If you remember, we almost got to check this place out on our way home from Charlie Moreland. We walked in about 500m that day and we had a bit of a laugh when we discovered we only had about another 400m to go.
The day dawned perfect. So much for the Bureau of Meteorology and their showers prediction so far. It was a little cool and somewhat windy … as is always the case around Ekka (Brisbane Exhibition) time. Those southerlies always appear right in time for the Ekka and usually hang around for 3 days … we are into day 4
and I think they are the strongest so far.
and I think they are the strongest so far.
Heading north up the Gateway Motorway and over the bridge to the north side of town, we are bound for the Bruce Highway.
As we cross over Coochin Creek, I was surprised to see SES workers combing the area … perhaps looking for DanielMorecombe? I was a little startled that they were searching so close to such a busy road. I have a special interest in his story. We are born on the same day … if many years apart. I hope for his parent’s sake that they find his remains … to give them the closure that they need.
So anyway, we head straight passed where Daniel was originally taken from (their are people laying wreathes) and into Nambour. Passed the showgrounds then up the range to Mapleton and down the range to the Kenilworth turnoff, but we are going the opposite direction.
About 5k’s further on is Gheerulla’s Pioneer Park and not much further along a sign pointing to the State Forest.
This is a dirt road that you follow for 2k’s. Once you enter the park, they are now recommending 4WD only, due to the January rains washing out the track. It’s only 1k into the campsites of which there are 3. At a squeeze you could fit hard floor campers in nearly all, but tents are probably the best bet. We chose the largest of the sites and were happy with our choice.
Campsite 3 ... our siteThis area was originally settled by timber getters chasing red cedar, blackbutt and tallowwood as well as pastoralists in the 1880's. Area's around Bunya Pine had been protected between 1842 and 1860. The area supports 107 species of birds including the Peregrine Falcon and Woompoo Fruit Dove, 70 species of reptile and 32 species of frogs. Of the frogs, the Southern Day Frog, Pouched Frog and Gastric Brooding Frog are endangered, the Cascade Tree Frogs have been upgraded to vunerable and a monitoring program is now in place for all frogs in the Blackall Range area. The Mary River Cod is also endangered in the wild.
Once flipped and settled, we wandered around the other campsites and along the creek. This camp has 2 toilets, but no showers. Each site is supposed to have a picnic table and fire pit, but the picnic tables have been washed away except for one. One fire pit has been reversed into by the looks, but still operates well.
There is a walking track on the opposite side of the creek. We know this as we heard and saw people walking along it, so I endeavour to find a creek crossing so that we may also“take a walk”. I didn’t believe Mother Nature could be so providing and her pathway was a perfect width and length so as to keep our feet dry and make it to the other side with very little fuss. We wandered down the track for a kilometre or so, and on finding nothing more than what was back at camp, we returned.
I jumped back in the car and headed for the sign at the entrance to see if it mentioned the walks at all, but alas. I also noted that whilst we walked another site had been filled, as was the third later than afternoon. So this place is busy even if the website doesn’t say so (this is one that you can only book online).
We settled into our site for the evening. Rib fillet and veg for dinner tonight. It’s still windy and a little overcast on occasion, but no rain as yet.
Oh and I forgot to mention that we’ve purchased an Evakool 60Lfridge / freezer to put in the place of my esky. Getting fancy onsite aren’t we? Definitely “Glamping” (Glamour Camping) at it’s best. Next trip out we’ll also have some solar panels, but this trip I’m keeping a good eye on our battery voltage… just to see what happens there. We start at 12.7V … next check it’s 12.4V and the last check was 12.3V and it’s been running the fridge & freezer all day. We switch it off that night, but have it running again the next morning… I check it before we leave and it’s still 12.2V. All good for an overnighter ... the alternator will be charging them somewhat on the way home.Being that this campsite is on a Trail Bike Trail, we have yet to hear or see one … a few people have driven in to check the campsite out, but they are looking for somewhere bigger I guess. We spend the rest of the afternoon lazing by the fire in our comfy camp chairs … wondering where all the bikes are.
The amenities are on the opposite side to the second sign there. Campsite 2 is just passed the white sign about 50m.
The wind eases off a bit so that we can sit comfortably under the awning and eat our dinner, have showers and don warm clothes, but the temperature doesn’t really drop too much as it's been cool all day. Must be the tree cover we are under.
As we head to bed, we are lulled by the sounds of the wind in the trees, and occasionally by the sound of the creek when we can actually hear it.
Very early the next morning we are awoken by the sounds of an airbed foot pump. Poor neighbours must have been sleeping closer to the ground as the night wore on. Makes us enjoy our off the ground comfy bed even more and we drift off again. The next time we are awoken is around 0830 or 0900 by the sounds of our first trail bikes, and from then until we leave there are groups of 2 or 3 coming roughly every ½ hour. Once they enter they either park and wander for a short time, or continue up the trail or down the road. Either way there is only noise for a short period and we are back to the tranquillity of the wind again.
After breakfast, we get our first shower of rain. Yes … another wet pack up is in store. Nothing we haven’t done before though. Our neighbours return from a walk up the other side of the creek and literally throw everything in the back of their ute. Total pack up time of 5 minutes. LOL! Can only imagine trying to find everything when they get home … and the total rope tangle as well.
We take at least an hour to ensure all is secured as it should be… with wet ropes and poles in the ute tray. We will have to put it all back up when we return home as it's soaked, but never mind. We’ve done it before … more than once.
We are on the road earlier than usual and decide to take the road through Kenilworth and Maleny home. Change of scenery is a good reward, especiall when it's the mighty Mary River Valley.
I also wanted to stop at Mary Cairncross Park and see if there is a view today, but there isn’t much of a one. We missed the turnoff for Mount Mellum as we were going to go that way home, via Peachester. Next time perhaps? We stop at Landsborough for a sausage roll and a pie for lunch. It’s been raining steadily since we left, but of course, the minute we hit the highway, the rain ceases and it doesn’t look like it’s rained here at all.
Radio says they’ve found some human bones to match the pair of kids shoes found earlier. Could it really be Daniel? After 8 years, perhaps some finality is in sight for his parents?
Upon returning home quite early, we set up the camper again, to let it dry off. Rain gauge says we’ve had 10mm at home. Of course, overnight we have another 7mm, so it’s still drenched Monday morning. Thankfully Glenn finishes work heaps earlier than I do and managed to get the now dry camper closed seconds before it started pouring again.
Trip Kilometres: 356
Trip Duration: 48 hours
A new BIG THING: