QLD - Queensland Diary

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Day 273 - Thursday 24th July 2008,Tweed Heads 2 Labrador, Gold Coast

Awful weather rained all night & day, hard so cut our loses and went to Harbour Town shopping mall for some retail therapy (bought boys & Phoenix stuff from Rip Curl) oh and went to Reading Cinemas to see X-files movie (ace) Staying at Treasure Island park Big4 Biggera Waters. Much movies & rain.$35 per night for Big4 site and we are in for 2 nights (forgot to get our deposit back, DOH!)

Day 274 - Friday 25th July 2008,Treasure Island campsite Biggera Waters Nr Surfers Paradise

Wet all night Dried up in the morning some sun and some overcast Decided to stay in did the washing DVD for Mum etc Reading, Chillin etc etc Off to Surfers 2moro Sorted out trip to see Peter B& family,Sun came out again hoorah, saw the campsite, Harbour town mall and Woolies

Day 275 - Saturday 26th July 2008,Surfers Paradise (SP)

Gr8 weather Left Biggera waters after 2 days Forgot to collect our $20 deposit, blast! Did loo stuff etc went to SP via Southport and had a choc milkshake in HRC 18c sunny Camping at Aspley (North Brisbane) for 2 days as near the Birtles home in Warner. OK site nothing grand but also convenient for train at Zillmere. Main Beach, Burleigh Heads, Miami, Isle of Capri, high rises etc. Met Surfer dudes and guy in Hard Rock Cafe (HRC). Remember HRC Tshirt the only one in Australasia but guy said those in Sydney & Melbourne were due to reopen in 2009. Police had cordoned off the bank area in Aspley as some foolish hoods had tried to dynamite it,they used too much explosive and in the end got away with nought but one guy almost blew his leg off police lorry had metal ATM on it!

Day 276 - Sunday 27th July 2008,Brisbane

Sunny to start with Visited Peter & Lorraine Birtles and their kids Alex (12) & Victoria (16)(daughter out) and had a very nice BBQ and chat They bought their land 8 years ago and built their house and pool Plus have beach house at St Agnes nr 1770 in QLD Had a gr8 chat really like them left about 3 having arrived at 1130 on the dot went to ATM nearby first Then came back to the campsite having first checked out Zillmere station b4 our trip into CBD 2moro Got table and chairs out and read in hot sunshine for about 1hr 20c 2day although lunch on Peters veranda was in the shade, liked Warner where they live is very out in the bush, liked seeing peter again.

Day 277 - Monday 28th July 2008,Brisbane

Up at 7.30am (wow!) Overcast Drove down to Zillmere station on City Rail and caught the train into Central Brisbane, spent the day in town Got Cheap off-peak tickets Zone 3 ($4.80 each, good value considering it was 25mins and 12 stops in – way easier than driving) Got off at Central station and crossed over to Anzac Sq (Ann St) and bought 2 all day Hopon Hopoff tourist bus tickets ($50 for 2) Great way to see the city 1 ½ hour trip went round once fully then got off at stop 4 Riverside Had lunch in Jade Buddha then hopped on the City Cat and went down river Brisbane and across to South Bank Had a nice stroll along here Sun came out but brisk wind made it v chilly Guy on bus said constant temp in B 21-29c, not true way colder than that with wind Eventually re-boarded bus at Gray St SS  and back to stop 19 Central station Returned to Zillmere and drove out of B to Sunshine coast past Steve Irwin Way to Caloundra Finally got in at 4th site after Annie (thankfully) rang ahead Why was it so busy no-one could say and apparently not cos its nearest to Australia Zoo, saw City Beach with lifeguards Weird. Gr8 views from both Mt Coot-tha lookout and Bougainvillea way, met helpful lady at restaurant. Complained about Annies teriyaki chicken (all grissle) Got new meal (gr8 chicken) free plus 2 flat white so good value lunch, must try it again (not really!) Took loads of pictures, bloody tourist!

