Sunday, November 27, 2016

Bushtracker factory visit

We had been marking time here on the Sunshine Coast for five days until Monday 14th November.

During this time  there have been two weather warnings for severe storms and damaging hail. Thankfully the first storm only dropped pea size hail and on the following evening we watched the storm front pass to the south of us. 

This particular storm wreaked havoc to the south and in particular the small town of Bauple, where there was a considerable amount of damage with many houses losing their roofs.

On the 14th November we dropped our van off at the factory for some TLC. Then it was off to the Mooloolaba Surf Club for breakfast.

 This TLC included a 10,000 km service, some minor problems that needed rectifying and to have a new hitch installed on the van.
In conjunction with Lovell's Suspension, Hitch-Ezy have marketed a new hitch which comes in Lovell's signature blue.

This Braked Towing Capacity Stage 2 Kit upgrade gives us the option to tow to 4000 kg (up from 3500 kg's). The Braked Towing Upgrade can only be compiled if a Lovell's GVM upgrade is fitted to the vehicle. The upgrade can only be attached to the Toyota OE tow bar and is not compliant for aftermarket tow bars.

Even though Bushtracker fitted the hitch they are not a Lovell's authorised installer. So we had to tow the van to the local TJM outlet in Maroochydore for them to attach the required stickers to the 4wd and take necessary photos which will be forwarded to Lovells.

It was then off to Nambour to have the registration papers for the van updated to include the vans new ATM. 

Our 4wd is registered in NSW so we needed a compliance certificate from an engineer in that state. On our way home we had prearranged to visit an engineer in Ballina who provided the necessary paperwork.

BTW the new hitch is an absolute pleasure to use. 


Friday, November 11, 2016

Towards the Sunshine Coast

After leaving Lara Station we stopped briefly in Blackall at the local supermarket to purchase groceries.

We were off to camp at a free site in the small town of Augathella for the evening. Normally we would have shopped here to support the town but we were aware that every business bar the pub closed by midday.

There was just a single man camped here when we arrived and that's how it remained for the evening. 

We toddled off to the Ellangowan Hotel just several hundred metres away for a couple of beers at 6pm and then decided to stop here for dinner.
Two enormous meals that could have easily fed four people were soon sitting on the table in front of us. Ros choose the chicken parma and I the T-bone that almost filled the plate. I'm sure the dog out the back will be well pleased tonight.

Next day was a short one of just over 180 km to Mitchell. We have often camped at the Neil Turner Weir just outside town and this is our camp for the next four evenings.

The site has flushing toilets and several taps connected to town water in a lovely park adjacent to the camping area. And once again its free. We filled our three non-potable water tanks and topped up our drinking tank. Showers and washing over the next four days will certainly put a dent in our water supply.

There were eight other groups here when we arrived and they were were strung out along the weir with no one camped on top of each other.

Over our four days we refuelled, visited the bakery each day, the butcher on two occasions, the hardware store twice, the ladies boutique, the supermarket three times and we both had our hair cut. 
That's a total injection of just over $600.00 into the local community.
It's a shame there aren't more towns that don't realise the benefits of having free camping close to town.

Just over an hour after leaving Mitchell we arrived in Roma. From here we headed SE for another 78 km to camp for the next two evenings at the Fisherman's Park on the northern bank of the Balonne River. This site has flushing toilets and a dump point. 

The small town of Surat is about 400 metres away on the south side of the river. The town has a caravan park, butcher, two supermarkets, a coffee shop and of course a pub.

After we arrived we were joined by four other vans. They all used the facilities which included flushing toilets and a dump point but no one bothered to make a donation for the upkeep of this facility. 
We are noticing that this is becoming an all too familiar occurrence. 

Our first day was just sitting around relaxing but on our second day we purchased beer and wine from the pub and some groceries. $150.00 into the Surat community.

Just a short drive today as we head further east towards the small town of Meandarra just 89 km away.
The bitumen roads in Outback Queensland leave a lot to be desired but the road from Surat to Meandarra certainly takes the cake.
Most of the road is single lane bitumen and the parts of the road that aren't, are not wide enough for our van and oncoming vehicles to pass.
We shared this road with B-doubles carting cattle to and from the Roma sale yards and trucks taking wheat to the holding facility near Surat. 

We can best describe this road as being on a bucking bronco.

We have passed by the Brigalow Creek campsite in the small town of Meandarra but never camped here. The town is surrounded by wheat farms with some stretching as far as the eye can see.
There is power and water for $10 for three days or it's $5 for unpowered for the same amount of time.
It's currently 34 degrees at midday with quite a strong westerly blowing that is helping to make the temperature feel cooler but more importantly keeping those bloody the flies off our faces.We have both found the need to use our fly nets on two occasions, talk about a fashion statement.

Our intention was to spend two evenings here but we have decided to move on tomorrow. 
The road surface east through Tara until we joined the Moonie Highway into Dalby was in the same condition to that of the previous days travel.

We passed through Dalby then took some minor roads through to another small town where we stopped for a coffee and a break. Kaimkillenbun often referred to "The Bun" is on the way through to the Bunya Mountains. From here we continued through Maclagan and then onto Cooyar. Our camp this evening is another free camp at swinging Bridge Park. Of course Cooyar has a pub but not too much more.

Another huge drive today of just 27 km had us arriving in Yarraman around 10ish where we booked into the local caravan park. Our unpowered site costing $27 which we thought was a tad steep. There are currently level one water restrictions here and the region certainly needs some much needed rain.

From Yarraman it was all mostly downhill as we passed through Blackbutt, Moore, Kilcoy and Woodford before joining the Sunshine Motorway on our way north to Forest Glen.