Travels of the Gypsy October 2019 - Innisfail to Clermont.

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Thursday 31st October - Belyando to Clermont

A good nights sleep even though we were parked near where the road trains came in. Down to 20 overnight and back to 31.3 during the day. The day is overcast so a god day for traveling, as the clouds kept the sun away.

We arrived in Clermont about 1.30ish and just as we parked up it started to rain. Bad timing on our part. Still Clive pulled out the awning a bit so I could get in without getting too wet, so all good. There are a lot of cabins in this van park, possibly as overflow for all the mining in this area. At least we are not packed in like sardines.

This is the only van park in Clermont and as we had no phone reception yesterday it wasn't possible to pre-book. But yes, they do have vacancies @$30.00 a night. Seems to be the standard rate these days, and there are plenty of vacant spaces.

As mentioned yesterday, the scenery along the Gregory Development Road is extremely boring and the road very bouncy in places. When we stopped and got into the van there is stuff everywhere that would normally not be on the floor. We are looking at possibly re-working the trip to go further east as the temperatures may also be a bit cooler. Although, after the rain had stopped this afternoon, a lovely cool breeze came up and I even turned the fans off.

Storm warnings tonight, but nothing so far,8.30pm. This countryside is all about mining, as was the Belyando Van Park. Clive found out why it was all booked out and all the pre-fab buildings there. It's all got to do with the new Adani Coal Mine. These are for the surveyors and geologists working on the route for the new rail line.

Clive was talking to 'Ol mate' next door as he has this cute little van. Seems he uses it to store all his prospecting gear in. Yes, you can go looking for gold if you really want to around here. Not a cheap hobby as his detector alone cost over $11,000.00. This trip he hasn't found anything, so is currently down about $1000.00. Maybe he'll strike it rich tomorrow.

Yesterday they had about 3mm of rain out here. Finally at 10.30pm we have thunder and lightening and some more gentle soaking rain. As they said on the local news tonight, this will keep the farmers happy. We noticed driving down here that there was a green tinge to the roadside grasses.

I forgot to mention that yesterday Clive went and bought some ice-cream from the Roadhouse. It was delicious. Clive had a mango one and I had vanilla. Eat your heart out Robyn May!

Happy Halloween everyone. No trick or treating going on in this park tonight.

Van park.



Gold is……where
you find it.

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Wednesday 30th October - Charters Towers to Belyando

Off for a few days free camping now. 20.0 overnight and upto 31.3.

The plan is to spend a night at the Capr River Rest Area about 100km down the road and then the Belyando Rest Area the next day. This is about another 100km further on. We drove to the first for the free camp and this is just a concrete truck stop parking area at the side of the road, adjacent to the highway. Yes, they have toilets but that's about all. So we decided to continue another 100km down the road to Belyando Crossing where there is a caravan park, as possibly the next one we want to stay at will be exactly the same.

We missed it the first time as all we could see was a service station, so did a U turn and headed back there. Clive sees the signs at the side of the service station for the Park and pulls into it and parks to go and pay for a night. He tells me that the park is closed but we can park out the front on the side as there is plenty of room. $5.00 for the hot showers if you want.

The road looks like it does a circuit so Clive starts driving down it and around a corner to find that we are blocked in by pre-fab buildings and plastic pipes across the roadway joining the buildings together. So reversing out is the only option now. The problem is there is a sheer drop off on my side of the car. We need help!

Clive gets out and goes and asks one of the mining lads who are just sitting around if he can help us reverse out. He safely did this and then we were able to complete am U turn and get out of this park. We don't feel like driving another 170km to Clermont today, so just park in the shade under a tree and stay the night there.

We'll aim for Clermont tomorrow. Lots of road trains on the road today and we only saw three caravans heading north. We're still on the Gregory Development Road and the shoulders need some repairing as the road itself is very bumpy. I suppose that logically these rest areas need to be large and flat to accommodate the road trains that stop in them. Outside this Roadhouse they have a rest area and the longest road train we saw had four trailers attached.

Bear gets
drunk again.

A long
road train.


Night sky taken
with phone camera.

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Tuesday 29th October - Charters Towers

A bit cooler today, but the breeze was warm. Overnight 20.9 and bacK to 30.8 during the day. I hope you are enjoying these weather reports.

We went for a drive today and the first stop was Tower Hill. Yes, Clive picked another one with a steep climb, but the views were magnificent. They have several lookouts here as well as many walking tracks. It's blowing a gale at the top of this hill As you can see from the photo of the magpies in the tree. They are all facing into the wind with their necks strained forwards.

Towers Hill has WWII bunkers as well as unexploded munitions and open abandoned mine shafts, so they do clearly advise that you stay on the designated walking tracks. I was not letting Clive take me for a walk, just in case and I was not going to let him go by himself, knowing how he can be sometimes.

They have a walking track from outside Towers Hill that heads towards town. All along this paved path are information boards, as well as street lights that are solar powered.

From here it was off to Centerary Park. They have some picturesque murals on the amenities block of the town in days gone by as well as a monument to the discovery of Gold In Charters Towers. This happened in 1871. This monument is well set up in the park with three statues near running water, depicting life from that era. The park also contains covered seating areas as well as BBQ. A great place for the locals to enjoy.

Now off to Weir Park which is about 14km from town. This Weir is across the Burdekin River and this is where the town draws its water supply from. As you can see from the photo that the water flow down stream is minimal and the river is very dry past the Weir. The original Weir was built in 1902 and was 5M high with a length of 265M. Its storage capacity was then only 1955 megalitres. The height of the Weir was raised to 8M and the length increased to 380M. This increased storage capacity to 5200 megalitres. Another great spot for a picnic under covered areas with plenty of seating.

