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& 4WD aDventures August – September 2013 Issue 86 Aus $6.95 NZ $8.95
get Off rOaD WitH pHil – 4WD tips anD tricks
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Outback – the gibb river road, Wa Drive – World heritage Way, NsW events – hartwood campfires & country music Festival, NsW and Jumpers & Jazz Festival, QlD HistOry – land rover pioneers WilDerness – Whitewater rafting, tas Winter escape – the great green Way, QlD experience – gliding over Bright, vic peOple – the gordons of goomburra, QlD
sharing images online
Camp Cooking ChiCken tonight
coromal Navigator camper
BuShcRaFt eat your WeeDs
ShoRt BREakS FoR kidS events
ERNIE DINGO PRESENTS
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Visit The Diamantina and experience these great Channel Country events in 2013/2014 August 31, 2013 Betoota Races September 6 & 7, 2013 Birdsville Races September 13 & 14, 2013 Bedourie Races & Rodeo September 14, 2013 Bedourie Ute & Travellersâ€™ Muster
May 10 & 11, 2014 Birdsville Campdraft, Rodeo & Bronco Branding July 12, 2014 Bedourie Camel Races August 30, 2014 Betoota Races September 5 & 6, 2014 Birdsville Races September 12 & 13, 2014 Bedourie Races
November 30, 2013 Bedourie Bikekhana
September 13, 2014 Bedourie Ute & Travellersâ€™ Muster
Where the Desert meets the Channel Country and where we meet you.
CoNTACT The DiAMANTiNA foR yoUR fRee ViSiToR pACk
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29 eveNt 6 From the editor 10 News views & eveNts 14 through my eyes By Andrew Brown
16 short breaks Six Kid-Friendly Getaways By Claudia Bouma
20 wilderNess Camping & Rafting (Part Two) Cathy and Andy continue their whitewater experience on the Franklin River. By Cathy Finch
24 wiNter escape Nature’s Adventure Playground Where rugged mountain ranges and tropical rainforest meet picture-perfect beaches. By Claudia Bouma
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Hartwood – Campfires & Country Music A week of entertainment worth going back for. By Barbara and Kevin Weimer
32 outback Going “Rental” on the Gibb River Road No 4WD? No worries! Rent one and drive the iconic Gibb River Road. By Belinda Nixon
45 reader’s story
Holland Track Get off-road on the Holland Track through the Great Western Woodlands in Western Australia. By Jill Harrison
39 history Land Rover Pioneers Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Land Rover Owners’ Club of Victoria. By Bob Badham
Gliding over Bright Realising a childhood fantasy to fly over Bright in Victoria. By Megan Blandford Life’s Simple Pleasures A family reconnects away from the bustle of modern life. By Barry Lyon
48 people The Gordons of Goomburra Meet Ian and Sue Gordon, hosts of Gordon Country in south-east Queensland. By Heather Grant-Campbell
50 drive World Heritage Way A winter drive through three national parks. By Lee Atkinson
54 How to Kids ‘n’ Camping A few good ideas to amuse the kids in camp. By Lynne Tuck
56 BusHcraft Eat Your Weeds Using weeds as food and bush medicine. By Blake Muir
59 free site reView Karalee Rock and Dam, WA Lots of history to explore. By Jill Harrison
60 far nortH Cooktown – A Veritable Visitor’s Feast Turn back the pages of history in Cooktown. By Geoffrey Cartner
63 eVent Jumpers & Jazz Festival Whacky, warming winter fun in Warwick. By Heather Grant-Campbell
65 camper reView Coromal Navigator By Carrol Baker
69 Get off road Buying a Four-Wheel-Drive Choosing a 4WD will depend on what you want to do with it. By Phil Bianchi
73 Gear to Go Top New Gear The pick of new gear, gadgets and gizmos for travellers. By Andrea Ferris
76 dine It’s Chicken Tonight Delicious chicken recipes for families on the move. By Julie Bishop and Regina Jones
78 pHoto smart Sharing Images Online (Part One) Tips to successfully share your holiday pics online. By Danielle Lancaster
80 suBscriBe & win! Subscribe or renew your Go Camping Australia subscription for a chance to win The Ultimate Camping Package valued at $14,916.
