Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Our new purchase

We have finally replaced our GU Patrol with a new 2011 GXL Toyota Landcruiser V8 turbo diesel ute. We were interested in purchasing a merlot coloured one and while looking on the net one evening the Toyota dealer at Moryua on the NSW south coast had a brand new one for sale. A phone call the next morning and a holding deposit secured our new 4WD.

We had several weeks wait until the tray was manufactured and installed so it was off to ARB here in Coffs Harbour to get prices on accessories. While working out what we wanted they saw the Patrol was for sale and asked about taking it for a test drive. On their return they made an offer which we accepted. They were very impressed with the amount of equipment in the Patrol but mainly by the Chev V8 diesel we had installed.

On our way home from Moruya we stopped at Berrima Diesel in the southern highlands to have a Taipan stainless steel 3" mandrel bent exhaust fitted along with a Safari snorkel head and a Dyno Tune. We have now fitted the following options. Bull bar with side rails and steps, Hayman Reese towbar, dual battery with Redarc 20 AMP in-vehicle charger, centre roof console housing a GME Electrophone Tx3540 - 80 channel UHF, IPF 900 Xtreme spot lights, window tinting and a GVM upgrade to the suspension which includes replacing existing components with new OME parts and gives a 2" lift all round.
We have just returned from visiting at Warwick in Queensland and paid our deposit for an aluminium canopy. Canopy takes between 6 and 9 weeks to produce. The canopy will house our engel fridge, generator, chain saw and all our camping equipment that we now carry in both the van and the back of the Patrol and will allow us much more freedom when we are away.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Strathbogie to Home

Friday,Saturday,Sunday 21,22,23 October:
We were so impressed with the "Police Paddocks" that we returned for another 3 days. We used the clear creek water for washing and also to fill our tanks for showering.
We called into All Saints Winery where we sampled cheeses and wines purchasing a variety of items.
While there we had lunches in Rutherglen and on Sunday lunch at Vahalla Wines where we had wood fired pizzas with a bottle of cold Mascato overlooking the vineyard.
We also befriended Graham who has been coming to this area for twenty seven years and camping for up to four months at a time. 
Over this period he has become friendly with the landowner on the adjoining property who lets him collect yabbies from his dam which he uses for bait. One of  his secrets to catching Murray Cod is to use Aldi tasty block cheese.

Monday 24th October:
We were now on our way home. The morning turned out to be just beautiful but by 11 am we were driving into a severe head wind which made driving difficult so we cut short the days driving at midday and decided to camp at the caravan park at Junee. We had previously camped here nine years ago. We had lunch at the chocolate and licorice factory which is housed in an old flour mill and took away some of the goodies that they produce.
Tuesday 25th October:
We left Junee heading for Ponto Falls #1040 which is situated nineteen kilometres NW of Wellington. The camp site is right beside the Macquarie River. We had heard reports that there may be severe thunderstorms within the area and considering we would have to negotiate quite a steep track out the next morning I went to see about camping on higher ground but after nearly walking onto of a large brown snake we decided that the river flats were the place to be. We experienced thunder and lightning during the evening but no hint of rain.
Hows the serenity:
Wednesday 26th October:
We continued on through Gulgong, Cassilis, Merriwa and Denman before spending the night at Broke #206 which is situated in the Hunter Valley wine region west of Cessnock. The camps book describes the site as being next to the river but it's not possible to see it and after my effort yesterday with the snake I was not very interested in making my way through the scrub.
Thursday, Friday 27th & 28th October:
We spent our last two days camped at Booti Booti National Park which lies just sixteen kilometres south of Forster and is on the coast. We stayed at the " ruins campground" #107.
We had a lovely lunch at the "Dorsal" at Forster before our short drive home the next day.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pooncarrie To the Police Paddocks and Strathbogie

Sunday 16th October:
We were to meet our friends on Wednesday 19th October who live in the Strathbogie Ranges east of Euroa in Victoria. We left Pooncarrie and camped at the Euston caravan park to replenish water and do some much needed washing. We also took time out to watch the Wallabies loose to NZ. Damn!!

