Part three trip to the North and warmth 2012

Monday was a day of rest (again) and Tuesday morning due to the rain we thought that we would try for another couple of days at Sapphire to wait out the rain (yeh right).

Unfortunately the van park was booked out so we packed up in the rain and headed for Clermont’s Theresa Creek Dam.

We chose to take the road to Capella as opposed to the run via Theresa Creek. This turned out to be a fortunate choice as the flood way at the creek was under nearly a metre of fast water which would have required a long return journey back to Rubyvale.

On the way out to Theresa Creek Dam, we were stopped by a flood way that was about 500 deep. It did not make me feel any better knowing that my new diff breather extensions were in the box in the back of the car ready to fit .

We turned back to set up at the Clermont Show Ground,where we paid $25 for the overnight. Strange thing, we pulled in deciding that we did not need any services and set up. The care taker came along in the evening to collect the fees and said that it was $25 a night. We did explain that we were self sufficient but she said it was that price weather you used power and water or not.

Being of Scottish decent I/we moved down to the powered sites and hooked up next to a nice couple in a Kedron van. And the rain played on.

Wednesday morning we packed and this time made it to the Creek camping area. What a magic place. For the princely sum of $10 per night we set up beside our own personal shelter shed not 10 metres from the water.

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Hot showers toilets and a toilet dump are close by and a great little shop with take away’s and coffee for those that are sick of roughing it.

The kayak came off the roof of the tug and the oz pig set up under the shelter shed the 8 cray pots were deposited in the dam and life don’t get much better big smile (1) 

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The bird life has to be seen to be believed here. The dam is alive with water foul and Lorikeet’s, Apostle birds and hawks of all types are everywhere. Don’t feed them you will be sorry they come in from no where like mozzies in a swamp if you are silly enough to open the bird seed or flash a slice of bread.

Thursday friends of ours from Tassie dropped in set up beside the shed, they also fell in love with the place. You can see the stress in action below.

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Weather has been changeable to say the least. Today Saturday we were shrouded in fog until lunchtime then the sun broke through to give us a superb afternoon. Similar to yesterday, at least we are now seeing some sun, the batteries in the van are smiling.

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Tonight is a sausage sizzle at the cafe for a $3 donation and entertainment is provided. Entertainment was pretty average and the rain made it’s presence felt, but it was good.

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Cray fish what cray fish, three days and we have only 4 cray fish for our efforts. Can’t complain the dam is a beautiful place to peddle the kayak.

We had a magnificent feast on Sunday night with our friends. Entree consisted of some marinated cray’s that we had in the freezer from Fairbairn dam and the main was some steaks with cray topping. Suppose it could be termed lake and turf or perhaps dam and turf. It was magnificent to say the least. chef

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Tuesday our Tassie friends headed out for the coast and we did a run into town for some supplies. On our return the gennie was cranked into life and we made the batteries feel a whole lot better and did some washing.

This weather is amazing. It’s freezing cold and drizzling most of the time. Luckily we are in a lovely spot. Not quite the warmth that we searched for!

To be continued:

Second instalment of North for some warmth 2012

Still at Lake Maraboon.

Wednesday, should have bought the cray traps in yesterday. We had a couple of hours windless but chose to relax instead. This morning we were greeted with another windy day, so windy in fact that upon stepping out of the van to inhale some of the freezingly fresh air I noted a pelican on the dam being blown along at about 90 knots ya could have skied behind it.

We cracked out the pig last night and warmed a mob of people in the little shelter shed. It was a good night. Nibbles of pickled red claw on jatz and jellied red fin on crackers with a few cleansing ales or wines followed by a lovely piece of dead cow and vegies on the barby, it just doesn’t get much better than this.

An interesting thing happened while we were here. The Discovery van park that we are in increased their tariff from the 1st of July by $8 per day. It is now $40 a day for the privilege of staying here. We do not often stay in van parks and this is a bl..dy good reason why. Thank goodness for self sufficiency. Hmmmmmmm wonder if the carbon tax can be the reason.

Still freezing here did manage to get out and get the pots on Thursday. Only two cray’s but wow what crays, the largest being 40cm long.

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Friday. We left Fairbairn dam today and checked into the Sapphire van park. This is more like it. Beautiful bush setting with first rate amenities. Most of the buildings are made from local rock.

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The camp kitchen has to be seen to be believed. Every conceivable item that could be required to make and consume a meal is provided.

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The fivesies shed is nearly as well equipped with fire wood for the fire place supplied,full wash up facilities and a couple of gas barbies thrown in. Beside this fivesies shed is the wild life feeding area where at 5 pm the wallabies and birds are hand fed.

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Booked and had dinner Saturday night at Poppies in Rubyvale.

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What a feed, Barra for me and chicken for Mavis, superb, thoroughly recommend this place and the scones and coffee through the day are also great.

Tomorrow Saturday we are booked for an organised fossicking trip to learn the ropes of becoming millionaires in the gem fields.

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We met up with the guide Saturday morning at Anakie or rather a little stop just before town at 8:30 am

Two other couples came along and one had three young kid’s.

Gotta tell you its bl..dy hard work trying to get just the right picture of Mavis.

