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.


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.


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.


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.


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.