Mossman – January 2015

Welcome to 2015 everyone.  Bit late doing the Blog this month but here goes!  We hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and New Years break and that 2015 will be full of fun, laughter & prosperity!

Christmas celebrations began with Tui’s work Dinner.  Jude went up to Atherton for the night and we had a quiet Dinner at Nicks at Yungaburra. Tui was called up to do a load to Cow Bay the day after he was suppose to finish.  A very narrow windy road for a big truck! As he had to go past the park Jude raced out and got a photo.

Oakdare Christmas DoCow Bay Load

Christmas Day for us was a real fun Day!  11 of us got together on a spare concrete slab at the Park and had our traditional Champagne Breakfast. The day started off with heavy rain so we thought we would have to go to Plan B, but it soon cleared up enabling us to stick to our outside partying.

Christmas rainHei

Gang 1Gang 2

Tui bought Joe (Carolyn & Charlies Dog) a blow up swimming pool which made for a great ice bucket! Bacon, eggs tomatoes etc being cooked by the 3 amigos.  Don’t know who did the cooking and who did the watching!

Joe's poolCooks

As the day wore on it got hotter.  Hei decided Jude needed cooling down! The water bombs came out and it was all on!

Cooling JudeWater bombs

DrownedCarolyn & Charlie

Glove blowing

Not to mention the “Glove Blowing” challenge!! Wonder whose idea that was?

 

 

 

Carolyn & Charlie gave us awesome hand painted mugs, love them. Jude’s has her in the drivers seat and Tui’s has him in the drivers seat. Of course both have Joe on the reverse side.

Jude's cup frontJude's cup back

Desert Boxing Day

All in all a great day!  Of course as usual the Ham, Christmas Pudding, Trifle etc was eaten Boxing Day!

New Years Eve on the other hand was really quiet!  Celebrated mid night NZ time (i.e. 9pm) and not long afterward Jude was off to bed!!

As mentioned in the last Blog, Tui had 2 weeks off, but we never went anywhere as he was focused on getting as much flying in as he could while we are still here.  We did however go up to Julatten to the Highlander Tavern for lunch with Carolyn & Charlie.  Lovely spot, great food & a nice atmosphere.  Julatten is a vibrant rural community situated on the northern end of the Atherton Tablelands approximately 25kms from Mossman.  It has cooler temperatures during hot humid summer months, making sitting outdoors a more pleasant experience than on the coast.

Highlander 1Highlander 3

They are off

With the Sugar Cane season coming to an end it was time to say goodbye to more friends!  Vanessa & Gavin are “on the road again”, at least until next season! The Van Park is getting really quiet!!

 

Jude has finally taken the plunge and been flying with Tui! Too focused on hanging on and didn’t take the camera! Bit scary but good, fantastic views! Thanks to Janine for the aerial photos!

Jude's maiden voyage 2Aerial Port Douglas

Sheraton Mirage Port DouglasPrawn Farm

Aerial view of Port Douglas and the Sheraton Mirage. Approximately 15kms by road from Mossman but just over the hill by air!  Permanent population is approximately 1287, however the population often quadruples with the influx of tourist as it is a popular gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree, Cape Tribulation & Mossman Gorge.

The Prawn Farm, Australia’s northernmost farm, when it was in full swing. With the season over the ponds are now dry and it looks very different. Prawn farming is the largest aquaculture sector in Queensland, followed by Barramundi. Aquaculture was estimated by the Queensland Farmers Federation to be worth about $103 million per annum, about 14 per cent higher than the average over the last five years.

Carolyn is currently in Victoria for a wedding so Saturday night Jude, Tui & Charlie decided to go to the Bowling Club for a few quiet ones!!  Got as far as the Mossman Hotel, very hot, sticky and thirsty so called in for a drink!

Mossman HotelDecision was made to do a Pub crawl and send Carolyn photos of each one!  Next stop “The Post Office Hotel”.  No photo as they all came out blurry!  Then to the “Exchange Hotel”  finally making it to the Bowling Club for drinks and dinner! Where Charlie got told to take his cap off!!

 

 

Exchange HotelBowling Club

As usual, lots of laughs but miss you Carolyn!

Tui is back at work, cleaning out Culverts!  Tiring & dirty work so he was not very enthusiastic! Some nice scenery!

Cleaning CulvertsWork views

Well that is about it for now!

As always “Laugh more, live longer”  See you next Month!!

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Mossman- December 2014

Wow!  The last Month of the year!! The past Month we have said goodbye to a few more friends.  The first to leave were Rob & Dot.

Melborne Cup Draw

They have been in the Park for 4 years and have decided it is time to travel again!  From the comments on Facebook they are enjoying themselves! We gave them a good send off, dinner at the Exchange Hotel.  It was a great night, beautiful food, great company and lots of laughs.  Our Mates Carolyn & Charlie have moved into their little cottage which is giving them the opportunity to do some work on their Motorhome.  They love their Harley!!

BikiesBikies 2

The very next week  Julie, Daryl & Kasey packed up to head south for Christmas, with a few stops on the way. Another farewell party!  Hei & Julie cooked us all a Vietnamese meal under the Tiki Tourer awning.  Yum!!

CookingThe Gang

Unfortunately Tui was working on both occasions. He is still working on the national Parks & Wild Life Roads with an 11 days on 3 days off roster.  Jude usually drives up the middle weekend and stays the night to break it a bit.  The roads are pretty steep and not very wide.  A couple of oops days.

Grader offWater Truck in drain

Bees

 

There was a Bee problem where the boys had to unlock the gate, Tui is allergic to bees so something had to be done

 

 

Oppossum walk ways

 

For you Kiwi’s!! We know you will find this hard to believe but over here they build walk ways for the opossums to cross the road!!

 

 

 

Tui knocks off on Thursday 18th December for 2 weeks with a little more to do after Christmas, then who knows what’s next.

His days off it’s flying every chance he can get.  Now a qualified Mircolight Pilot and can take passengers.

Microlight License 1Microlight License 2

Then it was farewell to Brooke & Paul, also heading south to family for Christmas.  This time a Barbie send off & Tui was home!! Another great night!  Sense a bit of a pattern here we feel!!  LOL!!

Brook & PaulTT Christmas

1st of December arrived and Jude was on a mission to decorate Tiki Tourer for the Christmas spirit. Out came the little old Christmas tree and the Christmas lights for under the awning!

We had our first tropical rain last Saturday, luckily Tui’s days off as we had a major leak in Tiki Tourer!  The drain holes on one of the windows were blocked so in the dark and rain Tui had the torch and hose flushing them out while Jude was inside with the towels mopping up!!

