Saturday, July 24, 2010

Greensborough, Vic

Hi Everyone,
As you can see we are safely home and toasting our toes in front of the fire. The weather is a bit chilly to what we have been used to but it is lovely to be home.
We last left you at Roma from which we thought we would have an easy drive to Lightning Ridge and the chance to look for some opals to add to my stash. Not to be. I don't know why things happen when I am driving but they seem to. We were still travelling the Great Inland Way, in other words the back roads of Queensland, which at times where a bit challenging, when I hit a cattle grid a bit hard. Another loomed up in the distance so I slowed right down thinking this one may be a bid rugged as well, and I was right, only this time even with me being careful there was a bang and smoke started pouring off the right hand trailer tyre. I thought the tyre had blown out but nothing so easy - the centre bolt on the spring had sheered, the axle had moved back and the tyre was rubbing on the guard. To cut a long story short after great improvisation Rex had realigned spring, found a bolt on the camper which would work as a centre bolt, reassembled and we were ready to continue our journey. I was impressed by the number of travellers that stopped and offered assistance. Rex now driving we arrived in Lightning Ridge in time to follow the Red Car Door Trail. Old car doors are painted different colours which lead you around the different sights of the town. The Red Car doors wound us through the opal fields, past Amigo's Castle, Astronomers Folly and then onto a collection of curiosities in a type of museum. Again there was hot springs in the area which we visited but we didn't join the locals and tourists who were soaking but went looking for something to eat after a challenging day. Moving south the next day to Dubbo there was a noticeable chill in the air. We were thinking of visiting the Western Plains Zoo but decided against it as by the time we arrived it was middle afternoon and the cost was $60.00. We had visited before when we were friends of the zoo and it hadn't cost us anything (spoilt) Overnight the frost came down resulting in an outside temperature of 1 degree which decided us to travel the last 8oo km home.
A great trip with many wonderful memories of places and people along the way. Our last photo is from Lightnng Ridge and is the Astronomers Folly. A town that exhibited its sense of humour.
Signing off
Rex and Rob

Sunday, July 18, 2010

From Roma, Qld

Hello Family and Friends,
After leaving Cairns we decided on taking the 'Great Inland Way' a new tourist route from Cairns to Sydney. Unsure where we would stay that night we just headed out through Mareeba and Atherton. It was getting on in the afternoon with no possible place to camp when we fell on Innot Hot Springs and Caravan Park. Here we found 6 built pools all varying in temperature from cool to very hot filled from the natural springs. Rex tried them all, even the very hot against the advice of the other bathers. I think he lasted about 10 secs in the very hot before the message got through to the brain and he bailed out straight into a cooler pool alongside. His lovely English white legs were tinged a bit rosy for a while. The river that ran alongside into which the springs flowed at intervals was in places even hotter. Some people had dug holes in the gravel alongside the river which filled with water in which they soaked in a more natural environment. What surprised Rex was that a short distance downstream where the water was still warm he found fish living happily. The next day we had booked into Undara Volcanic National Park known for its lava tubes. We had a lovely campsite, unpowered which didn't worry us in the business lease section of the park. This is a commercial lease that has been specifically set up for tourists. Instead of cabins there where old railway cabins fitted out as accomodation as well as modern type tents with sleeping quarters either side and a kitchen area in the middle.
There where some good walks which covered lookouts, old telephone line from the late 1800's and a replica heritage hut but the lava tubes were only accessed by paid tour at $48.00 per person. I objected seeing it was partly the reason for a national park being located there.
We went into the National Park and walked around the crater rim of Kalkani an extinct volcano and saw where the lava tubes ran right through the national park but couldn't access them. This was our only complaint we thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. Moving south fast we travelled on to Emerald. Their Botanical Gardens is a credit to them. We spent an hour exploring the different areas. I got lost in the Melalueca Maze, Rex tried an emu apple which he quickly spat out and the rainforest section was beautifully cool to walk through. We are now in Roma which is probably best known for its saleyards through which cattle are auctioned twice a week. When we went past them this afternoon there where some cattle waiting in the yards to be auctioned on Tuesday there is another auction on Thursday. Tomorrow we cross the Qld border into N.S.W our destination for the night Lightning Ridge.
Catch up again soon
Rob and Rex