Day 278 - Tuesday 29th July 2008,Steve Irwin’s (SI) Australia Zoo Beerwah

Gr8 day at the zoofed elephants which we haven’t done b4 oh and a whole stack more see the pictures and video Full day , left after 4,15 and went to see the glass house mtns briefly named by our hero JC, saw loads esp animals of all sorts, baby tassie devil on lead (help), met Steve Irwin impersonator Michael, and Monty & Weipa the crocs

Day 279 - Wednesday 30th July 2008,Caloundra to Maryborough

Hot day again, 23c sunny, bit of driving Went to see beaches at Caloundra, filled up with fuel and then set off to Maryborough, tried ringing on route to book site but phone lost signal No worries as space when we arrived and nice helpful guy who told us about market , buildings, steam train etc etc to see in Maryborough $22. Saw

Ettamogah pub, big pineapple, buderim ginger , nutworks, met a few folk.Remember ginger & cinnamon bliss ice cream, possibly the BEST ice-cream ever! Plus 1kg of hickory macadamia nuts for $23 gr8 value plus we tried all flavours until keef told off by lady for not using the tongs (naughty)

Day 280 - Thursday 31st July 2008,Maryborough to Bundaberg

Yet another hot day, 26c spent whole morning in Maryborough Lots to do, nice town and way better than Lonely planet made out Then went to Hervey bay (we will be back for whale watching when they arrive) Shelly & Torquay beaches plus marina then onto Bundeburg via Childers on the Bruce Hwy Stopped in Big 4 campsite $27 with discount Nice quiet tropical site A did washing We had spam, couscous and sweetcorn 4 T with passion fruit yoghurt and dark fruit cake for afters,saw lots.Mary river, Mary Poppins, old houses and store.MB is GOOD! Then Fraser island from Hervey bay, mud crabbing, pineapples, sugar cane. Market in town bought stuff including pineapple ($1.50), met Mary Poppins, PL Travers,had no idea she was from QLD, lived most of her life in London , remember Sun, sun and more sun, MB and Brockwurst in market. Annie remembering Childers pub with swing cowboy doors Childers was only a one pub township 40+ years ago, now big

Day 281 - Friday 1st August 2008,Bundaberg to Benaraby (just below Gladstone)

Another v hot and sunny day About 28c and we both had heat stroke headaches (alas) drinking lots more water which should help Visited Bundaberg Rum & Bundaberg Drinks Ltd (home of the ginger beer) Bought Doug a shirt (hope he likes it) plus 6 assorted drinks. Not interested in the Rum place although it had a nice old QLD building Then visited Agnes Water and 1770 then onto Benaraby. camping Big 4 empty $29 Had a 30min wait standstill on Bruce Hwy just outside Benaraby as road train off road and overturned Apparently happened 2 days ago and they were taking load off as couldn’t upright it.Used public dump station in Bundaberg then did tourist stuff in Bundaberg Cook 1770 (only a Lieutenant then), met lady from Abingdon in Bundaberg Rum Ltd who had been in Oz for 21 years (still no accent tho), saw Lorry overturned. Lizard on road (large) and lots of roos at 1770

Day 282 - Saturday 2nd August 2008,Benaraby to Mackay via Rockhampton

Another hot day 24-26c tried out the aircon for the first time in the vans cab, cool! Had a nice walk around Rockhampton, nice place then lots of driving in heat, guess 350-ish k 2day arrived at site in Mackay but couldn’t get a power site so ended up on yucky site, tourist village Luckily only one night, saw Tropic of Capricorn (TOC), somewhat over touristy Annie said was  much understated back 40 years, met 2 students taking photos in Rockhampton, enjoyed Crossing the TOC

Day 283 - Sunday 3rd August 2008,Mackay to Airlie Beach (Whitsunday shire)

Another hot sunny day, 26c left site at 9-ish horrid site pleased to go. Went and saw Mackay marina, beach and drove on breakwater Then saw 5 of the 31 beaches it boast Some were v v good and we went for a paddle on 2 saw some very interesting tropical plants see piccies Then onto Proserpine for lunch and into Big 4 Airlie cove site for 3 nights Expensive at $39 per night and not as good as Darlington Beach site. Did go for a swim (cold) and read books in sunshine from about 4pm Get dark slightly later this high up. Remember the beaches around Mackay ace after thinking Mackay wasn’t all that much i.e quite industrial, how wrong we were.

