4th May 2018–Atherton

Distance: 317 Km

Set off at about my usual time of 8.30am for a reasonably steady drive to Atherton – certainly no rush.

Stopped on the way to look at Black Mountain a rather odd old volcanic mountain of what appears to be a pile of rocks with little or nothing growing on it.

180504 008 Black Mountain180504 001 Black Mountain180504 007 Black Mountain180504 009 Black Mountain

Also stopped once more at Coffee Works in Mareeba for their equivalent of a Strawberry Sundae (Strawberry Chilla). i also bought some of their mint chocolate. It was OK, as with coffee chocolate is not a particular favourite of mine so to me Cadbury chocolate tastes much the same at a fraction of the price.

180504 018 On The Road to Atherton

Found the caravan park I selected, it was about 4km outside Atherton and I was tempted to have a look at the other ones. They charged $35 for a night which I think is getting excessive. The grounds were fine but the facilities need an upgrade, they are OK but that is all.

180504 015 Atherton Holiday Park180504 013 Atherton Holiday Park

Drove into Atherton to have a look at the town; quite a busy but commonplace shopping centre. I went to have a look at an historic Chinese Temple but it closed at 1pm which seems a bit early to me. Will try to fit it in tomorrow.

At just after 5pm it started to get a bit chilly must be the altitude it was still over 21’ at the time but once the sun went down the temperature dropped noticeably and rapidly.

3rd May 2018–Around Cooktown

Distance:12 km
Fuel: 31 L

Went to the information office at the Cooktown Botanical Gardens before 9am  basically to see when they were open. They weren’t open until 10am so went for a short drive down to Finch Bay for a stroll along the sands of this nearby bay.

180503 002 Cooktown Finch Bay180503 004 Cooktown Finch Bay180503 006 Cooktown Finch Bay180503 007 Cooktown Finch Bay180503 011 Cooktown Finch Bay180503 013 Cooktown Finch Bay

Next stop the James Cook Museum to see the recovered anchor and a cannon (one of six) jettisoned when the HMB Endeavour ran aground on a reef in June 1770. They were only discovered in the 1970s.

180503 040 James Cook Museum Cooktown

The museum is housed in the original convent of The Sisters of Mercy who were evacuated inland during WWII and never returned.

180503 014 James Cook Museum Cooktown Endeavours Cannon180503 037 James Cook Museum Cooktown180503 015 James Cook Museum Cooktown Endeavours Anchor180503 018 James Cook Museum Cooktown Endeavours Anchor180503 020 James Cook Museum Cooktown180503 030 James Cook Museum Cooktown180503 023 James Cook Museum Cooktown180503 027 James Cook Museum Cooktown180503 021 James Cook Museum Cooktown180503 024 James Cook Museum Cooktown180503 026 James Cook Museum Cooktown180503 031 James Cook Museum Cooktown180503 033 James Cook Museum Cooktown180503 036 James Cook Museum Cooktown Endeavours Anchor

Back to the Botanic Gardens information bureau to find out about boat or plane trips. Bad news! a cruise ship is arriving off the coast today and all the local boats are booked for that. They took my phone number in case of cancellation but I heard nothing back. Similar story with the helicopter flights I put my name down for any party that needed a single to make up the numbers, the organiser told me that they have few flights this early in the season but if they had one they would call.

Very disappointing but I want to go back to Atherton tomorrow because it is the best chance of good weather in that area.

Had the local fish and chips at the Captain Cook’s Landing Place Kiosk; to be honest the chips were fine but the fish was only so so. Actually I remember when I first came to northern Queensland in the mid/late 1960s I stopped buying fish because it seemed to be a different colour depending on where you bought it – anything from yellow to red to grey and many shades in between.

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The weather was lovely today – sunshine most of the day, it rained for a few minutes early in the morning but then the clouds just vanished and soon the temperature was about 29’C. The humidity was pretty good too, higher than I am used to but with the sea breeze it very bearable – I would guess 60 to 70% perhaps? I enjoyed walking about the town.

180503 066 Cooktown Caravan Park180503 062 Cooktown Brush Turkey

The sunset was magnificent – the photo doesn’t even begin to cover it.

180503 068 Cooktown Sunset


2nd May 2018–Cooktown

Distance: 285 kim

Mareeba

It must have rained during the night, the car and camper were quite wet. It can’t have been heavy rain because the top vent was fairly wide open and during heavy rain some water “bounces’” in but the bedding was completely dry.

The sky however was clear as the sun rose. When I went for a shower I noticed several hot air balloons floating nearby.

180502 002 Mareeba180502 004 Mareeba

Didn’t leave until nearly 9am so I could go to Coffee Works for breakfast. Not exactly what I expected but the food was nice if expensive.

