Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday 23rd September

Wednesday 23rd September: Travel from Glenlyon Dam to Moree. Head wind all the way in one of the biggest dust storms that NSW (Australia) has ever seen. The photo attached show the view that we woke upto this morning. No there is nothing wrong with the picture the colour is actually what we woke upto.

Tuesday 22nd of September: Left the Gold Coast after a week, head for Texas in QLD, why you ask because Leigh sings a song about it so I had to go and have a look just to say we have been there. We didnt quite get to Texas, Jenny found a Caravan park at Glenlyon Dam (near Texas) very nice place and great if you are a fisherman.

Monday the 21st of September (Cassidy's birthday); Cassidy thought we where leaving the Gold Coast however we surprised her and stayed another day and took her to Movie World. Picture speaks for itselfs. Went on many good rides, the Superman excape was more than likely the best one that I went on. Cassidy chickened out.

Sunday the 20th of September; Went to Andrew and Christy Huths house in Brisbane for lunch. Had a great day and Thomas was crying when we left as he did not want Cassidy to leave. Thanks, Huthy, Christy, William and Thomas for a great day.

Saturday 19th of September, spent the day looking around Surfers Paridise, went to Sushi Train again for lunch and had a look a number of shops (again).

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday 18th of September

Friday the 18th of September, well it was off to White water world" today, Cassidy and I had a ball riding on all of the water rides and Jenny just laid on one of the one thousand banana lounges in the Park. The first ride we went on was the Hydro Coaster then the Green room. The Photo below is of Cassidy and I coming out of the Green room. The Green room is a water ride that has a very steep drop and you end up being dumped into this giant funnel which you go from side to side and then out the end into a swallow pool. Great fun.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday 17th September

Thursday the 17th of September. We have been on the Gold Coast now for a couple of days and have spent today having a look around Surfer Paradise and the shopping Centre. We went for a ride on the Mono rail which runs from Broad beach shopping centre to Jupiter Casino and luckily I was able to keep Jenny out of the Casino. We also had a walk around Pacific Fair shopping centre. This morning we went and had a look at the Wax Museum. They have many different people on display and down stairs a chamber of horrors.

Wednesday the 16th of September it was up early and off to Dream world. Cassidy and spent a lot of time waiting for rides and Jenny spent more time waiting for us. The only ride that Jenny went on for the day was the white water rapids ride, which Cassidy and I went on three times. We also went on the three different roller coasters at Dreamworld. The Runaway Repter (Nickelodeon, this was to warm Cassidy up) then after Lunch we waited 40 minutes for the Mike Doohan Motor Cycle roller coaster and then the Cyclone, on which I heard Cassidy say "Your dead meat dad". We went on other rides however the one's named where the best. The photo show Cassidy and I on the Mick Roller coaster we are on the second lot of bikes.

Tuesday the 15th of September, travelled from Maroochydore to Helensville, via Brisbane. Man are they doing some work on the road between just north of the Brisbane river to where the Gold Coast highway joins the Freeway. They are completely duplicating the Gateway Bridge.

Monday the 14th of September, what a big day, it was up early and off to Australia Zoo. What a great place. The Irwins have done a great good with this Zoo and the message they put across in everything they do (a message of conservation of all animal life). This I think was one of Jenny and Cassidy's favorite days. The picture is of them and a Wedge tail eagle. The also had their photo taken with an Iguana. Shown below.
Sunday 13th of September, Cassidy and I hired a Kayak and paddled around the Maroochydore river and after lunch went for a drive out to the big pineapple. Things sometime dont really change. The big pineapple is the same as I can remember it 30 years ago. The parfait's at the big pineapple where as good as they where 30 years ago. Jenny and Cassidy of course had chocolate and I had a Mango one. Just great.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday 12th of September

