Nuga Nuga National Park

6th April – After packing up we ducked back up to the lookout and picnic area. Great views back over the valley.

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Paddling-on-Lake-Nuga-Nuga

Wow Nuga Nuga Lake is huge. It is the largest natural water body within the central Qld sandstone belt. And birds wow, heaps of them. Dead trees in the lake with lots of purple water lilies at the bases. Drats we didn’t bring the kayak this trip. The birds are little far out onto the water for my lens and rather skittish. So far we have seen black swans, ducks, darters, cormorants, terns, white faced herons, great egrets, kites, pelicans, great crested grebes, spoonbill, geese, kookaburras, plus a few others we can’t identify. The terns are swooping down getting fish. The sky is dark and gloomy with the threat of rain. Heaps of kangaroos.

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Nuga-Nuga-dead-Trees

There are no facilities at the lake, camping is bush camping wherever you can find a spot it seems. Sites are rocky, and uneven, lots of trees, lots of flies, lots of bugs. We are camped out on an island overlooking the lake. Ok as long as we don’t get heavy rain. There are lots of dead trees on the ground, we assume it’s from trees that have washed up from the lake in times of flood. It seems we are in the prime spot though as any newcomers head here first. There are tracks leading around the lake and one assumes campsites too. It seems to be a popular spot.

Muddy-Kids

We met some boys who had been having a mud fight. They were covered in mud front and back, they were heading into the water to wash off, good luck.

Nuga-Nuga-Sunset

We finished the day off eating tea around the fire and even though it was overcast we did get a bit of a sunset over the lake. The light rain ended our night early.

20130406 Nuga Nuga

Lake Nuga Nuga

7th April – It drizzled light rain all night. We woke to overcast skies. We were ready to get up early with the birds as it were but it was raining and the birds didn’t get up that early. It wasn’t until 10.30am before the Lillie’s started to open.

Butterfly

Egret2Nesting

We spent the day walking around our little island, watching the birds, making scones, muffins and then pizza for lunch and general relaxing.

Lake-Nuga-Nuga-3 Nuga-Nuga-Tree

We did see some blue sky but it soon came over grey and the clouds were too thick for a sunset.

Black-Swan

Just-Hanging-around

We finished the night with another campfire.

Isla Gorge National Park

8th April – We woke to blue skies, be about right the day we are leaving. We did get woken up during the night by lots of birds noises and a kookaburra laughing in a tree above us in the early wee hours.

Lake-Nuga-Nuga-4

We ended up doing a tyre, long story but its cactus. The road from Nuga Nuga to the main HWY is a bit rough in places.

We stopped 7 km’s east of Moura at a rest area by the Dawson River, also a camping area. Great day area, camping is a large grassy area that was already filling up by 1.30pm. They do ask for a donation for the upkeep of the place. There are toilets, that are old and showers were operated by $1 coin. There is a fishing comp this weekend; it looked like some of the campers were a part of that.

Dawson-River

We did a few essentials at Moura before heading out of town and stopping at the Moura mine viewing platform with a view over the open cut mine. Not a lot to see apart from a big hole in the ground. We could see some of the big trucks in the distance and a dragline.

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We have come across lots of road works today. We headed south to Isla Gorge National Park. There was a fire west of the road in some bush that was not close to the road but was spreading thick smoke around the area. So there is lots of smoke outside, the canvas is doing a good job of stopping it from getting inside. Strong smell of smoke outside.

Isla-Gorge-Shelter-view Isla-Gorge-Smoky

The camp area is fairly small, fit about 5/6 vans, campers. There is a day area and lookout over the gorge right next to the small camping area.

We retreated into the camper pretty early as the smoke was getting thicker.

20130408 Isla Gorge

Ghost Town, Bat Cave & Gin

9th April – We had a bit of a rough night. Chris was up checking the smoke or should I say checking he couldn’t see evidence the fire had jumped the road. It looked like the fire was a distance away but it can be deceiving.

Isla-Gorge-view

The smoke has mostly cleared when we got up before the sun this morning. Still a bit of a haze and the sun stayed hidden behind clouds or smoke haze.

We cut across to Cracow via Isla Delusion road, was actually a very pretty short cut. Creek crossings with palms would have been a great area to pull off the road for the night.

The main St of Cracow is like a ghost town. Very old buildings, broken front buildings, falling verandas not much left of what wold have been a quaint little town. The only life seems to be the mining in the area.

Bank-of-NSW Cracow

From Cracow to Eidsvold to Mt Perry to “The Bat Cave”, Boolboonda Tunnel. It had a lot of water on the ground so we drove through. Just as well as there were heaps more bats than last time, hundreds of the tiny things, makes the skin crawl.

