Lees Reserve

Sorry for the delay to our followers in getting this post up. Well we have got ourselves a beaut spot right on the river, but more on that later. There was a mass evacuation in the morning at the pub with everyone pulling out early. We were on the road just after 8am heading towards Goondiwindi. We picked up a few supplies at Coles and had morning tea at the park chatting to a few other travelers. Goondiwindi is a reasonable size town with plenty of shops.

Our aim was to pull into one of the free camping areas along the Dumesque River not far out of Goondiwindi, there are at least 4. We were aiming for Lees Reserve, third one along, the camping areas are sign posted on the main road, there is also a blue skip bin up near the main road. It’s a short drive down a dirt road to a rickety old gate, which must be kept closed due to cattle, which do leave their little deposits everywhere. Turns out the cattle aren’t always there.

At the end of the dirt road it opens up to a large flat area on top of the bank of the river, this is where caravans seem to go, there is also another big open area to the left. Down a steep little hill leads to the river and some areas to camp under the trees. Area is sandy and rocky. That’s where we decided to setup camp.

And what a beaut spot where only hard floor campers could get in. Tucked up on some rocks where no one can camp too close with a large rock area as our veranda leading down to the river with a few Cascades and home to an Egret and Heron.

Our view.

Just off to our left leads to a sandy beach like area at the river. Great for getting the kayak in.

It would be difficult to get any caravans down here so they all stayed up the top and we had the whole area to ourselves for the night. We just get them coming down for day visits ☺.

The river at present has plenty of water to keep it flowing. Cod and yellow-belly can be found in the river but it’s a bit fished out at the moment. We are expecting a bit of a crowd here over the long weekend so we may not have this area to ourselves for too long but we will enjoy it while we can.

Surprising it wasn’t too busy over the long weekend, people came and went. We had this area to ourselves for 3 nights nearly. We enjoyed relaxing in the hammock and paddling up the river.

On the third night in the wee hours of 3.30am someone towing a noisy trailer pulled in near us. By 6am his mate arrived with music. We lost count how many beers they consumed during the day, the plus for us they were out to it by 3.00pm.

We took a few stars shots at night. We haven’t done this before so it was all a bit of experimenting and a bit if fun.

There are some mice here, we found a dead one in the sink water bucket and heard them on the outside of the canvas at night. So keeping everything locked up.

Of course Jess enjoyed, swimming in the river and collecting sticks that were nearly as big as her.

We stayed here for 4 nights, little did we know a better place was up the road.

Q – Nindigully Pub

Nindigully Pub – OR, M, W, F, D, ND, S, T, B, BR, DP. 45 km South East of St George is Nindigully Pub or “The Gully” as it’s locally known. This is a large area next to the Moonie River, sites next to the river go quick but they are the dustiest ones. Towards the back isn’t as dusty. Lots of trees, free toilets and showers up behind the pub and toilets and a dump point at the back of the camping area. Fireplaces, table and chairs next to the river, there is also a paved pathway called “Gully Walk” that follows the river with information signs along the way.

Meals can be purchased up at the pub, they are very large meals. There is also a phone box and mail box near the pub. The walls of the pub are dawned with lots of memorabilia, hats, photos and the like. There is a well set up dining room and an outside beer garden with table and chairs and play equipment and even a cubbie for the kids.

The pub and camping area really provide everything a camper would need. More information can be found in our post about the area. The only downside is it is very dusty, due to that we found it hard to rate and most likely people wouldn’t agree with us so we will let you make up your own mind.

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Nindigully Pub

45 km South East of St George is Nindigully Pub or “The Gully” as it’s locally known and easier to say, is pretty much these days 4 houses and a pub on a riverbank. The pub is perched on the banks of the Moonie River, established in 1864 it is the longest continually licensed pub in Queensland.

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Apparently the meals are big here, we will see at tea time. They are famous for their burger “Road Train” a whopping 5kg burger big enough to feed 10 people.

Free camping is available just below the pub along the banks of the river. Plenty of trees but very dusty. There is a 500m historic river walkway called the “Gully Walk” along the banks with heaps of tables and chairs, fireplaces and bins. Toilets and showers are available for free behind the pub. Campers, vans and day trippers kept rolling in all day.

