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Whitsundays - Adelaide - Whitsundays
Monday, Sep 08, 2008 at 00:00
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Monday 28th July
Easy drive via the Bruce Highway to Calen then the back roads to
and Eton to pickup the Peak Downs Highway.
Lunch at the
Hotel, must do this more often.
Continue along the Peak Downs Highway to Moranbah then past Peak Downs coal mine and Dysart. Wind along Cothersloe Road through the Peak Downs
and join up with the
Highway at Capella.
Tuesday 29th July
Along the Capricorn Highway to Alpha, morning tea (good sausage rolls at the bakery, coffee machine's not working unfortunately).
Along the Alpha - Tambo Road, deeply rutted and corrugated (idiot towing a caravan flat out coming the other way and did not even attempt to slow down luckily enough room to pass between the side markers).
Crossing The Great Dividing Range (Alpha Tambo Road)
Lunch at Tambo and visit the Tambo Teddy
Go to Augathella to see the supposedly great sculptures, can't find any must be in all the back streets.
Follow the Landsborough Highway to just south of Augathella then the Mitchell Highway to Charleville. Only accommodation available at the Charleville Hotel. So have dinner there as well.
Wednesday 30th July
Freezing cold (-1C) truck covered in ice first thing in the morning, roll it back into the sun to let it defrost before leaving. Not like the bloke next to us who threw a cup of hot water over his and it instantly refroze, luckily it did not crack on him but took twice as long to get rid of.
Head south along the Mitchell Highway to
for lunch and visit the museum.
Visit Wyandra, must come back to go fishing.
, check out what accommodation available, Riverfront Motel or
Inn. Settle on
even though it means back tracking about 10kms. Well worth it, great accommodation, great meal and terrific hospitality.
Corellas at North Bourke
Thursday 31st July
Darling River Run
Big day, dirt road all the way except for about 10kms.
races coming up must have graded it for that. Morning tea at the
, road much worse condition, lots of emus. Lunch at the
Hotel, don't forget to sign the wall and donate to the RFDS.
Quick stop on the side of the road at the Barrier Highway intersection before continuing on to
, go to motel, no booking (only place we had actually booked, find they've booked us in for next week). End up staying at the Albemarle Hotel, only one double room but really clean and tidy, great service and a terrific dinner.
Friday 1st August
Darling River Run
Still dirt road almost to
. Stop at
for morning tea at the new cafe and gallery. Excellent service and food. Great
at the Old Wharf area.
, arrive about lunch time so find a motel close to the centre of town. Walk to the Crown Hotel.
Decide to stay two nights in
Start to go for a walk get as far as the first
and it starts raining cat's and dog's. Talking to Marg in the
, seems the roads between
were closed due rain after we came through.
Dinner at the Crown Hotel, better than lunch.
Saturday 2nd August
and round the self drive tour, find the points of interest details after we get back to the visitors centre.
Definitely well worth the trip and next time we'll camp out there as we'll have the camper.
Dinner at the
Sunday 3rd August
First stop, Perry sand hills. Great place, pity about people attempting to drive vehicles on them.
Continue on to
, got talking to some locals who had taken a Japanese exchange student out to see it.
Only about 3m of usable water in the lake.
Visit Litra House ruins (the Old Scab Inspectors hut). Have to get Belinda to direct me over the bridge as it's partially washed out (first time she's done this so a little bit hesitant but does a great job).
Take the wrong road to
luckily there's a
in the fence.
In to Renmark, stay at the Renmark Hotel. Afternoon walk along the river, watch the sunset from the
club, even though we can't see it only the colours on the trees across the river.
Monday 4th August
Renmark to Swan Reach
Visit the Loxton historical village, needs a lot of work but still worth while.
Lunch at the bakery. Expecting really nice bakery made soup, turns out to be from a can.
Back roads to Swan Reach via Bakara Well.