Day 284 - Monday 4th August 2008,Airlie Cove Campsite

Spent all day on site and boy was it relaxinggenerally chillin reading books, mags and listening to musicoh and we booked a day trip to Daydream island on the Whitsunday isles 2moro.4ft+ female goanna just next to our campervan plus mountains sunshine and lots of big green ants that we think bite, but not sure. Met nosey Germans in next campervan. Loved seeing the goanna at close quarters plus our pair of friendly bush turkeys

Day 285 - Tuesday 5th August 2008,Daydream Island, Whitsundays

The most wonderfully romantic place and day,no more to say See the piccies lots of them Idyllic plus whole day cost about $200, Oh so much, see the piccies, met bloke with ozzie wife from Hull who ran a restaurant in Penrith Sydney called the ‘Major Oak’ he had obviously been in showbiz as introduced a whole stack of 50s ‘names’ His wife drank green cocktails, loved Everything..gr8 trip, gr8 weather, gr8 lunch, gr8 company, gr8 swimming, gr8 fish ahhhhhhhhhhhhh

Day 286 - Wednesday 6th August 2008,Airlie Beach, Whitsundays to Townsville

Up early 7-ish washed and ‘decamped’ by 8.45 a record Did the dunny then drove down to Shute Harbour (nice) and onto Bowen rejoining Bruce Hwy 13k on from Proserpine Visited Bowen, interesting place but not gr8 beaches, then thru Home Hill, Ayr to Townsville.Saw the big mango @ Bowen and the 2nd naff thing in one day the big Brolga @ Townsville Tourist Info (TI). Met no one in particular apart from our ozzie pal with grey hair and outback beard who seems to be following us around (mackay, airlie beach plus asked us about trip to daydream whilst supping his alcopop from his cooler and now he "reckoned" townsville) , bought a Baz Lehrmann T-shirt in Bowen from the Australia movie. Remember Mango ice-cream Buying fresh fruit and veg produce at Bowen plus making a lamb rogan josh that will probably last for 3 meals.oh and gr8 views from Flagstaff Hill lookout at Bowen.

Day 287 - Thursday 7th August 2008,Townsville & Magnetic Island

Up about 8, gr8 sunny day again 28c and hot sun Drove down into Townsville along Ingham Road (9) to Castle Hill Lookout, v steep and windy but oh what views of TV and MI then back down into the strand (water front) parked up van all day $5 then caught sunferries ferry to MI 11.30am trip $29 each plus all day bus pass on MI cost $6.20 each so a gr8 cheap day out on a Barrier Reef island (honeymooners go here, although v different to Daydream island) Back on 4.25 boat and back to Westwood campsite 12 k north of Townsville. Saw (All on Magnetic Island):Nelly Bay, Arcadia, Gregory bay, Horseshoe bay, Picnic bay,the last was the best Paddled here, walked the length of the beach and read in the sun whilst watching flying fish (silvery) and a guy snorkeling with a harpoon and float with fish capture box attached. Met drunk ozzies, bad news, remember drunk ozzie and I mean drunk driving mokes and scooters, bad news plus keef driving like an ozzie and overtaking and turning on the inside, better not do that in the UK!!!

Day 288 - Friday 8th August 2008,Townsville to Rollingstone via Saunders Beach

Up about 8.30am Breakfasted and left site by 10 having pre booked 3 nights at the Big 4 Rollingstone beach site about 60k further up the Bruce Hwy towards Cairns Drove to the strand, walked along the beach front to the pool and had a nice swim Then retail therapy and off for lunch at the very nice Saunders beach Then onto our campsite and yet another swim V hot and sunny again 2day 28c, saw sea water pool @ townsville, the strand, river, botanic gardens and a great fabric shop (spotlight where Annie became a VIP member). Met danish? family that we last saw at Darlington Beach with teenage daughter and very young son.

Day 289 - Saturday 9th August 2008, Rollingstone

Day spent chillin Not a good night sleep wise for Keef, had nice brekkie of croissants and sat outside reading / listening to music with the table and chairs near the lagoon next to our van Alas this was after we’d been for a walk on the beach and done the washing ($3) and seen sign the signs about crocs We are well and truly in salty territory After reading and great smoked salmon salad lunch we chilled by the pool The pool here is ace It’s a RESORT and probably 2nd to Darlington Beach, saw Croc sign/ beach/ pool, met Germans, French oh and the odd ozzie plus ice-cream lady ringing her bell round the site selling prawns and fresh fish (mangrove snapper & reef fish), little budgie outside our van was fun in the eve.

