|ABS trip to CHILLAGOE QLD
July 9th - 15th Aug 2010
see www.alchester.com.au/absoutback.htm for outback communication link details and how we use collaborative 3G to stay in touch when on the road
like to mention a couple of important supporters of this journey, and the great company of
Rod and Sue Holloway from Townsville,
travelling with Betty and Gary Pope.
Query us on mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyway:...... Where's The Basin?
Meat Supply - Stan, Carolyn, Tim Coates and the team for their Award
Winning meats- 'the best' in Victoria! Check
the awards. (on page 2)
Andrew Gallop and his team - Hardings Caravan Services for servicing/support of caravan and towing equipment. (Hardings Newsletter)
Digitech Corporation - Michael Pope for technical assistance with the original ABSoutback(1) mobile intenet communications setup/support. Digitech Services
TekSupport Pty Ltd - Unix firewall, VPN server and internet technical support specialists. refer to Rob, Maureen and the team for ADSL/Internet/Security related technologies. (Suppliers to Alchester)
Panther/Soterion - George Linardos for technical advice on low wattage portable lighting. check the Fire Fly torches!
Pirahna - for unfailing advice on matters of UPS and pure sign Power Inverter equipment for automotive use. Contact them for 4WD accessories
Hillview Motors & Tyres
- Ian Hendrick for all mechanical, tyres & personal service.
Cnr Mountain Hwy & Forest Rd, The Basin Ph: 9762 7017
Sorento 2007 2.5 auto 5sp 4 cyl Diesel 4WD; 1300kg Gazal Poptop Van
See a complete list of
FUEL PRICES and PERFORMANCE RESULTS here
(LAST TRIP: Katoomba)
**This website is best viewed with Mozilla Firefox web browser.......
|Distance and time:
in 35 days.
|(Statistics to be advised upon completion)
1133 litres of diesel
from $1.25.9 to $1.55.9 (Diesel)
Worst seen: $1.63.9 Belyando Crossing
$ 1.55.9 Chillagoe, $1.42.9 Injune
Best prices: $1.25.9 Lavington (Albury), Cardwell, Glass House Mountains(less any discounts).
NOTE: Questionable performance degradation running on 2% bio-diesel mixtures. - SO NEVER USE IT!!!
Av 12.67 lt/100kms (88 % towing)
best (75% towing out of the hills at 90-100km/h): 10.86lt/100 on cruise
Worst: (towing at high speed, and into head wind) 15.59.lt/100
This compares to the best we've ever achieved, a couple of years back:
on Cruise control (NO CARAVAN) along the Hamilton Highwy (1/9/08: 773kms on 69L.) being 8.9L/100kms
Testing: , Optus GSM, Telstra GSM, Telstra 3G, Telstra
loss: Chillagoe area and outback areas between Charters Towers and Mount Surprise
But that was mainly due to poor 3G antenna on Sony Ericsson(since changed to HTC Desire upon return to Melbourne!)
|Best 3G connection
Chillagoe using Sue's Flip Phone (Samsung !!)
Most significant COMMUNICATIONS observation:
|Examples of lost communications (with eak aerial on
- others had 3G, but not the Sony Ericsson at Mt Surprise.
- no reception for radion, phone, TV at Carnarvon Gorge.
- no reception for phone in most stretches between towns, north of Roma to the top.
Capella Caravan Park and adjacent Peat Downes Historical Museum!