Stay at the Swan Reach Hotel, overlooking the Murray River, really nice. Pub's up for sale, not game to ask how much.
Tuesday 5th August
Swan Reach to
Once again via back roads.
Stop at Cambria General store for morning tea, also the
and everything else in town, except the pub.
Wind through the hills to
. Starts raining.
Lunch at the Crafers Hotel, excellent food and service.
Two nights here while we visit
to pickup the camper, etc.
Dinner, typical nouveaux cuisine, enormous plates and really small serves. Any extras (salad etc) are $10 minimum.
Wednesday 6th August
Travel via Sheoak Drive to Edwardstown to pickup the camper.
Spend about an hour and a half at Adventure Campers while we learn all about the camper and fit it to the truck.
Off to Haigh chocolate factory for necessary purchases. Belinda promised to all and sundry presents of Haigh chocolate.
Going to have lunch at Windy Point but it's only open for dinner, so up to
summit instead. No view as we're in the clouds. Great lunch though.
Thursday 7th August
I've got a cold, we find a really nice B&B (Gasworks B&B, hello Heather and Bill) to settle into for a couple of days.
Friday 8th August
A couple of codrals and I spend most of the morning in bed. Belinda visits all the local galleries and ends up getting invited to an art opening on Sunday.
Saturday 9th August
Strathalbyn to Tarlee
Time to head north, it's been raining for the last 5 days and it's cold. Need to get some gear in
and visit the paper supply
Off to Snowy's for new (-10C) sleeping bags, and some other bit's and pieces ($700 worth). Should have everything we need now.
Belinda spends about the same at the paper supply
(just some "samples").
Time to get out of
the traffic is horrendous.
Head north, nothing much in the way of accommodation and the traffic dos'nt let up until north of
Come across a small (4 rooms) motel at Tarlee just on dark. We're the only guests for the night and the hospitality is fantastic, dinner served in front of the fire. Interesting fitting the truck in the parking area.
Sunday 10th August
Still raining. We decide to continue north until we clear the weather. Get to Clare and it's starting to clear so do the grocery shopping so we can stop when ever we want.
Ends up being just on dark when we get to
so decide to stay in the pub anyway (Criterion Hotel, hello Mike).
We're the only ones there.
Monday 11th August
to stop and see. Death rock, Kanyanka ruins, Old Ghan railway line,
Kanyaka Homestead Ruins
, just about dark again. Set up the camper for the first time. It's bloody cold. Lot's of bus tours around. Did I say it's bloody cold.
Tuesday 12th August
Did I mention it's bloody cold.
Should have continued on to
, rather than stay at
. Much better campsites and no one around.
Dinner at the
Hotel. Talked with some locals who are working with the miners to the east of Copley to determine sacred sites, etc before the mining commences, really interesting people. Determined that
is the worst town in
(their opinion not ours).
Stayed at the Copley Caravan
Wednesday 13th August
Copley to Clayton Wetlands
Buy some (4) quandong pies to have for morning/afternoon tea, end up having half each for the next 4 days for morning tea as there that good and we want to make them last.
Mine lookout. Looked at all the machinery on display, photo of our truck in front of the Titan 240 tonne truck as everyone else has probably done.
Titan 240 tonne
Stopped of at
to top up the LPG, should have filled up here rather than
as it's 10cpl cheaper.
ruins and lunch at the campground. Great facilities at the campground looks like a good
for an overnight stop.
Continue on to Maree, top of the petrol (most expensive of the trip $2.05 per litre). Although the fresh fruit and vegetables were reasonably priced. Bananas cheaper than at Clare.
Decide that the carvan parks are really not nice at Maree and we'll continue on up the
to Clayton wetlands and see.
Passed Lake Harry and the ruins, good to see that there's a description at these
to explain what and why there are ruins here.
Arrived at Clayton wetlands and have the place to ourselves. Setup camp among the few trees and sit back and enjoy the sunset and solitude. Our first real
and campfire of the trip.
