First night back on the road, we stayed at Torbanlea Racecourse – a low cost camp just off the Bruce Highway and not far from Hervey Bay. This camp is priced the way I think they ALL should be – a base rate plus additional for the services you use. In this case, $5 per vehicle per night (includes use of toilets) an additional $5 for power & water and another $5 for the shower/amenities key. All up, fully serviced just $15 per vehicle per night with passably level ground & within reasonable proximity to many attractions.
It was here we met our first “Oz Nomads”. Oz Nomads is a facebook forum full of tips & tricks from fellow travellers, and as members we recognise each other by the green & yellow ribbons on our vehicles. (G’day Rod & Yvonne, Ron & Carol)
We waited here for a couple of days, to receive a delivery, then headed off to Calliope River – a beautiful free camp on the river next to the historical village.
Leaving Calliope River camp, we went into Calliope township to re-stock our groceries only to find that the trailer brakes were faulty! Stressful times all around. We have had an intermittent fault in the past, but only very temporarily. One touch & they’re not there, second touch & they’re back. This time there was no second touch – there were no brakes; although the vehicle brakes were doing the job, it was definitely a job for the experts. Unfortunately there is no-one in Calliope up for the job so there was nothing for it but to hobble along up the highway towards Rockhampton. Fortunately it’s only 130 kms. After such a long & stressful day, we were very pleased to see the Kangaroo Country Caravan Park, just 11 kms south of Rocky. The proprietor was kind enough to recommend a specialist just up the road a little, but unfortunately they would not be able to even look at it for 8 to 10 days!
There must have been someone looking out for us, as there was a billboard advertising “Capricorn Caravan Repairs” and Shane and Natasha – business owners – could not have been more helpful. As the fault was intermittent, it took some time for Shane and his father to isolate it. The brake cables run through the centre of the axles and it had rubbed bare in patches and was shorting out from time to time – hence the intermittent fault. On our behalf, Natasha phoned 3 caravan parks in town for us to stay overnight, but they all said they couldn’t fit us in. Now I’m unsure as to whether they were full or their sites were too small but each and every one gave the same reply! All we can say is thank goodness for the foresight shown by Mayor Margaret Strelow and her Councillors who approved free-camping on unused land near the entrance to Kershaw Gardens – just opposite a large shopping centre on the northern side of town. We spent less than 48 hours in Rockhampton, but over $1,300 spread between six or seven businesses. This is the benefit that free or low-cost camping can bring to a town. Rockhampton received some fairly adverse publicity around this time because a caravan park owner by the name of Ralph Warner castigated the Mayor and Council for providing free-camping as it was “depriving (him) of his rightful revenue”. The hide of the man! The sheer arrogance of him thinking OUR money was his “rightful revenue”!!! Never mind – I shall not continue my rant here, but I think you understand how I feel. The free camp was convenient, not too noisy & just what we required for a last-minute, short-term rest stop. The following morning, Shane completed the repair and by just after lunch-time we were on our merry way again – this time with fully functioning trailer brakes.
We had originally planned on going inland from Rocky travelling to Longreach/Winton area but the hiccup with the van brakes and the extended time in Maryborough led us to changing our minds and continuing up the Coast. So . . . it’s off to St Lawrence we go.
Typical of us, no plans and all, when we arrived it was to find that the campground was closed because it was Camp Draft weekend. Consequently we set up ‘over the road’ along with upwards of 100 other campers, caravanners, motorhomers etc. The really beaut part about it all was all the entertainment all weekend was absolutely totally free. And we so enjoyed the entire weekend.
Waiting you turn Junior style . . .
. . . and Adult style
As comfortable as in a lounge chair
Bastille Day – and we’re moving on again. After stopping off for shopping, fuel etc it turned into a long day so we stopped off at St Helen’s Caravan Park at Calen. Once again, a fully serviced site (power, water, amenities) for only $25. And a really pretty place – had we known how nice we probably would have stayed longer. As it was, just one night then on to Home Hill showground. The price has risen since our visit last year ($15) but it is still convenient and generates a lot of income for the community. This time, we drove around to some of the WWII historical sites.
Inkerman Hill Lookout
Charlies Hill – a radar emplacement . . .
Once again we enjoyed our time here, but the time came to keep moving. The prime purpose of staying coastal is to be in the vicinity of Cairns for the mighty South Sydney Rabbitohs’ game on 3 August and on the way my wish is to visit the Tyto Wetlands at Ingham and also Paronella Park.
Ingham is also a progressive shire in that it has introduced (on a trial run) 48 hour free-camping near the Wetlands so that is where we’re heading. Only to find that, by 11 am it is absolutely chock-a-block full! Just a quick wander around, chatting to some of the campers, it was plain to see that quite a few of them are going to cruel it for the majority. There were some dropping waste water straight onto the ground – even though the signs stated strictly self-contained – and they saw nothing wrong with that, even after having it pointed out to them that the Wetlands is environmentally sensitive. There was another woman (whose dogs were unrestrained) who openly admitted that she & her hubby had been there 4 days and had no intention of leaving for another two! Honestly – if only people didn’t abuse privileges, life would be so much kinder for all. Consequently, we were unable to stay there so went to a nearby caravan park and moved on again the very next day.
A quick lunch stop in Cardwell – to boost the economy of a tiny coastal township which was all but obliterated by Cyclone Yasi. The community has made great strides in regenerating the waterfront -
From Ingham it was inland and up into the mountains to Mena Creek and Paronella Park. Paronella Park is a whole new (old) world and as such deserves an entire new posting. So this is where we art company for now; and until we meet again -
Live the Life You Love