This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2013 Travels September 15

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 15     COWRA TO YASS     140kms

Had a bad pain in upper abdomen during the night – it kept me awake for a while. Same as I’d had a few times before, and a bit worrying in the dark depths of night, when the imagination runs riot.

John’s daughter phoned at breakfast time. Said the boys and their father were at the snowfields until tonight, so we wouldn’t be able to see them until at least Monday. We hadn’t wanted to book into a Canberra caravan park until John had heard from her and when I started making calls, found I couldn’t get into any where until tomorrow. The Floriade Festival was on, of course.

So, after the long days of travel, we had to slow down again. John didn’t want to stay another night at Cowra – which was a good decision, as it turned out. So we left the park at 10.40 am and headed through Boorowa to Yass.

This was a pleasant drive, through pretty country.

We were now into long trousers and appreciating the cooler conditions.

Booked into the Yass Caravan Park. This was adequate for an over-nighter. They had a number of drive-through sites, so we were able to keep the Terios  hitched on. The sites were narrow, though, and our neighbours seemed very close. Our site cost $27. There was an oval behind the park, which was excellent for dog exercise. John could only get SBS on TV, though. Not so excellent!

After we’d set up, I noticed Bus was on a slight lean, and the back left tyre was flat. It was, of course, the wheel that I’d run along the stone kerbing yesterday in Dubbo, so I felt really bad. The first flat we’d ever had on Bus, and it was my fault!

Flat tyre at Yass

Being Sunday, there wasn’t much we could do about it, so decided to leave it till the morning to work out what to do.

Had a pleasant, long walk, around the oval area, with John and dog.

Late in the afternoon there was a light, drizzly rain. A while since we’d had rain – it was almost welcome!

I cooked a chicken stir fry and noodles for tea, and enjoyed it much more than last night’s.


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2013 Travels September 14

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 14     NARRABRI TO COWRA     542kms

Had another early start as John wanted to put in another day of big kms.

It definitely grew cooler as we headed south.

Refuelled at Gilgandra. $1.599cpl.

We made very good time to Parkes, despite the fact that I drove for some of the time and I drive Bus a bit more slowly than John. Traffic on the Newell Highway was predictably constant, but there were few hold ups and adequate places where faster vehicles could pass us.

Distant Warrumbungle Range from the Newell Highway

At a roundabout in Dubbo I was crowded by a vehicle in the lane to my right and ran the rear Bus wheel along a high kerb, quite markedly. It did not feel good.

John’s leg seemed to be improving, under the combined onslaught of pills and cream. Given that, he decided to detour to Canberra to see his two grandsons. They were keen swimmers and he wanted to see them train – or compete – for the first time, as the family had only been back for a few months from their recent three year overseas posting. So he phoned daughter and left a message for her.

Pulled into a roadside stop to eat lunch and give dog a walk. I’d made some sandwiches this morning for John, with the last of our bread. I had a muesli bar and a mandarin – better than a sandwich with somewhat stale bread!

Cloudy skies created interesting light effects on the fields

I suggested we go on to Cowra today. Left the Newell at Parkes and travelled via Eugowra and Canowindra. These “back” roads were fine and the scenery through farming country really lovely, after the inland dryness of the past few days.

We’d had the Warrumbungles in the distance, around Coonabarabran, to provide some travel interest. Further south, the crop land areas provided contrasts of green with the impossibly vivid yellow of vast canola crops. It was so good to see  green vistas again.

At the Cowra Holiday Park, on the northern edge of town, we had an ensuite site, for $36, after discount. The bathroom was good, but up steep steps. I quite liked the park, even though much of the surface was gravel. I thought they were trying really hard to cater for their travelling clientele – and the guy told John he could let the dog run loose on the grass along their fence line. Much appreciated by dog! As well, the TV reception for tonight’s football was good.

Cowra site

After set up, I asked John to drive down to the shops and get some bread, for toast tomorrow and lunch. He came back with donuts – a weakness of his – and crumpets. They would be good for breakfast, but not going to do much for tomorrow’s lunch scenario!

After such a long couple of days of travel, I suggested to John that we indulge in KFC for tea, if he would go and get same. Very rare for me to suggest something like that but I really did not feel like cooking tea. I should have, because the chicken was too greasy for my taste.

Watched the football – a final of some sort. John’s team, Carlton, lost badly. That ended their 2013 season and he was not happy.

I got the doonas out of storage – nights were chilly again.


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2013 Travels September 13

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 13     CALIGUEL LAGOON TO NARRABRI     448kms

Early start. Left at 7.40am. Today was forecast, in these parts, to be hotter than yesterday.

I’d have liked to stay at the Lagoon an extra day or two, as our friends were doing, rather than travel on this day. Not that I am superstitious, but why tempt fate? However, John had lapsed into the dreaded “let’s get home, fast” focus, that seemed always to afflict him whenever we turned in that direction. No more “dawdling” now.

