Sunday, 21 December 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

We would like to wish all our followers & visitors to our blog a Very Merry Christmas for 2014.  We are staying put this year and spending Christmas Day with Craig's parents and some friends.  We will of course be cooking some of our Christmas lunch on our Ozpig and using our newly made fire pit (yep, I pestered Craig enough he finally made me a fire pit so I can cook on the coals at home too!

Have a Wonderfully Merry Christmas everyone with your loved ones, family & friends.  Stay safe & enjoy yourselves whether at home or camping (how jealous are we).

We will hit the road again next year at some point for a holiday (hopefully sooner rather then later) for some destination.  We will continue our local weekend camps in the new year, so standby for our next one.

Merry Christmas & a Very Happy New Year All!!  :)          

Sunday, 12 October 2014

A Bit of a SE Qld Holiday August 2014 - Day Twelve - Fourteen

Wednesday 20th August, 2014
Slept in this morning until 7.30am.Beautiful morning- blue sky & a light breeze. Looks like we're staying another night. Spagetti on toast for breakfast this morning. Once we eat & cleaned up, we grabbed the cameras & water bottles and set off on a walk around the edge of the dam. Chatted with fellow campers as we passed by their campsite and we spotted a couple of good campsites for next time. 
Western side camping area

Western side camping area

Walking around the dam

Walking around the dam

Walking around the dam

It was a lovely walk, took about 2 1/2 hours all up. Boris got to have a good play with the black dog next door. They let the 2 dogs loose and they played in the water, then chased each other around and around and up and down the beach like pork chops.

By the time we returned to camp it was 11.30am, so we had an early lunch in the shade of a big gum tree overlooking the lake - very pleasant in deed.  I was downloading our photos onto the laptop after lunch, when the old fellow Craig was talking to yesterday came over and asked if Craig wanted to go out fishing with him in his tinnie (his wife didn't want to go out again with him, but she wouldn't let him go out alone). Craig gratefully accepted his offer and an hour later at 2pm they were off.

I've been enjoying my time this afternoon, writing in my journal, reading my camera manual and changing a few settings on the camera and playing around with it, while enjoying a glass of wine.  I got the fire going about 4pm, I'm going to make a damper to go with dinner so coals will be needed. We're having chicken steaks for dinner which I made up a marinade for after lunch, so they've been doing their thing for a few hours. Using the BBQ plate tonight, so we'll throw some potato rounds on there also.

Craig arrived back about 4.30pm and he was a triumphant hunter - are you as surprised as I am!!! He caught his first yellow belly and Ian (aka Spike) was nice enough to fillet it for Craig so he could show him where the fat sacks were in the fish.  So we had Yellow Belly for entree (both fillets together were the size of blokes hand, not huge).  I didn't really like it that much, this is going to sound stupid but it was too much of a fishy taste for me. I left Craig to finish it all off.  I wandered off to try some more star shots while Craig was tending the BBQ. Oh, the pumpkin & chive damper turned out beautiful.

Dinner served & consumed (only 1/2 the damper eaten, so some for tomorrow night). Quite tired by the time dishes were done, so we retired to bed and Craig read one of his 4wd magazines for a bit, while the dog and I slumbered.

Thursday 21st August, 2014
We're up at 7.30am again this morning. Craig got out of bed and before he could turn around to lift Boris down off the bed, Boris had slipped off the edge of the bed onto the foot lockers then down onto the floor.  He's never fallen off the bed before, perhaps pee time was more urgent then we realised this morning.  He landed on his feet Craig said, must be related to a cat!  Craig checked him over, he wasn't limping or anything and seemed to be just fine - more interested in getting out the door.  Craig hooked him up to his long rope and let him loose on the world.

Quick breakfast this morning of Muesli (I'm really over this muesli thing, I'd much rather scrambled eggs on toast, or bacon, scrambled eggs & toast!!). While we were packing up, Ian from next door's wife popped over to tell us that Ian had caught a bigger yellow belly this morning and they thought since Craig didn't get  a photo of his catch yesterday, he might want to take a photo with Ian's fish - I thought that was really sweet of them). Craig said it was okay, he wouldn't take a photo holding Ian's fish because he'd know it was his own - gives me this look - so read between the lines here, it's my fault as I didn't dash over with the camera to take the proud shot of boy holding up his ruddy fish when they got back yesterday and he yelled out to me that he'd caught a fish - I say Boo Hoo!!

