Travels of the Gypsy September 2019

To keep reading October

Monday 30th September - Innisfail

The noise wasn't too bad last night. There seems to be certain times when the majority of trucks go past and then there is only the occasional one. A top of 31.2 today and down to 18.1 last night.

We headed south back down the Bruce 9km to the turn off to Etty Bay as we were told you can see Cassowarys there. Well the only ones we saw were on sign posts even though they had other signs advising of recent sightings. Etty Bay is very beautiful and there is a small van par right down beside the beach. The 'No Vacancy' sign was out so it would be a pain to drive there I you didn't make a booking.

Etty Beach was the R & R site for the American Forces during the South West Pacific Area campaign during WW11.

From here it was back down the road and a left turn to Mourilyan Harbour 9km further on. At the harbour they have another huge bulk sugar storage facility. They had a couple of tug boats there and also a pilot boat, so we assume they get some bulk carriers in to export goods.


View to the
Tully Mill.


Sunset at

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Sunday 29th September - Tully Heads to Innisfail

So off to Innisfail today. Just over 70km so should be around an hour of driving. Got down to 18.4 last night with a top of 27.5 today.

The sun is really hot but hopefully a cool breeze will come up later. We're staying in the River Drive Van Park for three nights. The park is adjacent to the South Johnstone River and you can have a river view spot for $40.00 a night or any other for $35.00. Well we chose the other and ended up with one that backs onto the Bruce Highway, so it's a bit noisy but that's OK. We are closer here to the Bruce then we have been in any of the free camps.

It's a Sunday and Woolies is open so maybe we aren't in the country anymore. We're here for 3 nights so hopefully we'll be able to get some sightseeing done.

I forgot to mention that we are in the Cassowary Coast region now. There are certainly pockets of rain forest about. Innisfail was originally known as Geraldton until 1910. It has an average annual rainfall of 3.5m so just a bit dryer than Tully.

Spot the

Mural on
The amenities.



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Saturday 28th September - Tully Heads

Sunny weather with a top of 29.2 and down to 19.7 overnight.

Clive thought he would walk to the beach which he thought was just down the road. Well it was just under 1.5km. He went for a walk along a path they have done, again with information boards explaining about various things in the area. The total walk ended up being 3.9km. they have a small markets on in the pub ground today with mainly local things including honey and crafts.

There is a drive just north of Tully that takes in some beaches so we thought we would have a look at this. We first went into Tully to have a look at the Golden Gumboot. This represents the amount of rain they had in 1950 being 7.9m. Now that's a lot of water. A drive down the main street and cars everywhere. Well it is a Saturday and who knows what time the shops will shut.

Turning off the Bruce Highway about 20km North of Tully we start the scenic drive, First it's off to Bingil Bay. This is quite a pretty bay and we spot a mosaic tile monument of a sting ray. Driving past Wongaring Beach we head to Mission Beach. This is a lovely part of the coast with beautiful blue seas and islands in the distance.

At Mission Beach you can see Dunk Island just offshore. There are two caravan parks here and there are lots and lots of vans in them. Looks like sardines in paradise. Following the coast the road then heads back to the Bruce Highway. We decided to stop into the information centre but this is closed and next door is a craft shop. We ended up buying 2 hand towels and a tea towel. The countryside is so green and lush compared to what we have seen so far.

We're not exactly
On the beach.

Signs along
the walk.

The Golden


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Friday 27th September - Bilyana Rest Area to Tully Heads

Awoke to the sound of light rain on the roof of the van. Looks like Clive might be packing up in the wet for the first time. Down to 18.6 last night and back upto 31.8 today.

I had a good sleep in and Clive said that the showers stopped around 8.30 and the sun came out. He's already packed away the satellite dish after first having to dry it all.

11.48 he hears a train coming so a dash outside with the camera to try and get some pictures. Not the best but at least we have some. There are only 2 vans left. Us and the one that was here before we got here yesterday. It a 20 hour rest area so they should also be moving on today.

We arrived at Googarra Beach Caravan Park about 1pm. The site they have given us is right next to a tent. Why - I have no idea as the park is quite large and outside of the permanents on the perimeter there is only the tent and one other van, so there is plenty of space without the needs to be adjacent to someone. Another van came in later in the day and they were given a site next to the other van.

There is a licenced area here and also they have their own take away shop. Lunch was a very crispy seafood stick - the batter was so hard it couldn't be eaten and a potato scallop while Clive had a Chiko Roll and 2 Dim Sims. The camp kitchen is very large and they have a good selection of books here. The amenities are in need of an update as they are nothing like the previous park, but they are clean and tidy.

