Well I’m officially on holidays once more (yay) and looking forward to a few weeks off the doldrums that is employment. We start our a little later than usual at 0830, but since we’ll be away for a few days, that’s just fine. The day itself is warm and tending between overcast and sunny, but can’t seem to make up its mind.As we head up the
We are onsite at around 1015 and I get out to open the first of the gates. The trees lining the drive are once again in full leaf and it’s pleasantly cool under them. As we cross the causeway, we note that the creek, although flowing, is not flowing very strongly and hope against hope that there is still water up by our usual campsite in the overflow area. After opening yet another gate, we head in to find the creek completely dry and decide to check out the campground for water.
Third gate for me and we are in the campground. The grass is much drier than we’ve seen before which is not surprising considering the lack of precipitation that the entire area has experienced.
Now to see if that creek has water! Excellent! It has! So I’d reckon we are staying in the campground for the very first time. We chose a site which has ample shade as it’s really getting rather warm about now and set up. But Glenn gets a bit upset and decides this isn’t the spot we really want. Since we’ll be here for a few days, we need a better view. Currently, all we can see is bush.
I decide that whilst he’s a bit upset about things, I’m a bit hot and extremely sweaty so go in the creek fully clothed. It’s both refreshing and cold. Of course the dogs follow me. Once out, the breeze cools me off further which is excellent.
We scout around for a better view and find it. So let’s de-erect camp and move things there. Easier said than done. Once moved and positioned just so, Glenn is happy and we once again begin setting up. I agree this site is better as we can not only see and hear the creek, but it’s about 10 steps closer than the other site – the view is so much better and was a good reason to move. It’s not as shady here so we’ll have to put up the full awning (ie both sides) to assist in keeping us cooler whilst we are here. Glenn agrees.By lunchtime we are sitting, relaxing and finally enjoying my birthday (well I am). We aren’t completely settled, but it’s so hot, so moving is something now done slowly and with purpose. I whip out the temp guage and set it up both in and out of the tent (it’s that kind) and find that we are about 34⁰C under the awning and almost 40⁰C inside and teamed with a high humidity … My word! Makes me wonder how we’ll sleep being so hot – with damp wash cloths handy I imagine. It’s a pity I didn’t get a 12v fan like I was thinking of doing for this trip. They are $150 and are said to be whisper quite and economical, but Glenn is a light sleeper, so was waiting to see if the noise level was acceptable for him. Oh Well.
Of course the ball and Frisbee come out and we are then required to throw them around the campground for the rest of our trip. Luckily I can lob the ball into the water from my chair.The cicadas are insanely noisy at times and teamed with Bell Minor’s, it’s hard to think. They seem to be taking it in turns as to who is the loudest of them all. I’m not complaining at all, just saying that it’s like living next to a motor body works on occasion. We’ve noticed that March Flies are in attendance this time and have built a swatter of sorts out of some junk mail and gaffa tape. It works to stun them quite well, and we chuck them out of camp to a Willy Wag Tail who’s taken up the task of eating as many of them as it can.
We are having deep fried prawn cutlets, crumbed snapper and chips for dinner, so we get that out to defrost. Next on the agenda is present unwrapping. So for my birthday I got a new CF card for my camera (it’s insanely huge) and a new SD card for my GoPro (also insanely huge) and a 20w solar panel for keeping the camper topped up while I’m at work which will save running power cords through the cat door. Well done Me! I hand over some Christmas gifts that Glenn can use this trip … some new sunnies and a internal fridge light with extra rechargeable batteries. I think he’s happy with that.