Clive went off into town to get some medication and as it was going to be 15 minutes he went for a brief walk around town. More murals and some lovely old buildings including the Stock Exchange Arcade. Tomorrow he found an interesting brochure at the Belyando Information Board on this historic and beautiful arcade. One old building he couldn't photograph was the Post Office as this was shrouded in shade cloth.

He collected the medication and came back to the van. He immediately grabbed some of the existing ones we have and compared the pricing. These three scripts cost nearly three times as much as what they did in a more populated area, even though they are still generic brands. Talk about a rip off! I wonder if the locals fet it cheaper than what tourists do?

View from
Towers Hill.

Murals around

Gold discovery


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Monday 28th October - Greenvale to Charters Towers

What is this weather doing. A cool night at only 13.5, so needed 2 blankets and back to 34.5 during the day.

We left after 10am for the journey to Charter Towers. Lots of road kill along the way and even a cow beside the road. Travelling on with pretty much the same scenery all the time over this day. Trees, trees and more trees. The land is so dry that they could certainly do with some rain. Of the many creeks that we crossed only two had some water in them. Even some of the bigger creeks were totally dry.

We're travelling on the Gregory Developmental Road, still part of the Great Inland Way, and for most part this is two lanes. There was a 5km section that was one lane only and thankfully we only had a car coming towards us to contend with. They pulled off the bitumen, so that we could stay on it.

This road between Charters Towers and Greenvale is used by road trains. These can be upto 55m long and require long distances to get upto full speed or to overtake. Clive read that they need between one and two kilometres sometimes to do this. There was hardly any traffic on the road heading south as only a couple of cars overtook us. Thankfully no road trains did today, although yesterday we did have one. Going in the opposite way were many road trains and vehicles. Along the way are signs where these trucks are supposed to call in - at call point 19 we would hear 19 south come over the CB. This lets others know where they are. A good safety warning.

The park here seems quite nice with plenty of shade. The only problem is, yes, there is sometimes a problem, that opposite us is a cabin that is in the process of being renovated. They are laying a floating floor, so saw noise outside and now there is a tractor parked there. Still with the door closed and the aircon on it's not too bad. Hopefully they won't start working at 7am tomorrow morning.

Rookie mistake again. I thought that he was getting so good. How do you boil water for your soup Clive? It's a job most of us know how to do - right ? Basically you fill kettle with water, plug into electricity, turn on kettle and water boils. Kettle automatically switches off. Well guess which step Clive forgot to do and killed the kettle. Yep - tried to boil water with no water. He thought something smelt funny when he came back inside to make the soup. So today he found a camping shop and bought a new kettle.

Just us
in the park.

The Great
Inland Way.


The 'dump'

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Sunday 27th October - Greenvale

Another really hot day getting to 38, but again a cool evening getting down to 15.5.

The aircon has been on since 11.30am, but Clive has been sitting outside reading. We've decided to go to the local hotel for lunch. This is within walking distance as about 1pm we head over there. It's certainly hot outside in the sun. So off to the Three Rivers Hotel we go. Clive has his hat on to keep the shiny top from getting sunburnt.

Clive decided on a steak and salad and I had a ham and cheese toasted sandwich. The bread was thick and lovely. I was going to eat it all, but decided to only eat half so that I could have some waffles with chocolate and ice cream and salted caramel sauce. Yes, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I managed to eat two thirds of it and Clive polished off the rest.

We both thoroughly enjoyed the meals we chose. Nothing like a good country pub lunch, a few cold beers and a bottle of wine to wash the food down. Back to the van to turn the aircon back on, it got to 35, and a lie down and sleep for both of us. Well, what else do you do after a good meal and a drink in the middle of the day? Off to Charters Towers tomorrow. Over 200km away, so a long drive for us.

The dining
Room bar.

The old
Nickel mine.


There must be
a story here.

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Saturday 26th October - Greenvale

Another hot one so I again had the aircon on today. Last night was a warm 22.1 and upto 33.1 today. A slight breeze outside where Clive spent most of the day. This aircon is fantastic. After about 30 minutes it has dropped the temperature right down, and with the two fans on it moves the air around nicely.

An R & R day today. There are now 3 vans and a 4WD in the park tonight, but we are all spread apart - thank goodness. Did I say that we have to use the sat dish as there is no TV reception. At least it's earning it's keep now.

Clive went for a walk into town this morning and also around the park. There and back is less than 1km. On the way he saw the Seniors Hall and outside they had a book exchange. So after that walk he came back and swapped three books.

The local is called the 'Three Rivers Hotel' which has a tribute to Stan Alfred Coster. Stan wrote many country and western songs and of these 71 were recorded by the great Slim Dusty. Stan started writing songs at the age of 25, but it wasn't until 1979 be began touring and recording himself. In the years that followed, he went on to record 12 albums and great success, including many awards and an Order of Australian Merit.

Greenvale was a town created for mining nickel. The mine was opened in 1974 and closed just under 20 years later. In it's heyday, about 3000 people lived in the town, but now only about 250 do. There are mines in the area that are now worked, hence the population of the town is steady. There is a school, post office and police station.

Greenvale also has a Sausage Tree, which is one of four recorded in Australia. Two are in the Townsville Botanical Gardens and the other is in the Adelaide Botanical Gardens. This tree is supposedly a drought area a tree and has no known uses. It flowers in Spring and the flowers are burgundy coloured, sweet smelling and short lasting.

Details of

The Sausage

Stan and
Slim Dusty.

An old

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Friday 25th October - Innot Hot Springs -Greenvale

A hot day reaching 34.8 at Greenvale and overnight it was 18.4.

