This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


2007 Travels June 20


We woke to continuing rain and a very damp camp. That meant we were not sure about our plans to leave here today.

That dish was empty when we went to bed last night!

Just after  breakfast, the Ranger arrived. He informed us that we’d had 60mm of rain. Whilst it didn’t sound like much, in those terms, was much more impressive when translated to two and a half inches! No wonder the camp was damp!

Damp camp….

The rain event was widespread over the Kimberley, he said – an intense low pressure system that snuck in from up Indonesia way.

No joy in that sky

He declared all the Park roads closed, effective immediately. However, he said that he would escort anyone who wanted to leave, who had a proper 4WD outfit – vehicle and van – out of the Park. That was us, and only us. Everyone else had to stay here until the Park roads were opened again. I had a feeling that could be quite a while.

We had already begun the pack up, in case, so it did not take us long to be ready to go. Wet van awning was bundled up and laid on plastic on the van floor. M bundled up her living tent and it went onto roof rack.

The Ranger waited patiently for us.

The track was slushy on top, but there was a good firm base underneath, so we did not slide around at all. That was very good, as sliding about with the van on the back could have been somewhat hairy!

There were several places with water over the road, including a couple of causeways that were already flowing fairly fast.

Sheet of water across the road – there’s probably a creek channel in there somewhere….

We made it to the highway with no dramas and waved goodbye to our very helpful Ranger friend.

Causeway already flowing fast

As soon as I knew we were leaving the camp, I’d phoned Kununurra and booked us into the Kimberleyland Caravan Park. I made a snap decision to book for two weeks. My thinking was that, if all the dirt roads of the Kimberley region were affected by this, it could be at least a week, and probably more, before they were open again. Travellers would keep arriving on the sealed roads, so there would be a great rush when the roads re-opened. Two weeks could give us time to wait out that initial rush that would see everywhere crowded.

At least, we would know we had a place to be for that time!

The rain seemed to be easing somewhat by the time we got to Kununurra.

Now we were in WA – and there before we’d actually departed camp, thanks to changing time zones!

Our powered site at Kimberleyland cost $26 a night, with each seventh night free. We were close to the amenity block.

The park was generally well set up, but the sites did vary in quality. Our site was rather wet underfoot – especially after John had washed today’s accumulated mud off the rig!

M was given a smaller site, not far from us, that was partly also a walkway.

But we were happy to be in there at all. By early afternoon, people were being turned away, even from the informal unpowered camp area by the lake shore – itself rather soggy. There was no accommodation of any sort left in Kununurra, we heard.

All dirt roads in the Kimberley were indeed closed, as was the Tanami Track south from Halls Creek into the NT. Groups of travellers were stranded in lots of places, including in the Bungles and up on the Mitchell Plateau, and all the camping places along the Gibb River Road.

The caravan park had a frontage to Lily Creek Lagoon, an offshoot of Lake Kununurra. It would be really attractive in good weather. It was within walking distance of the town centre shops, initially through a pleasant park.

Setting up camp, manhandling large expanses of wet and dirty canvas, was not fun! We tackled our awning first, then gave M a hand with her living tent.

After set up and lunch – stomachs still on NT time – drove to the town centre.

Collected our bag of mail from the PO. Went to the Visitor Centre and gathered some information from the displays. Stayed away from the service counter, which was busy with people looking for somewhere to stay! Did some food shopping at the supermarket. I was able to buy a newspaper and catch up with the world again.

Drove out of town on the Ivanhoe Road, to the north, through the irrigated farmland, to where we knew there was a produce packing centre and associated market stall. Bought some fruit and vegies there. But there was not the range and variety we’d found on previous visits.

Back to caravan park lifestyle – tea, followed by TV, laptops and reading, and trying to sleep with background caravan park noises – so much more intrusive than those of the bush. Well, most bush night noises – the beach thick knee (curlew) call can be incredibly intrusive!

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2002 Travels December 20


We reached home mid-morning.

Our house sitter had already departed, on her drive to visit her family, near Sydney, for the holiday period. We had already arranged, via phone and mail, that she would return to us in the new year, and mind the place, and cats, while we went off adventuring some more. It was a mutually convenient arrangement.

The house was clean and tidy, the cats well fed and happy, and L had arranged a lovely array of welcome-home things. Sweet of her!


And thus to unpacking, cleaning the van and Truck, doing the washing that had accumulated – since Ayr! And getting the head into Xmas mode. It looked like I would be feeding at least ten people on Xmas night, with a rather short period to plan, stock up and prepare.  Enter real life!