After lunch we decide to go and have a look at the waterfalls that are upstream. We head off through the gate and up a graded “road” till it comes to an end. Now we’ll have to rock hop our way upstream. About 5 minutes of rock hopping and I realise that poor old Jack just isn’t up to it. He’s having a real struggle with his arthritic back legs. I knew it would be hard for him, but didn’t realise just how hard. Thankfully we’ve come to the most beautiful rock pool I’ve seen for a long time. And it’s deep and cold. This will be where we stop today and give Jack a chance to recoup his dignity and breath, but we won’t be going any further upstream with him. This pool is his outer limit alas.Both myself and Telashi are immediately in the water. Glenn and Jack follow shortly after. It’s glorious! In places I can’t touch bottom, but it’s wide and swim-able and has a gravely base. We enjoy the pool for a half hour or more before we head back. This time I’m more conscious of where Jack will have problems and he all but collapses on me near the end. We give him a few minutes to get his wits about him as neither of us will be able to carry him out. Slow, gently and a lot of assistance does the trick and we are back on firm level ground before long. Once back on the flatter ground, Jack is easily able to keep up and even takes up a bit of a run with the other pups. Poor Old Thing. It’s really made me realise just how far downhill he’s going. Admittedly, I’ve been carrying upstairs at home for about 6 months now at night (yes, all 30kg’s of him) but I was sure it was because his eyesight is failing as his eyes are getting more and more opaque each year with cataracts being that he’s a ’99 model. Scotch Collies don’t often live past 15 years I believe, so he’s doing well. We make it back to camp in good time, with Jack dawdling behind me. He’s getting slower and slower the closer to camp we get. Jack sleeps the rest of the day away on his bed after I administer a tablet to help alleviate his aching joints and legs. I’m disappointed with myself for not getting him his usual monthly arthritis injection before we left, but he’s booked in for one when we return.
Around 1600 or so David comes down on his motorbike for a visit. We tell him we’ll be staying 3 nights with the option for a 4th at Glenn’s choice. David is a lovely gentleman, who is both friendly and accommodating. He asks if we’d like the Donkey lit, but we save him some trouble and say no of which he’s grateful. We spend the next 45 minutes chatting amicably about things like the lack of rain, the level of the creek and such. I learn that he has 3 catfish in the pond in front of our camp and that this particular hole has run dry a few times since he’s lived here. He’s also attempting to attract the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly by putting in some of the only plants their larvae will eat. He’s very proud of the fact he got these to grow as he says it’s proven difficult at times, but these ones are flourishing. It would have been wonderful to see them in flower, but they currently are showing quite a few seed pods. If you are ever camping out here, please do not tamper with these vines at all. I’m not sure how friendly David might be if you killed or damaged one. He makes comment on how we seem to bring rain with us and that they rather need it, so he hopes this camp will be the same.
After David has gone, we set about organising dinner. Glenn is cooking for me. The OzPig comes out and we set it up under the lean-to that holds the only fire pit in the campground which happens to be right beside us. The heat of the fire is hard to stand near, so we don’t contemplate siting near it for our entire trip.
Into bed early due to some bugs invading our camp.18.3AH
Out of bed early next morning 0642, to find Glenn has been up since 0530. Coffee and watermelon for breakfast. It’s heating up fast and the humidity is high so we are in for another warm, sweaty day. Thank goodness for the cool water of the creek.
We spent the first hour or two just enjoying the serenity of it all and I have to say that it’s wonderful. Being the only people in the grounds is divine to say the least. We endure the Return of the March Flies and Willy (the Wag Tail) isn’t far behind them. As we swat them, I’ve decided to do a Sharapova like wail … as she’s featured on the front of the junk mail I’m swatting them with … so it seems very appropriate to do so. It does seem that the smell of them being swatted attracts more, but we don’t hesitate in attempting to dwindle the numbers as best we can.
Wandering around the campground, we notice that things have changed a little. It seems that the large gardens that David has put in have been burned – by who I don’t know – and he’s attempting to revegetate them with seedlings which I guess are from the nursery down the road. All native trees I think. It will be a battle for him to keep them alive over the summer, but they should grow well if they survive and be providing shade in a few years. The toilet block hasn’t changed at all and is nice and clean as always.
We wander to all parts of the small site and then onto the creek. Before I realise it, poor old Jack is once again floundering in his attempts to follow us. I’m following Glenn and didn’t give the trail a thought until now. Jacks stubborn side kicks in and he refuses to turn around and follow me back out, leaving me with no choice but to assist him where possible. I reckon anyone viewing it would be laughing about now as we both struggle with the slippery rocks.
Once back at
retires to his bed and Telashi and I return to the creek for a swim. Glenn notes the temperature has once again
reached 35⁰C, but today the humidity is low.
It’ll be lamb roast with veg for dinner, so I get it out to defrost which shouldn’t take long. It’s been seasoned with garlic, rosemary and chilli, de-boned and frozen – as I always do – and is one of Glenn’s favourite camping meals. I’m following it with Butter Cake for desert, as Glenn has decided that camp cake is a good thing and bought this one himself.