When tuning in the TV, remember this is my job, we could only get 16 stations. No channel 7 or SBS. Basically channel 9 ones and the ABC. Might be another satellite dish job again as they do say in the info about the park that TV can be intermittent. Before we do this Clive rotates the aerial 90 degrees and bingo. We now have 36 stations and all the ones that we like to watch and record. After this the PVR is set to record more shows for us. NRL footy tonight with a win by Canberra Raiders over the South Sydney Rabbits.

With the warmer nights we need to get rid of the doona and use the blanket. Clive has stored this between the mattress and the base of the bed, so it's not taking up any space. Fish and chips from the take away for dinner tonight.

Spirit of

Caravan Park.

Us and
The tent.

Some of
The books.

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Thursday 26th September - Lucinda to Bilyana Rest Area

We're off to the Bilyana Rest Area today - another free camp. This one is situated 22km south of Tully. 23 degrees overnight and upto 30.6 today.

We arrived at the rest area about 11.30 after a quick stop in Cardwell to take a few photos. We missed the one of the Big Crab. The rest area is also a driver reviver spot but this was closed which is surprising seeing as it's school holidays. There's a small track that leads between the trees that allows you to get to a grassy area behind the main rest area. Clive saw a van there so off he went. There is also a kombi van here with a girl sitting out the back playing a guitar, but we chose to camp far enough away so that we couldn't hear her.

We are right beside the train line - literally, probably 20m from it. The Spirit of Queensland just flew past, heading south, with a very loud honk of the horn. There are some railway workers just up from us loading rail tracks onto a low loader that they are moving elsewhere. Well it should be peaceful at least. Where we are with the trees acting as a buffer it blocks out most of the noise from the highway.

No TV reception here, so Clive set about setting up the satellite dish, which is why we bought it. Both the TV and the satellite decoder are running off 12v car adaptors to each device. 90 minutes of Home and Away tonight and I'm ready for you.

Clive went for a walk around and found an information board on Bilyana. This is one thing that they do well up here. Lots of information about towns or nature. There is also a little creek near the rest area and it's not too hard to imagine this flowing once the rains start. In the afternoon around 2pm we had another Spirit of Queensland train heading north.

By dusk there are 8 vans parked up where we are and another 6 in the rest area proper. Another popular spot by the looks of it. Two freight trains went past before we turned in and then it was a peaceful night. About 10 minutes after we were in bed the heavens opened up with a very heavy shower. Lighter showers continued throughout the night.

Hinchenbrook Island
From Cardwell.

Satellite dish
All set up.

Bilyana information

The gentle
burbling creek.

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Wednesday 25th September - Lucinda

A warm night down to 21.6 and back upto 32.8 today.

Showers this morning which has just made it more humid for when the sun came out. Clive did some more washing seeing as we are paying for a powered site. Caught up with business phone calls and then had a restful day.

Clive went off for a walk to the beach and also took photos of the Bulk Sugar Storage Facility. They can store 235,000 tonnes of sugar here. It is loaded onto bulk carriers by a 5.76km long jetty. This jetty can take vessels upto 50,000 tonnes and sugar is loaded by conveyor at the rate of 1400 tonnes per hour. There is a shiploader at the end of the jetty that runs parallel with the ship to evenly load the sugar. You can't walk along this jetty but it's certainly a sight to see. There was a vessel docked at the end loading sugar, which you can make out in the photos. There are about 20 vessels a year that load sugar for export to the world.

On February 3rd 2011, cyclone Yasi crossed the coast with wind gusts measured at 185km/h. Waves broke over the jetty destroying the shiploader and also the Lucinda Jetty Coastal Observatory. Repair costs were 50 million dollars and too 18 months to complete.

Beach stone

Bulk sugar
Storage facility.


Jetty and
Hinchenbrook Island.

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Tuesday 24th September - Rollingstone to Lucinda

Warm day as today we travel about 80km to Lucinda. Down to 18.3 last night and upto 30.6 today.

Clive had a look at the Anderson plug today and found that it actually 'clicks' in place and that stops it falling out. Seems that we have been lucky all this time. Another rookie error.

Lucinda is a bit off the beaten track as for about 5km you are passing through mangroves and there is water beside the road from the sea. The park is quite large and we aren't squashed in at all like sardines. This is the only park in town - The Lucinda Wanders Caravan Park and is a bit expensive at $40.00 per night. With no competition and no free camping they can charge what they want. It seems that every second van has a boat with it, so the fishing must be good. There is a jetty that you can fish off if you don't want to do any beach fishing. Two loads of washing done and the blog is again upto date, except for today.

Clive went for a walk this morning at Rollerstone to have a look around. He followed the road and sure enough came to the 2.4m low bridge warning. This low bridge is a train bridge that crosses a creek. Once past that there is the two bridges, one a low one on the road and adjacent to it is the Bruce Highway one. As you can see from the pictures there are murals painted on the concrete girders. I wonder how many other bridges we go over have something like this that we don't even know about?

