Port Douglas, Australia

Port Douglas, Australia

Next day I hired a satellite phone as a safety precaution for the cape drive and we headed off with the dogs, up the coast to visit Duncan (Jills man) at Hartleys Crocodile Adventures. Pre this we stopped at a beautiful beach (Palm Cove) to give the dogs a run and maybe have some lunch. WELL. Our pleasant day was about to take a turn for a worse!! I won’t dwell on it long but we came across the craziest woman with the most extreme road rage I have ever encountered. Short version – tried to find parking spaces for mine and Jills car, Jill drove literally a metre too far to turn into parking lot. She went to reverse and so did I and Crazy lady was behind me, I saw her and only had to reverse a little. She tooted, I ignored her. Jill went to drive into parking lot and I called out window that I can’t park in there due to my storage pod on roof. I drove on. Jill apologised to Crazy lady (C.L). CL growled saying the world doesn’t revolve around us etc. I found park right down end of street but then couldn’t get hold of Jill so drove back again. All the while this was a cruisy beachside street with people stopping for photos, strolling across the road with kids and dogs etc. I found Jill, pulled over completely out of the way, and explained I found a park down the other end. She then told me about CL growling at her. Nec Minute, C.L comes up to my window and starts having a go saying same thing “the world doesn’t revolve around you, get off the road etc”. To which I should have wound up the window and ignored her, BUT I did not. Instead it may have ended up in a wee aggressive argument in the middle of the road to which I ended up launching out of the car and telling her to kindly go away but using other exotic words and not at all kindly! In the end I got back in my car and resorted to handling the situation like a 5 yr old by simply tooting the horn every time she tried to talk… He he he Soo mature…. We finally removed ourselves from the situation, had a lovely calming walk on the beach and decided to skip lunch and head to Hartleys. So we are on our way and just when I had been thinking I should feel sorry for the woman, she was obviously having a really bad day. Blow me down, there she is behind me, driving like a crazy person, yelling out the window, flippin the bird and swerving all over the place.

I ignored her behaviour, until she was getting far too close up my rear end for my liking, so I called her bluff and yup, slammed on the anchors.. Well that got her to back the F*** off.
This carried on for another 5ks and then Jill in front of me indicated, did I want to pull over to check out another beach. I was about to wave her to carry on then thought maybe if we pull over C.L. will bugger off.
Just as we pull over though, C.L. follows us and clearly wasn’t wanting a friendly chat!. With this, I tooted at Jill, planted my foot and left her eating some gravel. Jill followed suit and thankfully due to traffic, C.L was unable to follow us again.
OMG what utter madness!!!!

So much for not dwelling on it LOL. Sorry.

Post this however, we arrived at Hartleys, had a great afternoon holding
pythons, blue tongue lizards and checking out the crocs and then all
off to Port Douglas for fun night of dancing and gossiping.

Cairns chaos

Cairns chaos
Cairns, Australia

Cairns, Australia

After a great night in Yeppoon I set off to Cairns with intentions of a smooth run and yup, the first 2 hours of the trip was great.
However, after being stuck behind some slow traffic I became slightly impatient and decided to pass the cruisers to make a little headway. That was fine, BUT I guess I wasn’t watching my speedo quite as well as I thought I was and next thing, over the hill was Mr Policeman! Damn, braked and checked my speed and Yup I think I was over. They didn’t even have to put their lights on, they did a U turn behind me and I just pulled over. DOH!!!
Yes, yes I was speeding and no slap on the wrist either it was a nice fine to travel the rest of the journey with me, Grrrr. The annoying thing was that in another 300m it changed to 110k zone anyway!!

So the next hour or so of the journey was a bit tight lipped I must say and then I finally calmed down and realised that everything happens for a reason and maybe that was a wee reminder from the universe to just be extra careful as I will be travelling some pretty long distances on my adventures.
Post me calming down I finally had a bright idea! There must be an app to warn me of my speed, just in case it gets away on me again and putting my seat back so I can just reach the pedals isn’t really the safest option.
Hazaaah, after pulling over for a pit stop, sure enough I found a great little app that will possibly save my hiney, I can set it to whatever speed I want and if I go over it then a loud, disturbing alarm fires off to remind me I’m being a ****. Great!

So onward I forged with my safety mechanism in place and I was rather proud that it only alarmed at me twice from then on. Yay..
(On telling good ole Mum of my plight a week after its occurence, she kindly reminded me that whilst travelling with her, she serves as the alarm but gets in trouble if she says anything. Yes Mumsy you were right again! Perhaps I could record your voice and set it as the alarm, he he)

Anywho after several stops for toilets, petrol, scenery and a dinner break in Townsville I trudged on and finally made it to Jills place in Cairns at 2300hrs. A 13 hr trip. Glad to have that done n dusted.

