Monday, 27 September 2010

79 - Queensland Coal Basin

From Capella we headed into Clermont. Once again didn't want to stay there, as per our last experience back in March, on our way to Undara. So we decided to push on to one of our favourite retreats at Sarina called Goodies.More on that in our next post.

Now the CQ coal fields was nothing new to me, as during our time in Mackay 1982 to 1994, one of my many jobs was to visit the major mines to sell them what ever I was selling at the time. So nothing new out there......well so I thought.

Yep the Peak Downs Highway, which is the main drag from Mackay to these areas is still a goat track, apart from where the road had been diverted to allocate for more mines and digging. These diversions are obviously funded by the mines themselves and are super highways..............but unfortunately not for long before the new parts join up with the goat track. The Queensland Government really haven't got a clue, what's happening in the bush, yet they are reaping skilions in rail charges. A'hhhhhh politicians, don't ya just luv'em.

What I did notice is a lot more mines in the area. Twenty years ago, there were the predominant six or seven established coal mines, and a closed shop. Try to get a job in the mines was near impossible, as one had to basically be born into the industry.

So much has changed.........many more mines, lack of adequate staff.....mmmmmmmmmmmh heard it all before. Around every corner was another coal mine......blimey, and the government still can't fix one of the busiest roads in the state. Ho He, Ho Hum.

Here are some pikies heading down the highway from Cleremont to Moranbah,

Overburden from the open cut coal mines

There are some real serious machines out here

The bride was fascinated with this peak. She was full of all sorts of unprintable comments

For the sake of the bride saying "been there, done that", we turned off the highway to Moranbah, mainly to have a sticky beak, and get more fuel for our run into Sarina.
To me it has grown from a mining camp into a full blown city. That's progress I guess. But in mining towns everything is BIIIIIIG.

see below a drag line bucket that originally cost $200000 back in the 70's, however sold to the council for a buck as a thank you I guess.

Look at the size of this!!!!

The bride posing again

Now everybody read out aloud!

Once out of Moranbah, again headed down the Peak Downs Highway, turning right just before Nebo and battled with another goat track till we hit the old Sarina - Marlborough road, which was up until the mid eighties the link between Rockhampton & Mackay. They used to call it the crystal highway in those days. The odd murder out along this track years ago too.

Headed down the Sarina range, and then into Goodys, where we will camp till early October before going back to work for three months in Mackay........bring on lotto!!!!!!

Stay toooooned for Goodys

78 - Longreach / Barcaldine

Left Winton after a night of heavy rain. Everything was boggy & sloppy, due to the grounds of the caravan park being all clay.

We had intentions of staying at Longreach, however as the Val was puring along and the air temperature was quite cool, we reached Longreach quite refreshed. So it was decided to push on to Barcaldine.

We have been to Longreach before, so it was no big deal to stay anyway....and we have done the Stockmans Hall Of Fame, however promised ourselves a tour of the Qantas Museum.

Had a look at the prices to do the various tours......stuff that!!!!!!!!. There was a charge for the museum, a charge for the 747 tour, a charge for the 707 tour, and a further charge to walk on the wing of the 747. Get a life!!!!

So just took some pikkies.

An early DC3

Boeing 747

Boeing 707

The back end of two mighty units

We moved onto Barcaldine and headed straight to the caravan park. Un hooked and then wandered into town as we do. Barcy as it is know to the locals, is a neat town. A million pubs and motels, but very spread out.

Barcy also is the home of the Tree Of Knowledge. A fair bit of history associated with the tree. I will let one of the pikkies tell you the story.

In my opinion, it is an eyesore. I did remember a lot of controversy associated with the building of this memorial. You can make up your own mind here

Tree Of Knowledge Memorial.

The dead tree of knowledge

Another view

This is the memorial.....make up your own mind

A bit more on Barcy

Hope I get some knowledge, I definitely need a bit

Here we are at Barcaldine Tourist park

With all the heavy rain in the outback, we just made it across Lagoon Creek which is the western approach/ departure to Barcy. When we came in the creek was lapping at the edge of the road. With another batch of storms and rain the first night we were there, have a look at what happened at Lagoon Creek.

This is the Lagoon Creek crossing after a night of heavy rain

The Val & RetroLiner would have drowned!!!!!!

