Out Before the Ranger

Published: December 29th 2012
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Honey Suckle Creek CampHoney Suckle Creek CampHoney Suckle Creek Camp

Home for a couple of nights
Woo Hooo! The Christmas holidays have started, well for us anyway as many people are still at work. It will be our fifth Christmas in Australia and yet we still cannot seem to get used to the fact that it is hot and sunny, despite having more Christmas parties to attend this year, it is still not the same and by that I mean, with the long dark days, 3 or 4 parties a week, cold and perhaps wet weather we barely slide into Christmas on our knees with the flu or bronchitis, in tow. Despite Andy’s recent bout of bronchitis he is now feeling well and looking forward to a Christmas break.

We have 2 weeks to spend at our leisure and as yet we have not decided entirely what we are doing with our time, we do have the first bit planned though.

Having got Gypsy ready on Thursday night, I was left to do the last bits and pieces on Friday morning, so I was up at the crack of dawn, alright, maybe not quite the crack of dawn, but I was at Woolworths for 7.30 to get the groceries. It is a blissful time to do the grocery shopping as the supermarket is fairly empty and you are not having to constantly jostle with people to navigate the aisles or wait for people to finish so that you can grab what you need.

With the shopping done, I decided it was time for a leisurely coffee, I sat down and phoned Helen as I had a missed call. “I am sure you have already finished your shopping, but I need a ham!” With a growing number of people coming for dinner on Sunday night, 14 so far, it was all hands on deck. It was fortunate that I decided to grab a coffee as otherwise I would already have left the shopping centre. So when I was done I headed back in to face the “ham” section. I looked at the size of the hams, even half a leg was huge, it got me thinking about how big the pigs must have been.

I called Namadgi Visitors Centre and asked if Honeysuckle Creek was busy, we were concerned being the holiday season that all the best spots for trailers would be taken, but with a small laugh in the voice when she said “I wouldn’t call it busy”. Obviously they cannot guarantee a spot for you, we would have to take our chances and get there early enough in the vain hope that one would be free. I agreed with the Ranger that we would pay on our way back in on Sunday morning.

I managed to squeeze in a 5km walk around Lake Burley Griffin, it was a bit late in the morning. 10.30, to do any rigorous exercise as the temperatures were already rocketing, but I decided a nice easy pace and of course carried my trusty bottle of water with me, would be fine. When you walk on the Barton side of the lake you can get plenty of shelter from the trees that line the walk, and it makes it very pleasant indeed. I felt better for doing it but it was time to go home and finish getting ready.

At 2.30pm Andy burst in through the front door and exclaimed “right, let’s go!” I had only just sat down with a cup of tea, but recognised the need to get the remaining gear in the truck and get down to the unit to pick up Gypsy.
Feeding TimeFeeding TimeFeeding Time

The Pied Currawong feeds its young

In no time at all we were on the road and heading to the place where Gypsy is stored, we loaded the final bits, hooked up, did the light check and hit the road. We both had our fingers crossed that we would be lucky.

20 minutes later we arrived at Apollo Road and turned into it to take the climb up toward Honeysuckle Creek. Surprisingly when we arrived there were about 3 vehicles across the whole site, we were in luck, our favourite site was free and we made ourselves, very quickly, right at home again!

Only another couple of vehicles turned up that evening, including the obligatory Wicked Camper. Despite being such a hot day the evening had turned fairly cool once the sun had gone down and a cool breeze had whipped up, so we decided on a film evening and headed indoors.

I have the audio set up working perfectly, I record films using a PVR at home, which records onto a hard drive, I then transfer them to an external hard drive which I now have full of films to play back through the laptop, which in turn I connect to
Widow MakerWidow MakerWidow Maker

This large branch fell onto the walking track next to the camp site.
the sound system in Gypsy (the MP3 connection on the radio), we can then lie back in comfort and watch a film, last night we watched Date Night.