Walk-in mine at Lightning Ridge near Lunatic Hill
- Surviving 17km walk thru Carnarvon Gorge
- Saphire Walk-in mine at Rubyvale
-Catching Sue on her birthday at Mt Surprise, and ports with Rod around 1st campfire,
-Town of 1770 and travelling the sand tracks south the Wreck Rock
- Glass House Mountains scenery and up to Montville along the ridge
- Esk after travelling surrounding area of Somerset Dam
- Gympie and Maryborough. (History of towns, and Woodworks)
|Fri 9th July.||Day before leaving, we visited Australia's LONGEST BAR at the Middle Park Hotel, to officially measure the 46.81 meter long bar!||Get the full story at G'day PUBS website entry:|
Time to pull out of beauuuutiful downtown The Basin, and head on up to Tocumwal
|10th July (1)||Melbourne to Naranderra via Tocumwal||Ended up pushing thru to Naranderra, as it was raining heading out of Melbourne all day, and we reached Tocumwal earler than expected.|
|11th July (2)||via Parkes to Dubbo||Visited the DISH at Parkes - and got to see it rotate!. Onto Dubbo, and unfortunately stayed at the most expensive, and unmanaged big Park on the south side of town. (Don't start me on boomgates and toilet cleaning schedules at 9AM!) Maybe my day 3 grumpiness hit in on the 2nd day - all the better for tomorrow!|
|12th July (3)||Lightning Ridge||Ah! Top place, nice spot at the back of the Hotel/Caravan Park. Went straight to see the John Murray art studio - he's brilliant, and down to get some opals at the Opal Cave, from Cheryl who we introduced to from good friends in the town last strip. Back to the pub for 5PM happy our and won the raffle prize - trip to undergrond mine we'd done before - so fellow campers got the ticket.|
|13th July (4)||via Surat but stayed at Roma.||Early morning, leavikng Lightning Ridge, but went to visit the underground Walk-In mine out next to Lunatic Hill. Very good tour indeed - but this made us late exiting the town.. At Surat, we just managed to reach there in time to see the Cobb and Co historical museum - great!|
|14th July (5)||Roma||Betty talked me into a double night stay in Roma at the FPA- good idea, because we were getting a little tired behind the wheel. This gave us a chance to sit around the lovely fireside right opposite the campsite (#15) and get to know the NZ manager: Andrea - a top host, who enjoyed happy hour(s). Then to see the BIG RIG display over the road showing the history of oil/gas exploation of the area|
|15th July (6)||Carnarvon Gorge (Nth Injune)||Off to Carnaron Gorge for the night via Injune where the Tourist Info centre suggested we extend the rip via Acadia Valley and Lonesome Lookout. Top area, despite some rough road at the end, but only added 1 hr to the trip. But 40Km's in, a young chap rolled his car, so we tookhim back to Injune - he's OK. Lost couple of hours in the transit - but didn't impact theoverall day. Lonesome Valley lookout steep, but great views! Entry to Takarakka Eco Village would be interesting if the creek was flowing!|
|16th July (7)||Carnarvon Gorge||Well - mission accomplished - did the 15 (really 17.5km) walk to the Art Gallery (not really our cup of tea - would skip that end bit).... but Wards Gorge and the Ampitheatre and Moss Garden were great to see. Brilliant park at Takarakka (4kms drive from the Gorge carpark). 40kms road into Takarakka from the main highway is a bit rough - but no big deal. Simon the tour guide gave a tp briefing arond campfire night before.|
|17th July (8)||Stayed at Capella
just short of
from the Gorge via Springsure for lunch and onto Emerald (huge town, and very expensive -
grog 30% dearer), so pushed on 50kms north to a lovely owner operated caravan park in
Capella. Loved it so much, stayed two nights.
Call owners: David & Jodie (07) 4984 9615
Capella Van Park
|18th July (9)||Capella
it was so good!
|Visited the Capella Historical Museum at the end of the street from the Van Park. Peat Downes district pioneer slab homestead superbly rebuilt, with a huge collection of 47 restored tractors, bulldozers and steam powered traction engines. Great exploring for the morning. Then in the arvo, drove 60kms out to Rubyvale to tour the walk-in Saphire mineand sport Betty a blue saphire pendant. Nice little own, and full of fossickers.|
|19th July (10)||then via Belyando Crossing to Charters Towers||Set off to Charters Towers, and topped up with very reasonable diesel at Clermont at $133.9. Top murals in Clermont, on the side of railway trucks. Sure a better price than $163.5 at Belyando Crossing! Not much to see up this stretch today, and the Clermont Museum was shut (Betty said good - she was still tractored out from yesterday!)|
|20th July (11)||Charters Towers||Having the two nights in Charters owers permitted us a top walk around the historical buildings of the Golden Square. Some of the best maintained old buildings to be seen.|
|21st July (12)||Lynd Junction (Oasis Roadhouse) to Mount Surprise.||Australia's
shortest bar! At the Oasis roadhouse Lynd Junction. Yep: It's a whole 1.2
meters long! With some help from the Publican's (Pauline)
daughter, Carlie, we got the low down on this small bar at Lynd Junction.
Lots of road works, and 4-trailer road trains. There were about
26 call points along the single lane road for 200kms. Got into Mount Surprise by 4PM
nicely timed to meet up with Rod and Sue our co-travellers from Townsville on Sue's
birthday today (23rd ????). At last, that port I've wanted to have with Rod around a
fire! Top night.