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Nindigully-WalkNindigully-pathNindigully-Pub-River-areaThe showers were pretty good. The light switch is up very high above the door which I, Kate could only just reach and I’m not short.

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Nindigully-Pub-Showers

The walls of the pub are dawned with lots of memorabilia, hats, photos and the like. There is a well set up dining room and an outside beer garden with table and chairs and play equipment and even a cubbie for the kids. There is also a phone box and a post box and even a dump point.

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A bit of history about the place, in its heyday Nindigully was home to a school, hall, accommodation house, post office, telephone exchange, mechanics, a vegetable garden on the banks of the Moonie River, a store and the pub which served as the Cobb and Co changeover station.

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The pub has had many names over its 150+ year history. The first and current name was Nindigully Hotel, but it has also been known as The Grand Hotel, Travellers Rest Hotel, Sportsmans Arms Hotel and Sternes Hotel. Info as found in the St George and Surrounds Travels Guide. The movie Paperback Hero was filmed here.

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Our camp spot in the dust.

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Well the meal had a little bit to be desired. Large yes, in fact we shared a meal. They had unfortunately run out of spuds, so no chips which many including us were disappointed with but these things happen. So we had veggies that were very holy as they had the hell boiled out of them. We had barra, steak was on special and looked good and many said it tasted good. Truckies use the place as a stopover for the night, grab a meal, a beer and have free showers. There were 5 roads trains pulled in up near the pub.

It was a very interesting place to visit, it was really really dusty, mostly due to the many many campers that stop here.

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Q – Balonne River at St George

Balonne River at St George – OR, M, W, F, D, ND. Camping is below the weir at St George, just over the Bridge. Access can be a little rough in places. Several areas to camp near the river or further up. Short pleasant walk into town. Drinking water to fill up water tanks is available at the information centre; you just have to see them inside for a handle for the tap. There is also a dump point into town ask at the info centre. We found St George to be a friendly town. Rating – 4.

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St George, Qld

Usually when we stay at Swinging Bridge it’s a one night stop and a quick early get away in the morning. This time it was nice to have a leisurely breakfast, let the canvas dry, go for a walk all before packing up. We had morning tea under the shade of the trees enjoying the tranquil setting before heading off.

We stopped at Moonie for lunch near the info and craft centre with the local post office next door. This is across the road from a big servo/ local hotel with descent fuel prices. There is heaps of parking for large rigs and trucks. In 1961 Moonie was the site of Australia’s first commercial oil field and still operates. It is also the home to monthly yabbie races.

Moonie-Crossroads Yabbie-Races

The road to St George is very bumpy. Last time we were in St George we were passing through and it was a few months after the 2012 floods. The temporary levy bank was still in town. The area had 3 floods in a row 2010, 2011 and 2012 all record breaking with 2012 being the worst.  It would have been a difficult and terrifyingly time for the locals and for people’s houses that were flooded.

3-Floods

We have stopped for a few nights below the weir on the Balonne River at St George. Not a bad spot, river is muddy and is a little stagnant but still has plenty of bird life. We found it very peaceful and stayed here 3 nights.

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It is opposite houses though and the track is a little rough to get in but it is on the flood plain of the river. Sandy is spots, rocky in others and rutted in other parts where people have driven in the wet. In Wiki Camps it has some very mixed reviews.

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Some of the trees had some interesting roots, some of which were very high and Chris was able to stand under them.

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Jess loved the water but not so good for people swimming, very brown and every arvo a slim drifted in only to clear the next day.

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There are 3 caravan parks within the St George Town area and one a little further out. From what we could see they all seem to have plenty of people staying. The town is busy with travellers coming and going. We spent the cost of several nights accommodation on various businesses around town. So by providing a camping area for free the town certainly didn’t miss out.

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We found the town to be very friendly and well maintained. Riverside parkland has a great walkway that runs along the river to at least the town area. Plenty of tables and chairs, benches, bins, water taps and shade with some play equipment for the kids. Drinking water to fill up water tanks is available at the information centre; you just have to see them inside for a handle for the tap. They have completed stage 1 of a permanent solution to flood proof the town.