Jude & Carolyn have been having their girlie days every Monday (Carolyn’s day off) with the odd trip to Cairns & Port Douglas.

Guess now is quite a good time to reflect on the last 12 months, in abbreviated form of course! After spending a year in MacKay (some fun times while we were there) we were actually on the road again (January). After only a few days off  slowly making our way to Emerald, Tui was once again in the workforce, carting cotton. It was great having our mates Don & Sydney from “The Park” in MacKay working there too. While there we bought a 2004 Suzuki Vitara from the Gold Coast, going well! During that job we also did a stint in Moree, NSW, leaving Tiki Tourer at Emerald and driving down in the truck, staying at a Motel.

Anniversary 2Unloading Suzi

May saw us back on the road again! Wending our way to Jericoe (free camp by the Jordon River, great spot) where we heard about the Ilfracome Van Park! So glad we stayed there, heaps of fun!

Jerico 3Entrance sign

Longreach, Stockman’s Hall of Fame, worthwhile visit, especially Outbacks Stockman’s Show! Winton, next stop, stayed at the “Long Waterhole” free camp and visited the “Matilda Centre”, Musical Fence, Truck Museum.

Show 1WMC Video

Through to Hughenden, camping at the Showgrounds, $6 a night, and visited Porcupine Gorge.

Porcupine Gorge 3Porcpine Gorge 2

It had been 18months since we had seen out mates, Jock & Annie, so we spent 4 nights at Charters Towers with them.  Always fun!

Charters friendsCharters View

Fletches Creek 1Traveling up the Gregory Developmental Road only 42kms we stayed at Fletcher Creek, free camp.  Also a great spot and the road is greatly improved since the last time we had traveled it.  However we had our first blowout on the trailer. Heading to wards the Atherton Tablelands the next camp was Arthur River Rest Area.  Short drive up the road to Millstream Falls & the quaint town of Ravenshoe. Great place to get tyres!!

Lake Tinaroo 2We absolutely love The Tablelands!  Stayed at the Lakeside Motel & Caravan Park, Yungaburra, right on the edge of Lake Tinnaroo.  Bliss!  Lots of exploring from here.  Too many to mention.   For further info go to the relevant Blog!

 

 

Next camp, 1km north of Mt Molloy, Rifle Creek Rest Area, donation only.  From here we were intending to do the infamous Cape York in the Suzuki, a camping trip.  However we had house battery problems so drove back to Mareeba & stayed at the Mareeba Rodeo Grounds @ $17 a night with power and water to sort it out.

Mt Molloy 2Balloon Landed

The stay here lasted much longer than anticipated, leaving in August, however we achieved a lot and spent a lot.  New house batteries, Bull bar, spot lights & Snorkel for the Suzuki, new cupboard for Jude’s washing machine etc.  Tui worked carting cane up & down the Rex Range for a few months.  Had a surprise visit from Philip & Phillippa, from Christchurch, who we had met 3 years previously at a free camp in WA.  They were over on holiday again, checked out our blog and found us.  Fantastic!!

Installing SnorkelQube Trucks

As he has always loved flying Tui decided to do a Microlight Flight.  End result, hours of lessons and now has his license (see above) & a Microlight!  Hence a move to Mossman to be near the airstrip. The decision on where to stay took a few days to sort out!  Pinnacle Van Park, Wonga Beach, 2 nights.  Nice park but expensive.  It was here that the Suzuki pulled Tiki Tourer out of a bog!  Classic!! back up the range to check out Julatten, no phone service and no room for our big rig.  Back to Mossman to the Riverside Van Park where we still are.

janine1st Happy Hour Janine & Bob

September, Jude did a spur of the moment trip to NZ, surprising her sister.  Cold, wet and got the Flu a couple of days in.  Great to see family but didn’t get a chance to catch up with friends.  Then October Jude’s sister paid us a surprise visit in Mossman, hiring a Motorhome so they could do some exploring. Had some great days with them, however a couple of days in and Tui had another job, his current one, so we couldn’t travel with them.  Buggar! Oh nearly forgot!  Finally got our new awning fitted.  Ordered in June, finally fitted end of September.  Still have side walls to collect.  We have made lots of life long friends everywhere we have been and treasure everyone of them!  Such a good life really!!

Well guess that is about it.  Phew!!  Jude would like to take this opportunity of thanking her loyal customers in her headset business and looks forward to continued business in 2015.  We would also like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas & a prosperous New Year.

Catch ya in 2015!!

Down under

Have fun out there and remember “laugh more, live longer”!!!!

P.S. For those of you who check out our “See where we are” link and have noticed weird tracking, the reason is Tui takes our GPS locator “SPOT” when he goes flying as a safety precaution, if there is a problem we have his GPS co-ordinates.

 

 

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Mossman – November 2014

Another Month has passed us by and what an eventful Month it has been.  We guess some of you will see the heading and say “How can it be eventful when you are in the same place!”  Well guess we had better fill you in then!!

We were all sitting around having happy hour and and this “Maui” Motorhome pulled up right in front of Tiki Tourer.  Jude’s comment was “What are these silly tourist doing?”  Low and behold it was Jude’s sister & brother in law (Janine & Bob)!  They decided on the spur of the moment, as Jude did the previous month with her trip to NZ, to come on over from NZ and surprised us!  What a surprise it was too!

1st Happy Hour Janine & BobIt was great to have them here to join our Australian friends.

A rest day the first day then we decided to take them for a day trip up to Cooktown, doing the Bloomfield track on the way up and taking the inland road on the way back.

Bloomfield TrackThe first stop was Wonga Beach where we had a quick stroll on the beach.

Wonga Beach

 

 

 

 

 

It was then time to cross the Daintree River on the Ferry. No waiting just straight on within a couple of minutes and only about 10mins to cross.  The Daintree Ferry provides access into the Cape Tribulation area. This is accessible by conventional vehicles except during periods of heavy rain. Crossing the Daintree River via a vehicular ferry is an experience not to be missed at a cost of $13 one way and operates from 6am to midnight every day.

Daintree FerryDaintree River

After crossing the Daintree Ferry you travel through lowland and tropical rainforest passing road junctions for Cape Kimberley and Cow Bay. Time for a cuppa at the cafe at Thornton Beach.  Beaut spot!

Cafe on the BeachMorning Tea

Bloomfield track sign1st River crossing

The start of the Bloomfield track! River crossings and picturesque waterways, lovely Beaches & rugged mountains where the Rainforest meets the sea!  Not much water in the crossings this time of year though as we haven’t had any rain. The Bitumen ends at Cape Tribulation.

