Travels of the Gypsy August 2019

To keep reading September

Saturday 31st August - Koumala

Welcome to the last day of Winter of 2019. Today we are heading for Koumala, which is just south of Sarina. We were originally going to stay for one night but have changed this to two.

Leaving Marlborough we continue north on the Bruce Highway for an hour. Here we take a side track to St. Lawrence to have a walk around and empty poodle. The camp area here is at the Showgrounds with plenty of room. It's only $12.50 per night and there is a maximum stay of 14 days. It has a good amenities block with a coin operated hot shower if you want.

Turning off the Bruce into the Koumala Van Park we see these concrete slabs in this lovely grassy area. There is room for about 16 vans here with big rigs next door. It's actually a beautiful peaceful park as there are only two vans here plus the manager's one. Talking to the manager he told us that the other night it was full, so you can't pick it.

I turned on the TV to tune it in and there is a black line going down the screen but it's watchable. This does not look good. We turned it back on again to watch the news and now there is about a third of the screen not working. Looks like we will need a new one now. Clive had spent some time in the afternoon checking to see what 12v TV's were available in Mackay, but no luck here. He even ended up ringing the Good Guys in Townsville to see what they had and no joy. They will see if they can get one in by the time we get to Townsville on the 17th September.

Roast pork and vegetables for dinner - from the pub. Cost $13.50 with us sharing the meal. It was very nice and seemed to good to pass up. Clive had to have a couple of beers while he was waiting for dinner. Behind the bar they have plaques with the actual size of mud crabs and other fish that have been caught around here. Very interesting. This Freehold Pub is currently for sale if anyone reading this is interested. We watched TV with about half a screen. Amazing how one can adapt to anything. We will need a new TV, no doubt about it. I can't watch my shows like this.

Lawrence .

This TV has
a problem.

A decent
size lobster.

Mud crabs

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Friday 30th August - Marlborough

12 degrees over night with a lovely warm day around 28.

A very late start today with us just spending the morning reading and relaxing. We decided to leave after lunch so left around 2pm and arrived in Marlborough around 3pm. This is another free camp located behind the Puma Service Station. A huge area where you can park where you want to. It's actually like a big paddock. I am beginning to notice the humidity.

No TV here so it's DVD watching. We started on the ones that Clive used to get with the Caravan and Motorhome Magazines that he got every month. We watched some on Far North Queensland where we will be going so interesting to see some of the high lights to look out for.

Fish and chips from the Roadhouse. Delicious.

My fish
and chips.

Our camp is
behind here.

Plenty of

Sunset in

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Thursday 29th August - Yaamba

Now I forgot to mention yesterday that while I sitting in the kiosk area waiting for Clive to finish his tour, two bus loads of children came in. It seems they are on a 3 day camp here at the caves. Talk about excited children. Every time a staff member went past, they asked me if I would like some ear plugs. They will be having their three daily meals in this area and it looks like the boys are sleeping in the tent and glamping area while the girls sleep in the conference centre. It was about 9.30 last night that the chatter stopped so that must be when lights out is. Clive heard them this morning at 6.00am and then at 7.15 they all went off to breakfast to return about an hour later.

Yesterday they were all divided into groups - 6 groups in total of about 14 students in each group. Over the three days they all do different activities including the cave tour that Clive did as well as Adventure Caving which involves crawling through narrow caves. They showed Clive where they send the children when then do this. They also still dig out bat poo from the cave floor and the children go through this as part of their tour looking for fossils amongst other things. I don't remember our school camps to have done anything like this.

14.2 degrees last night with a top of 29.3 today.

We left the Capricorn Caves and headed to our next stop - Yaamba Rest area. This just happens to be 10km from the Caves, so another big drive by Clive today. Lots of trucks stopping and going and also some vanners doing the same. Stopping for a break and then off they go again. It is a Driver Reviver area so it is really good to see people using it. It's just off the Bruce Highway so pretty noisy . It's been a hot day and a warmer night than usual, but not uncomfortable. Good TV reception, so Yay!!!

Steak and Kidney pie for dinner. Now I must tell you, we brought one of these away with us when we left the Gold Coast. Clive tried to open it with the can opener that we had and because of the way it is done it doesn't cut the lid off like it does with other cans. On the Coast we had an electric can opener for these pies as it was the only way we found of opening them. So rather than cart it around Oz uneaten we left it with Yvonne and Ted to enjoy.

Anyway, my darling husband bought another one and a new can opener that should do the job. Well it did half the job and then broke. So much for that idea. Not be out done this time, Clive got out the pen knife that he keeps in the car and used the can opener on that to finally get the lid off. It was delicious though.


Stopped by
the cattle train.

The Variety
Rally cars.

Sunset in

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Wednesday 28th August - Cathedral Cave Tour

A pleasant night going down to 13.2 and again up to 31 today.