Was so good to see Jill, meet her new man and their babies Ned and Please (the blue heelers) and have a comfy bed to sleep in.
The next day was a relaxed one. Spent planning the next leg of my journey,
catching up on gossip and having a delicious lunch at the Salthouse by
the water. Unfortunatley Jill had a night shift so after a spot of
dinner it was an early night for me while she headed off to save the
world.. Well those in need of help in Cairns anyway.

Peaceful Yeppoon

Peaceful Yeppoon
Yeppoon, Australia

Yeppoon, Australia

So after fluffing around longer than expected in Brisbane, tyres were sorted (which included 2 spares for the trip), and I hit the road.

Good trip up with a stop at Rockhampton for tea then arrived at Chris’s round 9ish.
Glass of wine and a catch up then beddy bies and a good night sleep.

The next morning was brilliant, with a stroll along the water front, a delicious breakfast at Coffee Club, thank you and farewell chat then onward I drove.

Thanks Chris, was great to have your place as a stop.
: )

Back to Oz!

Back to Oz!
Brisbane, Australia

Brisbane, Australia

So after staying with my good mate Kazz then flying home for a couple of weeks it was time to get back on track.

Home was great as always and included – visiting the rellies, playing on the farm and assisting with some building projects, then getting the flu : (

Back to Oz also great with Kazz having delivered her little Riley Jade while I was away and all doing very well.
Congrats guys!!

I allowed myself a few days around Brissy and nearby to attend an Advanced Life Support course, put more **** in storage, visit Kazz n bubz again and get new all terrain tyres on Rizzo so she was prepared for anything.

Then it was on the road again..

Here are just a few pics of the above.

Kazzy Pooh

Kazzy Pooh
Murwillumbah, Australia

Murwillumbah, Australia

Headed to Murbah to stay with Kazzy n Jay for a couple of nights before heading home for 3 weeks.
Had lovely time with Kazz who ended up having Riley, 3 days after I flew to NZ.

Jam packed weekend

Jam packed weekend
Cania Gorge National Park, Australia

Cania Gorge National Park, Australia

Last weekend away before finishing up in Baralaba.
Had an absolute blast at Cania Gorge NP.
My mate Clint came up from Brizzy to spend a few days making the most out of this beautiful area.
The camp ground was fantastic, equipped with: cabins and camp sites, water park, mini golf course, outdoor movies and more..

Day 1:
Arrived around 7pm, checked into cabin, cooked up some dinner and waited for Clint to arrive.
Clint rocked up and we enjoyed dinner and a catch up then played cards till time for bed.

Day 2:
Up nice and early, had breaky then off on the mountain bikes to explore..
Checked out a replica of Bartletts Home (A family that lived in the area for many years. Mr Bartlett was famous for his home made damper bread, vegetable growing, recording of rainfall in the area, raising his large family is such a small home and taking visitors on tours around the National Park.)
Then we headed off to take a look at Lake Cania and some of the walking tracks.

The 5k ride there certainly got the heart pumping and It was a lovely spot at the lookout to regain composure and catch our breath.

Apparently at the bottom of Lake Cania lies the old township, which was covered over with the construction of the dam. Bit of a shame to know that such a historical gold mining town is never to be explored again.
The lake itself is plenty big enough for all sorts of fun activities and certainly is very picturesque.

Our efforts of getting to the lookout was rewarded with a fast trip back down the hill and only a minor case of the speed wobbles.

On our way back we decided we would bike one of the short walking tracks to check out some old gold mine shaft sites. Neat to see such historical spots and think that all those years ago the miners who had travelled from afar, worked here trying to strike the payload.
After appreciating the history of the area it was a fun ride back to camp (getting airborne in a few spots) to then cram in a few more activities.

After an energetic morning it was time for an afternoon Dickencider and a wee round of golf, however the course proved to be alot more difficult than anticipated. After going up hill and down dale and trying not to hit any of the resident roos on the course, we finished up with Clint taking the title. Dammm.

Then we meandered over for the afternoon bird feeding session to check out the local parrots that have learnt where to get a good feed. This included very loud lorakeets, galas, cockatoos and the odd king parrot.

Next on the agenda was, beat the rush to the showers and then head to the restaurant area with open campfire for wine tasting and woodfired pizza. YUMMMM!!

After indulging in the above we decided to waddle over and check out the outdoor movie, unfortunately due to school holidays it wasn’t a great movie choice, however by this stage bed was pretty appealing so earlyish night it was.

