We are now in Cairns, only arrived today. After Karumba we went to Walkers Creek which was only about 40kms away but was a pretty spot and it was free. We camped beside the creek and can you believe I used my fishing rod. Mind you the fish were only the size of goldfish but didn't know that before hand. They loved the bait!!! We did cook fish, that we had bought in Karumba, on the fire. We found a metal plate that we placed over the fire and wrapped the fish in foil. Wasn't too bad but did taste more like steamed fish.
The next morning we headed for Croydon. We stopped off at Leichardt Lagoon on our way and saw lots of bird life. Croydon is a nice, neat town. They have kept a lot of the old buildings and they are in great condition.It was a gold mining town and used to have 36 pubs, now there is only 1.
Next stop was Mt Surprise and a lot of people go there to fossick for gems in the O'Brien Creek bed after the wet season. This area is 40kms from Mt Surprise so we thought we'd go and have a look. It was my turn to drive so off we went, but little did we know that most of the road was unsealed. I must admit I wasn't impressed but it also wasn't as bad as the last unsealed road we travelled on. I even had to drive over water to get there. When we arrived, there was another couple there who had been fossicking for a week and were staying in the Caravan Park close by. They told us what to look for, which was anything that looks like glass. Off we go and I started scraping stones away and found a piece of blue glass. I took it to the lady and she said it could be aquamarine or blue topaz. It was good size and I think she was a bit peaved that she hadn't found it. I said "beginners luck" and she said "more like arse" with a smile on her face. Anyway when we got back to Mt Surpeise and the lady there thought it was aquamarine but then said no it was a topaze because it has 4 sides and aquamarines have 6. I'll get another opinion. I also found a little black pebble, quite shiny but no one knows what it is.
At the caravan park there was a brolga who was a rescue bird. He wasn't scared of you and the lady said that he won't leave. She also bred minature horses and had lots of birds in aviaries.
After Mt Surprise we drove to Atherton through very windy roads. We free camped at Kairi which is near Atherton and spent the evening in the local pub.
Left there this morning, again driving on very windy roads through the Great Divide. The scenery was fantastic.
We are staying in Cairns for a week and whilst here will get the motorhome serviced, which is long overdue.
Josh has arrived home. He didn't like London much and missed his friends. (Not his mother!!) Anyway he was also offered a job at the mine at Gladstone and will be earning $2,500 per week! He starts on Monday.
Well I'm now in Queensland even though it is a long way from home.
After leaving Barkley Homestead I drove to Camooweal which is just across the boarder ( in Qld.) from NT. I met up with Linda who I originally met in WA at a place called Onslow. We met up again in Marble Bar and Broome and since then have kept in touch. She had met a lady, who runs the Op Shop in Camooweal, and was staying at her place and I was invited too. Mia was about my age but boy has she had a exciting life. I won't bore you with it all but I stayed there 3 nights. She lives in a converted colourbond garage, which I'm sure would be stinking hot in the summer, and has been there for 1 year. There is nothing in this town but Mia likes it, and she does start drinking wine at 11 am and doesn't stop till bedtime.
From there Linda and I decided to drive to Gregory Downs as the locals said it is a lovely place. We knew that we would be travelling on unmade road and according to the map, it was a reasonable road. Anyway off we went and after about 150kms of bitumen we hit the dirt. Some of it wasn't too bad but some parts were pretty rough and neither of our vehicles are made for outback driving. After 100kms of this road we finally made it to Gregory Downs, which is on the Gregory River and is a very picturesque town. We stayed at the free camp and opposite the hotel there were public toilets and showers, which was a little walk away. There wasn't much to the town but the drive was worth the experience and the countryside was different to what I had been travelling through.
From Gregory we headed to Normanton via Bourke and Wills Homestead. Not much there!. We stayed at another free park, along the way, and even lit a fire and cooked potatoes in it. We did find a little furry creature next to our camp but am not sure what it is. It wasn't scared of us and we managed to take photos, in torch light and flash. I think it is some sort of rat but it really was cute.
Next morning we drove to Normanton which was 100kms away. Once we got there we decided to drive onto Karumba, as the town was pretty quiet and the caravan park was treeless so thought it would be too hot. Karumba is on the Gulf of Carpentaria but as yet we haven't ventured to the beach. It is very windy but this is not the norm so we might stay another night if the wind dies down.
Well that's bought you up to date. Not many exciting photos as I have been travelling most of the time.
Bourke and Wills Roadhouse
Part of dirt road we travelled on
Our furry friend
As I said not too exciting photos.
I did visit Mt Isa which is 180kms from Camooweal and it was pretty boring. I did a day trip so not sure whether the time and cost of fuel was worth it. I did do food shopping, which seems to be the only sort of shopping I ever do!!
I'm now at Barkley Homestead and my next stop will be in Queensland.
Kings Canyon was fantastic. The caravan park was really nice, much better than at Yulara. I did the long walk at the canyon but had no intentions of doing it. I decided to take the motorhome, with dogs, to the carpark, instead of going on the scooter. It was quite hot but did manage to get a park under some trees.
I started on the walk which involved a steep climb. I did hear that once you managed this, the walk became a lot easier. Anyway once you get to the top you then have to climb around the cliff and it's like a sheer drop on one side and there is no barrier. I nearly s--- myself as I now realise I'm not at all good with heights. I knew that I wasn't going to go back as I'm sure the climb back would be worse. No wonder I didn't climb Ayers Rock.
