3rd Stop

Our next destination was Lara Station Wetlands, 13km off the Landsborough highway A2 heading from Barcaldine to Blackall.

Lara Station is on about 6,000 hectares and the owners opened the gates to campers and caravaners after drought force them to destock their cattle. Jodie lost her partner Michael in a helicopter crash on the same day the first tourist booked in at Lara’s camping ground in 2014.

The property’s wetlands are fed from a single century-old bore on the Great Artesian Basin. Birdwatchers have documented more than 80 different bird species in the wetlands.

On leaving the Gem Fields we called into a small convenience store for a few snacks to eat along the drive. The store owner told me that she’s heard the flies were pretty bad from Barcaldine and further west and suggested I purchase some head nets ( The Nullabor Burka) as apparently the stores were running out of them further west.

I tend to go by gut feeling and my gut was saying you really should get one each and one for the dog. Pleased with myself, I jumped back into the car and proudly displayed my purchase to MM who just looked at me shaking his head. Later he told me the was thinking…. What a waste of money.

Stopping at Barcaldine for some lunch, we did notice a few flies but no big deal and certainly nothing that would warrant having to wear a head net. It wasn’t until we arrived at Lara Station and stopped at the caretakers office to pay our entry fee that we discovered how bad the flies were. The head nets were still in the packets sitting in the car on the floor. We could barely talk to the caretaker and I was jigging around like an epileptic as the flies swarmed around my face. We quickly paid our dues and rushed back to the car for some relief.

We drove around the wetlands and found a lovely place to set up camp. We were choking on flies as we tried to set up the caravan and in desperation I grabbed the head nets from the car and put mine on. MM took about 5 minutes longer before he too put one on.

It was quite hot and we had arrived in shorts and singlets. The nets kept the flies off our faces but they were landing all over our skin and it was driving me crazy. Ah, then the penny dropped. So that’s why I see pictures of the cow cockies out west wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants in the searing heat. Once I had changed into appropriate clothing I was happier and come sunset, the flies all disappeared and we could sit and enjoy a cold beer and the view in peace.

We had planned to camp for the week but the next morning decided we couldn’t handle the flies. Wearing the head nets and covering our skin gave some relief but the constant buzzing was too much. We found ourselves confined to the caravan, so off we drove to the next stop.  More to come….

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Second Stop

I’ve always wanted to visit Queensland’s Gem Fields. The name of the town called Emerald always fascinated me. Somehow pictured in my mind was a scene out the American Wild West. Rugged men flashing gold capped teeth with a swagger that would rival President Obama’s.

There are a number of towns located in and around the Gem Fields. Sapphire is my favourite gem and the town of Sapphire my chosen destination. Oh, did I mention I was the navigator? MM (My Man) said “Just work out where we are going and I’ll drive”.

We left Bagara Beach and pointed north towards Rockhamption then leaving the A1 we took the A4 Capricorn Highway west, stopping in the town of Dingo for the night. We spent the evening around a fire pit with strangers, telling fascinating stories. Come bed time I felt I’d known my new friends all my life.

Interesting Fact

In 1973, a population of Bridled nail-tail wallabies  was found in the Dingo area by a fencing contractor. Until this sighting the species was thought to be extinct having not been seen since 1937. The area where the wallabies were rediscovered was protected as Taunton National Park.

 

We arrived in Emerald around lunch time the following day stopping at a shopping centre for supplies. I didn’t see any gold capped teeth but I did see a lot of tattoos on the blokes and the sheilas and they all had a nice swagger. Must be all them gems in their pockets.

We set up camp that afternoon at the Sapphire Caravan Park  and spent the next 4 days enjoying our surroundings. The park is not too shabby and was mostly empty. We arrived at the beginning of the season. Any sooner and it’s too hot to scratch yourself let alone pick through rocks in the scorching sun.

Click on photographs below to enlarge.

I wanted to take a day trip with a local guide and do some fossicking but I was not quite healed enough to spend the day bent over picking up rocks and shovelling dirt. We did enjoy wandering around the bush where we came across some abandon vehicles. Apparently there are many abandon camps and vehicles that prospectors have left behind scattered all through the area.

As this trip is more of a reconnaissance trip, I marked this place as one to revisit and we set off for the next stop.   More to come…..

 

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First Stop

I had a few weeks to recover before leaving for 4 weeks of touring around parts of Queensland.

If you’ve experienced broken ribs you’d know that sitting can be uncomfortable and bumping around in a 4×4 towing a caravan in Outback Queensland, well, ouch.   So changing our intended route, we headed north to Bagara Beach for 4 days R & R before heading west.

Bagara is approximately 15km east of Bundaberg, a fair days drive from Brisbane. I’d been there many years ago with my Mother. We were holidaying at Don Pancho’s and had gone to see the turtles at Mon Repo, a hatchery and protected national park.

We didn’t visit any national parks on this trip because the Fat Mongrel was travelling with us.

We spent the next 4 days on the beach, riding our push bikes and ironing out a few kinks in the caravan. This is our first big trip away.  We were a bit heavy on the ball weight and needed to move some things around.

Bundaberg volcanic province is located in the Bundaberg-Childers area. The volcano was formed by a short-lived eruption period, 60 million years ago. (Ref Volcano live)

Past volcanic activity has left basalt rocks, rounded by wave action, scattered along much of the coastline, especially headlands. The Hummock, clearly visible from sea, is the centre of an area of rich, red soil, clothed in fields of sugar cane.

