Thick Black Line. An odyssey

March - June 2017
March - June 2017
  • Day108

    Home!

    June 30, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    After 34 hours of travelling Brisbane - Sheffield I've made it home. Especial thanks to sis and Mark for collecting me from Manchester Airport - hugely appreciated 😆 And thanks to Sarah for getting supplies in and making my house look so welcoming. It's fantastic to travel and see so much and have so many adventures and still to feel happy walking in the door and reacquainting myself with home.

    How green everywhere looks - and different to rainforest green. A soft, lush green. Lovely.
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  • Day107

    Creeks

    June 29, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    All the creeks have roadsigns giving their (white settler) names. As I've been going along I've made a note of the ones which interested me most. They're here in the order I came across them, or remembered them! Some are geographically descriptive and some hint at some occurrence. I imagine conversations like:
    'I'll meet you at the creek'
    'Which one?'
    'That one where we found the dead dog'

    Dead Dog
    Le Souef (probably a family name)
    Capsize

    On the road to Laura:
    Hell's Gate
    Double Barrel
    Earl
    Quartz
    Ruth
    Gallop

    Devil Devil - the repetition is interesting
    Bower bird
    Spear
    Weedy St George
    Stony St George
    Pipeclay
    Scharlottenburg
    Liverpool
    Limbo
    Corduroy
    Raspberry
    Chinaman

    Christmas sign decorated with lights
    Easter sign decorated with a picture of an egg

    Seven Mile (and many variants! These intrigue me ... measured to and from where?)

    Gladstone
    Palmerston

    An interesting collection between Springsure and Rollerston:
    Orion
    Alderbaren
    Meteor

    Little Roundstone
    Conciliation - I wish I knew the story
    Clovernook
    Boundary

    Tea Tree
    Three Moon (at Cania)
    Ivory
    Emu
    Lambing

    Blunder (how I laughed as I spotted this while navigating the toll roads around Brisbane)

    And also (not creeks)
    Grateful Ponds
    Dead Bullock Gully
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  • Day106

    Cheers mate!

    June 28, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Today I delivered my lovely campervan to Britz Brisbane. What a time we've had!

    As a finale, and to kill a bit of time because I only had a short drive (all those to-be-managed time differences between check-out and check-in 🤔) I stopped off at Cormorant Bay on Lake Wivenhoe which is a massive reservoir to the NW of Brisbane which supplies water to the area, is used to generate power and is important in flood management. It's also very beautiful.

    Now I'm settled in Brisbane for a day with time to re-sort my bag and squeeze it closed for the last time.
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  • Day105

    Day in Esk

    June 27, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    As an employee here said, this place is eskellent!

    I was taken out to lunch by the lady in the next pitch, along with her dog and parrot (in a special backpack). She's an ex-psychologist who use to specialise in a field I'm very interested in. Very lovely of her.

    This accidental meeting feels like a bridge between the 15 weeks of my trip and my new life when I get home ☺Read more

  • Day104

    To Esk

    June 26, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    This is my final spot before I drive to Brisbane to drop off my van on Wednesday then fly on Thursday.

    I have just 67 miles to go and that's quite a relief - this has been utterly brilliant but I'm tired! I've done 2016 miles so far.

    Today's highlight was also sad at the same time. I saw an echidna, but dead at the side of the road. I only got a glimpse, but I saw its spines and snout.
    I read that their young are puggles. Sounds cute.

    I also stopped off at the Peanut Van in Kingaroy and hopefully will get my haul through customs.

    Oh, the temp this morning was 2C!! 25C now, but brrr, that really was a cold start.
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  • Day103

    Boondooma Homestead + lucky sightings

    June 25, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C

    Another great day. I feel so lucky that so much has gone right for me.

