Monday, August 15, 2016

August 15th
Cream coloured wattle

I love hearing an owl in the night when we camp in the bush. Last night I could hear a Barking Owl. I have heard this sound a couple of time in the last few weeks.

Our last day...we left Livingstone NP with a view of fog in front of us ...a sign of us getting further south.
Foggy drive
Cootamundra Wattle is becoming much more prevalent along the road sides. Having said that, we came upon a few wattles with very pale cream blooms compared with the brighter yellow wattles. There are so many varieties of wattle, I have never tried to identify these wonderful Australian trees. Eastern Rosella Parrots were quite common this morning. Pairs of these bright coloured birds often flew across in front of us.

We arrived back home in Milawa about 3.20 pm. The rivers are full of water and the paddocks green with long grass. It all looked very similar to what we have seen throughout central NSW.
Our garden is green and very wet...also the Grass tree looks great, surrounded by the desert daisies which we planted this time last year.

August 14th

Wattle trees border many road ways.
Again- a lovely morning walk. The rocky track in Weddin National Park led us on a steady rise….the return trip was much easier! The Mugga Iron barks, Black Cypress, White Box trees and some wattles in bloom made for attractive scenery. We walked for 15-18 minutes and then retraced our steps. We found a few blue Calledenia orchids and several bushes of Dahpne Heath as well as some  grass trees.

After coming out of the National Park we followed a Stock Route for about 15 kms. The gravel track was very good but it is a while since a mob of cattle has been through that way!

Paddocks are very wet and most creeks we crossed showed the effects of flood waters. Obviously there has been heavy falls of rain in the area. The farmlands look amazing. Everywhere we could see the bright yellow of Canola crops in bloom as well as the brilliant green of grain crops.

We bi-passed both Junee and Wagga Wagga and drove out to the Livingstone National Park. This is a simple park with no facilities for campers despite that, we were free to camp the we settled  in a cleared spot at about  3.30pm. It promised to give us a cold night for the last camp of our trip..thank goodness for our heater.

We are looking forward to returning home to Milawa with the hope that our Grass tree still looks as healthy as those in Weddin NP.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

August 13th
Mural at Tourist Centre Grenfell ...The stars come close and bright words by Henry Lawson.

What a clear blue sky! we walked up the Terrara Creek along the winding vehicle track and crossed the Terrara Creek 8 times. Luckily there were stones at each crossing which were a help to me. There are many lovely campsites beside the road.  A notice board told us that one flat area by the creek had been used by a Chinaman  for growing  vegetables during the days of Copper mining. Presumably  he bucketed water to his plants. It is a very narrow and pretty valley with trees, birds and green slopes. We have been fortunate to see several of the rare Turquoise Parrot in the bush today.

Driving across country through farmland has provided a lovely morning. We stopped in Grenfell to buy eggs and milk. This is the town where Henry Lawson was born in 1867 during the gold mining days. The town holds the annual 'Henry Lawson Festival of Arts' which promotes poetry, writing, composing and painting. He is well remembered here with plaques and a bronze statue.

We settled in the nearby Weddin National Park shortly after lunch, enjoying a quiet afternoon of reading and general R&R.

Have a chat with Henry!
August 12th

It was minus 3.6 degrees in Bathurst this morning, despite this we slept warmly. The heater went on prior early so we were kept warm. Our Webasco cooker has been troublesome for several weeks. It has developed a very irrational switch on pattern. Today gas was essential for our morning cup of tea.

Eileen and Geoff need to be home this coming Sunday which is a little earlier than we need to return to the NE, so they are going more directly south than we are. This allows us to wander for a little longer.
Spools at 'Home Patch' Bathurst

Our first call for the morning was a patchwork shop called ‘Home Patch’..the Home of Hatched and Patched. It was a very tastefully decorated shop and I was lucky to find a number of ‘spools’ I purchased several of these. Yvonne and I are looking forward to a new embroidery project which involves putting our work on a spool.

The city of Bathurst was settled in the first half of the 1800s. We drove by Abercrombie House, which is on the north side of Bathurst. This particular home is extensive with 52 rooms and is considered a heritage treasure. The Morgan family, who now own it have been maintaining and restoring it for the last 40 years.

We decided to return to Orange and look for the Winery that Philip Shaw operates. It is a little way south of Orange. The buildings and sales  areas are very attractive. We were lucky to be able to spend quite a long time chatting with Philip. John knew Philp, when he lived in Rutherglen about 40 years ago. At that point he worked at Lindeman’s Corowa.

