24 Jun 17th May – 24th June – Cairns and then meandering to Winton
22 May 2018 – We decided to leave our friends in Little Mulgrave and move to a caravan park in Cairns, mainly because the lack of internet and mobile phone reception made it difficult to make arrangements with friends in Cairns. It was a shame to leave the beautiful valley and go into the busy city, but was more convenient and even allowed us to use public transport a couple of times.
We enjoyed seeing old friends and colleagues, having lunches and dinners and catching up on 10 years of goings on.
31 May 2018 – We left Cairns behind and travelled up the Kuranda Range Road to Mareeba and stayed the night at a bush camp. It was huge area and we had a riverside spot to ourselves, but unfortunately a very loud party on an adjoining property completely spoiled the night for us and we left the next morning.
1 June 2018 – Officially the first day of winter but a lovely warm sunny day. We went about 20 klms to another bush camp the other side of Mareeba (Mareeba Bush Stays) and stayed 4 nights. It is a lovely place, on a ridge with beautiful views and lots of bird life. There are 2 dams with red claw and we were treated to some fresh caught and cooked red claw at happy hour one night. There were only 3 other RVs there plus the camp hosts and we enjoyed happy hour each night with them.
5 June 2018 – reluctantly leaving Mareeba we travelled 40 klms to Bonadio RV Stay at Yungaburra. This is another beautiful spot on the edge of the river in a corn (maize) farm but very windy and cool. We went to visit friends who live nearby for afternoon tea and arranged to have lunch next day at Gallo Dairyland. They are a cheese and chocolate factory and we had a tasty lunch and bought some of their hand made chocolates and cheeses.
8 June 2018 – to Wild river van park at Herberton, a pleasant place with big sites and lots of trees. We walked around Herberton and went to the Mining Museum which is on a large area of land with interesting walks through the bush to see the original mine workings and restored buildings. The museum is very well laid out with interesting histories and relics of the mining era.
10 June 2018 – to Ravenshoe Railway van park. On arrival we were invited by the camp hosts to the Sunday night buffet dinner at the top pub “The Highest Hotel in Queensland”. It was packed with visitors and locals and we enjoyed the evening. We also went to Millstream Falls and the WW2 Heritage Walk there, and to Little Millstream Falls, both very scenic spots with clear flowing water.
12 June 2018 – to the Oasis Roadhouse at the Lynd. This is an isolated roadhouse with a van park at the back. During the afternoon the ABC Backroads film crew arrived with Heather Ewart in the fruit & veg delivery truck. They spent the afternoon filming and stayed the night.
13 June 2018 – We set off early for Porcupine National Park on the road to Hughenden. We had been told that the unsealed sections of the road had been recently graded so decided not to let air out of the tyres. It turned out that of the 210 k trip, about 85 k was unsealed and only a small part of that was recently graded smooth – the rest was very bumpy, rocky, corrugated and even some of the bitumen sections were terrible. It was not a comfortable journey at all, but in the end it was good to arrive and meet up with friends Carol & David from RV Homebase and spend 3 nights there. We did the gorge walk which was quite strenuous and also the rim walk which was easy. The days were warm and the nights were cold. On the day we left the annual Porcupine Gorge Challenge was on and the car parks and access roads were packed with parked cars as we made our way out.
16 June 2018 – we travelled to Richmond with Carol & David and camped for 2 nights at the RV Park there. It was very windy and continued very cool at night. We went to the Kronosaurus Korner fossil museum which has some very special dinosaur fossils found by local landholders. This area used to be a massive inland sea and there are thousands of marine fossils being discovered all the time by landholders and various museum staff, from tiny shell-fish to enormous Plesiosaurs and Kronosaurus.
18 June 2018 – to Julia Creek RV Park on the waterhole just on the edge of town. It is a free camp and a beautiful spot with lots of bird life, including a huge flock of budgerigars roosting. We spent 3 days there with our friends, then they left and we stayed one more day.
22 June 2018 – first to Kynuna where we bought fuel and had lunch at the Blue Heeler Hotel, claimed to be the location where Banjo Patterson wrote Waltzing Matilda. On the way we saw Brolgas.
Then we travelled toward Winton and found a great spot to spend the night in a mini painted-desert type area where we camped all by ourselves. There is an Aboriginal sacred place nearby with a small waterhole. We had a camp fire and watched the stars for a while.
The next day we left and travelled about 4 k to another free camp which we did not like very much, so went back to the first place and stayed another night.
24 June 2018 – to the Long Waterhole at Winton, a huge area which is very dry and dusty alongside a muddy water course, but very peaceful and with lots of bird life. We went back into Winton to the Waltzing Matilda Centre which was very interesting and worth the visit, had lunch there and stocked up on some fresh produce. Then we drove out to Bladensburg National Park to check out the camp ground, but the road in was obviously too rough for Stopalot so we decided we would not be camping there and went back to Long Waterhole.
We had planned to go to Lark Quarry the next day (110 k each way) to see the Dinosaur Stampede, but the weather forecast said there could be rain and the last place we want to be is on this heavy black soil if there is a hint of rain, so we decided to stay the night and leave first thing and continue travelling east.