Well how slack am I it has been over a week since I last updated the blog. Today was a kick back day in Maroochydore. Arrived here yesterday from Possum Park which is a very nice Caravan Park 20 kilometers out of Miles. Possum Park was a world war two ammunition's storage site which the government closed down in about 1956 and sold off every thing. The bunkers have been turned in accomodation. Great little park with heaps of character. Well today we just went shopping again. I dont know what it is with women and shopping but their whole life could more than likely be spent in shopping centres. Maroochydore is full of plenty of beautiful people, and we found some good coffee and that is coming from someone who prefers tea.
Friday the 11th of September spent most of the day in the car getting from Possum Park (Miles) to Maroochydore over 400K's. Some very interesting road and it is easy to see where most of the votes are in Queensland, the roads really improve the closer you get to the Sunshine Coast (I also assume Brisvegas and Surfers also) All caravan manufacturers should road test the vans on out back Queensland roads. They need lessons on how to build roads from the Victorians. The van however is still in one piece and the Navara is going well.
Thursday the 10th of September. Pulled out of Carnarvon Gorge heading for the coast. Nearly ran out of Diesel as I had not calculated correctly, having an empty jerry can which I should have filled in Rockhampton. Also with the great Queensland roads if you dont have the windows on the canopy locked they will eventually open, which they did coming down the Carnarvon development road. Also the fridge door came opened and the contents opened into the van (no great problems here) and thanks to a great truck drive who alerted us to one of the windows open on the van. Arrived at Possum Park caravan park (Miles). Louise/Bill thanks to another recomendation from the Caravaning book you gave me a birthday or two ago. This book has proved very helpful recomending a number of great parks and things not to miss on the way.

Wednesday the 9th of September. Hiked the Carnarvon Gorge, Cassidy and I made it to Wards Gorge (12.5+ Km) and Jenny had to pull out just before after climbing in and out of the Amphitheatre. What a great hike, nothing too strenious. I would like to go back in the wet and hike the whole gorge. Photo's are of the King Ferns and the Amphitheatre. Wards Canyon is one of the only places left in the world where King ferns still grow as it has a continuous supply of water all year round. Which the king fern needs to survive as the ferns are held up by the water in their stalk.

Tuesday the 8th of September. Travelled from Rockhampton to Carnarvon Gorge. Another day spent largely in the car on the great Queensland road system. We actually left Rockhampton around 11am as I had to get the front end of the Navara aligned. I would assume that it didnt like the 9,874,000 corrigations on the Cape York developement road. On the trip from Rockhampton to Carnarvon a highlight was the climb up to Mt Morgan an old mining town. The little 2.5 litre diesel did a great job pulling the caravan up the 5 plus kilometers of up hill winding road.

Monday the 7th of September. Left Airlie Beach for Rockhampton stopping at the Sarina mini sugar mill. This is a tourist attraction built by the Sarina shire to give the tourist an insight into the sugar industry. At the Sarina Sugarshack we saw a video about the Sugar industry and then one of the volunteers gave us a tour of the Sugar shack, crushing some sugar cane and showing us how they use the sugar juice (making things to sell to us). The tour guide of course was an ex school principle and gave us a great tour involving the kids and making them think.

Sunday the 6th of September (fathers day) after getting some lovely presents and my daughter cooking me breakfast, Cassidy and I went for a swim, and then for a ride on a go kart that the Park hires. We then went into Airlie Beach and had hogs breathe for lunch. This place has changed since the last time we where there. less lay back and more tourist focused.

Saturday the 5th of September. Left Ayr for I thought Rockhampton but on the way we called into the Bowen tourist centre where Jenny and Cassidy found a great caravan park in Airlie Beach. Not the cheapest park we have been in, however it was certainly the easiest to get in and out of. The spot we had allowed you to drive into your spot and after un hitching, then thru a common grassed area and park your car behind your van. When we left you just had to hook on again and drive out Great. Cassidy and I spent a lot of time in the Swimming pool and that evening went to see Bolt at their open air picture theatre. Photo is of Cassidy and I in the pool. Great pool with two water slides, the park also has a jumping pillow which Cassidy loved. I dont know if I really liked it that much.

Friday the 4th of September. Travelled from Mission beach to Ayr. Spent most of the day in Townsville getting the Laptop fixed.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday 4th September