Stage-1 Levy

We had a fire several nights and had fun taking pictures at night of one of the trees near our campsite, experimenting lighting the tree up with torch light, then later when the moon came up and lit the area. First pic was lit by torch light, second was by moon light it just about turned day into night.

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Go West young man, Go West

That is the plan this trip, to head west of home for a few weeks, just following our nose, stopping at whatever takes our fancy. But our distance west won’t be any further than St George, QLD, due to time and a dog that is still not keen on car travel. Since we have travelled a lot further west on previous trips, St George doesn’t seem that far west these days. Once upon a time it seemed like a long way away.

Hooked-up

We headed off Friday after Chris finished work heading for Cooyar staying at our usual stop when heading this way Swinging Bridge. We stopped at Kilcoy for tea and to give Jess a break. Due to some very expensive motion sickness tablets she hasn’t been sick but was still anxious in the car.  She travelled better after Kilcoy and even settled down for a sleep.

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There are quite a lot of vans here this time, the busiest we had seen it but still plenty of room to spread out. There are several new power boxes at $5 per night payable at the local pub.

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The old toilets have been removed with a new rural fire brigade building taking is place. Toilets can now be found at a new park across from the pub.

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We are staying here a couple of nights, chilling out enjoying the peaceful surrounds, bird life and lovely deep blue sky.

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Home Sweet Home

7/08/2014 – It doesn’t seem to matter how long you are away for, when it’s time to go home, you are keen to get there. For us it’s catch up with family and friends. Don’t like the unpacking, packing is so much more fun 🙂 .We have a few repairs to do on the Ute before we can head off on another adventure, where too we aren’t sure at this stage. We have the birth of our second grandchild in a few weeks, so that will keep us busy for a while.

It’s been an awesome trip, the Kimberley has been on our to do list for a long time, it was an epic journey, few mishaps along the way. But what’s life without a few challenges.

Not-Good

We have seen some awesome gorges, stunning waterfalls, swum in some beautiful waterholes and hot pools, met some wonderful people, seen a lost city that blew the mind, camped in some remote places, seen some incredible Bee-Hives, travelled on some iconic outback roads, paddled up beautiful Lawn Hill Gorge, ridden some camels, covered a lot of kms and got home safe and sound. We have such amazing things to see in Australia, we are very fortunate to live in such a wonderful country.

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Until next time, stay safe everyone and happy travels 🙂

Maranoa District

6/8/14 – Chris had to change a slow leaking tyre this morning, the same tyre that came off the ute on the Tanami, which seems so long ago now. The tyre has done well really, considering everything it has been through, it is hopefully repairable.
Augethalla-CampingWe have passed through Mitchell so many times and have never been to the Artisan Hot Pools in town, we had intended to in 2012 but the complex has been flooded in the big flood and was under repair. Since hot pools seem to be the flavour of the month we decided we were going to go there this time. It will be a once off though, cost us $8 each, $6.50 for pensioners, after Blackall it seemed rather steep. The fee was for an all day pass but even if you were staying in town I don’t Know how many would come and go, it’s not like Blackall where you could hang out at the pools for hrs.

Mitchell-Hot-PoolsThe hot pool was 39.1 degrees like stepping into a bath that is too hot. There are notices up and you are told to limit your time in the hot pool for 15 – 20mins at a time. There is a cold pool at 21 degrees that those that are game can hop into to cool down, Chris did. We were told by one couple who had been dropping into the hot pools on their travels for several years that they had seen two people on separate occasions be taken away in an ambulance, so take heed to the warning of not staying in too long. We personally did find it too hot. You are also encourage to drink lots of water.

Mitchell-Hot-Pools-1 Mitchell-Hot-Pools-2 Mitchell-Hot-Pools-3Roma is another town we just pass through, so we stopped and did a walk up the Main Street and called into the Big Rig. After we had a cuppa and afternoon tea we moved on to find our night spot. Judd’s Lagoon was full so we went a few kms down the road to a gravel pit, our last night on the road.