The creek is only flowing very gently and the water is crystal clear. You can see all sizes of fish in there. Clive did manage to get a picture of some black fish swimming there, only because of their contrast but the others didn't work out. Some nice scenic ones of the creek.

A cairn tribute to
Beacons Ring Of Fire.

The 2.4m
low bridge.

Murals under
the new bridge.

Can you spot
the fish?.

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Monday 23rd September - Saunders Beach to Rollingstone

17 degrees last night and upto 30.6 today. A bit cloudy but pleasant.

Free camping again today. We arrived about a quarter to one, as again with free camps we like to leave late. When we left Saunders Beach there was only four vehicles left from last night. The people next to us were also leaving and probably heading to Hughenden to follow the dinosaur trail. Clive was talking to them and gave them some of the DVD's that we had watched on travelling around Qld. One was particularly on Hughenden. The Saunders Beach rest area is only a 48 hour park and yet there were people in a van that were there before us and it looked like they had no intention of moving, even though they had been there for the 48 hours. Some people spoil it for others by not playing by the rules.

This camp is a beautiful spot with lots of shade and birds calling in the trees. There are mainly caravans and RV's here and currently no combis. Jeeves had us turning onto a road that had a really low bridge. It was only 2.4m so we got out the specs for our van to double check and we are 2.7m, so a good thing we checked it out. As it happened, we had turned down the wrong road anyway, so a quick U-turn back to the highway and we took the next turn off. Past the police station and we are here.

The police had patrolled twice in the park since we arrived, so we don't know whether that is a good thing or not. Anyway, no noise or trouble overnight, just the sounds of the bush and the occasional train going past.

Watching TV tonight the red light on the battery system starts flashing, meaning that we are running out of juice. We've been using the 12v outlet on the TV, not through the inverter, but after 3 days and cloudy weather it looks like that's about the limit. So, 10.00pm the TV gets switched off and we just have the lights on. We couldn't even turn on another set of lights with the TV starting to fade. We even turned the fans off. Clive will check that the Anderson plug is working correctly as the sparky who put it made the lead a lot shorter than the van cable and with it cable tied together he thinks that if we take a sharp turn it's coming out, so the van batteries are not getting charged form the alternator when we are driving. The fact that the fridge is running on battery when we travel means that because of this it's shortening the battery time that we used to get. A job for tomorrow.

Clive cooked bacon and eggs for tea on a BBQ in the park.

We're blocked

Vincent 'Bushy'
Parker Park.

Bushy at

Us camped

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Sunday 22nd September - Saunders Beach

18 last night and 27.7 today. I'm thankful for sea breezes.

The door and boot slamming started at 7am and continued until 11am when they left. What they would do is open the door, get out one item and then close it. This was repeated every 5 to 10 minutes. Even Clive, who is normally very patient was getting annoyed. He said to me that if I had a dollar for every time they have opened and slammed those doors this morning we would have a hundred dollars. The girls on the other side of them just leave the door open and turn off the internal lights, so the battery doesn't go flat.

A van count was 17 this morning so it's a popular little spot. Very picturesque. Clive went off for a walk around town and then came back along the beach. We saw a goanna in the park today as well. The pommies next door to us were amazed by it. We were also told that there was a 4m croc sighting on the beach the other week and that two young crocs have been spotted in the creek that runs behind us. We'll stay another night.

A large

Horses on
the beach.

Islands in
the distance.

Sunset at
Saunders Beach.

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Saturday 21st September - Townsville to Saunders Beach

A warm night with 18.1 degrees and upto 32.3 today. Time to hit the road.

A short drive of about 35km to Saunders Beach and we got one of the last spots - or so we thought. There is only one other van here and all the rest are campervans. We arrived around 11am and it's a rest area at the end of the road. Another van came in about an hour later and as there was nowhere for them to park they turned around and left.

We may stay here a few days as you are allowed 48 hours, but we'll see. The next planned stop is another free camp, but we are getting lovely sea breezes here and we are within walking distance to the beach, so it's really nice.

Adjacent to the camping area is the Wulgurukaba Plant Trail. This is an interesting walk of only about 200m but what they have done is to name the tress and plants and the describe what the aboriginal people used that particular plant for. Clive took a photo of the board and then one of the plant/tree.

So, it's 6pm and all the day use people have left and now the whole area is filled with campervans. There is probably about 20 here and one has even snuck along side us. So yes, only 2 vans amongst us all, including us. We are practically parked in, but if we do decide to leave then it will be late so hopefully no worries.

