Saturday, 31 October 2015


As anticipated, we went for our helicopter flight this morning but not before doing several more walks. It's fair to say that we have now done almost all of the available walks in this part of the Carnarvon National Park.

The helicopter took us out over an inaccessible part of the Park to the west of the developed area Today was the last day of helicopter operation for the season. After a brief visit to the Gold Coast, the pilot is heading back home to Canada.

We had a small visitor last night. He didn't stay long.

Again we encountered some obstacles on the road.

We are camped at a road side stop 22klms north of Monto and will be heading for Bargara in the morning.

That's it folks. The blog will now be suspended until the next trip but it serves as a great reminder for us of all the fun we have had over the last five weeks. I hope you have enjoyed sharing our adventures.

Friday, 30 October 2015


We are staying at Takkarakka Camping resort about 5klms from the National Park itself at a site with power and water. What luxury but at $45 per night, one expects some extras. The National Park Camp Ground only operates during school holidays.

There has been a slight change of plan in that Andy and Heidi are going to Bargara for the weekend so we are now planning to get to Ron and Julie's for lunch on Sunday to have lunch with them and Andy and Heidi before Andy and Heidi head back to the Coast. I hope Ron and Julie won't mind. They don't know yet.


Today was the grand finale in terms of walks. We walked approximately 20klms and crossed Carnarvon Creek 38 times, all without incident. In the process of doing that, we visited Cathedral Cave, Ward's Canyon, the Amphitheatre and the Moss Gardens, all very spectacular, not to mention the birds, butterflies, flowers and wildlife.


This is almost the last post for this trip. We have a helicopter flight booked for 12:00 tomorrow after which we start heading east so the aerial photos will be the last blog.
I am not proposing to do a blog from Lady Elliot to which we head after Bargara. Everybody has seen plenty of turtles, manta rays and the prolific marine life so, unless something really special happens, tomorrow will be the last blog for this trip. We will be home next weekend to return to the real world, for a short time at least.

And what a fantastic trip it as been, even though we had to find destinations to occupy the extra time resulting from the cancelled cruise. But what a fun process that has been.

The things you see on a country road.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015


Just a brief post to say that there may be no internet at Carnarvon Gorge in which case there will be no blog for a few days.


Today turned into something of a driving day although we didn't intend it to. We started the day with a bit of platypus spotting in the river. We then went and did the Sky Window walk which, as
you would expect, has spectacular views down the Pioneer Valley towards Mackay.

From there, we went down to Finch Hatton Gorge for a 3 klm walk. The walk basically follows Rawson Creek which has a boulder strewn creek bed and some very impressive cascades and water holes – very picturesque.

Back up the mountain then to explore a road recommended on a brochure of drives and walks we received – Diggings Road. It went to a very nice but remote camp ground on Broken River downstream from where we are camped and then continued on (as per the map) as a very poor four wheel drive track until we got to the other end where there was a “No Through Road” sign pointing back the way we had come.

From there, we went looking for another recommended road but found a closed gate with a “Road Closed” sign on it so we headed for Eungella Dam instead. The dam is on Broken River and has a very healthy water level but the country in which it is located is incredibly arid, just 30klms from the lush vegetation of Eungella.

On the subject of climate, evenings here require jeans and jumper, a little different from the weather of just a few days ago.

Tomorrow we head for Carnarvon Gorge for lots more healthy walking.



As anticipated, we are camped at Eungella National Park in an idyllic spot on the banks of the Broken River.

When we arrived, a platypus was clearly visible just below our camp site. Because I was busy setting up, I didn't bother taking a photo expecting to be able to do that later. We searched high and low for it and at the various platypus viewing spots with no luck and I began to fear that the photo might not happen when one obligingly started to perform just below the camp site, so we have the obligatory platypus photo.

Plenty of other wildlife were happy to pose for the camera.


Monday, 26 October 2015


We broke out the snorkelling gear today at long last. This the gear we have been carrying around for use in West Papua. The water around Magnetic Island looks pristine but it is not as good from within as it looks.

There is plenty of coral but it is all wrapped in seaweed so it isn't as impressive as it could be. Because the visibility wasn't that great, we didn't see many fish but I suspect there were plenty there. You just had to be very close to them to see them. To be fair, we were only snorkelling over fringe reefs. No doubt there is better quality coral further out in deeper water.

But the scenery is magnificent and one can only describe the environment generally as quaint with some modern buildings mixed in. We enjoyed the day and were glad that we went but won't be booking an extended stay any time soon.

As you would expect, Trish was off and swimming as soon as we got near the water.

We have no idea what this piano was doing at the top of the beach but it was certainly novel.

Acting on advice received, we didn't worry about stinger suits but it is getting close to that time of the year when they need to be worn.

Tomorrow we head for platypus country, Eungella. Hopefully they will be cooperative.

Saturday, 24 October 2015


Guess who we ran into today. Trish was able to get her grandmotherly fix. We had stopped to take a photo of Castle Hill and they happened to drive past and saw the MJK numberplate.

This is the photo of Castle Hill that I had stopped to take when Matt spotted the car. As it happened, we were both on our way up there to admire the views.

We had a very pleasant afternoon tea this afternoon with the Huggins family at their rather neat house.

