02 January 2014

A NEW TRIP – Nov 2013.

2 Jan 2014    Brisbane Qld.

Finally, Yep! Finally, here’s our first post after leaving Canberra.

After many late stage “must do’s” had been either completed or substituted with an excuse, we hit the road on 1st Dec.

We now have a new tow vehicle in the form of a Landcruiser 200 series diesel, so the first week involved a reasonable amount of time understanding just what it does, how it does it, and “Why the $%^& $#$%@ hell” doesn’t it do what I want.  And, who writes the user manuals for..... well, anything? Should details about the interior lights be listed under: Interior, Lighting, Accessories, Options!, or Electrical?

Our timetable was to be in Bargara Qld by 12th December so that we could see the turtles come in and lay their eggs.    This meant we had limited options to spend time along the way so we chose to travel via every back road we could find, and stay for multiple days at only one place (Mudgee).

Day one and we tackled our first descent climb – and it turned out to be a good one. The road from Goulburn to Oberon drops down to the Abercrombie River and then climbs over 700 metres during the next 20 kilometres – but the first 400 metres of the climb is met within the initial 4 km. The new tow beast handled it with hardly a pause, but I fear that our beloved previous one would have been down to its very lower gears.

A one night stop-over (stand?) at Bathurst witnessed our 1st disagreement. Shirley wouldn’t let me try for the “Car towing a 3+ tonne van” lap record of Mt Panorama!  I just knew I could break the 10 minute mark, but was denied the chance.

The next day and another big climb as we dropped down into the historic village of Sofala, and then climbed the quite short (3km) but really very steep exit. I can’t think of a steeper bit of main or secondary road in Oz.

Mudgee is one of those places that we had been through many times, but never stopped to see what it had to offer. Our 5 days were great – day trips to old mining villages, wine tasting, local history (2nd oldest settlement west of the Blue Mountains), and wine tasting. I fear that because Shirley has once again filled the back of the Landcruiser with wine, I must suffer with the task of reducing the load. It may take some time, but I’ll keep at it.

From Mudgee, we went north via Narrabri and the Killarney Gap road to Bingara, then onto Inverell, Texas, and Toowoomba where we stopped for 2 nights. Yep, we’ve been through Toowoomba before, but never stopped – but we’ll spend longer at some future date as we really liked what we found.

Eventually we arrived on schedule at Bargara and set up camp about 6 metres from the high tide mark. Each night we’re lulled to sleep by the gentle breaking of waves upon the rocky ‘beach’, followed by a dawn spectacle of the sun shimmering across the sea. And, from time to time we were treated to a mid morning performance by a pod of dolphins.    
Life can be hard sometimes
Mid to late every November Loggerhead turtles begin their egg laying at a number of Queensland beaches. Mon Repos beach is where Qld National Parks have established a research and conservation centre, with visitor facilities and each night they run guided viewing.

We went there on two nights and were able to see the nest digging, followed by very close look at   the actual egg laying – average 125 to 130 eggs per clutch!, and each female comes ashore 3 to 4 times at 2 week intervals!!!!!  

The laying area is in the upper beach and dunes but earlier this year the beach was seriously depleted by a cyclone. The turtles now have great difficulty accessing the area that is above the summer high tide line so the rangers wait until ‘mum’ returns to the sea before digging up the eggs and transplanting them further up the dunes. This allows the viewing group, particularly kids, to experience a very rare and special moment as they are encouraged to help carry the eggs to the new nest.
Another turtle saved.
 After a week by the sea, we moved off and headed to Brisbane, where we we’ll stay with family until just after New Year.

Not much to say about our Brisbane stay. went to the movies; went out to dinner; visited friends and family; and ate far more chocolate that some might suggest was in out best health interests! The really big thing was to just spend time with some of our family who live far from our previous home - sometimes its perfect to just be there and chat.

We move up to Warwick on Sunday and the forecast is for 40 degrees (oh! Bugger, hope the air con can handle it).

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