Winton to LakeTinaroo 30/04/2011-6/05/2011 via Undara by Mrs Kanga

Saturday, Apr 30, 2011 at 00:00


Day 15 - 30/4/2011
Birthday Boy (Adriane) opened his cards over breakfast.Gordon, Andrea and I walked in to town to the Waltzing Matilda Centre($22ph) for a look around, everything you ever wanted to know about the song and then some. Adriane joined us later and we went to the bakery for a nice lunch then walked around to Arno’s weird and wonderful wall and at the front of his house was a busted diff (see picture). Back to camp for a relaxing afternoon, blogging and chatting with Jenny and Max that pulled in from Port Douglas. Got all the local knowledge on the best spots in FNQ. Adriane’s Motorola Defy worked fine here but no Virgin coverage. Walked to Tattersals Hotel for Adriane’s Birthday Dinner, he enjoyed a platter of Prawns and Bugs while Gordon & Andrea had the Calamari and I had a Garlic Prawn Salad, not bad considering we are so far from the sea.
Day 16 - 1/05/2011
On the road by 8.45am but straight to the BP for Gordon to top up his tank and pump up his tyres. Then a quick visit to the Musical Fence for Andrea to do her Animal ( from the Muppets) impression and the original QANTAS landing site, before heading to Longreach via the Age of Dinosaurs.Got to Age of Dinosaurs just after 9.30am so missed the 9am tour but after talking to Sarah Stemm in the shop, they agreed to do a special tour for us at 10am. View from the top is quite spectacular, also saw a small lizard sunning himself on the rocks. Turns out that Sarah is from Middle Lagoon and is Kathleen Cox's (from Goombaragin‘s) niece, small world. Nice lady called Tricky conducted the start of the tour and Sarah the end because she is learning, having only started a couple of weeks ago. Dinosaur fossil expect George(from Beauty and the Geek fame) was also there. Well worth a visit if you are in to dinosaurs and it will only get better because approx $40Million worth of improvements are planned. On way in to Longreach the road was blocked off by the Police doing license and breath checks, we passed with flying colours then made our way in to town and checked in to the Discovery Holiday Park for the next two nights. Public Holiday again tomorrow so most things shut. The Holiday Park is very big and being upgraded. Their “Wool Shed” appears to be a new addition with huge new pool table, entertainment, a bar and restaurant, very reasonably priced. We made our own diner but went over to the Wool Shed after to watch the Karaoke.

Day 17 - 2/05/2011
Lots to see today, first off to the Stockman’s Hall of Fame. Magnificent building, it reminded me a bit of the Maritime Museum in Fremantle, but for $26ph (extra $6 if you want to buy their info booklet) we were a little disappointed, a lot of the displays were poorly lit, some computer based displays were malfunctioning and the 11am show that was advertised on the sign on the way in, was not on today because of the public holiday. At the Maritime Museum, when all the displays aren’t accessible, they don’t charge you full price. And to top it off, their Café had a sign saying “No Coffee”!So after a look around we filled out their feedback forms and moved on to the QANTAS Museum. Had a nice lunch at their airport style cafeteria then Gordon and Andrea went through the museum while Adriane and I had a look outside at the 747. Back to camp for a break until our 4.30pm pickup for the paddle boat cruise. Geoffrey (fellow Exploroz member camped nearby) was our coach driver and ultimately cook and chief billy spinner for the evening. We were among about forty others cruising on Thomson Belle down the Thomson River with nibbles served by young Jeremy in appropriate period costume. Back up the river in time for a beautiful sunset over the water where Gordon and Adriane had their usual competition for the best sunset photo. They can never agree on a winner so here is one I took.
Back off the boat to a waiting campfire and seats for us all to enjoy our meal. Hearty beef camp stew followed by apple strudel and custard finished off with damper and billy tea all while being entertained by Scotty the barefoot poet. All in all, a top night out.