Noodles and vegetables for Clive and toastie for me. So the combi van next door has a sliding door and a boot door, they open and shut every 5 minutes. It could do with some grease as it is very loud. They are only a couple of feet away as the also squeezed in between us and another car. What is it with us and car doors?

Sleeping to the sound of waves breaking on the beach.

Plant Trail.



Lots of

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Friday 20th September - Townsville

Cool breezes in the afternoon with a top of 33.6 and down to 14.9 degrees.

It's our last day here today and we're off to a free camp site tomorrow. We went for a walk to the pool and it's got a really good design. It's pretty much wheel chair friendly as there is a sloping ramp that goes from the edge of the pool and down and around the long edge. With a bit more railing this is the sort of pool that I could use as it's almost a 'beach' style one. The problem is that there are still steps.

Clive is cooking curry for tea and I'm having a toastie. The van once again smells of spices.




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Thursday 19th September - Townsville

Still dry warm sunny weather with 13.9 overnight and up to 32.4 during the day.

Clive updated the blog finally and then we went for a drive around the outer suburbs of Townsville. This included going out to Pallarenda Point and here they have an old Quarantine Station. The old buildings that are here are heritage listed and areas of bush are being restored.

From here it was back down the coast to Jezzine Barracks. This is the old army barracks and again this area is open to the public. There is a Military Museum here too. This then led to The Strand - which is comparable to Surfers Paradise. Very commercial and a bit on the yuppy side. Following the coast road, we then went to the Casino and Convention Centre area. They have a big marina here and some of the boats look expensive. Clive then put in the address of the van park and Jeeves guided us safely back home.

A Quarantine




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Wednesday 18th September - Ayr

A hot day today especially inside the van reaching 34 degrees. Outside under the awning it got to 36.6 and down to 12 overnight.

We managed to both get hair cuts today over at Hair Kalynda. This is just literally opposite the van park across the major road. $51.00 all up which was $18.00 for Clive and $31.00 for me. Not too bad as this is only a bit dearer than what we would normally pay at home. It's been 7 weeks since our last one, so the next one should again be when we are back on the Coast in November. Clive was talking to the lady doing his hair and the wife of the policeman in Giru works part time in this shop. Small world.

New neighbours arrived to day and once they were set up, we see they are vacuuming the concrete. Well this has to be a first. About every 5 minutes we hear their door slamming too. Talk about annoying as surely they can close it quietly - but maybe not. Who knows what they are doing.

Clive had a curry for tea and I had sweet and sour pork. The pork was delicious but there was too much batter around it.

Gai enjoying
A hair cut.

Sunset in

Tuesday 17th September - Ayr

Down to 18.1 and back up to 30.7.

Clive went off for a walk around town this morning while I slept. It's quite a small town with the sugar mill being the biggest employer by far. Besides the mill there is a convenience store, hair dresser, pub, bowls club and police station with about half a dozen empty shops. Seems the last one to close was a fish and chip shop that shut in March this year. There is also a primary school, with the majority of houses on the other side of the railway line. Maybe there are more shops there?

Seeing as we don't have to be out by 10am and Townsville is about 50km away we left late and got to the Tourist and Lifestyle Village Park about 2pm. Talk about sardine city as we are packed in pretty tight. We are on a corner block which seems to give us a bit more privacy but Clive put up both the end privacy screens as well.

Townsville has the military bases up here and we have the fight jets flying overhead. We saw on the news the other night that some training is going on and they will be here for two weeks. This park was once very large and what they have now done is built and over 50's village on about two thirds of it. A good way to ensure on-going income as there appear to be quite a few permanent on site vans here too.

The Invicta


An interesting
front fence.

Giru International

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Monday 16th September - Giru

15.9 over night and 28.2 during the day.

We're off to another free camp today at a place called Giru. This rest stop is about 38km north of Ayr, so Clive has done another 'big' drive. The co-ordinates are put into Jeeves and off we go. We turn off the Bruce highway and I'm thinking - oh no, here we go again. We're back in the middle of cane fields and again down to a narrow bitumen road. Still just wide enough for two cars. In the distance I see some smoke that later I find out is coming from the sugar mill. Then we come into the town of Giru. Maybe it's not as bad as I thought. Jeeves leads us to a grassy rest area where there are already about a dozen vans but it's not too cramped as there is plenty of space. Still at least we get to see some small country towns.

The Invicta Sugar Mill was dismantled in 1918 in Bundaberg and relocated to Giru. The population is around 350 people and the town was named in 1916 derived from "goru", a type name for a species of sugarcane from New Guinea which was successfully experimented with and widely grown in the district.

Clive helped a couple reverse in, that parked next to us, as they were going back and forth for about 5 minutes. The husband and wife were having 'a difference of opinion it seems'. With Clive's help it got them safely parked up and all is good again on the home front.

