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About this blog

An account of our travels and tribulations.

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Uluru and Kata Tjuta

The big red rock in the center of Australia is the source of much interest and is of great significance to the native Aborigine culture. When I speak of the Aborigine culture, it is not as a single culture for the entire nation. The Aborigine tribes were just that, local tribes. There were four tribes that inhabited the area around Uluru, AKA Ayers Rock. Of those one tribe was the primary tribe that interacted with Uluru, the Anangu. They operate the National Park at Uluru in conjunction wi

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Alice Springs

Stick a pin in the center of Australia and you would come close to hitting Alice Springs. This is our next objective. We left Tennant in good time in the morning headed south on the Stuart Highway. We have the day to cover about 530 kilometers, somewhat less than our goal for the last two days. Fuel stops are more common now as this highway is more heavily traveled. This allows us to continue traveling for a longer period of time without stopping. Not far south of Tennant we encountered a

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Burning Diesel

In my notes, I titled this day as above. Unlike the curving road we found coming into Mount Isa, the road was straight for long stretches with little change in elevation and only one town with fuel. We started out on the Flinders Highway and then at Camooweal the name changed to the Barkly Highway. The other fuel stop we made was at the Barkly Homestead. This is a large homestead which has everything that someone on the road would need. There is a caravan park, hotel, restaurant, activities

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On to Mount Isa

After experiencing a rash of road repair work on our drive the day before we were pleasantly surprised to encounter no road work on our second day of driving. In fact, with just a few exceptions, this was some of the best road we have traveled. This highway is known as the Flinders Highway and is the only all-weather east-west road through northern Queensland. There were only a few towns in the 652 kilometer drive. One of them is featured in the picture with this posting. The windmill was w

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Fleeing the Storm

Returning from Mossman Gorge the night before I had listened to the news reports on the approaching cyclone (hurricane) Ita. The storm was gathering strength and was approaching the area north of Cairns. I got on the computer and checked the official Australian weather reports which had the storm at category 3 and expected to reach category 4 before coming ashore somewhere between Cooktown and Cairns. We made the decision to leave on Thursday morning. We needed to arrange a refund of our pay

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Mossman Gorge

To the north of Cairns is one of the prime rain forest sites on the eastern coast of Australia. There are many other sites but those are further north and there are no roads that can be traveled in all weather conditions with less than four wheel drive vehicles. Mossman Gorge is in Daintree National Park just north of Port Douglas. The gorge itself lies within Aborigine land and the concession at the gorge is run by the Aborigine community. The eighty kilometer (about 48 miles) drive from C

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Cairns

Our first day in Cairns is dedicated to catching up with laundry and getting to know the town. While doing laundry we discussed our plans for our stay. The Great Barrier Reef is one of our prime objectives. One travel brochure we picked up in the park office has an item I was interested in learning more about. It was a an offering of the Down Under Dive company to certify for open water SCUBA in a four day course. The course involved two days of tests and preliminary training followed by tw

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Chasing Waterfalls

Monday, April 7, 2014. Looking over the information we picked up from the ladies in Ayr the day before, we decided to pursue a scenic drive into the Dividing Range to see some waterfalls. I love a good waterfall and the ones in the brochure looked inviting including one which we were told we could swim under the cascading water. We had about 70 kilometers to cover before leaving the Bruce Highway for the highlands. I put the town with the same name as the waterfall we wanted to visit, Millaa

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Day 3 on the Road to Cairns

Sunday, April 6, 2014. Our travels north continue. Leaving Mackay we drove on almost until noon. Our lunch stop was a park in a small town, Ayr. Louise fixed sandwiches while I went in search of a restroom. The restrooms were behind the information booth so I stopped in there to see the two ladies who were sitting outside in front of the building this sunny warm day. We talked, they inquired about our travels and then loaded me up with information both verbal and written. One of the ladie

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We Journey North

Friday, April 4, 2014. We drove a short distance into Brisbane and made a quick stop at Britz to deal with several nagging problems with the campervan. That done, we left the city about noon headed north toward Cairns, a city on the northeast coast of Australia. At Cairns the famous Barrier Reef is closest to the coast and is thus most accessible. We hope to spend several days exploring this wonderful natural feature. The challenge is that the distance from Brisbane to Cairns is a daunting

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A Walk in the Rainforest

Mt. Tambourine National Park is a collection of smaller national parks on the slopes of Mt. Tambourine, an extinct weathered volcano. There is a town at the summit which features a variety of shops for those who enjoy quaint towns and browsing curio and antique shops. We went to take a walk in the rainforest. This was not to be an ordinary walk. The walkway was elevated. We walked out of the building that housed a café, a small museum with information about the rainforest into the upper lev

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A First Encounter with the Australian Rainforest

Wednesday April 2, 2014. We’re near the end of the New England Highway and we want to make our way to the coast. Looking at all the opportunities, we decide to make a stop at Mt. Tambourine National Park which is south of Brisbane. The attraction there that drew our attention was a Rainforest Walkway. Without knowing much more than that, we left Rochedale headed north on the final leg of the New England Highway before turning off onto the Scenic Rim Highway. This heads east through a calder