The road was very “bouncy” south of Moonie, even with Bus speed down to 60kmh. Passed the remains of what seemed to have been a fairly new and large Royal Flair caravan, beside the road. The van was in small pieces. It looked to have been a very recent happening. We thought it likely that the appalling road conditions had contributed to that disaster. Not far on from that, we were passed by a 4WD towing a large Traveller caravan. We thought he was going too fast for the road condition – the van was really wagging its tail and bouncing up and down on the road. The contents of its cupboards would have been interesting, at the end of the day!

Goondiwindi had been the initial target for the day. We stopped there to give dog a walk around, and then decided to press on to Moree, as it was still only mid morning.

Back on the Newell….

Back into NSW. The run to Moree was uneventful, with us sharing the driving, and the road surface much better. When nearly at Moree, we both decided to continue on, to Narrabri.

Refuelled at Moree – $1.629cpl. While John was doing that, I phoned ahead and booked a caravan park site. We were able to pull into a parking area by the Mehi River, in the town, and I made some lunch.

We reached Narrabri about 4pm. A long day in Bus but not too tiring. It is comfortable to travel in.

Our ensuite site at the Highway Caravan Park cost $40.50, after discount. There was a great grassed area behind the park where we were able to give Couey a good run and ball chase.

Narrabri en-suite site

John took the car to the shops to try to get some dressings for his leg. He came back with a cream recommended by the pharmacist – Flaminal Hydro. I’d not heard of it before, but he said she was definite that it would improve the sores.           

For tea I cooked steaks with creamy peppercorn sauce from a packet.

Watched AFL football after tea – parts of the finals series. That time of year again.


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2013 Travels September 12

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 12     MILES TO CALIGUEL LAGOON     40kms

John woke up with his sore leg red and with a burning sensation, so he was quite worried about that.

We decided that V and F would head off straight to tonight’s possible destination of Caliguel Lagoon, just south of Condamine, whilst we would see if we could get some medical attention for John, before joining them. If they didn’t think the Lagoon was any good, the fallback position was that they would wait for us in Condamine and we’d have another think.

Went to the Emergency Department at the Miles Hospital. They sent him on to see a doctor – after scaring him silly by saying that he had to act promptly if he wanted to keep the leg! Doctor gave him a script for really strong anti-biotics – the same as he’d had in Innisfail. He was told one shouldn’t take more than one course of these because they can damage liver and kidneys. Of course, he didn’t mention that he’d not long completed a course of same. Found a chemist and had the script filled.

By then, we’d had a message from V saying they were at the Lagoon and were keeping a nice spot for us. That was reassuring.

It was another hot day, forecast to reach the low 40’s in these parts.

Set out south. Passed through the small town of Condamine. About 3kms south was the turn off to Caliguel Lagoon, the Meandarra Road. The camping area was about 4kms along this road.

We parked up at the spot V and F had chosen, near them, right at the edge of the  camping area, away from other campers and with no room for anyone else to squeeze in next to us. This was good because, as the afternoon wore on, the place became quite busy, with later arrivals casting around for a place to camp.

Waterfront sites at a premium. One vanner had the best site, down below the rig with blue 4WD

One caravanner had found a lovely place to camp, down a short little lane that dipped down by the water and back up. They had a great view over the lagoon from what was really only a spot big enough for one rig. Later, he found himself closed in by a motorhome that reversed back down it and parked only a couple of inches from the back bumper of the caravan. Some people are just unbelievably crass.

Our camp

Overall, the camp area was really pleasant. There were trees for shade, an adequate amenity block, even a small fresh water tank. All free, too. At this time of year, and with the drought, it was dry and dusty, but would have been an excellent place to stay for a while, earlier in the year.

Caliguel Lagoon

The lagoon appeared to be a long backwater of the Condamine River, filled in flood times, I guess. There was a boat ramp, so the place might have been busier and noisier on weekends.

Through the afternoon F fished – unsuccessfully – though Couey was in danger of being caught a couple of times, being enthusiastic about things being thrown in to the water.

V tried to sort out a problem with her notebook, and emails. John’s help did not seem to make things any better.

They defrosted a parcel of mackerel, caught on the recent stay at Cooktown. I cooked it in tempura batter for us all, and we made some salad as well. F loved the batter so much that he got V to ask me for the recipe. They were both surprised to hear it was tempura batter mix from a packet, with some lemon pepper added! Very easy.

We cooked the fish outdoors, on a single burner butane gas stove of F’s. It was good not to have the extra heat, and fish smells, in Bus. It might be useful to get ourselves one of those.