    Leaving Cania Gorge I called into the picnic area at the S end to check out a burrow in the creek bank I'd spotted yesterday - I'm sure it's a platypus hole, and it's been smartened up recently. But still no sighting.
    It was a nice morning - dew on the grass and the sun just coming up over the Gorge wall, so I decided to do the 300m Picnic Area walk. It runs along the creek, but most of the time you can't see the water through the vegetation. Most of the time. I can't believe my timing was so fortunate ... I saw a male platypus swim across the creek - that's a 10/10 sighting - utterly natural 😆

    I'd decided to take another slightly-out-of-the-way route down Highway 75 to a place called Boondooma Homestead. En route an eastern grey kangaroo (like those at Cania) bounded across the road about 200m in front of me. 4 hops, and no looking RLR. Again that's a cast-iron wild sighting, and not so close as to cause me any worries. When I picked up the van in Cairns I realised the reason they offer rollover insurance is because people swerve to miss kangas. I didn't take it (more expense 😯) so they told me not to swerve!

    This evening I'm at Boondooma Homestead which is a C19 cattle property - if it was in the UK it'd be owned by the National Trust. It's gradually being restored and furnished. One of the guys i met was brought up there. It's been an interesting and friendly stop, and I was the only overnighter - they can take 700 vans for large events!
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  • Day102

    At Cania

    June 24, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    I got my kangas 😊 There seems to be a mum and 2 joeys hanging around the park. I glimpsed them last night, and again this morning. Then I'd just swept out the van, stuck my head outside and they were right next to me! They hopped off a bit before I could grab my camera but we're fine with me creeping up on them.

    This afternoon I did some local walks and this evening I've had the pleasure of a wine tasting put on by the site , followed by a wood-fired pizza. Sleep now!
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  • Day101

    To Cania Gorge

    June 23, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    Well it was a chilly old morning - 5 or 6C. Brr! As I've been making my way S over the last few days it's become noticeably colder.

    It's 10am now, I've been going 3 hours so I've stopped at a huge grassy rest area for tea and cake (bought a few minutes ago in Biloela) and the temp is up to 22C and the sun feels strong on my skin (appropriate action taken!)

    Later: I'm staying in Cania Gorge because some people I met at Sapphire Caravan Park said it's good for wildlife. I imagined a rather narrow, dark place, but it's much broader than I expected, so nice and sunny.

    I have fresh wallaby poo (I assume, I'm no expert) right outside my campervan door. I call that good news!

    More good news is that I'm only 330 miles from Brisbane. Phew!
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  • Day100

    Central Grasslands

    June 22, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Another lovely drive, this time through the Central Grasslands region of Queensland. Think savannah and you won't be far wrong.

    I love the colours. Maybe I'm here at a particularly good time - a lot of grasses seem to have their seed heads, so there are rusts and purples and shades of green and gold, grey and silver in the gum trees. Reminds me there was lilac in the sugar cane flowers when I was on the coastal plain.
    Utterly magical - again my soul is soothed ☺

    I'm not sure that photography is the medium to capture the subtle beauty here, but anyway ...
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  • Day99

    Fossicking for sapphires!

    June 21, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Well if you'd asked me a couple of days ago what I'd be doing on Wednesday I can guarantee I would not have said 'I'll be fossicking for sapphires', but that's exactly what I did today!

    I knew I was coming to the gem fields area - settlement names like Sapphire, Rubyville, Emerald - though that last one is supposedly after the Emerald Isle rather than gems, but I'd come in the hope of seeing wallabies at my camp site and had no idea I was stumbling into a subculture.

    I've had a fabulous day. I went to a place, the Miner's Cottage, that supplies a bucket of 'wash' for $15 and you sort through it. The advantage is that you have some to show you what to look for. They also supplied tea, scones and drinks of chilled water, essential fossicking supplies 😉

    Honestly I thought it was a bit of a mug's game and I'd fossick (rummage through the wash) and find nothing, but I've had a great time and found loads of blue, green, yellow and a red sapphire - the latter is commonly called a ruby!! People come back year after year and I can see why. The regulars all have jewellery made with stones they've found. I think I've gained some insight into gold rush fever! The hunt can be addictive. What a day! 😎
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