Thursday 14th August
Clayton wetlands to
Pack up, go up to have a shower and there's some Toorak taxi suv parked near the showers. Get talking to the driver seems he drove through from
that morning (i'ts 9am and he's been there since 7:30ish).
Great hot shower even though it's artesian water.
Continue on up the
past Dulkannina, Milner's Pile, Etadunna, the Tom Brennan memorial.
looks like a good
to camp as well.
. Decide to definitely stop as the pubs great and the camping area is ideal. Setup camp and head off for lunch at the pub.
Spend the afternoon looking around the wetlands, really interesting and some great photos.
Dinner at the pub, watch “Back of Beyond” with the 6wd bus group that's staying at the hotel. End up talking with Phil and Pam and another couple who have just come down the Rig Road from
until 1am. Not a good move, big hangover the next day so don't go anywhere.
Saturday 16th August
Take the obligatory photo of us behind the bar at
before heading off.
Talking with Phil before we go and find that the
is still closed as has not been graded since the rains about 3 weeks ago. So we'll go to the turn off and see if we want to camp there or continue on to
, looks like someone has a fire going until we get close. The steam from the water is so dense that it actually looks like smoke. Even 50m down stream it's too hot to leave your hand in it for long. Lots of wildlife around here and in the wetlands just down the
with the amount of water around.
Arrive at Tippipilla campground at lunch time and decide really don't want to spend the rest of the afternoon sitting around amongst the gibbers. So have a relaxed lunch and then continue on.
Up to here had been predominantly gibber and stony desert (guess that's why it's called Sturt's Stony Desert) now starting to get into sand dunes. Not that we have to struggle to get over them as the road is very good.
and it's now the
, hasn't this changed since we were last here 15years ago. No bakery then, campground is much nicer, looks like people are really taking an interest in the place.
Campground and facilities are terrific, decide on a powered site as need to charge the camera batteries as we can't find the car charger for them. Campsites down near the river look great as well.
Over to the pub for a couple of ales before dinner and meet up with the group on the 6wd bus again.
Sunday 17th August
Leisurely start to the day. After breakfast over to the bakery for quandong pies and coffee. Go to visit Blue Poles Gallery but not open as Wolfgang has headed south. Explore Oz sticker on the wall, only one we saw in the whole trip.
Stop of at the Waddi trees to have a look, 4wd with trailer goes by while we are there, last vehicle we see until we arrive in Bedourie.
Lot's of interesting historical points along the road, once again signs at these
to explain what and why, good to see.
Arrive in Bedourie, decide to stay at the council camping area next to the aquatic centre. Just across the road from the Bedourie Hotel. Good facilities and its got grass unlike the dust bowl down at the roadhouse.
Been overcast and threatening rain all day but starts to clear just on sunset to give the most spectacular sunset we have seen yet.
Monday 18th August
Bedourie to Diamantina
Again a couple of 4wd's just entering Bedourie as we're leaving and they're the last vehicles we see for the rest of the day.
Collect some firewood just near the
Developmental Road intersection where the dozer has pushed over some trees. Extremely dry wood and some really dense, looks like a good fire tonight.
Follow the Diamantina Developmental Road to Monkira.
Head up the Monkira - Davenport Downs road. Initially road is rocky and hard packed although winds around through the trees. First
we have come across. (seven gates eventually between here and the
Road turns to alluvial sand after the
and the truck's not happy with the extra effort to drive on this. Time to air down the tyres. Try 25psi first of all and it makes some difference but could still be better, eventually down to 18 psi to get enough flotation so it's not bogging down, have to remember this for any future sand driving. May need to look at some bead locks.
Alluvial sand on the Monkira Davenport Road
, some water in it but not over the ford, eventually find our way through the plethora of tracks on the eastern side of the river onto the
Road. No longer sandy so time to air up again, first time we've used the compressor in anger and it works a treat. 4 tyres 18 to 40psi each, in 10 minutes.
