Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Big Lap - Rockhampton to Proserpine

After a couple of lazy days with our friends we are now back on the road.

We had been told the road to Mackay is fairly boring, but it still has variations as you go along. 

There is a lot of scrubby stuff and quite a distance between towns and villages. 

We stopped at a little place called Molborough to get fuel and have or thermos and ginger nuts. We got chatting to a fellow who has just ridden to the top of the Cape who kindly took our photo with "Snubby".

It was nice when the landscape opened up to sugarcane paddocks with interesting mountains in the background. 

A rather flash boat went passed heading south.

This pub looked typically Queenslander, complete with a crocodile on the front. We noticed a sign by one of the many rivers and creeks we crossed which warned not to swim because of crocodiles.

Our lunch stop was at the little town of Serina, which has a nice park in the middle of the street.  A feature was "Buffy" the cane toad. 

Finally we reached the city of Mackay. 

You may wonder why I have a picture of the back of a vehicle while we were stopped at traffic lights in the middle of Mackay.......  look closely...... "Spotto" a brown snake!!!  Very alive!!! I was starting to freak out a bit and wanted Mick to get out of the lane, but he couldn't due to all the traffic. As we waited for the lights to change the snake moved into the shade under the van in front of his back wheels and when the lights changed the snake was squashed. It was soon writhing on itself and we passed it without further ado. Phew!!! I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned that I'm petrified of snakes. 

The views as we headed north were stunning with the cane in the foreground, often in flower, and increasingly rugged hills in the background. 

We loved the scenery. 

We were now reaching the Whitsunday area. 

We are now settled in the caravan park at Proserpine, having travelled 485kms today. It was really quite warm, reaching 27 degrees, but apparently it is going get down to 9 degrees tonight. Some contrast. After eating very well for the last few days we enjoyed a simple chicken and salad dinner at the camp kitchen.

Monday, 17 July 2017

The Big Lap - Yeppoon

Today we played the tourist around Yeppoon. 

Our first stop was Wreck Point, looking back towards the town. As you can see, it was rather overcast. 

We went a little further down the coast and started to see a little blue sky. 

Time to walk on the beach, which was surprisingly quiet, and draw in the sand. 

There were loads of tiny weeny shells on the beach.

This gives you an idea of the scale. 

We then came across this sculpture which was built in 1970 to celebrate the bicentenary of Captain Cook discovering the area. It is The Singing Ship, but as there was no wind it wasn't singing today. 

The view from there made up for it. The day was clearing nicely. There are several islands off the coast, the most famous being Great Keppel Island. 

In the centre of town there was a great water play area for the kids. Last time we were here it was a week after a cyclone devastated the town, so it was much more pleasant this time.

Check out the flash buildings up the side of the hill. What a view out to sea they must have. 

Finally, a picture of one of the grey palms we have seen. They are quite striking amidst all the lush green palms. 

It was a nice day spent with friends. The weather was mid 20s, but very humid. We had a big fog in the morning and another came in early evening.

Last night we saw some fruit bats fly over and during the night heard the call of the curlew. So mournful. We also saw a rather colourful honeyeater with a blue top of its head. Not something we get at home. 

Sunday, 16 July 2017

The Big Lap - Gympie to Rockhampton

Firstly, I need to apologise to anyone reading via Feedly. I'm posting using the Blogger App and it won't let me type a complete title and then keeps closing halfway through a post. I'm saving a draft after every sentence, which is a little frustrating. After publishing my post I have to go into my blog post and do a quick edit to add a few little bits, which creates a duplicate.  Sorry for cluttering things up.   Now to today....

Yesterday I forgot to show you an example of the woodcarvings that are right through the caravan park at Gympie. They are rather clever. 

We woke up to a grey day and even had a few spots of rain while packing up. Despite riding along wet road on quite a few occasions, we were blessed with fine weather wherever we were. The morning had a minimum of 14 and it quickly reached the mid 20s, which was rather pleasant. 

Morning tea was at Gin Gin, which is really well geared up for travellers with a nice park in the middle of the Main Street.

We travelled through large areas of sugar cane, but didn't see any cane trains as yet. 

A bonus was catching up with some Bathurst friends who are on holidays up this way. It is funny how we happen to run into them when we are both travelling. Nice to see a familiar face from home. 

We were intrigued by the trivia questions on the side of the road in Fatigue Zones. 

Some, like this one were fairly easy, but some were tricky. What is the name of a group of toads?  Did you know that it is a Knot?  Well, we do now.

