164. Sunday 28th November 2010. we have highs and lows and move from the lowlands to the highlands…

Monday 22nd November

I woke at 5am. This is getting ridiculous waking at this hour or earlier, almost every day. I must admit that after yesterday’s long walk I was in bed by 9pm so all in all I got 8 hours sleep.

By 9 am I called Navman on their 1300 number and of course was on hold for 11 minutes. However I did get their approval to have the unit replaced as it is faulty. They gave me an authorisation number which I used later in the morning to take to a Supercheap Auto store here in Noosa and after some concern that they could not find their stock they finally called me to say they found the missing stock and I was welcome to one as a replacement.

Donnis has woken not feeling well so went back to bed while I went shopping. I got a corned beef for dinner and a couple of deluxe breadrolls for lunch and got my blood pressure prescription filled. This time next month I will need to see a doctor and get another 6 months prescription.

After lunch I took the bike off the rack and went for a pedal along the oodles of walking and riding tracks in the area. Many of the tracks follow the creek and or river. When I returned I chained the bike to a timber post. Once bitten twice shy,

This afternoon Ken asked if we would like to go to Cooroy with him as he wanted to pick up some timber. He dropped us in the middle of the Cooroy Shopping Centre.

Oh boy.

Was this little hamlet ever so busy and many of the shops are all old original buildings, colourfully painted and decorated and food outlets with tables and chairs spilling out into the street. Alas at 4pm all the eateries were closing down for the night. I walked past a Thai Restaurant and the smells were so lip licking good. Across the street the local RSL had $5 lunches and $12.90 evening meals and a $10 bottle of wine deal.

Hmmm. When we are in Traveston this could be a place to visit. Laurie H has just left the area and she warned me there will be lots of eating out places I should try. I might have to sell something to enjoy the local foods.

On the way back from Cooroy, Ken insisted he take us to Timbeerwah Mountain Lookout (265 metres above sea level – as far as mountains go it is a bit short but all the mountains along this part of the coast are the remains of volcanic plugs weathered over millennia) which is also the local abseiling place. Let me tell you the cliff faces are straight and scary. There was a strong wind blowing all day and by the time we climbed to the lookout the temperature had dropped by at least 4 degrees and rain was on it’s way. What a view out over the lakes the river and the ocean. Again I forgot my camera.

Tuesday 23rd November.

Another early morning. Awake before 5am but managed to stay in bed, nod off to sleep and wake again shortly before 6.

Donnis wanted to stay home and do a bunch of chores while I wanted to get out and about. The wind which has been blowing for the last couple of weeks was still blowing. Between periods of sunshine there were periods of rain showers.

I drove over to the beachside suburb of Sunshine. (I wonder if anybody has named a town, suburb or other location, RAIN! or even OVERCAST!) the wind was blowing directly onshore and the waves were large and confused with sand being blown off the beach. I tried to go to Noosa Beach and the National Park but parking was so limited you had to have been there the day before to get a parking spot. Although it is a Tuesday, the theory is that because Sunshine and other south exposed beaches are blown out, all the surfers are here on the protected Noosa Headland where the waves roll in perfectly. The thought occurred to me. Why are these surfers not at school or work? Us pensioners want to go to the beach too.

I went to the local Post Office and both mail articles have been held for me. Yahoo! I now have a replacement camera battery and my last three weeks mail.

After lunch I rode the bike halfway to Noosa Beach and explored the waterway of Wylah Creek and walked on the boardwalk through the mangroves.

Late in the afternoon Ken took us to the river mouth for a stroll.

Coast Guard Station at the mouth of the Noosa River.

Lots of other people were doing the same including many having a glass of wine or beer and watching the sun set. We also watched a surf boat crew training in the late afternoon.

Surfboat Crew training in the late afternoon.

We saw lots of Scrub Turkeys running around

Black Scrub Turkeys on the beach.

and were surprised to see an all white scrub turkey. I am not sure if was an albino as the eyes looked normal.

The first white Scrub Turkey we have seen.

Aaaah. Bliss!

Wednesday 24th November.

Woke at 5am!

Today the plan was to meet up with Don n Guy at Traveston. We will be housesitting until late March. The GPS was trying to take us along little more than 4WD tracks. Eventually I had to admit defeat and call Guy for directions. Sorry Guy but I was not confident with your directions either. He mentioned an underpass railway bridge but when I found one I could see no road sign and ignored it continuing back towards Cooran. As we passed a turnoff with a bridge over a railway line Donnis noticed a street sign which said old Noosa Road as I went zooming past. We travelled another klm before I was able to find somewhere to turn around. The bridge over the railway line was a bit rickety and a little further on was another rickety bridge over 6 Mile Creek. Hmmm! Perhaps there is another way in? Would WWWGO weighing around 4.5tonne be able to get across those bridges?

