Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Pitching the tent

Woodgate beach to 1770

After getting bitten by sandflies and not being able to get online in any fashion we were happy to be back on the road again. Our next stop was Captain Cooks second Australian landing spot and the first in Queensland. Guess what year? 

Just a few miles up the road we encountered another ISIS compound. I always thought they didn't like dogs but....

Our first eyeopener when we got to the 1770 harbour was this semi aquatic vehicle that does tours around the marshes. Looks interesting, maybe another time. 

There is a nice walk at the end of the road to the Joseph Banks Conservation park. 

The main attraction is trees which must be climbed.

1770 to Gladstone

We felt that 100km was not enough for one day and since it was still early we decided to press on. A few hours later we were in Gladstone. We took no pictures as there is really not much to see if you are not into industrial infrastructure. The harbour and surrounds are just an eyesore. Is the coal industry really more valuable than the potential tourist industry?

This is not to say that our stay was uneventful. Again I piked out on camping as I was tired after quite a drive and we checked into a motel. At 3am I was woken by a car idling in front of our room so I got up with the intention of politely telling the person responsible to.....

It was a young shirtless fellow with quite a cheeky attitude who ran to the car quickly when he noticed that his attempts at humour were not as well received as he may have hoped. I went back to bed feeling a bit annoyed unable to sleep. About 10 or 15 minutes later I heard our door open and there he was again. "I just came to check if your sheets are clean" and then sprinted off as I got up and gave a short chase. Anyway, he made it back to his car again, I told him to go home and sleep it off as he seemed quite high, locked the door this time and went to sleep.

Next morning the police arrived! I was the only person to have seen him but he had been in other rooms, had stolen wallets and keys and the car he was driving was stolen. I had assumed he was just a teenager skylarking. Feeling stupid now. Even worse, I made the local news

Gladstone to Emerald

We were undecided whether to follow the coast road or turn inland so left the choice to Nina. When told the possibility of finding Emeralds or Sapphires she decided on inland.

We turned left just before Rockhampton and being a city slicker it did not occur to me to fill up before heading west. The next town was Westwood and the petrol station there was closed. Luckily we made it to the next town Duaringa before the gauge showed empty. We stopped at the Westwood pub for bad,expensive ($5) instant coffee and good advice. There were no trees one could climb bit here was a rock.

The A4 highway runs along the railway line most of the way to Blackwater and we saw the longest trains imaginable. Despite going in the opposite direction they seemed to go on forever, all loaded to the brim with "humanities future", uncovered of course.

We finally made it to Emerald and instead of just winging it, this time we went straight to the Central highlands tourist office. This is where I am right now actually, charging my laptop and connecting successfully for the first time in days.

The ladies here are knowledgeable, helpful and very friendly. After getting some advice we headed off to Lake Maraboon Holiday Village . We pitched (actually threw) our tent for the first time and stayed two days because it was so nice. Nina didn't want to leave this morning because she fell in love with the Rainbow Lorikeets   

The lake apparently holds three times the volume of Sydney Harbour and is brimming with fish and Redclaw but we didn't get lucky. :-(

Cockatoos abound here as well and are used to people. This one, when spotting me pointing the phone, started waddling towards me wondering if its food. 

The wildlife is not the only attraction. Happy hour (4.30pm) attracts a lot of campers and the Kookaburra's know they are likely to get a feed.

Time to go look for precious stones!
wish us luck:-)

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