Sunday, 12 June 2016

Last Leg

Left Mulgidie just after midday. We drove through Ceratodus, Eidsvold, Mundubbera, Gayndah to Murgan. We went and had a look at some free overnight camps, and there were many, but we were heading to the 48 hour council van park in Murgan.The free overnight camp at Ceratodus looks good. We stopped there for some fruit and there were already a few vans set up for the night.
Gaydah we stopped for late lunch, looks like a lovely town, so will come back.
We arrived in Murgan early afternoon, found the information centre and then headed to the van park.
The van park was just off the main street and sites had slabs and water, but no power. One goes to the information centre in town and pays $10 deposit for amenity block keys, which is refunded on return of the keys. We put the $10 into the donation box. The sites are a good size and the amenities good.
 The next day we had a look up and down the main street. We couldn't find any history boards, but some buildings looked old, like the art deco building at the top of the street.
We drove out to look at Joh Bjelke-Petersen Dam on Lake Barambah, which was disappointing, good for a picnic spot and fishing, but not as large as I had imagined. There is a large caravan park there.
We also had a drive to Cherburg, interesting.
After two nights in Murgon we headed home. We had planned on exploring Kingaroy, and perhaps staying one more night, but kept driving the few hours home. We can always do the south Burnett another time.

Banana Shire to North Burnett

Back on the Dawson Highway, we stopped at Moura for Peter to get a coffee. It is presumed that Moura may have got its name from a town in Portugal, where the first selector to the area, Charles Marshall, served during the Peninsula Wars. Maybe the land here reminded him of Portugal.
About 3 kms east of Moura is 150E Meridian Marker. There are two holey rocks that are lined up on the invisible line on which Australian  Eastern Standard time is based.
This area is a major coal mining area and we drove for many kilometres along side landscape as below. The open cut mine is believed to have the worlds largest working drag line. There is a viewing platform, but we failed to find the road leading to it, so it goes on our next time list.
The land is much greener, and the road is much better. We can also see a lot more water holes along the sides of the road. The next town we can to was Banana, and Jonnie was prepared for our stop there. 
The town is actually named after a bull! Banana was the name of a bull that was used as a decoy to trick wild cattle into yards. 
Banana was established in the 1860's and is a lovely small town with petrol at a reasonable price.
We stopped for a banana, then headed off.
The town is at the junction of the Dawson and Leichardt Highways - we will follow the Leichardt Highway on another trip. This time we are continuing to Biloela, then heading south on the 'Country Way' (Burnett Highway).
We were not sure where to spend the next night. I liked the idea of staying at the Biloela Heritage Park Complex, but Peter wanted to keep going. Biloela is quite large, and we filled up there, although we had to try four different stations to find a diesel pump that the car and van could fit in. We headed for the RV $5 a night camp in the centre of Monto. It was already fairly crowded, so we decided to keep going to the next 'free' camp, only 12klms down the road. Gee we are glad we did. We pulled up at the side of the Mulgildie Hotel, which has free camping and quirky paintings on the outside walls of the pub. It also provides lovely decorated rooms for travellers to stay.
After setting up the van we went for a walk around to the front of the pub.
We decided to have happy hour at the bar, while chatting to a few locals about the area.
We also had dinner at the pub - such good food, and affordable prices. Jonnie and Peter had house specials @$10 each, and I had fish and chips @$15. Peter said it was the best curried prawns he has had for a long time.
My fish and chips....
Jonnie's lasagne...
Sunset from the bedroom :)
The next morning we packed and while Jonnie was getting ready, i.e. waking up, we went for a walk down the street. There is a Friendly Grocer who offers free tea or coffee, and an old wares shop called Mulgildie Country Gems, and what a gem.
I loved looking at all the bits and pieces, and many reminded me of my childhood. The lady who owns the shop was lovely.
She even had a number of sewing machines, not in such good condition, but a collector would love them. I was eyeing off a Jones treadle in the window - about $200 - but after my last purchase I should wait until I've restored that before I buy another machine for restoring.
Across the road was a statue and information about the Mulgildie Bunyip. Aboriginal legend tells the story of Bunyips (monsters) inhabiting waterholes and making strange noises. There were reports of cattle disappearing and the area is known as Devil Country.
We didn't go to the Bunyip Hole as it was a little way from the town and not van friendly.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Camped on the Dawson River near Moura