Day 290 - Sunday 10th August 2008,Rollingstone

Whole day chillin and v nice it was to. Up late 9.30-ish had brekkie and read paper all about Olympics Then over to the pool and a dip followed by more chillin hard work but hey someone’s gotta do it 28c hot and sunny with pleasant wind off the sea. No crocs today! (or any other for that matter but sign at campsite a warning) Rang and booked 1 day Fishery falls (Cairns) and 3 days Cairns Crystal sites.Saw the pool, the sea and sun,lots of sand flies that seem to like Annie but not Keef (hooray!). Salad, listening to Led Zeppelin & CSN (&Y) on ipod, heard guy at the pool cheer cos ozzies had got their 1st gold in the swimming pool (beijing Olympics)

Day 291 - Monday 11th August 2008,Rollingstone to Fishery Falls

Left about 10 after being the dunny man. Poor Annie very badly bitten by sand flies so lots of tea tree cream used to soothe. Drove up coast 320k with a few detours All in all a very nice day Stayed at FF campsite where we stayed 13 years ago Very much changed, new pool but winner of best gardens V Tropical, saw Cardwell, Hinchinbrook island, Tam O’Shanter NP, Mission Beach, Dunk island, Innisfail, Tropical fruit winery at Murdering Point, met lady in Winery, v nice let us try the lot plus nutty guy who sold us the bananas ($1 for 1 kg, $2 for papaya (big)) who spoke with a plumy British accent who said “my mother was taken up the Khyber Pass by a British army officer” too much info really, hard to get away from him. Remember seeing all the gr8 islands and having a drink in the Fishery Falls pub and watching Tom Daley in sync diving on Ch7 Olympics big screen

Day 292 - Tuesday 12th August 2008,Fishery Falls to Cairns

Slightly overcast day today but muggier First since we have been in the Wet Tropics Left FF by 10 Drove to Gordonvale, 1st place we visited 13 years ago as needed bank (aboriginal guy with budgie on his shoulder) Not changed that much but bigger square than we remember and huge Sugarcane processing factory Then on into Cairns walked along the board walk, into harbour, past new lagoon , nice new boardwalk and off up Spense st to Hogs Breath Cafe (HBC) then down Grafton back to Esplanade and our Campervan Arrived at campsite – crystal cascade about 3pm read and chilled oh and drank copious amounts of Passion fruit wine (yummy) from Murdering Point winery. Tourist Info(TI) , Board walk, The Pier, Lots of high rise hotels and apartments (cairns is now a big city), CBD, Cafes & Bars, Fruit bats and some sun only 26c 2day Westpac to get out some dosh plus filled up with fuel So much cheaper in QLD with Coles/woolies 4c off voucher about $1.63 a litre,met Irish waitress in HBC, ranjit the crooner (we didn’t go but heard him) aweful,apparently had played with Glen Campbell, Helen Reddy & Barry Manilow - really! Went to Hogs Breathe café (HBC) for lunch V good and value wise also 2 beef wraps with hickory sauce, HBC curly fries & salad, followed by Mud pie/date pud and washed down with beer/ fruit juice All $60 (i.e £30) Nice Campsite v tropical , some new plants we haven’t seen before

Day 293 - Wednesday 13th August 2008,Crystal Cascades Campsite, Cairns

Up late, cooked brekkie then off to Kuranda for the day. Very good day, sunny again although some strong winds. Barron Gorge NP & Falls, Surprise Creek Falls, Lake Placid, Gr8 tropical plants, Cannonball tree, Butterflies especially Ulysses Blue,met no one in particular Annoying UK couple next door with 3 kids and one crying baby. Loved the sweet perfume smell of the plants of the Cannonball tree. Seeing Kuranda again Aussie Butterfly Sanctuary

Day 294 - Thursday 14th August 2008,Crystal Cascades Campsite, Cairns

A day of 2halves. Spent morning at site doing washing, reading, getting sunburnt (K) and then after a dinner of lemon pepper tuna salad wraps and mini bananas washed down with ginger cordial we went off on an expedition to see Lake Morris and the Copper load falls dam 16k thru the Isley Hills wet Tropics up very windy hilly roads not ideal for a 6.6m campervan but what a view.Some gr8 views of Cairns & the Wet Tropical Forest up Lake Morris rd,Ozzie drinkers at Rednault.girl in IGA said there were 300 males in the pub, must have been pint and sausage eve cheap, Dark Equador magnum ice creams at lake Morris, exchanging 10 books in Cairns ($20) for 4not a gr8 deal but we can’t carry them

