This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2013 Travels July 23

TUESDAY 23 JULY     CAPELLA TO CHARTERS TOWERS     458kms

Today was the longest day stage we’d done, to date, in Bus, and it was quite easy and uneventful. However, that is back to the long-day style of travel that we used to do with the van, and I didn’t want that to become a pattern again. John was just not good at dawdling and smelling roses!

We left Capella at 8.40, knowing today would be a long stage.

This was yet another road we’d travelled several times before.

Coal mine overburden dump beside the highway near Clermont

Around Clermont was evidence of the massive coal mining operations of this region: huge overburden heaps, the mining service businesses in Clermont itself, a conveyor belt system beside the road for kms, and occasional glimpses of mines in the distance.

Long conveyor belt taking coal to trains
Coal conveyor crossing a road

At Belyando Crossing we stopped for fuel and a break, and ate our packed lunch standing around outside Bus. As usual, the roadhouse was busy – and expensive. We paid $1.846cpl a litre for diesel.

I drove, from Belyando to the outskirts of Charters Towers, when John wanted to take over again.

I came to a roadworks section where new asphalt was being laid on one half of the road. Nothing new in that. But our line of traffic was “escorted” along the single open lane by a traffic control vehicle with an electronic signboard and read “FOLLOW ME”. He led us for the several kms of the affected road, then turned off, performed a u-turn and commenced to lead the waiting line of traffic back the other way. I hadn’t seen one of those before and wondered why they used that instead of the usual people with radios. I would tell my traffic management company manager son about it. I didn’t think his company had one of those!

We reached Charters Towers in good time. Didn’t need fuel. We had been caught before by me trying to navigate through the hard-to-negotiate centre of town, so I directed us on the ring road around the edge of town, to the Flinders Highway, then back towards town to the Greenvale Road, where the Dalrymple Tourist Park was located. It was much less stressful to go the long way round.

I had phoned yesterday, to try to book an en-suite site, but they had none available. We were put on a very long site at the side of the park, not far from the amenities – fortunately, as it turned out – and with plenty of tether space for dog. It cost $31.25 for the night, after a 5% Seniors discount was applied.

After setting up, John was straight onto the internet and gaming.

I wanted to take Couey for a walk along the wide, grassy verges alongside the road back into town. Something spooked her, though and we’d only gone about 100 metres from the park when she became determined to return to Bus and John. I managed to drag her a short way further – all 30kg of resistant dog – then she resorted to her ultimate no-go act, rolling onto her back with all legs in the air. So back we went. Later on, John came too and we managed a short walk outside the park.

I cooked pasta carbonara for tea.

By bedtime, I was feeling a bit off-colour. By midnight, I was haunting the amenities! This sort of upset was most unusual for me and I couldn’t work out why, as John was fine. After a couple of miserable and chilly hours, I returned to Bus and sat sipping dry ginger ale and using my headlamp to read, as a distraction, until about 3am, when I felt confident enough to go back to bed.


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1998 Travels December 5

SATURDAY 5 DECEMBER   CHARTERS TOWERS TO LAKE MARABOON   518kms

We were up at 6.15am and away at 8.10, after a good, uneventful pack up.

It was a hot day, of course.

We found it a rather monotonous drive south to Emerald. From Charters Towers, as far south as the Cape River – about 125kms – the road was mostly just a one width strip of bitumen; after that it was a normal two lane road and was pretty good. There were a couple of long stretches of road works on the single width sections.

We wonder whether weekends are THE days for moving extra-big loads? Had to pull over – right over – for five different lots, all with police escorts front and rear. Two lots had big dredges or machine buckets; one was a big shed or building; two were big machines, with huge double sets of wheels hanging over the edges of the tray of the carrying vehicle. They were monster loads.

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It is a good thing that the road has wide shoulders – south of Belyando Crossing

The country was a mix of scrub and grazing lands, but was pleasantly green.

We stopped at Belyando Crossing for a drinks break. Truck finished up parked by a big stock road train that came in after us, which dwarfed our rig. We worked out that the road train had 62 wheels. Would cost a lot to get new tyres on that!

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Our rig is dwarfed by a road train at Belyando Crossing

There was a big coal mine – Blair Athol – just north of Clermont.

We did not deviate to drive into Clermont township, which is slightly off the main road. We had originally thought of overnighting there, but John was feeling able to push on to Emerald.

We had lunch at a roadworks site, south of Clermont.

The Peak Range in the distance, to the east, made the last 100kms or so, more interesting to travel. Closer to Emerald, we came into farming country which was quite lush.

We bought fuel in Emerald – 75cpl. It is hard to account for the variations in fuel prices that we are encountering.

Then drove on out to Lake Maraboon Caravan Park, by the Fairburn Dam, some 20kms south of Emerald. We had decided that this sounded a more pleasant place to stay than in the town.

The Fairburn Dam was built across the Nogoa River for irrigation and forms the second largest dam in Qld, after Lake Dalrymple on the Burdekin. We drove over the dam wall and spillway to get to the caravan park. The road over the dam wall was not all that wide and it is definitely not the sort of feature I like driving over! We got good views, though.

The caravan park looked ok, so we booked in for a week. It cost $81 after Top Tourist discount and we get a free night. Pretty good deal, we thought. The place turned out to be rather busy and noisy today, though, with a large group out here for a Xmas party – with many children. There is some sort of cafe place attached to the park that obviously caters for such things. There were also motor boats and water skiers down the hill at the lake. But, we have a pleasant site. Hopefully, things will quieten down after the weekend.

There are lots of rainbow lorikeets and apostle birds around the park.

After we got set up, went for a walk along part of the lake side, where there was a path. We needed some exercise after the day of sitting.

Tea was vegie stir fry with hokkien noodles.

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