22nd July (13)
and Betty took the bus trip 50kms down into the Undara Lava tubes to see the crater and
three of the many tubes (some run 90 kms long!). Top campsie at the
Bedrock Caravan Park with hosts Jo and Joe who have built up a top park here, alongside
the railway that the Savannahlander train runs right by. The afternoon was
spent browsing the town, and sleping on the railway museum chairs!
|23rd July (14)||Herberton||Left
Mt Surprise, out thru Mt Garnet to Herberton travelling thru thick fog along the way, as
we headed over the Ravenshoe range. We arrived at Herberton, and settled in to a
really nice caravan park that offered great open fire BBQ facilities - just the place for
finally getting stuck into a great slab of lamb cutlets Adam had packaged for us....
YUM!. Then it was off to enjoy the Herberton Historical Village. This is a
huge accumulation of histoical local building fully furnished with displays.
You can spend hours there - it has something for everyone. Cameras, phographs,
newpaper equipment, sewing machines, blacksmith, carpenter, music tutor, school, general
store, butcher, garage, axeman hall of fame...... even a transported PUB! (The
|24th July (15)||via Mareeba and out to Chillagoe||Set
out from Herberton, to make our way up to Mareeba to take the better caravan road out to
Chillagoe. (The shortcut across from Herberton to Almaden is not recommended
for towing. This trip acorss some familiar territory past Atherton, Tolga and
almost up to Mareeba was nice to see again. We took the bypass thru Channel Rd
country, and folowed the water channels to the Chillagoe Rd. Then it was time to
head off thru Petford to Dimbulah, where we managed to run into the Savannahlander
train stopping for lunch. Then off to Chillagoe for the first night where we climbed
the local communications tower hill to oversee the town..
|25th July (16)||Chillagoe||Local
caravan park offered a great fire pit right next to the vans. Hot days here at
33 degrees, so it was nice to hit a cool beer after dark!
||next day, it was off to the Royal Caves in Chillagoe
- famous for Marble mining.
|26th July (17)||back via Dimbulah to Mareeba to Lake Tinaroo||headed out of Chillagoe, after a long afternoon meeting "Tom" who has a terrific Ford car and truck museum right next to the Chillagoe caravan park. Tom has every Ford he's ever owned - not too keen on Holden's it seems. Uick visit to the museum/visitors centre at Dimbulah and into Mareeba for a Drive Thru Bakery fix. Gaz sporte himself a new green Akubra with a wide brim - nice! Then off to tonight's camp out of Tolga, Kairi and into Lake Tineroo.||Dimbulah Visitor Centre
on the Wheelbarrow Highway
Tineroo Cavaran Park - NICE!
|27th July (18)||Lake Tinaroo
the day skipping back on our tracks up towards Mareeba to see the biggest private military
collection in QLD. Then back to Tolga to see the woodworkers shop.
Then late in the arvo, we drove via Peeramon in the hope of a beer - but alas - closed Tuesdays! No worries, it was good to see the Pub surviving Cyclone Larry's impact a few years ago. Took in a great round trip via Lake Eacham and Yungaburra (top butcher there still!)
Mareeba - private Military Musuem
Lake Eacham near Yungaburra
that's all carved from wood!
Toga Woodworks - workshop.
Yungaburra - top butcher here!
|28th July (19)||Cardwell||After
lack of beer previous day, but supplemented by copious port back at camp, it was a slow
start out of Lake Tineroo to head out towards Cardwell for the next night. As
uusual, a top meal inthe van for the last night at Lake Tineroo! Spoilt by
good butchers ...... (again!)
down from Lake Tineroo, off the tablelands, and via
Crawfords lookout, down to Innesfail then to Tully.
harbour at Innesfail
- you have to admire how well the Sugar Mill contibutes to the economy!
|29th July (20)||Cardwell||Arrived
in Cardwell, and discovered another faithful Kia Sorenot vanner - with an impressive unit
Took a wander alonmg the foreshore of Cardwell.
the Forest tourist drive around the outskirts of Cardwell,
and up to the lookout which lets you see out across
Hichinbrook Island and the channel.
|30th July (21)||Cardwell to Bluewater||definitely a hard place to leave: CARDWELL.
Beautiful views across the chaneel to Hichinbrook Island, great town, top amenities and a really nice Caravan Park on the beach. But, time to leave, and head for Bluewater for thenight, right next o Rod and Sue's place in Yabulu. (30kms Nth Townsville).