Friday the 4th of September, travelled from Mission Beach to Ayr. Spent most of the day getting the screen replaced on the laptop. The guys at P3C in Townsville where very helpful, however in replacing the screen and the mother board they crack the boarder around the monitor which will need to be fixed when I get home. Jenny and Cassidy thought it was a waste of a day however we have covered another 300 kilometers in our travels. Happy birthday Andrew Elliott and Max Medwell. Thursdays the 3rd of September we went on a trip from Mission Beach out to Dunk Island and then onto Beaver Cay which is a tiny sand island about 29 kilometers from Mission beach out on the great barrier reef. What a great day, Jenny was a little sea sick going out but one of the ladies on the boat (catamaran) gave her a ginger drink on ice and suggested a better place on the boat to sit. Lucky for us she didnt throw up. When we arrived at Beaver Cay, Cassidy and I had already decided that we where going to snorkel from the boat to the island, Cassidy was a natural at snorkelling, I on the other hand have a problem and it is called facial hair which does not allow the face mask to seal so the water gets in. However it was great swimming with my daughter, we saw many reef fish, magical blue star fish. The brightest blue I have ever seen in nature. There where many parrot fish and one large Barracouta (nearly five feet long) which hang around to be feed each day. After lunch Cassidy went back in the water and the Barracouta swam within 30cm of her, right past her face. Also after lunch we went for a ride on the glass bottom boat which is left at the Cay and saw many other fish and some giant clams. Then it was back to Dunk Island and Mission beach.

Wednesday the 2nd of September: We where hoping to do a reef trip this day however they could not get enough people so we decide to go to Paronella Park and the Tully gorge. Jose Paronella built Paronella Park back in the 1930's what a visionary. He purchased 12 acres of land which has the most beautiful water fall and river running through it (fish and turtles are still abundant in the river, I have never seen so many turtles in the wild, the even have a colony of micro bats in a tunnel the Jose built), then he built many building based on a spanish theme (lots of concrete) and then planted the most beautiful gardens. The history of Paronella is varied and had it's ups and down, however the current owners purchased it in a run down state in 1993 and have lovingly restored and are continuing to restore it ( they have also had their set backs what with cyclones, flood etc our guide Matt we found out was one of the owners sons, who has lived there most of his life). Even to the point of restoring the 1930's hydro power station that Jose had the foresight to install. It was the first Hydro power station in far north Queensland, if you are ever up near Innisfail you must have a look. It is one of the top 100 things to do in Australia. After Paronella Park we went into Tully and then up the Tully gorge. The Tully gorge has many white water rafters on it. The Tully gorge runs all the time thanks to the Hydro station which is in the gorge. We still have not seen a Crocodile in the wild and let me tell you we are looking. I think someone must have shot them all. I might have to throw Jenny in a river and see if that brings one in. Tuesday the 1st of September, had a couple of nice walks on the beach and checked out Mission beach itself. We where staying at South Mission beach, the caravan park was only 50 meters from the water. Monday the 31st of August; Left Port Douglas and headed for Mission beach, went via cairns and did a little shopping and developed a number of photos at the same shop I purchased the Sony from last year. Sunday the 30th of August (mum's birthday) Cassidy and I went to Church at the Anglican church in Port Douglas, lovely service, church and people very friendly and the morning tea was very good. After church we went to the Caravan park, picked Jenny up and went to the beach markets in Port Douglas, then it was off to our favorite cafe where I had Chimechanga (for those who don't get the joke you need to watch repeats of two and a half men). Jenny and Cassidy had Barra and chips, then it was back to see if we could find Fluffy the Croc who supposedly lives in a river near the Port Douglas Big4 (bullshit) and back to the Park for a Swim. Saturday the 29th of August (my dads birthday (if he was alive he would have been 93) just for you Peter). It was off to Mossman and the gorge, however of course we had to go via the shops in Port Douglas as the girls wanted one or two things and ended up buying about 10. Mossman gorge is a great place to swim and it gets very busy, however it is only the Southerners that get in as the water temp is pretty cold this time of year about 24 degrees. The photo is of Cassidy and all around her which is not very clear in the photo are fish. Friday the 28th of August we went to the Habitat wild life park in Port Douglas. Well worth the money if you are in the area. Cost was around $110 for the three of us which included an all you could eat lunch which included Barra, Steak, soup and salad etc. great. During lunch one of the guide's Jose bought a bird around for people to have their photo taken with it and of course it shit on me. Jenny and Cassidy thought it was a great joke. Jenny and Cassidy also had their photo's taken with a small fresh water croc and a Olive python. Cassidy was (freaking out). Jenny was off her face. This park has the biggest Croc I have ever seen, he must have been about four and a half metres long. Habitat is a great place to see birds and other animal of northern Australia. The mating jabiru's being one of the many high lights. Friday was also the day we said goodbye to the Mansfields again. They are heading west and we sadly are now heading south.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thursday 27th August