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We Climb Bald Rock

Leaving camp at Mother of Ducks Wildlife Preserve in Guyra early in the morning, we drove to Glen Innes for breakfast at McDonalds. I know, not your idea of luxury dining but they do have internet. We parked behind the building and could access the internet from the campervan. I spent 30 or 40 minutes on line after eating breakfast. Right next door was the i. This one was a jewelry shop and information center. Louise enjoyed chatting with the jeweler. I was able to find several brochures

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New England Highway, Tamworth to Guyra

We started our first day on the New England Highway with a visit to the yellow i. That is what I call the visitor’s center here which are identified on the blue signs with a simple i for information. Many of these are commercial operations, others are operated by the community. I suspect that if you pay the state or national government your money, you too can be an i. They all have a variety of brochures on the local activities and some regional activities. They tend to be pretty parochial,

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The New England Highway

No, this wasn’t named for New England in the US. Both the US and Australia have a common connection to England so both have named a part of their country New England. Australia assigns names to their highways and designated the highway that runs through the area the New England Highway. It took the better part of a day to drive from Lightning Ridge to Tamworth which was our starting point for touring the New England Highway. It was a distance of 400 km but the road was rough and we had to d

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Lightning Ridge

Lightning Ridge is an opal mining area. Opals were first discovered in the early 1900’s and mining has been going on ever since. The opals are different from those found in many other areas. These opals are known as black opals. They are dark with the colors familiar in other opals. They are beautiful and quite expensive. Just as in a gold rush, the discovery of opals in the area caused a boom in population. Mining camps sprung up near the hot spots for opals and towns developed near the

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Into the Outback - Lightning Ridge

The next morning we departed Katoomba just after the office opened and we had paid our bill. We planned to drive to Lightning Ridge which was over 600 kilometers away. The Western Expressway gave way to two lane highway and this then entered the Blue Mountains. Travel became slower, the road was rougher and traffic was slower. We were among the slowest traffic most of time. We stopped occasionally to let traffic pass and pulled off at scenic overlooks. The weather was cloudy, hazy and we w

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A Short Stop in Sydney

We left the Australian capital, Canberra early in the morning in order to get into Sydney to visit the Britz office. On the way in we added one more item to our to-do list. An indicator on the instrument panel indicated a light was out. The roads from Canberra to Sydney are excellent roads. It is four lane interstate quality highway all the way. As we approached Sydney, we encountered the toll roads. These toll roads automatically bill each vehicle that doesn’t have an electronic pass. T

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Canberra

Canberra is the national capital of Australia. It is located between Melbourne and Sydney which have a population of about 4 million people in each city. That is 8 million people in a nation of about 14 million. So most of the population of Australia is in these two cities and in the surrounding communities. Once we leave this area we’ll see very few large towns and as we head west, we’ll see fewer people. Canberra itself is not a huge city. The population of Canberra is just over 400,000.

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And Then the Rains Came

We’ve had a very dry trip, only a couple of days of rain in New Zealand and nothing to speak of in Australia. That all changed on Tuesday, March 25. As I was doing the final outdoor tasks getting ready to leave our campground in Eden in New South Wales (NSW) I noticed a little mist in the air. The clouds were dark and heavy and the forecast for several days had called for rain. We planned to drive along the Sapphire Coast as it is known. There are designated tourist routes which have histor

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Descending to Eden

At the town of Adaminaby we stopped at the visitor’s center and talked with several natives. They had a statue of the Man From Snowy River, the supposed subject of the poem of the same name. Louise bought a copy of the poem for $1 and read the poem to me as we traveled on through the mountains. As we drove on, the road once again descended a steep slope and large vehicles were advised to use lower gears. I down shifted and we started our descent. Just a kilometer or so down the road we cam

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Over the River and Through the Mountains

For a week we’ve been following the Murray River east from Adelaide toward the Great Dividing Range, the mountains which feed the headwaters of the Murray. The Murray also is the boundary between the state of Victoria and the state of New South Wales. Thus we’ve been exploring both the northern part of Victoria and seeing the territory of New South Wales across the river. As we leave Wodonga we are headed east into the Snowy Mountains, part of the Great Dividing Range. Historically, this rang

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Britz Comes Through

Without any definite word on the outcome of the refrigerator problem we decided to stay one more night at the Big 4 Campervan Park in Ecucha. Louise had our refrigerated items stored in the refrigerator in the park kitchen facilities. We moved to the new site and then decided to explore the town. As we walked, we got a call from the road service company. The agent informed us he was trying to put together a solution. He thought we would be exchanging our campervan for a different one and jus

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Leaving Adelaide Going East

A good drive from Adelaide takes us to Renmark on the Murray River. The Murray is the largest river in Australia. North of Adelaide it has high cliffs which overlook its large valley. Our park on Monday night was right on the river. In fact they had canoes which we rented to do some paddling on the Murray. There are larger boats on the Murray, the river has many houseboats plying the waters. One passed while we were launching our canoe. Meanwhile, in the campground, children were playing

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A Repair Stop at Britz in Adelaide

Our campervan has several nagging problems and one big problem. The big problem is the gray water tank which doesn’t seem to vent except through the shower drain. The drain on the gray water tank is very slow and the valve has stops at two open positions but no stop for a closed position. So it takes forever to drain the tank and then when the tank is empty you just have to guess when the valve is closed. I talked to the technician and explained the problem. I also mentioned that the hose f

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