As always when enjoying the fresh air a good night’s sleep was had, and we were lovely and warm, waking up to bright sunshine streaming in through the exposed mosquito netting. I looked at my watch it was 6.15 and Andy was getting out of bed to put the kettle on. I could hear him tinkering around outside and then “Don’t let your tea get cold” drifted in through the door.

I got up and joined Andy outside, but then I realised that it was 8.00! It was not the lovely early wake up that I thought we had, when I looked at my watch earlier it was actually 7.15 and not 6.15.

I heard the Wicked Camper trying to start up, it wouldn’t start, then the guy started to tinker around with it and eventually it got going, they seemed very keen to move on. A thought crossed my mind “Out Before the Ranger”. I criticised Andy for being judgemental last time but perhaps that is the same
Who's Watching Who?Who's Watching Who?Who's Watching Who?

Not sure if we were more interested in this kangaroo or if she was more interested in us.
thing, put it this way, if you are driving round Australia in a Wicked Camper then you are probably doing it on a tight budget, so I am sure they want to save money where they can. For all I know these guys had paid their dues so far be it for me to comment.

The Pied Currawong is around again, on the hunt for food, we had a bacon and egg sandwich and had left the griddle plate on the open drawer in the back of the truck to cool off, the Currawong spotted it and landed (fortunately it was cool by then) and we watched the Currawong slide around on the grease in surprise before it took off again.

It was not long before it reappeared, and went back to the open drawer and had a look in, I wondered if it was the same Currawong that landed in the open drawer last time we were here, do they remember? That time it was busy pecking away at an unopened packet of pasta, until I realised what it was doing of course.

Feeling sympathetic Andy threw a few sultanas down for the Currawong, (not supposed to feed them!) and we watched the Currawong put as many sultanas in its mouth before dropping them in a little pile, then a baby Pied Currawong appeared, it still had its down rather than the full set of feathers, it was squawking like crazy and then the adult proceeded to the pile of sultanas, grabbed a mouthful and we watched as the adult fed the baby with the sultanas. It was pretty amazing to watch at such close range.

What seemed sad to us, as we watched the baby Pied Currawong we noticed that it had a funny leg, from zooming in on the photos it looks broken, but it appears to manage quite well. I hope well enough for it to survive.

The long lazy day meandered on, we ate a late lunch of chicken salad in the shade of the trees, it is a hot day, it had been a bit breezy but nothing too bad.

A very loud crack diverted our attention into the bush off to one side just in time to see a huge branch hit the deck and shatter into hundreds of pieces. The few campers that were here all looked with surprise and one guy shouted over to me “that was lucky!” Indeed it was lucky, remembering that these trees are not called widow makers for nothing and the last time we camped here that bush track may just as well have been a busy high street.

As the day started to ebb away, Andy and I decided on a game of Frisbee. I recently bought a new Frisbee as the last one was broken (not through overuse I can assure you!) However with renewed interest a heavier weight Frisbee and a deeper rim we gave it a try. It went well, but I may buy another one with a different weight and see which one we like best.

Eventually tired from playing, it was beer o’clock, and as neither of us felt very hungry following our late lunch we decided that cheese and crackers would be best for our tea.

That evening we surveyed the wildlife and as it got dark the wildlife gave way to surveying the stars and using this great little app on the ipad, The Night Sky, it was easy to identify the stars, although it does tell you the position of the moon and the sun, which is quite handy when you can’t see either of them. You can also see what is about to come up over the horizon, or perhaps what is hiding behind the trees.

Eventually it was time for bed and once again the fresh air got the better of us and we both drifted into a heavy sleep.

The following morning and after breakfast we left camp by 9am, headed to the rangers station paid our dues and then headed back into town, first stop Woolworths and then back to the apartment to pick up the provisions for our Woodstock Christmas. But of course on the way back Andy wanted to give Gypsy a good wash so we headed to the car wash and once she was all spruced up we headed off on our journey with the obligatory stop in Yass for our Chai Latte.

And so to Woodstock.


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