Off to the Cathedral Cave Tour this morning at 11.00am. Bought our tickets, $35.00 each less a 10% discount as we are staying in the park. It's supposed to be wheel chair friendly but it didn't turn out to be Gai friendly. I did the first 15 minutes with my guide but it was so steep going up and down ramps that I really couldn't continue, so my guide suggested that I could go back at any time I wanted to. Thankfully I did. It would have been easier if I was sitting in a wheel chair being pushed. Clive finished off the tour and returned at 12.20 where he found me waiting in the kiosk area.

We shared a hamburger and chips between us for lunch and then bought a tea towel, fridge magnet and koala bear from the souvenir shop then back to the van for a read and a rest. No internet so Clive will have to wait until we get some to get the blog all updated and pay a few bills.

Gai and Toni
her guide.

Down steps to
the first cave.

This fern only grows in
three area around the world.

Cathedral Cave. The
acoustics are fantastic.

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Tuesday 27th August - Capricorn Caves

11.6 last night and got to a top of 31 today, so another warm day but not too hot,

We left Rocky just after 10 and arrived at The Capricorn Cave Van Park about 11. Part of the way was a one lane road but at least it was all black top. Be careful what you wish for. I wanted some peace and quiet from neighbouring vans but this is going to the extreme. We are the ONLY van here so far and it's so peaceful.

This little park can only take 19 powered vans and is set in a nice bush land area. There is also room for about the same number of non-powered sites and across the road about 100m away is their own tent and glamping set up. The sites are all gravel and dirt and sadly none of them are level. Clive had to use two wheel ramps on one side to try and get it somewhere near level. We are out in the bush - no doubt about that as there are also no lights at night, so it's a torch if you want to do the toilet walk. There is also limited phone coverage and no interent.

The Caves are supposed to be wheel chair friendly, but we'll see about that when we do a tour tomorrow. By 6pm there are another 5 motorhomes parked here but it's so peaceful, (so far). Clive went out to look at the stars.

Curry for Clive for dinner and a toasted sandwich for me. Happy birthday to my Clive's baby brother.

There are different
cattle statues all around.

Camped at
the Caves.

The cave

These look
so life like.

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Monday 26th August - Botanical Gardens and Zoo

Warm day of 29 degrees but you could feel the heat out in the direct sun.

We drove to the Capricorn Spire which is located at the Tourist Info Centre. This is the Tropic Of Capricorn Line that differentiates between the Temperate Zone and the Tropic Zone. A good place to stop for info if you need it and they also have a good gift shop.

After this we went to the Botanical Gardens and the Zoo. Both of these are free to visit and it would have been good to walk around as these are the prettiest that we have seen so far. Way to big for me to walk around and I'd forgotten to take my PD Medication with me so was feeling a bit 'off'. Still something that we hopefully will get a chance to re-visit at a later date.

Clive went MIA again and I heard him chatting to next door. I could put my arm out the window and touch his car as that's how close we are packed in. Still off the Capricorn Cave tomorrow for 2 nights.

At the

Gai in
both zones.

Entrance to the
Botanical Gardens.

Walking the

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Sunday 25th August - St. Joseph's Cathedral

Cloudy and 26 degrees today. You just have to love this weather.

Another 'jobs to fix' day today. The left hand head light low beam on the car has blown. Clive bought a replacement at Super Cheap and they have a fitting service for only $10.00 as this would save him getting all dirty. When they came to do it they said that it would need to go to a mechanic as they can't do it. It's a tight squeeze to get your hand between the fuse box and the front of the car. Not to be out done, Clive strapped one of the torches to his head to he could se what was happening and managed to replace it. Took about 20 minutes but it done. The nut to the knob on the stove had come loose so the control had fallen back. Out with the long nose pliers and after 5 minutes that was done. He also got the blog up to date slong with all the web pages.

Not a good start to the day as we were woken at 5.45am by three children screaming and playing outside of our van. Appears that the parents slept through all this as it was about 45 minutes later you heard the mother shout at them. REALLY!!! Then the van next door started talking at the top of their voices as they were packing up. Have some respect for your neighbours. This is the worst park we have been in for space as we are packed in like sardines and there is no trees to deaden sound. It's just car, van, car, van, car, van…you getting the idea yet.

We might go to the Zoo and Botanical Gardens if the weather stays OK.

Clive - I went off to Mass at St. Joseph's Cathedral in the morning. Mass was at 9.30 and upon arriving I see people all dressed in national costumes. It was a Multicultural Mass with Bishop Michael McCarthy presiding. It was a beautiful Mass with a procession of flags of all nations and the intro hymn being done by Africians. Next was a Welcome to Country then in the Prayers of the Faithful this was said by people speaking in their own native tongue. The hymn after communion was sung by Indonesians and the final hymn again by Africians. The Mass took and hour and forty minutes and then at 12.15 they were having lunch. I didn't stay for that as I went and got some groceries for us and made a curry for dinner.