Kicking back now at Port Douglas after returning from Cape York. It was great getting to the Cape however I thought the road to Wiepa was bad, well it had nothing on the south By Pass road. On the way to the cape from Wiepa we caught up with the Mansfield family again and travelled with them all the way up to the Cape. The first night out from Wiepa we stopped at Elliott Falls, what a great place to stop and swim. The kids and I swam at both Twin Falls and Fruit Bat falls, The woman and Stuart swam at Twin Falls. The camping at Elliott (Twin) falls was free, no showers however the toilets where well maintained by the rangers. Picture shows the kids at Fruit bat falls and some fat guy. After Fruit bat and Elliott (Twin) Falls it was off to the Jardine River Ferry. These buggers earn more money than Doctors, we where on the ferry for 40 seconds (tops) each way and it cost $99 return. Then it was off to Bamaga, after driving around Bamaga and Seisa for about 10 minutes we decided to drive out to Punsand bay (they had a pool for the kids). We stayed there for three nights on one of these days we went to the tip. Stuart, Sam and I walked over the top and then around the beach back to the car park. Picture proves that the Medwell's have made it to the tip. On the third day we where at Punsand bay we took a trip to Thursday Island. The northern most part of Australia. Very interesting recent (World War two) history with a fort and all sort of other great things. The trip to Thursday Island was made even better as it was on the boat that I learnt that the mighty bulldogs had beaten those cats. Go dogs lets hope they can bet Collingwood (my tip for the flag). The first night on the way home from Punsand we stopped at Moreton Telegraph station, great camp and the night life (Frogs) where great. Rocket frogs everywhere and very small green frogs that live in a prosapine bush. The second night out we stayed at Musgrave, then it was off to Laura. The cultural centre in Laura was very good and the paintings at split rock worth the 30 minute walk. That evening we where back in Atherton and it was time to start cleaning up. It took Jenny and I a full day to wash clothes and clean the car. Red dust in every thing, the shit is still come out of things. The Navara has handled everything we have thrown at it with the exception of jack knifing the trailer draw bar into it whilst trying to park it at Elliott Falls. For all those animal and frog lovers the following picture is of a white lipped Green tree frog in the phone box at Punsand bay.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday 18th of August

Spent Last night and tonight in Wiepa. A little bit of civilisation after two days on the PDR. Most of the way up the PDR was dirty and some of it very corrugated. However everything is hanging together very well. Red dust now in everything, apart from the back of the camper. It is in every crack of the Navara and the back is full of red dust. I am trying to keep it out of the Engel however I think I am fighting a loosing battle. To answer Kaths question about the "porta lou" yes we have one however we have not had to use it yet. The first night on the PDR we stopped at Coen and stayed behind the shell service station and shop. They had toilets and showers, last night and tonight we stopped in the Weipa Caravan park. Good facilities and a great swimming pool. As I am writing this it is 9pm and still about 28 degrees. This morning we went on a tour of the Rio Tinto Bauxite mine. This must be the easiest thing in the world to mine, they take off the top soil (approximately 1 metre) and then the next 5 to 6 metres is Bauxite. They load it with a 16 tonne front end loader into 190 tonne trucks, cart it off to have the dust removed and water added, loaded onto a train for a short 30 kilometer ride to the wharf and then loaded onto small ships to be carted to Gladstone or overseas. Most to Gladstone. Not much else in Wiepa as it is still completely run by Rio Tinto.
As most of the PDR is unsealed and a lot of dust, there is very little wild life along the road. Much less than any of us thought we might see. Even the road kill is few and far between (unlike coming up through out back Queensland and New South Wales). We have meet up with a family who have sold up everything and are travelling around Australia for a year. We got talking to them as our caravans are made by the same people (Kingdom Caravans). They have six children (thats eight of them) and at the moment they have also left their caravan down south and are camping in a tent. They all fit into a Toyota Prado, with only the tent and a pack on the roof. As Stewart said today "if we roll, not much will happen as we are packed in so tight". I dont think even Louise could get this much in her Prado. It is amazing eight of everything comes out of this Prado. Well that's it for now, or when we get back from the top, maybe there will be mobile phone coverage up there. There more than likely will be as the communities seems to get everything they want. Elliott falls and Fruit bat falls tomorrow.