The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

31 October, 2016

Gin Gin - Gold Coast across NSW

After leaving Yepoon we called into Rockhampton to empty the 'shitter' and fill up with water before travelling to Gin Gin and setting up camp at Greg & Debs (approx 20kms east).  Upon arrival we were met with burnt out countryside as a big fire earlier in the week had burnt up close to their home. Quite a bit of smoke and when Greg & Deb got the OK they back burned at night while the wind had dropped off.  Another day of smoke and when wind blew up and a few spot fires flared up Helen was ready to pack up and leave. I had a chat with Greg who explained the situation and in particular pointed out that the trees here are different to the ones down south ie they do not explode in a fire.  I decided it was safe to stay but Helen had already nearly packed up - consequently I was blessed with a few hours of quiet while Helen stewed!!

Greg & Debs camp kitchen

Gas hot water shower run by a solar pump

However the smoke cleared and we were invited up to the house to watch the Melbourne Cup - had a good afternoon but did not get the winning horses as Deb cleaned up with 1st 2nd & 3rd!!! Had some showers of rain which cooled things down and helped distinguish the fire and with an early evening thunderstorm the air was a lot fresher.

Greg feeding the pig sweet potato

Greg & Deb's Dorper Sheep

Fire down by the creek, unfortunately a couple of the trees fell down over the creek.

The fire continued for days ...... and of course the smoke!

From Greg & Debs it was back onto the Bruce Highway with heaps of cars and trucks - we were going to head inland and take the back roads but decided it was quicker to endure the Highway. Stopped for lunch at a park in Gympie and noticed a Windscreen Repair van - the guy had stopped for lunch but was happy to repair a chip for us! Continued onto Beerwah where we stayed at the Sports Ground.

Friendly kookaburra keeping a watchful eye on our camp at Greg & Debs

Drove onto Maudsland where we pulled into Wayne & Susan's (Tenelle's parents) property and had a great grassed site right next to the pool and spa!!!  Said we were so well set up we may not leave!

Great camp spot in the back yard - coffee, bar and spa at our door step/

Had a day visiting friends and meeting baby Abe and called into Helen's neice Julie to collect Briony's boxes she had stored.  So now we had quite a bit of extra weight to distribute in the car and caravan.  After having a fantastic few days with Wayne & Susan we reluctantly packed up and after taking the stands of the van down, noticed a punctured tyre where a nail had gone through. Wayne got his jack out and it was fixed quickly - so lucky to have it happen there instead of out on the highway somewhere.
A few 'hazards' to watch out for @ the pool in Kooralbyn

Headed up to Kooralbyn and spent the night with Leon and Sandy - spent a lot of time in the pool as the temperature was quite hot.  From here we travelled back to Beaudesert and drove on the Cunningham Highway up over the range through Boonah then turned onto the New England Highway to Warwick.  Lunched at Lake Coolmunda which was a nice spot although quite a hot day and plenty of flies!  Stayed at Yelarbon Recreation Gounds which is a nice spot for an overnighter with lovely gardens maintained by volunteers.  Next morning it was already 29 degrees by the time we departed at 8.30am.  Fuelled up at Goondiwindi before battling with millions of trucks on the Newell Highway.  Pulled into Moree and stayed in Mehi River Caravan Park and with the van temperature at 37 degrees, put the aircon on for some relief.  A storm blew in but no rain or thunder. Decided to stay another day as weather was cooler - Helen had a haircut and I had an artesian bath. Afternoon brought thunderstorms and rain which was most welcomed.

Moore artesian baths, I took a "refreshing" dip into the 37 degree water

Picked up repaired tyre and took Gwydir Highway heading to Walgett where we were going to free camp however I was not happy to stay there.  Continued on Castlereagh Highway to Coonamble where we stayed at the Show Grounds which is a nice spot with power/water and toilets for a gold coin donation.  Stayed an extra day and checked out the main street, particularly all the murals of local characters which form part of their Hall of Fame.  Another hot day with the van recording 42 degrees - out to the Bowls Club for dinner and people watching!!

Lake Coolmunda, our lunch spot adjacent to the camping area.

Yelarbon Recreation camp ground, great overnight spot.
Coonamble pub

The main road thru town passes the pub at the end of the main street

Some of the art work of local characters in Coonamble

From Coonamble our next stop was Warren where we called into their local Fete.  Travelled down Oxley Highway to Nevertire then onto Mitchell Highway, had lunch at Nyngan before turning off onto Barrier Highway to Cobar.  Was continually being passed by a Police Patrol car who was catching quite a few vehicles speeding.  Free camped at Cobar by the Lake.

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