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Then it was to Gin Gin for the night, we got in unusually early for us and had our pick of spots.

20130409 Gin Gin

Bundaberg & Bargara

10th April – It was soooooo noisy last night. Truck and traffic noise all night. There wasn’t many in here last night, maybe they consider this has become too noisy. I think some of the issue is the road work with traffics coming in big lumps not just one here and there.

20130410 Bargara

We enjoyed our stay at Bargara so much last time we have decided to call in for a few nights to finish this trip off. Depending on what the weather does, it’s cool and overcast at the moment.

Barrel

Packup

12th April – The weather wasn’t that good at Bargara, cold winds and rain, but it’s still a nice place. Alas the time has come to an end so it’s homeward bound until next time, which will be Cape York in July 🙂

20130412 Home

Flies, bugs, mozzies and creepy crawlies

I think we have all experienced being pestered by bugs and insects, been bitten by little sand flies or the mozzie. Had the flies trying to carry your food away or the ants that won’t stay out of your kitchen. It can be bad enough when you are trying to have a family BBQ or picnic but go camping in the outback; well you really experience the little suckers.

The first time we experienced bad flies was when we did a trip to the snowy mountains, climbing Kosciusko with all the little flies hitching a ride on our backs. When we were at corner country last year the flies were out in force, from sun up to sun down they never left us alone. Trying to crawl into the corners of our eyes or our mouth, leave a wet cloth out and it would be covered within minutes. A glass of water would have flies in it before you could get it to your mouth. We would make lunch quick and jump into the 4wd to eat it. We met some guys at Mt Moffatt this Easter who said they had just been out to Birdsville and the flies well they said they were nearly carried away, hundreds on their arms, had us in fits of laughter with their stories of the pesky buzzing things.

Horse-Riding

First time we tried fly nets was when we went horseback riding in the Snowy Mountains and the lady leading the ride handed us some, ever since they have been a part of our kit.

Fly-Net

Our first ones were stiff like wire and always sat out from our face, we thought they were a good idea as they never blew into our face; trouble is they left big gaping holes for the flies to get in and get trapped. Many a time Chris would jump into the car with his fly hat on and I would look at him and say your net is full of flies, quick get out. So we have found the soft nets that sit on top of your hat work the best they also fold up nice and small. I also have a hat that has the fly net attached that works really well. Just remember to lift the net when you have a drink, Chris has forgotten a few times 🙂

Wot-Flies

Now when it comes to fly repellent, I think we have nearly tried them all, we carry an assortment with us. Aerogard doesn’t work, think they drink the stuff. Don’t like the ones with high DEET so haven’t tried them. Ya Mate Fly Stuff works pretty well, made from natural, organic ingredients. Find you do have to reapply it every few hours. A local at Birdsville shared with me what the locals used, he said it works, it stinks but they all wear it so they all stink together 🙂 It’s called Nature’s Botanical and it’s in a tub, all natural ingredients. A bit sticky but it really does work and stink.

And to really get away from the flies I bought a large mozzie net you put over a bed, sewed fishing sinkers along the bottom to hold the net down and in place and throw it over a beach umbrella, held in place by some velcro on the top. 2 seats can fit under and it works a treat, quick to set up and gives us a reprieve from the flies.

Reprieve

Mozzies and sand flies – grr my favourite, not! They really like my blood; if they are around they will find me. Sand flies have me itching with big red welts for weeks. In this situation it’s a case of being diligent, any insect repellent works well. Not a fan of insect repellent so I don’t put it on straight away, I have to learn to put it on at dusk and wear it around my feet and ankles at any time. I prefer to use natural ones but they don’t work for more than a few hrs. But I do use them after I have had a shower at night so I am not wearing some chemical to bed. Ya Mate also make a mozzie repellent, quite like the OFF brand of insect repellent, smells ok, rubs in well, also lasts a while, just bought the new tropical one that supposed to last for 6 hrs. Mozzie coils also work really well. Some people use Dettol and Baby Oil, don’t like it personally and has to be reapplied regularly.

Ticks – have found Aerogard Tropical works great at keeping ticks off; make sure you spray your clothes as well.

Ants – we now carry Borax sprinkle this around your site or where the ants are. Talc powder is also supposed to work, just starting carrying that, haven’t tried it yet. Of course Ant Rid also works.

