EMERALD – February 2014

Yes, you are reading the title correctly!  We have moved from MacKay after 1 year and 1 week!! The longest we have stayed anywhere by far. Although it was great to have the wheels of Tiki Tourer moving again it was a bit sad pulling out.  Great friends, good times and lots of laughs.

We experienced our first Cyclone while in Mackay, luckily it wasn’t a bad one, but the anticipation of what was to come was pretty daunting! We moved Tiki Tourer in between 2 x two storey houses to get as much protection from the wind as possible so we were quite protected.  As the boys weren’t working we decided to have a few beverages in the house.  By the time the cyclone actually crossed the coast we were sleeping like babies and didn’t hear a thing.  There was a bit of debris where Tiki Tourer had been parked.

Cyclone messCleaning in rain 2

With being parked under a tree for so long the roof as you can see was black.  Tui took the opportunity of cleaning it whilst off work, in the pouring rain we might add. He purchased a water blaster and after the initial debris was washed off and the roof was dry he used a solution called 30 secs to remove the black grime. The water blaster was a good buy @ $84.00 and we soon had clean trailer, motorbike, push bikes, kayaks etc.

TT MessClean TT

The next day we all got a text from the Council saying we were in the warning zone for a tidal surge.  Scary how they know where you are.  Big brother is watching!!! Our end of the beach was ok but further down they had a lot of sand wash up (or blow) onto the road and it changed the Beach quite a lot, creating a large lagoon.

Sand over roadChange after Dylan

MacKay had a few days of typical tropical rain and as our day of leaving was not far off we didn’t bother moving Tiki Tourer back in it’s old spot.  Good thing we didn’t as the mosquitoes were thick out the back with masses of water everywhere.

Tropical rain 2Tropical Rain

A few weeks before leaving we had a new person move into the house.  James fitted in nicely and didn’t hold back on doing dishes, cleaning etc.  Cool, Rex will have company when we leave!!

James DishesJames & Tui

Packing up was done over several days, whenever Tui wasn’t working.  The challenge was going to be “where are we going to put the Pizza Oven?” With Tui’s ingenious engineering skills, a platform was made on the draw bar of the trailer.  This will enable Jude to cook in it without having to move it!  Just bring out the gas bottle and hook her up.  Very happy!!

Pizza Oven HomeThe only downside is the door of the Pizza Oven is the opposite side to the door of Tiki Tourer.  This was unavoidable because the jockey wheel . Hey, we can work around that!!

 

 

 

It was now time to hit the road!  The usual checks before leaving MacKay i.e Beaurepairs to check the tyre pressures, fill up with fuel etc.  As we had never been down the coast south of MacKay we decided to take a leisurely few days, drive down to Rockhampton and then across to Emerald.  We checked out our “Camps 6” book to check out the Free Camps on the way.  Must be out of practice!  First free camp (Flaggy Rock Community Centre, approximately 111kms south of MacKay), Jude missed the turn off! Second free camp ( Clairview Rest Area) the road was closed because of road works, but we did manage to find a park next to the sea, had a bite to eat and a rest for a couple of hours. Clairview is a small beachside community that is a popular holiday destination or roadside stopover approximately 123 kilometres south of Mackay. It is a popular fishing and crabbing village with camping permitted in designated areas and a caravan park with full facilities.

TT at ClairviewClairview

Third time lucky was St Lawrence Recreational reserve (155km south of Mackay).  This is a great free camp with free hot showers & toilets with heaps of space.  Mind you we are traveling in the off peak season and we heard it is very popular in the peak season. There is a donation box, which we were more than happy to contribute too.  Need more of these great free camps! Once a prosperous port town, exporting cattle from the hinterland, most residents are now railway workers. The town is located south of St Lawrence Creek, which flows into a vast bay known as Broad Sound, a waterway noted for its large tidal range (up to 9 metres in the summer).

StLawrence_Qld01Sign

Trivia on in Oz TT at St lawrence

It is quite common on Australian roads to see signs warning of tiredness because of the long distance most people travel.  This is the first time we have seen a sign suggesting that playing Trivia can reduce tiredness.  We saw a couple of signs that ask you a question then the answer is on the next sign! Quaint!!

Set off fairly early next morning and headed toward Yappoon, a coastal town with a colourful history dating back to 1865. Just before the turnoff we came across The Capricorn Caves.  We had heard these are worth a look so took the 2+ kms off the highway to check it out.  We headed to the office and discovered that the next tour wasn’t for some time, so we watched the video and decided to get back there another time.