From there we drove through very hilly and green farmlands to the Nangar National Park where we have camped for the night. The Terrara Campsite is about 7 km from the main road. The track in was quite narrow and we crossed the creek about about a dozen times. It is a remote and very pretty spot to spend a night…no doubt below freezing in the morning. The valley is so narrow that we may not see the sun here before we leave camp tomorrow.

The hills of Orange and Bathurst are part of the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range.

Eucalyptus Dealbata in Nangar NP

Thursday, August 11, 2016

August 11th

I could not resist a short walk in the bush on such a beautiful morning.....What bliss walking in the bush at 9.15 am with all my chores behind me!

Greenhood Orchids in Goobang National Park

This morning we continued south again.Through Yeoval and Molong to Orange which is a bussling city. ...and on to Bathhurst. The farmlands were really lovely ...undulating and green with many many sheep and only a few crops. This is Banjo Patterson Country.
The first attraction in Bathhurst was to drive around Panorama Hill. This iconic race track is steep, with many tight curves.. It must be exciting to see the main race of the year..the 'Bathurst 1000'. We lunched on top of the hill in a very chilly wind. We were told it had been -4 deg here this morning.

A BIG 4 Camping Park is our destination this evening.

Eileen and Geoff  very kindly took us out to dinner at one of the best restaurants in Bathurst...'Cobblestones'. We all enjoyed a delicious meal. The bottle of wine John chose was a Phillip Shaw wine made from his vineyard in Orange. The blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc was most suitable for our meals. We knew Phillip when he worked in Rutherglen about 35 years ago.

Tomorrow morning our travelling partners of over 8 weeks will head south to make a quick entry into Victoria on Sunday. We have 3 or 4 days left yet before we need to be home.

August 10th

I felt quite sad to be leaving the Warrumbungles this morning. It promised to be a fine and warm day again and I could have quite happily stayed a little longer.
Our track took us west toward Gilgandra, through green farmland including and emu farm. There were hundreds of these birds in conventional farmyard paddocks.

Our main stop in Gilgandra was a visit to the Gallery and Information Centre which we thoroughly enjoyed. The main attraction at the Gallery was the story of the     Gilgandra Coo-ee march which took place in 1915 when young men from the area marched to Sydney to enlist as soldiers to go to the 1914-18 War.  Men marched the long road to Sydney collecting other young men along the way. Last year 2015, 100 years later, a re-enactment took place. The Gallery featured a large series of photographs taken of the participants in this re-enactment. It is a truly wonderful Australian story.
Some years ago, the ‘Zig Zag’ artist Group, of which I was a member, displayed a travelling Exhibition in this same gallery. It was lovely to see the large space being used for another exhibition. It can recommend a visit if you are passing that way.

Footsteps representing the Coo-ee March re-enactment 2015
The next leg of our journey, we followed a rig which was very similar to the Dinning rig but with a difference!! Firstly we noticed them throw orange peel and an apple core out the window to add to the litter along the Newell Highway… the prime mover was puffing out a large amount of black diesel smoke…so much for a clean, green Australia!

We lunched in the Dubbo Information Centre Park and quickly moved on to the Goobang National Park where we have camped for the night in the Wanda Wandong Camping Area. What a pretty spot with Ironbark trees, Box trees, birds and kangaroos. A short walk through the nearby bush was delightful, especially as we found Blue Caladenia Orchids and hundreds of tiny Greenhoods. I will need to check my orchid book at home to positively identify the type of Greenhood.

A lovely hot campfire and a starry sky…quite unexpected as rain had been forecast!

Ibis in Dubbo Park.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

August 9th

Early morning view of Rocky peaks

A great day spent relaxing and exploring the Warrumbungle National Park.

A light frost lay on the grass when we first looked out to see the early sun on the nearby rocky peaks.

John and Eileen decided to stay at camp while Geoff and I went for a 3-4 km walk along a track which took us up over quite a high rocky knoll. Wattles were in bloom and other wildflowers as well. We crossed the Wambelong Creek 3 times. I do hate crossing creeks on stepping stones. The last crossing was quite treacherous as water was over the rocks, even the hems of my trousers got wet. 

Apostle bird
Views around our camp are quite spectacular which makes sitting in the sun even more enjoyable. Kookaburras and Apostle birds entertained us at lunch time. As evening came many kangaroos came out to feed. Their antics are amusing as well. We saw 2 female kangaroos have a brief  'box on' with each other. One very young kangaroo was gamboling about, hopping over its mother and even received a couple of reprimands over the ears.