Monday 17th October:
Leaving Euston we continued east along the Murray Valley Highway before spending the night camped at Lake Barham which is about thirty seven kilometres NE of Echuca. Camp #308. The camp site is still showing the effects from the floods earlier in the year with about 75% of the camp ground still under water.

Tuesday 18th October:
We had a very short drive today. We were off to camp at the "Police Paddocks" north of Rutherglen. Camps #292. The "police paddocks" is an island of 405 hectares used to spell police horses in the 1880's. It was connected to the mainland by a private bridge over Murphy's Creek which is an annabranch of the Murray River. It is now part of Gooramadda State Forest. The bridge no longer exists. Photo shows the creek and island in the background.
Wednesday, Thursday 19th, 20th October:
We spent 2 lovely days with our friends at their property. Over two days I mowed Les and Kath's five acre block.

We played croquet in the afternoons on his croquet lawn which we found to be quite amusing after a couple of drinks.
A lovely time was had by all!!

Bourke to Pooncarrie

Thursday 13th October:
We left Bourke at 10:00 on our way to Louth with the intention of staying beside the Darling that night. We stopped at "Shindy's Inn" and each bought a very cold Tooheys Old and asked about camping along the river.
The publician gave us directions but neither north or south of the bridge on the western side were to our liking so we moved onto Tilpa on the western side passing Trilby and Kallara stations who both have camping along the Darling. We arrived and had lunch at the pub along with another cold "old" to quench the thirst before moving about 6 kilometres north on the eastern bank to camp at the Tilpa Weir. Camp #1066

Friday 14th October:
Weather forecasts were predicting rain for the next several days so we left the weir heading for Wilcannia on the eastern side. We found this section of the trip to be the most scenic. We stopped for coffee and a refuel at Wilcannia before taking the western route towards Menindee and our planned camp for the next three days at Lake Pamamaroo which lies sixteen kilometres NE of Menindee. We set up camp and erected our awning having to quickly pack it away because of severe winds racing accross the lake towards us. That night the heavy rain that was predicted arrived and we heard the next day that the road to Wilcannia was now closed. Camp #1138

Saturday 15th October:
Next morning the wind was still strong so we packed up and retreated to Pooncarrie and camped there next to the Darling where we were proctected by some river red gums about fourty metres away. Camp #1151
And showing the water mark on the gum from the latest floods:
After reading so much about the "Darling River Run" we were suprised that the only times you really get to see the river is when you cross from west to east or vice versa or if you camp beside it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hungerford to Bourke

Monday 10th October:We have driven many dirt roads around Australia but I must say that the current condition of the Hungerford road to Bourke was one of the most unpleasant journeys we have had in a while. Even with the van tyres at 22psi and the 4wd front at 25 and rear at 28 the road was a bone jarer. The road was similar to the Thargomindah road but just worse with lots of corrugations, stony sections and hard clay based road full of holes and washouts you are unable to see until you are upon them. The 220 kilometres took us 4 1/2 hours. We are staying at the Kidman's Camp caravan Park at North Bourke.

Tuesday 11 October:
This morning we took the PV Jandra paddleboat cruise and in the afternoon the "Back of Bourke" tour in a 20 seater bus. I can highly recommend both these tours. The Jandra tour lasts one hour and the commentary just never stopped with wonderful information about the Darling River and it's history and the old North Bourke bridge built in 1883. The "Back of Bourke" tour lasted 4 hours and Stuart who has lived here for over thirty years takes you all through town then to a cotton gin and lastly to an orchard where we were able to pick as many mandarines as we wished.
Photo showing the North Bourke Bridge:

Wednesday 12 October:
This morning we visited the Back O' Bourke Exhibition Centre which I highly recommend. It was then into town for some shopping and lunch at the chinese restaurant at the Bowlo. Tomorrow we depart south to take in the Darling River run to Menindee.