We travelled along the Great Inland Highway to a free camp that we were planning to spend the night at. The Junction free camp is actually at an intersection with a right turn to Mount Surprise. It's actually just a truck stop on concrete. No shade or anything. Plan B, we'll carry onto Greenvale, where we had planned to be for the weekend.

So we continued on for another 120km and arrived at the Greenvale Caravan and Cabin Park. $30.00 a night here with the third night free, so this will work out quite well. It's a very large area and currently we are the only ones in the park. Clive was able to get a drive through site, so easy parking and yes, I have the air conditioning on. A late lunch at 2.45pm, but it now puts us ahead of schedule, and with the free day here, it's like a free camp but with power and water. Bonus!

With the aircon on, it cooled the van down nicely and made such a difference. A small cool change came in around 5.30pm that helped cool outside down nicely.

Fish and chops for dinner from the Roadhouse. Delicious.

After leaving Malanda you go though Mt. Garnett. We saw an Ampol service station with a Puma truck unloading fuel. We decided to fill up but because of the Puma truck we couldn't get near enough to the bowser. Clive went to see how much longer he would be as we were blocking the unleaded bowsers. He said about 10-15 minutes, and so Clive pulled away and we went around the corner to wait. Clive then went and watched to see when he would finish.

Eventually Clive came back and went back in behind the truck, and as he pulled away Clive pulled upto the bowser. Clive gets out and the next minute this fifth wheeler is heading at us, faster than one normally would go in a service station. He braked about a foot away from us and then got out and started abusing Clive, claiming he had jumped the queue and that he was next in line etc. etc. Clive politely told him what we had done and he was given the two finger salute. So we named him, 'Mr. Happy'. Clive remembered the van from when we were in Malanda as they pulled in just before we left. He overtook us about 30 minutes up the road, hopefully having a better day.

van park.

Old mining



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Thursday 24th October - Innot Hot springs

Nice weather today. Overnight was only 18.4 and back upto 27.2.

Our neighbours next door to our bedroom window, started packing up at 5.45am. Really wonderful - not! They were speaking at the top of their voices and making so much noise. They finally left just after 8am and the park was once again in peace.

We decided to go for a swim in one of the pools. Clive has checked them out and five of the six have steps. The other one has a good strong hand rail to hang onto and is of beach design - a sloping base walkway to go in, so you could take a walker in there if necessary as there are no steps. It's also only 1.1m deep.

I was a bit aprehensive, but decided to give it a go. We found our swimmers and Clive got the wheelie walker. This pool was 34 degrees and lovely and warm. I don't know if you could do this on a really hot/humid day, but it was very nice today. We had a great time as we stayed in there for one and a quarter hours. I hadn't realised just how much I have deteriorated. Once upon a time I could float on my back, breast stroke and meander around a pool. Today Clive had to support my back to float. Our plan has always been to get a pool when we move to Point Vernon, so this is definitely going to happen. This will help me get back into shape and strengthen my muscles and bones.

One good thing was Clive didn't sink like he tells everyone when he is in the water. After all it was only 1.1m deep. I tried to get him to dog paddle, as he can't swim, but all he could do was jump around like a kangaroo. Really!! At least I have photos to prove it. A tour bus full of OAP's, (old age pensioners), arrived, so no doubt that's how they supplement their income in the quieter months when the park is not busy. These waters are meant to have healing properties. A great day and I was quite proud and pleased with my achievements. I think that Clive enjoyed himself too.

Gai entering
the pool.

Clive enjoying
the warm water.

No one in the
45 degree one.

Steam rising
From the creek.

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Wednesday 23rd October - Malanda Falls - Innot Hot Springs

Better weather today with partially blue skies, but at least there is no rain. Down to 15.6 last night and upto 28.2 during the day.

We drove to Innot Hot springs along the Kennedy Highway. When you get to this town, don't blink or you will miss it, as we nearly did. Funny little place

The drive was very hilly, up hill and down dale. On several occasions Clive dropped it back into second gear and we climbed the steep hills, keeping an eye on the temperature gauge all the time. We just took it slow and easy. Thankfully, not a lot of traffic on the road, so we were not holding anyone up. The terrain travelling to Innot Hot Springs changes dramatically. We've gone from rich tropical rain forest to dry hills and dry natural timberland. So, so different in such a small distance. We passed through Ravenshow, which is Queensland's highest town. We also passed a wind farm and we have never seen blades turning so quickly. It was a windy day.

Quite a large park, but once again we get parked next to other people. We can hear their radio, even though it is not very loud. I really can't work out the reasoning why they do this. There is so much room here, but we can hear the people near our bedroom having a conservation. They are only in a tent so no buffering at all. Plus the springs are open 24/7, so we have screaming children too.

There are six hot mineral pools here that range in temperature from 23 degrees in the coolest pool to 45 degrees in the hottest one. In this one they suggest that you only spend a maximum of 10 minutes for safety reasons. The three very hot ones are in a separate building and children are not allowed in them, even with adult supervision. Backing the park is a billabong, with plenty of bird life in it and on one side is a creek where you can see hot water bubbling to the surface. Well worth a google search to read all about the town and the mineral springs.

No TV reception, but we do have internet. No phone reception, but we can get SMS's. Very strange. Clive set up the satellite dish with no problems. A big day of Home and Away tomorrow. Two loads of washing done, dried and put away.

Up another
Hill we go.

Coming to a
Wind farm.

Back to
bushy country.

Bear being

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Tuesday 22nd October - Malanda Falls

A freezing cold day today as it rained most of the night and also on and off today. The temperature got down to 16.7 last night and only reached 19.1 during the day. It feels like winter is back.