Diamantina River Crossing
station in the
, surprised to find someone there, ranger had just arrived from
On to Hunter's Gorge (Mundawerra) campground after crossing the
again. Great waterhole and good campground even though it's very windy. Not a lot of campsites but as were the only one's there we get the pick of the sites. Fire
overlooking the waterhole make's for a nice fireside evening. One other vehicle arrives just as were about to set up and camps about 50 m from us, mind you there's about 5 acres of campground.
Spectacular moonrise over the water hole as the sun has only just set and the moon is reflecting the colour of the sunset.
Decide it's time for a rest day so will spend two nights here.
Tuesday 19th August
Hunter's Gorge, Diamantina
Other vehicle leaves early so have the place to ourselves. Spend the day walking up to the end of the water hole. Sitting on the side of the waterhole watching the eagles and pelicans fishing. Take lots of photos. Belinda does some sketching for prints for her masters degree.
Saw the most rediculous bunch of 4wd's yet. Arrive in the camping area at about 60kph towing camper trailers, dust every where (their complaining about the dust to each other on the UHF), luckily the wind is blowing it away from us. They stay for a total of five minutes, never get out of the vehicles, and then roar off out of the campground.
Really been and done the Diamantina havn't they!!!
Another vehicle pulls in to the campground not long before dark. Come over to say hello (hi Rosemary and Ian), and we get to discussing the above 4wd's. Seems they passed them on the
Road still going flat out not caring about other users, did not even slow down when passing a vehicle coming the other way.
Another great sunset and camp fire to finish the day.
Wednesday 20th August
Back across the
, and up the
Visit Janet's leap lookout, after entering these road's into Open Street Map (from our gps logs) find that's its' only about 2km's in a straight line from where we were camped.
Visit the Mayne Hotel ruins, not much left and it's a pity to see that people have removed posts so that they can drive the 100m to the graveyard rather than getting out and walking.
Mayne Hotel Ruins
Really impressive mesas along this road and it's interesting to see that there are still red sand dunes.
Missed the turnoff to
Station and decided we'll come back another day as really want to spend some more time in this area.
Lunch under the trees off the side of the road, it's great having the camper and fridge/freezer.
mail road then down to
dinosaur tracks. Really worthwhile visiting and taking the guided tour, just made it in time for the last tour of the day. First vehicles we've seen today in the parking area here.
Jump Up Country near Lark Quarry
Road, some great views here as well. Back on the bitumen and out of 4wd for the first time in 4 days. Truck feels a little strange on uneven bumps in the road, stop to check tyre pressures,
etc can't see anything wrong. Just take it easy from here in to
Decide it's time for a town day and motel/hotel stay, can't get into the new flash motel, with free internet, pool etc. end up staying at the oldest motel in town. Really clean and well looked after and the decore is still as when it was built in 1964, pink bathroom sinks and all.
No internet as the phones not working and Telstra won't be in to fix them until next week. Damn I really needed to check the emails ;), oh well will just have to wait until we get home.
Free laundry for guests, so spend the afternoon getting rid of some of the dust.
RSL club for an asian style meal for dinner, interesting.
Thusday 21st August
Spend the day at
doing all the tourist things. Still can't seen find anything wrong with the truck so leave it for now.
Lunch at the Tattersall's Hotel, excellent, so good we decide to go back for dinner.
's a great country town with really friendly atmosphere. Will definitely be back.
Friday 22nd August
and as is our want take the back road just out of town. Well made dirt road and some different country to see. Come across a sign indicating a turn to the right, following the maps we had and the gps this did not gel. So continue on straight ahead, about 200m up is a
with a bloody great sign that says "Private road, not maintained by Aramac Shire council, road is dangerous", so decide discretion is the better part of valour and we'll go and take the other road. Not really much more than wheel tracks through the grass but it's got side markers over the drains and sign posts. Come to a cattle
which was not sign posted and realize that the
is about 150mm above the level of the road luckily able to stop but with the tyres just touching the concrete side of the
. This road continued like this for the next 50kms and at each
it was necessary to come to a complete stop before continuing.
