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Tales of the travels, trials and triumphs as we explore Australia in a converted bus

Motorhome Travels - May 2004


We are currently parked up at Balgal Beach, about 60km north of Townsville. This is the last of the free beach-side camps as we travel north along the Bruce Highway. This is a long weekend with Monday being Labour Day, so the normally quiet sea-side camps are overflowing with families and people with dogs. Not the quiet and solitude that we normally seek.

Tracey has been fishing the near-by river and last night we had fish and chips for dinner. Unfortunately this was courtesy of the local fish and chip shop as we are STILL yet to catch a fish. I'm glad we were not planning on living on fish!



After leaving Balgal beach we travelled just 8km to find that there was one more free camping spot. We noticed that the camping area at Rollingston seemed to be full of buses and motor homes as we pulled in. As it turned out the CMCA chapter "The Tropical Coast Wanderers" were having a long weekend rally. They invited us to join then - and we did.

We had lots of fun, met some nice people, played a game of Trivia (girls vs. boys) and generally had a very good time.

The Tropical Coast Wanderers - [Click for a Larger Image]
The Tropical Coast Wanderers

Disc Bowls - [Click for a Larger Image]
Disc Bowls



















Thanks Tropical Coast Wanderers for welcoming us into your group - we enjoyed meeting you all.

We have now moved on to the wettest town in Australia - Tully. This town gets an average of more than 4m of rain each year. We have been here for two days and not surprisingly - it's rained the whole time. Still - this is the wet tropics.

Places this road does not go! - [Click for a Larger Image]
Places this road does not go!

This morning we drove the Moke up the Tully gorge to see the white water rafters. We had a swim in the river (did not see any crocks) and watched the rafters traverse the rapids.



Just after writing and uploading the last update we decided to load up, leave Tully and head to Mission Beach. We started putting the moke away as normal. Just as I was using the winch to pull the moke down ready for the tie-downs, the hook parted from the winch rope and (to my utter disbelief) the moke took off down the ramps and then headed down the road like a race horse having thrown its rider. Tracey (thinking quicker than me) took off after it and dived into it pulling the hand brake on just before it plummeted into a huge culvert. Wow - that was a near thing! I hate to think what would have happened if it had gone down the culvert or if there had been a car or a person behind us. Closer inspection of the rope revealed that it did not break, the splice un-spliced.

With our hearts still beating a little faster than normal we (again) put the moke away and headed to the coast to find a place to park for the night.

It was about 5:15pm when we arrived at the boat ramp and decided that it would not be a suitable place to spend the night. As I turned the motorhome around, I made the mistake of driving over a large dip on the side of the road. As the front wheels climbed out of the dip and the back wheels went down, of course the tail end of the motorhome dipped sharply. At this point the rear bumper dug its way into the ground and lifted the back wheels off the dirt. Here she was determined to stay.

By 9:15 we had dug the bumper out, jacked both back wheels up and built a small road under them from trees cut for the purpose (we are very glad we had the chain saw). By 10pm the motorhome was back on the road and we were standing marvelling at the huge crater that the motorhome combined with our shovels had carved in the side of the road. We were very dirty, extremely hungry and even more tired.
What a day!



Innisfail is a wet place too! We have been here for 3 days now and it has rained almost constantly. Our welcome to Innisfail came in the form of the local police presenting us with a $30 parking ticket. Very unfriendly. Yesterday we drove out to Flying Fish Point (in the rain). A nice little sea-side town with a huge caravan park and a corresponding obsession for "no camping" signs.

We have decided to head up into the Atherton Table Lands and then make our way north to Cairns. If you have looked at our route plan you will note that we are deviating somewhat - that's life on the road.



The Atherton Table Lands must be Australia's best kept secret - this place is fantastic! The lakes, waterfalls rainforest - everything is spectacular. It reminds us of New Zealand. The rain seems to have stopped and once again we are enjoying an abundance of power from the sun.

No camping here - Lake Tinaroo - [Click for a Larger Image]
No camping here - Lake Tinaroo

We are camped on the edge of Lake Tinaroo, full for the first time in a number of years. As evidence to support this we present this photo, there is little chance of anyone camping in this prohibited area.

There are a number of well maintained campsites around the lake and we are hopping from one to the next on our way north.

Last night we shared a camp fire with an English couple Felix and Alex. They have been touring Australia for a few months now and are not looking forward to their return to England and inevitable normality of jobs and mortgages that of course follow.










We arrived in Cairns a few days ago and have been enjoying the warmth of the coast. While it is warm, it is not too sunny as our poor batteries will attest to. I noted with interest that the midday sun produced a peak charging current of just 12 amps today - when we were in Roma in the middle of summer we peaked at about 17 amps. The sun angle (winter to summer) makes quite a difference.

Well the news that we have been waiting for has arrived - I have a job! Yes, I have a short term contract with a company based in Melbourne. I will be flying to Sydney on Sunday and on to Melbourne a few days later. This is a welcome opportunity for a change of pace and a short term reversal of the financial flow. As I have said before, there are times that I miss the fast paced world of the IT industry. Tracey is pleased to have been offered a job at one of the local hospitals - this will keep her out of trouble for the time that I am away. I hope to get back to Cairns every 3 weeks or so - she therefore won't forget who I am :-)

The only unfortunate thing is that I will be travelling from tropical North Queensland (27°C) to the Victorian winter (12°C) and this will be a bit of a shock to the system.  This development will of course alter our route plan. We think that we will still have time to get across the top before the wet season arrives.



Melbourne is cold! It was good to spend a few days in Sydney before being subjected to the Melbourne winter. It has rained here every day, but apart from that (from what I have seen so far) it is a nice city and I look forward to exploring it when I have some free time. The team that I am working with seem to be a fairly sharp bunch and being a start-up operation, it's all green fields.  At this stage I am not sure how long the contract will last, it may be just two weeks or it could be quite a bit longer.


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