tomorrow, but what walks we do will depend on how my legs feel when we get there. There are a few short ones that will do if the situation arrises, but there is a long walk along the full length of the gorge, which we intend to try to cover most of. Linda’s fitness also depends on tomorrow as well seeing she was not real well last week and she hasn’t had much of a chance to exercise in the meantime.

Sunday 24th April, (Carnarvon Gorge).

Day 2 walking the gorge, and what we saw made the whole day worthwhile. The thing with this gorge is that it is not possible to get shots depicting the entire gorge showing its sides in its entire length unless one is in an aeroplane, and one does not get a good view of the gorge layout from within it due to the trees covering most of the view. One can get some sort of impression by eye, but it is not possible to photograph.

The unique thing with this gorge is within its enormity there are several side walks with different aspects of the gorge to view, and each has its own individual scenery on display. The several we have seen so far have been remarkable and if the remainder are the same we will look forward to returning one day to see the rest of it. We will then be prepared in being a bit fitter and more capable of doing the remaining walks. The walks we have done over the last two days have now seen us a little tired and weak so if we decided to see more this visit we would need a few days rest before continuing.

We now intend having a rest day tomorrow and stiffness permitting we will move on the day after.

Carnarvon Gorge

Friday 22nd April 2005, (Carnarvon Gorge).

Again it has been a while since putting words down, so it is an indication that we have been resting and not doing anything that would inspire me to write anything down.

I have been rather busy though helping a neighbour with their laptop. I’m not sure now that it was a good idea helping set up the internet for them, as it was revealed that they did not have much experience with computers and were fairly raw and I have spent some time giving them tuition as well. It did fill in some time though and they did appreciate it all.

Linda has made a reasonable recovery from her little illness so it was time to move on toward Carnarvon Gorge. We moved on today about 200k from Roma and are camping at Warremba Farm stay, 50k odd from the gorge proper. A section of the road into the gorge is gravel, about 20k, and it is known to be a little rough in places so the caravan will just not be taken over it. It turns out it was a good decision as one neighbour from Roma, who left a few days ago to do the gorge, rang today and reported that after travelling into the gorge, from the same place as we are staying, said he would not even think of taking his van in there. His van is a dual axle and would be much more suited to gravel than ours, and he gives me the impression that he would take his van many places that I wouldn’t even consider, so the road can’t be too good.

The park we are staying at has several walks itself, as it is on the edge of the Carnarvon National Park, and we went on a couple of them this afternoon after setting up camp and thoroughly enjoyed it. They were only reasonably short walks, about 3.5k, as practice for the gorge. We did enjoy these small walks tremendously as the change of scenery was quite welcome after the very flat and dusty dirt scenery we have travelled through for the past couple of months.

The weather changed to a little cooler and overcast today for the first time in weeks and that was also a very welcome change. Since we left Adelaide about six weeks ago we have had continual daytime temperatures of low to mid 30’s with high tens over night, so we did enjoy the cool of the day.

Roma

Friday 15th April 2005, (Roma).

We are now at Roma, about 200k north of St George. We have been here before in 2002, and thoughts about timing revealed that we arrived here almost to the day 3 years after last visit. Last time we arrived here on the 14th April. One surprising this with this visit is that Linda was the one that couldn’t remember the town where I could, quite the opposite of the norm.

We have initially booked in here for four days, but have the idea of staying for a week, especially seeing Linda is not 100% well with here tract infection again so it would be an idea to make sure she is well before moving on.

We have had another good look at all the caravan parks in town with the idea of staying at the Big Rig park rather than the Big4, as the big4 is too far out of town. We found out the reason that we chose the Big4 last time as the Big Rig was a grubby looking park and we again decided that we would not stay there. The park across the road, Roma Aussie, which is now an FPA park and has been taken over a couple of years ago and done up to a good standard was our choice, and we think we are happy for making it.

On our way here today we went through Surat, where we heard was a good camping area so we checked it out. On the side of the river, offering shade or open spaces, good for solar panels, we decided that when we are back this way we will visit the camp area for a stay on our way through.

Monday 18th April, (Roma).

Well we are certainly having that rest that I thought we might, as Linda has contracted one of her little infections again and has been a bit off over the past few days and hasn’t been able to do anything. She is going to rest for the next few days as well so there is no rush to get to Carnarvon Gorge and all that walking.