So while sooky boy went over to look at Ian's fish and have a chat, I continued on with 99% of the pack up.  That is until Ian and his wife asked Craig "are you supposed to be over there helping pack up..."  he yes and they promptly sent him home. Don't you just love 'em!

Finished packing up, used the facilities then headed off at 9am to find the dam wall.  I don't know how many people bother to turn right at the T-Intersection, but they should. It takes you to the day use area, dam wall and lookout (the Rangers homes are also located here). It really is a beautiful little area, shelters, picnic tables, bins, loos.

From there we followed another dirt road which took us down to one of the prettiest river crossings below the dam wall and through some really pretty countryside. 

We continued following the road for a good hour or so until we got onto the road that would lead us back to Eidsvold.  It really is a pretty drive, plus it's not bitumen which is always better. I sorry I couldn't tell what road we just followed out nose more or less along the dirt roads, until we turned the Hema GPS on right at the end. Give it a go, it's fun and worse case scenario you have to turn around!

Through Eidsvold.....again, onto Mundubbera where we stopped to check Wikicamps and Camps 7 book for our campsite for tonight. We selected a couple to have a look at as we went along. Craig wasn't any help as he & Boris were too busy looking at the train monument in the park - hmm, yes he likes trains.  I told Craig we needed to grab a pie at the local bakery, it was only fair as that's what we've been doing in each town we stop in. We found Mundubbera's and it's not just a bakery but a bakery/cafe with a ruddy great selection of food. We got 2 pies, sausage roll for the dog, a little quiche and ribs for boy. We drove to the local park on the river and sat at one of the picnic tables to eat.  Really pleasant place to be actually.

From here we're heading to Mt Connell Lookout which is supposed to be a free camp with toilets - sounds good. Another dirt road for boy to drive on and an absolute rip snorter of a track up to the lookout, talk about steep - problem is for me, we've got to come back down it yet....

Righto, the lookout:-  amazing views out over the valley, the camping not so appealing. Unfortunately the lookout area has been trashed by somebody, it's disgusting. The toilets have been set on fire.... from the inside, there is rubbish strewn around the place and it's just in a state of disrepute.   It's a shame, however the area right at the end to the viewing platform is nice, nice gardens and steps leading out to the platform.  
View from the Lookout viewing platform

Righto then, we're not staying here. Time to move on.

Onwards to Gayndah.  Craig played "where does that road go" only to have to turn around and come back - sometimes he drives me crazy!

Needed a comfort stop at Gayndah, but as we were coming into town we went past the Weir, which I remembered was a free camp in the Camps 7 book.  We turned around and went back to have a look and use the loo. It's a small area, only 2 other spots available and it would have been full with a total of 5 campers and very close campers, if you know what I mean - you know, don't sneeze or fart or the people next to you can bless or comment on the smell.... We did notice a sign saying "no camping" in the are, $5,500 fines apply. Decided we'd obey the sign regardless of what the book said.

We moved on to our next potential campsite, Barambah Creek near Ban Ban Springs.  It started to cloud over this morning when we left Wuruma Dam and we've been getting showers on and off all day - bugger, wet canvas when we set up and depending on how heavy the rain gets, might make it somewhat unpleasant...

The GPS was saying turn right onto Ban Ban Road as we can into Ban Ban Springs, but we couldn't see it, all we could see was the rest area which was full of caravans. We did a U-Turn in the rest area and as we drove to the end we saw the road sign and the dirt road that ran beside the gaggle of parked caravans.  Oh yeah, lets go have a look then!

What a pearla' of a spot - no wait did I say that....  I mean it's a terrible spot you wouldn't like it...... There is a high area to camp which looks down over the creek and has campfires and bin or you can follow the dirt road down across the creek, where you will find a flat grassy area on this side of the causeway or across the creek you will find a small area on the left or there is an area on the right on the riverbed where you could camp, it's sandy and covered in river stones though. We got out and had a look around, there was an old fellow in a caravan camped on flat grassy area and he looked like he was there for a while. We decided with the inclement weather we were having, we would camp up the top.  It's very nice up the top overlooking the creek and one side is bordered by a citrus farm.

