Well Christmas and New Year are done & dusted for another year! We hope everyone had a great time! Our festivities commenced on the 16th of December with Bob’s birthday (friend of Jock & Annie’s). We had a lovely Breakfast with Bob, Kathy, John, Jock & Annie.
On the 22nd December the four of us decided to go for a drive to take a look at the Bivouac Bush Camp that Jude had read about on the http://theretroroamers2013.blogspot.com web site. It is only 20kms from Charters Towers, on the Burdekin River. Good rates @ $120 a week and the best part is there is plenty of room. A quaint place to camp.
The plan was too go to the Mingela Pub for lunch. They are reknown for doing an awesome lunch on a Sunday. However as it was the week before Christmas they had stopped the lunches until after the festive season. The Hotel is run by a delightful Kiwi couple that were celebrating being there for 20 years that day. We were amazed to see a photo of famous pubs in NZ.
One of these pubs being the Whangamomona Pub that Tui knows well. The most remote Country Hotel in New Zealand, on State Highway 43 – Forgotten World Highway, between Stratford and Taumarunui.
Jock’s job is to drive the miners out to Ravenswood and he regularly sees Bison in the paddock so we went to have a look. The Miller family from the Rhondhu Stud at Mingela have bought seven bison from New South Wales dealer Kendall Neilson which they intend to use as training animals for budding campdrafters.
As with American rodeo events, such as cutting, working cow horse and team penning it is obvious that all these events, including Campdrafting, are based on the skills required to work with cattle.
Christmas Day loomed and as we had bought ourselves a Camera a couple of weeks earlier we just opened a few little parcels. Jock arrived home from work around 7.30am and after a little nap we proceeded to have our champagne breakfast or brunch. Lots of fun and we were spoilt by Jock & Annie. Jude getting a bottle of Cognac and Tui a bottle of “Gentleman Jack” Bourbon.
It was then Annie’s turn to go to work – 1pm to 5pm and Jock 4pm to 7.30pm. We just chilled out and felt real lazy. Ham, salad, potaoes for tea followed by Jude’s traditional Christmas Pudding.
Tui has been getting some great shots with the new camera and took these ones of some owls. We think they are the “Tawny Frogmouth” owls but are not 100% sure. They occasionally inhabit one of Jock & Annie’s trees.
The 27th December we had a lovely Dinner with Steve & Robyn, one of Jock & Annie’s neighbours. great food, great company, great night!
New years Eve was a quiet one. A lovely dinner, celebrated a Kiwi New Year at 9pm (midnight NZ time) and Jude was off to bed fairly early. Tui made it to midnight local time by playing games on the Laptop!
New Years Day we were getting itchy feet so packed up Tiki Tourer and set off to the Burdekin Dam, approx 168kms from Charters Towers. About half way is the small mining town of Ravenswood. Two Gold mines operate in the area, a large opencut behind the town and an underground one at nearby Mount Wright. Tourism is also an important industry. In the late nineteenth century, the town was a large and thriving community and several historic buildings remain from this period. Facilities in the town include a combined general store and post office, a primary school and two pubs, the Railway and the Imperial.
We decided to camp the night at the local camping ground which is situated on the town oval. $14 a night with power. Another good deal!! The only down side was they were having a few problems with Bats and had to close the swimming pool. We were told to park on the far side of the Oval away from where the Bats were but were still able to hear them screeching in the early hours of the morning and every now and then caught a whiff of their unique odour. Not nice!
It was an amazing site when the Bats all took off at sunset in their quest for food! Very difficult to catch on film but the photo below gives you some idea.
Had a chat with Steve & Colletti who were traveling in a little caravan and also working around Australia . More about them later. Next morning we turned the key and Tiki Tourer was off to the Burdekin Dam Caravan Park.
The body of water held by the dam is also known as Lake Dalrymple. Burdekin Dam is managed by SunWater. The dam provides drinking water for twin cities of Thuringowa and townsville and a large irrigation scheme.
The dam wall is 876 metres long and has a 504 metre spillway and a drop of 37 metres. It holds 1,860,000 megalitres at full capacity. Impressive site!
The catchment area for the dam extends north to the Seaview range, west of Ingham, south to the Drummond Range near Alpha through the Suttor and Belvando Rivers, southeast to the coastal ranges west of MacKay and west beyond Charters Towers to the Lolworth, Montgomery and Stopem Blockem Ranges through the Clarke River. If you look on a map, it is a massive area.
On arrival Jude spotted a swimming pool. Yipee, at last a pool to swim in!! Well it was empty and closed for maintenance and cleaning! What is it with us and pools?
Late afternoon we had a call from Steve & Colletti. They were heading out to stay with us and brought out their swags, leaving the little caravan at Ravenswood. A big night with Tui getting to bed after 3am.
Bit slow the next morning but Steve suggested we go for a drive to see an old Pub he had heard about. “Just over the hill” he said “It isn’t far”. First we had to cross the Dam wall. Obviously this road is closed when the water cascades over the Dam.
Well 1hr and 40mins later after driving over a rough gravel road we arrived at the Bowen River Hotel.
A cute little Pub but a long way for a Beer!
A few Beers later we set off heading back to our Camp.
First it was a dip in the Bowen river.
Then after about an hour of driving we stopped at a water hole for another dip and to give Steve and Colletti’s dog Bang Bang a swim. He loves the water!
After a big night the night before and a long and fun day, it was an early night for us all. We all packed up next day and it was back to Ravenswood for Steve and Colletti and back to Charters Towers for us.
Today is catch up on washing day so had better finish this off and get to it. Until next time “Laugh more, live longer”!