Day 3:
Up early again, possibly due to all the kids running around outside the cabin and off for a day of hiking.
Some stunning rock formations, plenty of birdlife, rock wallabies and good tracks.
Back to camp for lunch then off to the lake again to hire a kayak and try a spot of fishing..
Couldn’t have asked for better weather and had a great day playing on the water. No luck with a fish unfortunately but at least we fed them some prawns. : )

Some further exploring of the back roads in the Rav then chilled out with a nice wine and some nibbles until it was time to light a campfire and chat around that until it was too cold to stay outside. Ahh living the dream…

Day 4:
A wee sleep in then an awesome breaky of bacon, eggs, beans n toast then time to pack up and prepare to head back to reality.
Unfortunately Clint had to head back to Brisbane but I decided to hang around and ride/ walk one more track.
This started off well with a slightly rugged but fairly horizontal track but then turned into rocky creek beds, sandy spots and ascending steps. Doh!!

Where I couldn’t ride I carried the bike so a good work out to say the least. And after reaching the top of the hill and admiring the view, it certainly was an interesting ride down. I was just getting the hang of a few jumps over speed bumps (track drains) when I maybe got a bit cocky and decided to fly over the handle bars, somehow getting my legs tangled in the bike and down I went.. Owiiieeeee

After regaining my composure and being grateful that no one had witnessed my calamity I limped on, carrying the bike down some steps and made it to the road where I managed to ride smoothly back to Rizzo.
Still only one hiccup to a great weekend in another beautiful National Park.

Hope you enjoy the pics.


Slow learner!

Slow learner!
Kroombit Tops National Park, Australia

Kroombit Tops National Park, Australia

Well after riding around on my trusty $10 bike a lot more out here and it taking 2 days each time for my numb bum to wake up, I decided it was time for an upgrade. Following locals advice I checked out Jim’s Cycles in Biloela and soon purchased a snazzy Mongoose mountain bike. It was after this I wanted to try it out on some scenic bike tracks and so packed up the bike in the back and planned my next road trip.

9 am this morning (10/6) I headed off and had decided I would go to Cania Gorge National Park for a look as it was an hour closer than Kroombit Tops National Park.
Safety in mind, I left a note in the nurses quarters saying when I left and where I was headed, and shot through.
Good plan except an hour into the journey I decided, No, stuff it I’ll go to Kroombit Tops!
(Yea good one bright spark, if you did get into trouble you’d really be stuffed wouldn’t you?)

Ah well, as you can see I survived to type another blog so all is well, ha ha.

So I headed to Biloela, stopped at the info centre and got the low down on Kroombit Tops National Park. Full of various walking tracks and supposedly good bike tracks, with 3 ways to access the Park. The short high clearance 4×4 track (not recommended), the northern Tableland Road way (only advisable in dry conditions) and the southern access from Monto (4×4 only). Well I chose the safe way and headed in the direction of a town called Calliope. After 2 hours I stopped here, grabbed some lunch, refueled and back tracked just out of town in the direction of Kroombit Tops.

The road wasn’t too bad but easy to see it would be a no goer after rain with a lot of creek beds that, as per the Australian rural way, have the road dip down into them instead of the idea of a bridge. (I’m guessing due to the cost). It was mainly an unsealed road and there was a fair bit of road work going on also, so I would suggest a 4×4 through here too.

After an hour of winding through, onward and upward on a single lane sealed road past the rangers hut and back onto dirt track, I arrived at the Lookout, and it was definitely worth it! Looking out across the vast National Park and beyond it sure puts life into perspective. It reminds you how small you really are on the scale of things. You can certainly breathe easy in a place like that.

Now from here I planned to head down the 4×4 track to check out “Beautiful Betsty” the WW2 Bomber aircraft that still lay resting where she was found in 1994. As the pictures will indicate she apparently crashed here in 1945 on returning from a food delivery trip to servicemen in Darwin.

Well the lady at the information centre seemed to think I would have no problems getting to the site in the Rav4 but I think perhaps she hadn’t seen the track for awhile..

Only 10 mins into this trip I passed a woman coming up the track in another SUV and waived out only to be given a stern expression in reply. I wondered what she was doing out here on her own in such a grumpy mood, and after reflecting that I’m out here alone, I quashed my imaginations wild thoughts of her dumping a body or the likes and carried on..

The advice did say 4×4 and that is fine but it perhaps should have said high clearance as well. It wasn’t that the track was slippery at all but the placement of certain rocks, trees and rain gutted sandstone, did make it a slow trip and a bit of a challenge for Rizzo.

The map stated in order to see Betsy and carry on round the loop track it was a 2 hr trip, usually it takes a lot less time than stated but they were bang on with this one..

After meandering my way down the track for an hour I reached the start of the short walking track to Betsy’s final resting place, parked up Rizzo and headed off.

Quite an eerie but peaceful feeling around the site, with a memorial to the 6 servicemen who lost their lives here and the fact that everything lay as it landed all those years ago. A good place for contemplation, remembrance and to be thankful for the lives we all still have.