Another 2 klm of steep and winding gravel road brought us to their property. There was no mistake because Guy was waiting on the road. Yes! He said. The way we came was correct and the WWWGO would be able to get across the two bridges. No. We could not come in from the other direction as the railway underpass bridge had a height clearance of less than 3 metres.

So. Dom n Guy house sits on a very steep hill and for the most part is still virgin forest except where he has cleared and planted and wrestled with nature to build their wonderful house. Over coffee and cake we chatted and enjoyed their company and we look forward to the housesitting. Yes it is a bit isolated but the towns of Traveston, Cooran, Pomona and Cooroy are not far away. Laurie H left us a lot of notes and maps where the best food places are located.

Back in Noosa I tried once more to take photos at the beach. Darn. The parking on the beach and at the National Park is full. I drove along Hastings street to a carpark at the river mouth and walked back along the beach. The wind was blowing but this section is protected from the southerlies. Having said that, the surf was still on the choppy side and after having trudged the whole beach form the river mouth I was in no mood to climb the hill to walk over to the National Park where the best surf begins.

Walking back to the car I pondered on this stretch of coast and the number of visitors, young and not so young who flock to this place. If Airlie Beach had surf it would be even more popular than it is now.

The rest of the day was spent sorting our luggage and baggage as we plan to spend the next three weeks over the mountains and carrying as little as possible. We have decided to leave the car and excess “stuff” here and collect it all on our return.

Oh. The wind continued all day and rain came in scuds. Otherwise the sun was shining – sometimes.

Thursday 25th November.

Moving Day.

I woke at 4.45am and this is getting frustrating. I wake and cannot get back to sleep. The wind is blowing its 20 to 25 knots as it has done for around two weeks. It is overcast and as I started this journal a scud of rain came along. I have no doubt the sun will make an appearance this morning, continuing the pattern of rain, sunshine and wind we have come to expect.

I took WWWGO to Bunnings to buy a ladder then back to the house where Donnis was finalising a couple of loads of washing. After coffee we finally got away after 11am. First stop was the Hitch n Go dealer at Forest Glen where he checked out our tow wiring and after looking at their setup we also ordered new gas struts for the roof hatch and a booster tv aerial, all to be fitted by them. We have WWWGO n Terios booked in for the work to be done on 13th December. After that we were on our way but only a short distance to Beerwah where we stopped for groceries and had a great lunch in the shopping centre carpark.

After that we started the trek up the range via the D’Aguilar Hwy to Kilcoy. I have an old army buddy, Noel L who lives here but as I did not let him know I was coming and he would be at work we decided we will catch up him and wife Pat on our return. Up and down another couple of ranges and we passed through the towns of Moore, Blackbutt and Yarraman and for various reasons decided not to stay but pushed on via the New England Hwy until we arrived at Cooyar a little town which survives, somehow and has the pub as its hub. I cannot recall seeing a shop or garage as we drove in. Perhaps there is. We set up camp for the night beside the swinging bridge. I kid you not. There is a long suspension foot bridge which seems to connect one side of town with another. We walked across the bridge and the swinging, swaying and bouncing motion was a bit of a challenge but we managed to cross it in both directions. We tried to imagine how Indiana Jones would have fared on this bridge. All the cables and hand rails and suspension is stainless steel wire cable.

The swinging bridge at Cooyar.

The area we are in has cut grass and some gum trees and seems to be popular with the birds. Nearby is grave although this area is not a cemetery. The grave is where little 5 year old Bertha Tebbs is buried. She drowned in 1908 while collecting water. It seems she was running ahead of her mother and on the steep bank slipped and fell into the creek and drowned. A tragic story.

This is the lonely isolated grave of Bertha Tebbs who drowned at Cooyar when she was five.

Where we are camped is a sort of an isthmus of land running between two parallel creeks. Light rain was falling when we retired for the night.

Friday 26th November.

Up early at 4.45am. Still got a good nights sleep but this waking up early is a pain in the …neck

Talking with another camper this morning he informed me the road into Bunya Mountains is not suitable for truck, motorhomes and caravans. There are lots of National Parks within a 100 klm radius of this town so we might be able to plan a bit of National Park camping in this area sometime in the next couple of weeks. He also told me he is a carer for his wife who has Progressive Palsy. He gets 9 weeks respite a year and takes off in his Mercedes Motorhome for a week while his wife is in respite care. She will not agree to longer than one week. Poor guy. He is lonely and looks for someone to talk with. I listened.