We were due to leave today and travel to Innot Hot springs, but seeing as the weather is so bad we will stay the extra day here, as they are forecasting the rain to clear over night. We both had our crochet blankets on over our knees all day. So a day spent mostly reading. Clive is getting the blog upto date, not that he can do a lot with it. There is no internet reception here. The only way we can get a signal is to drive into town. We'll just had to enjoy being off the grid.

Monday 21st October - Malanda Falls

Another cool night. Down to 13.6 and only reached 26.8 today. Overcast.

Today we did the waterfalls circuit. This is a 15km loop starting at Millaa Millaa. There are 3 falls on this loop. Firstly there is the Milla Milla Falls, then Zillie Falls and finally the Ellinjaa Falls. They were all very pretty with people swimming in them. Our car thermometer said it was only 22 degrees outside, so certainly to cold for Clive and I.

On the final part of the loop we saw black clouds starting to roll in as we are on top of the range here and there are some fantastic views into the valleys. It then started drizzling and then turned into rain. So much so, that the windscreen wipers got a use. Not too heavy though.

Clive went to the shops and chemist and then took some photos from around the town. There's not a lot here but the one building that dominates the town is the Malanda Hotel. This pub is huge! There is also a Dairy processing plant on the end of town.

Around 5ish the heavens then decided to open up with constant rain and sometimes this was quite heavy. I wonder how long this will last for?

Robyn dropped in with a bottle of wine and also the old photo album. She found it in the first place she looked. It was a beautiful album containing many old pictures, but sadly none had names written on the back of them, so identification of our ancestors will be difficult.

We have another 'door slammer' next to us, (late arrival today). 12 -14 times in 5 minutes so far. We know they can close it quietly as they have done so already tonight. Why us?

Millaa Millaa




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Sunday 20th October - Malanda Falls

It got cool tonight as it went down to 12.6 and back upto 31.7. Clive even had an extra blanket on the bed as he said it was a bit cold.

Lunch at the Gallo Dairy with Robyn. Once again a great catch up and the food was excellent. I had my usual toasted sandwich, Robyn had chicken and Clive had grilled fish. For desert Robyn and I had ice cream. We were swapping stories from our childhood days and the fun times we had. She remembered, (or I asked), that she had an old photo album of Aunty Mebs photos. Robyn will drop in to see us tomorrow and hopefully remember where the album is.

After lunch we went for a walk to the animal nursery that they have on site and then to watch the cows being milked. Very interesting to watch the cows walking onto the milking carousel. If one hesitates to walk into a vacant stall, it gets pushed by others behind it. They have about 300 Friesian cows there that they milk twice daily. They produce their own cheese, chocolates and dairy products.

Some interesting facts;

Regular full cream milk has less than 4% fat.

A cow needs to drink 5.5 litres of water for every litre of milk.

It takes a cow 60 hours to turn grass into milk. To do this cows have four stomachs.

It takes 10 litres of milk to make 1kg of cheese.

Impressed aren't you!!

Gai and


Silos at
Galoo Dairy.


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Saturday 19th October - Malanda Falls

Down to 15.5 last night and it reached a high of 33.5 today.

There is a 1km loop rainforest walk that is opposite the Information Centre. This can be accessed from the park by taking the steps down to the Falls, crossing the concrete bridge and then climbing the steps on the other side. Clive did this for his walk this morning. He was the only one on the track as it was only 8am, so there was just him and the sounds of the forest. About three quarters of the way around he spots a tree kangaroo feeding on the ground. These kangaroos do actually climb trees. After the walk he decided to play with a lens he bought,a Neutral Density Filter, taking pictures of the waterfall.

We're going to Robyn's for lunch today. We got there just after 12.30 and sat at the table chatting away to catch up on old times and her family. It was so good. Before we knew it the time was 2pm, so definitely time for some lunch. She made a beautiful salad that we had with some cold meats over a glass or two of wine.

This was followed by some pastries that a chef friend of hers made. Delicious and fresh. Robyn then offered us fruit salad. Way too much food. We then retired to the lounge room and continued talking until just after 5, as I was now in need of a lie down. We've arranged to take her to lunch at the Gallo Dairy tomorrow.

We also dropped into the information centre and bought some tea towels and magnets for us of Atherton and Malanda.

The caravan park is noisy, noisy, noisy tonight, with over excited children and thump thump head banging music. Even though it on the other side of the oval, we can hear it clearly. There is a huge group of people all together. celebrating someone's birthday. Finally at 9pm it's the sounds of silence again.


Turtles in
The creek.

Tree kangaroo

Playing with
a lens.

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Friday 18th October - Atherton to Malanda Falls

17.2 last night and upto 32.8 today.

A short drive today to Malanda, which is about 20km down the road. Clive asked if we could leave late and they were most obliging. We arrive just before midday at the Malanda Falls Caravan Park. Clive last visited Malanda in January 2005, when he was up here on business and he drove around on the weekend visiting the Tablelands.

We were given a variety of sites to choose from and all van sites here are drive through, so very easy to park up. We did a circuit of the sites and then decided on one that appeared to have a bit of shade. There is a nice breeze outside as well, so looking good. You can access the Falls from a gate on the side of the park. They have steps that go down to it, so Clive went off for a walk there in the afternoon.

Apparently my cousin, Robyn, only lives about 1000m away from here. We'll be catching up with her for lunch tomorrow, and yes, I'm excited. It's only been over 30 years since we last saw each other!

Night time - nothing but noisy children riding around on their bikes. Finally, just before 10pm the park falls into silence, except the sounds of some birds.

This is a
large van park.

Minature animal
farm yard.

Mural on the
toilet block.


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Thursday 17th October - Atherton

Another warm day reaching only 34.4 and last night was a cool 16.4. Cool nights and warm days seem to be the go here currently. Certainly not as hot as yesterday.