Leaving Bagara, we planned to make our way to Birdsville then follow Queensland’s southern border back to the coast and  home. That was the plan. That is not how it went down….. more to come.

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I wasn’t expecting that!

Last week I fell on some stairs and fractured a couple of ribs. I was carrying the dog and couldn’t break my fall, landing heavily on my side.

This accident could really have not come at a worst time. We have scheduled a lot of yard work for the next two weeks. This week we had River City Tree Services remove approximately 20 trees from the yard and we need to finish cleaning up the gardens before the fencing company comes to put up a colourbond fence along the back boundary.

 

Most of the trees removed were palms of some description, a silky oak that was growing too closely to an ironbark, half of  one neighbour’s mango tree that overhung the boundary and half of another neighbour’s umbrella tree that was also overhanging.

We’ve kept about five foxtail palms and one cuban palm but I’m not sure about the cuban palm. We might get it removed later on down the track. It’s big and if one of the fronds fell on someone it could potentially kill them.

I’m not sorry to see the palms go. Messy things and they were a lot of work. The previous owners over-planted the gardens. The frangipani trees have developed a disease called frangipani rust. I’m hoping opening up the gardens will help control the fungus.

Frangipani Rust in neon filter

I love cut flowers inside the house.

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It’s time

It’s been nearly two years since my father’s death and I still have a lot of his things that I’ve not been in the right mood to sort through and get rid of.

Some weeks back I opened a storage box and picked out a little Caplio RR530 digital camera that belonged to my Step-Mother who passed away a few years before Dad.

There were a few pictures on the memory card of their last Christmas together which was nice to see. Dad’s wife loved photography. Here are two of her photographs that remained on the memory card.

One of her favourite subject matters…. Frogs

I took the camera with me on my afternoon walk with Chi, aka The fat Mongrel, to try it out.

The settings on the camera were low quality which I discovered when I downloaded the pictures, so not a bad effort for a wee point and shoot.

I’m not sure how old the camera is but it takes AAA batteries and I can’t get a usb for it so I’m taking the shots off the camera via the sd card. I don’t take my good canon camera with me when I’m out on the motorbike but this one might come in handy.

 

 

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De-smudged

The last time we went to the Gold Coast I came home with a smudge on my photos I could not remove.

I’d been out taking pictures of the surfers at Coolangatta.

 

All of a sudden, up popped a couple of spots.

 

I took the camera back to the apartment and using the cleaning kit did the best I could but was left with some smudges.

The camera repair guy said inside my camera was rather grubby but I’ve got it back now good as new.

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Surfing Kirra Point

There are a number of great surfing spots around the Coolangatta coastline on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.

One of these is Kirra Point. Kirra Point was once a much bigger beach, and home to some truly legendary pipelines. Unfortunately, the groyne at Kirra was reduced when the government started shifting sand from the Tweed River to allow fishing boats to pass safely. This ruined Kirra’s reputation for a while, and it’s only just clawed itself back into the good graces of surfers again. (Ref)


This point allows spectators to view the surfers close up and it is a popular place for photographers.


Don’t get too close to the edge.

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New Digs

Twelve plus months ago, measures were put in place to keep MM’s (My Man)  parents in their own home as long as possible. There were visits from the home-care workers twice daily. The morning attendant helped them with showers, dressing, made breakfast, managed their prescriptions and did general cleaning. Before she left she would make lunch, leaving it in the fridge for them to help themselves. The afternoon attendant took care of the evening meal, tidying up and would do any shopping when required.

Recently, MM’s parent’s doctor advised him his parents can no longer live in their home after both of them were admitted into hospital a couple of times over a 2 month period due to ill-health.

The ill-health really related to old age and mismanagement of everything from their dietary requirements to their prescriptions. We noticed how little they ate and on many days forgot or not want to eat at least one of the three daily meals. The attendant would place the meds on the kitchen table for them to take but they did not watch to see that the medication needed to manage Alzheimer was being tossed in the rubbish bin by the Old Bugger (Aussie term of endearment).  Cheeky sod decided he didn’t need it hence him not eating some meals. He kept thinking he had just eaten breakfast no matter what time of day or night it was.

MM would like to spend more time with his parents at this late stage of their life. To be blunt, every day is a bonus. MM and I had some long conversations and spent a few hours researching what services were available and decided to move them in with us rather than an aged care facility. They receive high care services now and can go up another level when the time comes for hospice care.

So we’ve sold the oldies house and moved them and ourselves to Woody Point. We have purchased a house with a granny flat which is set up for aged care and retained the home help services. We can now oversee their care and MM can spend some time with them after work. He is especially happy that he can plonk the old guy on a chair in the man cave and chat to him while he is working on projects. The Redcliffe area has many aged care facilities providing respite services. We will place them in one of these facilities for their care when we want to go away.

We are both really happy to be back in the area and living by the water again.

 

 

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Gippsland Lakes

The Gippsland Lakes is the largest system of inland waterways in Australia. If you are visiting Eastern Victoria, stopping at Lakes Entrance for a few days of exploring, will be well worth your while.

These photographs were taken a couple of years ago on a walk-about.

Playing with the lens flare filter in Photoshop.

Have a lovely weekend.

 

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Old School

Me sitting at my “computer desk”. My hardware.. dirt. My software.. imagination.

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