Caves signCapricorn Caves

Yeppoon is renowned for its beaches, tropical climate, and the islands out on the bay. Twenty-five minutes from the city of Rockhampton, Yeppoon is the principal town on the Capricorn Coast, a string of seaside communities stretching more than 150 kilometres from north to south. Offshore, there are 27 islands including Great Keppel Island which is 20km from Yeppoon. There is a nice loop tourist drive that runs out to Yappoon, through Emu Park and back inland to Rockhampton.

Yappoon to Emu ParkYappoon

After visiting the Information Centre we decided to stay at “Bellpark Caravan Park” at Emu Park, 20 mins along the coast from Yappoon. We highly recommend this Park, lovely friendly people, good amenities (including 2 Dump Points) and right on the beach.

Bell ParkEmu Park shops

The Emu Park village is only a 5min walk from the park and has most things that you could want including a large IGA supermarket. Every Sunday the Lions club run a really good Market right next door to the Park. On a hill overlooking the village of Emu Park stands the iconic Singing Ship, a memorial to Captain James Cook who was there in 1770. The Singing Ship was designed to ‘sing’ as the wind blew across its vertical pipes. It succeeded a bit too well and, from its vantage point on the hill, could be heard over a wide area on a breezy day. The Council eventually had it muted. Kele Park, where the ‘Ship’ is located, is well worth a visit and the hill gives spectacular views along the coast.

Singing ShipEmu Park Beach

View from Pub EmuCheck out the view from the Pub on the left!!

As it was such a nice place to stay we decided to stay 2 nights, get the Suzuki off the trailer, and do a spot of sightseeing the 2nd day.  We visited the city markets in Rockhampton but they weren’t as good as the ones at Emu Park. Had a look around the city shops then drove up Mt Archer.

Rockhampton old BuildingShopping at Rocky

Mount Archer National Park protects bushland remnants in the Berserker Ranges, a scenic backdrop to Rockhampton. At 604 m above sea level, Mount Archer is the highest peak and provides spectacular views of the city and the surrounding ranges. The park covers 4250 ha of open forest dominated by eucalypts, with a large pocket of dry rainforestry.

Mt Archer RockyRocky to Bedford Weir

Checking out “Camps 6” again we found 2 spots we might stay at.  First one was Duaringa Rest Area.  When we arrived there it was only 11.30am so we decided to have an early lunch, fuel up and then head out to Bedford Weir.  While Tui was putting fuel in Tiki Tourer Jude went inside to wait as it was nice and cool in the air con.  Got chatting to the attendant and low & behold she came from Smithton (a small place in Tasmania) and knew our Mate, Jen!  Small world!!  Duaringa Rest Area is a nice Free Camp and we would have stayed there if it had been later in the day.

Sign DuaringaDuaringa Rest Area

We had researched Bedford Weir on the Net and it had lots of raving reviews so we were quite keen to get there.  It is approx 27kms off the highway all bitumen road although a little bumpy.  On arriving we were approached by a fellow camper who told us that the Caretaker had left and there was no water.  Toilets and showers not working and not even water at the Dump Point. The area look a bit neglected but still not a bad area and it didn’t really worry us as we are self contained.

Site Bedford WeirBedford Weir

Tui (The Bird Man) made another friend.  We think that it is a Peacock but the display of the tail is really lacking.  If anyone can shed light on this we would appreciate it.

Tui's friendTui's Friend 2

Time to leave next morning to head into Emerald.  Oh no work!!  As you approach the town you cross over the “Nogoa River”, an apt name we thought!!

Nogoa River EmeraldWe have set up camp at the Emerald Agricultural Centre where each year the Field Days are held.  Ag-Grow in Emerald is one of the most successful marketing events available to businesses wishing to access the agricultural, mining and associated demographic of Central Western Queensland and beyond. Now recognized as an event of events it has grown to become a social event of the year for the surrounding regions.  Sydnie & Donald, friends we made at “The Park” in MacKay arrived the same day as we did and are camped a few feet away from us.  It is really great to catch up again!
Site EmeraldSydnie unpacking

Tui is carting Cotton and has been on the job 3 days now.  He has been learning all of the different types of trucks and all of the different types of bails.  More about that in the next Blog.

Quite a long Blog this time, seems to have taken ages to write!  We will catch you all again soon!

Until next time “Laugh more, live longer”

 

 

 

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