Bugs at night – well we certainly attract lots of them. Some people say led lights don’t attract them; well they haven’t been where we go. If we sit outside at night we usually have to turn the lights off due to the bugs, unless we are on the coast. We have just bought a dual led light strip, same make as the light we were using so can do a straight swap on the camper. One strip is the white led, the other yellow, with a dimmer to control which colour strip is on. Yet to try is so will update this when we have. We carried a small bug zapper with us for a while but it was pretty useless.

Killer-Bees

We have had bees, fuzzy caterpillar things, spiders and plenty of other crawling, flying insects; since we never know what we will encounter we always carry insect spray and surface spray with us. Some are easier than others to deal with but it’s all part of camping in the great outdoors and we wouldn’t stop camping for quids. Sure we could do with a few less flies in the world though 😀

If anyone else has any tips on dealing with the flying insect or creepy crawlies drop us a line.

The Rugged Cape York

Well we are off on another adventure, to the Tip of Australia, Cape York, straight up the Old Telegraph Track. This has been a long term dream to travel to the Cape and we are finally doing it 🙂 We are all packed, hooked up and raring to go. Head off as soon as Chris comes home from work tonight. The idea is to get a few km’s under our belt tonight as we have a long way to go. Then the next few days will be just driving. We want to get to Mt Molloy area as quick as we can with our journey really starting from there.

Ready-to-go

We have 4 weeks all up, which we thought would be enough but after looking at the map, listening to people’s suggestions of places to visit and watching many DVD’s we are now thinking 4 weeks might not be enough. Oh well will just have to do it again another time 🙂 Weipa, Vrilya point, Seisa, day trip to Thursday Island, few nights at Elliot Falls, Fruit Bat Falls, and all the OTT has to offer. Lakefield National Park and I’m sure a few other places are all in the plan. We are also considering doing the Old Coach Road and visiting the old gold town of Maytown, but this really depends on time.

We have done a few more mods to the Ute, front and rear diff locks, airbags and on board compressor with a 4l air tank. Chris installed all the switches and air bits himself, the guys at ARB were very impressed with his work. We also bought a water bra/blind for the water crossing’s and with full recovery gear, winches etc. we shouldn’t have any issues. Least we know there will be plenty of other people up the Cape if we do get stuck, great the way we can all help each other out, we will also do the same for anyone else.

Switches

All the switches installed near the gear stick, easy to get to and operate.

Air-tank-and-bits

4 lt air tank, gauge sensors, airbag solenoids, diff locker solenoids, manifold, filter, etc. all installed under a flip up lid, so everything is hidden and kept clean and protected in the cabin of the Ute. Compressor is installed in the section below the air tank, all easy to get to.

The idea of the airbags is they will have very little air in them when we are travelling but if we need a bit more off a lift on the back end on any creek crossing we can give ourselves a bit more clearance. Also we can pump them up to level us at overnight stops and not have to unhook 🙂

Not sure how much internet reception we will have and it can be hard to do a lot of posting when we are on the move but we will certainly fully update our site when we are home. We have setup a Facebook page, for quick updates of where we are, what we are doing etc which should be easier on the road, so why not follow us.

Cape York

19/7/13 – Chris was able to get home a bit earlier from work so we were on the road just after 5pm. We left in rain and had it on and off until past the Sunshine Coast turnoffs and travel was heavy until then as well. We also drove through a bit off fog later in the night.

We made it to Granite Creek rest area for the night 401 km from home, in bed by 10.30pm, all up a pretty good run.

20/7/13 – What a noisy night, lots of traffic noise, the rest area is near a bridge so we could here thump thump as car and trucks went over the bridge, we did manage to get some sleep though.

Up at 5.45am and pulling out just before 6am. It was foggy and wet so we put the tarp on the bed to keep everything dry.

Always a bit of a worry when you see a sign saying roadworks for the next 200km and in the fog. Fortunately no one was working and we just had to slow to the speed limits. Breaky stop was at Mt Larcom.

We had a good run through to Guthalungra area 784 km from our start this morning, big day. We were only held up once for 10 mins at roadworks. The rest area in Guthalungra was packed and overflowing with vans. We had decided before we would go and check out Elliot River camping area. Turnoff is just before the bridge on the south side of Guthalungra. It’s is approx 8kms to the camp area down a dirt road, which is pretty good and a lovely drive. 5kms in there is a closed gate, with a donation box. 2-3 km down the road you come to a whole heap of fishing huts, we were surprised at how many there were. You drive past them, past the “Fish n Sip” we assume is the pub to the small camping area that was full.

Elliot-Heads-Road

With no room for us we drove back down the road a bit and found a lovely spot overlooking the river, with pelicans and fish jumping in the water, next to a lovely tree and all to ourselves 🙂 well with a few cows to keep us company, will be an early night tonight.

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