I ventured on hoping that I would make it without making a scene - and I did. The walk did become easier and it really was worth the palpatations and anxiety. It took me just over 3 hours ( it was 6kms ) and the walk down was far easier than going up. The dogs survived their time in the motorhome and I must admit I had no intentions of being so long. I did plan on going part of the way so that I wouldn't be too long but realised that after the climb I would have to go the whole way. Anyway I did live to tell the tale but I did have my moments!!
After Kings Canyon I headed back to Alice Springs. I stayed at a free park on the night of the Census and would you believe a lady came round with Census forms - so I am going to be counted! I stayed 1 night in Alice Springs just to do some shopping and to change an inverter I had brought. This was to charge my computer and camera batteries when I don't have any power. They sold me one that I had to connect directly to the car battery but I wanted one that would plug into a cigarette lighter fitting.
I then drove to Wycliffe Wells which was about a 400km trip. This place is in the middle of nowhere but has the reputation of having UFO sightings. I stayed 1 night and then headed for here. On my way, about 15mins up the road, I was stopped by police for a random breathe test. Luckily it was 10am and not 10pm!! I couldn't believe it.
I'm now here at Barkley Homestead which is really a roadhouse in disguise. I've got a powered site as I haven't had power for the last 3 nights and it really is nice. There is no TV reception so am watching a DVD.
I hope everyone is well and not too cold. I'm still in shorts and T-shirt.
Some of the steps to get to Kings Canyon
Yes I was there. This is near the top
View fo Kings Canyon ( part of )
Steps down to a place in the canyon called 'Garden of Eden'
Another view of part of the Canyon
There is an Eagle in the middle of the photo lunching on road kill. It's not a good shot as they are very difficult to get close enough to get any sort of photo. These birds are enormous.
Well that's it till next time.
We are all travelling well
Here I am at Yulara which is where you stay when you go to Ayers Rock. I've been here 2 nights and leave tomorrow.
After I left Ti -Tree I went to Alice Springs. I had no intention on staying there but ended up being there for 3 nights!! I stayed in a Non powered site at one of the caravan parks which was $15. A powered sit was $36 so $16 is a lot for less than 24hrs of power. Anyway, my site was next to the camp kitchen and I could plug my power cord in and have power without paying!!
I visited the old Telegraph Station whilst in Alice and that was extremely interesting. I also went to the Desert Park which had most living creatures that live in the desert plus plants. I also listened to an Aboriginal lass talk about what the women do in their culture but she said she couldn't talk about what the men did because 'that is men's business' and she didn't know. I was there for over 5 hours and had a great day. I do prefer something like that than going to museums.
Once again the grog shops don't open till 2pm and you have to have photo ID so that they can check that you are not on the 'black list'. Obviously I'm not on it yet but I do have a week or 2 left in the Northern Territory, so you never know.
After leaving Alice, I drove to a free park at Finke River which was quite picturesque. There was a toilet there and I cannot get over how clean and non smelly it was. There was no flush system so it is obviously emptied frequently. There was even a basin, with a tap, outside.
Then it was Yulara. It is a great caravan park and only costs $20.50 for a powered site - unpowered is $18. I went to Ayers Rock to watch the sunset, the day I arrived. You have to pay $25 entry but that lasts for 3 days. The next day I went to see it again and did a little free, walking tour with a ranger. There were quite a few people there as well. No I did not climb the rock as I really didn't want to and it is quite steep. There is a chain you can hold onto but that is fairly low and is slippery because of all the use. The ranger said that the climb will definitely be closed by 2019 if not before. The aboribines don't like you climbing it and there have been 40 deaths, but I'm not sure over what period. Apparently, when people get to the top and they're busting to go to the loo, they do it on top of the rock, ( number 1's and 2's! how disgusting) When it rains the urine and faeces gets washed into the water holes and contaminates them which means the animals don't get any fresh water.
There are lots of aboriginal stories about different sections of Ayers Rock. Theses stories explain how the holes got in the rock, what a lot of the caves were used for etc. It's all very interesting and I wish I could remember al of them.
Today I scootered to The Olgas which are 48kms away. They were fabulous and I did a 2.5km walk which was quite strenuous as you had to climb some steep areas to get to the lookouts. It took nearly 2 hours but when I got to the last lookout the view was fantastic. I think the Olgas are more spectacular than the Rock.
Tomorrow I head for Kings Canyon which is about 300kms from here. I'll stay there for a couple of nights and then back to Alice. I can't believe I've done 18,000kms so far. I thought it was only 15,00 but I didn't work it out properly.
The dogs are behaving. I think Kaiser is at last getting used to me going to the toilet as he hasn't been barking as much. He still gets pain in his back occasionally, but not bad enough for a visit to the Vet. Chardy has been a perfect lady since I told her off for flirting with the dog at Ti-Tree!
One thing about being here is that the nights are cool and I can snuggle into the doona. The days are beautiful.
Well that's it. Now for some photos. There are a couple of Ayers Rock as I tried a new setting on my camera which gives the appearance of looking through a pin hole.
Taken with the camera setting on 'pin hole'. It was at sunset
Yes I was there and I need to do something with my hair!!!!
Sunrise. Taken from the lookout at the caravan park 18kms away
Water hole 'in' Ayers Rock
This is me looking at the view after my big climb at the Olgas
Part of The Olgas
The Olgas at sunrise, again taken from the caravan park. They are 48kms away.