180502 011 Mareeba Coffee Works180502 008 Mareeba Coffee Works

On the Road

The drive to Cooktown was through some interesting and varied scenery much hillier than previous Queensland landscapes with some very steep climbs and descents.

180502 004 On the Road to Cooktown180502 005 On the Road to Cooktown180502 006 On the Road to Cooktown180502 011 On the Road to Cooktown

Early in the trip it actually rained a couple of times, not for long and not much, but the sky cleared and clouded over several times during the trip.

180502 017 Bobs Lookout180502 018 Bobs Lookout180502 019 Bobs Lookout180502 021 Bobs Lookout180502 025 Bobs Lookout180502 029 On the Road to Cooktown180502 031 On the Road to Cooktown180502 036 On the Road to Cooktown

Cooktown

Arrived in Cooktown about 1pm so, after unhitching the camper and having a coffee, I set off to explore Cooktown.

Most of its attractions are near the water front (the Endeavour River). There was the wharf built for the Queen’s visit, the place where Captain Cook actually landed and repaired his ship after he ran into the Great Barrier Reef plus various statues and monuments.

180502 038 Cooktown180502 039 Cooktown Capt Cooks Landing Place180502 040 Cooktown Capt Cooks Landing Place180502 041 Cooktown Capt Cooks Landing Place180502 043 Cooktown180502 046 Cooktown180502 045 Cooktown180502 051 Cooktown Capt Cook Statue180502 054 Cooktown180502 059 Cooktown Capt Cook Memorial180502 060 Cooktown Capt Cook Memorial180502 066 Cooktown180502 068 Cooktown180502 070 Cooktown180502 072 Cooktown180502 074 Cooktown

Grassy Hill was a pretty spectacular lookout overlooking the town, the river and the Coral Sea.

180502 082 Cooktown Grassy Hill180502 090 Cooktown Grassy Hill180502 091 Cooktown Grassy Hill180502 094 Cooktown Grassy Hill

Back in the Caravan Park I was watching  a Kookaburra catch its food in the creek when it came and perched close by.

180502 129 Cooktown Kookaburra180502 131 Cooktown Kookaburra

1st May 2918–Mareeba

Distance: 561 km
Fuel: 60 L

Today was to be a long drive. There are really no stops until Mt Garnet unless you go to the Undara Lava Tubes but I have visited them twice in the last 5 years, including last year  so that was not practical. ,There are virtually no rest areas on this road either – the only place.s are left over sites from past roadbuilding/repair.

>>>Click Here to Revisit Lava Tubes<<< 

The drive from Charters Towers was fairly uneventful except for occasional encounters with the local wild life.

[googlemaps https://www.youtube.com/embed/amqj8s-PkNo&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allow=”autoplay; encrypted-media” allowfullscreen>


When I first visited the Undara Lava Tubes over five years ago the road north of Charters Towers was mostly single lane.

180501 101 Road to Atherton

Now there are only a few km of single lane road left.

180501 102 Road to Atherton180501 100 Road to Atherton

The weather was beautiful until I reached Mt Garnet where I stopped for fuel – ironically the cheapest since leaving home – from then on it was getting noticeably cloudier as I drove.

By the time I arrived at Ravenshoe it was pouring with rain, I stopped and had a look at the forecast; not good! This is almost exactly what happened when I drove from Undara to Cairns five years ago – the weather was appalling all the way to Atherton where it continued raining.

BTW I think Ravenshoe is the highest town in Queensland.

Decided to push on to Mareeba where the forecast was not so bad. Arrived at the Tropical (?) Tableland Caravan Park at 3pm. It had been a long drive and the skies where still threatening.

In the event it did rain for a while when I was getting fuel but as sunset approached small patches of blue sky appeared – I hope this is an omen for tomorrow and my drive to Cooktown.

30th April 2018–Charters Towers

Distance: 393 km
Fuel: 39 L

Went for a walk after breakfast to the main street of Clermont and bought bread  at the local bakery .

180430 002 Clermont180430 003 ClermontIMG_4732

No rush to leave because there are no stops on this journey except Belyando Crossing roadhouse if I get a sudden urge for expensive food or fuel (it is the middle of nowhere – approximately 170km north of Clermont and 220km south of Charters Towers). The only other land marks are turn offs to stations (farms) and mines.

On the Road to Charters Towers

Pretty easy drive – one hard application of brakes to allow two kangaroos cross the road. I tried to save the video  of the dopey things but ended up ejecting the memory card by mistake.

Sad smileBumpy road!

I did stop at Belyando Crossing and I did pay $6 for a packet of chicken nuggets. It is the least interesting roadhouse in Australia that I have been to; small selection of food, a caravan park and some picnic tables. Unfortunately there was a parked road train with a load of cattle and the picnic tables were down wind of it.