Apart from the time spent at the Huggins home and on Castle Hill (which really does dominate the Townsville skyline), we spent some very pleasant time exploring The Strand. The on shore facilities are very impressive. The beach and water didn't look that great but a few hardy souls did go in the water.

We are booked on the Magnetic Island car ferry tomorrow and will be spending the day there. Unless something changes, we will be heading for Eungella National Park on Tuesday. 



A change of scenery today. The picture above is not of our camp site but it is taken across the road from the Rowes Bay Caravan Park in Townsville in which we will be staying for the next few nights – described as a beachside caravan park.

The picture shows Magnetic Island in the distance.

Our plan is to spend a day on Magnetic Island and a day or two finding out what there is to see in Townsville. The only place we know we won't be going is Reef HQ. We had lunch there when we dropped in on the flying safari to Thursday Island recently.

Friday, 23 October 2015


As anticipated, I won't be able to post this until we return to civilization but we are comfortably settled as one of only two campers in the Pyramid camping area at Porcupine Gorge, approximately 70 klms north of Hughenden.

When we booked on the Parks website last night, we were the only booking for the campground so, when we arrived this afternoon, we didn't worry about the site we booked, we set up camp in the best site here No sooner had we set up but another couple in a caravan arrived to tell us that they had just booked site 8, the best one here, at the Tourism Information Centre in Hughenden. We moved. We still aren't in the one we booked but we are fairly confident we won't have to move again.


The gorge is very impressive for somewhere we had never heard of before. It is a 1.1 klm walk down into the gorge and the base of the gorge is sculptured sandstone with Porcupine Creek trickling through it. It would be even more impressive if the water was at the level the marks on the rocks indicate to be the normal level. The only disadvantage is that we had to walk back up 1.1 klms to get back out of the gorge but it was great exercise.


We had a couple of visitors for dinner tonight. We suspect they might be bettongs. Any comments? They were very keen to share our meal but unfortunately, we had to disappoint them.


Unless we find some interesting distraction tomorrow, we will be in Townsville tomorrow night in a nice manicured park with less heat and fewer flies.

Thursday, 22 October 2015


As you may know, the maximum temperature recorded in Queensland today was 41 degrees at Julia Creek. Well guess what. We are now at Julia Creek camped at a delightful spot beside a waterhole just outside the town.

Fortunately, we didn't get here until 6:30 just as the sun was setting and the temperature had dropped to 36 degrees. We are now enjoying a delightful cool breeze but the water from the van's tanks remains as hot as ever.

We spent the day in an air conditioned environment in that we drove for two hours from Camooweal to Mt. Isa this morning and then spent the next four hours in the cool air conditioned atmosphere of the Isa Experience being the Mt. Isa tourism centre where we saw the very interesting displays and I did an underground mine tour, not in the real mine but in a very sophisticated recreation 60 feet below the ground at the tourism centre. Unfortunately photography was not allowed so I don't have any photos to record the story.

We then spent another couple of hours in the car to get here.

Tomorrow we head to Porcupine Gorge National Park via Hughenden. I am very confident that we won't have phone connection there so we may disappear for a couple of nights.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015


Not a lot to report today. We drove 450 klms this morning to cross back into Queensland and adjust our clocks. There is no photo of our camp site this evening as you have seen it before. We are back in exactly the same spot on the banks of the Georgina River at Camooweal where the pelicans performed approximately two and a half weeks ago. There are a few pelicans around but no sign of the performing group yet.

This afternoon, we drove approximately 20 klms south of here to visit the Camooweal Caves National Park in which are located the Nowranie Caves. They are sink holes very similar to and second in size to those found on the Nullabor Plain under which lies a very extensive cave system. There is a day use area at the Nowranie Waterhole but the waterhole was completely dry. The area badly needs rain. When it does rain, water flows into the caves but nobody knows where it goes from there. We are within the Lake Eyre Basin.

Tomorrow we continue to head east for adventures as yet unknown.

You will be pleased to know that the fridge is now operating at correct temperature. We think a night connected to mains power fixed it. Another interesting experience is our water. The temperature touched 41 degrees today so who knows how hot the bitumen road is. The water tanks are picking up so much heat from the road that, as we go to bed at night, the only option we have is a hot shower.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015


Not much to report today. We drove approximately 700 klms and are spending the night at Threeways where the Barkly Highway meets the Stuart Highway, about 25klms north of Tennant Creek. The only thing of interest was that the temperature briefly touched 40 degrees. Fortunately we spent most of the day in our air conditioned environment insulated from the heat.

Tomorrow we head east to Camooweal, back into Queensland but I gather that the weather is going to remain pretty warm.

Monday, 19 October 2015


Lazy but productive day today. The van has had the dust residue removed. The washing is all done and we are ready for the road. Our only challenge is the fridge. Ever since we restarted it after our break in Darwin, it has struggled to get down to the correct temperature. Fortunately the freezer is fine but the milk, wine and beer are not as cold as we would like them to be. Perhaps it has something to do with the 30+ degree days we are having.

We spent today at the Katherine Gorge camp ground and enjoyed the ridge top walk and a cruise of the river through gorges 1 and 2. There isn't enough water to access gorge 3 as the cruise normally does.

The highlight of our stay here has been the wildlife. They are very keen to make campers feel welcome. I will let the pictures tell the story.

Southward bound tomorrow. It will be a day on the road.