Looking down at the creek

The top camping area looking at
the Citrus Farm

We'd just opened up and a Burnett Council ute came over the causeway and pulled up next to us.  We thought maybe we weren't allowed to camp on this bit and they were going to tell us to move on - no they just wanted to say hi and have a look at the camper and commented on what a good spot it was to camp. They were telling us that the riverbank below was all grassy and flat like the spot the old fellow in the caravan was, but when it flooded in January all the top soil was washed away and the trees were washed down stream and lay strewn all along the riverbed now. Once the council workers left, we finished setting up and Craig got the campfire going so we could defrost the sausages over it. Craig decided to extend our dry area and lift up the side wall which made it much better.

Our camp

Dinner defrosting

We're having a new recipe/experiment tonight for dinner - a sausage casserole. Since we didn't put up the big awning over the galley, I grabbed all the spices etc., I thought I need and put them on the table around the side under the awning.  Made up the casserole then stuck it over the fire on the tripod. We'll have the leftover pumpkin & chive damper with it.  

It was pretty relaxing sitting there under the awning with a drink, watching the fire with camp oven on the tripod and listening to the rain. We ate about 7pm and it was yummy and hot, we appreciated on this cold and rainy night. Boiled the billy over the fire to do the dishes, then headed into bed out of the weather.

We listened to the rain while chatting in bed.  It's not going to let up tonight and we're glad we didn't camp down in the riverbed.

Friday 22nd August, 2014

Had a broken sleep last night, Craig checking no water was pooling on the awning, the rain & wind blowing, then the dog snuggling into my legs and feet trying to stay warm.  Woke up around 6.45am to a miserable day.  Hung around in the camper, braved the rain to grab the laptop & camera from the car and downloaded some photos.  Tried to get some internet but unfortunately neither Optus or Telstra had a signal, we were hoping to check the bom website for the forecast & radar.

After numerous times asking each other "what are we going to do", Craig piped up and said we'll go home and try to get everything unpacked & dried. By 9.30am we were very wet, but closed up and ready to go. Grabbed a quick takeaway breakfast at the Ban Ban Spring Roadhouse of pies & sausage rolls and we were heading home.  The rain has gotten heavier as we head east toward Gympie through Kilkivan. No playing "where does that road go" in the dismal weather, just straight home by the most direct route - there is no point being out on the roads any longer then necessary in this horrible weather.

We arrived home about 12.30pm, now it's time to try and unpack, clean everything & dry everything in between the rain coming down.

Stay tuned for our next local camping adventure in a few weeks.

Monday, 29 September 2014

A Bit of a SE Qld Holiday August 2014 - Day Nine - Eleven

Sunday 17th August, 2014
Holy crap, got woken up during the night by the torrential rain.  It just got heavier & heavier. The tent didn't leak as much tonight - go figure.  The campground owner told me yesterday we had 44mils  on Friday for the 24hr period, wouldn't mind knowing what we had for Saturdays 24hr period!

The rain kept me awake for along while last night, it was heavy & furious - sounded like a freight train every time the rain waves started coming through.  You honestly could hear it a mile away and along with the rain came the big gusts of wind which were shaking the begeezus out of the camper.

Morning dawned and we awoke to blue skies & a light southerly breeze.  This morning is in complete contrast to yesterday, but most definitely appreciated as we'd prefer to have the canvas dry when we fold up this morning.  One of us slept well last night  woke up bright eyed & full of cheek this morning.  He also released his inner child this morning & declared we were having toad in the hole for breakfast.

Breakfast & showers squared away, we started disassembling our camp & packing up. Craig pulled out one of the annex pegs and a little bubble fountain appeared, then another - Hmmm.  We finished packing up & loaded the camper back onto the Hilux.  I headed up to the office while Craig finished with the camper etc., to let them know about the bubbling fountain that appeared.  Now I'm going to let you know that there was no sign saying water pipe or don't put a peg in here.  Well the lady was all smiles when she asked how she could help me, until I said "We pulled one of our pegs out of the ground and a little bubbling fountain came up. 