IMG_4734

Arrived at Charters Towers after 1pm, set up and went for drive round town.   Took the inevitable drive up Tower Hill , went past the Stock Exchange and other historic buildings but only spent an hour looking about before returning to the caravan park. I was only here last June so there was little that was new – except for a concrete walking track up Tower Hill perhaps; I don’t remember it being there before.

Really only needed fuel.

180430 016 Charters TowersIMG_4743

To see more of Charters Towers  >>>Click Here<<< and >>>Here<<<  for lots of pictures and notes about  my last visit.

29th April 2018–Clermont

Distance: 258 km
Fuel: 57 L

Was woken up at 1.40am by some of the park residents returning from their Saturday night frolic, not a problem, it was Saturday night and I went straight back to sleep.

Set off at about 8.30am which seems to be my ‘usual’ time. Only 250km today, because Charters Towers or even the roadhouse at Belyando Crossing is just too much driving to do comfortably in one day.

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Stopped at one lookout on the way to view the Staircase Ranges – could see why they are so named but frankly it is not particularly spectacular.

180429 007 Staircase Range Lookout180429 003 Staircase Range Lookout

Next stop was Springsure and the Virgin Rock. Have actually stopped here several times before.

180429 008 Virgin Rock Springsure180429 009 Virgin Rock Springsure

Called into Emerald for fuel.

I have been to Clermont a few times but previously stayed at a local motel, there seems to be only one caravan park but there appeared to be plenty of space though it filled up more as the afternoon went on.

180429 036 Clermont Caravan Park

After setting up the camper (I had to reverse into place for the first time this trip) went for a drive to see what Clermont has to offer.  Apart from mining the town is famous for the 1916 flood when many people were killed and the whole town was subsequently relocated to higher ground.

180429 012 Clermont180429 017 Clermont The Lagoon180429 019 Clermont The Lagoon

Reminders of the 1916 flood are well signposted.

180429 021 Clermont The Lagoon180429 023 Clermont The Lagoon180429 024 Clermont180429 027 Clermont 1916 Flood Piano in a Tree180429 028 Clermont 1916 Flood Piano in a Tree180429 029 Clermont 1916 Flood Piano in a Tree

28th April 2018–Rolleston

Distance: 314 km

Foggy again this morning.

180428 003 Monto

Rather an uneventful drive only stopped a couple of times on the way.

A traffic jam!

Heavy Traffic

The country was very brown yet here and there in the midst of the brown were full dams.

180428 007 Road to Rolleston180428 009 Road to Rolleston180428 010 Road to Rolleston

Rolleston is a very small town with one fuel stop and two pubs. It is Saturday so even the workers have gone home.

180428 019 Rolleston

Once I had unhitched I took the opportunity to get my laundry done; the machine here was only $4 and it was dry within a couple of hours so I am good for nearly a week again.

Will get fuel in Emerald tomorrow – at Rolleston it is one stop for everything.

180428 024 Rolleston

Like a lot of small towns businesses have closed.

180428 026 Rolleston180428 028 Rolleston

27th April 2018–Monto

Distance: 326 km
Fuel: 36 L

Woke up this morning to a blanket of fog however the sun soon burned it away.

Dalby Fog

Dalby Pioneer Museum

Opposite the caravan park there is the Dalby Pioneer Museum. I have generally stopped visiting country heritage museums because it is rather like visiting my grandmother’s house. This one looked a little bit different – it was many buildings on a large block and the advertising sign outside was intriguing.

Dalby Pioneer Museum

They had a telephone exchange, fossils, a vast bottle collection, agricultural machinery, computers, adding machines, typewriters, record players, trucks, even the first and the last white painted Qld fire engines. They didn’t just have one or two of things they had dozens. It opened at 8am and I only left at 9.45 because I had to vacate the caravan site by 10am. Well worth a visit.

180427 005 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 006 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 007 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 009 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 011 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 012 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 013 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 014 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 016 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 019 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 021 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 022 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 023 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 025 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 026 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 027 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 029 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 031 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 033 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 034 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 036 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 039 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 041 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 044 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 046 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 050 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 053 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 055 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 056 Dalby Pioneer Museum180427 059 Dalby Pioneer MuseumHearse180427 069 Dalby Pioneer Museum

On the Road

Off again through the back roads – they are rough roads with few places to stop except in the towns on the way.

If you don’t stop at a town called Mundubbera where do you stop? Was able to park in the town centre by taking up two spaces and had a look around. The town obviously has a talented artist(s) because his/her murals were everywhere.

MundubberaMundubberaMundubberaMundubberaMundubbera

Unfortunately I changed a setting on my camera by mistake so the photos look odd Sad smile

Another 100 km to Monto where I decided to stay a night. Found the local caravan park and dropped off the camper before going into town for fuel, milk and other essentials. A massive main street with parking in the centre of the road as well as each side (room to turn a Bullock Team in?). Plenty of spaces to park and little traffic.

