SATURDAY 22 AUGUST CHARTERS TOWERS TO RUBYVALE 500kms
We were up before 7am, but didn’t rush to get away. because I wanted to get the Weekend Australian from the office, and it wouldn’t be in till at least 7.30. We were away at 7.45.
Charters Towers was quiet at that time of the morning, so it was easy to wind our way through the centre of town.
It was good that the road south was now a decent width, all the way. But quite a bit of the older surface was very “lumpy”. It made for much rocking of the rig, especially where they had widened the old road by simply adding a strip on the side. There was now a groove along that. I didn’t remember it as quite that bad when we’d gone north, but it certainly was not great, going south.
Stopped at Belyando Roadhouse for smoko. There was a large, wide load stopped there, going north. What a good place to meet it!
The day grew hot – up into the 30’s.
Stopped again at Clermont to get fuel, and have lunch. We ate this walking around the surrounds of the servo, mostly looking across a big dam, where there were a couple of hundred plumed whistling ducks, plus shags, egrets, herons and the like. I love the sounds the whistling ducks make. They are a pretty duck, too.
The drive from Charters Towers to Clermont had been pretty dull, country wise. Dry, but still a bit of water in most creeks.
While we were parked at Clermont, another wide load went passed, travelling north. Again, we’d been fortunate in our timing. Increased mining activity further north had meant encounters like this were much more common than when we first started travelling. I guess transport technology had changed too, and now trucks were bigger and could take such loads.
From Clermont to Capella, there was more interest, because we could see the Peaks in the distance.
As we drove south from Clermont, made the decision to go to Rubyvale for a couple of nights. It was a place we’d enjoyed on previous visits, and we had a couple of “spare” days. We hadn’t been there since 2000, so it would be interesting to see if much had changed.
From Capella, took the “back” way to Rubyvale. This was quite a good, sealed road, with a few twists and turns and low culverts over creeks. It mightn’t be quite so good after prolonged rains! It was interesting, being new to us, and much shorter than going via Emerald.
The Rubyvale Caravan Park was packed! As we came round the corner and saw it, I had a sinking feeling that we wouldn’t get in. Didn’t have a Plan B. We got the second last site, so there was not much choice. But it was alright – we were backed against a rock wall, so no neighbours behind us. Just on both sides – and very close. We did have a slab, not that this was vital in such dry weather.
The cost was $20 per night. As we were going through the booking in formalities, John told the man we’d stay three nights – news to me! But I was sure we would find things to do.
We were told that the previous owner, who we’d gotten to know a bit, previously, had sold the park and attached post office, six years before, and retired out to his “Castle” (Folly!), which still did not have any general public road access. Although the land where the Castle stood was a perpetual lease, someone had stuffed up when that was originally issued, and no right of way access had been part of it. Although E had been able to use an easement for his own access, the general public couldn’t and the owners of the surrounding station land refused to allow access across their land. So his plans for motel/backpacker units, out there, that he’d told us about in 2000, still had not come to fruition. Pity, because the place was unusual and interesting.
The new park owner had certainly improved things. The park was cleaner, neater, more landscaped. The pool still worked, but was a bit too small to tempt me in, when so many others had used it. He said they had been packed out like this since Easter – that was a definite change from our previous visits. It had become a very good little business then. They had sold off the Post Office part of it, to concentrate on the caravan park.
As before, there were lots of rainbow lorikeets and apostle birds around the park.
We set up, then spent time inside, with the air-con on.
Texted our location to daughter, who replied that it was raining in Bendigo.
A hippie type Coaster bus came in on the last site, next to us. An older woman and a teenage girl, who proceeded to set up a tent, right under our side windows. The older woman smoked, too, so we had to keep the windows on that side closed, which meant we were not inclined to turn off the air-con, which we might otherwise have done, out of consideration for them. I wondered if we would ever get to the point of having no-smoking caravan parks?
Tea was teriyaki marinated steak, mushrooms, beans. The meat was really delicious.
Watched a bit of TV, but were in bed by 10pm, after two tiring days.