After the dishes were done, we sat outdoors, drank port and talked – under a myriad of stars. A wonderful night – shades of the old days at Adels Grove!  Our friends promised to come and visit us in Melbourne, sometime in the next few months.


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2013 Travels September 11

WEDNESDAY 11 SEPTEMBER     THEODORE TO MILES    240kms

Got a good early start today, leaving Theodore at 8.30am.

The day was hot. The road was somewhat bouncy in sections. Reached Miles about midday.

Refuelled at Miles – $1.629 cpl.

Our friends had arranged with the Showgrounds caretaking lady for us to have a spot near them. It allowed us to keep the car attached and to have power. Those were the pluses. The minus was that we had to park right next to a very large shed, and on a slight sideways slope. Not a great outlook. But I guess one doesn’t go to places like these for the views. We could walk Couey – on the lead – around the perimeter of the Showgrounds.

Miles Showgrounds

It was great to see V and F again. Hadn’t seen F since we last camped together, in 2005. Though we’d had lots of phone chats, nothing beats the actual company. He looked a lot fitter than I’d expected, given some recent health issues. They had been as far north as Cooktown, for the wedding of friends’ son.

After setting up – didn’t take long – we sat around and chatted for the rest of the day.

I was not particularly impressed with the Miles Showgrounds camp. The amenities were a bit too rustic to be worth the $20 we paid to stay here. Theodore was better.

I cooked sausages and fries for tea, and we got together outside, to eat. After, that, retired to our respective homes on wheels.


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2013 Travels September 10

TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 10     KINKA BEACH TO THEODORE   274KMS

We left Kinka Beach just after 9am, on another hot day.

I’d planned a route via Emu Park, that would avoid going back into Yeppoon. But the driver preferred to obey the GPS, which took us on a roundabout path on back roads and eventually to Yeppoon. He needed three roadside stops before we even reached Yeppoon!

Thence to Rockhampton. The way I’d selected went around the edges of the city centre, but trusty GPS took us right through the middle. Much traffic and traffic lights. Even John conceded that he should have just let me navigate.

We had a big difference of opinion about which way to go after Rockhampton. I wanted to take the Emerald road and then the Leichardt Highway, after Westwood. John always favours the most direct route, on paper, at least, refusing to concede that such is not necessarily the wisest or fastest. For this reason, I try to keep him away from maps, but the bloody GPS now conspires against me.

So, we headed out on the Mt Morgan road. Much more squiggly on paper! We passed a warning sign to the effect that caravanners might need to think twice about going this way, but John pressed on regardless. Then we had to detour, because the road ahead was closed due to a landslide. I suggested we back track and take the Emerald road, but no. The round about, and poorly signed, detour took us through some small villages and then along Razorback Road. The road name should have been a final warning.

The Razorback Road

On and up the Razorback Range – aptly titled.  One long, bendy section of 17% gradient saw Bus down to first gear and just managing it, by the time we got to the top. We decided this was an indicator that there might be some places, in the future, where it would be wisest to separate the two vehicles and drive them independently – places like the Toowoomba Range and Cairns to Kuranda Road came quickly to mind.

After all that, we didn’t even stop in Mt Morgan. However, filed it away as of future interest. I think John was actually a bit rattled by the morning’s drive and just wanted to get the day over. Takes a lot to rattle him, too.

It took us two hours to get from Kinka Beach to the Leichardt Highway at Dululu, about 100kms.

Things improved after that as we travelled south through grazing country. I could now say I’d been to (through) Banana! It was certainly hotter away from the coast.

Reached Theodore by mid-afternoon. Refuelled in the town. $1.669cpl.

Found a spot to overnight at the Showgrounds. This was quite a pleasant place to stay, on a powered site, for $15. It was a bit prickly underfoot for Couey’s comfort, though. It didn’t stop her from chasing a thrown ball, at top speed, but was funny to watch her then trying to pick her way delicately back to us.

Some late afternoon entertainment was provided by the local CFA burning the growth along a nearby fence line.

Theodore Showgrounds

Cooked sticky pork strips for tea, with rice. My appetite was back.

V and F phoned during the afternoon to say they’d come across from Gayndah and were now waiting for us to turn up at the Miles Showgrounds, tomorrow.


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2013 Travels September 9

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 9     KINKA BEACH

After breakfast, we headed off in car. I thought we were going to the shops to stock up before we headed inland tomorrow. So, I didn’t take the camera, unfortunately, because it turned into a part sight seeing day, of the kind I’d anticipated having in this rather lovely area.

On the way to Yeppoon, crove in and checked out the fish outlet shop at the Marina, to see what was available. The range looked good and worth a visit on our return past.

Then followed the coastline to the Mercure Golf Resort, to the north of Yeppoon. From there, John decided we’d go to Byfield – just because he saw a sign. The village of Byfield was some 40kms from Yeppoon and was partly surrounded by State Forest.

