I’m not sure if you’re ready for this. I am handing over the BLOG this week to my very capable husband Wayne. He’s been dying to get his hands on this, I’m sure he will entertain you (although not as much as me). . so here goes..
OK so its my turn to knock out a few words, Ive been cruising along allowing Jo to do all the blog work, which Ive got to say was working for me. On previous trips Ive been called “The laziest man on tour”! (very unfair Kimbo) but it seems the gravy train is over and here I am tapping away.
This is our entry point to Queensland, we drove all day and crossed the border late in the afternoon, another one horse town. The caravan park is a joke, I had to share my shower with two green tree frogs, another famous griffo curry mince mmmmmm, the sunset was also good.
Another big drive in outback Queensland to Julia Creek, this is a lovely town, quaint visitors centre, famous for the “Dunnart” (small ugly rat like mammal). They detour all heavy vehicles away from the town centre which was nice, the town centre is quiet and relaxed, but just another over night stay for us.
Not sure what happened here, Richmond is only a stones throw from Julia Creek but we decided to give the kids a break from the car. We had also heard about an excellent fossil museum “Kronosarus Korner” in town. This turned out to be excellent, who would have thought they are still finding full skeletons of reptiles that lived 100 million years ago in down town Richmond. Last year they found a mini dinosaour skeleton, very cool.
In 2002 the town dug and filled a lake, as part of this they built a cool water playground which the kids loved. I tried to fix Livy’s kite, much to Jo’s disgust, I think I killed the serenity………I also talked Sarah into a walk around the lake (1.5km) on the promise of an ice-cream, only if shes gets the ice-cream first!!! No problem, its all good until shes gets a quarter of the way around the lake, the ice-cream is finished, its hot and she wants out of the deal, not a happy little camper.
Well this is a place we will never forget, its a national park about 70km north of Hughenden. I’d heard the gorge was worth the 140km detour so I convinced Jo that we should give it a go. Its fair to say that without the shower / toilet in the van, we would have never visited this place, but give Jo her due she agreed to give it a go.
To set the scene, when we drove into the camp area there was one other car in the park. We parked the van in a gravel slip site amongst the high dry grass, it was hot and the flys were abundant. We set the van up and Livy and I went to have the first look at the gorge, the view was amazing but the track to the base was a steep 1.2km goat track. Not sure Griffo (Jo) will go for this!!!!
To my surprise Griffo decides she will go, “We should do it as a family” she says, but I will have to carry Frankie, my backpack and tripod. Im happy to do that, this is going to be worth it.
So the preparation begins, the trail is listed as a 1.5 hr walk, Ive allowed 4hrs, Ive packed the first aid kit, water, sunscreen and oranges. The kids have their own backpacks with water bottles, lollies and hats. The kids and I have proper boots, but Griffo only has sneakers, I know this as she told me this ten times on the decent. We leave at 2.30pm thinking that will easily get us back before dark, Ive thrown two head lights into Livys backpack just in case, we are ready to go.
On the way to the trail Jo stops at the parks long drop, nasty….. uncleaned long drops are no longer long drops…….We leave the pram at the top of the trail and commence the decent Jo is not sure about this, but Im saying nothing. Ten minutes in and Jo’s legs are wobbling shes sweating and not happy with me. Sarah is crying, she wants to go back to Perth and Olivia wants to run down the hill. Ive decided to keep quiet, push on and let them sort out their own issues, Frankie and my load is heavy enough.
Pushing on the trail slowly gets worse and worse and worse until we are on a 60 degree decent of a thousand uneven rocky steps. For some reason the bugs are attracted to Griffo, its an odd thing! This is Jo’s worse nightware, both Griffo and Sarah are exhausted, between the two of them its whinge and cry city. I try to keep them motivated with “Good work, we are almost there” only to have head bitten off, “You have been saying that for the last hour, I cant feel my legs!!” followed by “Ive only got sneakers on, not boots”
Finally we reach the base and its beautiful, coloured sandstone cliffs, trees a plenty and a gentle crystal clear creek flowing. I drop my boots and socks and walk into the water, its beautiful. Frankie loves it she’s happily sitting in the water, this is a dream for her, carried down and now there’s water to play in. Olivia is off, shes exploring base having a ball. I turn around to see Sarah and Griffo snarling at me. Ten minutes on and they are both in the water enjoying the base, how could you not, what a place.
Its all good until thoughts move to the accent. I know Sarah ate most of her lollies at the base and we all had a good drink, but something strange happened. Ten minutes into the climb and now Sarah is the action kid, shes leading the climb and calling for us to catch up. Olivia has hit the wall, she is complaining of not being able to see properly. We stop for Olivia to rest, she has more to drink and some sugar but shes quite poorly. Griffo has wobbly leg again and now shes worried about Olivia, Im officially the antichrist and a selfish one at that, thankfully Im carrying Frankie. Ofcourse I do what any bloke in my position does in this predicament, shut up, keep my head down and stay out of Griffos way, which was going well until Frankie starts chimming in, they’re in sync, not sure how they do this, shes 14 months old!!!!!! (Im cracking myself up recalling this part)
Finally we get to the top, we are all exhausted. Im proud of Griffo and the kids, that was not an easy walk, it was worth it and now its time for a beer. A cheer returns to the family. We return to the van, the kids are excited with lemonade and Griffo tells me thats the best cold shower she has ever had, we enjoy chips and dips and a pleasant evening in the bush until Griffo turns for the worse. Personally I think her body was shocked with the idea of strenuous exercise, maybe its stirred up the toxins or maybe the heat??…..anyway she was terribly sick all night, vomiting and seemingly hung over the next day, poor thing, then out of nowhere she says to me “I think Im going to start doing hiking……” A strange creature is the women, you never really know what your in for.
Well there you go, Porcupine Gorge, a beautiful spot and a life changing time for all. And to think Olivia, Sarah and Frankie got to Porcupine Gorge before Bali thats really something when you live in Perth…..
Another nice town and a reasonable size, but only an over night stay again for us. Mind you enough time for the kids to have a swim and play on the jumping pillow at the c/van park. Steak at the Enterprise Hotel was awesome, but a little wary of the Rebels clubhouse across the road and the number of people wearing cowboy hats. Also at dusk the bats came out in their thousands, filled the sky, the guy at the c/van park reckons on dusk a park in town has flocks of 10-20 thousand bats kicking around.
Well where do you start with this place, its remarkable, it kind of reminds me of Norfolk Island scenery. Olivia wants to move here, but theres no way Sarah is buying into that. Its tropical Queensland the best we have seen, rolling green hills, with dairy cows, horses and rain forrest.
Today we took in three water falls (Millaa Millaa, Ellingaa and Zillia) a volcanic crater and ate organic lunch at the Mungalli dairy. I’m not one for the whole organic thing but that lunch was awesome. Theres something about this region thats welcoming and beautiful, it should be on everyones bucket list of places to visit, I’d be surprised if anyone comes away disappointed.
Well thats enough of me rattling on about week 7, I hope I havent bored you entirely and with some luck Griffo will be back again next week. We still have a couple more days at Atherton and then we are heading for our trips northern most point.
Until then enjoy your 9-5 gigs