Today we did the touristy thing. The plan is to go to Yungaburra and Lake Eacham. On the way you go past fields of vegetables. The soil is so red. The first stop was in the Curtain Fig Tree National Park. This Fig Tree is over 500 years old and is really beautiful. There is a board walk that is about 600m long and I did this with the aid of my wheelie walker. It's very well done for wheel chairs or for people with a dis-ability. It's a circular track so you don't track back on yourself.

Next it was off to Yungaburra. This is a pretty little town that is 'Home of the Afghanistan Avenue of Honour'. The main street has plant holders filled with potted hanging plants that gives it colour. The main building in town is huge. This is the Yungaburra Hotel that was built in 1910.

A short drive from Yungaburra is Lake Tinaroo. They are preparing for some land blocks that will front the lake and be available for sale. Prices from $155,000.00. The area around Lake Tinaroo is well set up for day use. This is also where the memorial is and the Avenue of Honour.

From here it was off to the Crater Lakes National Park - the Lake Eacham section anyway. When you enter this park it's basically a single lane road. It's a popular place with many people swimming. Clive says it has changed a lot since he was here many years ago. Certainly more touristy now. There is also a walking track that circumnavigates the lake for those who enjoy a walk.

Now back to the van park. Clive noticed a sign that said Hallorans Hill, so decided to detour. I didn't realise that we were so close to it from the van park. So off we go, driving upwards again. There are beautiful views looking out across farmlands. There is a building up here that must have cost a fortune to build but again, like the one at Flagstaff Hill in Bowen, it's just empty.

While I went for my daily afternoon rest, Clive went and did some shopping. On the way back he went for a drive to the Chinese Gardens. It was closed but there was a side gate open, so he went in for a walk around. The main entrance and associated Art Gallery is housed in what appears to be the old Post Office building.

The Chinese were attracted to North Queensland in the late 1800's by the prospect of gold. When the gold ran out they turned to timber cutting and market gardening. The remains of Atherton's Chinatown are now an archaeological site that is open to the public. It features the fully restored Hou Wang Temple as the place of worship. There is also a pig oven, community hall and kitchen. Along Fong On Road, the main pathway, are casts of items used by the Chinese, set on slate pillars. This historical site is well worth a look at, as the information boards spread throughout the site, descriptively tell of the Chinese way of life.

From here it was a drive beside the Atherton Rail Trails. Now this would be a walk that Clive would like to do. It looks like they have pulled up the old railway line and now people use this as the walking or running track. Something for him for the next visit.

A lovely sunset tonight and Clive managed to get some pictures.

Rich fertile
farm land.

Gai at the
Curtain Fig Tree.

Main street
of Yungaburra.


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Wednesday 16th October - Atherton

Well today was really hot. Down to 16.4 last night but upto 35.5 today, with very little breeze.

Last night we tried the air con on with fan only to move the air around and that was quite good. When I awoke it was so hot that Clive said we'll put the air con on, and see how it goes. So, this is the first time since leaving the Gold Coast we have used the air conditioner on cold. It was 31 degrees inside the van and after about 30 minutes it had dropped it to 29. It then got down to 28.5 where it sat for the rest of the day, until 5pm when a cool breeze came up.

At 5.30pm we turned it off and opened all the windows up, and it's now lovely and cool. We were planning on going out for a drive , but it was so pleasant in the van we decided not to. There's always another day. We've decided to stay here another day, so won't leave until Friday now. It's nice and peaceful here, as there are only three vans all up currently.

Tuesday 15th October - Mt. Malloy to Atherton

A cool night down to 15.7 but back upto 34.3 today. The weather forecast has been showing up as Atherton being the hottest place we are to visit on the range.

Clive got a call at 7.30am from Jeff to say that the car is ready and all good to go. He had an appointment in Mareeba and said that he would pick him up at 8.30 on the way back down the range. He picked him up and took him back to Mossman. Chatting on the way down, Jeff said that during the peak holiday season the rest area can get so busy that they are camped adjacent to the highway and you can't move for all the vehicles there. It can also be very tricky trying to get out at times.

Clive drove back up and stopped at the two lookouts on the way and took a couple of pictures. He also bought back some pies from the Mossman bakery and a jam donut. Looks like pie for dinner for me. I ate half the jam donut for lunch - delicious.

So the problem with the Jeep. Seems to have got an air lock in the fuel line. They drained it and re-pumped it back up and worked perfectly. They tested it multiple times and then kept the car in overnight so that they could check it first thing this morning. Total cost of $58.00. Got to be happy with that.

We skipped the stay over in Mareeba and drive straight to Atherton, so we're back on track for Malanda later on in the week. It took about 90 minutes to get here and there are only two vans in the park, including us, besides the permanents. Yes, it's higher up the range, as Atherton sits 731m above sea level. The car started to get a bit warm on this climb as certain sections were quite steep. We've decided to skip Mareeba and head straight to Atherton. .

We stocked up with some food and beverages. Clive is going to cook a curry tonight as he has got severe withdrawal symptoms. He made a chicken and zucchini curry.

A termite mound
around a tree.

View from the
lower lookout.

View from the
upper lookout.

Only one more
KM to go.

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Monday 14th October - Mt. Malloy

18.3 last night and back upto 32.9. I'm so glad we have some shade and didn't sacrifice this for some TV. Looks like I won't be watching Home and Away tonight.

Jeff arrives around 8.30 like he said he would. He rang Clive at 7.35am to let him know that he was on his way. Clive's been awake since 6.30 anyway, as he did say that he may be earlier. Well good bye Jeep.