 This will probably be the last day I wear short sleeves as more rain is forecast and we must move south a little more tomorrow.

Our camp in Warrumbungles National Park

Monday, August 8, 2016

August 8th

What a warm morning in Moree. After receiving an email from my cousin, Robin, who recommended we have a chat with Tian Harris, who works at the Tourist Info Centre where we went  soon after 9.00 am. Luckily for me Tian was at work today and she was very happy to tell me all she new about Edward Dickens. She  mentioned that Edward had worked in the Lands Department so we were able to see this lovely old building. Evidently there is a memorial plaque, in memory of Edward, in the Moree Anglican Church. We went around to see the church but, unfortunately it was locked. It does seem odd that Edward is buried in the Methodist Section of the cemetery even though the memorial plaque is in the Anglican Church...presumably he was a member of the All Saints Anglican Church.

The Lands Department Building where Edward Dickens worked.
The trip along the Newell highway through Narrabri and Coonabarabran took us through bush country again as well as a State Forest. There were many Iron Bark trees and generally the bush reminded me of the Chiltern Forest in Victoria. The road was excellent and the scenery interesting...several Canola crops were in yellow bloom and there were many yellow wattle trees amongst the Iron Bark trees. We had a wonderful view of Mt Kaputar where John and I camped many years ago.

Tonight we have set up camp in the Warrumbungle National Park and will stay here for two nights. It is quite chilly here after a warm and sunny day and hopefully it will be similar tomorrow so we can do some walking along some of the many bush tracks set up for visitors to enjoy.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

August 7th.
Card painted by Julie King
Tonight we are camping in Moree at the 'Gwydir Carapark - Thermal Pools & Hot Springs Resort'. We enjoyed a lovely long soak in the warm pool late this afternoon. I found it to be a relaxing and fun thing to do. The Artisan water is drawn from the Great Artesian Basin about 750 metres below the ground. Chlorine is added to comply with Council Requirements and then the water is delivered into the pools ready for visitors to enjoy.

We were awakened this morning, at our Lake Copeton camp, to a chorus of laughing, from several kookaburras. They were laughing at us, yesterday, as we sat reading.

The morning was clouded but the day was quite warm and this evening thunder clouds have gathered. It is expected to be warm again tomorrow. The drive across here from Copeton Lake was mostly through bush country and on hilly bitumen roads. One property was name ALLAWA which means 'my place' I have used this name for one of my quilts when the theme was 'home'.

It was good to see men on horses rounding up cattle. Mostly bikes are used these days for this farm activity. Then as we came through Bungara the local Pony Club  members were out for a ride. I did love to ride as a young girl.

The Gwydir Highway took us into Moree. A few km. east of Moree we passed by a pecan orchard, something I have not seen before. There was a Sunday morning market in progress when we arrived in town. This was rather fun to walk through.

Today, I was very pleased to receive an email from a new friend. She and her husband were camping at Lake Leslie when we were there. Julie gave me a card on which she had painted a picture of wattle.

Memorial Plaque for Edward Dickens

The highlight of the day for us was finding the grave  of Edward (Plorn) Dickens who married Constance Desailly, my great grandfather's neice. Edward and Constance lived near Wilcannia and that is the reason why we began our Safari in that area. Conctance was buried in the Box Hill cemetery and Edward was buried here in Moree. Edward, among other occupations, had been a member of the Legislative Assembly in NSW. He died on 1902 and was buried in the Moree Cemetery. I believe the Dickens Society erected the elaborate Memorial Grave ston

Moree Cemetery Grave of Edward Dickens

Saturday, August 6, 2016

August 6th

We left Gordon's farm 'Oxley' late in the morning after an inspection of sheds and machinery.

Unidentified wattle near Lake Copeton's edge
Copeton Dam was about 36 kilometres. It is currently very low in water storage. It has lovely facilities for visitors, including a number of camping areas, a golf course, cafe and play ground  for kids. Over lunch we made the decision to stay the night. The day was fine and warm so R & R was most welcome. Dinnings were able
to plug into grid power and we camped nearby on the edge of the bush. Reading and stitching and a short walk to the edge of the lake soon filled in the afternoon. There are several types of wattle in bloom and many kangaroos feeding on the lawns.

Lake Copeton at a very low level

August 5th

The morning dawned clear blue and chilly after a very cold night camping in Bald Rock National Park. It is not surprising as the altitude is 1128 metres.

We left this pretty bush and drove a short distance to the Boonoo Boonoo National Park. This was also very pretty with a lot of wattle in bloom. It was a much more user friendly park with several short walks. We all went out to see the Boonoo Boonoo Falls. They were amazing with a lot of water flowing over the rocks and down quite a distance through a deep gorge. The flowers in the bush were really great.

