We are on the road a bit earlier for this trip, leaving at 0723. We are heading north again this weekend, and take the highway up towards Gympie. The police are out in force this morning and we see more speed camera’s than we’ve seen for a long while. Not sure what’s so special about this weekend … perhaps they are broke? We also spot the army heading south in tanks.
Once at Amamoor, we head west and then south, a distance of approximately 18K. Our destination is roughly 2 hours from home on a good day (according to the info), but these things never go as planned. Today being no good day alas. The highway driving is fine, but we find it take us 2 hours on this alone, but the dirt road into our destination is not something to be completed at 100K’s an hour, and this invariably slows us down a bit more.
We reach the campsite of Amamoor Station at 1000. As per the phone directions, we’ve passed the yards, we’ve passed the firing range, and we’ve continued up to the gorge. Or at least we think we have. There is no signage, and I only have a brief conversation with the owner to go on … really wishing we had a mud map or something … a phone signal would be good … I could give the bloke a call. From what I gather from our phone conversation, he doesn’t live out here. Shame.
The paddock track heads through some very overgrown cow pasture, up a slight rise, through a gate that has stayed open for quite some time, through more overgrown cow pasture and then goes a bit steeply up the side a hill. Not sure what lays ahead, we drop the camper.
Good thing we did as we could never have negotiated this track with the camper on without requiring a good winching here and there. Some of the turns would have been rather tricky and being alone, this is something you don’t want to try with such a drop off beside the road. Lives versus stupidity – happy that today lives have won.
At the top of this track, there is a gate. We open it and head through to park and walk. We aren’t sure if we are still on the property or not. From here we have no idea where we are meant to go or whether we trespassing, or if we’ve made it to the mentioned Gorge. The brief walk takes us through a better cropped cow paddock with a stand of large eucalypts (widow makers some call them), but the track has split in different directions. At a loss as to where to go now and believing we are trespassing, we return to the camper to try and find a shorter patch of grass (hopefully there is one).
Perhaps this reported gorge is up another valley? Perhaps it’s where we might end if we go off the track on the way back? We don’t know.
It’s really hot today and our hopes of The Perfect Campsite are rapidly dwindling, so we scout back the way we’ve come to find easier access to the creek (where we are it’s a tangled mess of lantana) and a shorter patch of grass. The only one we find with shorter grass is less than 50 metres from the fence of the firing range. Stray bullet anyone?
So we head back to the open gate and find a very small patch of shorter grass and easy access to the creek. Seems we are home. We consider how to position the camper, Glenn in charge and before you know it, we are set up and seeking shade. Yes, it’s really that hot and sticky today. One downfall of our site is that it’s nowhere near level and we can’t open the camper properly. The floor is still a bit “up in the air” so we have to tie it down … if we get a storm and lots of wind, this will be first thing that goes pear shaped for us. Tied down, we’ll have to live with it.
Down to the creek, we see there is nowhere that we can swim as such, but lots of shallow pools to sit in. The water is very cold and running gently. I search up and down the creek looking for a pool that my pup can get her feet off the ground, but I can only find one or two that are about knee deep and she swims around over the rocks happily. She’s cool and wet … a happy thing for her.
Back at camp, we sit around cursing the heat and wondering if a storm would come to cool things down a bit. Humidity is high making things more uncomfortable, but we make do with cool drinks. As soon as the sun reaches a point where trees are casting shadows our way, we seek them out.
Our dinner of a roast seems a bit out of place and we make plans for cold meats and salads for future meals. The lack of a fire is something we’ll miss, but it’s just too hot now that summer is here … well in temperature anyway. Actual summer is still a good week or more away. I’m pretty darn sure it’s not taken any advice of the calendar as to when it would turn up and summer is here with vengeance.
There is very little to do here it seems. If we walk back down the track we hit the firing range. If we walk up the track, it’s uphill all the way. Better to sit in a puddle in the creek and enjoy the sound of nothing really. Not even the birds are out much today. It’s just too hot.
We tried to walk up the creek, but the way is difficult due to downed trees, rain debris from upstream trees, and large slippery rocks.
I comment to Glenn that we should have bought the mower and whipper snipper to make the campsite nicer. Glenn says that would be impossible. He’s showing little confidence in the site and I have to agree. But we are here now.
The owner said he’d come to meet us and show us around, but he’s nowhere in sight and unfortunately for us, doesn’t show up at all through our weekend.
There is a lot more sitting around trying to keep cool and very little ball throwing. We do manage to pick a few ticks of the dogs and one off Glenn who seems to attract them. Much later in the afternoon, we spot 2 cows in the paddock, but they keep their distance. I’m assuming they don’t get to see too many people up close.
As the day disappears, we light the fire and get dinner underway. Neither of us is really looking forward to a hot meal, but we must eat. Roast and vegies. We peel vegies, get the roast cooking nicely and as the light dwindles, we are eating our meal with gravy.