I did fill in today pretty well as last night I found that a neighbour had a mobile the same as mine, and as we were talking internet I asked if they had infra-red on their laptop. The answer was yes, so I asked them if they wanted internet access to their laptop. They most certainly did so today was filled with setting up their machine and educating them on how to use it. I hope after all this that they do get some good use from it.

St George

Monday 11th April 2005, (St George).

Exercise was the order of the day for yesterday with a walk into town. We went along the river walk almost to the weir and the heat was the telling factor upon our return home. Heat must be the main factor affecting my diabetes, because I was not muscularly exhausted, but more a lack of energy. A feed and a drink and I was feeling perfectly ok.

Today I went into town again to do my usual walk around taking photos. We were originally going to walk again, but I decided that the heat might just be too much again so we drove. It turned out there wasn’t much walking around town as it is really not that big, but what I got will suffice.

Tuesday 12th April. (St George).

Another cruise around town to see a few more attractions revealed they were nothing startling or different than any other place, like memorials and lakes.

The exception was the Emu egg carvings; this was well worth a visit at $3.00 a head. This gentleman carves the eggs, does a magnificent job, and does not sell them, just keeps them on display. To demonstrate all the different colours available he has them mounted with lights inside them. They are all inside a purpose built room so he can alter the lighting to suit and this really does give a remarkable effect. A guided tour is very informative and the owner is also a bit of a card and tells a few as well.

St George

Saturday 9th April 2005, (St George).

An odd lucky break with the TV today, with a fault that it had. It has been playing up lately with an intermittent colour problem, with the screen going all one colour, either pink or green. A thump on the floor would generally fix it, but lately it has taken more, like a power refresh. Today I decided to have a look and see if I could find the problem. Considering it was obviously created by vibrations travelling in the van it had to be a loose connection, so I taped up a screwdriver, for insulation, and while turned on I started tapping circuitry parts. To my amazement the very first board I tapped, on the back of the picture tube, indicated that the fault was on it. Further fiddling revealed a flat-five cable connection could have been the problem and when I lightly pulled the cable, thinking it was a plug-in connection, the cable came out in my hand. The lucky break was that this was not a plug-in connection and the fault was all five wires must have almost completely broken as the cable was actually floating with no support, and when I pulled it they all gave way. With magnifying glasses, and trying to stop my hands shaking too much, I managed to remove the five wire ends on the circuit board and leave clean open holes. The flat-five cable was going to be the next problem: To strip the insulation without damaging the wiring, and it was a must to keep the wires straight so it would enter all holes neatly and easily. I did manage to achieve this, fortunately without too much difficulty, and then placed the wires into the circuit board and solder them without any blobs. A test of the TV, and the picture was clearer than it has been for a very long time, very lucky incident I thought.

I thought we would be without TV for the weekend, as when I broke the wires off my first thought was to go and find a TV technician to repair it. The fact that it was Saturday meant that the techs were off duty, and as one local said “You won’t find him today unless you go to the river skiing as well”. This was the influencing factor for my attempting to fix it myself, so I actually saved myself quite a repair bill I dare say.

We have had a discussion about our travels and it looks like a couple of days at Surat, then possibly a couple of days camping at a site close to Surat, after we check it out while there. Then it will be a couple of days at Roma to do a little shopping, and then further discussions about where to stay for our Carnarvon Gorge visit, possibly at a farm stay caravan park 50k out from the gorge. We are going to enjoy our restful week here though.

St George

Friday 8th April 2005, (St George).

Our ill feelings of Cunnamulla and the area came to fruition this morning at 6:00 AM when there was a drunken revelry by the local blacks on the street next to the park just over the fence from where we were parked. At 6:15 Linda suggested we pack up and leave, so when I asked if she was serious and her answer was positive, we did. This is the sort of thing that worries soles like us and we could well do without it, but for all we know nothing might have eventuated if we did stay but we weren’t taking any chances.

Another 300k east now sees us at St George, and at first glance there won’t be any such problems here. The park we are in is a couple of kilometres out of town so it should be very peaceful. There are a couple of parks close to the township and when we passed them we had a glance and there were not many vans in them, so considering they weren’t rated in the RAC book we decided not to take any chances and go straight to the one that did rate, so here we are. We are going to stay for a week, so a few days relaxation will be very welcome.

