New and improved

After our last big trip the Ute was in need of a few repairs. One was to get the back door repaired under insurance after someone tried to break in the back before we headed off. Metalink were doing the repair on that.

The other was the chassis needed some repair work. After consultation with Creative Conversions it was decided to get the chassis extended 350mm and strengthen the existing chassis. This then puts the back axle back further enabling the Ute to better carry a load. All Ute’s should be built this way. We are now noticing all the Ute’s with trays ending a long way past the back axles.

Extension

The end result is a much stronger Ute that can carry a load and the canopy is now secured stronger and better with 2 more places to bolt it on, now a total of 8 points.  So we are very happy with the end result.

This did all mean a lot of work for Chris as he had to empty out the canopy, removing wires, drawers  shelves etc. so the canopy could be removed. Then of course put it all back in. The plus side was he was able to put it all back together better and tidier with wires hidden behind ducting and some rearranging of some things to suit us better. He also put connectors on all wires so he can easily disconnect them and remove the canopy as one unit if we want too. We now also have some led spot lights on the back of the Ute to help in setting up in the dark and a gauge on the water tank.

Expedition National Park

This trip we are taking a few weeks over Easter and heading west stopping in at a few national parks. We spent the first night at Swinging Bridge Rest Area, a good distance from home for the first night. We arrived a little after 8pm; the place was fuller than we had seen it before with a few looking like they were set up for the Easter break.

20130328 Home to Swinging Bridge

29th & 30th March – There was a very heavy dew which meant the canvas was wet in the morning. It was still wet when we packed up so we put a small tarp on the bed to keep it dry just in case.

We are taking a bit more leisurely pace this trip. We stopped at Dalby for morning tea and sat and enjoyed our cuppa with another couple, each talking about our travels, also owners of an Aussie Swag.

At Miles we had lunch near the river just outside of town under the gums watching the geese and Corella’s, just enjoying the scenery.

Geese Park

The directions into Expedition National Park, Robinson Gorge Section, Starvale Camping area can be found on their web site and are pretty straight forward to follow. Takes about 2 hrs. to travel the 89 km’s. The first 34 Km’s are bitumen then its dirt road. The road is mostly pretty good, only the last 16 km’s is 4wd only.  There are lots of cattle that can wander onto the road so watch out for them.

Camping-at-Expedition Creek

There were 7 other lots of campers with one large group at the camping area. Sites can be found in mowed sections of varying sizes. There are long drop loos and non-drinking tap water. There is also a creek with a swimming hole that we were told was a little cool. There are also several walks from 1.2kms to 6kms return, grade 4. Since I was recovering from a bad head cold and sinus infection we just relaxed, caught up on some reading and generally chilled out for a few days. Was way too hot to go for a steep walk anyway, lots of ants and sand flies here.

20130329 Expedition

Q – Expedition National Park

Expedition National Park, Robinson Gorge Section, Starvale Camping area – T, OR, W, $. Follow directions from off the National parks website, takes about 2hrs to travel 89 kms. Last 16km’s 4WD only. Sites in mowed sections, one large area near creek. Long drop loo’s. Non-drinking water tap. Watch out for the sandflies, lots of walks and a creek. Rating – 3.5

Expedition-camp-area Expedition-camp-area-1 Expedition-camp-area-2 Expedition-camp-area-3 Loos

Lake Murphy Conservation Reserve

31st March – We woke to an overcast morning with everyone bar 2 groups packing up. We thought they must have known something we didn’t. We had already decided to move on, despite what everyone else was doing.

We went out an alternate route which would bring us back onto the Leichhardt Hwy 18 km’s north of Taroom. This route passes Lake Murphy Conservation Reserve where we have stopped for a night. Currently some light rain, well heavy rain now. 2 other campers turned up in the rain for the night. As it turned out we had quite a bit of rain.

Camping-Area-3

This is a beaut camp area. Green grass recently mowed. 6 camping areas divided by log fences sites vary in size. Each site has a table, one has a fire pit, there is also a general fire area. Some long drop loos and a day area with a reasonable size undercover area with 4 more tables. Lots of Apostle Birds, Babblers and other birds.

Camping-Area-4 Day-Area-Hut

It is only a 300m walk to the lake from our site, which does not always have water in it. The path down to the lake is like it is moss covered a pretty walk. We got to what we assumed was the edge of the lake that was overgrown with vegetation and muddy path, we could go no further so didn’t see any water.