Day 295 - Friday 15th August 2008,Glengarry Holiday Park, Port Douglas

Left Cairns about 10.30 Went and visited various beaches on the way up to Port Douglas (PD) and the AJ Hackett bungee jumping Then along coastal road, ace views past Rex Lookout and Hartley’s creek crocodile farm (v different from 13 years ago) to Port Douglas Aim to stay here 4 days and see Daintree, Mossman, Cape Trib & PD itself,Trinity beach, Yorkeys knob (much built up after 13 years), Clifton Beach (good) & Palm Cove (posh & expensive, similar to Noosa Heads),Very clammy and overcast for much of the day. Gr8 views along coastal road, similar to Great Ocean Road & Big Sur (US)

Day 296 - Saturday 16th August 2008,Did lunch in Port Douglas

Up about 9 washed did the dunny stuff etc on the van and then drove into Port Douglas. Hot & Humid 28c and 48% humidity no wind Parked up along the front WOW has PD ever changed in 13 years It is now a massive thriving tourist metropolis with resorts everywhere A shame really walked up main street then had lunch.

Flagstaff Hill Lookout, 4 mile beach, Marina, Wharf, Church Shops, restaurants & resorts, met French waiter who told me ‘le red emerald feesh is orf’ so had to have Gold Based Snapper in Thai tamarind curry with macadamias Annie had Tempura reef fish with spiced coconut sauce and garlic mayo. 2 drinks, Ace meal and posh sea front restaurant $67 not bad and brits in next campsite from Yorkshire who had emigrated 2 ½ years ago Victorians escaping the winter, Gr8 meal Gr8 weather loved 4 mile beach.

Day 297 - Sunday 17th August 2008,Cape Tribulation

Named by Mr. JC again we had a wonderful day on Cape Trib See the pictures lots of them Not quite as hot and sultry as the previous day Indeed we shut the windows on the campervan at 11pm and turned off the aircon. Mossman, Cape Trib, Daintree River, Wonga Beach. met Solomon Islander (drunk) at ferry crossing at Daintree on the way back Claimed to be descended from a sugarcane plantation slave, loved all the lovely beaches and rainforest

Day 298 - Monday 18th August 2008,Daintree

Overcast and not so muggy. 25c went back to Daintree river x-ing to do a 1 ½ hour trip on the River train, gr8 fun Then onto Daintree town (not burnt down as far as we could see) not much there though Then back thru Mossman , down towards gorge, stopped as Aboriginal community area and back to site to read Did some shopping in Mossman Woolies,saw Crocs, lots 4 females 1 juvenile and Scarface, king of the patch 52 yrs old and the one we saw last time, met guides on boat, Japanese doing photo salutes Female Aboriginal drunk in road back to their ‘ghetto’ just outside Mossman (sad), salty crocodiles, tree snake, brahma cows

Day 299 - Tuesday 19th August 2008,Port Douglas 2 Cooktown

Up, showered  and gone by 9.30. Started muggy and overcast, then got v hot & sunny, then real tropical winds whilst ascending some of the mountains and at campsite in Cooktown. Good journey arrived at about 1.30am This is as far north as we can go in QLD The rest is gravel road and mostly shut in wet season up to Weipa on the Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape York and the Torres Straits Islands, 150k south of Papua New Guinea ,saw bush lots of it and much burnt plus a yellow sunbird at site in Port Douglas. remember wind that rocked the campervan,wax gum/ palm fruit,said goodbye to Swiss guy (he and his wife been in Oz 22years, sold up in Brisbane, been traveling 18 months and now having a house built on the coast nr Childers) plus UK guy from Yorkshire been in Oz 2 ½ years

Day 300 - Wednesday 20th August 2008,Cooktown

Drizzly and windy day but at least it now doesn’t get dark until 6.30pm (prev 5pm) Wind so strong overnight it shook the c’van. Went into Cooktown for the day, nice time with lunch at the bakery and a bit of shopping in the IGA,James Cook (JC) Museum, JC Statues / Plaques (3 in total) Monument, Statue of the gr8 man and cairn where he beached the HMS Endeavour for repairs after holing on the reef off Cooktown, met old guy in campervan behind who suggested beach & museum (we will go 2moro) and Fisho man. Now been away 300 days plus Annie did the washing and it dried in the rain, honest the wind was so strong! Guy at reception said this is typical Cooktown weather (Hmmm it says they have 7hrs of sunshine a day). Not long after we were back a brit was eaten by a salty when he was mud crabbing in the Endeavour river, the warninsg are everywhere, poor foolish soul.

