Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Townsville again.

Been making some new friends and learnt a new term: you've heard of backpackers, well what about vanpackers? Pretty obvious I hear you say. Well I'd not heard the term before nor is it listed in Wikipedia, atm. Anyway whilst, cooling my heels, waiting for various things to happen I've been hanging where the overseas 'vanpackers' congregate at night, mostly French and German. Fortunately they usually speak pretty good English. My second language skills extend only to a bit of Papua New Guinea pidgin English (Pisin) and Aussie slang (Strine). So yeah, I've taught them a few words :)

No, not my jocks!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Macrossen Park

Took a drive along the Flinders Hwy, out toward Charters Towers, to make sure the MH cooling system was on song again. It appears all is well.

Stopped off at Reid River for smoko, then Macrossen Park for a few nights. That's where the highway and rail cross the Burdekin River. It's a nice enough free camp. It's also near where 'old mate' Ludwig Leichhardt camped in April 1845. Doing it a bit easier in the MH, I'm thinking. Mind you, whilst exploring the river bank, he wouldn't have had to watch out for the 'paper daisies' left by tourists caught short and too lazy to dig a small hole!

Met up with fellow Highway Wanderers, Chook and Deb, last seen on the Sunny Coast in December last year. Spent a couple of pleasant days shooting the breeze, telling stories and enjoying the lovely weather.

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The new road bridge and the old bridge footings.

Macrossen camp site.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


It's like taking your gal to the beauty parlor, booked in for a de-scale-flush and new coolant, the MH cooling system that is. The guys at NQ Fuel and Maintenance did a fine job, demonstrating attention to detail and professionalism, they do it all from cars to Mack trucks.

Camping in the yard overnight was convenient as well, if not a little bit close to the airport, and relatively quiet but only after the two RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet strike fighters landed just after dark. Final approach can be exciting; Hornets very noisy.

Oh ah, cold hands.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Strand - Townsville

No visit to Townsville would be complete without a trip to The Strand, to walk the foreshore park.

From the Breakwater Marina to the Army Museum and back is about 4km and its as pleasant as it gets with good shade cover and spectacular views of Magnetic Island.

For the kids there is a free water park with all sorts of water sprays, showery things and water tipping doodars. For those not keen on getting wet there are many places to just sit and practice omphaloskepsis or of course drink coffee and chat.

All in all, a good place for a morning caffeine hit or a lazy afternoon people watching.
                                    click on the image to enlarge
The salt water swimming pool and 'Maggie' in the background.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Magnetic Island

As previously posted its possible to park a large MH or car and caravan at the Magnetic Island ferry terminal, being patrolled and somewhat secure.

Nice day for a ferry ride so its off to 'Maggie' for the day, as the locals refer to it.

Magnetic Island's european settlement started around the mid 1800s and today has more than 2000 residents, lots of whom seem to travel to the mainland each day for work. Its an interesting place, scenic, mountainous, with lovely beaches and lots of hoop pine. The Magnetic Island National Park occupies more than half the island and has many walking tracks. Getting around on the roads is best done by bus as the roads are narrow usually without pedestrian facilities.

Havin' a yack to a local bloke who had been "on the wallaby travelling Oz for a bit" before settling on the island and he explained that there has been a down turn in tourism and a slide in property values since the GFC. He said its "a nice place to visit but you wouldn't want to live here".  Its expensive as everything has to come via the ferry.

It was only on the return trip that I became aware that treadlies were permitted on the Sealink ferry. It would be a good place to ride around as road traffic appeared light and generally courteous. Maybe next time? Yep there's more to 'Maggie' than just 4 or 5 hours can reveal.

Townsville back there.

'Maggie' over there.

Walkway between Nelly and Geoffrey Bays.