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Gardens well kept by our house sitter



Kms travelled:     19,783

Kms towed:         11,998

Cost of diesel:        $2,309.42

Average fuel consumption:   8.0kms per litre

Dearest diesel:     $1.30cpl – Hells Gate Roadhouse

Cheapest diesel:   $0.78cpl – Dalby

Accommodation cost:   $2240.40

Dearest accommodation per night:  $22.50  –  Brisbane Gateway Holiday Village

Cheapest paid accommodation per night:   $6.00  –  Windorah Caravan Park

Number of different places stayed:  39

Longest stay in one place:  7 weeks – Adels Grove



2002 Travels December 19


As we were not due home until tomorrow, today’s was a more leisurely start, and a short stage to Yea. NOW we have slowed down!

It was a hot day, again.

Refuelled at Shepparton – 87cpl.

There was a stop for an indulgent pie and pasty  lunch for John, at a favourite bakery at Nagambie. I had sandwiches. It was pleasant by the lake there.

We reached Yea early in the afternoon. Booked into the Yea Family Park – $18.


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The last overnight for the van, this trip

After the basic set up, we went for a wander around town. It is a very pretty place, so this was quite enjoyable walking.

I commented to John that this was much nicer than the only previous time I’d stayed in Yea – some twenty years previous. Then, I’d spent several hours in the local hospital, suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, due to a faulty hatchback fastening on my car, that allowed exhaust fumes to be sucked in as I drove.

Today was a much more pleasant one than those we’d spent coming through NSW.

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2002 Travels December 18


After breakfast, set out to drive across to Bendigo, via Elmore.

It was about 125kms each way, but interesting enough, as we had not driven this route before.

Met daughter, and spent a couple of hours with her, at the Mall shops, wandering about, and drinking coffee. She was decidedly pregnant now – only a couple of months to go. It was great to see her, but all too brief, before we made our way back to Shepparton.

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2002 Travels December 17


Yet another long day of driving.

It did not have to be this way. We had told the house sitter we would not be home until 20 December, so we could have slowed down a bit!

Again, we travelled through the broad acres of the sheep/wheat belt of NSW.

Refuelled at Jerilderie – 92cpl.

At the Victorian border, the road changed from the Newell to the Goulburn Valley Highway. Since we had three nights to “spare”, I persuaded John that we should stop at Shepparton so I could try to arrange a visit with daughter. He did not want to deviate from the straight line home, with the van, but agreed we could park up in Shepparton, and do a day drive over to Bendigo, if I was able to arrange it.

We booked into the Shepparton East Caravan Park – $18 a night. Could not get into the one by the lake, where we’d stayed before. This was a nuisance, because the park was out of town and we had to drive to get to everything. Again, there were thus no pleasant walking options for me, while John napped or played on the computer – just surrounding road edges, mixing it with the traffic.

I phoned daughter and arranged to meet her for a while tomorrow, in Bendigo. They live a little way out of the city, and since her husband was home, and he and John do not mix well, we arranged a rendezvous at the shops in town.

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2002 Travels December 16


Today was another long driving day. I would really have liked to slow down just a bit, but John was focussed on home. My legs got quite crampy, sitting for long periods without a break, or any exercise, and I was sure it was not good for our circulation.

Today was my 57th birthday – and it was a lousy way to spend it, too! Hot, dry, dusty.

Refuelled at Moree – 82cpl. This seemed to still be a Qld type of price.

We passed through the broad acre farming country of central NSW, on and on, through the day. The only real area of interest was the more hilly country around Coonabarabran, with the Warrumbungles in the distance. From here on, we were on ground we’d covered before.

Refulled at the hamlet of Tomingley – 97cpl. Big difference from what we had been paying recently.

I was relieved when John decided to stop for the day at Forbes, about 4pm.

We booked into the Carapark, for $16. Did a quick set up, just for overnight, again. John immediately decided to have a nap and went soundly to sleep.

I needed some exercise, so went for a walk down the side of River Road, where the park was located. Given the name, I hoped I might come to the river, or a similarly attractive spot, but it was just a narrow road that went on much further than I could walk, so eventually retraced my way. In all, walked for about an hour and stretched out some of the kinks.

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Hitched up at Forbes

I’d hoped we might have a meal “out” – maybe a counter tea, or a take away Chinese meal, just something a little festive, but John wanted to keep Truck hitched up and we were too far from the shops to walk it in the dusk.

So, like yesterday, it was then shower, cook a basic meal and fall into bed.

I’d had much, much better birthdays – in fact, this was amongst the worst!

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2002 Travels December 15


From our very strategically located caravan park, it was very easy to get onto and take the motorway west towards Ipswich. We refuelled at Yamanto, near Ipswich – 80cpl.

From Ipswich the highway took us up through Cunningham Gap – not a part of the journey that either of us had been looking forward to, and not a way we’d been before. But it was the standard route used by trucks going south, and we figured it must be better than the climb up the Range to Toowoomba, the other alternative.