Who says that no news is good news? No phone call this morning, so about 3.30pm Clive rings to see if there is any update. Yes they are looking at it, but no news yet. Is it time to start worrying yet? Another traveller has offered to drive Clive down the range to collect the car once it's ready. Other travellers have also offered to drive him into town to get food if necessary. People can be so helpful and they all want updates on the Jeep.

We decided last night that we need to get some more food, so Clive will walk into town tomorrow. Our mate, Google, has told us there is a General Store on Main Street, as well as cafes and of course the hotel that Clive saw the other day. It looks like the store is about 300m further up from the hotel. Not much else done today apart from reading and a few business matters. It's been a bit cloudy today, so the batteries have not as charged as they normally are. Only 12.5v, so a bit of TV later and then bed.

the Jeep.



Something is

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Sunday 13th October - Mt. Malloy

18.7 last night and back upto 33.9 today.

So we are still at Mt. Malloy.

We were meant to be going to Mareeba today. Everything was all packed up and then Clive drove forward to move the van off a ramp on the right hand side. All done and packed with last minute checks completed. Then he went to start the car again and no joy. It was all turning over OK, just not firing. We kept trying for about 30 minutes then a call into the RACQ.

The RACQ mechanic, Jeff, is based in Mossman so it's about 45 minutes away. Anyway, up he turns in a blue singles, shorts and thongs. Well, he was relaxing at home waiting for the big race to start. He spent a bout 30 minutes trying different things and still no luck. He thinks that it might be the fuel pump. As it's Sunday there are no towies today, as the car will need to go to his workshop. So a tow truck for tomorrow morning around 8.30am. Such fun - NOT.

Clive unhitched everything and took out the WDH tow bar. Now, the two issues are power and water. There's a general store in town so we can get more food if required. Clive estimates we have about 50l of water on board, so we'll use the 'stream water' for washing up etc. and our tank water for drinking and cooking. The stove and fridge are running off gas, and we had the spare bottle filled in Cairns, so that's OK. Now for the electricity we have the lights, TV and water pump. Might have to cut down on the TV for a bit if necessary. Clive checked the battery and solar management system and we're around 12.7v. It's normally 13.7v when fully charged.

If necessary we'll contact Jeff and arrange for the van to be towed to a van park in Mareeba until the car gets fixed. We'll keep you updated.

Saturday 12th October - Mt. Malloy

A very hot day today with temperature reaching 36.1 and down to 16.2 last night. We had a breeze blowing but nothing like yesterday, but it did come up stronger in the late afternoon to cool it down a bit.

By late afternoon the rest area is now quite full as there is about 20 vehicles here. Whacky weed night tonight from some French tourists who have camped with their tent quite close to us. Not impressed as it's stinking out our van.

I forgot to add yesterday, that one of my many jobs is to tune in the TV once Clive sets it all up. Well, we have managed to get 6 stations here. Sadly they are all just the sister stations of channel 2. So 2, 24, ABC kids etc. Clive to the rescue. Out with the satellite dish again. Well, after about 30 minutes and moving the dish many times, it's a no go. Because we are parked under trees, there is no clear line of sight to the satellite in space. Well we could move the van or just live without it. Coin tossed - we live without it. We have our travel DVD's still to watch, as well as hundreds of movies and we can get the news on 24. Clive will have to miss Bathurst this year.

Clive went for a walk into Mt. Malloy this afternoon. It's about 1km and there is a track from the rest area that goes to town. Off to Mareeba tomorrow.

Clive reading latest
Judy Nunn novel.

Creek behind
the rest area.

The track
to town.

The local

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Friday 11th October - Mossman to Mt. Malloy

So we're off to Mt. Malloy today for some free camping for a few days. Power should be OK now that Clive makes sure the Anderson plug is firmly seated. We have stayed for several days before in free camps. Just can't really use the microwave or sandwich toaster, as they really chew up the power. Down to 21.7 and back upto 32.1 today.

Mt. Malloy is 398m above sea level and about 36km from Mossman. The road up the range is pretty windy when you actually start the climb. We were only doing between 30 and 40km/h through this part, but once you are actually on the range, then we were able to cruise at our normal 80km/h.

It took about an hour for us to get here and it feels like we are on top of the range. We are staying at the Rifle Range Rest area. There is plenty of room here and Clive has found us a nice spot with a bit a shade. Lovely cool breeze blowing. This rest area has quite good toilets and a cold shower for those that want it.

Mt. Malloy
Rest Area.




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Thursday 10th October - Mossman

Overnight was 19.3 and back to 30.1 today.

Change of plans. We discussed last night about staying an extra day here so that Clive could do the Mossman Gorge walk, as we don't know if we'll be back this way again. Clive would like to come back up here and do Cooktown, Cape Tribulation and see more of the Daintree National Park and spend a few months here, so maybe something for the future.

He checked with the office first thing, just after 8am and no problems. Well, we are the only van here besides a few RV's and permanents, so plenty of space. Paid another $37.00, yes one of the most expensive so far, and then he was off to the Gorge before it got to hot. Leaving at 8.30, he returned at 11.30 with lots of photos, having had a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoyed it. He walked for 4.61km and total walking time was 1 hour and 51 minutes. He told me that the first section is a boardwalk that I could have done with the walker. It's a 1.2km return walk so still quite a walk for me.

When he got there, there was only 6 cars in the car park. When he left it was nearly full. The advantage of going early was that it was peaceful and you could enjoy the sounds of the rain forest. Once you had the tour groups and lots more people there was the constant chatter and noise.