River crossing 2Bloomfield River

Walu Wugirriga LookoutWujal Wujal

Some of the steeper parts of the track have been concreted with the construction of 2 major bridges.

Bridge ConstructionBloomfiels River Bridge

Woobadda Creek Crossing which is still under construction and the Bloomfield River Bridge at Wujal Wujal which is now complete.  Black Mountain is an amazing site and from a distance it looks as though there has been a bushfire but on closer inspection it is a mass of granite boulders, some the size of houses. The absence of soil between the boulders and rocks create a maze of gaps and passages, which can be used to penetrate inside the mountain. These rocks can become extremely hot. The area has a bad reputation as numerous people and those searching for the missing have disappeared without trace. Black Mountain is approximately 25kms South of Cooktown.

Black MountainLions Den

The famous Lions Den Pub 5kms further on.  A must visit, we decided to have lunch there.

Lions Den Inside Approaching Cooktown

Cooktown is a small town and at the time of the 2011 census, Cooktown had a population of 2,339. However in the peak tourist season this raises dramatically.  Cooktown is at the mouth of the Endeavour River, on Cape York Peninsula where James Cook beached his ship, the Endeavour, for repairs in 1770. Both the town and Mount Cook (431 metres or 1,415 feet) which rises up behind the town were named after James Cook.  It is the northernmost town on the east coast of Australia and was founded on 25 October 1873 as a supply port for the goldfields along the Palmer River. It was called ‘Cook’s Town’ until 1 June 1874.

Musical ShipTui Playing

Of course Tui had to have a play on the Musical Ship. Views from the look out are spectacular.

Cooktown Lookout 1Cooktown Lookout 2

The inland road on the way back, Mulligan Highway, is a good road, but a bit boring after the excitement of the Bloomfield Track.  However we did have some excitement when we were stopped by Police just out of Cooktown as a burn off had jumped the highway.  Janine & Bob’s first Bush Fire!

Bush FireLookout inland road

A big day, leaving at 7.30am and getting back at 6.30pm.  A region that we must visit again as there is so much more to see.  We had only been home a short while when Tui got the dreaded phone call to say that he had to start work the next day, a 6 day stint staying at the Tolga Pub then 3 days off.  A bit disappointing as it meant we couldn’t go Tiki Touring with Janine & Bob.   Tui is working for a company who have the contract to complete maintenance on the National Parks and Wild life roads.  Currently he is working at the back of Lake Tinaroo.  He appears to be enjoying it and his work is varied, driving the Roller, Water Truck, Tipper and using a chainsaw etc.

RollerGrader & Truck

He now works 11 days on and 3 days off & is now staying at the Graham Hotel in Mareeba.  He gets fed extremely well and has lunches provided as well.

Port Douglas lookout

Saturday Jude took Janine & Bob to Port Douglas for a look and a spot of shopping.  Then the next day they too were off in their Motorhome to see the sites of the Tablelands.

Luckily Jude has great friends here that keep her company while Tui is away!

Tui arrived back on his days off with Janine & Bob arriving the next day.  By all accounts they had a great time. It was time for Janine to do a Microlight flight.  Andrew who has been training Tui took her up in the 4 stroke, the u beaut one & she loved it.

Getting readyback to earth

Then we did the Mossman Gorge.  Not much water this time of the year but pretty all the same.  Nestled in the World Heritage Listed Daintree Rainforest, Mossman Gorge contains the oldest, continuously surviving rainforest on earth.  Just one hectare of the 120,000 hectare forest can contain over 30,000 species of plants and animals. An eco-friendly, low emission shuttle bus leaves from the Mossman Gorge Centre to the heart of the Gorge.  Departs every 15 minutes, between 8.00am and 5.15pm daily. Easy walking tracks that cater for all fitness types.  At the Mossman Gorge Centre there is an array of services to help you organise your adventure through the Gorge. Staff at the Visitor are very helpful & friendly. The Cafe offers light snacks and refreshments through to delicious meals or you can just have an ice cream like we did.

Mossman Gorge SignMossman Gorge 3

Mossman Gorge WalkwaysMossman Gorge Bridge 2

Monday wasn’t a good day for Jude.  Tui left at 6am for an 11day stint at work and Janine & Bob left around 9am to get closer to the airport for the flight home.  Great to see them but always sad to say goodbyes!! To ease the 11 days Jude took a trip up to Mareeba & stayed the Saturday night with Tui.  It was great to call in and see friends at the Rodeo grounds & our Mates at Walkamin. Also stopped in at Mt Molloy and took a photo of the Pub at last.  Barbara is now the Bikie chick at the rodeo grounds parking anyone new coming in.  Not many there now!

Mt Molloy PubBarb parking attendant

Melbourne Cup was a fun day, starting with nibbles at lunchtime, sweepstake & Bar-B-Que for tea at Rob & Dot’s.  Of course a bit of Champagne as well!

Melborne Cup DrawMelbourne Cup Day

The Mossman Caravan Park is really starting to empty out and Saturday we lose good friends Dot & Rob then Sunday Julie, Darryl & Casie.  Will sure miss them!!  We now have to make the decision, do we stay here with Tui staying at the Pub so he is close to the Microlight on his days off or do we move Tiki Tourer up to the Tablelands so Tui can be home at nights??

I guess you will have to wait for the next blog to find out!  Until then “Laugh more, live longer!!”

 

 

 

 

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Mossman – October 2014

Well we are not moving far these days are we? Still at Mossman Caravan Park and Tui is now flying solo in his Microlight.  Yep, he has bought one! Maybe modifications on the trailer next!

Caravan ParkCaravan Park 2

Tui’s Microlight license is far more involved than he thought it would be.  Quite a lot of learning and paperwork, but as luck would have it, Jeff, who is camped next door to us is a pilot. Tui chats to him frequently, asking questions!  Good on ya Jeff!

Tui's microlightTui's microlight 3

As Tui was flying everyday Jude decided on the “Spur of the Moment” to visit family in New Zealand, suprising her sister, and what a surprise it was!  The look on her face was priceless!  Funnily enough she had just decided to sell her antique unit and fly to Queensland to surprise Jude.  It would have been funny if they had passed mid flight!

janineJanine & Bob

Jude packed the charger for the camera but she left the camera behind so the photos were taken on her iPhone.  Quality is not as good as normal!  On arriving at her sons place, Ella & Max (Grandies) had made a “Welcome Nana” sign! Cool!

Welcome NanaWith Dad

Although it was great to see the family, it was not a good time of the year to visit!  Rain everyday, cold, windy and after a few days Jude got a bad case of the Flu, which put a bit of a damper on things.  Still managed to plant lettuces, go to the park etc.