Eventually rejoin the other road and there's a sign there saying the same thing about private road, etc. I'd really like to see why i'ts so dangerous as the one supposedly maintained by the council was dangerous enough.
Originally intended to stay at
, got there about lunch time and decided to get some lunch at the pub. A couple of people in the pub and the bar person. Order lunch and some drinks, and find a table while waiting for lunch. Now we're not prudish and I have been know to swear like a trooper at times but if the locals can't talk between themselves with out every second word being F*** or C*** (both male and female) then they really don't deserve to have our custom so finished lunch (which was good). Got talking to the barmaid and she suggested
as a good place to stay. Not far about 150kms to the east.
So head off towards Aramac and found a couple of other campsites along the road to there but nothing great.
Quick stop in Aramac to have a look around and then on to
What a place, camped 10ft from the waters edge, good clean facilities and really cheap. Got talking to Marg (the owner), been there for about 50 years, just off to clean the cabins as someone coming up from
Will definitely be back here too but will have to bring a boat as supposedly great fishing but not in the vicinity of the camping area.
Saturday 23rd August
to Mount Coolon
Had breakfast on the shore of
then a leisurely departure.
Once again lot's of back roads today and again a road that's mapped and on the gps but does not go through. Did not have to back track but the only road is 100km's longer than what we had intended.
Really varying landscape as we cross the Great Dividing Range and head east.
Some great spots maybe to
along the road particularly near Dunda Creek and the Belyando River.
Checked out the motel and camping area at Belyando Crossing, no thanks.
Arrive at Mount Coolon, talk to the publican and he says camp anywhere. Back of the pub is grassed and power if needed, otherwise across the road near the rotunda. Select the rotunda site as its got a great view for the sunset.
Dinner at the pub, current publican has only just taken over the pub and is doing it up, dining room floor is great just be careful of the lean on the chairs. Lots of history in the town but not really well maintained even though nationally listed.
Sunday 24th August
Mount Coolon to Whitsundays (Home)
on the road
. No back roads today as everything other than the main road between Mount Coolon and the Bruce Highway the direction we want to go is a no through road. Still the
Developmental Road is still interesting and some great areas we'll have to come back and investigate more.
Lunch at Collinsville, pretty quite as it is sunday and not much open in the main street.
30kms out of
and the lpg runs out, would have made it home if had not had to do that extra 100kms yesterday, oh well we're back on the coast and traffic everywhere, where's those backroads when you want them. Truck still gets a strange feeling when on bitumen when there's uneven bumps in the road, never happened on the dirt. So 70-80kph seems to be the go without any problems.
Arrive home mid afternoon, and it seems like a real let down. As good as it is to be home it was great
on the road
for the last few weeks and look forward to getting back out there.
Tatersalls Hotel (
Prarie Hotel (
Swan Reach Hotel
Best Accommodation (other than camping):
Gasworks B&B (Strathalbyn, SA)
Swan Reach Hotel
Must go back to (particularly now we have the camper):
Darling River Run
One dead shock absorber. Had intended putting a new set of shocks on the back before we left but ran out of time.
Wasn't too concerned as they had been ok with no weight on the back. Now have a set of Rancho 9000 adjustable and this solved the strange feeling on bitumen.
Otherwise all went well.
No Punctures but on brand new BFG AT's and driving to the conditions that's what I'd expect.
Most expensive petrol:
Maree $2.05 per litre ULP
Least expensive petrol:
Whitsudnays $157.9 per litre PULP (normal petrol for us)
Most expensive LPG:
$109.9 per litre
Lease expensive LPG:
(Keswick) 66.6c per litre
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