This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2013 Travels September 12


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


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.


2013 Travels September 10


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


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


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


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


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.

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2013 Travels September 5


After breakfast, set out to have a look around the area, having not been here before.

First stop was the bowls club at Emu Park, naturally. John couldn’t find anyone about the place, which made him cross, but did find a notice saying there was bowls on Friday mornings and on Sundays. Said he would go and play tomorrow. I thought to myself “this will make trying to go to lunch interesting!”

We drove around a marina area, part way back to Yeppoon, noting there was a seafood sales outlet there. Then continued on into Yeppoon, where I did yet more food shopping. The joys of a tiny fridge! I seemed to have spent so much time in supermarkets on this trip.

John checked out the Yeppoon Bowls Club while we were in the town. He was in a really nasty mood, so I told him I was not interested in doing any sightseeing with him, while he was like that. We returned to Bus. I emailed my friends, cancelling tomorrow’s lunch, which was obviously going to clash with John’s bowling and would be another source of aggro.

I was actually not feeling all that well – maybe stress. Spent most of the afternoon asleep

John had cold, leftover drumsticks and salad for tea. I passed.

Not one of our better days.

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2013 Travels September 4


Got away in good time in the morning…8am. It was another hot and very windy day.

We had rarely visited the Queensland coast south of Townsville, so there was some interest in the scenery as we drove. We had on a couple of occasions, overnighted in Rockhampton, but had never visited the nearby coastal settlements.

Turned off the highway north of Rockhampton, for Yeppoon. Refuelled at The Oaks, a hamlet before Yeppoon where it was easy to drive the Bus into. $1.559 cpl. Refuelling on the way into a place where we will be staying ensures a good start when next we leave.

Found our way through Yeppoon’s outskirts  and on to Kinka Beach, without too much drama. There were some intriguing glimpses of the coast between Yeppoon and Kinka Beach. Very attractive looking.

Our en-suite site at the Cool Waters Holiday Village was very comfortable, quite private, well grassed with attractive gardens. The en-suite was clean, large, very well set up. It even had a washing machine and provided an airing rack.

The park itself seemed huge. Part caravan park, part a type of motel and with one section that looked like it catered for school camps and the like. There was also a retirement unit section. The park was by the large Causeway Lake – that we’d crossed on a causeway on the way from Yeppoon. With a park-like section between the park and the lake it was going to be wonderful for dog exercise. There was also a lady living in one of the retirement units who would mind dogs, for a fee. Doggy day care…

The promised TV via cable worked well, so John was satisfied with that.

I decided this place was actually worth the eye-watering outlay.

After setting up, drove back into Yeppoon, found a supermarket and did some food shopping.

After lunch, went walking, exploring near the park. Followed a narrow foot track through tall grass, from the road to the beach. Only stayed there long enough for a quick look as I didn’t know if dogs were allowed here.

Outlook from Kinka Beach causeway

Then, I roasted some chicken drumsticks, with vegies, for tea.

I had been in touch with a couple of friends of mine who were full time travellers, who were staying “up the road” at Emu Park, and had arranged via email to meet up on Friday at a local tavern, for lunch and a good catch up on our respective travels. When I told John about this, he was not happy – not his sort of socializing, not his sort of people.

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2013 Travels September 3


We were a little slow this morning, getting packed up to go. We’d both agreed that the 500km or so, from here to Kinka Beach, was more than we wanted to do in a day, so decided to aim for Sarina for one night – irrespective of TV! So we could take our time getting going, leaving the park just before 10am.

A man from a couple of sites along came up to me, as we were finalizing things, and said he’d identified me from a travel forum we both followed. We had a quick chat. He said they were going to Sarina tonight, too, and that we should get together at happy hour for a proper chat.

It was another hot driving day, with a strong and gusty wind that occasionally “caught” Bus. John had to stay very alert. Most of the drive was through interesting farming country, always with the backdrop of the Dividing Range. From Airlie Beach it was some 35kms to rejoin the Bruce Highway at Prosperpine.

Suburban Airlie Beach. Back in ’98, this was a winding narrow road through wooded hillsides…

A little further south we passed the turn off to Midge Point. I remembered our stay there, in late 2002, when the midges were certainly out in force.

Refuelled at the hamlet of Kuttabul. Just a tiny place, but where refuelling might be easier than in Mackay, further ahead. $1.589 cpl.

Loved the sign…

Found our way through Mackay with no dramas, but decided that a ring road was sorely needed to the west! It felt like we were going out of our way, on the highway, into the town and then out again.

We had stayed in this area back in 2002, whilst waiting for our mango harvest work, back at Giru, to begin, so felt no need to prop and explore further this time. Sarina was to be purely an overnight rest stop.

South of Mackay we passed the turn off to the large Hay Point coal export terminal area that services some of the coal mines of the hinterland around Clermont.

Booked into the Sarina Palms Caravan Park. It was very full, but we were given a site that was long enough for us to keep the car hitched on the back. We paid $30 for the powered site. The park was very clean and tidy. However, the lady who booked us in was very abrupt, unpleasantly so, to the point where I would think twice about going back there. By contrast, the man (her husband?) who showed us onto the site, was really pleasant and helpful. Maybe he felt the need to compensate?

Sarina site

The park was not far from a large sugar mill and ethanol manufacture plant. We could clearly hear the clankings of the trains coming into the mill and the rumblings from the plant. But these were not too loud and, in a perverse way, I enjoyed the idea of still being connected to sugar cane country.

After our minimal set up, which does not take long in Bus, took Couey for a walk around the park. There were life sized concrete models of animals in the gardens – elephant, rhinoceros, and so on. Why? Maybe someone had a hankering to go on safari. Really quite incongruous. Couey didn’t even seem to notice them. Didn’t see my travel forum acquaintance anywhere and wondered if there was another caravan park in Sarina? At least that saved John from having to be sociable with strangers.

Continued our walk up the street from the park, towards the sugar mill, to have a closer look at that. There were some lovely old Queenslander style houses along the street.

A somewhat different Queenslander style

Tea was a quickly prepared meal of pasta with my tuna, caper and olive sauce.