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

From Cairns

Hello Followers,
Rex here updating you on our adventures. Cairns is a nice small city surrounded by mountains that are almost everday partly covered by cloud. Looking up from the city it gives you the impression of spot fires with smoke rising. To go anywhere out of Cairns you climb up through very tight narrow twisting roads to most of the tourist places. On Friday afternoon we drove up to the power station on the Barron River which is part of the electricity grid for Cairns. There was a small falls that dropped a long way from a great height called Surprise Creek Falls. Saturday we went to Kuranda known for its cable car and tourist train track around the mountains,. From the train track you can see spectacular Barron Falls. Kuranda is a tourist town that reminded us of the Dandenongs. Sunday we went to a place called Crystal Cascades where we could walk a formed path alongside as the river cascaded down the mountain, creating swirling white water with small waterfalls that in places had pools for swimming. The same day we visited Lake Morris high above Cairns which is its water supply. To get there we had to drive on a narrow road. It is the only road I have driven on that is only open 3 days of the week with the warning drive at own risk. Monday was a completely free day so we decided to head further north to the Daintree. We went into Mossman Gorge where we did a tropical rain forest walk, which was unlike aanything we had ever seen before with vines, huge buttressed fig trees so dense that the creeks seemed like tunnels through the jungle. It was here we found the Rex Swinging bridge over cascading water. We travelled on past Rex Lookout to Daintree Village. It was here we took a crocodile river boat ride, it lived up to its name; we did see big salties (crocs), tree snakes, kingfishers and a white crested eagle. We have just about covered the tourist sites of Cairns nearly as much as the sugar cane rail lines which go everwhere. Bye from Cairns.
More to Come
Rex and Rob

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

From Cardwell, Qld

Hello Family and Friends,
Tonight's entry is dedicated to my brother Terry who lost his struggle with cancer today. May he rest in peace. It was Terry who partly motivated our epic adventure around Australia the long way to catch up with him. Sadly our timing was a couple of days out.
In memory of him we will share the rest of our journey.
Since our last entry in Mt Isa we travelled to Richmond, headwind all the way and the fuel economy was way down; now I know why it is suggested to travel anti clockwise. Richmond is part of the Dinosaur triangle. The discovery centre is amazing with the skeletons of marine reptiles and dinosaurs found locally as well as the moon rocks. We immediately became avid fossickers, with map and pen knifes we started digging in the 100 million year old sea bed, in one of the alloted sites. Rex struck pay dirt quickly, uncovering good fossilised sea shells which he gave to a child fossicker. Not me I coveted everything I found; what I thought was a tooth, a piece of fossilised bone and shells all went into the collection to bring home along with the copper rocks and the iron rocks; no wonder the fuel economy is down. The photo tonight has to be of the fossilised dinosaurs bones found at Richmond.
Charters Towers was just an overnight stop but again we were fortunate to have night time entertainment. This time country and western; Golden Oldies which keep the park entertained till bedtime. Next morning we travelled further east to Townsville turning north towards Cairns stopping at Cardwell which was a good choice. We travelled through sugar cane and banana terriotory - miles of it and in the background beautiful clouded mountains with lush forest where the sun doesn't reach the ground. Fishing last night at the jetty we couldn't catch a cold but we were fortunate to see a huge, metre round, green turtle, who I think had a good feed of prawns and burley which Rex was using to tempt the fish. Today we went out to Murray Falls National Park along a winding road through sugar cane fields and banana plantations into the misty mountains. A great place to camp in the rainforest with magnificent falls and rock spa pools to cool off in as today the sun shone.
Catch up again soon
Rob and Rex