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Published: July 23rd 2013
Warm and sunny Queensland????
After leaving Lismore we spent 2 nights in Ipswich. We thought we would be out in the country but Ipswich is really just a part of Brisbane! We thought we knew some obsessed geocachers but we were in for a surprise. We had only just begun our day’s hunting when a car pulled up alongside us and we were asked “What are you doing?" It's always a good idea to have an alibi in these situations, but it doesn't take us long to identify fellow players. They helped us locate the cache that had so far eluded us. The Drovers are a couple from Western Australia who have logged over 4000 caches. They seem to attend every geocache event that is organized in Australia. Their car is a “trackable”. See www.geocaching.com for more info.
We made our way to Junction View (30 km south of Gatton) to volunteer at the Blazeaid base camp to help flood-affected farmers rebuild some of their fences. Blazeaid was established after the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria in 2009 to help farmers contain their stock. Floods and cyclones wreak havoc with fencing too, so Blazeaid also helps out in these situations. We experienced country
A flood-damaged fence.
Wendy spent about 1 hour cleaning the debris from the barbed wire and posts. The 4th wire was completely buried in some of the sections.
hospitality, humble gratitude from those we helped, new skills, 3 degree mornings and some great new friends. Peter had to pace himself and take more days off than Wendy did. We spent 3 weeks in camp and enjoyed ourselves immensely. We both had very rewarding experiences and would love to be involved again, although this means that another disaster would have happened. Volunteers are still required at Mulgowie and Junction View in the Lockyer Valley, Qld, and at Coonabarrabran in NSW. See blazeaid.com for more information.
The annual Lantern Parade in Lismore drew us back for another weekend with the grandkids. To celebrate the winter solstice community groups create huge and not-so-huge lanterns to carry through the town.
After leaving Junction View we travelled to a lovely, small country town called Esk. Mount Esk towers impressively over the caravan park. The facilities in the park are very good and Wendy was so impressed with the camp kitchen that Saturday night's dinner was planned to make use of the pizza oven there. Saturday afternoon saw us taking a bike ride along the rail trail. We had intended to ride out for about 10 km, but with a threatening black cloud looming in front
The star pickets have been paced out in readiness for the running of the barb.
It all turns out very straight.
This used to be 6 acres of farmland. "Now it's 1 acre of farm and a 5 acre quarry!"
of us (at about the 5 km mark) ... and our weary bodies, we retreated back to the safety and comfort of the van.
The next day we did the tourist drive around Wivenhoe Dam. This dam was at the centre of the Lockyer Valley flood disaster. It was hard to imagine the destruction and devastation had resulted from such an attractive and peaceful place.
Toowoomba was our next destination. It was a wet and cold day (it IS winter). The car was booked for a service, the exhaust on the truck was being repaired, the chiropractor was high on our list of people to see and we reconnected with ex Central Coast friends. We reached a milestone in our geocaching game. On Wendy’s birthday we discovered our 200th
cache. We enjoyed a lovely lunch at a restaurant overlooking one of Toowoomba’s many beautiful parks and gardens. Even in Winter the green areas of this city and surrounds, are delightful …. Yes, the sun had returned and we enjoyed a couple of warm sunny days. Having everything put in order we set off for more adventure.
Freedom camping is something we look forward to after being in the hustle and bustle for a
An almost completed fence.
This was a rather easy rebuild as the ground was flat and freshly graded and the farmer had rammed new fence posts in.
while. Cecil Plains provides a great spot where travelers can stop for up to 3 nights. It would seem to the passers-by that we had set up camp permanently. 2 loads of laundry were strung up between the van and the trees. Firewood was gathered and we settled back to catch up with some reading. We decided to move on the following day. After investigating the small township of Dalby our next overnight stop was about 6km south of the smaller town of Miles. Gil Weir provides the town with its water supply, and was a very peaceful place to spend the night. Our Camps 7 book is getting a real work-out now and Judds Lagoon looked like a real gem of a place to stay. Once we found the correct road in we loved the place. There was a resident duck and drake, goose and gander, parrots, galahs and wallabies. This place was so popular that firewood was scarce. We scrounged a few pieces from another campsite as it was being vacated and enjoyed cooking our dinner in the camp oven over a small fire. We could have stayed here for another night but when the sun didn’t show
its face the next morning we moved on.
The Warrego Highway has suffered terribly from heavy use by road trains. When two B-triples passed us together we felt dwarfed. We will take a photo next time. It has been very interesting to see large-scale vegetable farming, cotton farming, grains and seeds. Coming in to Roma the oil and gas exploration is very evident. Hundreds of vehicles emblazoned with mining company logos, thousands of high-visibility-clad employees are everywhere you look and workers’ accommodation is on every street. We'll tell you more about Roma in the next edition.
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Wendy and Peter
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