We are about 100m from some train lines and they blow their horns just about where we are camped. Seems there is a train crossing up from us. Hopefully there will not be too many trains tonight. Still it's peaceful once you get used to the trains clickity clack.

Clive rang to confirm the next van park in Townsville and all good except don't turn up before 11am!! Toasted sandwiches for tea tonight.

The rest

The old railway

Inside the

Train line
behind us.

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Sunday 15th September - Ayr

Down to 14.5 and back up to 28.4 today. The nights appear to be getting warmer.

Clive went off to Mass at the Sacred Heart Church in town. Mass commenced at 9am and he said that it was a great service. Before the final prayer the priest who was from Africa said that he would like to do something a bit different. Before taking his Holy Orders he was a professional drummer and had played in cities all around the world. He used one of his single native drums and sang a song in African. He has a brilliant voice and when this was finished everyone clapped enthusiastically. Then he sung one in English and whilst this was still great it wasn't as good as the one in his native language. A great way to end Mass.

The plan then was for him to get some groceries, but guess what. Yep - Coles and Wollies are both closed on Sundays. There were a few shops open but not many. In the end he found a bakery and bought a fresh loaf of bread and also a match stick and jam donut for me. Delicious

Later we went for a drive around town, taking photos of interest. Well this took all of 5 minutes, so we went for a drive to Rita Island looking for the boat ramp and access to the Burdekin River again. Well we followed the signs but couldn't find it and ended 'lost' surrounded by cane fields. Thankfully 'Jeeves' aka Garmin was able to help get us back to the park. An interesting afternoon.

The centre
of town.

Munda Totem.

Burdekin Theatre

Fire Brigade
Station 1955.

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Saturday 14th September - Ayr

Off to Ayr today. Was 10.7 overnight and up to 30.3 today, so a warm day.

We arrived at the Ayr van park about 12.30. Earlier this morning the fishing crew were out and about with their boats. It started just before dawn with the first one arriving and then steadily throughout the early morning more came and some loud music too. I don't know how they could hear themselves as we could hear their music from 50 metres away. At one stage there was ten trailers there. Towards lunch time most of them started coming back in.

We are staying at he Ayr Silver Link Van Park, (a Big 4), and it seems to be quite nice. A bit cramped in but the neighbours aren't too noisy so far.

Peak hour at
the boat ramp.

Burnt cane from
The other night.


Crossing the
Burdekin River.

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Friday 13th September - Wallace Landing

Well it was so peaceful here through out the day and last night we have decided to stay another day. You can stay here for 96 hours if you want to. Down to 11.5 over night and back up to 27.9 in the day.

It's a busy fishing point and boat ramp as we've had about 5 cars and trailers here today. By mid afternoon they have all gone and there is only us and a camper van left to enjoy the peace and quiet.

Did I speak too soon? Friday night - so about 5.30pm the hoons are out. Two white duel cabs just drove over the fields doing wheelies and then went to where the boat ramp is and in between us and the other camper van. They turned around and stopped and then did more wheelies in the dirt going back to the main highway. Why?? No idea!!

Off to Ayr tomorrow which is about 30 minutes away. We really did enjoy our free parking here despite the fact hat we made fun of it. The best free camp so far.





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Thursday 12th September - Wallace Landing

Time to leave Bowen and continue heading north with some free camping today. It got down to 14.4 last night and up to 28.7 today. Due to the gusty winds last night Clive packed up the awning and chairs so not a lot to really do this morning.

On the way we went through a small town called Gumla. In the right we noticed a big pumpkin but it's one of those town that if you blink you will miss everything so no chance to stop for a picture.

We are at Wallaces Landing free camp. GPS co-ordinates are 19 44 10 S and 1747 33 20 E. Well, what can I say? Clive has really out done himself this time. About 20kms south of Ayr he turns right off the Bruce Highway as we travel down some road about 10km. We going in between cane fields and on a partially deserted dirt road. Over a cattle grid and now into paddocks with cows grazing freely. It looks deserted.

We arrived at the designated co-ordinates and there is a boat ramp with two cars and boats trailers and lots of empty space. The river is the Burdekin. There is nothing to see for miles except fields and some cows in the distance. He is so chuffed at finding this place he keeps on telling me how he has excelled. At least we have phone reception and we'll see about TV, as H&A is on for 90 minutes tonight.

So the TV works. It's now picking up Townsville and no longer Mackay, so will we have different news readers? I'm impressed. He can't stop smiling about his achievements. It's so peaceful and quiet here. The boat trailers went mid afternoon and only a couple of visits from two other cars. Mobile working, TV working, peace and quiet - what more could you ask for. We may even stay here another day now.