The bubbling fountain.
To say she wasn't impressed is an understatement, she even started to say "what are you doing putting a peg in the ground",  umm I'm sorry we were camping!! Her husband came down to our campsite (after turning the water off to the park), he asked how long our peg was - answer was a normal size peg about 6-8 inches long!  Turns out there's a water pipe running along there from another tap to the one at our campsite, that the owner didn't even know was there and it's only 6-8 inches below the ground.......  He got it fixed in about 5 minutes and we waited around as it seemed like the right thing to do.

STAYED:  Baffle Creek Campground
WEBSITE:  Baffle Bobs
COST:  Unpowered $24.00 per couple/night
FACILITIES:  Dogs allowed, campfires at owners discretion or bring your own brazier, ozpig, Ensuites at powered sites, toilets/showers, camp kitchen, internal boat ramp.

We're on the road about 11am, on our way to a free camp spot we found on Wikicamps - Mungungo Pub (Waratah Hotel), something different and it's kind of in the middle of nowhere so shouldn't be over crowed with any luck.

First stop is Miriam Vale for a crab sandwich of course, along with beer & fuel.  From here we head south on the highway for about 50klms, swing a right to take us out to the little town of Kalpower and through the Kalpower State Forest.  Mostly dirt roads, lots of creek crossing and it is just absolutely beautiful scenery.  We came over a ridge at one point and looked out across the pine forest onto the ranges and it was just spectacular.  The majority of the creek crossing were picture pretty, green grass on both side, pebbles or large stones mixed with sand mostly lined the creek beds, some with water, some without.  Kalpower State Forest is worth having a look at for camping another time.

Driving through Kalpower State Forest

So pretty

Spectacular view
As we drove through the little town of Kalpower, we came across a rustic little cabin and I just had to stop and take a couple of photos.

It's just beautiful countryside out here - rolling hills, rustic cattle loading yards, old homesteads & sheds.  Even though it's dry out here the grass has the appearance of golden hair when the wind blows it around.

We arrived at the Mungungo Pub about 2.30pm.  It's just sitting in the middle of nowhere with a hall & shed and a couple of houses surrounding it.  It's your quintessential country pub with big verandas wrapping around the front, bar, dining room toilets & showers,kitchen, rooms out the back to stay in and a lovely shady beer garden at the back.  Publicans residence is attached to the side of the pub.  There's a carport, shed, chook pen & vege garden out the back.

Mungungo Hotel
The pub is nearing a 100 years old and the publicans are Mark & Trish.  Very friendly people. You will find the free camping spots out the back including 2 flat spots, one with concrete slab for caravans and if you've got a 5th wheeler, bus or some other big rig configuration, you're allowed to park on the dead end road in front of hall which is behind the pub.  Well I mean to say you're allowed to park there as long as there's no dance on at the hall!  Speak to Mark or Trish and they'll sort you out.

We had a couple of drinks and a chat with Mark,Trish and one of the locals who arrived with his old Staffy called "Socket",  
Socket the dog

"Socket" is a cracker old dog, really laid back cool sort of dog, easy going, friendly - reminded us a lot of our old staffy "Clyde", he was pretty much the same personality. 

Our campsite
We went and setup on the concrete slab and had a wander around, looked at the hall (it had a corner out of one of the windows, so we peaked inside and you remember when you were little the local hall where the ballet lessons, karate lessons, Christmas parties & presentation nights for various sporting groups were held.  
Craig & Boris wandering the streets
They had the most beautiful & rustic timber floors & stage and the whole place just smelt like the timber flooring.  Well, this was one of those and you really don't see too many of those halls in the cities now.

We decided we'd have a night off cooking and have dinner at the pub, Boris is allowed on the veranda and the beer garden and I wouldn't mind someone else cooking me dinner for a night :)  Boris & Socket got on quite well, that is until Boris decided he'd jump on the back of Socket who at his age doesn't really need that.  He gave Boris the cold shoulder for a little while.  The best thing was that Mark & Trish had an 11week old staffy puppy named "Vivian"! - staffy puppys are soooo cute.  Vivian is out having a walk with the young lass backpacker working at the pub at the moment.  By the time we headed back down to the pub, quite a few locals had arrived for the Sunday afternoon session we'll call it and everyone loved our Boris.  Vivian the puppy arrived back and Boris was very excited to have someone smaller then him to play with - 

Vivian the puppy has arrived

the 3 dogs had a fat time playing on the veranda and the locals that we chatted and drank with were just so friendly and welcoming - a very pleasant way to whittle away a Sunday afternoon really.