Day 301 - Thursday 21st August 2008,Cooktown

Lazy day really, little hotter and mixed sunny / overcast but NO rain 26c went up Grassy hill (Cooks lookout) about 2/3rd then dirt track Went to Finch Bay (nice) Botanic Gardens, Bakery (pie and banana cakenot as good as Nadi Airport) then back to site for lunch Then off as far as the tar sealed road would take us north of Cooktown, about 22k past Marton and beyond Endeavour River crossing ,loved all of this + Cooktown airport (sweet) lots of tropical plants plus the lovely smell of Bush Mrytle + termite hills saw 6 roos at Botanic gardens and 1 in the wild near Marton (presumably named by JC after area of Middlesborough, his hometown), Annie made fresh lemon from bush lemons loved campsite mangoes

Day 302 - Friday 22nd August 2008,Cooktown 2 Atherton

Didn’t sleep so well, far too hot Up at 7.15 and showered etc and ready to go by 8.50am Went back thru Blackrock Mts to Lakeland where took photos of development road up to top Cape York (dirt track alas) and flocks of noisy white cockatoos Then onto Mareeba and Atherton. High roo count 2day plus one light brown dingo after roadkill. He was a little too fast to photo Did about 350 k and got to Atherton by 3.15pm including shopping, fuel and post office (sent 2 DVDs to Mum) Hot humid and overcast in Cooktown (blowy as always) but cooler in Atherton,Coffee world, roos on golf course at Mareeba, red rooster dinner, lovely tropical hut for BBQ by pool at campsite in Atherton, met guy on golf course at Mareeba popped up again 3 caravans down at our site in Atherton,hoots.’take a picture of you taking a picture of the tourists taking a picture of the roos on the golf course’, loved Roos on golf course

Day 303 - Saturday 23rd August 2008,Atherton 2 Charters Towers

Up at 7am (and it’s a hols, my life!) left by 8.30am Drove initially up over hills & rainforests of Gr8 Dividing range and past QLDs highest Town then via Kennedy Development road Hwy1 (single track tar mostly on top of wide gravel road) thru to the Lynd Junction on HWY40.  HWY1 split at savannah way then onto Normanton & then onto NTs (the road round oz) so slightly less busy for us on what is called the Gregory Developmental rd We were well and truly in outback QLD Went thru (and stopped at for lunch and ice-cream respectively)  Greenvale Road house and Bluewater springs roadhouse Got to Charters Towers at about 4-ish had driven 550+k today and reasonably warm Stayed at Big 4 site went to Drive in movie in eve Only 1 of 6 now left in QLD.Saw cattle droving, road trains, miles of outback roads, kids and adults in backs of utes with duvets, pillows watching drive in movies,Poirot, Hastings and the Big 4, got cracked windscreen from stone from road train, best loo paper in our whole trip oh and our 1st drive in movie saw double bill of Kung Fu panda and The Incredible Hulk Had  fish & chips, wine, beer, rum and coke sweets galore Gr8 eve and all for £3.75 each WOW and the stars  

Day 304 - Sunday 24th August 2008,Charters Towers

Up late, warm day but not humid Had bacon sandwiches Visited lookout walked town center Annie had done washing and alas broke big toe nail V painful Went to Charters Towers hospital to ‘have it sorted’ stayed 2 night in CT campsite to cut down the daily drivingCharters Towers Lovely old buildings At the goldrush had its own stock exchange 30k people and called itself the WORLD no need to go anywhere else for anything else, saw nutter cowboy / dangerous if you ask us Must have been the town loony, ugh Annie had to go to Charters Towers Hospital to have her busted big toe nail cut off