Must be the meeting point for lovers? A duel cab pulled up short of the river and lights all go off. About 30 minutes later they are back on and the car leaves. Given we are about 10 minutes from the highway it's a drive there and back if you have no particular plans.

Heading onto
the dirt.


Gai going
for a walk.

The Burdekin

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Wednesday 11th September - Bowen

Gusty and windy again today with a low of 11.4 and a top of only 25.2. Is that a cloud in the sky I see ?

Clive decided that he was going into town for a walk this morning while I slept. He drove into town early and parked in the centre od town. He then started taking photos of all the murals. Up one side of the street and then back down the other. It was the best time of day as there was very little traffic about and he got some good pictures.

From here he then went and parked near the Jetty and decided to walk along there. The jetty is just over 800m long and was originally built in 1867. It has been re-built and extended as the need for the ability to take larger ships grew and was last done in the 1950's. It was damaged and closed when cyclone Debbie hit the coast and was re-opened in 2017 in time for it's 150th birthday. This isn't a straight jetty as there is a curve to the left that now is home to tugs that service parts of the coast.

You can see from the pictures the difference in the structure from wood with the old railway line to concrete at the very end. Like the jetty in Hervey Bay this was longer than it is today. There were a few people fishing there but no one was having much luck.

In the afternoon he re-worked the trip so that we can go south via the Gold Coast and drop some stuff off out of the van that we have not used in the past four months. So now instead of going down through NSW when we get to Roma we'll head towards Toowoomba and head down to Sydney via the coast. That's the third major re-work of the trip so far. It's now basically planned until February 2020.

Time for some more reading and left over pizza for dinner.

Bear takes
To drinking again.

One of many
Murals around town.


Bowen water

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Tuesday 10th September - Bowen

A cool 13.5 last night and up to 24.7 today.

It's night time when I do these blogs and it's currently blowing a gale and the wind is cold. Clive is in his winter clothing including the beanie and I might get into mine too if it gets any colder.

We went for a drive around Bowen today into the CBD, the Marina and then also up to Flagstaff Hill Look Out and Interpretation Centre. From up here you can see the Whitsundays and the water is so lovely with all the different shades of blue happening. To get here was another steep hill and despite being told last night he was banned from doing this, he did. I think he just can't help himself sometimes. But there are beautiful views I have to say. The Interpretation Centre is all closed up and empty and looks like it hasn't been used for a long time. Maybe it was damaged in the last cyclone and they haven't got around to repairing it yet, but it's a pity as there are lots of signs around Bowen directing tourists to it.

Maryborough has it's heritage building walk while Bowen has done a similar thing with Murals. They had a walk/drive which covers 28 of these. We saw a few of them and I took some pictures.

Pizza Hut for dinner tonight as it's a two for the price of one, so a meat lovers and a super supreme pizza only cost us $12.95. There's enough left overs for another six meals for me. Yum!

The Big

History of

Looking down
Herbert Street.

View from
Flagstaff Hill.

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Monday 9th September - Proserpine

So off to Bowen today. We left just before 10am and arrived about 11.30.It's only about 70km away but with only travelling at 80km/h and pulling off to the side of the road to let cars and trucks go past and road works it's amazing how much time it can take. It got dow to 7.2 and up to 28.9 today.

We're staying at The Harbour Lights Caravan Park that is just over the road from the beach. We are parked under a nice shady tree and a lovely cool breeze is blowing through the van. There is plenty of vacant spaces around us so it should make for a quiet park.

As you approach Bowen there is the Big Mango which I took a picture of. You then basically travel though town down the main street, Herbert St, and turn left on to the Esplanade. The park is down near the Marina.

The breeze got a bit cooler tonight - almost cold. Must be as we are near the sea. Hopefully it will be like this when we move to Point Vernon. Lovely fresh local prawns from the Fishermen's Co-Op for dinner tonight. Delicious!!

The Big

The Whitsunday

Our Park


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Sunday 8th September - Proserpine

A warmer night of 10.5 and a cooler day with a top of only 28.8.

On the news last night they showed a huge dust storm that had created a haze over Brisbane yesterday. This apparently started in South Australia and was swept across central NSW and up into SE Queensland. Well, with the SW winds we have been having this storm reached us today. Clive has gone through two boxes of tissues today and he looks a bit like Rudolf.

A lazy day again as you really can't do too much with this weather. Some sewing happening, well unpicking really of my summer dresses. Yes I know that I have finally put on some weight again, 59kg now. So I need to let out all the seams that I had taken in over the years when I had not been well. Clive was a good help with this as he did most of the unpicking.

Clive went to get some shopping after Mass but Woolworths is closed on Sundays. We must be in the country now so no food shopping today. It will have to be a job for Bowen where are headed tomorrow for the next three days.