Planting LettucesAt the park

The second weekend Janine & Bob (sister & brother-in-law) took Jude in their Motorhome to Sandra’s (niece) in Matamata.  Stayed a couple of nights and caught up with Lesley, Darryl & boys, having a pot luck tea on the Saturday night.  Yum! Home killed mutton ( called lamb in Aussie) & real Kumera’s (NZ sweet potato)!!! It was so cool to see them!! Check out Jude’s bedroom with the fire!

My Bedroom Sandra'sIt was then back up to Pukekohe to stay for the last few days.  A real big surprise as Jude’s brother & sister-in-law (John & Jan) traveled down in their Motorhome and stayed a couple of nights to catch up!  Jude was most impressed!  Lovely to see you guys and very honoured you made the 5hr trip!

Jude really missed Tui and there were quite a few phone calls back & forth!

Talking to Poppa Tui

 

The last night we all converged on Brian & Trish’s (nephew & niece) for a Pot Luck Tea, it was also Janine & Bob’s anniversary.

Anniversary

 

 

 

Farewell Dinner

 

Jude was very spoilt, getting a lovely photo album from the kids, Kiwiana tea towels from Lesley, top from Sandra & a Motorhome charm from Janine!  Not too good flying back with the Flu, with a stop over in Brisbane, Jude had 2 landings to cope with!  It felt like her head was going to explode! Perhaps Perth next time to visit family & friends there!

Jude arrived back in Mossman to 30+ degrees, a huge change from the temperatures in NZ, with a low of 3 one day. Friday night it was off to the Exchange Hotel for tea with mates Carolyn & Charlie (surname of Toohey, would you believe?).  It was Karaoke night in the bar so Charlie, Carolyn & Tui got up to sing!  Jude was photographer but unfortunately the photos were a bit blurry on Tui’s iPhone!

Exchange Hotel

Thanks Tourism Australia for the Photo.

Kareoke 4

The Exchange Hotel, is the second timber hotel to stand on the prominent site at the corner of Front and Mill streets in Mossman, a sugar town located about 75 km north of Cairns. Built in 1934-35 to replace the first Exchange Hotel (c1896), which was badly damaged in a March 1934 cyclone, the second Exchange Hotel was designed to appeal to a tourist clientele.  Great food too!

Sunday night a whole group of us went to the Bowls Club for tea.  Wow!  2 nights out in one week!!  Food is great and cheap there too.

Mossman Bowls ClubBowls Club

Tui had a phone call while Jude was in NZ to say the new awning was ready AT LAST!  Wednesday we headed back up to Mareeba to have it fitted.  Bit disappointed as it isn’t anywhere near as solid as our old one & the side walls still aren’t done! Better colour though!!  We caught up with friends at The Mareeba Rodeo Grounds, staying there 2 nights.

Out with the oldThe new

Last Saturday it was “help Charlie put his air con in day!” While Carolyn was at work and the boys were doing the air con, Jude looked after our mate Joe (the dog).  He seems to have made our place his 2nd home.  Guess it helps that Tui gives him treats!

JoeUp she goes

Charlie & Carolyn asked us to join them on Sunday for lunch at “The Tin Shed” in Port Douglas.  Great day, great company, lots of laughs & great food!! Could really get used to this!

That's betterCarolyn Salad

We were entertained by a Kiwi couple and had a good chat to them during their break.  Great music which really added to the atmosphere!

The singersView Tin Shed

Time for a Charlie Tiki Tour, visiting a pirate ship and an old Bomb site.

Pirate shipBomb site

On the 31 July 1942 a lone Japanese aircraft dropped a total of eight bombs over the Mossman area. One exploded in a cane field about 50 metres behind the site of the memorial, causing damage to the Zuilo family farmhouse and injuring two-year-old Carmel.

Last night, in perfect weather and clear skies,  we witnessed the total lunar eclipse. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth is perfectly aligned between the moon and the sun, with the moon hiding behind Earth in its unbra. Lunar eclipses aren’t especially rare — definitely not as rare as solar eclipses — and there are four total eclipses happening in the next 16 months, in what astronomers refer to as a tetrad. It was quite cool!

Moon 5Girls watching moon

Well, that’s about all this month.  We hope everyone is fit & well and enjoying life!

Until next time “Laugh more, live longer!”

 

 

 

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Mossman – September 2014

Yep, we have left Mareeba after 3 months and are now at the Mossman Caravan Park, which is nearer the coast, approximately an hour north of Cairns. Nice friendly place and we are enjoying it here.

Jude has had her birthday since the last blog.  A group of us from Mareeba went to the Tolga Pub for lunch.  Then there was a surprise knock on the door that night with a chorus of friends singing happy birthday, cake and all in toe.  A great day.

Jude's Birthday LunchJude's Birthday cake

The Bledisloe Cup was a good excuse to have 2 great Saturday nights.  The 1st week we set up the Pizza Oven and cooked & cooked Pizza’s along with setting up the big screen.  Pretty stressful as it was the first time Jude had cooked so many in one night.  Arn who is an ex baker made all the bases and man were they beaut bases!! Too busy to take photos but thanks to Gaye we managed to get some off facebook.

Pizza basesPizza Night

The following Saturday was a bit more of a challenge with the screen as it was still daylight when the game started however we managed to see the 2nd half.  Dinner was heaps easier.  Once again we got the Pizza oven going but instead of cooking Pizza’s Jude cooked Roast Beef, Roast Pork & Roast Lamb.  This was served with gravy, fresh buns and salad ingredients to make Hot Roast Rolls.  Yum!  Sorry no photos this time.

We spent a day with friends helping to install a Solar Water System.  Jude also spent a morning at the Yungaburra Markets, finding a Poncho that Tui has always wanted.  Just need some cold weather to wear it!

Solar InstallationTui's Poncho

It was then time to leave Mareeba.  Tui is right into doing his Microlight Pilots License so the decision was made to move closer.  We did have a contact to stay on a farm for $80 a week, however it didn’t work out.  Headed down the Kuranda Range and along the coast to Mossman for a secenic drive, stopping for a lunch break along the way with Jude whipping up a Bacon & Egg Pie. Then stopped to watch the Hang gliders in action.

Lunch BreakHanggliders

We decided to stay at the Pinnacle Van Park, 20kms North of Mossman.  They omitted to tell us that there was a soft spot and as Tui went to drive around a big loop to get into our spot, Tiki Tourer sank!  It was obvious that she wasn’t going to get out on her own so off the trailer came Suzuki.  Jude drove Suzi in the front of Tiki Tourer, Tui hooked up the trusty tow rope and with a bit of gentle persuasion she was on the move again.  First time we have had Tiki Tourer bogged!!

