6/4/11 - Good flights, caught the train to pick up truck, flat battery, no worries and we have found our way around ok.
We spent 4 nights in Brizzy with Linda and Tim who have done a beautiful job restoring a century old Queenslander home on the edge of the Brisbane River (far enough and high enough to not be flooded in January) . (Linda was my best friend at high school). She is right into Italian food, having spent a holiday in Siena at a cooking and language school. So we dined very well on authentic Italian food - yummy, and I enjoyed their pool and met “Russell” the water dragon who enjoyed sunbathing on the rocks at the edge of the pool. Thanks Linda and Tim for your great hospitality, help and gourmet meals!
After looking at 4 trailers, and attending the National 4x4 Camping Show in Brisbane, we bought our camper trailer on the Saturday, left Brisbane Sunday afternoon, and drove up to Maryborough to meet Murray and Chris. We camped for 5 nights at their friends’, Russell and Vikki’s, place who they met a few years ago travelling in Oz. They have set up a
The Kitchen at Tinana
Camping at Russell and Vikki's spot by the River
great campsite below their house, next to the Tinana Creek which flows into the Mary River. Chris and Murray cooked up some of Russell and Vikki’s lovely Queensland beef in their camp oven, feeding 14 of us with beef and roast veges. There was another Kiwi couple there who went off prospecting. We cooked on a communal fire and had another fire to boil up the hot water. There was a longdrop and water on tap – all we need. Nothing gets done in a hurry which is the way we like it. Russell, who owns the property, is an auto electrician, so had our truck for a morning doing a bit of wiring to make life easier. Dave kept busy doing wheel bearings on trailer, installing UHF radio and car radio in truck. Chris and I went for a kayak on the Tinana Creek (it’s a river by NZ standards).
After leaving Maryborough we travelled north west staying at Claude Wharton Weir Reserve near Gaynda, then to Auburn National Park that had excellent camping and we were the only ones there. A walk to the river revealed a lovely swimming hole. But it rained all night and
Dinner at the Pub in Maryborough
Vikki, Russell, Murray and Chris
M and C’s tent leaked so they bailed to their truck in the early hours.
The next day was a shake-down day which involved a flat tyre on the trailer and some bolts falling off the spare wheel bracket….and someone, who shall remain nameless, became temporarily stuck as they forgot to put the truck into 4WD as we climbed out of a creek crossing! Chris navigated us on a real 4WD road with mud, into Expedition National Park, for 100km only to find that DERM (equivalent to DOC) had closed the road to the campsite the night before. We found a very pleasant clearing on the side of the road to make camp. Heard a few dingos nearby, howling in the night.
A night at Lake Nuga Nuga proved to be interesting with rain again all night, and a very dodgy, muddy track out. The tyres on the trailer need upgrading so it swung from side to side on the muddy roads - lots of weaving all over the road, but luckily no other traffic.
Emerald was the next destination where we stayed for a couple of nights in a huge open-sided shed about the size of a
Ready to Roll
Parked outside Russell's workshop - ready to head north west.
half rugby field where steel framed houses are built - there were about 14 being built at that time and it was dry, although not too happy about the snakes there! Thanks to Lindsay and Viv, Wick and Doreen. Great to catch up with Juanita, Albert, Anne and Brian, too.
Lunch the next day at Barcaldine was interesting with a snake, over a metre long, slithering past only a couple of metres away.
On receiving news that Murray and Dave were needed at F D Station, a 220,000 acre cattle property, west of Mt Isa, to build a new water tank tower, install the new tank on it, and fix up the old tower, we continued west to Longreach, staying a couple of nights with Judy and Jock. Their hospitality was great. The lovely seafood meal that J and J cooked for us, including Trisha’s famous seafood sauce, was superb, and the RSL folk were friendly and welcoming.
Mt Isa’s camping ground had a lovely swimming pool – temps have been low 30s for last few days so nice to have a cool swim, although the Ozzies thought the water was cold!
Mt Isa is certainly different
Lovely swimming hole at Auburn National Park
with the town built right next to the huge mine, which is one of the most productive single mines in the world, based on the combined production of lead, silver, copper and zinc.
On Easter Monday we arrived at F D early in the afternoon, this being where Murray and Chris worked for 4 months last year. Because there were 4 workers here and no spare beds, we set up the two camper trailers at the back of the workers quarters, and also our portaloo for us girls (very convenient in the middle of the night!)
Danielle and Martin invited us for roast beef dinner that night which meant we could meet their 3 older children who were flying back to boarding school the next day.
We have been here for two weeks now, and will do our next blog entry shortly so you will hear about life here! - a nasty rooster, a mean dog, broken thumbs, bumped heads, fires on the horizon, elegant emus, and hard-case people, and now an interesting project for Chris and Kathy. BTW we are all fine, and having a great time!
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