Friday, 30 November 2012
Before heading up to the Tablelands, we spent a couple of days in Innisfail, doing a bit of shopping and just vegging! The August Moon Caravan Park is a nice spot, and even though noisy throughout the day (being on the highway), it wasn't too bad at night.
We headed up the Palmerston Highway, heading for the Lake Eacham Caravan Park. The plan was to visit our house-sit clients, Gemma and Dan, so we could have a look at the property and meet the dogs. Surprisingly, the plan actually worked out for a change. The Lake Eacham CP is very rain-foresty, with slab sites that are somewhat cramped. But, after a couple of attempts, we managed to get into position. We also wanted to go and stay out at Lake Tinaroo, so we originally booked for only a couple of days.
We had dinner with Gemma and Dan the first night we arrived (Wednesday). Lovely couple - quite young - and both very hard working. Gemma is learning to be an Environmental Scientist at James Cook University as well as working part-time for company who specialise in advice to the mining industry in site rehabilitation. Dan is a mason by trade, and is working right now as a Soda Blaster (cleaning large items eg yachts, using Bicarbonate of Soda). Both have very little spare time, but are managing to maintain a 3 acre property with 3 very elderly cows, 2 large dogs - Roger and Olive (more about that in later postings) and numerous chickens, ducks and turkeys (adults and babies of all types). Feeding time is complete mayhem!!!! They also have a small veggie garden and a few fruit trees. We were looking forward to the Lychees ripening (my all time favourite fruit), but apparently the local critters were also watching. Don't know what the critters are, but the tree went from chockers full to almost empty, overnight. Little toe-rags left us with 6. Very nice they were, but rather disappointing in quantity. 6 - I couldn't believe it!!) The critters also hit the plum tree, but I wasn't too upset there, we had to deal with an over-supply of plums last year at Glenlyon, and I'm still a bit over them.
We extended our stay at Lake Eacham CP until the following Tuesday and then headed gleefully out to Lake Tinaroo. We had checked out all the National Parks camp sites the previous weekend and selected Downfall Creek as the best spot. Fong On was quite busy with loud ski boats, and all the others are not suitable for caravans. We've been to Lake Tinaroo previously, and learned that Friday through to Sunday are not good days to be there. Lots of crowds and noise. So, we booked this time for three days, which would have us leaving on Friday morning. The idea was then to spend a night in Malanda and arrive back at the house-sit on 1 December. Best laid plans of mice etc......
The morning we arrived at Tinaroo, it was quiet and peaceful. Beautiful. Adjourned to the van in the afternoon for a siesta (as you do!), only to be disturbed very quickly by what sounded like a jet taking off just across the lake. One of the ski boats at Fong On (yes across the lake) was doing runs up and down the lake. Rick said it was a full-on competition boat and the sound was loud enough to travel not just across the lake, but also over the spit of land between the two camp-sites. I swear they noise could have been heard in Cairns!!! Kind of spoiled the afternoon. About 2 hours the guy ran it - up and down, and up and down, then a stop for a bit of work, then off again!!!!! NOT HAPPY JAN!!!!!
Around tea-time, a couple of vehicle loads of people arrived and parked towards the end of the camping area. Fine we thought, plenty of distance away. Then the music started up. Wouldn't have been so bad if it was a good choice of music, but it was (for us anyway) rubbish!! And as the night wore on it got louder and louder. Fortunately they gave it up at a reasonable hour and then left the next morning. Thank God for ear-plugs.
OK, second day dawned beautifully. Sunny with breeze and not too hot. Birds entertaining us, and feeling good. One of the larger camps near us had a couple more vehicles arrive, carrying parents and little kids - not a problem. They had a fishing boat, but it didn't seem to leave the shore at all. All the campers keeping pretty much to themselves, but nodding and waving as good campers do. It wasn't crowded and there is plenty of space to move.
After lunch, the idiot with the competition boat started up again!!!!! By this time, we were both getting really cheesed with it all, but by late afternoon he had stopped again.
AND THEN, the big camp near us (parents and kids) lit up the music. At first it was quiet and reasonable, no dramas. But as the party picked up swing, and more booze was consumed, the music got louder - and louder.... Rick eventually took a walk over at about 9pm to ask them, very politely, if they would mind turning the volume down a little bit. He was very good and didn't get cranky with them. They eventually did, but not without a bit of lip and attitude, which made the whole experience really unpleasant. By the time we went to bed (ear plugs at the ready) the noise was back where it started. So, rather than put up with it another day, we headed out next morning, 1 day early and wont go back. The NPWS doesn't care at all. Rick talked to a Ranger who came to 'clean' out the toilet block who said there was nothing he could do about it. We should have called the police was his comment. Yeah right!!! Very disappointing, but life is too short to let people like that ruin plans for us.
So, we spent a couple of days at the Malanda Falls Caravan Park, de-stressing and unwinding. It's quite a nice spot, and is a work in progress. Drainage works are going on right now, as well as lots of gardening.
Sunday, 18 November 2012
We have lived in Queensland now for 12 years, and (I'm ashamed to admit), have never eaten a Muddy. Mostly because they are too expensive to buy. Today however, a local wandering through the caravan park had a big bucket full and he sold us 3 live ones for $15. Rick cooked them up in the camp oven, and we snarfed them down for tea. YUUUUUM!!!!!
Tuesday, 13 November 2012
Staying in Home Hill for a couple of days gave us an opportunity to catch up with a fellow Kedron owner, Elle. Elle is working (HARD) driving a sugar cane hauler just out of Ayr. This job is seriously hard yakka, but she was able to take a couple of hours away from the property after work on Tuesday to come and have a meal with us at the Ayr RSL. Very nice meal, and great company. Elle’s husband Blackie is unfortunately still in Darwin, also working hard. Blackie and Elle have been working their way around the country for the last 4 years. Sometimes hard – sometimes not, but always satisfying!