Caravanning and RVing in Australia

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2009 Trip with Lionel
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Day 21 - June 1

Yatala is famous for its pies so no visit to the district would be complete without sampling at least one delicious pie. This was a steak and mushroom and was very nice.

I completed the meal with a custard tart.



I've been looking for an electronic gas lighter for some time without success. I've got a Bosch one at home and it works a treat. The butane ones from the supermarkets annoy me so today I was wrapt to find this new gadget in the BFC store at the Logan Hyperdrome. Not only is it not butane but its battery recharges by solar so you never need to replace the battery. (Are you listening Murphy?)

It works so well I light the gas more often just for the sheer delight of using it!

Day 22 - June 2

The Brisbane Caravan Show starts tomorrow so today I drove up to the showgrounds to help Barry set up ready for the opening tomorrow. The secutity lady on the gate wasn't going to let me in without a brightly coloured vest - it's a construction site apparently and everybody has to wear a vest. However she relented and let me go to our stand where we had a supply.

From an empty space to a bright attractive stand was a great transformation and by late lunchtime the job was done. It's a drive of about 45km to get there but it's motorway for most of the trip so it's not bad - just a bit boring.

I don't suppose you want to hear about the yummy pasta with cheese sause I made myself for tea so I'll use the KISS principle and shut up - Keep It Simple (or Short) Stupid!

Day 23 - June 3

This was the first day of the show and I left the van with plenty of time to drive the 45km to the venue. As soon as I got on the motorway I realised I'd set Tom to Gregory Terrace the day before and today I needed St Pauls Terrace for the Exhibitors carpark. I couldn't change it while driving so it wasn't until I was in the heart of the CBD that I could re-set the destination. Tom took me to the right street but the wrong end and I got tangled in other streets for a while until I found the right place.

The show was quite busy and we had plenty of cheerful ACC volunteers on our stand which was good and people showed plenty of interest. It gave me time for a bit of a wander and I caught up with quite a few people I know. It was particularly good to meet up with some of the people I was with last year on an ACC tag-along-tour of Western Queensland.

Coming home was another thing. I left the stand at about 5.30 and got tangled in thick traffic. It took ages to get on the Motorway and even then there was congestion. I'll either have to leave earlier or much later to avoid the hastle. It took nearly two hours of after dark travel to get back to the van. I'm getting too old for this kind of nonsense!

Day 24 - June 4

Much the same as yesterday with plenty of visitors to the stand and good cheerful volunteers. Traffic was again a problem - I think Tom takes me home a different way each day!

Day 25 - June 5

This was a day for an early start as I had a neeting to attend at 9am at the show. Surprisingly the Motorway was no worse than off peak and I had a good run.

The meeting was with the Queensland Chamber of Agricultural Show Societies and attended by representatives from various interested Qld .Government Departments and representatives of the four RV groups that make up Motouring Australia. The purpose of the meeting was to facilitate the use of more showgrounds as short term stopovers for RVs.

The rest of the day was business as usual on the Australian Caravan Club stand at the show. The next three days should be easier on the Motorway as it's a long weekend for the Queens Birthday.

Day 26 - June 6

Here's an early morning scene of our Australian Caravan Club's stand at the show with just a couple of our volunteers in the picture.

During the day we were very busy, the weather was bright and sunny and this must have enticed the crowds out because at times it was wall to wall people.

We had lots of volunteers so I took advantage of this to have a bit of a look around and check out some of the new vans.

There are more of what the Americans call 'Toy Haulers' - in other words vans with a drop down tail-gates and space for motorbikes, quadbikes, etc inside and basic living quarters.

This was Saturday night so after the news, I spent the evening watching 'New Tricks', 'The Bill' and 'Foyles War'.

Day 27 & 28 - June 7 & 8

These two days were pretty much the same. Both were part of the Queens Birthday long weekend so traffic was light and the run in and out of town was easy. The crowds at the show were large and both days were busy. Here's a few pics taken from above.

Tomorrow's the last day of the show and I won't be sorry as it's pretty tiring and will be eight days in a row. It's been rewarding though with thousands of our Membership Brochures given out and a lot of interest was shown.

Besides that I met a lot of Caravan World readers who came to say G'day plus quite a few Queensland ACC members.

Working with our volunteers has also been a delight - they have been great.

Today's the last day of easy public holiday driving as well. It's been great but tomorrow everyone will be back at work and the City will be full of traffic.

Day 29 - June 9

Today was pretty quiet at the show and there were just three of us on duty. The show closed at 4pm and it was then organised bedlam with everyone getting their stands dismantled and packed up. Barry and I worked pretty hard for about an hour and were out of there by about 5pm. The weather has been quite good for most of the time although today there was a cool wind blowing.

I've clocked up about 700km driving to and from the show for eight days but motorway driving isn't what I really enjoy although it's good for getting from place to place in a hurry. I far prefer driving through interesting countryside away from cities.

Day 30 - June 10

This was the day Anne and Don  were due back at nightso I took advantage of a free day to do the much overdue washing and to go to the shops to get supplies for tonight's dinner. I did my trademark roast beef and Yorkshire puddings etc and it was appreciated by the travellers who had come from Alice Springs via Adelaide so were pretty tired. A few relaxing glasses of red were consumed and it was a lovely evening. Great to catch up with them as it's a few years since we have been together and such a lot has happened in between.