Boonoo Boonoo Falls
Lunch was enjoyed at Deepwater before we left the Highway to go cross-country to Inverall...disappointingly one of the roads we wished to travel on was closed because the Severn River was in flood. The detour we had to take took us a very long way round.

Ellis Cousins June & Gordon with Cocky

We eventually arrived  at Gum Flat to visit my cousin Gordon  Ellis, and his wife Marilyn, at their property 'Oxley'. Gordon is a keen Ferguson tractor enthusiast. Marilyn has an interesting collection of ornamental shoes...made from china, glass or pewter. They are all displayed in a large cabinet. There was plenty of talk about tractors, cropping, Ellis history and Australian outback travel. We had the pleasure of camping near their home and farm sheds. Gordon has a wonderful old cockatoo  that makes a lot of squawking noise from time to time and does enjoy a walk on Gordon's shoulder!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

August 4th

We were awakened to a solo tune from the Pied Butcher bird. It was a chilly and windy morning..even the tumble weed was rolling in the wind. We have not seen much Mistletoe while we have been away but here by Lake Leslie there is a very concentrated infestation of this parasite on the roadside gum trees.

As we drove to see the Dam wall of Lake Leslie there were 4 dear little pretty faced wallabies hopping along the roadside. They are distinctive because of a pale stripe each side of their face.

 The wall is large and high but the water in the lake itself is very low at present.
Dam Wall at Lake Leslie

From the lake we went across country to the New England Highway and then on to Stanthorpe. It is the centre of a busy farming area producing fruit, wine and cheese. I was fascinated with the site of whole orchards or vineyards covered by netting. This was used as a preventative measure against hail damage..

This evening we are camped in Baldy Hill National Park. Wattles are in bloom and really brighten the bush. The night is very cold here as it is quite high in altitude. It will not be possible to see Baldy Hill as it is a long fact the walks all seem long in distances at 14 km and 18 km.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August 3rd

If you have read last night's blog you will note that I spoke of a 2nd thunder storm. It was wild and gusty and took its toll on the awning on EC. It was a very noisy few minutes. Luckily it went back into place this morning but not without some damage. It will now spend the next few weeks in place above the rig...well taped in.
Detail of Scrumbling 

An end section of the 'scrumbling' wall art 
Warwick is a busy town with much community enthusiasm. We visited the Gallery to see the last of the exhibitions from the 'Jumpers and Jazz Festival' . Dominating the foyer was a 7 metre long piece of work which had been stitched together by Prudence Mapstone. There had been many contributors from all over the world. This style of crochet and knitting, by Prudence, has become well known world wide and is known as Scrumbling. 

The second exhibition was a collection of beanies which have been exhibited in the Alice Springs Beanie Festival over the last few years since its inception. Many were made by Indigenous women in the Art rooms of their desert Settlements. There were many ingenious designs using wool felting, knitting, crocheting with the most amazing embellishments of emu feathers, beads , seeds and many other creative  ornaments.

Then off to find a super market, coffee shop, and chemist. Geoff kindly drove us around to a Quilting shop we had seen advertised....this was a wonderful surprise. It was set up in a lovely home and was the most delightful shop with very tasteful  displays of fabrics, bags and any other stitching item that maybe needed. It was hard to leave without spending too much cash.

This afternoon was spent drawing and stitching...all in all an enjoyable change from travel. It has been freezing outside with misty rain coming across the lake.

This evening I enjoyed a delightful conversation with a fellow camper who is also an artist. She uses oils and water colours as well as doing some stitching. Other people's lives are always interesting. She and her husband have been in the area for the Warwick Textile Festival. They were planning to go to Byron Bay for a Writer's Festival.

Knitted kitchen shelves!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

August 2nd

A clouded warmer morning welcomed us to the day. We travelled through hilly and undulating farmlands to Toowoomba. One farm was running goats of all sizes and the next farm had hundreds of ducks ..must be destined for 'Luv-a Duc', I think.
 By the time we reached Toowoomba it was beginning to rain but by the time we left the city it was raining heavily. The population of this lovely country city is over 120,000 people and is said to be the biggest country city in Australia. We enjoyed our picnic lunch at Picnic Point which overlooks the farmlands and valleys to the east. I was very taken by the very innovative childrens' playground.

Childrens' playground Picnic Point
My friend Wendy Marsden lives in Toowoomba, but is currently away on holidays. However we did drive into Yukana Retirement Village, at Kearney Springs, where she lives. The gardens and homes in this sprawling city are really lovely. Rain is obviously needed as surrounding areas to be very dry.

The road south soon took us to Warwick where the Gallery has a Textile Exhibition on display. Today we only visited the Info Centre and tomorrow, will return from our 'out of town' camping spot, to view the exhibition and do various other shopping activities.

The banks of Lake Leslie are providing our Camping site for tonight. The lake is very low so the rain will be much appreciated. There is a second thunder storm going on around us at present.

August 1st

Broadwater Lake at 6.30 am
We woke at zero degrees and a delightfully bright sunrise. Dalby is surrounded by black soil cropping country with cotton a major crop for local farmers. More recently Gas Fields have provided a busy industry. We could hear machinery from the large gas plants as well as seeing the occasional vivid flame bursting forth from a chimney. A short drive around Dalby soon made us aware of the business of this industrial town.

 Our next point of interest is the Bunya Mountains NP. We have camped at a wayside stop  called Koehler Camp which is well mown and clean. The signs say that the steep road up the mountain is unsuitable for caravans. We set up camp, after which Geoff drove us all up the mountain for a picnic lunch and drive around this pretty tourist spot. The Bunya Pines are tall and attractive trees silhouetting against  the sky and towering above the shorter trees, vines and bushes. The National Park was declared over 100 years ago. There is a camping ground, a cafĂ© and quite a number of lodges where people can stay.

Bunya Pines

We returned to camp mid afternoon. There was a stray dingo dog to greet us. It is always sad to see a lonely dog. He was very friendly but became quite a pest. I cannot bare dogs too close and especially if they jump up. Toward evening a young Asian girl arrived looking for this dog. He was very pleased to see her and eventually took him home with her.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

July 31st

Sculptured Bottle or Boab Tree
 The morning was cold at -1 deg. With this in mind we have decided to travel in an easterly direction for a few days instead of south toward Victoria. The forecasts for NSW and our home state are for severe weather particularly wind and rain. Even though the evenings are cold here in southern Queensland the days are sunny and quite warm.

We enjoyed Roma with its streets lined with Boab Trees. When we reached Miles and visited the Information Centre there was a metal sculptured Boab tree in the garden. The trunk was rounded as in real Bottle tree and the branches held a bottle on the end...I thought it was very inventive. My photo is not so great though!

The country today has been much dryer in appearance. Roadside trees of wattle, eucalypts and Prickly Pear continue. In fact the Prickly Pear we have seen today are the size and shape of a small tree.

Royal Spoonbill
From Miles and Chinchilla we continued east and then across country, so to speak, to Lake Broadwater where we have camped with a lovely clear view of the water. There are a few water birds including Pelicans and  4 of the most beautiful Royal Spoonbills.  These are quite large birds with a very long black bill with a spoon on the tip of it. The roads to reach this idealic spot are bitumen but are dangerously rough in some sections where the black soil has sunk.

We expect a cold night because of the clear sky and lack of any breeze.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

July 30th

Last night at the Lonesome Camping Ground we were lulled off to sleep by the sound of a Barking Owl which was close by our rig. It is amazing how much this bird sounds like a barking dog..woof woof....woof woof !

The overnight temperature went down to zero...we have re-organised our bed covering this morning, as it is sure to be cold here at Roma. We are camped at the Roma Bassett Park Showgrounds where there was a race meeting today. There is a special area set aside for campers. The showers are very hot and not like the last town oval we stayed at when the showers were stone cold.

The road back to the highway, this morning, was particularly steep to the top of a very rugged 'jump-up'. The whole National Park consists of steep 'jump-ups' and is stark and noticeably scenic. The Spotted Gums are in bloom along side Iron Bark trees and Bimble Box. It is surprising to see so many Prickly Pear plants/tree along the roadside. I understood they were a 'menace and had been declared a noxious weed/plant'.

We stopped in Injune to visit the very informative Info Centre...then on another 80 km to Roma for lunch, a Laundromat and a Super Market. It is amazing what you can find in a new Super Market!
Eileen found a very unusual shop called Ace Draper. I have never been in a shop with such a variety of things to sell..anything from fabric, sewing equipment. kitchen ware, curtains, towels, sheets and clothing to name a few. Everything was all stuffed on shelves in narrow isles. Eventually I purchased some DMC thread and Eileen purchased some wool. It was a lot of fun exploring this place, even Geoff and John enjoyed it.

A steep and picturesque 'jump-up'

Friday, July 29, 2016

July 29th

 Takarakka Bush Resort was such a lovely place to stay. I felt quite sad to be leaving. We are all revelling in the warm weather but we must slowly move south pretending we are going home. The evenings and mornings are certainly cooler now. John A and Cynthia have both sent a message to us telling us not to come home too soon as it is so very cold and wet. We are most thankful we are having this lovely warm holiday. There are hundreds of caravans on the road mostly with older couples enjoying their retirement as we are.

About 80 km south we turned into Lonesome National Park which is a section of the Expedition Park. We have camped early in the day so time for reading, stitching and a little more walking. The campground only allows for 3 here we are on green grass along with one other chap in his caravan.

Evening time has come. We have enjoyed a half hour walk and a warm shower and tonight Eileen and Geoff are cooking dinner for us.

Through a sandstone cutting
July 26th,  27th & 28th Carnarvon Gorge

Anzac Centenary Memorial in Emerald
The Emerald Artworks demanded a second look so we drove by some of them again then drove out to see Lake Maraboon where there is major work happening on the Fairburn Dam wall. On the way out we passed by a very large citrus orchard which is claimed to be the largest in Australia. It produces oranges, lemons and limes.

We continued on from the Lake south toward Springsure then Roleston on the way to Carnarvon Gorge. The National Park is 40 km from the main Highway. The road travels through several Station properties. We were lucky to see a Bustard, or Bush Turkey, as they are often called, as well as a couple of brolgas and 4 emus. The cattle station is currently running a huge number of cattle maybe 1,000 head. Oat crops have been planted to feed them and they certainly look contented, many are lying down, peacefully as if they have had plenty to eat for the day! One mob was being moved across country by horse and rider with several dogs to help. The country is wet after heavy rains.

John had booked 2 sites at Takarakka Bush Restort. There are a lot of campers in the park and we are conveniently placed with good space. We attended an info night at 5.00pm. This was a clear and enthusiastic dialogue about all the walks available and the Carnarvon National Park itself. We look forward to exploring it tomorrow.

Wednesday July 27th
Eileen crossing Carnarvon Creek
An early start for a long walk along Carnarvon Gorge. It was a lovely temperature for walking. John and Geoff walked about 14 km or even further. Eileen and I walked about 9 km. We planned to visit the Amphitheatre but I found one of the creek crossings somewhat challenging so we turned back and went into the Moss Garden. This pathway presented nearly 200 steps to climb. The very old rocks were covered in beautiful vivid green moss. The water fall were so very lovely to sit by while we ate our lunch. We welcomed the last creek crossing as we had walked for about 5 hours.Needless to say we are very weary this evening. The stepping stone crossings presented the biggest challenge for me although Eileen enjoyed the fun of them. The Carnarvon Gorge is very lovely with birds, wallabies, ferns, orchids, moss, palm trees, eucalyptus and  acacia trees as well as the clear running creek itself.
This evening we are all very tired, we have booked to stay a third night and tomorrow I expect will be very SLOW.

Queensland Silver Wattle
Carnarvon Gorge covers a vast area and would be wonderful to see from above. I doubt we will do this as Helicopter rides cost $400 for 40 minutes. There is no mobile phone contact here which, in this electronic age, gives everyone a different look at communication in remote areas.

Staghorn Ferns growing along Mickey Creek

Thursday July 28th
A much colder morning but a beautiful warm day. Late morning we set off for some more walking, but shorter walks today. Geoff drove us to the Visitor Car Park where the track to the Rock Pool began. John drove the car around to collect us at the end. This saved us having to walk back. It was an easy walk apart from needing to cross the Canarvon Creek on two occasions… one of these crossings had a few centemetres of water over a couple of the stepping rocks. I was pleased to be across each time. John was waiting for us when we reached the Rock Pool. A leisurely lunch was enjoyed before we departed for the walk up Mickey Creek. This was a very pretty walk with dozens of free growing Staghorn Ferns..some were  really tiny and others had grown much larger…fancy seeing these growing wild! The trees in this gorge were  Morton Bay Ash or Carbeen and Spotted Gum which really grows very large in this environment. Both the Silver Leaved Ironbark and the Narrow Leaved Iron bark were growing together along this narrow valley. The Queensland Blue Gum added another lovely aspect to the scenery. There were a couple more acacias/wattles which we have not been able to identify.

The Wilderness Lodge has a very good Information Centre. We visited this display and were able to identify some trees and birds. This was very good as nobody else has been able to help us with queries about Flora and Fauna. 'Mystery' birds have been the Pale Headed Rosella Parrot and the Red Winged Parrot. We will look at them with renewed interest.

Pretty Faced wallaby
As we were completing our walk today we passed a couple on the path. The lady looked so very much like our friend Helen Twitt. Eileen and Geoff were able to tell us that Helen has a twin sister….sure enough it was Helen’s sister, Lynette. We enjoyed quite a long chat with her and her husband. What a coincidence!!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

July 24th & 25th Gemfields

Another clear, sunny day as we head south to Rubyvale. The bitumen road made its way across undulating country. The bush was much less dense with Iron bark trees, wattles and some Bimble Box trees some times called Poplar Box and correctly named 'eucalyptus populnea'. It is quite easy to spot them beside the road because they have lovely ovate shiney leaves

Many times as we have camped the beautiful clear whistle of the Butcher bird has indicated that this black and white bird must be nearby. However I rarely catch sight of one. Several times we have heard and seen a Laughing Kookaburra as well as the Blue Winged Kookaburra.

Red Gum Trees along Ruby Creek where we are camped
Ruby Vale is a mining town which produces Sapphires of a variety of colours. golden Zircons and Rubies. I always think of Sapphires as blue but this is not always the case as there are yellow. golden and green as well. The colour which really appealed to me was a deep/green stone. We saw some really beautiful pieces of jewellery made from them, showcased in the Sales Display areas we visited.

John, Geoff and Eileen went on a mine tour at Rubyvale, I chose not to do this,

There is only 7 kilometers between Rubyvale and Sapphire. Tonight we are camped on Ruby Creek at Sapphire. We will explore the area in the morning before moving further south.

Monday July 25th
We have come another short distance south today...only 60 kilometers to Emerald travelling through Anakie. All four towns are important in this Gemfields region.

Emerald is the largest of the 4 towns It is a busy place with an amazing number of outdoor sculptures including the Murri symbols on the Pathway which is another Rainbow Serpent story. A Centenary of Federation Mosaic Pathway, A Canadian artist painted a 'look-a-like' Sunflower painting by Vincent Van Gogh. This is now standing on the 'The BIG Easel'  behind the Info Centre in Emerald.
At the entrance to Emerald Town Hall there is a wonderful Bronze Plaque representing 100 years since  the Anzacs landed. Outside the Info Centre the giant sized Frilled neck Lizard stands on guard (so to speak) It is made of many items from the junk yard. His tail is constructed from a very large chain with spikes welded to it. They are all interesting pieces of art work. It is a credit to such a small town to be able to display so many spectacular pieces.
Anzac Memorial with poppies

 Sunflowere on the BIG EASEL

We are camped at the Showgrounds this evening with many other tourists/grey nomads I think!
John and I completed our activities with a walk through the Botanical Gardens which was thoroughly interesting. There were exercise stations at intervals for those who have energy for such activities.

John and Eileen chose a Restaurant for us to go to this evening..'The Capricornia'. We can thoroughly recommend it. The decor and table settings were quite sophisticated and the meal really delightful. At this point we have been away for 6 weeks. Slowly Slowly we are wending our way south to the colder weather of NE Victoria.

Friday, July 22, 2016

July 22nd & 23rd Theresa Dam

Hooray ..a clear sky today. Unfortunately there are still Road Closures  which are preventing us doing some of the things we would like to do such as visiting the Carnarvon Gorge and the Blackdown Tableland National Park.

Prior to reaching Clermont this morning we saw an enormous number, maybe 2 or 3 hundred brolgas on a fallowed field. The stalks of the last crop were thick so we wondered what crop had been harvested ..maybe maize or sunflower?

A lazy lunch was enjoyed under the trees in the gardens of Clermont while we decided which direction we would go. John became very frustrated trying to find a road open. Eventually we decided to go the short distance out of Clermont to Theresa Dam where there is a very large camping area.
Looking across Lake Theresa Dam
There are a lot of caravans and rigs already here at the dam but still plenty of room for us. We settled in for a lazy afternoon of reading, stitching and a walk around the park. There are many birds about, some of which are very friendly. A miner bird insisted on taking some threads from the fraying fabric of my chair and 2 Rainbow Lorrikeets were close enough to photograph.

Geoff and Eileen cooked a wonderful roast lamb dinner with all the trimmings. The meal is up to me tomorrow evening!

A cheeky Rainbow Lorrekeet sitting on my leg.
Saturday July 23rd .
After deciding to stay her another night we have had a very lazy day in 27 deg with no wind and a clear sky.

