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Published: July 19th 2011
Saturday 9th July 2011
We arrived in Rockhampton shortly after lunch, having stopped at the Mount Larcom Rest area about 100kms south. As we had already done some shopping in Gladstone we only stopped at the Information Centre there before heading west to the Bill Kingel Caravan Park at Keppel Sands about 40kms away.
We had rung ahead before leaving town which was just as well as there were only 2 powered spots left. We were met at the gate by a large dark gent who gave us an envelope with a key and instructions to our site. The manager had gone out, the office closed and the envelope given to her friend. We were directed to a lovely site, well lawned and with a concrete slab for our verandah.
Shortly after we had finished setting up another couple set up on the spot next to us. John and Marilyn from Victoria, had booked as they knew of the shortage of spots. John had an aluminium dinghy on top of his vehicle and before Rags knew it he was to be a fishing buddy! Marilyn it appeared, was quite happy not to have to go with him every
We intended staying here for a week, Judy having many assignments to mark, but during the 4pm
“meet & drink” session held every day, the manager found us and informed that we had to move on Thursday as there was an earlier booking. We'll see how we feel at that time about staying, we will probably move on. We got to know John and Marilyn a bit better, found that John had retired from the machinery side of the textile industry and they are now on 15 acres with horses as a hobby. Sunday 10th July 2011
There are markets held every Sunday at the Kern Arcade Carpark in central Rockhampton so we set off early for these. They were disappointing in that there wasn't much on sale in the fruit and vegetable department, and these were as expensive, if not more so, than the local supermarkets. The other stalls were much as we have seen elsewhere, with similar jewellery and nick-nacks on offer.
An oasis within the city is the 130 year old Rockhampton Botanic Gardens and Zoo. These gardens are considered one of the best of its kind in Australia, with its
Tropic of Capricorn
The Information centre was situated near the marker for the latitude
tropical plants. Incorporated in it is a zoo with a variety of birdlife and a haven for local koalas . We were surprised to find entry was free, a donation welcomed. Many of the exhibits were under renovation but we saw some apes, koalas, wombats and of course the usual roos and emus. Set amongst the tall trees and thick foliage it made for a pleasant stroll. Cost must be a factor in the run-down condition of some of the gardens and we conjectured on what we would do if we taught here, using the area as a base for learning and having students adopt a section and maintaining it.
The perceived need for salads and greens had us headed to Sizzlers for lunch, both of us happy to have the salad bar. Even though we felt the meal more expensive and not as good as at home, we still left with our stomachs full. We do think though, that after our recent USA experience, food is expensive here, and service very poor. Our waitress promised us fried bread which we didn't really need but nontheless we felt short changed when it didn't arrive. The girl told us we
Keppel Sands pub
We joined Marilyn and John for dinner on the 2 for 1 night.
were on a list and in the end, after sweets, Judy told her to drop us from the list. Maybe tipping does lift the standards of service, workers earning more if they deserve it.
On our return to the caravan park we had a short 'nanny nap' before Judy continued with her work. John and Marilyn returned soon after with John very keen to go fishing tomorrow with his new partner, having set up the boat and purchasing enough bait for all. Monday 11th July 2011
Just after 8am John and Rags set off on their fishing trip. Rags was all enthused, his son, Chris, having sent an sms telling him how to catch whiting and flathead. Unfortunately, the fish hadn't read the same instructions, the morning was a flop as far as fishing was concerned. No matter where they went the fish weren't biting. Still, they enjoyed themselves.
Meanwhile Judy and Marilyn had been on a walk around the town, which was well kept, and they talked the whole time!
After lunch Rags went and threw a few lures across the sandbank without success, John joining him to set a couple of crabpots.
This ship monument for Capt Cook's landing in 1770 is built so that it makes a musical sound when the wind blows through the pipes
These are allowed here, unlike WA, and hopefully a few mud crabs will find their way in during the night.
After the 4pm get-together we continued with a couple of wines with John and Marilyn, discussing the day and planning for tomorrow. We had been shown by a camper where he caught his mackerel today, so we planned to go there tomorrow. Rags only has light fishing gear but John has set him up with a suitable rod and line.