Hitchinbrook channel, and view north.
|Time to have an obligatory photo at the Rollingstone Pub just short of te
final part of the trip shared with Rod and Sue.
|31st July (22)||Bluewater (30km Nth Townsville)||Time
to spend a nice day in Tonsville with Rod and Sue, and visit their two daughers
nearby who are moving house, and renting another...... lots of house shifting
going on! Take a run up to Castle Hill to see what's changed in Townsville, head out to
see Ross dam, and then top off the day with a nice BBQ at Rod's home at Yabulu.
Rod's new 'shed' gets a test out too......
Meantime, Sue catches up on some serious Grandma work with Quinn and Ashlyn.
|Castle Hill overlooking Townsville
and Betty on The Strand, Townsvile
|Rod and Sue's place for BBQ. Top bar!
|1st Aug (23)||via Mackay to Sarina to stay at Koumala||Headed
off from Townsville, down the coast to scurry thru to 1770, checking out Mackay and
Rochampton on the way thru. First port of call was Bowen for lunch, and took a
(car) hike up to the fantastic lookout just on the edge of town.
Booking over-late at Sarina, so stayed in nice new camp at Koumala - tidy town 20km south Mackay
(YEP: More gdaypubs photos!)
Bucacia Beach - one of many on thenorthern outskirts of MacKay
Black Beach north of Mackay, sunset.
2nd Aug (24)
|via Clearview, Marlborough to Rockhampton||Up
early from Koumala to high tail it down to Rockhampton. Stumbled across
Clairview, a small retirement styled township (no pub, no store)..... but nice
area for people who like boating. Then down thru Marlborough (not Maryborough
yet!) with lots of great North Queensland pubs to photo......
Rockhampton has some spectacular buildings.
|Rockhampton FPA caravan park right on the river and walking distance to the
town over the Fitzroy River bridge.
And with the camp ktchen right on the block!
|3rd Aug (25)||Rockhampton
||Rockhampton, just as exciting and interesting as our last visit, is hard to
leave...... and the target of seeing the Town of 1770 lays just ahead,
...... but strewth, its so nice here at Rocky...... let's
stay another night!
we spent the day toaking a day trip out to visit the interesting
historical gold minig town of Mount Morgan.
|Back into Rocky again, and we spent the afternoon driving the city tour
(historical site tour). Many interesting buildings, railway station,
cathedral, schools and the botantical gardens/lake/zoo. All well worth the
|4th Aug (26)||via Gladstone, thru (East Miriam Vale) to Town of 1770||Okay
- now it is time to pack up and head further south..... so off for a short run to
have a good look around Gladstone on the way to Town of 1770.
But first, Betty has to mail her daily post card back home! Another postal job on the run!
The day was spent looking all over Gladstone, then down an hour to Tannum Sands and Boyne Island. Then finally we got to 1770. via adjacent Agnes Waters which has the closest shops (6 kms).
a very busy industrial town and harbour,
also has a very nice marina and beach area too.
Here's the marina, seen from the lookout
at the south end of the main street of the town.
Point beach, at Gladstone.
The twin towns of Tannum Sands/Boyne Island - very nice.
|5th Aug (27)||Town of 1770||Town
of 1770 (or simply "1770") is where Captain Cook first stepped ashore Australia.
It is a small point with a protected inlet, and the caravan park and
hospitality there is great. Agnes Waters has petrol, 20 shops and a supermarket and
pub, only 6kms away. A top feature of 1770, is to grab an ale at "The
Tree" (an actaul tree, and also the name of the adjacent tavern) and watch the sunset
- it's spectacular!
|day trip to
of Agnes Waters, there is a coastal sand road that treks down past Middle Rock, Flat Rock
and on to Wreck Rock. So we got the Kia into the sand and took off for the
We returned late in the day, to catch the sunset from the monument of Captain Cook's landing point.
|Flat Rock, 1st stop along the coastal trip heading south.....
Rock (2nd stop), and nobody for mile around in any direction - BEAUTIFUL!!!
and finally, to Wreck Rock..... 70 kms down the sand track....
|6th Aug (28)||thru Burnett Heads to Hervey Bay||Early
start out of 1770, leaving their amphibious ducks behind and into Bundaberg to do the Rum
Distillery tour. Bit early for drinking, but sometimes you just have to make the
Bundaberg Rum Distillery with 900,000,000 litres in stock for 2 years.
That's 1.2 billion bottles with a retail value of $A42,000,000,000 !!!!
(yep, that's billions, not millions!!)
course - after that lot for breakfast, its definitely time to stock up on some good old
Ginger Beer too!
And now for something totally different..... Burnett Heads lighthouse (relocated to the town park).
in some time at picturesque Elliott Heads and then trekked down to Childers to wlak
the main street, filled with some great historical buildings.
|Childers has some grat building snad street sculptures.