On the way back he stopped in to St. David's Anglican Church. This church was added to the National Trust of Queensland's Register of Significant Places in 2008. This beautiful stone church commenced construction in 1912, after a cyclone destroyed the original wooden one in 1911. It was finally completed in 1952 and dedicated on the 27th September. It took over 40 years to build due to two World Wars and the global economic depression since building commenced. Additions after the dedication include a vestry and chapel. Stained glass windows and the colourful tiled mosaic of the risen Christ. The entrance bell, a piece of marble from St. Pauls Cathedral London and a fragment of the stone cross of St. David's Cathedral Hobart, add to the historicity of the church,

My glasses have felt funny the past few days and after lunch a lens fell out. It appears that I have lost a screw, no - not got a screw lose. Clive went into town as a google search showed an optometrist on the main drag, opposite the Post Office. When he got there just vacant shops, so he asked in the newsagents and the closest one is in Port, so a quick trip down the road is required to get these fixed, as the next opportunity might be Monday in Mareeba. We are due there on Saturday, but they are only open Monday to Friday.

On the

Rex Creek


St. David's
Anglician Church.

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Wednesday 9th October - Mossman

A cooler night where it got down to 18.0 but back upto 32.3 It was 34 in Mareeba where we are meant to be going in a few days. It might finally be time to start the air conditioning.

We drove back 14km down the road to Port Douglas today and upto Flagstaff Hill Lookout. We took a few pictures here as the view is spectacular. You are looking down onto a beach and the bay. You can see islands off in the distance. They have a monument with a brass plaque giving you distances to other cities. Adelaide is only 2145km!

Now off to find the scones and jam Clive said that I could have for lunch. Well, he tried three shops including a bakery and pie shop, but no scones to be found anywhere. So we settled on Moka's - Original Pie and Bakery. This shop has won many awards for its pies in the national pie contest. Clive had a Chicken Laksa pie and I had a vanilla slice and iced chocolate. Delicious. I even managed to get a jam donut to take back with us. Clive liked his pie so much that he went and bought a crocodile pie and a Cornish pastie for dinner while I got a steak, bacon and cheese. He froze the pastie, as I did the jam donut for another day.

The pies were very tasty and he said that the crocodile tastes a bit like chicken, but with a stronger texture to the meat. Something he will have again.

Then off for a drive around 'Port' as the locals call it. We went to the Marina and saw a steam cane train coming down the track returning to the Ballyhooley Station. The historic Ballyhoooley Train takes you on a 8km return sight seeing journey through town and then you can have lunch at Choo Choos Café. It was great to see it chugging along.

As we were leaving Port, we saw a sign to 4 Mile beach, so we thought to check this out. This beach can be seen from the Lookout at the end of Island Point Road. While at the beach we saw a big cruise ship anchored at sea - the Pacific Dawn. We had seen people in town wearing lanyards with the Pacific Dawn name on them, while we were having lunch, so they were doing an on shore day.

On the way back we took a detour to Mossman Gorge. Clive decided not to do the bus trip and walk as I would have to wait for him and the day has been pretty hot with very little breeze. So we bought some tea towels and a magnet instead. Back to the van and a rest for me while Clive reads.

Mr 'Have a chat' was at it again. Talking to the permanent near us, he originally moved from Adelaide to the Gold Coast in 1991. Early 2014 he moved up here and said that the park has been at 100% capacity and the winter has been cold. Well about 18 most days with a few going down to 12 - which for him is cold.

Tomorrow we're off to Mount Malloy for two days of free camping.

4 Mile

Gai enjoying

steam train.

The Pacific

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Tuesday 8th October - Cairns to Mossman

20.9 last night and back upto 31.2 today.

Our drive today took about 90 minutes, as the road was windy in parts, but the scenery was lovely. A part of the way was almost along the shore line, which was very pretty. Lovely shades of blue.

We are staying at the Mossman Caravan Park, which is a council owned and run park. The van park is not real busy as there is only a couple of tents and one other van here, besides on the permanents. Our site was a lot easier to reverse onto, compared to Cairns and some others. The only drawback is not too many trees to give us shade, so we'll see how it goes. We're here for two nights and Clive is looking to do the Gorge walk tomorrow. You park at the information centre and then a bus takes you to the start of the Gorge Walk.

This park backs onto a creek that is gently meandering along. You can imagine how fast this would be, once the wet season gets here and the you get a lot of rain.

Close to the
Shore line.

Blue water.

Mossman Rotary
Park amenities.


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Monday 7th October - Cairns

Overnight down to 20.3 and back upto 29.0 today, so weather wise just more of the same. Apparently heatwave conditions on the Gold Coast, so we just hope that it doesn't come up here.

Not much happening today, so a reading day for both of us. Clive went and got one of the gas bottles refilled. Off to Mossman tomorrow.

Sunday 6th October - Cairns

Slightly overcast today. 20.2 last night and back upto, you guessed it, 29.2 today. Not a lot seems to change up here but I wonder how different it will be once the wet season starts.

Clive went off to Mass this morning at St. Monica's Catheral. Mass started at 10.00am and the Bishop presided. Later in the day we went for a drive around Cairns. This first stop was the Cathedral as he wanted me to see the amazing stained glass windows. He took photos of them after Mass to show me, but they really don't do it justice. There are 24 windows telling the story of Creation from the Book of Genesis. In addition, there are two Peace windows either side of the entrance door, marking 50 years of peace in the Pacific. The pictures of the Creation Windows go right to left.

From the Cathedral's website , I quote,

"About the famous Windows

Stained-glass artists, Gerry Cummins and Jill Stehn spent two years designing the windows and four years building the largest theme stained glass windows in the world depicting the creation according to the book of Genesis.

The windows are a popular tourist attraction and everyday tourists are taken up with the world's largest themed stained glass windows. There are 24 windows (12 along each side ) depicting the story of creation taken from the Book of Genesis. These are aptly named the Creation Windows.

On the Abbott Street end surrounding the main entrance are the Peace Windows commemorating 50 years of Peace in the Pacific.