From Emerald we started heading south on the Dawson Highway. We took a small detour to Fairbairn Dam on Lake Maraboon.
A big and beautiful lake.
The dam was officially opened in 1972 and named after David Fairbairn, Federal Minister for National Development.
Maraboon is Aboriginal for 'where black ducks fly'.
There was not a lot of road kill on the sides of the road, as there was in the outback, but the road is very bad. Talking of road kill ... we came across a road kill - kangaroo - that had a HUGE hawk feeding on it. The hawk left the road as we passed and circled back to the road kill almost flying into our van. The hawk had a wingspan the width of our car, it was that close!!!
We drove through many towns that had lovely iron signs like this one in Springsure.

We pulled into a campsite on the Dawson River about 7kms west of Moura. It is well maintained, thanks to donations left by campers. A lot of vans were already there at 3.30pm when we arrived. We found level ground right next to some fruit trees, so we had fresh lemon for our schnitzel dinner and I had fresh lime for my mojito. The lime was lovely and sweet.
This is a great spot for a day or two, with toilets, showers, free bbq's and lots of shady spots.
These boulders were all around the area, and are a result of the mining here.

A great spot to stay, and such lovely fruit.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Emerald, Queensland

We arrived in Emerald thinking we would stay one night. We had a look at the show ground camping ($25.50 a night) and then at the free camping 'under the bridge' - it's a car park between the main road and the (still running) railway!!! Not staying there. So after filling up with petrol we headed to Nogoa Caravan Park at $27 a night, and pay for three stay for four deal. So we stayed for 4 nights instead of an overnight. The park is about half permanent and half tourist. There were a few backpacker / fruit pickers there, but most of the tourists were heading north to the gem fields or west to Longreach - we were heading south from here.
The next day the first stop was the information centre, which is located in Moreton Park. There is a
 giant easel which was a project started by Cameron Cross from Canada to have 'Di Vinci Sunflowers' in different countries around the world. This is the second giant easel, the first being in Canada, and the 3rd being in Kanas in U.S.A. The easel stands 25 metres high.
There is also a 100 metre - 100 years of Emerald Mosaic Pathway depicting the history of Emerald. The pathway leads from the giant easel to the information centre.
There is also an historical village behind the info centre.
We next had a drive into the civic centre and had a walk around looking at the street art. We also saw the 250 million year old fossilised tree. I loved the old railway station, built in 1901.
Day 3 was spent doing washing and cleaning the van. We stocked up on groceries and I had time to work on the blog.
Our last day in Emerald we went to the Emerald Botanical Gardens, situated on the banks of the Nogoa River. It is well worth a visit. It is also the only botanical garden in the Central Western District of Queensland. At the entrance stands a Southern Cross windmill water pump that is attached to a bore that feeds the gardens water supply. 
We walked to the Federation Pillars that are arranged in a semi-circle and depict the history of Emerald. Very clever.
In the centre of the Federation Pillars is the Yarn Pit. It was designed so people can sit and talk and listen to each other.
We walked through the park to the other side - interesting native forest.
It was a bit hard to find the maze, until one is there.
Jonnie and Peter went through it - didn't take too long!
Jonnie did his thing and walked through the eucalypts and softwood gardens and met us at the 'Marbles in the Park' sculpture. These have been made from natural materials and represent the colours of the Earth. I think they looked like rocks in concrete! The large sandstone blocks are suppose to have children's faces on them, but I only found one face.