Sunday, June 29, 2014

29th June DAY 13

A great way to spend Sunday! Beautiful bush to drive through. It all looks so fresh and healthy after recent rains. Our camp was quite remote last night. It was not until 11 am that we saw another vehicle  on the road..the first for 24 hours. Kangaroos hop through the bush with various birds above. The Willy Wag Tail here is the Northern variety and makes a slightly different sound to what we hear at home. It is quite strange as we feel he is not finishing 'sweet pretty little creature' properly!
We made our way in to Girringun National Park for a late lunch on the Blencoe Creek where we have camped for the night. The road in was steep and quite rugged in patches with creek crossings as well. The camp sites are generally quite rough but ours is flat and grassy. There is only one other family camping here. The area has had recent rain which appears to have caused some flood damage.
This afternoon I was watching the beautiful calm creek and saw a very lengthy black snake swimming across the top of the water. It seemed to be enjoying an afternoon swim. I will not be diving in! The info sign warned us about crocodiles..did not actually say they have been seen in the area..just a warning...enough for me!
Our camp fire this evening was one of the best - burning on dried 'flood' wood. Pork chops and roast vegies over the fire were delicious.
The plan tomorrow morning is to walk in to see the Blencoe falls. Hope I am fit enough for the task.
Blencoe Creek where we are camped

Flowers of the pesty Lantana bush
28th June DAY 12

We awoke in the dense fog of the Burdekin River. The clouds eventually dissapated and the day
 became the hottest we have had..over 26 deg.

Travelling north along the Blue Range Road was very interesting. The road travelled through station
properties so we saw lots of cattle. The bush was varied and quite lush at times. As the day went on
open bushland turned into more tropical growth. We parked on the Waurina station for lunch, a spot looking over the most beautiful lagoon. The Homestead was in view atop of a very steep hilly rise. They would
have a magnificent view over the lagoon. I hoped the owner might pass by so we could ask whether
we could camp the night on the property. It was not to be!
The lagoon was thick with water lillies and many birds..pelicans, swans, egrets, spoonbills,ducks,
water hens, cormorants and lapwings (plovers). The bush has been a display of yellow Wattle of an
unknown variety, a few bushes of Lantana and we even saw an orchid growing in the fork of an iron bark tree..sadly not in bloom.
 Now to find a spot to camp. We had hoped to camp on the Burdekin River again but it was not defined or
signed. We went through 4 creeks with water and we suspect they were all part of the Burdekin River.
We travelled on for a long while and eventually camped in a gravel pit away from the road. We have
 only seen one vehicle on the road all day so traffic is rare..unlike the lovely Pale Headed Rosella Parrots which appear to be quite common. We have seen pairs flit across the track about 20 times. As I write this, I can hear them chattering in the bush outside. A pair of black cockatoos flew over our camp, calling as they flew home to rest.

Waurina Lagoon.. birds in the distance

Orchid plant in the fork of an Ironbark eucalyptus tree
PS. We have been 3 days away from Internet contact. We found this spot with contact,  on our way into the Girrigun National Park.
27th June DAY 11

The hour of departure is becoming later..I think we are not hurrying so much..what is the hurry anyway!!
Firstly we drove into the Dalrymple National Park which is on the Burdekin River. There are only 4
camping spots which need to be paid for hence the popularity of the nearby free parking area at Fletcher Creek

At about 12.15 pm we crossed the magnificent Burdekin river ( up stream from the Dalrymple NP) and found a grassy spot to camp on. The bridge crossing this magnificent river is a long and noisy grid style bridge. We have not seen this type of bridge before.
Here we have stayed. There are a few other campers, a green grassy bank and a lovely river to sit beside. What more could we want.

Crossing the Burdekin River

Sunset over the Burdekin River
We enjoyed the first pretty sunset this evening-over reflections in the Burdekin R.
King Salmon for dinner this evening with enough left for a fish pasta dish tomorrow night.
June 26th..... DAY 10

Slowly we wended our way out of White Mountains NP. The bush was varied and attractively green. The look-out we drove into showed us a vast view of rocky country. This morning's flower was red and waxy in appearance with a black berry. Black and red are bad news colours when in the bush..a little like a red
backed spider..poisonous!

Fruit bats hanging in trees at Charters Towers
Onward to Charters Towers for a lunch break. This is a busy, but simple old style town. We found a seafood stall and a fruit stall in the shade near where we had lunch. We look forward to cooking and eating
Snapper and King Salmon. The pineapples were delicious so we bought 3 for $5.
There were hundreds of Fruit Bats visiting the trees in the park.
Red waxy flowers with a black berry

Rocky terrain of White Mountains NP

Tonight we have camped in a free camp site about 45 kilometers north of Charters Towers on Fletcher Creek. There are a huge number of campers here...stretching for at least 1.5 km..close to 100 rigs. Some stay for 2 weeks, but we move on more rapidly

Thursday, June 26, 2014

25th June.. DAY 9
Cann Creek Camping area
Tonight we have camped in the same place as last night....the Cann Creek Camping Area in the White Mountains NP.
We have had a relaxed day in this pretty park. The bush is mostly open with trees, bushes and even
some very healthy grass trees. There is evidence of cattle, kangaroos and maybe wild pigs..some
creature that digs and leaves the soil with a very disturbed appearance.
We drove toward Poison Valley but were prevented from reaching our destination by 'do not enter' signs. It was great to see the healthy bush land.
More Grevillias an orange/gold coloured beauty and a lovely pale cream specimen.
Sadly at this stage I cannot identify them but with some research it maybe possible. There are
a number of eucalypts John is researching this evening.