As we were heading east, we were assured of a clear road to Emerald. So off we went with heart in mouth, however only being caight up in a couple of water over road areas, which didn't bother us to much.

So into Alpha, then headed towards Emerald, however took a left turn to see what Saphire and Rubyvale was all about. Well been there done that. Stayed overnight in the Rubyvale caravan park, then headed accross to Capella. So we actually missed Emerald altogether.

More on Clermont Morabah & Sariina sooooon!!!

Friday, 24 September 2010

77- Winton

The birth of Qantas is Winton.

We stayed over night here about 5 years ago on our way to a tour of duty in Mt. Isa. Nothing has changed that I could see, but as per normal we had intentions of staying 2 nights, but ended up nine days.........guess why?.......yep the Matilda Country Caravan Park were so short on they hog tied us to help.

Of course the bride went straight into cleaning the cabins, and yours truly did their "environmental engineering" duties. Yep I was the garbo!!!!!!!

That role was only for a couple of hours a day, but the bride was up to her arms in Alligators cleaning cabins.

Our stay here enabled me to find a U beaut mechanic that just loves Val's. Not only was I able to get the oils changed, Craig the mechanic tooooned the motor to a pitch I haven't heard before. This guy really knew what he was doing. Believe ot or not we had been running on 5 cylinders, basically since we left Gundy at the end of Feb. Luckily it was discovered, cause I had felt the Val was very sluggish.

We also have major dramas with the RetoLiner. Firstly the air con had a mental and now has been assigned to the Winton tip. The fridge also shat itself, and now have discovered wood rot in the front of the van.....feeeeeerk!!!! the dream, this is a nightmare.

To cut a long story short, I managed to replace some of the rotten timber, but there are big construction problems coming up........feeeeerk again.

But to continue on......we are now going to Mackay to do a three month tour of duty at a motel, and have arranged for a repairer to have the van for the period we are there to do all the necessary repairs......more on that later.

Anyway enjoy the pikkies of Winton.

The Waltzing Matida Centre in Winton

This is what happens when you are in the bush for long

The bride getting into the mood of the outback

Anybody got any tennis balls?

All aboard

Where are the brakes on the frig'n thing

The bride looking to go for a fang

The oldest pub in Winton

Sunset at Winton

Our site at Winton

All in all Winton is an interesting place. I have said it before the bride & I are not really into museums etc., more a good deserted beach is for us. However in Winton there were Dinosaur tours and trails, the Truck museum, the Qantas musical fence, but they all come at a cost.

Left Winton and headed towards Barcaldine via Longreach. More on that leg sooooooon!!!

Friday, 17 September 2010

76 - Cloncurry / McInlay / Kynuna

Arrived in Cloncurry and headed straight for the Gilbert River Tourist Park. This park was recommended by a couple of travelers at the Burke & Wills Road House. We rolled in and immediately made feel welcome. Great service from the resident owners.......... good to see.

We booked in for one night as we made the decision to head to Rocky, as we are both in need for a beach fix, after being away from the coast for toooooolong. So as you do in most friendly parks, meet other travellers and hit the grog(he eh!!!!!)

Afternon drinkies at the Gilbert River Tourist Park

Didn't want to drive the next day so we extended another night. once again caught up with some maintenance issues with the van, and had another happy hoooooooours drinkathon, with a heap more travellers. This park had great atmosphere, and would recommend to anyone.

We have been to Cloncurry before, 1995 I think on our way to Mt.Isa for a motel job. But didn't stop that time. All in all, Cloncurry is a nice place.

So we headed off initially making a beeline for either McInlay or Kynuna.

As usual it takes us about two hours to pack up, so we took off later than the 0800 hour departure......and was it hot....yes sir!!!!!!! We fueled up and south east track was taken, initially to check out McInlay (Walk About Pub).

During our trips of late, was fairly concerned on the performance of the Val....just didn't feel right and was really gutless. Initially I put it down to the weight we carry (now that's another issue) but more on that later.