Townsville from Geoffrey Bay.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Things to do in Townsville and expecting to be here for a bit. There are various places to overnight other than caravan parks. My preference being the Magnetic Island Ferry Terminal car park, its really close to the CBD, or the BP truck stop near the Fairfield shopping centre, south-east side. Both offer easy access to a supermarket. Both can be noisy but that's what earplugs are for.

A walk up Castle Hill is a good way to spend a couple of hours. Up via the hiking track then down via the road gives the leg muscles a bit of variation. The hiking track is about 1.6km long and about 230m up on a mostly good path. Down via the road is a couple of kms on bitumen. All up from the car park several streets away probably 6km return.

Townsville is considered the unofficial capital of north Queensland and has about 200,000 residents. An interesting place that amazes me with the amount of growth and development going on. The town has fantastic roads and facilities.

The start of the hiking track to the top.

The view from the top - The CBD.

The burbs.

Walking down the road looking back up.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Ingham and about.

Toured around Ingham for a few days getting to know the area a bit better.

Took the Abergowrie Rd west to Long Pocket looking to do a bit of NP walking on the Wet Tropics Great Walk. But found the floodways on the way to Girringun National Park toward Henrietta Gate just a bit more 4x4 than I was willing to risk with the MH. It was not possible to leave the MH off the narrow track anywhere nearby and walk or ride the last bit so it was a long reverse till I could do a 10 point U-turn. Might come back at a later date when rain is less threatening and I'm better prepared. Stayed overnight out front of the Ashton Hotel at Long Pocket and met some nice people.

Provisioned in Ingham again and headed to Jourama NP. Been here before, no problem getting in. This is a great place to stretch the legs and take a few photos. The walk to the falls lookout is about 3km return from the overnight camping area. The first bit is the road to the day parking area then a lovely walk down into the gorge and up the other side to the lookout. Its about 450m zig zag climb on a really well maintained path.

     click on a image to enlarge.
Ashton Hotel.

The gorge before the climb.

The gorge and the falls in the bsckground.

The falls with a bit of zoom.

Monday, June 8, 2015

South for a bit - Cardwell.

Stopped roadside for a couple of nights and then into Cardwell and one of my fav spots, Meunga Creek CP. This place is quiet, lay back, unpretentious and a good place for chilling out. Its a few kms north, but a nice bike ride on back roads, into town for exercise and provisions. Stopped for a few days to watch the NRL on the box, do the laundry and some housework, but mostly to avoid the Queen's birthday long weekend traffic.

A couple of years ago on my first visit to this CP I selected a camp spot right on the bank overlooking the creek and not more than 10m away 'snapped' a photo and posted it to Instagram. Fortunately the bank is steep but I did lock my door that night and needless to say swimming in the creek is not recommended.

Cardwell was settled in 1864 and was originally a frontier port-town on Rockingham Bay. The township is squeezed between the offshore islands of Hinchinbrook, Goold and Brook and the Cardwell Range, inland to the west. Its a beautiful part of Australia, imo.

In February 2011 cyclone Yasi nearly blew the town away but it has recovered and the parks and facilities along the foreshore are now better than ever with broad bike/walking paths extending north and south of town.

The weather has been good with cool nights and warm days and usually a light breeze. When the holiday makers head back to work it might be time for me to do a bit of National Parking.

                                                            click the image to enlarge
Local croc in the creek.

Cardwell foreshore.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Home Hill, Paluma NP and Innisfail

Its been a bit of an express trip north-east instead of the planned wandering about north-west but deviated via Taroom and then toward the coast, doing a favour for a friend. But now free to wander again.

Walking around Innisfail and was surprised to see this pub and the startling renovation of a building, that two years ago, looked like it was waiting for the wrecking ball. Shows what a bit of TLC can do.

Spent the best part of the day contemplating my next move. This involves a basic direction selection then a fuzzy plan of where to stop along the way to an even fuzzier destination. Note to self: No more destination fixation.

Thinking back south for a bit then west but need to sleep on it.

The renno

Waiting for the ball.