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one man went to mow, went to mow a meadow. one man and his dog – spot – went to mow a meadow. two men went to mow …
en-a-mowing, green bottles sitting on a wall and people in bed when the little one said: ‘roll over, roll over’ … this is what I remember: long trips with rounds of car-songs interspersed with eye-spy. Quite coincidentally, introducing children to camping and escaping from the high-tech, gadget-driven world in which we reside receive several mentions in this issue. This led me to reminisce about my childhood camping and travelling experiences. Since I recently had another birthday (apparently I’m now well immersed in the ‘new 40s’), I figured the recall of my five-year-old bush and beach romps might need the combined recollection power of my parents. Mother (An English immigrant who never went camping until she married my father at 21): ‘I don’t have any particularly good memories of camping! I was pretty unimpressed by tent camping: trying to wash cloth nappies in a creek; no running water; washing up with two hands in the bowl while having ten million flies crawling in my eyes. You were very small when we went tent camping at Johanna [Victoria], so I can’t remember that
much. One good thing was that I could legitimately ‘cheat’ on the cooking and have Deb potatoes and open tins of braised steak! We had fresh-caught rabbit stew, which was always nice. Nothing sticks out in my mind apart from the problems of nappies and washing and the freezing cold coming up from the ground through the Lilo – no matter what you put under it. ‘Tent camping was the only holiday we could afford then. We went whenever your father had a holiday. You kids were happy as pigs in mud. Later, when you got older, we went in the caravan. You did have fun, particularly at Inverloch [Victoria]. You got dirty, played around the campfire – the only thing you weren’t allowed to do was bring sand into the van – that was a pain, washing you down before you came inside. Usually camping felt like too much work because it was harder to do the same things [I did at home], but I enjoyed ‘relaxing the standards’. You kids really had a ball though.’ Father (Aussie born and bred; taken camping by his parents from the time he was a baby): ‘When you kids were very little we had a 14-foot Evernew caravan – a plywood-sided van with an
aluminium roof, towed by a 1958 Ford Zephyr, which I modified so it would pull the caravan! We mostly went to Gippsland; as far as 90-mile beach, Inverloch and the other way [from Melbourne] to Barwon Heads. You loved going to the beach. I taught you kids how to fish and you loved to be around fishing. I grew up camping: I was taken camping in a bassinette! Camping to me was just part of life and I tried to transfer some of the enjoyment of camping to you. I was always grateful to my parents for introducing me to camping and I guess that’s one of the reasons I’ve always been comfortable camping and sailing as I always felt at home with my self-sufficiency – that’s what
The Ferris Family Archives
The Evernew, the Zephyr and dear ‘ol dad at 90-mile beach in East Gippsland, Victoria.
| Go Ca mpinG austr a li a 6 ALK076_ESC_GoCamping_133x420mmW.indd
Introducing a revolutionary breakthrough in caravan towing safety – Electronic Stability Control (ESC)* from AL-KO. This sophisticated electronic system, similar to ESC in cars,
R Aof their caravan is being monitored and controlled, providing an unparalleled CA the stability gives an assurance to drivers that even in the most difficult of driving scenarios, level of safety and comfort during the journey. So whether you’re swerving to avoid
O U LD B
BY AL-KO CERTIFIED INSTALLERS
E AS I
The Ferris Family Archives
from the editor
Me, dad, and my little sister, Bronwyn catching fish at 90-mile beach circa 1967.
camping does. I taught you how to light fires because I’d been in the Scouts. We always had a fire and I had fire irons that I made. You were young and it was all about playing – building sandcastles – I taught you how to dribble wet sand on the castles to make little ripples … ‘In the early to mid-60s caravanning wasn’t overly popular. A lot of people hadn’t got themselves back together after the war. Caravan parks didn’t really exist. Generally, councils had a designated camping and caravan area with no or few facilities. Barwon Heads was just a sandy strip along the river. I loved it all.’ My parents are in their mid-seventies now – long since divorced, both hale and hearty. Apart from a twelve-month campervan trip around the country with my sister in 1980, mum hasn’t set foot in a tent or caravan since 1980. Dad, on the
OWIN T N I T S E T TO THE LA
andrea Ferris Go Camping Australia Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
NOL H C E T Y T SAFE
other hand, has rarely stopped travelling: sailing around the world, and tripping about in various motorhomes since retiring thirty years ago. My younger sister and I embraced the great outdoors with gusto. She now raises deer on acreage near Bathurst (NSW) and I’ve lived gypsy-style all over the country – complete with horse! If I don’t remember to say ‘thanks’ mum and dad, I’m remiss. My life has been shaped into something resembling ‘great’ by my travels under canvas (or nylon these days). I’ve never been afraid out there – even on my own with no-one around for miles. I can light a fire, catch a fish, name the constellations, avoid poisonous plants, identify night-sounds, read a compass, and put a name to many birds. Perhaps you didn’t teach me all these things back in 1967 – I was just a little
kid – but you instilled in me a sense of adventure and a quest for knowledge and for that I’m forever grateful. Dad’s right. Self-sufficiency is the key. When you take kids camping they learn to ‘make do’ and ‘live without’. While this was clearly difficult for mums in the sixties, modern camping gear – and disposable nappies – make a sojourn in even the remotest bush relatively comfortable. However, when there’s no local shop, DVD, playstation, smartphone or computer on hand, kids have to learn to make their own fun – go dribble some wet sand on a sandcastle if you don’t believe me! In these pages Barry Lyon tells us how he took his family to the remote Bullshark Camp on the Wenlock River and observed how they unwound from the tangle of their daily existence. Cathy Finch continues the saga of how she took her partner on an epic whitewater adventure on Tasmania’s Franklin River to disconnect him from the 21st century, and Lynne Tuck shares a number of novel ways in which her youngsters amuse themselves in a tech-free camp.