Day 18 - 3/05/2011

Packed up and on the road by 8.30am but went in toLongreach for a quick look around now that things are open. Bought a Royal Wedding edition New Idea with my $7 scratchie winnings, Andy got the Woman’s Day so we can swap later. Had a cuppa and a delightful little fairy cake at the Merino Café then on our way to Muttaburra by 9.30am. Another beautiful sunny day. Pretty crappy road so far, the bitumen sections are narrow and badly potholed and the gravel sections a bit rough, saw a flock of emus, and some cattle. Once again the road feels more like you are just driving through a farmers paddock. Got to Muttaburra about 11.30am and took photos of the replica Muttaburrasaurus had a quick look around town then moved on when we found there would be a half hours wait before Fiona at the local shop could start making us anything for lunch. We ended up pulling over at Breakfast Creek at 12.30 for a cuppa and a snack just over 100ks from Hughenden. Eventually back on the bitumen but it was in bad condition, took a quick detour to Hughenden Lookout then back on road, one lane wide, cracked and wobbly. . 2.50pm pulled in to Hughenden, went to shake hands with the replica Muttaburrasaurus skeleton, grabbed a bite to eat, Andrea got some more scratchies with her $7 winnings then we topped up with fuel before heading off to Porcupine Gorge to camp for the night. Bitumen road a bit bumpy and narrow in places and lots of cattle at times. Forty odd ks in the road becomes gravel with grading in progress and started to spot some kangaroos as the sun is getting low. End of road works and we are back to bitumen again for a short time before a rough gravel section then bitumen again, half decent this time but lots of cattle in places. Pulled up to make camp around 5.30pm ($5.15pppn), no fires allowed so we did our jacket potatoes in Andrea’s oven. Were sat down eating by 7pm and were visited by a friendly Rufous Bettong, very similar looking to our Quokka

Day 19 - 4/05/2011

Packed up camp by about 8am then went for a walk down to the Porcupine Gorge (sign says 1.1km). Saw our first Cane Toad, a long necked tortoise and some small fish in the water. Adriane went for a swim and the rest of us wet our shirts and hats in preparation for the climb back up to the cars. Back on the road by 10.30am another warm fine day. Road conditions varied greatly from a really nice wide smooth bitumen section, skinny bumpy potholed bitumen to gravel in various conditions. A few river crossings, some dry, some a trickle like where we stopped for a cuppa and eventually some quite wide, shallow but fast flowing and slippery. Mainly saw lots of cattle but also four emus lots of birds and a dead dingo. Gordon and Andrea got stuck for quite a while behind a cattle muster. Stopped for lunch at Oasis Roadhouse The Lynd then on to Undara. Missed a couple of turns on the way (because Gordon & Andrea were in front), but got to Undara in time to do some washing($2 per load, only one of two machines working) before dinner. Had a lovely dinner at their Fettlers Iron Pot Bistro while waiting for the show which never happened.

Day 20 - 5/05/2011

We were booked for the 10.30am Archway Explorer so we got up, I made blueberry pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast and we leisurely packed up. Went on the 10.30am Archway Explorer ($47pp for 2 hours) with Chris as our guide. Learnt a bit more about the area and the Lava Tubes. Went to Road Tube, Arch - Ewamain and Stephensons with Adriane going for an exciting swim in the last one, the water level was well above the height of the boardwalk hand rails. Tour finished in time for us to have lunch then hit the road. All roads bitumen in good condition apart from the occasional flood damage which is well sign posted. Popped in at Innot for an ice cream and to check out the hot springs while Gordon got some fuel. It just looked like a small creek with a sandy bank but depending on which bit you dipped your toe in, it varied from cool to scalding hot. Decided we wouldn’t make it to Lake Tinaroo tonight but pushed on for Atherton.Gravel road to Millstream Falls in very poor condition but is only short, so well worth a quick peek as they are supposed to be the widest falls in Australia. Pulled in to Atherton before dark and checked in to Hallorans Caravan Park ($23pn unpowered). Really nice caravan park, clean amenities, we made use of the new camp kitchen which also had a TV, really good Caravan Park with a terrific backdrop.

Day 21 - 6/05/2011

Packed up camp and went to Atherton to do a bit of shopping and went to The Crystal Caves and bought a couple of things, very interesting shop. Dropped in at Lake Tinaroo and the Curtain Fig Tree before a lovely lunch at Lake Barrine Tearooms where there are also a couple huge old Kauri Pine trees, this Restaurant/teahouse, is really nice, the food great and the view stunning, highly recommended. Also popped in to see the Cathedral Fig Tree, well worth a look, very impressive, like something out of Avatar. Pushed on around the other side of Lake Tinaroo to Fong-On Bay where camping needs to be pre-booked ($5.15phpn) so when Andrea got phone signal, she booked us a couple of sites. The road in to the campsite was badly potholed but the drive is rewarded with one of the most delightfully locations with huge shady grassed areas with awesome views of Lake Tinaroo. Two toilet blocks are provided, fires permitted (BYO firewood) multitude of birdlife and boat access to the water. It appears to be popular with the water skiers and I imagine that this beautiful peaceful spot is sometimes quite noisy and busy with campers and skiers but we found it absolutely magical. After dinner, Adriane tried out his new opera house nets that he had bought in Atherton. Although fellow campers had suggested that he would not have any success because you need a boat to get out deeper, we were delighted to catch our first red claw using Good Os for bait, as suggested by a farmer we had met at Undarra.
Tempus Fugit

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