Clive went off for an 8 o'clock Mass at St. Catherine's. Well he got there 15 minutes before Mass and was told that Mass would not be until 9 today as the Bishop was down visiting for Confirmation and First Holy Communions. Well it was Bishop Tim Harris, who used to be the Parish Priest of Surfers Paradise before he was appointed to the Townsville Diocese two and a half years ago. Clive had a brief chat with him after Mass as he said that he recognised the face.

Pictures of
the dust storm.


Saturday 7th September - Proserpine

Weather extremes again today. Down to 5.9 and up to 35.7. A cool breeze came in about 5ish. They did say that we were going to get a cool change, so I hope that it stays that way for a while. Washing day today and with the breeze it should dry quickly.

I've banned Clive from reading until he gets the blog and web pages up to date. Talk about a book worm. Once he starts a book it consumes him and nothing seems to get done. I say this tongue in cheek as he does everything else on this journey, so I don't begrudge him a little reading time.

Clive went off for a walk in town this morning. He drove in and parked at the end of Main Street. He went up one side and back on the other, going past the Mill and down an arcade. There are quite a few empty buildings here and another in the process of closing down. He went into Lifeline and checked out their books. He found an author that Nan reads, so rang her and no she didn't have this particular book. Only $3 for the book but what about postage.

The 'Main

St. Catherine's
Catholic Church.


A book
For Nan.

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Friday 6th September - Proserpine

Down to 5.3 over night and up to 35.7 during the day. Talk about weather extremes. This weather is ridiculous. Yesterday a heat wave nearly reaching 35 until about 5pm when once the sun starts going down it then cools down pretty quickly. Last night being 5 degrees Clive plugged the electric blanket in for me as I was cold and it was on most of the night. At least today we'll be in a powered site and I can have the air conditioning on if needed. So traveling 45km to Proserpine today. A nice casual drive where we will spend the next three days. When Clive was checking in he brought back with him a Chinese restaurant menu. On it they had duck and crab meat sauce. Now this is a favourite dish that I just love and have not been able to get for a long time on the Coast. No one seems to make it anymore. So I think it's Chinese for tea.

I didn't need the air conditioner on as there is a lovely breeze that came up in the afternoon. I did have the turbo fan on though as this does help inside the van. There's meant to be a cool change coming through one day. Our van backs onto the bowling green next door and we have only one neighbour on the left.

Yes, Chinese for tea and it was delicious. We had the duck and crab meat, crumbed king prawns and a special fried rice. They also gave us some prawn crackers. We ate half and froze half, so even I get another meal.

of space.

Tourist park.

Gai under
The awning.

The Mill
at night.

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Thursday 5th September - Bloomsbury

11 degrees over night and up to 34.3 today.

We arrived at Bloomsbury just before 12 and it's about 40km south of Proserpine. It's free camping in a large area beside the BP service station. Trucks also use this as a rest spot. Lucky for Clive that we get good TV reception or it would be out with the satellite dish so I can watch Home and Away - 90 minutes today and he wants to watch the footy.

It's very very hot for me and no electricity to run the air conditioning. A few Christmas's ago we had a power failure that lasted a few days. Clive went to the local BCF store and bought a 12v fan. We took a battery out of the Bubble and used this to move some air around. I'd forgotten that he had packed this under a seat. He got it out and set it up. The Sirocco fans we have are good over the bed but this is a 12 inch fan and sounds a bit like a jet engine starting. It certainly made a difference as it was blowing a lot of air. Not quite as good as air conditioning but it will do.

By mid afternoon we are now totally blocked in. There is a car about 3 feet behind us set up like they are planning to stay a few days and the space that was in front two vans have reversed so they are ninety degrees to us and only about 3 feet from the front of our Jeep. So we will have to wait until they go before we can head off. Good job we are in no hurry. Some people do not think. It's a huge area and there is plenty of free space around us. Off to Proserpine tomorrow and into a van park.

Free camp
At Bloomfield.



Toasties for

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Wednesday 4th September - Mackay

A cooler night down to 9.6 but again a hot day of 35 degrees.

Clive went off for a walk this morning to the beach. He was gone for about 45 minutes and when he came back he showed me the pictures he had taken. The tides was out so he was walking in the middle of the harbour. There was also a warning sign about crocodiles that he seems to have ignored by walking out there, even though he said he kept his eyes pealed. There were other people out there so he considered it safe. The water was crystal clear. Clive used his walking app and took a screen shot showing that he can walk on water. Really!!

We both went to Mackay today to Officeworks as his pen refills have come in. This saves us having to action plan B - spending more time in Mackay to wait for these refills. They are in a box about 9 by 5 by 4 inches. Talk about shipping air around. It is after all only 2 pen refills. I think all the profit from this sale went on the freight to get it from Brisbane to Mackay.