another vehicle, passing a semi-trailer or coping with side winds, you have the ultimate confidence that potentially dangerous conditions will be controlled smoothly and effectively by the AL-KO ESC. If you want real stability and control for your caravan, make sure you fit AL-KO ESC. And check with your insurance company to see whether you can get a premium reduction. To see a video of this exciting new technology in action, for a list of supporting caravan manufacturers, or to book a fitment by an AL-KO Certified Installer, visit www.alkoesc.com.au
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G o C a m p i n G a u s16/07/13 t r a l i 3:30 a |PM7
Find us on Facebook Now you donâ€™t have to wait weeks for the next edition of Go Camping Australia to get the latest camping news, stories and offers from around Australia. Head to our Facebook page www.facebook.com/ GoCampingAustralia and join the camping community. publisher Michael Vink Editor Andrea Ferris E: email@example.com advertising manager Georgina Chapman T: (07) 3334 8007 E: firstname.lastname@example.org production team Jonathan Nevin, Wendy Deng, Karen Belik Go Camping Australia is distributed through newsagents and camping stores across Australia. Recommended retail price A$6.95. Annual subscription A$33 includes postage within Australia and GST. Distribution by Gordon and Gotch. Editorial and photographic contributions welcomed. Disks, transparencies and self-addressed stamped envelopes are required. The publisher takes no responsibility for the views expressed in articles or advertisements herein. The publisher could not possibly ensure that each advertisement published in the magazine complies with the Trade Practices Act. While every endeavour has been made to ensure complete accuracy, the publisher cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions.
Contributors Lee Atkinson Bob Badham Carrol Baker Phil Bianchi Julie Bishop & Regina Jones Megan Blandford Claudia Bouma Andrew Brown Geoffrey Cartner Andrea Ferris
Cathy Finch Heather Grant-Campbell Jill Harrison Danielle Lancaster Barry Lyon Blake Muir Belinda Nixon Lynne Tuck Barbara and Kevin Weimer
Published by VINK Publishing ABN 3107 478 5676 Bi-Monthly Head Office: 38-40 Fisher St, East Brisbane Q 4169
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Postal: PO Box 8369, Woolloongabba Q 4102
Front Cover: Holland Track, Western Australia. Photo courtesy of Jill Harrison.