Day 305 - Monday 25th August 2008,Charters Towers to Emerald

Up at 7 Travelled over 500k 2day mostly on the Gregory Development road which apart from 20k was all normal 2 lane road if a little bumpy in places Not much township wise on the road Went thru Belyando Crossing roadhouse, Clermont (Blair Athol) both mining , Capilla into Emerald (both sunflower production seeds and oil) Interesting trip Staying in Top Tourist Lake Maraboon site ($27),Dried up rivers, brahma cows, brolgas , cotton fields, sunflower paintings, boab trees and at the campsite the friendliest rainbow lorikeets and Major Mitchell cockatoos, met camp site owners (gay couple) who did the evening sing song, note we did NOT attend but heard it,Hmmm, remember with fondness Annie feeding the lorikeets 2 Brolgas flying past our windscreen (close)

Day 306 - Tuesday 26th August 2008,Emerald Gem Fields

Left site at 10-ish having tried to coax the Lorikeets out with some melon, alas it didn’t work V Hot and sunny day 2day 25c Went to Emerald for  a look around the Cattle market (fun), station, 2 fabric shops, bought some Koala buttons, Botanic gardens (not so hot) then shopping in Woolies (£10 for 50 glucosulphamine tablets, 4 times UK price) then drove onto Anarkie (yep pronounced that way) and Sapphire – did fossicking at Pats Gems gr8 fun found 13 sapphires which we keep for $8 bucket of WASH.saw loads see piccies, claim sites at Sapphire amusing,met cowboys at steers sale (emerald peak downs municipal sales yard) , all v friendly. We have now been away 10 months, loved finding 13 sapphires

Day 307 - Wednesday 27th August 2008,Willows Gem Fields

Up late, had cooked brekkie Read a bit then hired prospecting gear from the campsite $10 then drove off past the township limits past the cattle grid and set up ‘camp’ Bloody hard work and blistering sun – 27c (oh and we didn’t find any sapphires) but had a go for about 2hrs Then back for a shower etc before relaxing reading and tea (beef schnitzel, new pots & carrots ) ,Kookaburras, the diggings, met lady in campsite who ‘sold’ us the prospecting gear, loved Diggings, email from Craig, Margaret and John & Diana

Day 308 - Thursday 28th August 2008,Willows Gem field 2 Roma

Up at 6.45am Gone by 8.15am Visited Rubyvale, Anarkie (and Saphire again) Stopped briefly to shop in Emerald and get fuel ($1.53 incl the 8c off coupon, cheapest yet in OZ) Then on down Gregory Developmental rd to Roma thru Springsure, Rollerston (where we had lunch) and then a v long stretch with NOUGHT to Roma Nice site at Roma with lots of bottle trees (now are these Baobabs?).Wildlife count Emus=2, Wallabies=2, Roos=1, met no one in particular, miner with long grey beard & hair in Rubyvale,remember some of the ‘architecture’ in Rubyvale plus a plethora of naff ozzie icons!

Day 309 - Friday 29th August 2008,Roma 2 St George via Surat

Up reasonable time, left just b4 10am Then went into Roma for a look around Visited Westpac and drew out some money and closed our account Town had a good outback feel but not quite so classy buildings as Kalgoorlie. Annie bought 3 really good fabrics in huge higgledy piggeldy store in Roma ($175) We visited tourist info and the site of the Big Rig Roma is famous for Gas & Oil K bought a class (?) stubby cooler then drove on down Caenarvon Hwy to Surat Had lunch here of our fave C&B’s and visited township and Cobb & Co museum Weather mixed hot but for the 2nd day running heavy rain Clears the air though! Wildlife count Emus=1, Wallabies=1, met lady in westpac bank in Roma who had lived in London and was off on hols for 3 weeks with her family to South Island, NZ we traded info V pleasant Plus old lady in Roma TI , remember being told off by campsite owner for running grey water, 1st time in 88 days Cobb & Co museum in Surat (v good and interesting) Reopened tap just outside of site

Day 310 - Saturday 30th August 2008,St George to Lightening Ridge via Dirranbandi & Hebel on the NSW border

Very hot day 29c+ Went into St George, drove along St G terrace and Balonne riverside Then visited Emu Egg carving studio ($6 for both) Got diesel ($1.60v cheap) and shopping in Foodstuff .Then about 260k driving to Lightening Ridge. Met greek guy with Emu eggs Lunch at Hebel riverside and surprisingly NO wildlife and met

Capt birdseye loudmouth / boring words from WA who never stopped talking plus nice scotch couple who have lived in Sydney for 20 years.Highlights Getting Annie her black opal necklace in Lightening Ridge plus lamb, mint & rosemary sausages from award winning butchers in St George. See NSW for next day

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