As we reached the Bruce Highway, we realised that it must be school holidays as most of Brisbane had also reached the highway and were heading north. I counted 3 camper trailers and many caravans whizzing past us in both directions. School holidays sure bring out the “moronic idiot” in some drivers I must say.The day is insanely hazy, so guess the local farmers must be preparing for fire season by burning off before the wind and dry conditions start in earnest around the area. There must have been a million fire permits approved of late if this haze is anything to go by. The further north we head the clearer the day becomes which is great. I’m thinking about our campfire and wondering what fire bans, if any, are in place.
I notice a few changes on the highway between Nambour and our turnoff. Haven’t been this way for well over 5 years or more I guess, the last time being a December trip to 1770 for a week of tents, sun, surf and sand.
We take the Traviston / Amamoor turnoff and roughly 1030 we arrive at Amamoor township and have to stop for a steam train that is about to cross the road. It doesn’t though and actually appears to be heading backwards. Glenn notices that they are about to turn the engine around and quickly finds somewhere to park the rig, jumps out and is gone before I can figure out what he’s up to. Seems the Mary Valley HistoricalSociety, runs the Mary Valley Rattler to Amamoor on Saturdays and Imbil on Sundays. As we watch them spin the old beast around, we are told that tomorrow in Imbil they will be doing an “armed robbery” to delight (or scare) the passengers. Amazing how easily the old Historical Volunteer gents can turn around what must weight many, many tonnes. Once turned, it steams off up the track, to reverse back and hook onto the passenger cabins. Then it’s time the driver has some morning tea. But not before allowing me to jump up into the cab of the train and feel the heat coming from the coal burning fire place. I’m told that it’s at least 10 degrees warmer behind the wheel than it is outside on any day. Might be nice in winter, but now it’s just rather warm. Hate to be doing it through summer.
With Glenn’s interest quenched, we hit the road again to our destination, as it’s only another 10k’s past Amamoor. There are two camp grounds within the State Forest - Cedar Grove and Amamoor. Cedar Grove is where we will pitch the CT tent this weekend. It has cold showers, toilets, a creek to explore, lovely shady trees (depending on where you set up of course) and a no dog policy. Amamoor is pretty much the same, but dogs are permitted there. It is also the site of the Country MusicMuster held in August of each year.
Once our site is selected and we are settled, I do a little exploring. Got to make sure the loo’s are acceptable, the showers clean, whether there is hot water (I’m dreaming here of course), what the creek is like, if the info sign says anything we haven’t already noted off the net. Usual stuff, but this camp ground also has a pay phone. Good thing too as you need to be pre-booked for this site.
We’ve finally got the new solar panels out in a sunny place to see how they go too. I’m hoping that they will exceed my expectations and prove to be money well spent.
As the day progresses into afternoon, many more tent campers arrive and set up around us, including a family with a rather large dog. Guess they haven’t seen the sign stating dogs are allowed at the other campground and not this one. It’s having a great time, as we can hear it barking and the chorus of “shut up” which suitably follows and which the dog ignores. Looks to be a staffy crossed with something monstrous! Lots of mums and dads with the kids on pushbikes.
Anyway back to exploring. From the main info sign, there appears to be a few walks that you can do around the area. One being a quick 1k through the rainforest along the creek and another far more gruelling 5k walk that recommends you take fitness and water, and of course, heads off uphill … don’t they all really? There is also a Fire Tower around here somewhere that I think you can access, but if you were thinking of heading this way you would have to investigate whether it’s open to the public.
The campground has various grassy areas, but the day progressively gets warmer and warmer and people start dragging tents into the shade. Temp gauge says it’s made it to 33C which I’m finding very easy to believe. There is a small breeze though. We are in a valley between some hills here, so not surprising that the temp should rise, but I thought this was spring?
I keep checking the solar panels and they seem to be boosting our battery bank rather well. In a few short hours, we’ve managed to give them 14.1AH which I think is just wonderful, because in effect we’ve used nothing from the batteries at all … even running a fridge, water pump and lights.Dinner tonight is my favourite Lamb roast marinated in garlic, chilli and rosemary, with roast spuds and veg. Yummo!! I’ve decided to try out the heat beads as well and they’ve made the top of the roast and the spuds rather crispy and brown which is great. I’ve never used them before so it’s nice to try another cooking option should we need one especially with the upcoming fire season and the inevitable fire bans that usually get put into place.