T: (07) 3334 8000 F: (07) 3391 5118
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will go where
no other caravan can 23C Jersey Rd, Bayswater VIC 3153 P: (03) 9729 1234 F: (03) 9720 9200 E: email@example.com
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news, views & events
Caloundra Music Festival Tiger Trail Festival tasmania 20 – 22 september 2013 An eclectic blend of festivities in celebration of the local links with the Tasmanian Tiger. From open gardens and community markets to a photographic exhibition and local wine tastings, the exciting program of over 30 events offers something for everyone. Upper Derwent Valley, Tasmania. www.tigertrailfestival.com.au
Queensland 4 – 7 october 2013 Caloundra State Primary School is once again offering camping facilities on the school ovals. Funds raised will go toward the P&C for improvements in the school. Centrally located in Caloundra, the campground provides easy access to the Kings Beach precinct, local beaches and Music Festival, with a free shuttle bus pick up at the door. Stockland Shopping Centre, Caloundra CBD and Caloundra Aquatic Centre are all within short walking distance. Please note bookings will be taken online until Tuesday, 1 October or until sold out. www.caloundramusicfestival.com/camping
Swell Sculpture Festival Queensland 13 – 22 september 2013 A free outdoor exhibition that creates visual splendour amongst the natural coastal setting at Currumbin Beach, Gold Coast, Qld. Over ten days, visitors can experience the sculptures, enjoy twilight walks, and informative artists’ talks, discover new perspectives at the Public Art Forum, wander through the Swell Smalls Gallery or participate in artist master classes and children’s workshops. www.swellsculpture.com.au
Events Darwin Festival 8 – 25 August Darwin, NT www.darwinfestival.org.au
targa adelaide 21 – 25 August Adelaide, SA www.targaadelaide.com.au
silver City show 12 – 14 September Broken Hill, NSW www.brokenhillaustralia.com.au
spring migration Festival 13 – 15 September Yackandandah, VIC www.springmigration.com.au
New event for Byron Bay Boomerang Festival is a new Indigenous cultures festival happening at the Byron Bay Bluesfest site, October 4 – 6, 2013. A three day camping event, Boomerang Festival offers insight into Indigenous cultures that you would need to travel far and wide into remote Australia to fully experience. Leading musicians Gurrumul and Archie Roach are just two artists who will headline what will be three exceptional days of music, dance, theatre, comedy, film and visual arts from Australian Indigenous culture and around the world. www.boomerangfestival.com.au 10 |
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Charters towers Heritage and Cultural Festival 14 September Charters Towers, QLD www.charterstowers.qld.gov.au
XXXX Gold Kalgoorlie Cup 21 September Kalgoorlie, WA www.wacountrycups.com.au
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Arnhem Highway speed change
Calling all Aussie inventors
Qld National Parks Survey
The Northern Territory Government has reduced the speed limit on a high-risk stretch of the Arnhem Highway from 130 km/h to 110 km/h. The change will apply to a 61-kilometre section of the highway between Lambells Lagoon and Bark Hut Inn.
Do you know of any great Aussie camping inventions on the market? We’d like to run a feature on the best Aussieinvented and Aussie-made camping gear and gadgets. Email your ideas to email@example.com
The Qld Department of National Parks is running a survey about national park use to help them better understand the needs of users – you can also win an iPad for participating. www.nprsr.qld.gov.au
Make a splash at Howard Springs BIG4 BIG4 Howard Springs Holiday Park has a new way to escape the Northern Territory heat with its new splash park. The first of its kind for BIG4 in the state, the zero-depth multi-level aquatic play area is equipped with a range of interactive features to suit all ages and designed to bring even more fun to family holidays. The new area incorporates a super-sized splash tipping bucket, spray cannons, water squirting frogs and play equipment to keep kids entertained and cool in the warmer weather. The splash park also has interactive ground sprays that are activated when a person stands on trigger spots and features a soft fall surface for safety. www.big4.com.au
Wilpena Glamping The Indigenous Business Australia-owned Wilpena Pound Resort in the Flinders Ranges National Park, about 400 km from Adelaide, will add 15 luxury safari tents with decks in September within an exclusive area with its own canvas lodge and a ‘bush butler’ away from the main camping ground and resort. Set amid river red gums and native pines, the ‘glamping’ option includes all the creature comforts such as ensuites, good bedding, reading lamps, heating and cooling. Although primarily aimed at couples, some tents can be configured to sleep four, ideal for families. From $340 a couple for dinner, bed and breakfast or from $180 a couple, accommodation only. www.wilpenapound.com.au
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New Wildflower Country Signs Wildflower Country Incorporated has developed new interpretive signage to enhance the visitor experience through Wildflower Country. Exploring Wildflower Country – Wildflower Way was developed by the shires of Dalwallinu, Perenjori, Morawa and Mullewa, as well as the City of Greater Geraldton. It involves 21 sites from Dalwallinu to Geraldton, with each site featuring an informative interpretive panel with an artistically designed steel sculpture. Visitors can also learn more about Exploring Wildflower Country at www.wildflowercountry.com.au
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Mystic Kallista, VIC
Andrew Brown A.B Scenes Photography www.abscenes.com
The fog settles over the Yarra Valley on a crystal clear autumn morning creating the beautiful mystic lake. It only lasts a short time before the warmth of the sun burns it off, but it is a breathtaking view and well worth the early morning rise to capture it.
Great Ocean Road.