Back to Blackall

4/8/14 – It’s nice to have options and the time to explore them. We have changed our minds about which was to head home several times. The Hot Pools at Blackall won out, we enjoyed them so much the first time we thought it would be nice to come back home this way and have another dip and checkout some of the things we missed first time round. So today was a pretty well a driving day. Just outside Ilfracombe there is a weed wash, mostly for trucks but they do say vans and trailers can use it too. So we did, to wash off some off the dust 🙂 it’s all automatic, you drive in slowly and it it starts automatically washing under the vehicles and up the sides, you just have to drive through very slowly.We drove into Blackall, straight to the Artisan Hot Springs to have a soak. Main pool was 31, the spa 34, which is where we spent most of our time.
Wonderful-Hot-poolsWe drove back out of town 5km to stop for the night hidden and protected from the wind behind some trees.
Blackall-Campspot5/8/14 – This morning we did a walk around the town before heading out to the Woolscour. Unfortunately the place had been broken into overnight, some mongrel taking the takings from the day before. The volunteers out there put in a big effort to get the place up and running by 10am.
J.-Howe Local LocalsWe did the tour this time $15 each, $14 with a pension card, $10 child, $45 family. Woolscour means wool washing which they did to get out all the oils and dirt so it presented better at sale. The Woolscour operated from 1908 to 1978. It is the only steam driven scour incorporating a shearing board left in Australia. In 2002 the Woolscour started up again as a tourist attraction. The tour starts with a film about the shearing industry and how the Woolscour came to be. Then you are taken over to the Woolscour and shown the different machinery and what it was used for. They are all started up for the tour. It was really interesting we encourage everyone passing through Blackall to stop at the Woolscour and give them your support to keep this vital piece of history alive for future generations.
Woolscour

Inside-Woolscour Sheep-Shed Wool Wool-Bale

We then headed back to the hot pools, had a swim and a chat with other travelers before buying lunch at the pool. $10 for fish (Barra), chips and salad. It was great, big piece of fish, decent salad and proper knife and forks. After that it was a other dip in the hot pool. The pools are great value and encourage people to stop in for a dip.

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We then headed off out of town stopping a few Kms south of Augathella for the night.

Riversleigh Fossil Centre – Mt Isa

3/8/14 – We had been to the Riversleigh Fossil site near Lawn Hill on a previous trip in 2012, and to be honest it didn’t mean or do a lot for us. However the Fossil Centre in at Mt Isa helped shine a light, more information and the significance of the Riversleigh site. It would have been beneficial to have seen the Fossil Centre first then see the Riversleigh site, would have all meant a lot more.

Riversleigh-Fossil-CentreAnyway the Fossil Centre is well worth doing. Over 200 different mammals were found at Riversleigh as well as insects, birds etc many of them were ancestors of animals we see today. Like the Big Bird, Crocodiles that lived on land as well as water, meat eating Kangaroos called Fangaroos. Kids will love it, there is a sand pit with buried Dinosaurs fossils for the kids to dig up.

Riversleigh-Fossil-Centre-1 Riversleigh-Fossil-Centre-2 Riversleigh-Fossil-Centre-3 Riversleigh-Fossil-Centre-4 Riversleigh-Fossil-Centre-5 Riversleigh-Fossil-Centre-6 Riversleigh-Fossil-Centre-7We had planned to give the trailer and ute another wash as it was muddy and dusty once again but the car wash said no trailers, or caravans so we couldn’t. So we headed off once more towards Cloncurry.

We stopped at Cloncurry for lunch at a lovely park called Mary Kathleen, there was a large play area, heaps of trees providing shade, table and chairs and also the info centre and outside museum. Closer towards Mt Isa there is Mary Kathleen ruins, you can buy a map for 50c from the tourist info centre.
Mary-Kathleen-Park Mary-Kathleen-Park-2Mary-Kathleen-Park-1Next stop was McKinlay and the famous Walkabout Creek Hotel as seen in the Crocodile Dundee movie. They welcome, well play on the famous role and invite visitors to stop and look around and maybe buy a pint or two.

Walkabout-CreekAfter Kyunua the area was pretty flat, any rest areas were open and close to the road. We didn’t see anyone using them. About 70km out of Winton were several jumpups with 3 caravans spread around one, we decided it was a good place to stop as well. It was until the wind came up. It howled all night, canvas was flapping continuously, we both had a rough night sleep.

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