21/10/88

V.V. HOT  We had the alarm set for 4:30 but it was still too dark so we didn’t get up till about 5:00.  Packed up the stuff & dropped the tent & got everything into the car & headed away. Stopped & took a photo of the sun rising through the bush-fire haze.

fullsizeoutput_2f8

Bushfire haze at dawn, Carnarvon Gorge National Park, Queensland.

It took about an hour and a half to get out to the tar-seal.  Got some petrol at Rolleston and some brekkie at the cafe in Springsure. Drove on to Emerald and got there about 11:00. Booked into 707 Motel & had a shower. Went and did some washing at the laundrette then relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. Had Big Rooster¹ for tea.

¹ Big Rooster (now called Red Rooster) is an Australian fast food chicken chain.

20/10/88

V HOT  We got up at about 7:30 and lit the fire.  We cooked bacon and eggs for brekkie and fought off the flies and bugs and birds that wanted to eat it before we could. We ended up eating in the tent to escape their wicked clutches. Wrote a few postcards and slacked around then went up to the resort¹.  Sat on the porch and drink shandies for about an hour. Bought some cans of drink and ice and drove back. In the afternoon we sat in the pools in the creek to cool off and tried unsuccessfully to escape the heat. Packed up some of our gear and gave our remaining firewood & milk to a couple of German guys.

¹ http://www.takarakka.com.au/

 

19/10/88

V HOT Got up at about 7:30 again and John & Naomi packed up their gear. After exchanging addresses and goodbyes they left, bound for Emerald and Mackay then on to Cairns.  Linda and I spent the rest of the morning sitting around, she writing postcards and me reading. We went for a drive up to the shop at 12:00 and sat in the bar drinking a can of beer each and playing darts – Linda won – Lucky! We bought some cans of drink, milk and ice then went back to camp. After a quick snack, we wandered round the nature trail and I went for a dip in a pool we found. Two kookaburras, “Gargle” and Mr T”,  came to help us eat our dinner of Irish stew spuds and cauli.

Ash

A bushfire was burning throughout our time at Carnarvon Gorge. This smudge is from a piece of ash which fell on my diary the previous day.

18/10/88

V HOT We got up about 7:30 and had cereal and toast for breakfast.  It appears that the bushfire is still burning!¹ 4 of us went for a walk 1.5 km up the gorge to the Moss Gardens (cool and damp) Then another 1.5 km to the Amphitheatre which you have to climb a ladder and chain then walk through a 3-4 foot wide chasm to get into. An amazing place.

fullsizeoutput_625

Entrance to The Amphitheatre, Carnarvon National Park, QLD,

We trudged home in the heat and spent the afternoon relaxing. Went for a swim in the (stagnant!) pool.  We pooled out food at night and had a feast of rice, corned beef, kidney

fullsizeoutput_627

The Amphitheatre.

beans, snags and cauli. We showed them our photos of home.

¹A bush fire was burning in several parts of the National Park.

 

 

 

fullsizeoutput_626

No safety barriers here, The Amphitheatre, Carnarvon Gorge NP, QLD.

17/10/88

V.V. HOT  I got up at about 5:30  and had a light brekkie then packed up and hit the road. Drove down to Springsure then the car blew up 10 kilometres from Rolleston. A couple of guys came by in a Toyota and towed us into Rolleston where the mechanic diagnosed broken timing gear. We hitched a ride in a big road-train back to Springsure, withdrew $300 from the bank then hitched a ride back to Rolleston. The repairs cost $183 -00 ($54 for the parts, the rest for labour!!) and we were headed for Carnarvon¹ again. Stopped along the way to collect firewood and arrived, hot and dusty, at 4:30. Pitched the tent beside an English couple named John and Naomi who have ridden overland from GB² on motorbikes.

¹Carnarvon Gorge National Park. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnarvon_Gorge
²Great Britain

 

16/10/88

V HOT We set the alarm for 5:00 &  got up at about 10 past. Packed up all our stuff and headed out. Stopped at a roadhouse for a bacon and eggs brekkie (YUM)  then drove through thick fog for about 10 minutes. The drive out to Emerald was pretty boring through cattle and wheat country.  We got there at about 12 and booked into the Karina Motor Camp in one of their units. Went to the Emerald pool for a swim then relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. Went to a market and got some veggies and had chops for tea. Watched TV which is shit on the ABC¹ in went to bed.

¹The ABC is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the country’s national, state-owned tv channel.

15/10/88

HOT  I got up at about 7 this morning and went up to the office to pay for another night in the camping ground. No one was up there so we had a swim then went into the shopping centre. Bought a few more stores at Woolworths and went to Franklins to get a few more No Frills groceries.  After lunch, we went to The Criterion for a drink then drove around for a while. Spent the rest of the arvo reading and Linda wrote to Rachel¹. We got a meal of b-b-q chicken from across the road for tea then went to the Drive-In. It was weird but the two movies “Someone to Watch Over Me” & “Like Father, Like Son”, were good.

¹Her step-sister.

14/10/88

HOT  We got up early and went up to the office to ring Terry Vail¹.  He wasn’t home so we left a message to ring back. We went to the shopping centre and bought a chilly bin and got our photos developed at Kmart.  Went back to the camping ground and had a swim then Terry turned up. Went to The Criterion pub for a beer then drove (fast!!) around Rockhampton for 2 hours.  When we got back to the CG we were dropped off and slept for the rest of the afternoon. We had a meal of chilli sausages for tea which wasn’t very nice then had a swim before we went to bed.

¹My cousin Terry Vail worked on Mena Park (see BACKSTORY Part 5: Australia  https://wordpress.com/view/curseofthetraveller.wordpress.com ) and was in Rockhampton on business.

13/10/88

We had brekkie in bed (toast, juice, & bacon and eggs YUM!!) at 8 then got up and showered.  Rearranged all our gear so we can operate out of one pack. Packed the car up then went and got the spare tire fixed then we went into town to look for mattresses. Wandered into the mall and had a beer in a pub then went and bought 2 single mattresses for $30.  Went to the RACQ* and tourist info place at the Capricorn Monument*

fullsizeoutput_5d6

Linda at the Tropic of Capricorn Marker, Rockhampton, QLD.

then went and booked into the “Tropical Wanderer” camping ground. Pitched the tent and had a swim then went to a nearby Woolies and stocked up on utensils and cheap food. Linda’s cooking steaks on an open air gas barbie and the trees are full of rosellas squawking.

 

*Royal Automobile Club of Queensland.
** Rockhampton is situated on the Tropic of Capricorn, the line encircling the globe halfway between the Equator and the South Pole.

12/10/88

V HOT Woke up about 7 and got up, showered, breakfast, packed up and did our duty. Left our gear on the pallet* and went down to the resort. Cashed a traveller’s cheque then bought a couple of G.K.I. t-shirts and some other souvenirs.  Went down to Keppel Quatics and hided a catamaran and spent an hour on the water. Had lunch at the Shell House then went for a swim. The “Victory” departed at 4:00 after we had carried out packs down from the YH because the Land Rover was kaput**. Got the bus back to the hostel said goodbye to Sean and Ann¹, and drove down and booked into the “David Motel.” Had tea there and did all our washing.

* a wooden landing where luggage to be loaded onto the island’s shuttle boat was left.
** The only vehicle on GKI was an old Land Rover used to transport people down to the beach from the resort. On this occasion it wouldn’t start.
¹An English couple we had got to know on the island.