Day 31 - June 11

The solar charged gas lighter I raved about on Day 21 stopped working and despite leaving it for hours in the sun to charge it still wouldn't work so today I went back to BCF at the Hyperdome and changed it. There was no drama and so far the new one is working. You wouldn't think Murphy would bother with such trivial matters.

I'd had a crook stomach all day due I'm sure to the freezing cold weather so I didn't overeat when we went out to a Mexican Cantina in Beenleigh for dinner. I dragged my duck down doona out from under a seat so at least tonight I'll be warm.

Day 32 - June 12

'Snug as a bug in a rug' - that describes my night under the duck down doona!

First thing this morning we all went into Beenleigh as both Don and I needed to have  fasting blood tests done. It was very good to get back and eat breakfast! We went out to do some shopping in the morning and then in the afternoon i did some work on reports for Sunday night's Board Meeting.

The programme 'Silent Witness' on the ABC must have been highly absorbing - so absorbing that we all went to sleep and missed a great deal of it.

Day 33 - June 13

Today I drove up through Beaudesert and Rathdowney to join the ACC Gold Coast Gadabouts at their muster at Bigriggen camground and it turned out to be a great day with a very friendly group of people. I arrived in time for a cup of coffee and a chat before we all headed for the Rathdowney pub for lunch.

After we got back to camp, 14 of us played a good-humoured game of boules with the 'A Team' winning. With uneven terrain and longish grass in parts it was a quite hilarious.

Meanwhile three ladies had been baking scones in camp ovens and I was appointed judge to see who had made the best ones. This was a difficult task as they were all good but I felt Scones No 3 were the best and gave them first prize of a bag of smarties. I awarded equal second and third so everyone got a little prize and I'll live to judge another day.

Bigriggen is home to a lot of wildlife and there were lots of quite tame possums who came near after dark.

After soup and toasted sandwiches around a lovely fire in great company I was reluctant to set out on the trip home but all good things have to end and I got back to the van at about 9.30pm

A very happy day - thanks to everyone who made me so welcome

Day 34 - June 14

Pretty uneventful day. I was on my own most of the day so took advantage of the laundry and caught up with the washing. It was the ACC Board Meeting at night so I printed out the papers in the afternoon and got ready for the 7pm start.

It was a prductive meeting and we got through all the business before 9.30 - last month it dragged on till 10.30!

Day 35 - June 15

Readers who followed my 2008 Trip are not going to believe this! I locked myself out again. The new doorlock I fitted at Tamworth still has the internal slide down lock and I haven't got around to fitting a self-tapping screw to prevent it locking the door if accidentally in the locked position and the door closed from the outside.

We'd been out to a Rotary meeting and after a couple of ports when we got home I went out to the van to discover I couldn't get in. My friends had gone to their bedroom by the time I'd opened the little window over my bed and found I couldn't get high enough using my own steps. I managed to attract attention inside and my friend came and got a step-ladder for me. She couldn't stop laughhing as I struggled through the window and finally unlocked the door. Tomorrow is self-tapper day!

The day started when I took my friends to the station in their own car as mine is so full of neccessary junk I can hardly get in myself. Then a day sorting and answering mail that had arrived at the PO today before taking their car into the city to pick them up after their doctors appointments. Their GPS was very different to programme than my TomTom but it took me where I wanted to go OK.

The speaker at Rotary had just returned from a trip to the Antarcic and was most interesting with some fabulous slides of the voyage on a Russian Icebreaker.

Day 36 - June 16

I've spent much of the day waiting for my doctor in Mornington to call me back! She gave me a script with no repeats for my new diabetes pills and they have run out. She finally rang and will fax the script but the results of the blood tests I had done on Friday haven't arrived yet so I have to ring the lab tomorrow.

I was duty chef tonight so served up very slow cooked lamb shanks with cheezy mashed spuds and peas. Went down well with a couple of bottles of South African red wine!

Day 37 - June 17

A bit of sight-seeing today as we all went for a trip down past the Gold Coast to Kingscliffe and then Fingal Head.

We indulged in some lovely Thai food at a restaurant at Kingscliffe and then went to view the erosion damage to the beach at the Fingal caravan park where Anne and Don spend their summer holidays. I was struck by stomach cramps and was very grateful when some kind campers lent me the key to the amenities.

Day 38 - June 18

This was the end of my lovely stay with Anne and Don and probably the last time I'll 'camp' on their property as it's on the market and they will move into a high-rise apartment back in town.

I was headed for the Imbil Deer Park for a muster of the Morton Bay Drifters and took the long route via Fernvale, Kilcoy and Maleny. It went past the Wivenhoe and Somerset dams and there was plenty of water this year. It was a very scenic drive with a few very steep climbs but it was better than the more straight forward run up the Highway.

It was almost dark when I arrived at this lovely spacious park so I stayed hooked up and joined in 'Happy Hour'. Then we sat by a fire and yarned while sipping cool drinks. It's a hard life!