As usual we do a night time creek walk and see catfish, prawns, guppies, frogs and also those bandicoots I couldn’t get a photo of at Spicers Gap. They are everywhere here, but don’t take off at the tiniest sound, so I manage to get one rather dark photo. Then it’s time for a bath and then to settle in front of the fire and listening to the sounds of the campground.
A mob of 4wd’ers have set up camp who have one low to the ground car with them with fantastically loud speakers. Such a pity they only have 1 CD. Also a pity that they choose to play it over and over and over and over and over again from the moment they arrive about 1400 to about 2100 that night. I will add that when they finally turned it down, a cheer went up around the grounds, which I thought was hilarious. Best thing was I could hear the gurgling of the creek once more as I drifted off to sleep.Thankfully now we can hear that creek gurgling away once the music died down and found sleep easily.
We got to have a lovely sleep in before the kids starting running around and causing the usual ruckus that they sure can do. It was even cool enough that we could do so, which we will have to treasure while we can as the weather bureau is predicting stormy weather for summer and that usually means hot and humid. We’ll have another dry pack up which is fantastic.
Once we get into the sunshine, we realise it’s hotter than yesterday or at least it feels that way. So we do the slow, slow pack up. It seems most of the other occupants are also packing up, but looks like there are a few camps that are staying more than one night. I take note that the panels have put another 9AH into the batteries whilst they’ve been out which is really good and brings the battery bank to completely full for the trip home … something that’s never happened before. Glenn is thinking of mounting one panel on the camper so it can charge things if we are parked somewhere. As we only have one car battery, we need to disconnect the Anderson plug every time we pull up with the fridge in there just in case. Not sure he carries jumper leads with us.
Once we finish the pack up and are heading out with the air-conditioner going I might add, I suggest we check out the other campground and then head to Imbil. We might get to see the Mary Valley Rattler in Imbil. So the trip home is planned.
As we head out the entrance, we take a right and head the 4k’s to the second campground. We are impressed by the scope of the music muster site, which you drive through to get to the campground. I’m sure when the muster is on, that no-one would be able to camp here. We park the rig and do a bit of a walk around. Cross the creek and note the large expanse that is the music muster camp ground. It’s a huge grassed area and I can imagine it was rather full at the time. Heading back to the car, I take the opportunity to dip my feet into the creek and find that the water is just as cold here as at Cedar Grove. We don’t stay long as we have a lot to fit into our afternoon.
Heading back into Amamoor, we take another right and turn the vehicle towards Kandanga which is another quite little country town. Once into the town centre, we take a left and head out of town. Then 2 more rights and we are on the road to Imbil.
Once in town, we take another right and head through the town centre. Not so sleep country town today. Looks like they are having a market across from the hotel. As we cross the railway line, I spot the steam train in residence. Perhaps it will still be there on the way back.
We continue out to Lake Borumba with the intentions of checking out the campground. As we reach the Lake, we park the rig and see what’s to see from the lookout. Only the dam wall really, but the statistics are impressive. There are 3 campgrounds noted for Imbil, which is surprising considering the size of the town, so we assume that the Lake brings many visitors to this area. It is stocked with Golden Perch, Saratoga and the rare and protected Mary River Cod by the fish stocking group (which my parents were involved with years ago). We take in the sights and decide to find the campground. It’s well taken care of, well grassed, and well set out. The managers are onsite and guarantee me that there is no Doof Doof here of any sorts as this is a family oriented site. We spot a coastal carpet python heading into the grass on the outskirts of the site and this immediately takes Glenn’s interest. He says that it is a nice place and he would be happy to return if we had canoes or kayaks or something floatious.
We’ve been thinking about kayaks for ages. But do we buy one each or just one between us? What type? How heavy? All those things you think of when you think arm propelled. I think staying at Lake Atkinson Scout Camp gave us too many ideas on how to spend our money!!
As we reach Imbil once more, we have to stop for the Rattler to leave town. I’ve managed to capture it as a movie, but wish I’d gotten his whistle blowing. Never mind, I’ll get it next time for sure. Amazing to see. I’ve checked the website since coming home and the fares are very good for a ride on the old steam train.
Once the excitement of the weekend has been had, we are on the road back home via Kenilworth and Mapleton. The highway is a slow train home as quite a few times we are down to 60 or 70 kph and don’t make it home till after 1600.
What a weekend!
Trip Kilometers: 461
Trip Duration: 48 hours