Geoff and Eileen returned to Clermont to find a Laundramat and visit the local IGA store.
We sat outside our rig in the shade..reading, sorting eucalypt leaves from the Iron bark trees as well as a little stitching.

The meal we cooked this evening was OK and everyone said they enjoyed it. John cooked a piece of silverside which has been in the refrig. for awhile. It was cryovaced and kept very well. with a range of vegies and some Milawa Mustard, the meal was quite enjoyable.
July 21st

Because of Road Closures we had to return to Charters Towers instead of travelling south via the Burdekin Falls on Lake Dalrymple. There were a few items to catch up on before heading south. One of these was to do some washing.... Combined with the Car Wash depot we found a DRIVE THRU Laundrette. It was spotlessly clean so I did a large load of washing which cost me 5 X $1 coins. I have never seen a 'Drive Thru'  Laundrette before.

As we crossed the Burdekin River we found the most amazing FLOOD MARKER. It went back many years. The highest flood recorded was in 1946 which was metres deep

Clermont is 365 kms south of Charters Towers. The bitumen road was very rough but the scenery was green and attractive with wattles, another type of silver leaved eucalypt and the very attractive bloodwood trees with orange trunks. Its common name is Yellow Jacket.

We crossed the Belyando River which was swirling along in flood. From this point we watched out for a camp site. Sides of the road were extremely wet and there were very few places to pull off the road. Eventually we turned into a road which goes through a station property but is a public road. The space was gravel, dry and quite level. Most roads have Rest Areas which do provide opportunities to camp but this road does not offer such areas.

The last glow of the sun

A wonderful sky this evening..first with the setting sun and soft colours then soon afterwards the moon came up brilliant in red colour which soon changed to gold..nearly a full moon I think.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

July 20th

Orange grevillea

Surprisingly the day has dawned clear. However this latest rain event has changed  our plans yet again. It is best, or should I say essential, that we keep to bitumen roads until the weather clears completely and gravel roads dry out. This does not really matter as we can still explore some new places that are not so remote.
Large red grevillea

We have followed the Flinders Highway to Charters Towers which is quite a vibrant small town. From there we have come east toward  Townsville and camped on the Burdekin River at the Macrossan Free Campsite. It is a huge area and there are a large number of campers making use of this Council land. Our grandson, John and his mate camped here in February. It was probably a lot warmer at that stage. However the temperature is pleasant this evening. There is a warning about crocodiles. It is amazing where that sign pops up!

Today along the Flinders Highway we have seen lovely wild and orange grevilleas which I am unable to identify and some wild hibiscus in bloom. This has instigated a lot of discussion about Rosella Jam which we made years ago when we toured the Kimberleys. I bought a jar of this very tasty red jam earlier in this trip. I was completely unaware that the Rosella fruit came from a Hibiscus plant be specific it is Hibiscus sabdariffa.. Thanks to Eileen who has been reading about it on the internet. I am unsure whether the plant we found is the one that produces the rosella fruit for jam.

Wild hibiscus 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

July 19th
The day dawned fine, warm and windy with black clouds to the south. It took only a short time to reach Hughenden. Along the way we had a last peep at Porcupine Gorge..yes another steep  and rocky climb but very much shorter this time. It was an interesting roadside stop because of the grave of Mailman Corbett . There was a short memorial to him. Evidently he delivered mail to local stations but, sadly, one night while he was camped at this site he was ambushed by aboriginals who speared him.
Grave of Mailman Corbett

 Hughenden to be quite a spread out township which was able to cater for all our needs. We are
camped in a parking area overlooking the Flinders River which is the longest river in Queensland and actually flow out in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

The rain is following us with a very heavy storm mid afternoon. Evidently the town had 5 inches of rain last weekend. It is a very wet year for campers on safari. I am not sure where we will go from here as many roads have been closed since we used them over the last few days.

I am pleased to have good internet connection here and have been able to email and ring our family. We are pleased to know that Cynthia & David have successfully completed the Larapinta Trail along the West Macdonell Range near Alice springs. They are feeling very pleased and happy that they have been on such a wonderful walk about 230 km in distance. They were able to walk the distance in 14 days..up hills, along crests through gorges and creeks with temperatures ranging from about 28 deg to -3 deg...Well Done Cynthia and David a very special achievement - an experience to remember!

This evening we had a tasty meal at the local Chinese Cafe which has been operating for 32 years.
The theme of windmills is quite obvious around the town. There are several creative and  interesting sculptural works most utilising windmill fans but one artist has collected junk for an artistic impression of a dinasaur!

Darby the Junkasaurus

Rotunda featuring windmill fans at each end