We had large moths trying to get into the camper and little frogs, we had 3 get into the camper must have been lots outside in the drizzle.

20130331 Expedition to Lake Murphy

Injune

1st April – We woke to sun and blue skies, great for drying out the camper. We had a leisurely morning, no rush, gave the canvas plenty of time to dry out. A lovely spot worth stopping for the night.

We took the road signposted to Injune, turnoff just outside Taroom on the north side. 159 km’s of mostly good dirt road. Well 100 km’s of it, was a very lovely scenic picturesque drive. The road does get a bit rough approx. 50 km’s to Injune for about 15 km’s before hitting the tar. The tar was pretty rough with massive pot holes.

Well that sucks, well from our perspective it does. Injune has been hit by the mining company. They have bought the local caravan park which was always a great place to stay. It is now filled with mining cars and dongas. You can still get sites there but we didn’t make any inquires. Wow just looked on their web site, $40 a day powered and $25 unpowered. That’s what you would expect to pay in a lot bigger park with more facilities in a major town or city, used to be you got a couple of nights free and then it was $5 a night. The information centre has moved to a new building but was closed on Easter Monday when we came through, might call in on the way out. There is a new Spar supermarket open 7 days, a chemist, new playground and I’m sure a few other changes. No longer the sleepy rustic town it was, that’s progress for you good and bad.

We were able to fill up with water at a tap at the info centre and top up with fuel. There is a dump point near the servo.

Campsite-for-the-night

We pulled off for the night approx. 70 km’s on the way to Mt Moffatt in an old quarry with great views hidden from the road.

20130401 Lake Murphy to Camp

Mt Moffatt

2nd April – We woke to beautiful blue skies after a very quiet night. The road is now bitumen for 78 km’s from Injune before hitting dirt.

As with all roads, conditions can change, especially dirt roads. Mt Moffatt road is no different. Since we were last here the vegetation is thicker and taller with some growing on the road narrowing what was once a fairly wide road in many places. There are ruts, dips, damp area, gullies, water over the road, cattle, cattle grids, horses and of course wildlife.

Road-near-slab-hut Road-puddle

Approx. 126 km’s from Injune is Slab Hut a great place to stop for morning tea. There is nothing listing the history of the hut, age or who built it. There are also some old cattle yards.

Slab-Hut

Cattle-Yards

Inside-the-hut

We had Dargonelly Rock Hole campground to ourselves for a whole 5hrs. But it is a large grassy area so plenty of places. There is a new toilet block and several non-drinking water taps. We had several Butcherbirds try and have a taste of our bacon and eggs for lunch. We thought they were going to take it out of our hands they were so cheeky. A small group of kangaroos came and sunned themselves up the other end of the campground. There is quite a bit of water in the creek with several swimming holes. One would have had over 100 tiny little black frogs; they were piled up on top of each other in some areas. Some were half taddies and half frogs. Turns out our fellow campers were part of a group we saw at Robinson Gorge section of Exhibition National Park.

Dargonelly-Camping New-Loos

Dargonelly-Rock-Hole

FrogsYou are supposed to book online for Mt Moffat but there is a sign pointing to the ranger’s station also saying camping permits.

We heard dingoes howling earlier.

20130402 Dargonelly

Mt Moffatt – Day 2

3rd April – We had pancakes for breakfast and a leisurely morning before doing the loop and driving to the information hut where you can still self-register. There are some information boards on the area. Some old cattle yards and the old station buildings which are now occupied by the ranger’s quarters and office. Lots of kangaroos were resting in the shade.

Info-Hut

Cattle-yards-at-rangers-hut Road-near-ranger-hut

We drove in and checked out West Branch Camping Area. Over twice the size of Dargonelly, more trees, more of a bushy setting. Quite a nice spot. This is also one of the camping areas on route for the Carnarvon Great Walk. There is a swinging bridge that leads back onto the walk, it was very swingy.

West-BranchGreat-Walk Walk-Bridge

We then stopped in a Lot’s Wife, a very tall pillar of sandstone which is the last remnant of a bluff that once extended across the area. It is only a very short walk from the road.