After this he drove me around Mackay, looking at the places we used to stay and I saw many changes to the city. There are now lots of multi-storey motels, Canelands - the local shopping centre now boasts a Myer, Harris Scarfe, Target, Big W and many speciality stores. Talk about progress. The main street through town still looks the same with the Subway where I would sometimes get dinner still there.

From here it was out to the Marina. We went here for dinner one trip and had a lovely meal overlooking the Marina. It seems to me this is now a lot bigger as I don't remember so many boats packed in here. Then we drove out onto the break wall to the very end. It was quite a drive so it could be a good walk for Clive to do but certainly way to far for me. You can see all the coal ships lined up off shore waiting their turn to come in and fill up with coal then go on their merry way.

Off to free camping tomorrow. Curry for Clive and pizza for me. Delicious.

Beware of



Can he walk
On water ?.

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Tuesday 3rd September - Mackay

Another hot day with 36 degrees but a cool overnight of only 12. They said that the daily temperatures are about 8 degrees above average.

A lazy day with some chores being done and more reading. Clive is making his scallop and pasta dish tonight so that should make three meals. A toasted sandwich for me.

Clive went into Mackay to get some shopping and bits and pieces. The city has certainly changed since he was last here. The Mid City Motor Inn where he liked to stay is still there by the Pioneer River and the Coral Sands Motel where I stayed is still looking the same. I used to stay here as it was next door to where the Chariot Office was, so really close when I had to come up here to replace someone who was going on leave. Well, that block is now a hotel / apartment block and across the road is another multi-storey building.

Clive ordered some pen refills via the Officeworks 'click and collect' and yesterday they still weren't in. The staff member said that they should be in by Thursday but Clive told him that we wouldn't be here as were are travelling, so we thought about spending an extra nigh here. Thankfully he got an email in the afternoon saying that it was now ready for collection. The joys if life on the road.

Our home for
A few nights.

. Motor Inn

Coral Sands
. Motel

The old Chariot
Office in gone.

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Monday 2nd September - Mackay

Hot day today with 31 degrees and an overnight temperature of 9.6. Thankfully there was a bit of a breeze that came up in the afternoon.

We had to be out of the park at Koumala by 10.00 on the dot so we left at 9.55. There was no one else there and Clive did ask if we could be a late but the answer was no. Not a good way to go impressing fellow travellers who do talk. Still, it's their rules.

Heading to Mackay and firstly to Harvey Norman. Well they are on the northern side of town, so basically bypassed the Mackay CBD. Picked up the TV and Clive even listened to the sound as the reviews on line said that it was very tinny, but it sounds pretty good to him in the store.

Then it's off to Bucasia Beach van park. It's about 15 minutes from the CBD and it's in the northern beaches region. Lots of new housing seems to be going on here. We're here for a 3 night stay. On the way here Clive decided to get the van weighed. Whilst the van is slightly over the total combined weight of the car and van is under so we need to move some stuff from the van to the car.

We are parked right near the front so all incoming and outgoing traffic has to go past our van.

Clive did a load of washing and hung that out under the awning. It should dry overnight. A lovely afternoon sea breeze came up in the afternoon so that cooled things down a bit. The TV is all set up and works beautifully. A nice clear picture as it's a FHD and the sound is good too. Well done Clive!!

Sunday 1st September - Mackay

Well there goes winter. It's the first day of spring, so welcome. It seems like we have had a mild winter, but maybe that's because we're travelling further north. Mind you we did have the heater on in the van a couple of times when the night was cold. It was only to take the chill off the van though.

14 degrees overnight and 30 throughout the day but a nice cool breeze. Lazy day and pleasant living. Clive went to Mass at Sarina - about 20 minutes away and then on the way back stopped into the Sarina Pie Shop. Not only did he buy himself a pie for breakfast but also brought me back a chocolate eclair and a jam donut. I had a bit of one for lunch and the rest got frozen.

He rang Harvey Norman to see if they had any 12v TV's in stock and YES!!, they have 3 Akai units. It's a bit dearer than the others but at least if we buy this on our way through then we will have it and no messing around in trying to get one to Townsville for when we are there in a couple of weeks. The Good Guys couldn't guarantee it would be there by the 17th of this month.

There is a choice of van parks in Mackay and we've decided to stay in one near the beach. It's Bucasia Beach Park and being in it's location at least Clive can go for a walk along the beach if he wants. Seems to be almost full when we got here and there are a few people who have hibernated from the southern states for the winter.

Caught by a
cane train.

Lovely curry chicken
and veggie pie.

Buffy the
cane toad.


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