Around the border is the word PAX (Latin for PEACE) written in 28 other languages, so that whatever part of the world you are from, the word for "peace" may be recognised. Every other word can be read from inside or outside, offering "peace" not only within the cathedral but to those passing by on the street."

Then off to see the old Chariot office. Well it was there. It's now a multi-story new high rise that is currently in the final stages of being built. The motel that Clive used to stay at it still there. Across the road there used to be a coffee shop and other shops but these have all gone now, again replaced by new multi-story buildings. Progress, I suppose.

From here we went down Wharf Street, past Hemmingway's Brewery, reminds me a bit of Fisho's on the Coast and then past Cairns Cruise Terminal and the Pier. Then down The Esplanade and past the famous Lagoon. Lots of people about around the Lagoon and also in the coffee shops and restaurants along The Esplanade. Then past the Cairns Aquarium and Arts Centre before heading back to the van. A quick stop into Woollies to get some lamb chops for dinner tonight.

The first
Four windows.

The right
Peace window.

Windows above
The entrance.

The Arts

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Saturday 5th October - Cairns

Happy birthday Alister. Sweet 32 today. Where have all the years gone.

No books for Clive until he gets the blog upto date as he hasn't done any of October yet. Well that got him motivated. Not only did the blog get done, he also managed to finish another book.

20.2 last night and upto 29.2 today.

We went shopping at Big W today. I can see why Clive only lets me loose in the store every couple of months. I ended up with five books and Clive got two. Well, I need to keep my book supply up. Looks like we'll be dropping a few off at Michael's in November, so I'd better get reading.

Today there was a lovely cool breeze keeping the temperature down.

Now I forgot to mention the curlew. Have you ever heard the noise they make? If not then google it. A while back in one of the van parks at night there was suddenly this screaming sound that could be heard, piercing through the night. Now should we be worried. Anyway, Clive thought it might have ben these birds were saw, so googled it and sure enough, it was a curlew.


Now where
do we go?.

Lots of


Friday 4th October - Babinda to Cairns

Packed up this morning and we're off to Cairns. Still a few clouds around but the weather is meant to be fine today, even though it's windy. 19.1 last night and a maximum of 31.6 today.

It rained all last night and this morning so we left around 12.15 and arrived at the park at 1.30. We missed any rain while driving, so that was good. It's supposed to clear up today and then sunny weather again.

So we went past Queensland's highest and second highest mountains today on the way to Cairns. We are staying at the Cairns Sunland Leisure Park. This is quite a big park. The only problem is the spot we were allocated to has trees everywhere. Clive, and the gardener, tried several times to reverse in nearly hitting the tree twice, opposite the spot we were meant to be. The gardener suggested that we try the one two spots down which we did and Clive reversed in first go. We are still parked next to trees that you could practically touch through the windows, so that how close they are and how small the site is.

When Clive went to tell them we had swapped sites he went down 'Third Avenue', we are on Fourth Avenue, and the sites there have less tress bordering them and are bigger. However, we are in a nice leafy green area and plenty of shade so that's a plus.

Considering how dry the rest of the country has been, it's nice to see how green it is up this way. Not quite as humid today and there's a nice breeze blowing too. Grocery shopping done and Clive bought an hydraulic jack to replace the jockey wheel. At one sight it had to be quite high and got a slight bend in it so it's very hard to wind up. Clive's cooking a batch of spaghetti bolognaise for his tea tonight and I'll have a toasted sandwich. Long weekend this weekend, so we've decided to stay here an extra day rather than travel on a public holiday.

Thursday 3rd October - Babinda

It rained on and off all night with some quite heavy showers. Down to 20 over night and back upto 31.1 with humidity reaching 89.9%. Got to love the tropics.

We've decided to stay here an extra day as the original plan was for only one night, but given showers are expected todays we'll stay put. So, today became a reading day. The police periodically patrol around the park several times a day, so I don't know if this is a good thing or not. Still, I suppose it's keeping their presence in mind.

Gai enjoying
A read.

Wednesday 2nd October - Innisfail - Babinda

Off to a free camp in Babinda today. It's the Rotary Park on the eastern side of town that has a huge area for vans as well as tents. You are allowed to stay here for 72 hours and as well as having toilets and a dump point they also have coin operated hot showers. You are asked to leave a donation, but sadly I didn't see too many people doing that. Good TV reception too, although the people next door to us had the satellite dish out as their reception was not good.

20 degrees over night and a maximum of 30.8 today.

The park is very peaceful, especially after having had to put up with all the noise of the Bruce Highway at the Innisfail Van Park. Clive asked there if we could leave late and was told we can leave whenever we want to as they are not busy, so I took advantage of a late start to the day. Babinda Creek runs adjacent to the park and you can hire a canoe to do some paddling if you like. Clive went down there to take some pictures and even he said the water was quite mild.

We had a light shower about 4pm which increased the humidity and then again around 7pm. Still they are forecasting showers for the next few days.


Of space.


Plenty of
camping space too.

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Tuesday 1st October - Innisfail

Cool night going down to 14.1 degrees but back upto 31.5 during the day.

We went for a drive around Innisfail today and took photos of the Art Deco Buildings. There are 6 of them in all, concentrated in the CBD. Innisfail is settled on the conference of the North and South Johnstone Rivers with farmlands to the foothills of Mt. Bartle Fere, Queensland's highest mountain.

We also took some pictures of the old Chariot office, well the street door and windows really. From there we went to Flying Fish Point and then back along the river to a seafood shop where we bought some fresh local prawns that were absolutely delicious. At only $15.00 a kilo you can guess what we had for dinner.

Chariot office

The Catholic


Fish Point.

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