27.09.2009 - 04.10.2009
This report is sent from the Big 4 Resort at Cania Gorge.
Sunday 27 Sept we spent the morning wandering through Mackay's Botanical Garden which was obviously very popular with the the locals as a walking and exercise venue. Topped off with fuel and relaxed before packing up the gear for Monday's departure.
Monday 28 Sept left Mackay and the lingering dust/smoke haze and arrived in Rockhampton by lunch time. Busy city and impressive tropical caravan park. The groundsman offered to back the van into place - he squeezed the van into place without hesitation and Jenny immediately wanted to hire him for the rest of the trip. Drove into the CBD to collect the mail and call into the Tourist Information Office.
Tuesday 29 Sept went into the CBD and walked up and down many streets to photograph the many historic buildings. There appears to have been some effort to preserve or restore many exceptional old structures. There must have been serious money around in the early days. Drove out to the Sale Yards to look at what is claimed to be the biggest livestock sales facility in Australia. Certainly very impressive but I think the Wagga Wagga facility would give it a run. Spent half an hour in the car wash to remove half a ton of dust and grime from the Patrol.
Wednesday 30 Sept drove up to the Mt Archer for a spectacular view over the city. Smoke from bushfires in the area unfortunately cut down the viability. Travelled on to Yappoon and looped back via Rosslyn Bay and Emu Park. There are new resorts and sub-divisions all along the coast line. Again I was less than impressed by the beaches but must admit that the balmy weather - at this time of the year - is very seductive.
Thursday 1 Oct left the caravan park quite late for us. Also managed to wreck one of the power supply bollards - I forgot to unplug the 240 Volt power lead. I was greatly embarrassed and quite surprised that the park didn't present me with a bill for the repair. As we only had a short pull to Gladstone we stopped for a while at the Kershaw Gardens and admired the waterfalls there. Arrived in Gladstone just after 1000. We were very impressed with the scale and activity of the place. After setting up we found the Tourist Information office and visited one of the city lookouts. The size and scale of the port facilities is quite remarkable and they are being expanded.
Friday 2 Oct late start with a tour of the Rio Tinto Alumina refinery and the Boyne Smelter. These are FREE tours organised by the respective companies. Not quite a 'hands-on' experience by we were driven around in a coach for about three hours. There are five different tours on each of the week days. Some more look-outs and different angles of the city and its surrounds. There are signs of expansion and new development in all directions.
Saturday 3 Oct left Gladstone for Cania Gorge. Quite a climb up from the coast under an overcast sky and even some rain on our way to Biloela. A combination of gentle undulation and some steep hills and we arrived at the caravan park about 1000. School holidays finish this weekend and about 400 of the little darlings are trying to get the most out of the last few days. A very child friendly park and lots of tents and camping trailers add to that a large flock of rainbow lorikeets, king parrots and sulphur-crested cockatoos and there's bedlam. Bird feeding at 1700 followed by wine tasting at 1730 and an outdoor movie at 1900.
Sunday 4 Oct the 'bird-alarm' went off about 0500 so we got up and went for a walk. Will visit the dam today and may stay here for a few more days after the feral ankle-biters have vacated the place.
Until next week, we hope this finds you as it leaves us, in good health and remember, if the thought of reading this boring stuff for the next 3 weeks isn't to your taste, just let me know and I'll drop you from "the list".