TT Tyre MarksPinnacle Van Park

It is a beautiful Park and right on the beach, but a wee bit expensive so we only stayed for 2 nights!

Pinnacle Van Park 2 Pinnacle Van Park 3

Checked out Caravan Parks at Port Douglas, way to expensive! A nice lunch at Hoggs Breath at the Marina.

Port Douglas marinaPort Douglas

Back up the Rex Range we went to see if we could get a spot at Julatten. No phone coverage and no spots big enough for us.  Bummer! As we were at the top of the range we opted to stay at Rifle Creek free camp at Mt Molloy for the night and reassess the next step.

Rifle Creek Mt MolloyMicrolight coming into land

Back down the range and finally decided on The Mossman Caravan Park. We have been here just over a week and although Tui has been flying nearly everyday we have had quite a few joint Happy Hours and a joint Bar-B- Que.  A few Kiwi’s here and a friendly bunch. As usual we have no idea how long we will be here and we are still waiting for the new awning!!

Well that’s about it for now!

Until next time “Laugh more, live longer”

 

 

 

 

 

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Mareeba – August 2014

Quite a lot has happened in the last month!  First of all we had the Rodeo!  What an extravaganza that was.  The grounds were full of Motorhomes, Caravans, Tents, side shows, rides and of course the fan fare of the Rodeo. The weekend kicked off with a parade up the main street.  As Tui was working, Jude went into town for dinner with friends from the Park prior to the parade.

Rodeo DinerRodeo Parade

 

Rodeo CampingRodeo Sideshow alley

Rodeo Extreme RideCowboy Tui

Tui dressed up for the occasion!  Quite an experience as it’s the 1st Rodeo we had been to in Australia.  Sunday night everything was packed up and we were back to normal.

Jude has been on a couple of outings, including Yungaburra & Tolga markets, a trip to the Strawberry Farm (yum!) and to the Icecreamery where they make their own ice cream. Jude’s mate Sandra below.

IcecreamerySandra

Tui has a dream to become a Microlight Pilot!  Off we went down to Port Douglas for his 1st flight & he loved it. The aim now is to get his license and buy one!!

Microlight Shed instructionMicrolight airborne

Microlight set for takeoffMicrolight touch down

After the flight we decided to go for a drive further north, calling in on Newell Beach, Wonga Beach & the Daintree Village.

Wonga BeachWonga Beach 2

Pub lunch at the Daintree Pub at 3pm before heading back.

Daintree RiverDaintree Village

LilRobOur mates Lill & Rob (Kiwi’s) regularly sing without pay at the Bull Bar.  Pretty good too!

 

 

 

 

 

We had a lovely surprise a couple of days ago!  Phillip & Phillippa, a couple from Christchurch, who we met at Mary Pool free camp in Western Australia in August 2011, were over on holiday, staying at Trinity Beach. They checked our Blog to find out where we were and called in for a cuppa!  It was fantastic to see them and we were extremely honored that they took the trouble to seek us out.

Phil & Phillippa Visit

Now the plan was to move to Mossman as the depot at Mareeba was closing down and we had found a farm to camp on for $80 a week.  This is only a couple of kms away from where Tui was to have his flying lessons. As most of you know our plans tend to change and Tui had a bit of a mishap at work. While shifting trucks around in the Mossman yard, which was absolute chaos because of the amount of trucks moved there, he clipped a carriage with his wing mirror. Apparently the door had been previously damaged and the wing mirror tightened so much that it didn’t spring back and the top of the door peeled off.

Door mishapThe result being no more job!!  Several people stood up for him saying he was one of the best drivers and that he shouldn’t get the sack as it really wasn’t his fault but that didn’t change the mind of the decision maker!  To top it off, Jude hurt her back but with the help of Nurofen & Horse Gel it is coming right.  Lots of ribbing though!!

 

We had an awesome joint meal last night, about 20 of us, around the fire!  Sandra & Nev  and Myree & Darryl, who have been here for quite a few months, left today.  A very sad camp as they had made lots of close friends.  Jude will really miss Sandra!  Sorry no photos!

What now?  Who knows!!  Tui will have a bit of a break and as we are still waiting on our new awning we will stay here until that is done, probably a couple more weeks.  We will keep you all posted!!

Until then “Laugh more, live longer!”

 

 

 

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Mareeba – July 2014

Wow! A bit slack in doing another Blog!  We are now the middle of July and the holiday is well and truely over! Tui has been working for just over 3 weeks now.  He is driving for “Qube” carting Cane from Mareeba to Mosman in a B Double.  For those of you who don’t know, a B- Double is a BIG Truck.  LOL! He has to drive up and down the Rex Range, which is fairly narrow with some tight corners.  Not long straight roads, like we have seen heaps of here, but more like NZ conditions.

Qube TrucksQube Trucks 3

His shifts are taking a little getting used to, 3.30 to 3.30, 6 nights, 3 days off then 6 days.   As they are short of drivers he has also been working his middle day off.  Now what else have we been up to!  We had planned to do “Cape York”, however while at Mt Molloy free camp we had issues with our batteries so decided to sort it all out while at the Mareeba Rodeo Grounds.  A great place to stay, powered site $17 a night and we have met some terrific people here.

Bull BarRodeo Grounds

Lots of Kangaroos right behind where we are parked.

Kangaroo 1Kangaroo 2

After 3 days of extensive checking of wiring throughout Tiki Tourer we discovered that our batteries, which were only 18 months old, were buggard! $1200 later, problem solved.  This time Tui has bought better quality batteries with a 3 year warranty.  Fingers crossed we won’t have anymore problems! There were a few reasons why we made the decision not to do the Cape this year.  Firstly we had unseasonal rain, not good for driving on those roads and through the river crossings.  The caravan below only got 60kms and had to turn back.

Result of the CapeRodeo Grounds site 1

Secondly, we still hadn’t replaced our tent that had been wrecked in a storm when we were at Bindi Bindi and we had nothing to sleep on as Tui had sold our stretchers after Steep Point.  We spied a couple parked a few sites along from us that had just returned from the Cape and were drying their camping gear out so Jude approached them to see if they were interested in selling.  The result – we now have a tent, stretchers, self inflating mattresses and a ground sheet ready for when we do go camping!