We enjoy playing Spotto as we ride along. It isn't something I played as a kid, but Mick's family did. BP service stations used to have cards for the kids which had a list of things that they had to spot as they travelled. Mick and I have our standard list which includes windmill, dog in the back of a ute, yellow car and an emu.   We the add as we go along and depending on where we go. This time we've looked for a Mustang, a kombi van, a big thing on the back of a truck, a vehicle on historic plates, dairy cows and more that I can't think of just now. 

We are still looking for an emu, bottle tree, boat tree, came, goanna, cane train and snake. I'm hoping we don't see the latter. 

We had lunch at a nice rest area beside the Boyne River near Gladstone.  I had relatives near Mundubbera whose property adjoined this River and we had a few holidays there when I was a kid, so I've swum in this River several times. 

Anyway, there were heaps of caravans at the rest area free camping. Today we have seen several such spots, all well used. With so many caravans being self sufficient you can see why they are popular, as they have been lovely spots. 

Finally, we arrived at Rockhampton. We will be staying here for a couple of nights, playing the tourist, as we have good motorcycling friends here.  We first met going to Tassie in 2006 and always enjoy catching up with them. 

Saturday, 15 July 2017

The Big Lap - Maclean to Gympie

This morning we got ourselves up and about a bit earlier, which was good.

Our caravan park was just over the road from the Clarence River, which was looking lovely.

The weather this morning was definitely warmer than home, but it was still very dewy. 

The old opening bridge across the Clarence River will soon have a new bridge beside it. 

We were wondering how far those pylons will have to be driven in. 

Once again we couldn't get over the improvements to the highway.  It made travelling easy, but you do miss seeing the small towns along the way. 

The steam from the Broadwater sugar a Mill looked stunning against the blue sky. We were watching the weather as showers were forecast for late morning, but fortunately we didn't get any.

We made a little detour into Kingscliff for morning tea with Mick's aunt and uncle and then it was back to the motorway.

I missed the actual Welcome to Queensland sign, so this will have to do.  

We were amazed at the constant traffic.  At some places it was four lanes going both directions and was at a standstill. There was heavy traffic for the entire day.

I did get the Sunshine Coast sign.

Our destination for the day was Gympie, just under 500kms.  We are settled in the only caravan park in town, but it is nice and central. We went for a shorty walk and the houses are starting to look like Queensland.

The weather is starting to feel like Queensland too. We were in tee shirts until about seven o'clock tonight. Rather pleasant. We enjoyed a barbecue and salad tea that we cooked, so we are starting to get ourselves organised. 

So, taday want terribly exciting, just driving on the motorway, but now that we are getting away from the real touristy section it should be a bit more interesting.

We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Friday, 14 July 2017

The Big Lap - Bateau Bay to Maclean

We had a leisurely start today, enjoying the sunrise over the ocean, followed by breakfast at the surf club. Rather pleasant, but not how we will start most of our days.

Our campsite had bush behind us and the ocean out the front. Very hard to take.  We think we may just come back to this spot with the caravan for a long weekend, as it is rather lovely. 

Today was a fairly brain dead day travelling up the Pacific Highway. We both came this way a fair bit as kids but haven't been on some of it for nearly twenty years. Boy has it changed. The Hexham Bridge always was a sign that you are getting towards the coast. 

We enjoyed seeing all the different cloud formations as we rode along. 

We had a nice break at Buladelah for coffee and a ginger nut. Ginger nuts are great, as they always travel well, especially those from NSW. Did you know that Arnotts ginger nuts are different in each state, despite all being made at the one factory. We always try to get some wherever we go. 

We had fun looking for the really tall mid north coast gum trees, but it was hard to get a decent photo. There was quite a bit of roadworks along the way but the traffic flowed really well, with only one close call that we saw all day. We had a quick bite for lunch, but other than that kept travelling. 

I was surprised that I managed to get a decent photo of the Big Banana as we went past. 

By now time was marching on and we still had a bit of a way to go till we reached our destination for the night. 

We do not intend to finish our day this late again, but it worked today. We ate out at the pub, as we were too late to organise ourselves to go to the supermarket. 

We ended up doing five hundred and eighty four kms for the day, which wasn't bad considering we didn't start till well after nine in the morning and we only sit on around 90 kmh.

Hopefully we will get into our regular routine tomorrow and get on the road by eight. We should be well and truly in Queensland by tomorrow night, but we don't know where. That's the fun of it.