Although we climbed steadily, and the road was winding, we had no issues. I was rather reminded of the roads through the Dandenong Ranges at home, but without the really tall mountain ash trees of the forest there. It was a pleasant part of the trip, in the end. Being the weekend, the traffic was not too heavy, and there were not many trucks on the road.

Once through the Range, we were in the farming country of the southern Downs.

Negotiated the northern part of Warwick, still on the Cunningham Highway, then pressed on westwards.

We stopped at Inglewood, to have a brief visit with one of the couples we had worked with earlier in the year, at Adels Grove. I’d arranged this by phone, yesterday. Since we were going through their home town, it seemed impolite not to stop for a chat. We caught up on the doings and gossip from Adels, and entertained them with tales of our employment experiences since Adels. It was a pleasant break in the travel, but after lunch with them, we continued on.

I would happily have stopped for the day at Goondiwindi, where we would cross the border into NSW, but John wanted to extract the maximum distance from the day, so we pressed on to Moree.

There were big thunderclouds building in the western distance, as the afternoon wore on, but little rain eventuated from them, despite some trepidation on our part.

Booked into the Big 4 caravan park, for $17.50, after discount. We were told by the man who booked us in, to lock our van doors, even when we were inside, as the “local” youth (that was not quite his terminology!) would come in and snatch purses and wallets.

Despite this rather dire note, the town looked pleasant enough, as did the caravan parks.

We stayed hitched up. So there was no opportunity to have a look around the town – or to sample the artesian baths the place is known for. It was basically just shower, cook dinner and head for bed.

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2002 Travels December 14


After breakfast, we drove to the shop that was the specialist in providing clock and instrument workings for woodworkers. John bought a grandfather clock “pattern”, so he could order wood for same, in the big batch of timber that was to come from Tasmania. I had no idea where we would fit a clock that size into the house, but that was irrelevant! He also bought three instruments to make a weather station.

The lady running the shop was most impressive – very knowledgeable, and she made violas, clocks, boxes and clock kits, herself.

Then visited a chemist, so John could get Telfast for his midge bite effects.

We spent the rest of the day at the van, being itchy, and reading the weekend papers.

John spent some time on the computer, composing a Xmas letter.

The weather was lovely – a balmy afternoon and evening, which was a change from the heat we’d been experiencing, further north.


2002 Travels December 13


Another Friday 13th – don’t like!

We had to do a full pack up of the camp, and incurred more midge bites in the process. Around here, the midges haven’t heard that they are supposed to be critters that only come out at dusk!

It was a long, hot, day of driving.

Refuelled at a servo at Kunda Park – 82cpl.

I had hoped we could stay a day or more at somewhere on the Sunshine Coast, but John decided to get the driving over and done with, and get to Brisbane in one day.

He had gone into “heading south” mode – making a beeline for home, as fast as he can, regardless of the comfort of doing so. I hate ending our trips this way – means the trip ends with bad memories.

The drive was tense at times, due to other drivers doing stupid things, and making John cross.

It was about 4pm when we reached the Gateway Motorway, but the traffic was not too bad. I had been somewhat worried that we would be reaching Brisbane at peak time and that this would make John even more short-tempered.

I had selected the Gateway Village Holiday Park as looking like a pleasant place to stay. South side of the city was best, because the shop John came here for was that side of the city.

The park cost us $22.50, after discount. It was a very nice park. There were lots of villas – I hoped that in the future the caravan sites did not all get sacrificed to the spread of these.

We only set up the basics for a brief stay.

Bought fish and chips from a nearby place, for tea.

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2002 Travels December 12


After breakfast, we drove to look around nearby Agnes Waters. There were some shops – it was a bigger place than Seventeen Seventy. There was much real estate for sale – clearly, developers were hoping for the place to boom.

Bought some bakery items for lunch

Refuelled Truck – 85cpl.

We drove to explore some tracks in the nearby Eurimbula National Park. Headed for Middle Creek. The track was slow, rough and boggy/cut up in parts. It went through timbered sandy/swampy country – not particularly interesting. The track ended at Middle Creek, which was one of the creek inlets we’d crossed yesterday.

There were a few small campsites at the end of the track – with campers.

John fished in the creek mouth for a while, and caught a flathead.

On the way back, we sidetracked up to a lookout on a low rise – it was not really worth the effort, but Parks had clearly gone to some trouble to make the track, now neglected.

By now, we had many sandfly bites – again! They were making us both miserable. They were really prevalent at our caravan park, but we had been told they were not bad back at Agnes Waters.

We decided not to stay any longer, because of the midges. Pity, because I found the surroundings lovely. I was hugely entertained by the antics of our resident bush turkey – he was so busy gathering materials from all around for his mound, scrathing about in it, arranging it to his liking. Very fussy he was.

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Turkey at work!