For the remainder of the day, we throw the ball, swim, drink, swat flies and relax. What could be a better way to spend the Summer Holidays really? We decide to remove the lambs wool seat covers on our chairs and replace them with wet towels. I have to say it’s a good thing as every time you get up for a few minutes, sitting back down is a very cool thing.
We discuss our plans to find the waterfalls upstream and what we’ll do with Jack. Since we have the dog box, which is open ended, has the thermal roof insert and a solar run fan, we think he’ll be okay in there for a few hours if we park the car in the shade. So tomorrows aim is to get as far as we can with Kiah & Telashi.42.5AH – a camp record.
Out of bed before 0700 today as the mission is to find that waterfall or any waterfall if possible. Breakfast out of the way, we start packing our backpacks with what we might need – drinks, nibbles, camera gear and the likes. The car gets moved into the shade where I notice the solar fan still runs (must have a battery of some sort). Jack – much to his disgust – is put in the box with his bed, some water and a bone and we are on the track around 0900. He watches us leave with a sad look on his face … or is that relief that he doesn’t have to rock hope for a few hours – it’s hard to tell.
We are back at the waterhole in about 20 minutes and decide it’s a good time for a swim and a drink. We’ve found a more direct route to the water, so if we were to bring Jack back, it wouldn’t be so hard on him this time. Back on the rock hoping mission, I notice that the rocks are getting larger and larger (some the size of 4WD’s) and it’s harder for the dogs to make their way with us … me too for that matter … and I suggest Glenn scurry ahead to see what’s to see, whilst the dogs and I sit and wait. He’s gone for another 20 minutes and says he’s found the waterfall but it’s dribbling at present from cracks in the rock. No water falling as such at all. There is disappointment all round.
Once Glenn has a drink, we head back to the waterhole for another swim. Half an hour later we are packed up and heading home once more along the track. I hear another waterfall and we head down the steep bank to check it out. Dogs are so lucky to have 4 legs for this as they make it look so easy. Once at the bottom, we find another deep hole with rocks all around, but the gravely shore is on the opposite side. Of course Telashi is straight in and I’m a bit shocked to see Kiah do the same. She’s a bit water shy you see, but she’s jumped in and is swimming around as contentedly as Telashi.
Glenn wanders upstream a bit to the actual waterfall of about 2 feet in height and poses on the rocks beside it for me. I wait for him to return and we make our way back to camp.
Jack has been eating his bone and is happy to see us. It’s after 1030. The first thing he does when we let him out is pee. LOL! So funny to see, but I’m glad he didn’t pee in the dog box, although one day I’m sure one of them will.
Lunch is a reheated affair of left over lamb and veg which is better second time around if it’s possible. Glenn goes and has a sleep for an hour or so. I take out the marinated chicken for our stir fry tonight and laze around camp – swimming or throwing the ball of course.The afternoon is mostly overcast, but we still manage to put in 35.4AH for the day. During the night we get a sprinkle on the canvas, but it’s not enough to wet the dust.
Out of bed around 0645 and have stir fry reheat for breakfast. It’s divine. I decide that I just have to wash my hair today … it’s stringy … so do so up at the shower block which is much easier than doing it from a bucket. The cold water doesn’t worry me at all. All the dogs come with me.
After we clean up camp for a bit, I request we go for a walk to the Grassy Knoll that is between us and David’s house. The view from up there should be lovely. Backpack in hand we head up and can hear David’s bike off in the distance past the overflow section. He must be doing something with his cows as I can hear them moo-ing a bit much more than usual. The view is gorgeous down through the valley. We head back down to the road and I want to see if the creek here has any water. It doesn’t. We follow it back to camp.
Glenn has another sleep and is snoring by 1045. It leaves me to enjoy the serenity as much as I can with noisy cicadas and the odd plane going over. Of course, I must throw the ball and swim and I also decide its happy hour here on camp.