Backpackers Palace Hotel in Childers
at Hervey Bay to stay right opposite the harbour for Fraser island
|7th Aug (29)||thru Maryborough to Gympie||Car
carrier for Faser Island - right out the back of our park at Hervey Bay.
Left Hervey Bay after a flat battery! These drive-thru sites where we leave the car hitched up, can be problem if ou accidentally flick the outside 12v light onthe caravan on all night. It'd be okay, except if you forget to turn on the remote charger for the Kia! Arrrrh!
Then off to Maryborough to the historic walk thru the town. This was terrific!
Of course - must photo another Richmond Street!
|The coast 11kms north of Hervey Bay is spectacular.
and so are their means of transport.....
Could this be a new rangie for Rod?????
to visit the magnificent town of Maryborough, home to the creator of Mary Poppins:
you just can't go past the former Melbourne Hotel!
(now the Criterian Hotel in Maryborough)
another example of the fine buildings dotted throughout Maryborough.
The Post Office Hotel 1889.
Maryborough Heritage Centre
|Settled into the Gympie Caravan Park and then off to see the
"Woodworks" histroical museum just north of the town.
This Kauri tree was sliced 100 years ago, and is beleived to have been 619 years old at the time.
Time for tea (Gympie caravan Park - NICE!):
|8th Aug (30)||thru Imbil to Maleny
to Beerwah (Sth Landsborough)
and onto the
Glass House Mountains
up with Noel and her husband, Bob..... nice couple from Bankstown, and travelling
south a day after us.
and had another top noche for meal in the van!
|meantime, next morning in Gympie, time to pull out. But cop this great
rig of Terry's! This is a converted denning bus complete with bar, kitchn and
upstairs alfresco dining. And the trailer has a RAV4, quad bike and tinnie!
All up: 25 ton.
(PS: Terry dropped the antenna a few feet later - all good!)
meantime, over the back fence was a Horse riding gymkana event - very interesting.
to head out thru Imbil to Amamoor where the Music Muster is taking place later in August.
This routefollows the railway track used by the Valley Rattler train.
The Valley Rattler train (engine No 967 "Gympie")
|9th Aug (31)||Glass House
won't mention the terrible place we stayed in Glass House Mountains.........
but the views of the hills and trips in surrounding towns more than
made up for it. The various volcanic oucrops are really something else, and the
views along the ridge looking back to the coast make a brilliant sight. Of special
note in the area, is the township of Montville.
along the ridge from Berrwah up to Montville.
for Adam's sake, hre's a spot of history - the Big Pineapple and the Big Yum! ust
out of Nambour, on the trip off the ridge from Mapleton towards the coast and Bruce
|10th Aug (32)||Carboolture / Kilcoy to Esk||Today,
we headed out of the Glass House Mountains, to ESK. The trip passed out to Kilcoy
and south via the Somerset Dam.
||We left the caravan early at Esk, a top caravan park - very friendly.
The we headed into Brisbane for the day.
The weather was poor, otherwise we'd have travelled via the planned Mount Glorious and The Gap. Instead we slipped down the motorway.
The Botantical Gardens at north end of Brisbane.
near Vulture St Brisbane.
Riverside view of Brisbane
|11th Aug (33)||via Towoomba, Goodiwindi to Moree||Time
to head for home, so we chose to travel via Towoomba which we'd never visited before, and
across to the Newell. A few phone calls and delays slowed us a little, and we aimed
for Moree as the stop for the night, which was very nice indeed. (Gwydir Caravan
Park, boasting thermal pools)
First stop, Towoomba, after the big climb up to the top of the ridge. Views are brilliant, and the town has a lot to offer. The Visitor Centre would be the best we've seen. Top Job!
|Travelling out of Queensland just before the border - it was clearly time for
that last QLD beer. Where else? Goondiwindi's Victoria Hotel of course!
(Where they house the memorial to the famous race horse: Gunsynd, winner of the Melbourne Cup )
be time to catch up on this websie stuff some more!!!
|12th Aug (34)||West Wyalong||Okay,
we;re on the home run now, so no point messing about. Up early from Moree, and
we were heading for Narrandera....... but ended up at West Wyalong.
||Stayed at West Wyalong, after learning the hard way to keep deisel tanks
fuller than 3.5litres!
that's why we stopped at more often on the way back!
Not really.... It's just that the food at the Big Shell out of Albury is really great when you're about to head off down the Hume for a while!
13th Aug (35)
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