The bar
The locals gathering

The bar is busy
Even on a Sunday night Trish had a few people to feed in the dining room, including us. You will get a great feed there, Trish does a cracker meal.  We finished dinner and Boris was ready for his dinner, so we headed back to the camper to feed the little black dog and jump into bed.

STAYED:  Mungungo Hotel
WEBSITE:  No, but you can find them on Facebook
COST:  Free
FACILITIES:  Toilet & Shower, Dogs Allowed, meals & good conversation available

Monday 18th August, 2014

7am and we've awoken to the bluest of blue skies this morning.  A quick breakfast of coffee and muesli, use the facilities, have a chat with Mark & Trish and maybe just one more play with Vivian the puppy.  We hit the road at 8.30am - I know right, that's early for this trip!  We were told last night by the locals  about a couple of camps in the Boyne Valley that were worth a look, so we've decided to head east a bit toward Gladstone and check out Futter Creek free camp & the more recommended Boyne Bush Camp which is on the opposite side of Lake Awonga to the commercial campground.

We eventually found the Boyne Bush Camp around 10am, drove into the lookout first to read the information boards and check out the area map.  Followed the dirt road down to the campsites which have a bollard fence around the area, which is green & grassy, has a couple of loos, boat ramp nearby and campfire rings.  It has everything we want but it's packed.  It's only 10am so we'll move on and try and have a look at Futter Creek.  Driving, still driving and still driving, we'd given up on finding Futter Creek and decided we'd head to Dawson River Free Camp on the western side of Moura.  We did eventually come across Futter Creek and it was even more full then Boyne Bush Camp.

We got into Biloela about 11.30am, stopped and pickup a few supplies at the Woolies and continued on to Moura.  The Dawson River Rest Area is 7klms west out of Moura.  Arriving at 12.30pm and just as well we did as it was already getting filled up.  We found a spot with a campfire ring and no-one can really camp on top of us as it's a little sloppy on either side. Lunch was consumed, went for a walk to look around and paid our Donation.  
Our campsite

Wood BBQ & shelters

Boat Ramp

Riverside shelters

Electric BBQ's & shelter 
Looking back at the camping area
Looking back at the camping area

Ducks on the river
got the sticks for the fire

Boris watching
Glad we got here when we did, we've been observing the Greg Nomads arriving in a steady stream over the last couple of hours.  It's funny though, they drive past us with a bit of a glare because we don't take up the whole of the area we are in I think, but they continuously drove past about 3 good spots straight across from us.  Strange...

We've got a bit of firewood leftover from Paradise Dam still but we went for a wander to collect some smaller bits to get the fire going.  We're having leftover Spag Bol jaffles tonight, we haven't done those over the fire for quite a while.  It's been windy today and it's got a little coolness about it to, so we might have a cold night tonight.

A fair bit of today's travel was on dirt roads again through rolling hills covered in that golden brown grass, pretty little creek crossing and some steep ranges.  A varied day of driving for Craig which is just the way he likes it.

3.30pm he's decided to go try his hand at fishing the river.
 Boris and I are wandering around with my camera taking some photos of the camping area & river.  


We got the fire going about five ish and I went back down to the river to try and get some sunset colour shots.  When I got back Craig had the fire going nicely.  Sat around the fire chatting & watching the comings & goings for a bit.  Had a man & his dog pull up next to us to camp for the night, so Craig took Boris over to meet his 1 yo red cattle dog and have a chat as he was travelling alone.

6.30pm time to construct our jaffles and get them on the fire.  It's a nice night to sit for a while around the fire after dinner.  It's going to be a bit cold tonight, so we'll head into bed now.

STAYED:  Dawson River Rest Area
COST:  Donation for upkeep of facilities.
FACILITIES:  Toilets, Hot Shower (coin operated), campfires, dogs allowed, bins, boat ramp, shelters & picnic tables, wood BBQ & electric BBQ's.

Tuesday 19th August, 2014

We initially woke up at Sunrise (that was 6am), but being it was a bit nippy out we had cuddles with Boris and went back to sleep for another hour - well we are on holidays after all!  Dog & I got up at 7am while the boy lounged around in bed a bit longer - announced how roomy it was after we got out of the bed and he just wanted to enjoy that for a bit....