Upon awaking, Glenn decides we are here for another night. I’ve taken out some spicy thai rissole meat (yes, all ready to go bar the patty making) for lunch. David drops by once more, so we tell him of our plans to stay another night. He tells us that we’ll have company on our last night as he has some new people coming in that haven’t been here before. We get to a bit more chatting and he heads over to clean the toilet block for the new arrivals. We have lunch while David cleans and once he’s finished he heads back over toward us and starts picking up cigarette butts off his lawn whilst chatting. I’d noticed a fair few of them earlier and picked them up. He says the last bloke to stay here left them all over the place and we both agree it’s a horrid thing to do dropping them everywhere. Being a smoker, I always carry a “butt bucket” with me otherwise stick the butts in my pocket. I simply refuse to litter them or anything else around the place (any place) as I also think it’s disgusting and rather wrong. I help him to clean up as many as we can find and also provide a doggie poo bag for them to be put into. He tells me our new neighbours should arrive in a few hours and they’ll be staying till after Christmas. Lucky them. He also mentions that his New Years booking has cancelled. I let him know that I shall put the word out that his campsite will be empty on one of the forums I’m a member of, when we return home. Let’s hope someone takes us the offer of a completely empty site to enjoy the holidays at. As we are collecting butts from near the toilet block, I call Kiah out of one of his gardens and we both spot a black snake. She must have seen it and was going in to investigate! Sorry I don’t have a photo, but it was a big one. Neither of us got to see what the colour of it’s underside was. It was fairly docile all in all, but gave Kiah a scare (me too). So glad it wasn’t a brown or we’d be driving off to the vets about now.
Around 1400 our neighbours arrive. As we’ve been alone for 4 days, it’s a bit of an event for us. They have a brand new caravan being towed by a Prado and they choose the farthest site from us … which is nice. After wandering, seeing the lay of the land, discussions, by 1430 the van legs are going down and their setup begins. 45 minutes later they are still setting up which makes me smile a bit. Not long after they arrive, David comes down to say hello to them and they chat for awhile, before he comes back over to us. He tells me they are Ray & Judy.The rest of the day is rather overcast. Glenn and I discuss how long it seems to take them to set up and once they seem to be completed, I head over and say hello, inviting them over for a drink and a chat after dinner.
Its T-bones and veg for dinner tonight. I offer to make another cake, but Glenn declines. As our camp oven is rather small, I actually make them in one of our stainless steel saucepans lined with baking paper. It easily handles a ½ cake mix and that’s really all we can eat. It works well and all the cakes so far have been moist as I can seal them in the saucepan with it’s securing lid. I even do the icing that comes with it.
Once the sun goes down, I hear a cooee that heralds the approach of our neighbours. We ensure the dogs are secured so they may enter. They have bought chairs and a bottle of red. After the introductions they settle in and I turn out the light, leaving only our solar powered Christmas icicle lights running. Judy comments on how well they light up the area and I mention how cheap they were.
During the next few hours we discuss many things. This is their first trip out in the new van which they have had for several weeks. Being that they are accomplished campers it’s a bit of fun for them right now and they are planning the Big Lap. Can’t blame them. They were both raised in the
and got engaged before Cyclone Tracy hit in ’74, have kids and now live in
Rocklea which isn’t so far from us. They
are a generation or so before us, but are easy to talk to and have a colourful
history to share. Northern Territory
Before you know it the time is 1045 and they head back to camp. We head straight to bed as we are exhausted from such a long day.
It’s nearly 0800 before either of us is out of bed, but we both were awoken at daybreak by a cicada crescendo like none before. It was ear-splittingly loud, but somehow I managed to succumb to sleep once more.
Today is our last alas and then it’s back to suburbia.
Dishes are done and we start the very slow pack up after another bit of a lay down. There is more swimming, more relaxing, but the feeling isn’t light like the other days … as today we must leave. I simply don’t want to go. As we’ve never done a 4 nighter in the camper before I’ve become a bit partial to it and want to do more. Many, many more.
Glenn wants to be gone around 1400 so that we get home with heaps of time to do a partial unpack as we plan to do Christmas with his family and then take another trip on boxing day.
Lunch is a simple affair of chips, muesli bars and fruit. We’d forgotten about the left over rissoles and could have had them on bread.
Even before 1400 we are on hitched and ready to go. I start the gate opening rituals and holler a goodbye to Ray & Judy, who both come out from the shade of their awning to wave us off. At the second gate, I laugh and ask Glenn if we’ll fit through. David had mentioned that he’d seen them with his binoculars measuring the gate width to ensure they’d fit through it with the van. Doesn’t hurt to be sure I guess. J
Back on the highway, it’s a relatively uneventful drive home to a partial unpack. We’ve even got our next destination picked!
Trip Kilometres: 281