FRIDAY 5 JUNE CARNARVON GORGE TO EMERALD 240kms
A brilliant blue sky this morning, and sunshine. There had been a heavy dew overnight, though. Later in the morning, it clouded over.
We left Takkarakka at 9am. A number of other rigs had gone before us. The problem areas on the road out had been packed down by the prior traffic, but outside of the wheel tracks there was lots of surface slop. There were some parts that still seemed a bit slippy – we had been in low range from the resort driveway on, and stayed that way almost until reaching the highway. We got out ok but it must have been hair-raising for those who had left when it was still raining.
We passed a couple of churned-up places beside the road. Clearly, where rigs had slid off the surface, gotten stuck and, presumably, had to be pulled out.
Once on the highway, it was a very attractive drive to Emerald, with lots of large and small hills about. It was an alternating mix of farmland and bush. The Staircase Range area, between Rolleston and Springsure, went through a lot of road cuttings that were interesting in themselves.
Springsure looked interesting, with dramatic hills around it. Another place noted that would be worthwhile for a future stay and explore. Not this time – we were feeling that, if we were going to make it to Far North Qld, it was time to focus on really moving north.
That said, John wanted us to stay for at least the weekend in Emerald, so he could get in some bowls.
We had heard, en route, that Monday was a long weekend holiday – had kind of lost track of that sort of thing. I raised the possibility of seeing out the long weekend, with its increased traffic and people, in Emerald. John immediately latched on to that as a good idea – it might mean an extra bowls game….
Once we had a reasonable mobile phone signal, I texted daughter to check that the family hadn’t succumbed to the nasty ‘flu, then rang the Emerald Caravan Park. They were very busy, I was told, but could possibly juggle sites around to fit us in, if we were going to stay for three or four days. After that, I had a sinking feeling that we were not going to fetch up camped on any prime spots!
Reached Emerald just after midday. It felt rather strange to be in a biggish town again, and in busy traffic.
Our powered site at the Emerald Cabin and Caravan Village cost $30 a night. We were allocated a so-called drive-through site, right on the corner of internal roads. So-called, because had the site in front been occupied, we would not have been able to drive through at all! Gravel, but at least with a slab. As I’d feared, there was nothing attractive about the site, but it had all the services. It was clearly a squeezed-in area that was no-one’s first choice! Strangely arranged – the vehicle of the van next to us parked almost within touching distance of our awning. There was nowhere for us to park Truck, except for the empty site in front of us. Not sure what we would do if that was occupied. An en-suite style amenities block was nearby – very nice, but eight of the fourteen “rooms” in it were not in use – yet the Park was full! That seemed rather mean of them, at the outset and there were times through our stay when we had to queue for use of a bathroom. Thinking ahead was a good idea – it did not pay to be in a hurry…..
A lot of the rigs in the very full Park had obviously been here for a while – people working in the area. Emerald was big on the Harvest Trail that was followed by grey nomads and backpackers.
After setting up and having lunch, we drove to the Bowls Club – of course. John was rather put out to find he could not get a game tomorrow, but booked both of us for one on Sunday. I guessed his memory of St George had faded! As far as I was concerned, I was still in bushwalk credit!
On to the Information Centre, where we did the obvious. At the Post Office, I sent off postcards to assorted family members, and a birthday card for my brother’s 60th. Sussed out the newsagent about the availability and times for tomorrow’s papers. We ordered fish and chips for later collection, at a shop recommended by the person who checked us into the caravan park.
The day had been nice and hot, but by about 5pm had gotten cold enough for us to need windcheaters and long trousers.
John drove off to collect our dinner, at 6.15. It was ready right on time. Cost $25. Fish seemed incredibly expensive in Qld. It was alright, maybe a bit on the greasy side. The serves were certainly generous and I couldn’t finish all mine.
We had TV again, of course, though the reception wasn’t the best. John spent quite a bit of time fiddling with the aerial and its direction.
I was really tired and had a much earlier night than the screen watcher.