One thing we sort of regret with leaving Cunnamulla early was not looking at the couple of things to see, and not getting a chance to take any photos, but as Linda said there was nothing to want to photograph and we won’t forget this town anyway.

One good thing about staying at Cunnamulla last night was the fact that we didn’t have to make a 550k trip in the one day, so it was broken into two legs. We did forfeit a day’s rent of $15.00 by leaving early, but for our feeling of now not having the worries it is not much to forego.

Cunnamulla

Chapter 31

Back in Queensland

Thursday 7th April 2005, (Cunnamulla).

We have moved from Bourke to Cunnamulla today and are so far having regrets about our decision to move. The caravan park at Bourke was very nice and would have been a good place to stay for a couple of days and had a rest. We had instead decided to move to Cunnamulla and stay for four days or so and rest there, but everything since arriving has been of a negative nature and not much positive, from not being extremely impressed with the only caravan park in town (it is only basic and has large rocks about two inches under the grass preventing pegs being put in), no auto-gas in town (will have to use petrol for the next leg), exorbitant food prices at the supermarket (Linda had a choice of shopping at Bourke and chose to leave it), high indigenous population ( some of whom hassled Linda on her walk back from town) etc.

We have decided that there really must be a reason for RAC not rating caravan parks in this town situation, as when we arrived at the park it was totally empty and we took this as a bad sign of nobody using it. At 6:00 pm there are 3 other vans in the park. It is quite a nice looking basic park, but it is across the road from the local indigenous housing area. When I tried to erect the awning most pegs could only be driven in about two inches due to the rocks, or something, at that depth. It was very misleading to start with as the soil on top of the rock is sand and I had decided to use long pegs.

When looking for somewhere to fill the car with gas we found that there is no gas on sale in Cunnamulla, so I guess I will get another idea how fuel-efficient the car is now on petrol, as we will be doing 300k next leg.

Linda chose to leave her shopping for when we arrived here as prices were a little dear at Bourke and someone had indicated that prices would be better here: How wrong these ideas were as Linda nearly had a heart attack when she went to do her shopping with the prices of most items being at least twice that of what she expected. We need to eat so we just have to put up with it until we leave.

Linda had a walk back from town and was lightly harassed by some of the local indigenous people, being asked for money, and even propositioned.

After all this we are not real happy with staying here but rather than go straight on to St George, making a 500k trip, we have to stay here for at least 2 nights for a short rest at least. We had already decided to only book in for two days initially with the idea of extending, and it turned out to be a good decision. We are also taking some unusual steps of locking things up for the night that we would usually leave outside; this is an example of our feelings of the area, a pity though.

Cunnamulla

Thursday 7th April 2005, (Cunnamulla Qld).

In hinesite, after a move to Cunnamulla today, it might have been an idea if we had stayed at Bourke for a couple more days, more explanations in next chapter. The caravan park at least was ok there and it would have been a great rest stop. We did have our little walk around town and took a few photos and decided there wasn’t a great deal more to do, hence the move today.

Bourke

Monday 4th April 2005, (Bourke).

Another move now sees us at Bourke, 160k north of Cobar. This is another town that we have been looking forward to visiting, but what we have seen so far and stories we have heard have detracted from what we thought our ideas would have been. This is another town with a high population of indigenous people and unfortunately possibly resulting in the same outcome as other towns with this type population. Bourke is a lot cleaner and neater looking than most other towns in this situation, but regardless we do have the idea that we are glad to be in a caravan park 7k out of town and feeling safer by doing so. As soon as we arrived in town the first thing that was noticed was a couple of shops with boarded up broken windows. When we arrived at the caravan park we hear stories like: For a town with 2,500 population it is suprising that there is a police force of 30 strong. This being true can only demonstrate what must happen in the town, and again when one hears that 30 kids were recently arrested for harassing local shops and owners.

We still intend having our usual look around town and taking photos, as it does look as though it is well worth it, and maybe I will add something to the contrary at a later date, we’ll see.

It does seem there might be some justification of the RAC caravan park book not listing parks in ‘this type town’ as they do with all others.