MontoMonto

Rain is badly needed in this area, just before I made dinner about 5 drops of rain fell.

Fuel consumption rocketed today; the speed limit is 100kph which is fine towing the trailer. For a while today I was doing 113kph and it took me a while to notice – My excuse is that it was an open road and no traffic so I must have accidentally re-set the cruise control or something equally daft.

26th April 2018–Dalby

Distance: 344 km
Fuel: 34 L

The road from Warialda to Texas must be one of the worst in the state. It wasn’t that it was potholed or broken up it was just bumpy. I have driven on better dirt roads.

I am now in Foreign Parts.

Queensland Border

Didn’t stop in Texas it is not that long since I stayed here. >>Click here for more about Texas<<    >>And Here<<

Road Signs - Looking Good

I did stop at Inglewood for a break, a steak and kidney pie and a coffee at the bakery. The coffee was made in a machine but was surprisingly good. The machine ground the beans and treated the milk (not powdered) to produce a very respectable, hot cup of coffee with little waiting. Another job lost to automation.

180426 009 InglewoodInglewood

The road improved but one of the problems of using back roads rather than the main highways is the lack of rest areas. The next stop was a small town called Cecil Plains only about 50km from Dalby.

InglewoodCecil PlainsCecil PlainsCecil Plains

Cotton harvesting seemed in full swing with massive bales waiting to be transported. Sometimes the road verges appear white with cotton but perhaps the bales are better because there was a lot less waste than I have seen on previous trips.

Cotton CropDalby Cotton Crop

Dalby was unfortunately a bit of a nightmare with major roadworks happening along the length of the town. I got fuel on the way because the idea of driving back did not appeal to me. Funnily enough it was the cheapest fuel of the trip.

The caravan park was on off the main road but still affected by these roadworks – I am not kidding, the roadworks went for kms and affected the whole town. I suspect they will be great when they are finished but a major bottleneck at the moment.

DalbyDalby

The landscape is dominated by silos of all shapes and sizes.

Dalby SilosDalby Silos

4th November 2107–Texas to Goondiwindi

Distance: 145Km

Did my washing this morning so that I have enough clean clothes to get me home. Didn’t leave the park until after 9am but it didn’t matter we were only going to Goondiwindi which is only about 100km away.

First stop was Texas Rabbit Works. Now a museum but for a very long time, until myxomatosis wiped out their business, it was a thriving industry from the 1930’s until it closed in 1992. It provided rabbit meat, pelts and fur for hats. There was a video showing the whole process of making an Akubra hat. BTW Akubra now have to import rabbit fur.

Still had the cooling rooms with massive pipes carrying the ammonia coolant, the steam engine and the cooling compressors. It was well worth the visit and cheap at $7.

171104 049 Texas Rabbit Works171104 011 Texas Rabbit Works171104 013 Texas Rabbit Works171104 040 Texas Rabbit Works171104 024 Texas Rabbit Works171104 028 Texas Rabbit Works171104 035 Texas Rabbit Works171104 051 Texas Rabbit Works

BTW I have absolutely no idea what sort of boiler that was, too much is missing.

The journey to Goondiwindi was along minor roads shadowing the border with NSW. They were in good condition and made the Gwydir Hwy look like a goat track.

Arrived at a suitable caravan park at about midday and booked in. I had wondered whether it being a Saturday would cause problems but even late afternoon the park is largely empty, about a dozen vans and tents.

171104 079 Goondiwindi

Set up quickly and went into town to look around. First stop was Gunsynd’s Memorial on the banks of the Macintyre River.

171104 052 Goondiwindi Gunsynd

Nearby was the Tree of Knowledge, not the Labor party version but a tree where he locals came to view the possibility of flooding which happened regularly before the 1956 levee was built however the levee has been over topped a few times since.

171104 060 Goondiwindi171104 058 Goondiwindi171104 059 Goondiwindi

Drove into NSW across the ‘historic’ bridge (the river is the border) past the old Customs House from the days when NSW and Queensland were separate colonies.

171104 056 Goondiwindi171104 064 Goondiwindi

BTW there is an election on both sides of the bridge; the Queensland State election has been called while on the other side Barnaby Joyce’s New England byelection is happening.

Bought a 6 pack to top up my depleted beer supply then drove and walked around the town checking out the landmarks and weighing up the options for tonight’s meal. Two Chinese or a Thai restaurants are currently favourite.

Dinner

After a shower ventured back to town for food. Decided to try the Chinese Malaysian restauant Bao Bao. It was very good and reasonably priced; $46 for the two of us – main meals, desert, tea and a beer.

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