The cathedral is just stunning and beautiful. Built in 1899 with the stained glass windows, life size statues, wooden ceiling, amazing stonework and magnificent Alter. The Station of the Cross and quite large and 3d so they really stand out. It would be great to go back there again.

St. Joseph's

Looking to
the Alter.

Just some of
the windows.

Jesus and

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Saturday 24th August - Drive to Yepoon to Emu Park

Over cast today and heading for a top of only 23 so we decided to go for a drive rather than a walk around the Botanic Gardens and the Zoo. Good thing too as about 15 minutes on the way to Yepoon it started to rain and we had showers on and off all the way. At one stage it chucked it down.

We drove around Yepoon and stopped and had a look out to the sea, You couldn't really see a lot due to rain off shore, but we did manage to get some pictures of Great Keppel Island and some of the other smaller islands. The sea is a beautiful colour but the sand looks dirty. Nothing like the beaches of the Gold Coast.

From Yepoon we took the coastal road down to Emu Park. Again another pretty town with a few touristy things to do. From here it was back to Rocky and time for a late lunch. It's still a bit cool and certainly cooler than yesterday. It might be from the cold wind.

some rain.

Wreck Point
Scenic Lookout.

Rosslyn Bay

The Big
White Whale.

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Friday 23rd August - Rockhampton

A bit cooler today with 26 degrees.

Clive did two loads of washing today so under the annex it looks like a Chinese laundry. In between it was a pretty lazy day. He found a local Jaycar store and bought some bits to make up a 12v lead from the cigarette lighter in the cupboard to the TV. This saves us using the batteries via the inverter under the bed to make 240v then the transformer on the TV converting it back to 12v. With the lead it's just a 12v to 12v connection. I can't believe that he bought a soldering iron away with us in the car amongst his tools. Wonders will never cease. Still it worked OK.

So Clive went shopping and found an Australia Post Office and purchased a new indoor / outdoor weather station. It's lovely and colourful and we can now get temperatures again. The only problem with this one is that it doesn't record the minimum and maximum temperatures. It only shows you what the current temperature is.

Then onto some other chores. He replaced a latch on one of the cupboards and started catching up on the blog. All being well we'll go out tomorrow and do some sight seeing. We've changed the itinerary to stay here an extra couple of days rather than go to Yepoon and have to back track to continue our journey. Yepoon will become a day trip instead now.

Thursday 22nd August - Rockhampton

Sunny and a very warm 28 degrees by the car thermometer.

We arrived in Rocky about 12.30 after a late start to the day. That's the great thing with free camping is that you don't have to be out by a certain time, so I can sleep in. By the time we left there was less than half a dozen vans, but I've no doubt that it will be full again there tonight.

The park is very nice and we were lucky we were the first on and there was no one opposite us. The roads are narrow and being empty made things a lot easier then having cars parked up all around you. Besides having the standard pool it also has a water park and at the other end a jumping pillow.

A productive afternoon with lots of paper work out of the way. By 6pm the park was pretty full.

Coal trains
at Bajool.


Bajool War

Welcome to

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Wednesday 21st August - Bajool

Free camping again tonight. A nice day for travelling with a cool breeze. Our weather station has died so no more of the min/max updates until we can get a new one. Sad really as this is an interesting part of our travels watching the weather. Must be beginning to sound like a farmer.

Before we left Boyne River the coffee and donuts van was back so I got 3 jam donuts for $7.00. One to eat for lunch today and the other two to freeze.

Our camp tonight is right opposite a pub. We had planned on having lunch there but Clive noticed a sign that it didn't open until 3pm, so back to the van for our normal style of lunch. Clive had fun on the drive talking on the CB when he saw big rigs pulling in behind us. He was telling them that he would pull over when the chance happened so that they could overtake. Well, they are working and we're only going 80 in a 100 zone. They were all very polite and thanked us and most used the overtaking lanes. One guy asked if it was a bicycle towing the van to which he replied a tricycle and then another voice said he must have the misses best china on board and she wouldn't let him go any faster. How rude but it was all said in good fun.

So off to the pub for tea at 6.30. Don't worry as Home and Away is being recorded. We shared a seafood basket for dinner and even though most of it was crumbed it was very nice. Still too much food for the both of us. Off to Rockhampton tomorrow.

Bajool has a population of about 540 people at the last census. It's mainly agriculture that keeps the town going. The pub was closed however a new couple have come in and re-opened it. Some lovely old photos on the walls.

Gai enjoys
a lie in.

Boyne River
rest area.

Mobile coffee
and donut van.

Dinner at
the pub.

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Tuesday 20th August - Boyne River

A bit cooler today with a strong cold breeze. Must be the wind chill factor that is doing it.