Lots-Wife

Next stop was Kookaburra Cave, 850m easy walk from the road, there are a few stairs near the end that led up to a platform to view the small number of Aboriginal rock art.

Kookaburra-Cave-Art Kookaburra-Cave-Boardwalk

Then it was back for lunch. All the sites in Mt Moffatt have to be driven to. A trip around the park can easily add up to over 100 km’s so make sure you have plenty of fuel.

We had a relaxing arvo around camp, enjoying the tranquillity, listening to the birds singing, the rustle of the leaves in the breeze and at times the complete utter silence. Watching the white puffy clouds forming then dissipating before our eyes. The only annoying aspects are the buzzing mossies. There are quite a few of them due to the water in the creek which is mostly stagnant.

Dargonelly-Camping-2

For arvo tea I cooked fruit scones in the baby Webber which we ate as we watched the newly arrived camper’s setup camp.

We finished off the day with lamb roast which we ate around the campfire, a most enjoyable relaxing day.

Cossy-Fire

Nights are a bit cooler here its winter PJ’s for bed.

20130403 Mt Moffatt Circuit

Mt Moffatt – Day 3

4th April – We had a bit of a restless night last night what with dingoes howling on and off all night and a very late camper arriving at 12.30am at night.

Rotary-Shelter-ShedRotary-Shelter-Shed-view

Day trip today up to Top Shelter Shed, 4wd drive only up to a picnic area which is at the level of the old surface of the Buckland Volcano. The camping area Rotary Shelter Shed is also up there. The road is rocky and has lots of drainage mounds. Great views at Rotary Shelter Shed camping area, looks like find a spot wherever you can. Not a big area would be cold at night. Did have a shelter area and toilet.

Top-Shelter-Shed Top-Shelter-Shed-view

Amazing views at the Top Shelter shed, was lovely to have morning tea and lunch and lookout at the views. There is no toilet but there is water and table and chairs. Can just get Telstra Next G with the phone plugged into an aerial.

On the way you pass Kenniff Lockout, the notorious Kenniff brothers are said to have used the peak as their lookout.

Mahogany-Forest

From the Shelter Shed its a few km’s to Mahogany Forest and the head of Carnarvon Creek. Well it’s supposed to be 4 km’s but we clocked it at over 6 km’s not much to see at the head of the creek but it’s a lovely drive. We had a fleetly glance of some wild brumbies.

The road to the Murder and Incineration site was closed. The “Murder Site” where it is believed the brothers James and Patrick Kenniff murdered Constable George Doyle and station manager Christian Dahlke in 1902. The Incineration Site is where it is believed the brothers cremated the bodies of Doyle and Dahlke, all a bit grim.

Next stop was Marlong Arch, a short walk from the road. Lots of trees in the area so hard to photography just the arch.

Marlong-Arch Marlong-Arch-1

We caught up with both our neighbours and had a good chat to both of them. The late comers in the wee hours were 2 brothers that had just been out to Birdsville for the 200th edition of 4wd Action. They had us in fits of laughter complaining about the flies and heat.

20130404 Top Shelter Shed

Mt Moffatt – Injune – Lonesome

5th April – Slept well last night it was also a bit warmer. While we waiting for the canvas to dry from the dew we chatted a bit more to one of our neighbours before packing up and then having morning tea.

Chimneys The-Chimneys

On the way out we stopped at the Chimneys Circuit. A 5.8 km walk leading to the Looking Glass, Cathedral Rock, The Chimneys and The Tombs. We had done this area before so we just did the short walk to The Chimneys.

We had lunch at Injune, filled up the water at the info centre and got some info. The Injune council is building a new caravan park just coming into Injune on the Roma side. In the mean time they are letting people camp at Possum Creek (I think, Possum something) has showers, toilets and power for $12 a night.

Next stop was fuel. We were told by someone that the fuel depot was cheaper than the BP fuel in the main St and it was, $1.53, several cents cheaper.

Lonesome-Camping-2

Lonesome-Camping-3

We headed out towards Expedition National Park, Lonesome Section. Someone had said to us it was lonesome at Lonesome, fine by us. There are no facilities, smallish camp area at the base of some cliffs in a bush setting. There is Telstra Next G when plugged into an aerial. Some great scenic views and all to ourselves. We did have light rain late yesterday and early evening but it was fine but overcast when we got up.

20130405 Lonesome Section