Beautiful orange Grevillia

Cream Grevillia in bloom with several buds forming

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June 24th..DAY 8

Grevillia with large red flowers..unknown variety
Red flowered Meleleuca..unknown variety
June 24th...DAY 8

We have had a great day still heading north. Forest Den Nat. Park proved to be quite small with
only 2 parking spots. It is situated on the Torrens Creek. The Gidgee trees were very strong smelling.
Gidgees are a type of Acacia or wattle tree.
 We lunched at Moorinya Nat. Park. The old shearing shed complex was interesting. Everything was very clean and featured the shearing shed and shearers quarters..bunk rooms, ablution block, eating area and kitchen which held a huge old Sampson stove. I wonder how hot it would get in this Kitchen!

 It was decided not to camp here because it was rather dry and uninteresting.
We continued on to the Canns Creek Camping area in the White Mountains Nat.park. It was about 11 km drive, from the Flinders Highway, through very pretty open bushland.
The day has been quite exciting for me as we have come across several gardens of wild flowers.

Elephant Ear wattle
Firstly we found both red and cream Melaleucas in bloom. Nearby there were two types of wattle or acacia
showing beautiful golden rod style blooms. One of these trees had huge tough green leaves. I think it was
the Elephant Ear Wattle.
Just after Cynthia had rung and luckily connected, as I had not had service all day..we found another garden..this time about 50 Grevillia bushes with beautiful red tooth brush style blooms.

June 23rd...DAY 7

Tonight we have camped in the loveliest spot. Despite the country we have travelled having been very dry
 I am enjoying this very bare camping area. We are on a Stock Route which goes through Bowen Downs.
 Nathaniel and Catherine Buchanan established their bark hut home on Bowen Downs Station in 1862.
The Bridge where we are camped was built in memory of Nat. Buchanan and spans Cornish Creek. The Station and surrounds have experienced many hardships but at its 'Hey Day' Bowen Downs was the largest Sheep Station in the world.

The night at the caravan park, last night, in Blackall was better then expected because I was able to get
ahead with washing in a clean laundry. John went on a tour over the 'Wool Scour' display which he enjoyed
very much.
 We lunched in Barcaldine, filled up with fuel and continued our way through Aramac. This was an unexpected camp stop this evening as we were going on to a National Park much further on.John cooked our delicious Victorian steak over the flames of a camp fire. We sat and watched the wonderful Australian sky of many bright stars
Highlights of the day have been the sighting 2 more brolgas and about a dozen camels.
It has been a very warm day..winter weather has disappeared.

Art work representing aboriginal heritage of the area

Nat Buchanan Bridge over Cornish Creek

Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 22nd ...DAY 6
Sunday morning dawned brightly and after fueling the vehicle we set off in the direction of Adavale. We planned to travel the lesser roads today and it proved very enjoyable, in fact, we saw only one car and a triple semi trailer carrying a huge load of hay the whole day. We turned north west at Tyrone and enjoyed the variety of bush land from very dry Mulga bush through to a much more healthy looking bush of Bimble Box, Coolabahs, Redgums and some thick lower bushes.

Kangaroos hopped regularly, most small grey ones and one or two big reds. Some of the small greys were so pretty and we wondered whether they were actually Euros which are smaller than Kangaroos and larger than wallabies.

We lunched at a bridge crossing over the very rocky Langlo River. The Warrego Range featured in our view for many kilometers this afternoon. The range was actually a series of mesa type hills and looked quite spectacular against the sky line.
Luncheon spot at the Langlo River Crossing

The highlight of the day was the sighting of a pair of Brolgas as we neared Blackall. I looked them up in my bird book and saw that I had noted seeing brolgas near Blackall in 1993...what a coincidence.

We looked out for a camp spot along the road but unfortunately there seemed nothing suitable. Eventually we were able to pay for a cramped site in the Blackall Caravan park...not really what we had in mind.
Blackall is a well kept town with a number of memorial sculptures.