While Jude was waiting for her new washing machine to arrive (the old one wore out) she met Lil, another Kiwi, in the Laundry!  Her husband Rob & daughter Rebecca had just started with Qube.  She said they were looking for Drivers and told her who to contact etc. This job was something Tui had wanted to do, so we thought it would be a good opportunity to get those extra jobs done with the money he would earn.

Mareeba is a good base as we have found some good deals and have been able to get most of what we want here.  If anything is not available locally we are only a short distance away from Cairns. We have even found a good company to replace our awning that was damaged in Emerald.  Just waiting on the Insurance Company to give the OK. Yipee, goodbye ugly brown & orange awning!  Watch for photos in the next Blog!

Tui has been a busy boy!  He has done a lot of work on the Suzuki.  He says “It’s not a town car anymore, but a true blue outback 4 x 4!  The philosophy being if he can’t have a big 4 x 4 (won’t fit on the trailer)  the next best thing is to have the bells & whistles on Suzuki.  We now have LED lights inside the Suzuki awning, a Bull Bar, he has modified the roof rack cage, installed spot lights and installed a snorkel.

Roof cage modNew Bull bar

New SpotsInstalling Snorkel

Happy Hour DedicationSnorkel

A dedicated group of campers here have Happy Hour around a fire every day, even when it is raining! Most of them are volunteers that keep the grounds running smoothly and assist when the Rodeo is on.  Great people and we join them frequently.

Mt Uncles 2

Another couple we have made friends with are Greg & Marg Mann.  They are from Pemberton in WA but have sold up and are wanting to settle in this area.  We went out to Mt Uncles Distillery one morning for coffee with them.  Tui was on Night shift that day so no tastings, but the coffee was great and it is  beaut spot.

 

Mt Uncles distilleryMt Uncles 3

Ballooning is popular here and most mornings we can clearly see them overhead, with one landing a few metres away from Tiki Tourer. On standby, the campers can fly in one for only $50.  Great deal!

Balloon coming inBalloon Landed

Another purchase Tui has made is a cupboard for my washing machine.  It is great, holds all my laundry detergent etc. as well.  He has mounted it on the trailer above the Motorbike.

Washing Machine CupboardCupbard Installed

On the 28th June it was our mate Annie’s 60th Birthday party in Cairns.  Unfortunately Tui was working so Jude headed down on her own and stayed the night at the Clearwater Caravan Park in a cabin where Jock & Annie had their Bus parked. Nice spot!

Jude's unitJock & Annie's camp

The party was at Yorkeys Knob Boating club 15 minutes north of Cairns and not far from where we were staying.  The multi-million dollar marina club house was completed in October 1995 and is built out over the water with the largest shade sail in the north covering the deck and alfresco dining facilities. Very nice, weather was fantastic!  Annie provided finger food, which there was plenty of, and we bought our own drinks.

Yorkies Knob 1The party 5

Next morning Annie & Jude took a look at the fish, turtles & eels in the stream at the Caravan Park before heading into Cairns.

Turtle at CPEel at CP

We had a great day meeting up with our friend Renate for lunch at the Pier.  Another beautiful view and fantastic food at “Tha Fish”.

Cairns PierTha Fish

Photos recovered by Cairns locals and The Cairns Post newspaper reveal that the esplanade was once a sandy beach, similar to Cairns Northern beaches such as Machans Beach and Holloways Beach. It is believed that the dredging of the Grafton Channel for shipping resulted in mud completely covering the sandy beach because the sediment gathered during the dredging process was dumped offshore and promptly swept back in to silt the inlet and cover the esplanade beach with mud.

This infusion of mud has been great for the mangrove ecosystem, but not great for tourists who would rather see a sandy beach than a muddy tidal swamp. A 4800 sq metre saltwater swimming lagoon offers locals and tourists year round safe swimming. Saltwater is pumped from the inlet and filtered through a state of the art filtration and chlorination system, to meet Australian Standards. It has sandy edges, for children to build sand castles and play in shallow water. On the other side of the Lagoon, visitors can lounge on the timber decks in moderate shade. Shady trees, landscaped gardens and open spaces all contribute to the leisurely atmosphere.

Cairns LagoonCairns Lagoon 2

Courthouse Pub Cairns

 

The old Cairns courthouse which was built in 1921 and first used in 1922 was renovated as a Hotel in 1998. It is a beautiful building.

renovated as a hotel in 1998
renovated as a hotel in 1998
renovated as a hotel in 1998
renovated as a hotel in 1998

 

 

Back up to Mareeba where they were gearing up for the annual rodeo.  More about that in the next blog!  Until then “Laugh more, live longer”.

 

 

 

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Mareeba – June 2014

Yep we are still in the Tablelands!  So much to see and do here! Saturday, Lake Tinaroo put on lovely weather for us so the Kayaks finally came off the trailer.  Renate, a friend of our Mates Jock & Annie, lives at Yungaburra, and is a keen Kayaker & rower.  She took us on a guided trip on the Lake and up one of it’s steams. Fabulous few hours.

Kayaking Day 1Kayaking Day 2

Her friend Emelliah also came along.  These two ladies are no spring chickens but they are a bundle of energy and loads of fun.  Emelliah has a little sporty number and took Jude for a spin!  Next day it was off in the Suzuki to check out the waterfalls in the area.  We didn’t do everyone but first stop was the Malanda Falls.

Amelia's CarMalanda Falls

Then onto Millaa Millaa falls.  The falls cascade perfectly to a pristine waterhole below where you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the cool water. It was rather cool the day we were there but there were still mad people having a quick dip!  Millaa Millaa Falls are one of the most photographed in all of Australia.

Swimming Millaa MillaaMillaa Millaa Falls 2

Continuing around the waterfalls Circuit, on the Theresa Creek Road, we stopped at Zillie and Ellinjaa Falls.  This area reminds us a lot of NZ with the lush green grass and roads that actually have corners!

Theresa Creek RoadZillie Falls

It was then time to stop and have a bite to eat for lunch.  We drove into the little township of Millaa Millaa. The industry is predominantly dairy and beef fattening with tourism steadily increasing.

Millaa Millaa 2Millaa Millaa

Continuing around our circuit we took in the awesome views of Millaa Millaa from McHugh Lookout. At 1070m it is the most spectacular lookout in the Tablelands.  It was a bit cloudy so we couldn’t pick out all the sights that we had read about.

Millaa Millaa LookoutMillaa Millaa Lookout 2

Heading back up to Atherton is the Mount Hypipamee Crater, also known simply as “The Crater”. It is 61 metres in diameter and 82 metres deep.  The name Hypipamee is a corruption of the Aboriginal word, nabbanabbamee, which is connected with a legend of two young men who cut down a sacred candelnut tree, only to be swallowed up by a large hole in the earth, the crater.  Dinner Falls at the head of the upper Barron River gorge is also part of this park.