It's pack up time again, as we've run out of bread it'll be muesli & coffee for breakfast.

On the road again about 9.15am, stopped at the Moura Bakery to get milk, bread plus you have to try the local made pies, don't you!  We're off to another free camp tonight at Wuruma Dam, which is a little north of Eidsvold.  There are huge coal mines out here at Moura (I will admit that I did not know that).  You can bits of the mines as you drive from Biloela to Moura.  As we headed south out of Moura to Theodore we saw a sign for "Mine Lookout", we hooked a very sharp right - you've gotta go have a look at that.

Very impressive sight.  The viewing platform overlooked the North Mine, there are also 2 others - central & south.  It is 124klms long overall.  We were chatting to a local lady (her husband works in the mine) and she told us to keep going north on this road, then take a left to go to Eidsvold, the call the road "the line" as it runs along side the other 2 mine sites.

North Mine

North Mine
North Mine

Dragline Excavator
Info board on viewing platform

Mine information

We took "the line" road and got to see the south mine close up.  It really is a site to behold.  Took a few photos at various stages.

"The Line"

South Mine
Another dragline excavator

Arrive in Theodore about 11am, topped up with fuel and had a drive around town.  We pulled into the local park so Craig could catch up with some messages. Back on the road to Eidsvold at 12pm. We're travelling on the Leichhardt Highway this morning and from Theodore to Eidsvold we're on the Eidsvold Theodore Road (it's a secondary bitumen road). Eidsvold is a pretty little town, next time we should stop.

Found 10klms of dirt to drive on to Wuruma Dam, it is a third of the distance of taking the bitumen route.  We arrived at the dam about 2.45pm, very pretty and it looks like there are 2 main camping areas on the right hand side on the waters edge that have some shelters & picnic tables, grass and today are out of the wind.  These areas are also a bit closer to the toilet block which everyone has to walk up a hill to get to.  There are limited bins & rubbish collection so I would advise to take your rubbish with you when you leave to help keep the area clean.  You can also find campsites on the left hand side and around the tip, we thought these ones were more like bush camping and less popular.  We took a drive around the left hand side areas and eventually found a spot not too close to anyone else, pretty close to the waters edge and not too sloppy.

Levelled ourselves and setup. 
Our Campsite

We stopped earlier today and collected some firewood for tonight - we figured the dam would have been picked clean of good firewood.  We had a bite for lunch while sitting in the shade of a tree looking out at the dam, couldn't ask for more really. We got both sets of solar panels out and setup as we're only at 93% full on the camper batteries.  We unloaded the firewood, then sat down with a drink, the maps & Camps 7 book to work out what we're doing tomorrow.

View to our right

View to our left.

Depending if this wind dies off or at least becomes a pleasant breeze, we may stay 2 nights. Just sitting quietly catching up on my journal writing with a glass of wine, watching the ducks bobbing along in the water while Craig has taken Boris for a walk along the waters edge. It would appear though that he has gotten as far as our neighbours and has stopped for a chat. Today hasn't been a good dog day for Boris:  this morning he got prickles in all four feet which we had to pick out for him, he got a stone caught in the pad on this back foot, it's quite windy here at the moment and he doesn't like big wind, a dog from a neighbouring camp harassed him while we were setting up camp. Not one of his better days!

Dinner tonight is an easy affair - leftover lamb curry, but as it's still frozen solid we'll hang it over the campfire on the tripod so it can slowly defrost and heat up.  From our camp it is a bit of an epic hike up the hill to reach the facilities & bins, but Boris has a great time running through the bush. Once dinner was going over the fire, we started to setup the cameras & tripods to try for some star shots tonight.  It's a beautiful clear evening so we're looking forward to honing our skills.

My star shot effort

mine again
Dinner warming up

Getting organised

Craig's best effort

Photos done, dinner & dishes out of the way, time to sit down by the fire with a hot milo for me and a rum for Craig and enjoy this beautiful evening. The wind had dropped off and the stars were looking amazing - they were shining very brightly and it looked like more and more of them were popping out in the sky.
Relaxing by the fire

Time for bed - Goodnight.