Wedge Tailed Eagle and nest made from rusty metal

Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 21st...DAY 5
John at the edge of a water hole in the Warrego River

Before we left our overnight camp this morning we walked along the dry riverbed of the Warrago River. The night temperature had lowered to 3 deg so the sunny morning was welcome. It is amazing how the day has warmed to 25 deg. Tonight is the longest night so maybe another 9 hours of sleep!
Onward north we have travelled through Cunnamulla and Charleville. Tonight we have parked at a commercial Bush Camp just out of Charleville. There are only a few facilities... potable water, rubbish disposal, toilet dump, a huge mown area to park on and a community camp fire which we joined  at 5.00 pm with BYO drinks.
The country side today has been very dry again but Mulga, Bimble Box and Pine trees line the road. We were lucky enough to see a very healthy looking echidna crossing the road.
June 20th...DAY 4

We began the day with a walk of about 1 km to see the Mulgowan Aboriginal Art Site. It was well worth the time and effort as the path way was very pretty through rocky bush country.
Lunch was enjoyed at the 'Back of Bourke' Cafe. Bourke's town population is mixed race who seem to be happily working and shopping together.
The day became much warmer registering 25 deg as we crossed the border. The NSW Mitchell Highway turned into the Matilda Highway in Queensland.The countryside is very much dryer although there is evidence of recent rainfall. There are many goats to be seen as we travel, as well as a few emus and kangaroos.
Tonight we are camped by the very dry Warrego River. It is much warmer so it will be more comfortable
 by our camp fire. This evening's sky is clear and brilliant with stars.

Mulgowan Aboriginal Art Site

 There are dozens of caravans, camper trailers, motor homes and 5th wheelers on the road, big rigs, little 
rigs, low rigs and high rigs. You can see from this photo we are actually travelling in a match box toy!

Friday, June 20, 2014

June 19th....DAY 3

After a 4 deg morning we travelled north all day on the Kidman Way which was an excellent road but
marred by the constant rubbish on the roadside. It was good to travel through Mallee style country again,
 good to see the Mallee Eucalypt trees interspersed with Native Pines, Bimble Box Eucalyptus trees and Currajong trees.
One feature we had not seen before was rows and rows of harvested cotton rolled into bales, presumably waiting to go to the Cotton Gin for processing.
In Cobar we were pleased to find a good Tyre Repair Service Station to repair a slow leaking tyre. The tyres on EC are big and heavy for John to change and repair. The correct equipment made the job easy and cost only $30.

Tonight we have camped in the Gundabooka National Park which is known as The Stone Country. The temperature is much more acceptable. We sat around a campfire with some new friends.

A tyre repaired is a good one!

Artistic entrance to Cobar

Thursday, June 19, 2014

18th June 2014........DAY 2

We had a wonderful long walk along the Murrumbidgee this morning after rising at 7.00am to about 4 deg.
The reflections in the still water were remarkable.

At 10 am we called on Roly and Trish Desailly whom I had not met before. They have lived in Hay for the
last 7 years after managing Riverina sheep stations for many years.
My great great grandfather, Edwin Desailly and Roly's great great grandfather,
Francis William Wisdom Desailly, were brothers.
 It is fascinating to meet a family member who has descended from the same couple who came to Australia  in the early 1820s . Dr Desailly and his wife, Nancy Sophia (Ann) settled in Hobart. I found it fascinating to meet Roly, who has descended from a different line of the family. There was much to talk about.

Early ,morning reflections on the Murrumbidgee River

Roly Desailly and June
Lunch time soon came around and we enjoyed this at the cafe at Shear Australia which is a wonderful record
and information display of shearing in Australia.

Early afternoon we continued north toward Hilston. We are camped north of there on the Lachlan River...another well known river of Outback NSW.
 We look forward to sitting around a camp fire this evening. It is cold though..I have 5 layers of clothing
 on with more at the ready!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June 17th 2014 ..........DAY 1

We drove out the gate today at 10.25 am. The only aspect I felt sad about was the fact that my new Kangaroo Paws are coming into bloom. They are so happy in their new pots.
Travelling west over the Warby Ranges was really pretty as autumn rains have strengthened the growth of crops and everything else. In fact all the way here to Hay the countryside looked magnificent. We lunched on the banks of the Murray River in Tocumwal after driving out to Langunyah, north of the town to see the homestead called 'Oakbank' where my Grandparents Rosa and Ormond Desailly lived with their young family during the early 1900s. My mother, Lurline, was the 2nd eldest of their six children.
From Deniliquin to Hay the  Cobb Highway runs through a wide Stock Route or as many know it 'the long paddock. We noticed 2 large mobs of cattle grazing as they travelled south. Water tanks and troughs were  placed at very regular intervals.
This, our first night, we are camped on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River near Hay.

Pink Kangaroo Paw at 'Kyamba', Milawa

'Oakbank' Homestead at Langunyah

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Safari 2014

Plans are well in hand for our departure on June 17th. General gear, food and clothes are being packed. The Earth Cruiser (EC) has been serviced this last week. Small damages have been repaired. We are really looking forward to exploring some new country. Far north Queensland will be our focus. We did go to the tip of Cape York in 1990 but we will not go this far again..instead we plan to explore some areas which we hurried through at that time.

EC leaving Service Centre, Wangaratta