Kid-FriendlyGetaways Words: Claudia Bouma. images: Chris Bouma
Great ocean road, ViC A magical getaway only a couple of hours from Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road is one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world. The renowned Twelve Apostles are an impressive sight, whether you’re big or small and the story of Australia’s most famous shipwreck, the Loch Ard, will capture anyone’s imagination. Walk down the 86 Gibson Steps and let the kids run wild on the beach while enjoying the magnificent views of Gog and Magog, two nearby limestone stacks. Visit London Arch, once known as London Bridge, and read about the amazing rescue of two tourists stranded when the arch suddenly collapsed – they were marooned for a couple of hours. A visit to the breathtaking Bay of Islands near Peterborough is mandatory where there are a number of walks and lookouts that are worth exploring. Pay a visit to the seaside town of Port Campbell and treat the kids to local fish and chips along the town’s foreshore.
middle of the rainforest with the sound of the Southern Ocean in the background. Kangaroos frequent the beach and the nearby Smoky Cape Lighthouse is a fascinating place to visit. The lighthouse sits on a narrow granite headland, towering 140 m above the sea, making it the state’s highest light. The lookout is a great location to spot humpback and southern whales during their annual migration. The massive mammals head north in June–July to mate and give birth in the warmer Queensland waters, to return back to sub-Antarctic feeding grounds with their calves in October–November. The nearby town of South West Rocks has a wonderful playground as well as an oldfashioned lolly shop which kids will love. Take the kids to the historic Trial Bay Gaol and learn about Australian history as you walk through the ruins. Finally, hike up Monument Hill to enjoy the panoramic views of this area of aweinspiring beauty.
lamington national park, QlD Hat Head national park, nsW Near Nambucca Heads, kids will enjoy camping at Smoky Cape campground in the 16 |
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A rainforest oasis located only 90 minutes inland from the busy Gold Coast, World Heritagelisted Lamington National Park transports the
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top to bottom: Lake Arragan, Yuraygir National Park. Kids enjoying the beach at Hat Head National Park. Camping in the clouds at Paluma Range National Park. Mine tour in Bendigo.
visitor into a different world. Camp in the Green Mountains section where the kids will enjoy the company of curious king parrots and colourful crimson rosellas. At dusk the pademelons come out to feed – these adorable creatures are among our kids’ favourites. The park is best explored on foot and the relatively short walks to Python Rock Lookout and Moran’s Waterfall are suitable for families with (smaller) children and reward with extensive views of the mountains. Take the kids to the nearby O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat for some yummy food and admire the replica of the Stinson plane, which crashed in 1937. It was Bernard O’Reilly who risked his own life to track down the wreck and save two men in the process. Don’t miss out on the 160 m Treetop Walk for which no fee is charged, though donations are appreciated.
picturesque lakes as well as the endangered coastal emu. Illaroo campground is a large camping area set behind the dunes and only a stone’s throw from the sandy beach where the kids can entertain themselves for hours building sand castles, finding shells and chasing seagulls. Nearby Rocky Point offers spectacular views or attempt the 1 km Angophora Grove Walk. The large park is best explored by car: don’t forget the picnic lunch. Drive out to Cakora Point for breathtaking views of the coastline then make a short detour to the red cliffs: the ochre-hued cliff top towers 24 m above the beach and is the highest point between Plumbago Head and Brooms Head. Head out to picturesque Lake Arragan where a boardwalk allows access to the cool water and fishing is popular. The area also boasts a large campground where eastern grey kangaroos abound.
Bendigo, ViC Also known as ‘the city built on gold’ this historic town in the Victorian goldfields is full of surprises. The kids will love going on a mining tour in the Central Deborah Gold Mine, Bendigo’s last functional gold mine, which closed in 1954. The 75-minute Mine Experience Tour is the perfect way to gain insight into the town’s rich past. Fitted with a miner’s helmet, including a headlight, the kids will experience a real mine 61 m underground. Above ground there is plenty to see and do as well. Rosalind Park is home to an impressive poppet head tower that serves as a lookout – if you’re willing to climb the 124 steps. Beautiful Lake Weerona is popular with families as it features a large playground as well as undercover bbq areas – feeding the ducks is always popular with the kids. Make sure you drive out to One Tree Hill, a fire lookout, for panoramic views of the city.
Yuraygir national park, nsW A coastal treasure in NSW’s far north, 60 km from Coffs Harbour, Yuraygir protects 65 km of secluded beaches, impressive cliffs and 18 |
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paluma range national park, QlD A rainforest retreat a couple of hours’ drive from Townsville, Paluma Range offers the adventurous family plenty to see and do. The park is divided into two sections: Jourama Falls in the north and Lake Paluma in the south, which is situated high up in the mountains with Mount Spec rising 1000 m above sea level. The small, but level, campground at Jourama Falls gives access to beautiful rock pools, even in the dry season, and the hike up to the lookout is worth the effort to view the majestic falls. Alternatively, head into the mountains and explore the large camping area at Lake Paluma. You are more than likely to experience camping in the clouds, adding a new dimension to any outdoor experience. Take the kids to Birthday Creek Falls to spot the elusive golden bowerbird. Pay a visit to the historic town of Paluma, which was once known as Cloudy Clearing. The 580 m Paluma Rainforest Walk is the perfect way for the kids to discover the rainforest.