We continued along the New England Hwy through Toowoomba, (wow this is a big city especially when you see it from the steep hill coming in from the north) then Warwick and Stanthorpe which is a pleasant little town noted for growing capsicum, stone fruit, apples, pears and cherries. We decided to stop for the night at Wallangarra on the Qld NSW border. This town must be confused as our Telstra mobile phones switch to NSW time although we are still officially in Qld. Anyway…arriving at Wallangarra we were confronted by a huge RBT contingent stopping all vehicles. We were looking for the campsite so blew in the breathalyser and continued on but turned around when we saw the welcome to NSW sign. What the!!!! The campsite we wanted is right behind the RBT setup. We could not see the sign because of all the Police cars and mobile RBT buses. At least it will be a nice safe campsite but it will be interesting when all the RBT floodlights are turned on.

This is the RBT at night. They spent five days here.

A couple of trucks also had to stay for the night due to incomplete log books and the drivers were forced to take an 8 hour break. Some women got charged with drug offences.

Saturday 27th November.

Before we left Wallangarra I went for a walk and got an up close and personal view of a Mountain King Parrot at the local pub.

Mountain King Parrot

The pub claims to be the last pub in Qld if you are leaving and the first pub in Qld if you are arriving. The also have a giant hamburger challenge just like at Nindigully.

I also spoke with one of the police officers at the RBT. He lives in Warwick and has to get out of bed at 3am in order to arrive in time for his shift to begin at 6am. He was amazingly well informed about our lifestyle and knew about dump points and how we find them and the network of freedom campsites. He also commented that there are not enough facilities for the travellers such as us and that we are increasing in numbers. He did admit that his 70 year old mum is a grey nomad so perhaps he gets his information from her. Then again I wondered if some of his information comes from the police department statistics?

We continued our drive along the New England Hwy and stopped at Tenterfield the birthplace of the nation. We took a side trip out to Mt.McKenzie along a gravel road which was a bit of a challenge but WWWGO was up to the challenge – plus of course some driving skills.

On the track to Mt.McKenzie

More of the Mt.McKenzie track.

This is a nice town and we would both like to explore some more, including the nearby national parks. That’s where the Terios will come in handy – when we get the tow hitch. We lunched near the top of Mount McKenzie

Our lunch spot on top of the mountain.

and although the sun was shining a very cold wind was blowing up the valley. The moaning sounds through the windows reminded me of watching a moody movie set in the Scottish Highlands (Wuthering Heights). It also reminded me of the top of Australia scenery near Mount Selwyn in the Snowy Mountains.

Balancing Rock.

We have been making luncjh with Rye Wraps and heating them in a pan and melting the cheese and adding mortadella and salads and onions and mayo. What a lunch.

We continued on towards Glen Innes but stopped at a campsite called Beardie Waters about 9 klms out of town. Here we met up with friends Glenise n Eric who are on their way back to Brisbane form their Darling River trip. Eric put on a lovely piece of pork in a camp oven.

The Toshiba Twins, Frank n Glenise.

At this site we also saw a Windy Loo, only the second such we have seen in our travels.

The little Windy Loo.

However this is a poor version of the one at Boulder Creek. It is a long drop, not a flushing version. It is about one third the size and does not have a hand basin.

Sunday 28th November.

Woke at 5.45 to a very chilly and with a cold wind blowing and overcast conditions we expected a poor day. Glenise made a huge lot of scrambled eggs with chopped Red Claw. Pretty good for bush cooking.

We continued on the New England Highway to Glen Innes where I bought some engine oil. As I was unscrewing the cap it slipped and dropped down into the dark recesses of the motor. Even with torches neither of us could see it. I crawled underneath and still no sign of the oil cap. I then unscrewed the baseplate and viola! There it was, tucked tightly between the engine and the base plate. After putting the oil in we were on our way again. We were looking for Ben Lomond to visit Greg n Linda. We took the first turnoff which turned out to be a bouncy gravel road which travelled through a pretty valley. After some messing around with the GPS we found the property and caught up with Greg, Linda and three of their children, Justin, Gavin and Alisha. We spent a good hour with all 7 of us in WWWGO having afternoon tea and eating cherries.

Justin, Gavin, Alisha, Linda and Greg.

A nice family group. We had the chance to catch up over dinner and spend time with the kids walking through meadows of daisies. We are parked in their back yard with power and although there is no mobile coverage they do have satellite internet and I am posting this entry via their WiFi.

In the backyard at Ben Lomond.

The countryside around here is very pretty and is called the New England area for a reason. It supposedly looks like England, except I suppose for all the gum trees. It was quite chilly when we arrived and Greg informed us that over winter they did have snow and the coldest day was minus 6 and a further minus 6 wind chill factor. Gavin pointed out they are 1330 metres above sea level so a bit of snow in the wintertime is pretty normal. He added they also get some heavy frosts and big hailstones when a big storm passes through.

Hmmm. Scrub Ben Lomond from any potential place to settle down!

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