Dinner followed, and the rest of the evening was spent blogging and doing uni work as has become the norm. Tuesday 12th July 2011
The wind had really set in by 8am, John and Rags only went out to pull the crab pots and to try inside the bay. Six blue swimmers rewarded their efforts, no matter where they went there were no fish to be found.
We decided to tour the nearby area, following the coast north through Emu Park and the Keppel Bay area to Yeppoon. At Rosslyn Bay we came across a large marina and terminal, here the ferries go to the tourist island Great Keppel Island. We spent a little
time here looking at the facilities here before continuing to Yeppoon.
Yeppoon is advertised as being the stepping off port for the Barrier Reef, but from what we saw it was more the place people booked to go. It was a quite attractive, low-key sort of town, most of the activity occurring in the main street.
We returned here after driving down the coast a little way, hoping to buy some fish and chips for lunch. When these could not be found we resorted to the old standby of a pie, after which we resolved that we would not have another pie for some time, once again let down by the advertising of how good they were at that shop!
After our 4 o'clock drinking session, we continued for a while at John and Marilyn's caravan before returning to the van for our dinner. Wednesday 13th July 2011
This place is jinxed! There was no wind when we set off at 8am but by 8.30am, about 3 kms out to sea heading towards some islands a front came in and made the conditions too rough for safety for a 3m boat. We returned cold
and wet with no fish on board, getting under a hot shower to get our circulation going.
The ladies had been out on their daily walk and we joined them for a coffee in the sun near the vans. The rest of the day was spent reading and snoozing, no-one really keen to do much more. Except for Judy of course, she continued with the marking of uni assignments. Good to see some-one working!
Dinner was at the local hotel, they having a 2 for 1 evening. We both had crumbed steak and vegetables, at $7 each a tasty bargain! Most of the caravan park residents were there, the hotel making their profit out of the drinks they wouldn't have otherwise sold. We finished the evening with a glass of our port with Marilyn's coffee before retiring to our van.
Here, Judy had a second wind, marking assignments until just before midnight whilst Rags rested his eyes. Thursday 14th July 2011
We had been told that our spot was booked as from this morning and that we would have to move to another spot. We managed to get one directly in front of where we
This fellow looked rather sad and lonely
were, therefore not having to pack up, rather being able to move, very carefully, with most things set up.
Rags then went out with John to pull his crab pots, the one we could pull was empty, the other so covered in sand we couldn't lift it. Later, when the tide was out and we could reach it on foot, it had to be dug out, the tides being so high and strong at the moment.
The day was spent with Judy making big inroads in her marking, Rags enjoying the chance to have some uninterrupted reading, except for him supplying cups of tea and preparing lunch and dinner.
This continued after the 4pm session until bedtime. Friday 15th July 2011
Strong winds greeted us this morning putting paid to any thought of going out in the boat. Rags and John went to the beach and threw 'plastics' out, this being good exercise but not bringing any fish home.
We left to do a little more sightseeing of Rockhampton later in the morning, visiting Kershaw Gardens, which promised beautiful waterfalls. True, after walking 700 metres there were some waterfalls set in interesting scenery, the
Several wombats were out and about whilst we were there
disappointing part was that the whole setting was man-made.
Still, it did whet our appetite for a lunch at the Criterion Hotel, this being recommended for its old architecture. This building has been renovated several times over the years, again just recently after the floods as it is right on the banks of the Fitzroy River. In its day it must have been quite majestic with the wooden panelling throughout with grand stairs going to the next level. For lunch we had the daily special, chicken cacciatore, this dish would have been much better if they hadn't served it half cold!
After visiting the local Woolies to buy supplies for the next week or so, we left Rockhampton and set off for Keppel Bay. Rags was enjoying not having the caravan behind him but luckily remembered the speed limit was only 100kph when an oncoming car flashed his lights. Backing off very quickly, we then met a patrol car coming in the opposite direction. You can be lucky!
It being cold and windy, no-one ventured out to the normal meeting spot at 4.30, so at 5pm we joined John and Marilyn in their van for drinks and
Rockhampton Botanical Garden
There was plenty of tame birdlife here
nibbles. We have enjoyed their company and will meet them for lunch at Clairview, our destination for tomorrow, for lunch.
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