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Camping & Rafting
(PaRt two) – Cathy and andy get on the river – and survive!
Words and images: Cathy Finch
Day one It’s a cool, brisk morning on the streets of Hobart when we commence our drive to the put-in point of our seven-day whitewater rafting adventure on the Franklin River. From now on we are entirely out of reach; free from mobile phone coverage, emails, business and work. Rafting guide Rob hones our paddling technique to make us an efficient team and we quickly learn that on the river, nothing really matters. It’s just day time, night time or hungry time – in-between adrenalin time. ‘We have a bit of a challenge up ahead,’ yells Rob. ‘It’s nasty notch where the ravine forces into an extremely narrow slot. Dig deep and paddle hard okay? Listen to instructions.’ 20 |
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Over the roar of the water, my partner Andy whips off an annoying leech and tosses me a less than confident smirk. ‘We’re gonna die!’ he wails, wedging himself into the raft to prevent flicking out into the raging current. The noise is thunderous as we swirl towards a narrow gap between two rocks, determined to make it through. It’s an ill-fated attempt. We’re wedged sideways, water barrelling down the rock falls all around us and surging into our stricken raft. We abort and dislodge. Next, the rapids of Descension Gorge. Andy isn’t dead yet, but his nose glows frozen red from copping the waves over the bow of the boat. The constant rain sounds like hail on our helmets and I try to film him enjoying himself: ‘Come back
another day,’ he wryly suggests. Followed by: ‘You do realise my holiday option was skiing in the sunshine of Japan?’ ‘Keep paddling, keep paddling,’ yells Rob as we power over a series of six rapids, whooping with laughter. At the end of the day we drop into Irenabyss to spend the night; exhausted and spent. Andy and I pitch our tent, inflate air mattresses and hang sodden clothes on tree branches. Nothing is going to dry.
Day two Camp begins to hum at daylight in the drizzling rain. I tie plastic bags over my socks and put thermals under my wetsuit in a vain attempt to maintain extra warmth.
From left: The mighty Franklin River. Negotiating rapids.
Today the river threads through breathtaking scenery into the Great Ravine, one of Tasmania’s deepest and narrowest gorges. Nature is showcased at its rawest, but so am I. I feel physically tested by temperatures that make my gums ache and teeth go numb. I have to manage the thought that I have five more days of this. This afternoon we portage around The Churn, a rock boulder mass obstructing the river. The rafts have to be unloaded and carried over the sharp, slippery rock. Every step laden with 16 kg kit bags takes concentration and resolve. It’s an exhausting lesson in teamwork and tenacity that takes more than two hours to accomplish. Photographing the event, I make one wrong move and come smashing down on the rocks, head saved by my helmet. My camera lens and swollen, blue leg are not that lucky. Camp however, is exceptional. A rocky overhang provides solid ground and shelter from the rain, which is now increasing. Andy and I score the ‘honeymoon suite’, a narrow cave where I drift off to sleep counting glow worms on the ceiling, reminding me of the wonders of nature and the depth of this experience.
Day three Wind and rain spirals through our camping chasm all night and come morning the rapids are dark and angry; water levels high. To my great pleasure we aren’t going anywhere today. The river rules and we learn its personality changes rapidly.
I tuck back up in my warm sleeping bag where Andy lies broken, like a shaft of ice, on his uneven rock. There is time to breathe, to laugh and to sleep. Another business lady cries. It’s been so long since she’s sat still for a day she has no idea how to deal with it. Beside her is a long trail of shredded Mintie papers …
Day Four If we don’t push off this morning we could be stuck here for days. Water levels have dropped, but we fear there’s another wall behind. There’s urgency in our step. Coruscades is one of the longest rapids on the river. There’s another portage of gear and our empty rafts get stuck in a chute; wedged too far left by the sucking currents. Patience and precision is imperative. At the bottom of Coruscades someone’s about to swim. The river is swirling, pumping and super loud. Rob is shouting with frenzy: ‘Forward paddle, dig, dig, HOLD ON.’ That followed by a large fall that pops out my fellow rafter. ‘Man overboard, man overboard.’ ‘Rescue, RESCUE,’ bellows Rob. But we’re still being rolled by the rapid. Everyone tries to extract our friend from the icy water and throw him back in the boat, but Rob’s still not happy. ‘Back on the job, back on the job, forward paddle, we need you.’ It’s frantic. The adrenalin is pumping. The fun’s not over yet. There’s another portage at Thunderush then onto Cauldron – a vertical entry manoeuvre where, once again, a raft comes to grief.