Byfield area

Passed a sign post to Red Rock Campground, in the State Forest, and drove in there to have a look. It was a very pleasant area, with some basic facilities, like toilets. On another visit, if  it was at an earlier time of the year, would be great to take Bus out there and stay. It is hard to find pleasant “bush” camp areas that allow dogs, but this was one.There were no campers at all, not surprising, given that it was very hot and dry. We were able to give dog a good run and ball throw.

Drove on through Byfield village and had a look about, hoping by now to maybe find somewhere to get lunch. Not to be – nowhere open on a Monday.

Took another side road, this time out to Nobs Pottery. Spent ages there, looking around. It was rather an alternative lifestyle place, with interesting gardens, nooks and crannies, in a rainforest setting.

They stocked lots of attractive and ususual items. I bought some earrings – silver frogs (I love frogs), and some for a future present for M. We decided to buy a pottery platter for her, as a thank-you for keeping an eye on the garden and mowing the lawns.  

The Byfield Fern only occurs in this area and is featured as an etched shape on some of the pottery, such as the platter we bought for M. I liked it so much that I bought one for me, too. We also bought two coffee mugs for Bus – too small for our every day use, but “good” ones to use for visitors. A step up from tin mugs.

Byfield Fern

Went back to Yeppoon, where John was able to buy a pie for his lunch. We did a food shop, then on the way back to Bus, bought fish from the Marina.

Today’s was a pleasant outing, though I wished I’d had the camera. Enjoyed being out and about again. We must come back here on a future trip. The scenery looks superb and I did feel cheated that I hadn’t gotten to see much of it. I’d certainly be happy to come back to this park, too.

Fish and fries for dinner.


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2013 Travels September 8

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 8     KINKA BEACH

John went off to bowls at 8.15, taking the car, so I had another Bus-based day. I tidied the Bus, did some washing, defrosted the fridge, washed the floor – always needed after a fridge defrost! Did some computing and downloaded some library books to my reader.

Another site view. Ensuite to left. Definitely worth the money…

I emailed our travelling friends from Griffith, that we’d met up with at Cobar earlier in the year. Then F phoned me. They were currently at Gayndah and suggested we meet up at Miles on Wednesday. At least John doesn’t mind their company!

John came home tired, but pleased he lasted the full-on day. He hadn’t slept much last night apparently, because he was anxious  about performing adequately at the bowls today. His sore leg that had flared up at Flying Fish Point still had not healed, and I was using Betadine and silver dressing on it. So those two things combined would have affected his moods.  He was still taking anti-biotics for the leg. The ones prescribed at Innisfail ran out today, but he found an older script that he’d brought from home, had it filled at Yeppoon yesterday and went straight onto those. I did not think mixing different varieties was a great idea, but kept quiet.

I had only planned a light salad meal for tonight, because a hot lunch was part of the bowls day event. However, John had been one of the last served, and didn’t get much, so he was more hungry than I’d anticipated. I added ¬†some tinned soup and a can of red salmon to the offering.


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2013 Travels September 7

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 7     KINKA BEACH

After breakfast, John went off to go book in for bowls tomorrow. He came back with some bread for his lunch, but forgot to get the weekend papers I’d asked for.

I did some washing – nice luxury, having our own machine on site – and one that didn’t need to be fed on coins. Took Couey walking a couple of times.

Such a sneaky dog…

I cooked red emperor – from the freezer – for John’s tea. I had some salad.

John’s daughter phoned, after not being in touch for months, since we visited Broken Hill. That was a surprise.

The evening’s federal election coverage was interesting, even if the results had really been a foregone conclusion, with the Coalition parties defeating a government rent by disunity and personal conflicts.¬† Usually, in previous elections, I had missed most – or all – of the main coverage, because of working at a voting centre and not getting home until really late. This time, it was a pleasure to watch the results unfold. It seemed that the comeback of Mr Rudd had managed to save some Qld seats that would otherwise have been lost. It will be interesting to see what the next three years brings, given some of the challenges that are facing the nation.


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2013 Travels September 6

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 6     KINKA BEACH

We spent today at Bus.

Our spacious site, with its own drive through road

I was still not feeling all that well, or like being around the moody husband, but managed to go for a walk around the park, by myself, and then took Couey across to the area beside the lake, for a run.

John apparently decided not to go play bowls after all. He didn’t say why and I didn’t ask.

John had to unblock the outlet from the grey water tank again, as there was only a tiny dribble coming out. This time he knew exactly what to do. A large amount of grey water went onto the gardens, via bucket and then via the reconnected sullage hose. Clearly, waste water tank management will be an ongoing issue, in Bus.

I cooked whiting and fries for John’s tea, but just had some toast, myself.