The CraterDinner Falls 2

Well that was our waterfall day, a big one!!  Our next Tiki Tour in Suzki we decided to do another loop.  This time we headed north, down the Rex Range to Mosman, along the coast taking in Port Douglas and Palm Cove and back up the Kuranda Range.  Another big day and it was dark by the time we got back.

Although we didn’t do the Mosman Gorge, we went to the information centre and checked it out for another time.  They run a continual mini bus service up the Gorge for $8 per person and you can stay for however long you wish.  A must do another time!  We also checked out the Mosman Caravan Park in case Tui manages to get work in the area.  Their rates have just gone up to $219 a week. More awesome views from Lyons Lookout on the Rex Range.  During the drive along the coast from Mosman to Port Douglas we spotted a Cruise ship.  Now that would be nice!!

Lyons LookoutCruise ship

Coast DriveArriving in Port Douglas around 3pm we were well and truly ready for lunch and Tui spotted a quaint bar where we had a burger & chips!  Yum!  The town’s population can often double with the influx of tourists during the peak tourism season May–September, however it appeared pretty quiet when we were there.

 

Iron Bar 1Iron Bar 2

There are numerous Resorts along the Four Mile Beach and we took in the views from the lookout and drove by the Marina.

Port Doulas LookoutPort Douglas Marina

Palm Cove is another place that is popular with tourists due to its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. Palm Cove is the location of many world renowned resorts and hotels and has gained national recognition with recently being named Australia’s Cleanest Beach.

Palm CoveKuranda Range

Back up the Kuranda Range.  Missed Kuranda as it was too late but that is another day trip!!  A rest and pack up day followed.  We had initially booked for 1 week at Lake Tinaroo but ended up staying a week and 1/2.  The weather was still windy, drizzly and cool so we decided to move on.  A couple of photos of the bird life there below:

LT Bird lifeDuck & Ducklings

We had intended to drive on up to Lakeland, the beginning of Cape York, however we ended up stopping at the Rest Area 1km north of Mt Molloy, a really nice spot.  Stayed 2 nights.  Met Sue & Boyd who informed us that there was a fund raiser at the Pub for the fireries, $10 a head, so we walked up and had a lovely meal and a great night, with Jude hanging onto Tui’s belt on the way home!  Not too much to drink just dark and he had the torch!!

Mt Molloy 2Mt Molloy 1

Called into the Information Centre in Mareeba on the way and they have a spectacular museum, donation only. It includes the main Heritage Centre building plus extensive outbuildings and artifacts on a site situated on over an acre. In line with the museum’s collection policy, all artifacts are from the Mareeba district and have direct relevance to local industries and stories.  The majority of exhibits have some interactive components, and many of them can be handled and used, such as in the working Schoolroom, the Telephone party line and the Dairy Shed.

The museum exhibits are displayed as a timeline with key themes covering: Aboriginal History, Early Settlement, Early Explorers, WW1, Health, Education, Transport and local industries including the Tobacco Industry which ceased in 2004.  We spent quite some time there.

Museum Mareeba 3Museum Mareeba 2

Museum MareebaBull Mareeba

Good timing arriving at the Rodeo Grounds!  During the peak season they do a sausage sizzle every Tuesday night, at $2 a roll.  No cooking again for Jude!!  Well guys that brings us up to date at last.

Watch for more adventures next blog! Until then “Laugh more, live longer!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Atherton Tablelands – May 2014

After leaving our good Mates, Jock & Annie, in Charters Towers we headed for Fletcher Creek Free Camp which was only 42kms North.  Turned the corner and thought WOW Caravan City.  However there was plenty of space once we got in there.  Good spot.

Fletches Creek 1Fletches Creek 2

The Gregory Developmental Road has greatly improved since we last traveled it and there are only a few places that are single lane bitumen now.  We missed the turn onto Kennedy Developmental Road so had to do a fairly tight turn a round.  Just drove a little further and had our 1st blowout on the trailer.  “Murphys Law” no where to pull over and Tui shuddered as he watched in the rear mirror the rubber peeling off.  The blowout bent the guard and as Tui was straightening it the bracket broke.  Just as well all necessary tools are on board!!

Blowout 1Bracket

We called in to Innot Hot Springs and were going to camp for the night, however, as there was a free camp 10kms up the road we decided that the $30+ a night would be better spent further up.  Cute place though.

Innot Hot Springs 1Innot Hot Springs 2

The hot water which bubbled out of Nettle Creek at up to 75 degrees Celsius was bottled and shipped to Europe as a health treatment over 100 years ago.  The Innot Hot Springs Leisure & Health Park has six public pools, or, you can simply dig your own hole in the river sand of the creek bed!

Our camp for the night was Archer River Rest area.  Although fairly close to the road the traffic noise was not a problem.  It is mostly grass surface and plenty of room for Big Rigs. There is a lovely quiet spot with Picnic table by the river.  Sorry no photos! A couple of kms up the road is Millstream Falls, reputedly the widest single-drop waterfall in Australia, a worthwhile visit!

Millstrem falls 2Millstream Falls 1

Only another couple of Kms and we were in the quaint little town of Ravenshoe. Everyone was so friendly we spent a few hours here.  We were going to wait until Atherton to get our trailer tyre fixed but were told by the locals that “Tyreright” would give us a better deal. Great company and we ended up purchasing 3 tyres. We can also highly recommend the Bakery, great pies!!  At 930 metres (3,050 ft) above sea level, Ravenshoe is the highest town in Queensland, with Queensland’s highest pub, and highest railway station.  The locals also directed us through a back road so that we missed yet another lot of road works (they are everywhere up here)!

RavenshoeRavenshoe 2

On to Atherton and out to Lake Tinaroo, Yungaburra.  This is our 3rd attempt, during our travels, to get to Lake Tinaroo and we are not disappointed! We are staying at the Lakeside Motel & Caravan Park, recommended by our friends Topsy & Arie, good rates and Amanda is lovely.  This is our base to explore the Tablelands further.

Lake Tinaroo 1Lake Tinaroo 2

The first day we had low cloud, drizzle and it was quite cool.  Tui dragged out his NZ weather clothes! The decision was made to drive around the lake, the majority of which was gravel (one dirty Suzuki!)  All in all a good day though.

Tinaroo Dam 1Tinaroo Dam 2

Tinaroo Dam, is a man-made reservoir. It was constructed between 1953 and 1958 on the Barron River close to Lake Barrine and Lake Eacham.  The dam wall is 45.1 metres high and traps enough water to create a lake 3/4 the size of Sydney harbour.  Apparently it was very low until recent rain so we are pleased we didn’t get here a few weeks earlier.