I have put forward the ridiculous request to sit in the nose of the raft while it’s lowered over the edge of a narrow shaft, plunging down into thunderous water, headed for the chasm wall. What Rob doesn’t realise is there’s only so much ‘vertical’ I can hold until my legs flip over my head and I plunge into the churning abyss. I’m facing straight downwards into the boiling water, hanging, when gravity takes over and I’m rolling out. Fate takes over. At exactly the right moment, Rob launches himself onto the end of the raft, cowboy style. We lose contact with the shelf and launch into the torrent. Andy tells me he heard my elated squeals all the way down the chasm. The next raft isn’t so lucky. They enter vertically flipping as they hit the deluge, trying to dodge log sieves and endless vertical entrapments; guide separated from the raft and swiftly pushed downstream amid nasty rocks and boulders. A swift rescue swings into action to get to the upturned raft and passenger clinging to the side before it disappears with everyone’s gear, and emotions, downstream. So much has happened and it’s only lunchtime! The scenery is stupendous. Waterfalls tumble down antique cliffs wooded with ancient forest and fluorescent mosses. It’s still drizzling rain so we decide to push on for another three hours’ paddle to make it to Newlands where we’ll have caves to shelter in again. This evening Andy chooses a low-roofed grotto anticipating a well-earned rest. He’s hit the wall and is grumpy, cold and sick (from what I suspect is not wanting to poo in a plastic bag!) and unwelcoming Go Ca mpinG austr a li a
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Cape– we Otw pushing and puffing emerge ay at stunning ancient, eerie E Rgreenilloasis. All too soon we meet S TRiver,hthere’s E waterfalls and spectacular vantage points. Above the Gordon a jetty in sight and it’s P W v time to put down our paddles. In us black cockatoos flap and squawk as the mist rolls in, the sun comes out – and then it rains again. h Day seven a ta We take compression bandages wherever r a This morning at sunrise we board Wour yacht for we walk and sure enough meet with a shiny, flata peaceful sail along the Gordon River to Strahan headed tiger snake. Cape W foricthe khroad amtrip back to Hobart. It feels heavenly to Tonight around the boulders we talk of be in a warm cabin enjoying breakfast (complete hardships, sore muscles and compare the biggest with sit-down loos!) bruises. Grown men laugh and cry. It’s a turning K in g Back IslainnHobart, d we shower for the first time in point. We have all been taken toCu extremities, won, rrie a week and enjoy dressing for dinner. There’s an and are now on the home run. Unfortunately, I’m enormous sense of achievement as we look back Grassy still a few bases behind. on our trip and realise business and work have In the dark hours of the night I head toS the toriver kes Po int rated a mention. We’ve not only adventured barely for a drink bending over with cupped hands and along one ofT the last wild rivers on Earth, but hree Hum mo slide straight into the icy current! I kick, squeal we’ve taken ownership of our ownck strengths and I Hu ntetor Isla and struggle to take hold of a slippery ledge nd sI n i weaknesses. b pull myself to safety, but no-one hasW tooknow this. ol nor th Poi nSitting ob inclean s Ba yand accomplished I t there feeling k r Day six look down at Andy’s hand. Stanl‘What’s ey that?’ I screech. MarrawApparently ah With the river widening and changing we revel a big fat juicy leech a ride Po rt Lahas tta hitched West Poinback ard y t to the city on Andy’s finger! in the last of the trip’s rapids flowing into quiet n Blu ff Hill Point A Just rlike pools where platypus feed. At Pengana Cave we th ua leech,itthis uinstay h tois one holiday that gwill r n slip into black, neck-deep water to wade through Rich ardson Po with you long after it’s ended: not surprisingly, the in longer squelching clay, emerging into the Lost World, an t you’re home, the better it gets!
Be e Be b o r Railton L at Gowrie Legana Park D eloraine Tullah GREAT Longford WES Rosebery TI Zeehan TER ER S Mt Oss a N G Ar Queenstown 1617 reat Lake La Stra ha n Macquarie Harbo ur Ri Tarraleah Franklin river ve r Bothw ell Lake Point Hib bs Gordon Bagda d Maydena R Strathgordon New Norfolk Low Rocky Po int Lake Pedder Huonville Gee Mt Pictonve ston Cy 1327 Dove r South Sou th West C
When to go
more information www.discovertasmania.com.au
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Be totally prepared with gear for rain, sunshine and dramatic changes in temperature.
