We have been unable to update the blog this week as we have had no 3G reception since Monday evening. We received our first ‘bar’ about 20km out of Charters Towers.
We started the inland leg of our Queensland journey south from Cooktown to Atherton on Tuesday. The trip was without incident even tho’ some of the roads are quite challenging. The roadhouses are well spaced and have plenty of room for parking so we always try and take a break every couple of hours.
With primarily travelling on the main highways, one bit of kit we are finding most useful is our UHF radio. Trucks and road trains generally operate on Channel 40 and they all give you plenty of warning when they are behind and want to pass. Interestingly, the roadside work gangs also work on Channel 40 so we are most times aware of the state of the roads long before we are held up at any works or incidents. Some caravans and motorhomes work on Channel 18 but we find Channel 40 the most informative. The black fern on the rear of our motorhome is the catalyst for many a UHF conversation with truckies, travellers and road teams. I am sure there are as many kiwis over here than in New Zealand. We have heard from none who have any ambition to return home.
On our arrival at Atherton we had to make a wee detour to the Atherton Hospital. Some of you will know that Dearne ‘fell’ out of the motorhome about a week ago. We can assure you it was well prior to 5 o’clockers. Anyway, when she fell, she fell on her wrist and it has not been getting any better. We thought there may have been a break however luck was on our side and the diagnosis was a torn ligament. There was nothing much that could done except to await the natural healing process. Suffice to say ‘we’ are stepping more carefully now.
Wednesday we had a good look around the Atherton region and it reminded us very much of New Zealand except for the temperature (27deg C today). The Atherton Tablelands are situated approximately 600 metres above sea level. The grass and the bushland is very lush, they have a strong and healthy diary industry, abundant wildlife and super impressive wetlands. The region produces some of Australia’s best tea, coffee, milk, sugar, tropical fruits and cheeses.
A few photos of our Atherton visit HERE .
Thursday we continued our journey south down the Kennedy Highway through Herberton and Ravenshoe (pronounced Ravens–hoe as we were kindly corrected) through to our free overnight stop just out of Mt. Garnet. While passing through Herberton we made a brief two-hour stop to visit the Herberton Historical Village. We were aware that the Village was owned by the couple who sold the ‘Just Jeans’ franchise a little while ago for the princely sum of A$54M (approx.). The Village has become their life’s project. It has more than 50 restored period buildings that house a broad range of Australian collectables including machinery and small engines, farming and mining history, motor vehicles, thousands of antiques from the chemist to the grocer. The biggy for Rod was the fully restored 1923 1000cc V-twin Harley Davidson. Unfortunately our visit did not coincide with a running demonstration. The village is said to be the most significant outdoor museum in Queensland. We are certainly glad we made the effort to stop. A few photo’s HERE .
Ravenshoe, historically involved in the timber industry, is situated on the top of the Great Dividing Range and is the gateway to the East with the Atherton Tableland Rainforests and the coastal Great Barrier Reef. It is the highest town in Queensland at 920 metres above sea level (Waiouru is 821 metres above sea level). We find we are loving the Australian ‘inland’. It is much different than the coast but equal in what the coast has to offer the traveller. We made lunch while in Ravenshoe and took advantage of the free stopping area in the local High School grounds. Love these RV friendly towns.
We departed our ‘free camping spot’ on Friday morning after an exciting night. About 10.30pm last night we received a ‘knock at the door’ by the local ranger to say that a bush fire had started not far from us and there was a concern that should the wind change they would not be able to contain the fire if it came our way. She asked that we park in the centre of the area so we had a good chance of getting out quickly if necessary. There were ten motorhomes/caravans at the site that night so it was a bit exercise waking everyone and getting vehicles moved. Luckily for us the wind did not change so we were never in any danger. As a consequence of being packed up and ready to move at a moments notice, moving in the morning was as simple as turning the key.
We continued south and called in to the Undara National Park to take a look at the famous Undara Lava Tubes. Some 190,000 years ago a massive volcanic eruption caused lava to flow more than 90 kms to the north and over 160 kms to the north-east. It is estimated that 23 cubic kms of lava, at the temperature of 1,200 deg centigrade flowed from the volcano at about 1,000 cubic metres every second. The result of this is the formation of huge ‘tunnels’ through the landscape. Very impressive and worth the short detour.
Friday night we set down in the small town of Greenvale – 203 km north of Charters Towers. In 1972 Greenvale was a thriving nickel ore town but the mine has since been since been exhausted and the towns population significantly reduced. After Thursday nights ‘one eye open all night’ situation, we looked forward to a good nights sleep.
We arrived in Charters Towers this afternoon (Saturday) and will be here for a few days stocking up for the next leg of our journey to Mt Isa. We will update again before we leave Charters Towers.