After chilling out here for a bit it was back in Rizzo and back up the track where I could either double back where I came from or continue round the loop. Well yup I chose to carry on, something annoying about doubling back…

Quite a few more hairy spots and there was a bit of a crunch, thankfully on investigating, no serious damage but the rock had a good go… Onward I drove, dodging obstacles, creeping through rocky spots and stopping to take the odd picture and finally I made it back to the main track. Well, now do I head back the way I came in or carry on and out the south side of the park?

So at this stage it was about 3.30pm and heading towards Monto was when I saw a flock of Black cockatoos fly overheard. They are a bit larger than the white cockatoos and seem more majestic for some reason. They just cruise in the air and their call doesn’t seem as harsh. Neat sight to see.

Just round the corner was some more cattle and a newborn calf staggering to its feet and then the wild budgies flew through. So each turn had something to entertain me..

Another hour went by before I reached a closed gate and what appeared to be the exit point of the Park. Through the gate and onward thinking it wouldn’t be far until sealed road again then the road decided to split into two, with no sign of which direction to go..

Hmm. No phone reception to check on google or call for directions and no indication on the map in front of me. Well one way looks like a farmers race and the other looks well worn so after consulting my compass I headed north on the worn track, hoping it would swing back to the south.
5 mins along I reached the edge of the range with a sign saying north to Calliope Shire and an arrow back saying south to Monto Shire. Right. South it is then.
Back down the road, along the farmers race and I’m confronted with a closed gate next to a house. Can’t be this way..

So after ping ponging between directions I finally headed north again and made my way slowly down another rocky track, which then turned into an overgrown race, only to find ANOTHER closed gate! Oh *****!

It was now just after 5 and a teeny bit of concern came over me that I may be camping here soon.. No way I was gunna get back up the track I just came down so onward it must be and hope that I don’t run out of gas. Eeek.

Through the gate I go with some local roos popping their heads out of the long grass wondering who the heck this human is all the way out here. Through some paddocks with grass half way up the side of the Rav and only a light track to follow, through more rocky creek bed and finally I spot a house in the distance. Ok direction asking time.

Just as I was about to risk meeting and humiliating myself in front of the locals (who could have been like something out of deliverance) I spot a faint sign saying Ubobo. Aha I’ve seen that on the map. Hallelujah!

I quickly glance back to the wilderness I’ve come through and notice another sign saying No through road. Umm sorry bout that, but too late, cos I just came through..

Well made it to Ubobo (small country town) just on dark and from there it was a 3 hour drive home, watching out for roos, cattle, trains and road trains most the way.
Not that I’m complaining. It was still worth the drawn out trip but I had to have another stern chat with myself and I think this time it sunk in.

No more 4x4ing in the middle of nowhere, on my own, in a vehicle that isn’t quite built for that sort of terrain!

Soooo, from now on I will try and stay ON the beaten track (to an extent) or consider upgrading to a more adventurous steed.. =)

Ok enough blurb, hope you enjoy the pics.
Sorry I was so slow to post this one, but my laptop decided it was time to pack it in. So now with a fancy new computer I have no excuse.

Hope you are all happy and well.

Into the machine!!

Into the machine!!
Baralaba, Australia

Baralaba, Australia

So one of the charming local lads managed to organise a time for me to visit Baralaba Mine.
I got the full tour of both mine sites of the area, which was really interesting.

Both mine sites were smaller than what I expected from looking at the great holes in the ground on google maps, but still the scale of the machinery was incredible.

The quality of coal from this mine is pretty high, hence why it is still functional, and along with being exported, alot of coal is sold to neighbouring mines to mix with their own coal to improve the quality.

This mine runs 24hrs a day and has back to back crews that work 12hr shifts, 7 days a week then have 7 days off. Pretty boring work I would expect but when your getting paid over $100,000 a year for only working 6 months of it, I don’t think I would complain.

The large white digger weighs around 270 ton and its bucket alone holds 60 ton of earth. The big dump trucks hold around 220 ton of earth and spend most the time clearing surface dirt (overburden) in order to get to the coal.

Well that’s enough Mine info check out the pics.

Weekly shopping day..

Weekly shopping day..
Biloela, Australia

Biloela, Australia

So headed off to Bilo again for my weekly shop and thought I would check out the nearby Dam.

Next to the mine there is Callide reservoir, no camping allowed but some nice spots to chill out n catch a few rays. Quite a few pelicans were chilling here too, amongst plenty of other birdlife and cattle grazing down to the waters edge.

Hung out here for a bit then headed back, got my supplies and off home to B town.

On the way back I got some pics of the surrounding cotton farms that were in the middle of harvesting. The road was lined with large stacks of cotton ready to head off to it’s next destination.