We’ve seen large anvil like clouds go around us and head north east, but are yet to see one of them spill out their cargo of rain. As the night closes in, we can see an almost fireworks like effect off in the distance. We can’t see the clouds or the actual lightning due to the hills around us, but we sure can see the fireworks it is producing. The flashing is almost nonstop and it’s lighting up the sky in all directions. I sure hope it doesn’t hit us with too much force or rain as we are on a black soil area and the outcome could be bad for us as there are not many trees to winch from here in this paddock. Pity we don’t have a phone signal, as we’d be able to get onto the weather site to see what’s happening.
Glenn has had a cool drink or two too many and it’s funny watching him. He’s hardly ever this way and I’m enjoying his lack of sobriety. No doubt it will be an early night.
We listen to the UHF radio. We’ve set it to scan to see if anyone is chatting, but all we get is a repeating communication from Amamoor and the occasional call for a radio check, but they can’t hear us. We’ve purchased two hand held UHF’s as my other one’s aerial broke and it’s easier to have a handheld when communicating around camp rather than set up the big UHF in the ute.
After a shower, we head to bed. While Glenn sleeps very soundly, I watch the fire show going on around us. About an hour later, clouds now cover the sky and the light show just goes on and on and on, but I can’t keep my eyes open any longer.
About midnight or so, I am awoken by what I guess is thunder and then then heavens open up. The lightning has reached us, but it seems we are just getting the edge of the storm. Being unsure of the safety of being in a canvas “house”, I urge Glenn and the pups into the vehicle, knowing that this is the safest place in a storm. There we remain for the best part of an hour, before the storm heads further away and we can return to the camper to continue our sleep.
The next day dawn clear, hot and humid.
We decide to pack up camp early and head to Amamoor SF campground for a swim and some lunch before heading home.
The creek has hardly risen so the shallow pools are still shallow, but are just as cold and just as refreshing.
After breakfast, we get packing and are on the road just before 1100. Heading back the way we came, we pass the firing range and come across some cattle on the road. Long horns and lots of them. Most are sitting around and we disturb them. Some are on the road and we must slow right down so they can get up and move … something they don’t seem to wish to do.
As we pass the last of them, a car comes up behind us flashing the lights. This must be the owner we think. Glenn hops out to say hello, but doesn’t move from the side of the ute which is a bit strange. He is approached by a man and suddenly turns to me, saying “Tracey has all the details. Hop out please darling” so I grab my paperwork and hop out.
I come around the end of the car and hop over the draw bar before I realise the man has a gun. He’s just finished putting it in an under arm holster and is putting his hand back down. I’m a little taken aback, but he extends his hand and says “Hello I’m Bruce”. I answer him with “Oh so you aren’t the owner then” and a discussion ensues about the owner and his absence as well as his lack of mentioning visitors to the gun club residents. Bruce tells us that the Gorge and a nice camping area complete with BBQ is indeed up that steep track and that we missed a nice camp. Yeah right Bruce. Bruce thought we were cattle rustling apparently. Not sure how you come to that conclusion towing a camper trailer. I ask if that’s a gun he has and he says yes it’s a 9mm pistol. I say I’ve never shot a gun and he tells me that I’m missing out. I highly doubt that. He mentions that they get $44 for dog hides and they aren’t very fussy what kind of dog they shoot … tagged or otherwise … so to be very careful with our dogs in future. We say our goodbye’s as we are leaving and he thankfully heads back to his car.
Talk about intimidating! That little meet and greet scared me. Once back in the car, Glenn mentions that the reason he didn’t move from the door was because Rambo had the gun in his hand as he approached our vehicle. I’m quite shocked and very glad we are leaving. We discuss this for quite a while on the drive out and happily agree he was an ass. An armed ass, but an ass none the less. I consider reporting him to the police, but as we were on private property, don’t think they’ll take it too seriously. (Later discussions with my father make me wish we’d just driven straight to the cop station – but the cop was probably a member of the gun club – or Bruce was the Sergeant).
We make our way to the Muster campgrounds but decide not to go into the actual campground, but rather take shelter under some shady trees beside Amamoor Creek and see if we can find somewhere to swim. Which we do straight away. While wading in after walking downstream after our initial dip, I spot a snake in the water and I exit the water and try to get the dogs out of harm’s way … losing sight of the snake altogether. It was in ankle deep water and heading downstream where the large pool was we were swimming in. Wishing I’d gotten a photo, I decide that now is a good time for lunch.
We head back to the car for lunch. Salad and bread. Eating it whilst sitting in the shade is wonderful. Glenn lays back and snoozes. Poor thing must be feeling a bit under the weather. Sitting back for about an hour or so, we do another scan on the UHF’s and head down for another quick dip before heading off just after midday.
Homeward bound. Thankfully nothing as exciting as our morning happens again. Traffic is good, no accidents, no breakdowns and we make it home early for a change. The temperature goes from 35C to 27C as we head under a storm on the way home and we can see more storms as we get closer to Brisbane, but alas nothing at home, where the temps again rise to 35C.
Trip Kilometres: 420
Trip Duration: 48 hours