Free camping today on the banks of the Boyne River. Now this is a beautiful spot. Where we camped in before is total full so we have to camp in the 24 hour zone. We got here at 1.30 after a late start. Yes, Clive went MIA again while I was still sleeping. I eventually rang Yvonne to see if she knew where he was. Seemed Ted and him went for a walk down to the back of the block and he'd left his phone in the van.

Clive - well in my defense I said to Ted, come on and show me the back of the block. He said it's about a kilometre away so this should be a nice walk. So off we set following the track that was there. About half way this track starts disappearing. Seems mother nature is re-claiming her land back again. We walked along the fence line and eventually came out on the back road to their property. We then walked up the road a bit and then decided to go back via the road way. Well this turned out to be a trek and a half. Of course once we got to their front gate it was another 400m to the house. Glad I didn't go out there by myself as I would have got lost but it was a good walk. Ted was going for a sleep after we left.

Off we finally go to the Boyne River Rest Area and Clive didn't set the GPS co-ordinates into Jeeves. There was less and less traffic around so he pulled over and set the co-ordinates in. By this time we had missed a major turn off, so it was cross country for us down some dirt roads and being bounced around again. For most of the way we didn't see any other vehicles. Then Jeeves said to take a road that had a big 'No through road' on it and with towing a van this did not become an option. Still we got back to the highway eventually and into the rest area. Does this count as a rookie mistake as it's normally the first thing that he does before we set off - enter the GPS co-ordinates.

Didn't even try the TV tonight as no aerials up so we watched some pre-recorded shows that night. It's good to be on the road again. It's kinda funny how we've missed this.

An old railway

Sunset at the
Boyne River.

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Monday 19th August - Watalgan

It's a bit warmer today with 27 degrees and no rain in sight.

Off to Bundaberg now to do several things. Fuel up, go to Woolies to get some food for us, Chemist Warehouse and to a second hand book shop that Clive ordered some books from while we were on the road. Well the running around took an hour and a half so I'm so glad that we broke the return trip up.

Now it's off to Ted and Yvonne's which we got there at 12.30, so a good trip. After some lunch Clive sorted out the car and van again and this took a few hours re-packing our clothes away. When he'd finished he realised that the fishing gear was still under the van so that's why there was some space. Yvonne made a chicken pie and vegetables which Clive had and even managed to score some extra for dinner the next day while I had a toasted sandwich. Not too late a night as we all had a great evening.

Nearly finished

Lots of
road works.

Ted and Yvonnes
front gate.

Bear all
rugged up.

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Sunday 18th August - Maryborough Motel

Today is the last day on the Coast until who knows when. Clive went off to Mass this morning and then returned to finish packing the Jeep. He did most of it yesterday, so the balance was completed fairly quickly. We've practically sorted out all of the business we had to do so after three weeks it's now time to re-commence our journey.

We've decided to break the trip us as it knocked me about a bit doing it all in one go, so we'll spend a night in Maryborough at a motel. Well, this motel could do with a bit of updating but at least it's a clean bed and a roof over our heads. Fish and chips for dinner.

Gai doing the
daily blog.


The TV

Retro 70's

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Tuesday 30th July to Saturday 17th August

Firstly, welcome back blog readarians. Is that what you call people who read blogs ? Well I don't really know but welcome back anyway. It's been fun down on the Coast and over the past few weeks we've done quite a bit really.

On Monday Clive, Jess and Michael went off to Ipswich to see the grand kids and Alister and Crystal. The girls took to Jess very well and they all ended up playing soccer in the back yard. Both Clive and I have had doctors appointments, myself to several specialists, Clive to the Optometrists and of course some shop visits. Clive went back to Mass at St. Benedict's where he caught up with a lot of people as well as the Priests.

We also had several lunches with Adam, Leand, Judi and David and then also with a few people from the St. Benedict's Community. A great time was had by all at both events.

While staying at Michael's, Clive weeded the front and lower back gardens and then Michael and him went off looking for some cane mulch. Well none around currently as they are now into the new cane cutting season, so I've no doubt in a few months time they will be back in stock and then Michael can get some by himself to put on the garden.

Clive cooked several curries and a spaghetti bolognaise so there were plenty of frozen meals left in the freezer for Jess and Michael to share when we left. In between all this he still managed to finish five books, so he was relaxing some of the time. He also managed to crochet another blanket, which got donated to the church. He also managed to work out our travels until the first week of March and we've booked the Christmas Parks as three he tried near Nowra were already booked out over the Christmas holidays.

A very special thanks to Deidre for all she does in collecting our mail and scanning documents to send to us. There was a big bag of parcels waiting for us when Clive caught up with her.

Another blanket

Gai and her
coffee tables.

Gardening at
Michael's place.

time gain.

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