Wednesday 31st August 2011, Mount Isa.
WHY ALWAYS US?? An incident last night caused us to think just that. We started to smell an old familiar aroma during the mid hours of the evening and it turned out to be the drains. It seems there is a blockage in the drains somewhere and apparently our drain hole is the lowest in level because it is where the backlog decided to run out. This was not the main problem though, guess where the drain hole on our site was;- under the caravan, and all the drainage ran out of it and under our annexe right under our door, and was a foul smell. We had to put up with it last night as it was not the appropriate time to move, but we have now moved on to a different site that we both much prefer. It turns out that when we arrived here the caravan park was very full and the site we got was one of the very few that was vacant and consequently broke most of our rules for picking a site, facing west, no trees, close to amenities etc. we now comply with most of these rules, and it does seem to be much more comfortable.
We may now have a valid reason to stay here a little longer as K and A’s son rang me this morning because it turns out they are heading out this way and want to meet, so we may just sit here until they arrive. I am also getting a new sign made up advertising my TV and Satellite help so it might be a good place to test out its effectiveness seeing we are now on a site that is a bit more visible to most park patrons as they must pass our site to go anywhere.
Tuesday 30th August 2011, Mount Isa.
It seems that we may have picked the wrong time of year to visit this area as most of the towns have annual festivals round this time and when a town has its festival the caravan parks are fully booked for that entire week. This is the reason we by-passed Camooweal on our way here, and it now seems as though we will have the same trouble at Winton, so we are going to have to plan out trip there with a little more precision. We were thinking of spending two weeks here at Mount Isa, so if we stick with that thinking we will have to use up another week somewhere before getting to Winton, or else we will have to leave here on Saturday. We now have a couple of things I have instigated that will have to be completed while here so they may also influence our decision. Apart from the wind and dust this is a nice enough place to just sit for a few weeks.
Saturday 27th August 2011, Mount Isa.
We haven’t had mobile coverage for the past few days hence no reports. I generally write one each move, even when out of coverage and then post them all at once, but was a bit buggered yesterday so gave it a miss. We had one of our longest trips ever yesterday of about 455 kilometres, more on that though.
While we were at Banka-Banka we heard that there was a festival on at Camooweal this weekend, and we had planned on being there. Not having any mobile coverage we thought it would be a good idea to use the Telstra payphone to ring the caravan park to find out how busy they were and would you believe the phone box was a phone card only one and would not take coins, where does one purchase a phone card literally out in the middle of nowhere!? We then had to make a decision about what to do, it was no good fronting up at Camooweal and not being able to get in, so we decided to go a little further yesterday and today go past Camooweal and on to Mount Isa. Just as well as when we went past Camooweal the caravan parks were quite full and we may well have not got in, it is all done now so we can from now on just take our travels as they come as there is no shortage of townships to stop at from here on in. We would have liked to stop at a few rest areas on the way across from Three ways but not many of them have toilets, an almost essential for us, so the idea was again shelved.
It is nice to once again be in an area we would class as being civilised and populated, hence giving us that feeling of not being isolated any more.
Wednesday 24th August 2011, Banka-Banka Station.
We have now moved to Banka-Banka Station, about 100K north of the turnoff to the east coast, will be here for a couple of days enjoying the peace and quiet of the remote countryside on a working farm. They have provided quite a few camping sites, no power but hot showers. We have our own power anyway so it doesn’t matter.
Tuesday 23rd August 2011, Daly Waters.
Nothing to report today except for the fact that we are going to be out of mobile range for the next few days, so no reports for a while.
Monday 22nd August 2011, Daly Waters.
A very quiet and enjoyable relaxing few days were had at Mataranka, and we have now moved on to Daly Waters. We are not at the famed pub as we were on the way up, but rather at a road-house on the highway. The pub was a place one must see, but it is not the sort of caravan park one would return to every time going through this area. The park we are at now is a neater looking, and better atmosphere area than the pub anyway, so it is stay here for a couple of days before heading off to areas remote and no mobile coverage, and will be that way until we reach at least Camooweal just over the Queensland border.
Thursday 18th August 2011, Mataranka.
We went walking again today to revisit the springs in the area. Linda, for some reason, didn’t take any photos when we were last here, so today she took her camera. We actually got to do a couple of walks that were closed when we were here last time.
One walk we did today made me wonder about back in the days when Australia converted to metric measurements as to whether the Northern Territory were short on funds or something. It seems to me they might not have been able to afford the conversion so they changed the names only but kept all the old measuring devices. Ever since we have been in NT we have had the idea that all the walks we have done have been about twice as long as mentioned in the information given for each area, and this especially seemed to be the case today.
Wednesday 17th August 2011, Mataranka.
We were going to stay a week at Katherine but the caravan park we chose to stay at was far from up to scratch, so we have now moved to Mataranka to the south. I don’t do this very often, in fact I can’t remember doing it at all, but I am going to name the caravan park as being the Springvale Homestead. We chose this park as it was a fair bit cheaper than the others, especially when they give a seniors discount, and seeing that the big 4 park we stayed at before on our way up raised their prices because of a ‘Peak period’ and made it too expensive. We had heard a couple of not so favourable reports about the Homestead but we decided that for the much less price we would put up with what was provided. The main problem was the state of the amenities, especially the women’s according to Linda that is. They were of an old construction, but it doesn’t matter how old they are there is absolutely no excuse for the state that these amenities were kept in. The gents were not so bad, in fact I reckon I could have put up with them, but in the women’s, half the cubicles were out of order, and the drains were blocked in the other cubicles, both toilet and showers. Toilets wouldn’t flush, and water from the showers would just run all over the amenities floor, so it became just too intolerable for Linda to endure so we had no other option but to vacate the premises. (interruption)
I am now back after a small interruption with hearing a couple of women screaming in the park so I thought I had better go and see what the problem was, it turned out that a couple of vans had backed into each other, not sure of the details, that was when I thought better of it and left.
Back to Katherine:- I went back to reception, not being very hopeful, and prepared to lose our money seeing we had booked in for a week, but was then pleasantly surprised to find that, after a little reluctance, he was none too happy to fully refund what we hadn’t used, so this being the case I chose not to give him the piece of mind that I was prepared for and just leave things be. I have made complaints at parks in the past and I wouldn’t be surprised if his reaction would have been the same as all the others, with, “Don’t care, if you don’t return someone else will
Sunday 14th August 2011, Katherine.
Have now moved back to Katherine, and this will be our place to stock up for our journey until we get to Mt Isa.
Talking about going via Mt Isa:- something happened the other day that I thought exactly sums up our travel, living, situation. While we were talking and deciding to return to Melbourne instead of going via WA, Linda said “Could we have a small detour via Winton in Queensland so I can visit a friend
Thursday 11th August 2011, Pine Creek.
How things change; We had a look at what to do while here and the main thing was Butterfly Gorge, off the highway about 50K north, but found out that the 4 wheel drive road into the gorge is still closed after last years super wet season. It is just as well we only booked into here for 4 days as it now looks as though we will not be extending. We also had the idea of going to Umbrawarra Gorge, just south of Pine Creek, but the road into there doesn’t seem to be real good either, and when we get in there there is apparently not much to do or see anyway, so we will be giving that one a bit more thought as well. Oh well a relaxing few days won’t go down too badly.