017. 15th April 2006. Of driving, family surprises and wonderful sunrises…

This was the Easter Long weekend and boy did we pack a lot of Klms into this weekend!
The chapter was holding a weekend at Carmilla and Donnis and I had been here once before. We felt it was horribly overrun with sandflies and for that reason, we were not keen on going. We opted instead to go to Eungella Dam as we had not been there before and it was a good chance to do our own thing. Besides I thought a good test of the bus would be driving up the Eungella Range, one of the steepest sections of the Great Dividing Range anywhere. As we approached Finch Hatton on that first morning it began to rain. We stopped for a coffee at the Rainforest Café owned by a friend of Donnis. So after a bit of a visit and look around the old house next door (some people like old houses – Donnis – others don’t – me) I quickly got bored and waited. It is still hard for me to get over being somewhere by a certain time. I plan my trips to a timetable and I know it frustrates Donnis and quite bluntly it now frustrates me but as I am still working and can only get limited time off I have no option but to plan a timetable.
Nuff said.
Eventually we were on the road again, it was still raining and we commenced our trip up the range. Hmm. I am going to have to really slow down. Yes the bus can handle the steep climb but not at speed as I would in the Subaru. I just have to slow gown, ease off on the throttle and let the motor work and not over rev. When I do that the motor purrs along but let me tell you the wet road, narrow lanes, blind corners and steep drop offs takes a great deal of concentration and lots of gear changes. Oh, and forget about the traffic behind you.

Once over the top we passed through Eungella Village then on to Broken River and not far beyond the National Park the road becomes gravel. For about 20 Klms although it is reasonably well looked after. There were a couple of hairy spots that concerned me. It was still raining, the downhill sections tight bends, no camber and what seemed like a clay surface was a bit slippery. So we arrived at the Dam



Rainbow at Eungella Dam.

 and were amazed at how big the camping area was. It was also dry. No rain here although a few puddles confirmed there had been rain recently. We found a site near the ablutions block which had drop pit toilets and cold water showers. About this time I was getting up at least twice, sometimes three times a night to go to the boys room. Although we had our own toilet we felt it was just as easy to use the camp facilities during the day and our own toilet at night. This is a really nice campsite if you have friends or a boat although there are some good walks to enjoy.


Our campsite at the dam.


I am always up early, often just as there is a hint of light on the horizon. This morning was no different and


My early morning walk.

the moon was still high in the sky.

By breakfast we both came to the conclusion we might be better off enjoying  the company of Sugarloafers at Carmilla. A good decision for a couple of reasons that will become clear soon. After all, we had some insect repellent on board. It was easy packing up and off we went to Carmilla. Amazing how we arrived there in time for lunch!

A nice spot was still available just on the other side of some shrubbery from the chapter members.


Our campsite at Carmilla Beach.

Good news was we could park side on to the beach so any breeze came in the bus door and windows and we had a totally awesome view. It also helped we were not bothered by sandflies or mozzies or flies all weekend!

Dinner Saturday night was a great camp oven treat and during the night a large tree dwelling goanna decided to clean the pots for us. He sat in the tree all day Sunday waiting to see what else was on the menu that night.

Sunday morning


Sunrise at Carmilla Beach.

 I got a call from my sister Sue. She and her then boyfriend Ken (they have since married) were planning a drive and would catch up with us at the beach. What a great surprise! Even more so when they arrived and they were recognised by some of the chapter members. They were made to feel welcome. We made a nice lunch and decided to go to Carmilla pub for drinks and watch the Cowboys play Newcastle Knights on the TV. Seems we were the only Cowboys supporters. Cowboys won too. After the game we stayed for dinner. Then it was back to camp and we sat around a bit longer before Sue and Ken decided to sleep in their car and head off early the next morning as Ken had a newsagency to open. We had spare towels and blankets and pillows so that helped their comfort levels a bit.

Now let me backtrack. Earlier in the afternoon I walked over to the pit toilets and noticed a woman coming out who seemed familiar to me. Of course she was familiar. It was my daughter Shelley. She and boyfriend Dwyane had bought a new boat and came to Carmilla to try it out. They set up their swags near the bus and we all had a great get together until they decided to take the boat and launch it while we went to the pub.

Regrettably, Dwayne launched as the tide was falling and only got so far up the creek when they ran over a log and bent the prop. Not only that but the falling tide prevented them from coming back until the tide started to come back in. That meant they sat in the dark for almost 6 hours, no food, no water only shorts and Tshirts and no mozzie repellent. Worse they could not even fill in their time as there was no water so no fish. When the tide came in they had to row against it to get back to the launch ramp.

That was a tough lesson.

We managed to fit in a couple of walks along the beach and left at lunchtime on Monday having enjoyed an unexpected double bonus to our weekend.

I am looking forward to your comment. Any questions.

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