Could not decide weather to get the one of her swinging the pick or using the shovel or perhaps rotating the sieve or even puddling the gravel. Have to say that I did work up quite a sweat just trying to decide. happy (1)

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It goes without saying that we both worked up a sweat, got sore muscles,some of which we had forgotten that we had and only ended up with one tiny sapphire worth cutting and a few others that will end up in a jar of water for display. All of this digging for the princely sum of $80 to the guide. We would not recommend this unless you are very keen.

We dragged ourselves home, put a pork roast and vegies in the Webber and ached, sorry relaxed for the rest of the day.

Sunday was a sleep in for the tired bones, then off to the markets in Sapphire.

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After wandering around the markets we went to Rubyvale and a visit to the Monique Fossicking park where we paid for three buckets of gravel and spent the next hour washing and sorting the stones. As expected nothing of value apart from one small amber zircon which is at the cutters being shaped with the small sapphire that we found on Saturday.

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I have a feeling that there are more sapphire’s on Mavis’s fingers than there are in the ground in Queensland.

Back to Poppies for a lunch that you could not jump over then a tour around Sapphire fossicking areas for a look.

To be continued.

Continuing North for some warmth

Day one of the run North had us travelling the highway North (naturally). We stopped at Gympie for a fuel stop and then carried on to Maryborough to drop in at the RVHomebase. http://www.rvhomebase.com.au/

We put a deposit on a block there about two months ago and wanted to see what progress has been made with the development. Unfortunately for them the constant rain has slowed things down a bit. Non the less it is looking good with several new homes having been completed.

Gayndah was the next stop to pick up some mandarins The mandies looked great but alas the first few were not as sweet as some but improved as we got further into the bag.

We stopped for the night at a great little spot called Rocky Creek. 25 34 50.44S 151 58 54.93E This place was about 30km from Ban Ban Springs and Mavis just happened to see it as we went past. The return was well worth it as it was far enough off the road to be quiet and we had the place to ourselves. Picnic table, garbage bin and a level spot, what more do you need? IMG_9144IMG_9148

Day two of our trip north.

A very civilised lateish start from Rocky Creek had us heading in the general direction of Emerald via the Burnett highway. Biloela was the next fuel stop then a wrong turn took us towards Mt Morgan. The wrong turn was not so bad after all as we found a great camp at the Goovigen show ground. We spent the night for the grand sum of a $5 donation at the local shop which provided for the maintenance of the area. Power, water toilets and showers were available if you were quick enough. A lot of campers were there waiting for the crook weather to subside before moving on. IMG_9150IMG_9149

I failed to mention the crook weather earlier, it has not stopped raining since we left Brisbane.

Another leisurely start and we headed for Dululu, which had a nice little camp in town with toilets,water supply and dump point. We did not stay here instead headed across to the Capricorn Highway and turned West towards Emerald.

Lunch was had outside the Emerald information centre, where we found out that the Maraboon caravan park was booked out on Fairbairn dam (our ultimate destination and the only camping allowed) until Friday. Unfortunately in our haste to get outa Dodge, sorry Brisbane we did not research out destination too well.

This being Wednesday we made a week long booking at the dam from Friday then headed for the Higher Ground Homestay which is a private property 16km SW of Emerald where we set up camp for the princely sum of $5 per night. This fee provided us with a camp site and the availability to top up water. There were a few powered sites that cost $12 per night.

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There is a free camp in Emerald that we had the displeasure of staying at some years ago. You can camp under the rail bridge or the highway bridge dependant upon your preferences for noise. We chose the highway bridge and enjoyed the B Doubles pounding over the bridge all night. Some very lucky travellers if they are early enough actually get to camp in between the two and can appreciate a stereo effect of trains and trucks . big smile (1)

I really don’t understand Mavis’s reaction at my suggesting staying there for a couple of day’s. At least the bruises are nearly gone now.punch nose (1)

It was only a short distance to the caravan park on the dam but some Richard Cranium local truck drivers had taken their 40 ton rigs over the 9 ton limit causeway and severely damaged it to the extent that a 9 million dollar repair was required to make it safe again. This meant that we had to go back into town then the long way around to the dam. The causeway will be shut for a long time!

Thursday we went out to have a look at the gem fields of Anakie, Sapphire and Rubyvale and made the decision to return after the dam stay for a few days of fossicking.

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Another night was spent at the Homestead and on Friday we headed for the van park at the dam.

It was like old home week at the dam with two lots of friends also there.

Talking to Gordon and Chris about the red claw cray fishing in the area, Gordon invited me out to give him a hand to check his pots on the Saturday after donating their Friday catch to the shell fish starved new arrivals.

It was a very disappointing day for Gordon, he only managed 30 crays. Must say the 30 crays that they caught were huge, the biggest that we had ever seen (we live a sheltered life ) . Gordon & Chris gave us their days catch which Mavis still can’t believe. Have a look at these little morsels.

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How good is that?

Sunday we rigged the Hobie and set out to drop our own traps in.

Monday it blew a gale ( well it was windy maybe no gale)

Monday night was a sausage sizzle night in the park. The two managers turn on the sizzle with slaw sauces and bread and great entertainment. It was a good night

Tuesday the breeze is still blowing and the dam is almost surfable. Hopefully the wind will drop long enough to check the pots today.

Stay tuned for the next instalment.

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