We stopped at McInlay and just had to take some pgotos of the Walk About Hotel. This is the same pub that was used during the making of Crocodile Dundee. Check out the photies

A couple of young sheilas at the bar

More goodies

The bride posing

We had a look at the camp spot next to the Walk About Pub and decided to head on to Kynuna....even though the Val was really struggling. So off we went to Kynuna we went and hopefully to the camping area at the Blue Heeler Pub. We stopped at the fuel stop, filled up again and had a look at the park being the pub. Once again a little "Howz ya muther" The killer was no shade at all, and with no air con, just to hard in 40 degree heat.

I dare say both those camp spots would be great as very late afternoon destination, and spend most of the night in the pub. Anyway not to be for it was decided to head to Winton......feeeeerk more hot driving. So 346 kms later we arrived in and bothered, and checked into the Matilda country Tourist Park.

Coming sooooooooon....... more on Winton

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

75 - More On Burke & Wills Road House

Yep, we were just starting to pack up from our camp site at the Burke & Wills Road House, when the bride went over to the shop to get a couple of "free coffees". She arrived back with not only the coffee, but an advise that we both start work at 2pm.

So with that we moved the van to another spot, reset up everything again, and readied to start work at 2pm. Wendy's role was to be a cook, and mine a general counter hand..........not to sure about that one.....but here goes another adventure.

Our camp site....bloody hot in the outback without much shade

Well to add to the adventure, our van fridge decided to give up the ghost on 240 power / and we couldn't get the gas to fire either...damn!!!!!!!! Then the air con shat itself!!!!!!!!what next!!!!!!!

Anyway after three days it was decided to move on.........won't say much more on that one.....just put that one down to an interesting experience.

Moving right along..............we headed out of the Burke @ Wills Road House, unfortunately not towards Adels Grove, but to Cloncurry. We had heard all about the shocker of a road up to Adels Grove, and after our experience with the O'Briens Creek road, just wasn't going to take the risk. But believe it or not, after we got to Cloncurry we ran into people who did the road said it as fantastic. Feeeeeerk!!!!

A'h well will leave that adventure to possibly next year.

Okay on the road again, and headed off to Cloncurry. Why Cloncurry, don't know really. Give us a bit of time to think about next the direction to take. But on the way and being a pubaholic........just love old pubs.......about 50kms out of Cloncurry we came accross the Quamby pub. Check out the photies.

The Quamby Pub

The bride on the balcony of the Qambie Pub

Just so much character these old pubs

More atmosphere

Coming next Cloncurry and Winton

Sunday, 12 September 2010

74 - Normaton / Burke & Wills Road House

Left Karumba, late as usual, and headed for Normaton. Well you have to go through Normaton, no choice really. Our bee line was for the Burke & Wills Road House, over night there anbd then onto Lawn Hill National Park ( Adels Grove)

So of course we had to take some photies of the big croc at Normaton.

The bride had to do put the head in the croc's mouth

Now that's some croc

That is about the size of the croc that got me at O'Briens Creek

The Val & The RetroLiner @ Normaton

We had to make a decision at Normaton, as we were a little keen to back track to Croydon for the Podgy Dodgy festival that was coming up. I also wanted to camp at Leichhard Lagoon as well, which is on the road back, but new pathways were in off to Adels Grove....well that's the plan.

So two hours later in the scorching heat we arrived at the Burke & Wills Road House....which was in the middle of no where. We had been talking to the managers there by email for a little while about next season work, so while we had a burger we spoke to Julie (the manager), more of a social chat really............nice lady.

Anyway we decided to stay the night, and then head to Gregory Downs next day. So we set up camp, and of course met a million other campers and then it was happy hourrrrrrrs.

Burke & Wills Road House

All lined up at B & W

So what do you do on a hot afternoon....sit around and drink lotsa grog with other campers

Now that's a road train

The Burke & Wills Road House is the only fuel stop between Cloncurry & Normaton, and everybody stops there. More on Burke & Wills sooooooon.

73 - More On Karumba

Our last day/night in Karumba.

Three days / nights was enough. Unless you fish, not much else to do.

So enjoy the photos.

The bide on the way to the pub...main street at Karumba Point

The bride at the Sunset Tavern

A glass of wine, fresh Karumba prawns, setting sun.......aaaa'h lifes tough

More sunsets

How to over come the night heat........drink more (he he!!!)

Stay tooooned for Normaton / Burke & Wills Road House