Thargomindah to Currawinya National Park

Saturday 8th October:
We left Thargomindah at 08:45 on our way to Carrawinya National Park. We arrived at the ranger base at 13:15 after a morning tea stop and several photos taken at the QLD/NSW border which also doubles as the "Dog Fence". The road surface was quite rough with hard based clay, corrugations and stony sections. Total of 221 kilometres.
We paid our camping fees and proceeded another thirty three kilometres passing the old Caiwarro homestead site.
We set up camp at the "Pump Hole" so named because this is where the pump was/is situated.
We spent a lovely night camped here having the whole place to ourselves.

Sunday 9th October:
We then drove south thirty three kilometres and camped at the Ourimperee waterhole. The "Pump Hole" site was more majestic with it's beautiful river red gums while Ourimperee had only scraggy gums lining the waterhole. We also expected there to be more bird life but then we were spoilt after camping at Noccundra waterhole.
The shearing shed at Ourimperee waterhole:
 We also drove the thirty four kilometre track out to the lakes. Lake Wyara (salt) at 3800 sq hectares and Numalla (fresh) at 3000 hectares are both important breeding and refuge sites for inland birds. That's if you can call pelicans inland birds because they were here in their thousands. While it was an easy 500 metre walk to the shore of Lake Numalla it was a different story with Lake Wyara. We gave up trying to walk the several kilometres to the shore to view the birds.
Lake Numalla:
Lake Wyara:

Monday 10th October:
We were now on our way to Bourke. After twenty three kilometres we arrived at the Hungerford Pub just several hundred metres north of the border and "Dingo Fence" We topped up our fuel and took some photos before crossing into NSW.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sunshine Coast to Thargomindah

We left the Bushtracker factory at 16:00 today after our service and planned changes to the van. We continued on through Beerwah and Peachester climbing the Great Divide before setting up camp at Cruice Park. Its in the Camps 6 book and is camp #512. It's 21 kilometres east of Kilcoy.

Friday and Saturday 30th September, 1st October:
After a leisurely start we continued further west passing through Yarraman and Quinalow before stopping at Dalby for lunch and a refuel then camping at Lake Broadwater Conservation Park which is situated about 30 kilometres SE of Dalby. This is our second time camped here. There are two camp areas within the park and the caretaker who lives on site collects fees each afternoon. A nominal fee pays for showers and flushing toilets. The campground has a lovely view of the lake but unfortunately this time there were no Magpie Geese in residence. May have something to do with the full lake and people water skiing.  Camp #628.

Sunday 2nd October:
Today's drive totals 197 kilometres. We are camping at the fishing club at Surat on the Ballone river. Camp #866.

Monday 3rd October:
Sees us heading through Roma and Mitchell before camping at Morven for the night. We are staying at the Morven recreation ground and a gold coin donation is appreciated for staying. We normally camp at Neil Turner weir at Mitchell but the extra mileage today will give us the chance to look around Quilpie .A distance of 335 kilometres. Camp #664.

Tuesday 4th October:
Leaving Morven we continued on towards Charlivelle. Our only stop on the way to collect some disused sleepers beside the railway line. They make lovely coals especially good for camp oven roasting . We end the day at Lake Houdraman. Camp #671. Today's distance 306 kilometres. 

Wednesday and Thursday 5th and 6th October.
We had planned to drive through Adavale to Blackall and then onto Welford National Park but some road closures put heed to that plan so we went west. We passed through Eromanga whose claim to fame is the furthest town from the sea. The town has a refinery which handles the oil from the surrounding oil fields and then ships the oil by tanker to different parts of the country. Diesel was cheap at $1.53 cents per litre.
Tonight's destination was to be the Noccundra waterhole on the Wilson River. Spent two lovely days camped here and were amazed at the antics of the several hundred pelicans who were in residence. Three times per day they would herd fish into the shallows and then proceed to gorge themselves. The publician said there were normally only a dozen at any one time but this amount of birds was effecting their fishing.Distance for today 285 kilometres. Camp#842

Noccundra pub built in 1882 from Sandstone quarried from Mount Poole in NSW transported over 200 kilometres by camel trains.