On our drive we passed Lake Euramoo, which is a shallow dumbbell-shaped volcanic crater lake, formed about 10,000 years ago by two massive explosions from groundwater superheating.

Lake Euramoo 2Lake Euramoo 1

On our last visit to the tablelands we visited the Curtain Fig tree, on this trip it was the Cathedral Fig Tree.  They are amazing trees, a gigantic 500 year old strangler tree and has the reputation of being the best place to hear an early morning bird ‘singing’.  The photos don’t really do it justice.

Cathedral Fig treeCathedral Fig tree 2

We were told at the information centre that Lake Barrine Tea House makes awesome scones so we called in for Devonshire Teas for a late lunch.  A new batch had just gone in the oven so you couldn’t get much fresher than that and they were yummy!  We still like our Mate, Sydnie’s, cheese scones better!!

Lake Barrine 1Lake Barrine 2

Also at Lake Barrine are the Rain Forest Giants. Twin Rough Barked Kauri Pines. These giant trees are estimated to be about 1,000 years old and are considered one of the earliest known species of rainforest tree.  ‘Kauri Pine’ is the common name derived from the Maori name of the related New Zealand Kauri species

Rainforest Giants 1Rainforest Giants 2

It was time to check out Atherton and also purchase some wine & beer. After a spot of window shopping we stopped at the Chrystal Caves, one of Australia’s most spectacular private mineralogical collection with over 600 specimens such as Crystals, Gemstones and Fossils on display! For over four decades the founder and owner René Boissevain has had a passion to collect these spectacular treasures from all over the world, and bring them together.

Chrystal Caves 1Chrystal caves 2

As the publish button was clicked on by mistake perhaps it is time to finish this blog off and update you all further in our next blog (and we thought this one would bring you all up to date!!)

Until then “Laugh more, live longer!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Winton to Charters Towers – May 2014

Well continuing on from our last blog, we headed to Winton after leaving Longreach, 177 kilometres northwest.  Winton has a rich history as the birthplace of Waltzing Matilda and QANTAS and links to the Great Shearers’ Strike of 1891, but is just as well known today for something far more ancient…DINOSAURS! The Corfield & Fitzmaurice Heritage Listed
Building is one of Australia’s most perfectly preserved old style general stores. You can purchase a ticket to see the life-size diorama of the 95 million year old Dinosaur
Stampede at Lark Quarry Conservation Park (sorry can’t give our opinion as we opted to spend more time at the Waltzing Matilda Centre instead).

WintonWaltzing Matilda Centre

This is a worthwhile visit!  You can sit on a stump by the waters edge, in the ‘Billabong
Theatrette’ where the ghost tells his side of the story of Waltzing Matilda. Interactive displays interpret the song, history and what it is to be Australian.

WMC VideoWMC Hollogram

Incorporated in the Centre is also a great Museum & Art Gallery.

WMC EngineWMC inside Train

We opted to stay 4kms just outside Winton at the “Long Waterhole”, free camp.  There are no facilities here so you need to be self sufficient but it is peaceful and quiet. The track we took was quite rough but whilst walking the next morning we discovered campsites with easier access.

The Long WaterholeTLW TT

Next morning we visited Arno’s Wall, a modern wonder of art and architecture, Arno Grotjahn’s wall contains almost every household item you can imagine and more. The walls reach two metres high and extend for at least 70 metres. They are constructed of concrete and rock brought from Arno’s opal mine at Opalton and studded with rusted lawnmower parts, boat propellers, vintage typewriters and sewing machines and even a couple of complete motorbikes.

Arno's wall 1Arno's wall 2

It was then onto the Musical Fence!  The kids would have a ball here! The Musical Fence, designed by percussionist and composer Graeme Leak, is a wire fence that can be played as a musical instrument and it is the first Permanent musical fence installation in the world. There is also a full set of drums made of old cans etc.  We decided to give it a shot but decided not to give up our day jobs!

Tui Musical FenceJude Musical Fence

The Musical Fence is situated behind the Diamantina Heritage Truck and Machinery Museum on the road to Hughenden.  Only $5 entry and Tui loved it while Jude chatted and got some good info on other places to visit.

Truck Museum 1Truck Museum 2

Now although the road from Winton to Hughenden is all Bitumen, it is really rough and man there is a lot of nothing to see!  Unfortunately the Suzi came a little lose and moved forward on the trailer, resulting in the foot pedal of the Bike making a nice little dent in the bumper and number plate!  Bummer!!

We decided to camp at Hughenden in the Showgrounds car park and do some Tiki Touring in the Suzi.  A $6 permit is purchased at the Information Centre. After visiting the “Waltzing Matilda Centre”, we wondered what a real Coolabah tree looked like and just across the road from our camp was a commemorative one that currently undergoing treatment.

Hughenden CampCooliba Tree

Porcupine Gorge was quite spectacular. The gorge lookout is about 60 kilometres north of Hughenden and The Pyramid campground and gorge walk are another 11 kilometres further north, good road and Bitumen.

Porcupine Gorge 1Porcpine Gorge 2

The steep 1.1km walk down into the Gorge didn’t seem too bad but Jude had to have a couple of rests on the way up! Not the best of photos but nearing the top!!

Porcupine Gorge 3Porcupine Gorge 4

Hughenden 1

The Flinders Shire is divided by the Flinders Highway – now known as the popular tourist drive ‘Overlander’s Way’. It was also part of a Great Inland Sea and is the centre of Dinosaur Country – home to many fossils including the great Muttaburrasaurus and the Queensland Pterosaur.

On the road from Hughenden to Charters Towers you pass through a little place named Praire.  We have since spoken to people who have said it’s a great place to camp.  Camping is available behind the Pub.  The township has a history as an old Cobb and Co depot and is serviced by a cafe/post office and an authentic Aussie Pub.

Praire HotelPraire Hotel 2

It was then a straight run through to Charters Towers to see our mates Jock & Annie.  18 months between drinks!  Great to see them again.  We spent 4 nights with them then on the last day decided to get fish & chips for lunch and head up to the lookout.  We have been to Charters Towers 3 times but have never been to the lookout.  Great views and we spent some time trying to identify landmarks.

Charters ViewCharters friends

Didn’t leave until late afternoon and by the time we fueled Tiki Tourer, filled with water and dumped our black tank it was getting quite late so stopped at the nearest free camp but more about that in our next Blog.  Until then, “Laugh more, live longer”!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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