Day 39 - June 19

I had a chance to look around the park today and it's very nice with lots of space and trees. There's a creek running through and I'm told there are fish to be caught.

A couple of vans arrived today with the new wheel covers seen here and they will certainly publicize the club.

Happy Hour was great with eveyone introducing themselves and lots of good humour.

I was invited to share a lovely steak and kidney casserole cooked in a camp oven and it was delicious. We ate it sitting around a campfire again and it was a lovely night. RonMcG and I shared reminiscenses of the great tag-along tour we did in western Qld last year.

Day 40 - June 20

It's casserole night tonight so this morning I cooked a Kangaroo Kurry! Should be OK as has lots of veges and coconut cream plus sultanas and has simmered quite a while.

Last night President Ron presented John and Bev with a miniture caravan as the have sold their's for
health reasons. It was a lovely gesture and Ron had even put their old van's number on it plus stickers for the ACC and Touring Oz.

Here are a couple of pics including this one I took to make it look full-size.

They are a pair of ACC stalwarts and started the Wide Bay Branch before transferring to the Moreton Bay Drifters - it's a shame they have been forced to stop caravanning but great that they still attend musters by staying in cabins.

It was supposed to be a sports afternoon but as I'm typing this it has started raining.

Tonights activities will be under cover so we should be OK.

Boules were played in the afternoon when the rain stopped and people dressed in Sherwood Forest attire for the evenings shindig when everyone brought a casserole to share.

Day 41 - June 21

This was the day of the train - The Imbil Rattler - and Ron and Sylvia were kind enough to give me a lift into town for the weekly spectacle! We were quite early so had time to go the the Lokout and then give the market the once over.

As the train arrived so did the rain but it didn't dampen anyone's enthusiasm and the enactment of bushrangers holding up the train was appreciated.

They turned the train around on a turntable and then coupled it to the other end of the carriages for the return trip to Gympie. It poured with rain as this was happening but cleared up to let us make our way to the hotel for lunch.

Day 42 - June 22

I left Imbil in rain and it continued for most of the day. Not a day for taking pictures.

I did 410km before I reached my destination at Calliope River. They have closed the causeway and extended the camping area but it was quite crowded. You could still get to the old campground by using the Old Bruce Highway but as it was only for onew night I didn't bother. I'd had a crook stomach off and on all weekend to after 410km I was feeling pretty tired and went to bed early.

Day 43 - June 23

Today started with quite thick fog so it was slow going and quite a lot of traffic. It cleared before Rockhampton and turned into a warm sunny day - very nice for driving. After doing some shopping in Rocky and having morning coffee at Marlborough I arrived at St Lawrence just after lunchtime. I was still a bit tired so decided to stop anyway and got out the solar panels.

Internet reception is good here so I had a chat with Lazo over in the West. They had been visiting Prince Leonard of Hutt Province so here's a picture of Laz and the Prince!

There are always nice sunsets at St Lawrence but I was nearly too late for this one.

Many, many years ago I wrote up a story for Caravan World of a motorhome called Peg Ray. Here at St Lawrence was Peg Ray 2. Poor Ray and Peg were devastated when their lovely motorhome caught fire on the road recently and they lost nearly everything. They now have a nice Swagman  but are still upset at their loss of the vehicle Ray built about twenty years ago.

Day 43 - June 24

Once again the day started with thick fog but it wasn't too long before the sun broke through. I still had lpg left at Camilla where I filled up - I remember earlier Falcon's couldn't make it and had to swap to petrol for the final few km.

At Mt Pleasant shopping centre in Mackay I followed my doctors adminations and bought a pedometer from a chemist. I decided to put it into action straight away so sat down on a seat near the chemist to fix it up. The instructions said the pack contained a battery, a screwdriver and a cord but none were present. I took it back and got another - this time they checked the contents. When I got back to the seat there were the missing contents on the floor! Yes - I did take them back and apologise. Having fixed up the gadget with its battery I began counting steps - just over 2,000 for the day. Far short of the 10,000 decreed by my stand-over medicine lady! Have to do better tomorrow.

Arriving at Smalleys Beach in the Cape Hillsborough National Park I found that by a lucky fluke there was a vacant site next to my friends Aub and Betty and so I started getting settled after a cup of coffee and a chat. Back when Vi was with me we used to share happy hour with A&B - later today I kept up the tradition. Aub had saved a bottle of Sabote Port I'd given him a few years back and this was a chance to share it. It was a bit sweet but we managed to empty the bottle!

And Murphy? What was he up to? I have hydraulic corner steadies with a pump on the A-frame and little adjusters to control the flow. I loosened them as usual but must have overdone it with one as just as all four jacks were down and I gave it a final pump, suddenly a shower of hydraulic fluid sprayed the front of the van - and me. One adjuster had shot out followed by the fluid and my lovely new vinyl stone protecter will need a shampoo.

I'll be here a while having booked and paid for 21 days. I suggest you come back when I start my travels again to visit the ACC Troppo Trekkers up on the Atherton Tableland. I'll only update during the next three weeks if that travelling companion plays any of his more reprehensible tricks.

Click to go to July