025. 25th April 2007. First event of the year…
First up on any self-respecting trip was Bushy Parker Reserve at Rollingstone. This is always a great place to camp.
A nice level free site maintained by Thuringowa Council. I had hoped Tropical Coast Wanderers would be there to observe Anzac day but this year they were committed at Cardwell in a joint meeting with Far North Nomads.
Night one was shaping up to be quiet when at around midnight some intoxicated woman was running through the camp screaming at somebody who was not replying. Eventually she ran out of puff and all was quiet for the rest of the night.
I had planned to visit the Queensland Parks but lately a lot of the parks allowing camping require you to register at a regional office (Townsville). That did not suit me so I drove into Jourama Falls Park
where self-registration is still permitted. The day was hot and for quite some time it looked as though I would be the only park visitor. I walked up to the falls lookout
and back before I started to see other visitors. A plague of some sort of flying insect was in full force and I was compelled to wear one of those hat fly screens to keep them out.
That night as I was cooking a lonely dinner I realised the only other campers had left their tent a few hours ago and not yet returned. Night had fallen with a thud but I had CD’s playing, books to read and a laptop to learn with. No mad drunks in camp tonight. Just me and the night noises.
The next day I headed up the narrow, steep and challenging road to Paluma. About ¾ of the way up is a place called Little Crystal Creek. Although the day was warm the water was frigid. A sandstone bridge is a feature
of this picnic spot. The bridge was built by unemployment labour back in the depression years. The bridge is impressive and there are a number of walks all set out on a huge map at the ranger station.
After a nice lunch and cold beer in the car park, I headed down the mountain to have a look at Big Crystal Creek Campground. This place required pre booking through QPW but what a fabulous swimming hole greeted me coming over the rise. Paradise Waterhole is aptly named.
Whereas the Crystal Creek the water was so cold even little kids were not prepared to venture further than their toes. This place had a half dozen people swimming who all called out to me to join them.
As this delightful location is about 70 Klms from Townsville I can imagine the campsite and picnic area would be very popular in the warmer months.
Being the chicken that I am I declined the offer of a swim and drove further north to Ingham with a rough plan in my head to go to another QPW campground. Mmmm! 93 Klms from Ingham on a mostly gravel road with steep sections. Sounds ideal but not on this occasion.
I ended up at the fisherman friendly Caravan Park at Lucinda.
I have nothing much to say about Lucinda unless you love fishing and have a boat. However I stayed two nights and did a bit of walking and looking around. The beach is too big and open and has coarse almost brown sand. The wind seemed to blow constantly and was hot and humid. On one walk I forgot to take water and found I felt dehydrated and returned more slowly with a few stops to keep my energy focused.
After leaving Lucinda I headed back to Rollingtstone but being a Saturday I thought it would be nice to camp in a caravan park with shore power. That way I could get air conditioning for a good nights sleep and watch the Cowboys game on TV. Well I got the AC Ok but no TV signal and besides, it was not telecast anyway.
I had just set up camp and was inside the MH when I heard a voice outside saying, “this looks like Uncle Frank’s rig”. It was my niece Kelly and her partner Jason. They had left our home three weeks before on an around Oz camping trip with their camper trailer. They were camped across the creek at Balgal Beach and crossed the creek at low tide for a walk. I was as surprised to see them as they were to see me. I had expected they would be a lot further North by now.
We arranged they would return to their trailer, collect a few things and come back for happy hour on the beach. After happy hour we arranged to meet the next day at Bushy Parker Park and camp another night and spend the day looking at sights.
Next day we set up at BPP in a tidy corner where we received some shade for Kel and Jase and I got some solar input but shaded from the worst of the afternoon sun. We tripped off to Big Crystal Creek and Paradise Waterhole and this time I was not hesitant about swimming.
The water was delightful and we stayed in for ages until our skinned looked like pale prunes.
We then went a walk along one of the many tracks and found another equally popular water hole or holes. This is an incredibly diverse creek with so many attractive places for a picnic or swim or as in the case of some major stupid young guys, a place to dive off some high cliffs into a patio size rock pool.
I guess they think this impresses the girls they dragged here or they impress each other. However it was good heart thumping stuff to watch them.
Returning to camp a neighbour invited us over to join them for a roast dinner they had been cooking in a camp oven.
Considering neither Kel nor I had even remotely considered we would be in the same area at the same time it was wonderful to catch up with them. Their future adventures had just begun.
Later that night I had just turned out the light to go to sleep when a flying insect lodged in my ear and its buzzing was sure to drive me insane. Using a cotton bud I managed to extract pieces of it so although there was no more buzzing I was concerned it was still in my ear in an inaccessible place. I managed to get to sleep but by next morning decided to pull the pin early and return home to see the doctor. We said our goodbyes, the neighbour was going west, Kel and Jase North and I was going south. I faced a four-hour drive with my mind constantly worried about what was in my ear.
As things turned out I could not see a doctor until the next day and he reported the ear was remarkably clean although there was some redness and perhaps swelling from my poking with the cotton bud. He prescribed some eardrops and to leave the ear alone and allow it to heal. Nuff said.
I learnt a lesson. The light fitting is directly above my head. So, when turning off the light, move away from the pillow, turn off the light while sitting up and wait a minute before lying down. That way the flying insects attracted to the light will have settled down and stopped their frantic flying around.