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November to March.
Tasmania’s Franklin River is an isolated and challenging environment best accessed with experienced river guides. www.franklinrivertasmania.com
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Waratah Savage River
Again we must wait in camp. Rob cooks pancakes for three hours; others play cards, juggle rocks and balance paddles on their foreheads. After lunch we forest walk to the famous Rock Island Bend; photographed and used in the political campaign to save the Franklin River. Hauling ourselves over sodden terrain with ropes – pulling,
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of visitors. But caves provide shelter for many species and tonight we’re the intruders. ‘Ssssss. Get off. Get off!’ hisses Andy in the dark of night, smashing around in his sleeping bag like a frog in a sock. ‘There’s something on me. Get it off.’ I’ve been lying awake all night listening to the camp activity amid the pots and pans. I explain that they’re probably resident quolls that also need to eat, but clearly I know they’re rats. I decide not to mention the massive cave spiders above us and the fact that we’re in tiger snake country. Where do tiger snakes sleep anyway? In caves? Of course, but they will be scared away by Andy’s flailing and cussing. The normal lack-of-sleep issues in our life are far from our headspace.
camaraderie River. Foon rrethe st Franklin. Camp along theanFranklin Cowes BOPort CaCamp v M Y m pb e ell A Lorne a WA
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Nature’s Adventure Playground Words: Claudia Bouma. images: Chris Bouma
majestic sunrise colours the sky fiery orange behind Hinchinbrook Island accentuating the silhouette of the steep mountains of Australia’s largest island national park. It is the start of another beautiful day in the friendly town of Cardwell, the gateway to Hinchinbrook Island. This is a dramatic change in scenery for us since returning from our epic adventure through the Gulf Savannah from Borroloola in the Northern Territory to Georgetown in Queensland. Vast and dry savannah woodlands make way for lush tropical rainforest and beautiful beaches; it’s easy to figure why this part of Australia is called the Great Green Way. Cardwell was the first port to be settled in North Queensland. The town’s history is preserved in the post office and telegraph station, which was built in 1870 and includes the old courthouse and gaol. There are a number of good day trips to be made from Cardwell and Murray Falls is one definitely not to be missed. The roads are sealed, apart from the last five kilometres, and it’s an enjoyable forty-five-minute drive past iconic sugarcane fields and farmland. The 300-metre river boardwalk has two viewing platforms from which to view the picturesque thirty-metre drop. The Murray Falls campground is beautiful and shady and is close to the falls with easy access for camper trailers and caravans. Facilities include toilets, barbeques, picnic tables, water and rubbish bins. This campground is packed over Christmas and Easter when everyone wants to be close to the river to stay cool during the wet season. We enjoyed our picnic lunch here and so did the kookaburras because one of them managed to steal one of the kids’ peanut butter sandwiches! Blencoe Falls, in the Girringun National Park, used to be an adventurous day trip, but Cyclone Yasi closed the Kirrama Range Road, so access to the falls is via Mount Garnet. This road is not 24 |
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suitable for caravans, but off-road trailers are okay. Blencoe Falls plunge ninety metres into a pool before cascading a further 230 metres to the base of the gorge. Walk-in and vehicle-based camping is available. There are toilets and the water is suitable to drink from the Blencoe Creek once it’s been treated. Hinchinbrook Island dominates the Cardwell experience. Try the Thorsborne Trail for an adventure of a different kind. It’s a thirty-two kilometre walking trek that traverses the island’s east coast. Only forty people (in groups of up to six) are allowed on the track at any given time. The trail is recommended for fit and experienced bushwalkers that are self-sufficient. A minimum of four days and three nights is required. Edmund Kennedy, Girramay National Park, is five kilometres north of Cardwell where tropical rainforest runs right down to the beach. Three kilometres of good walking tracks meander through mangroves, coastal rainforest, open forest and woodlands. As inviting as the water might look, crocodiles and box jellyfish make swimming unsafe. The park is named after explorer Edmund Kennedy, a veteran of three major explorations during the 1840s. He was speared by a group of hostile Aborigines on his final journey to Cape York. His Aboriginal guide, Jacky Jacky, held Kennedy in his arms until he died. Tragically, their supply ship was waiting only thirty-six kilometres away. History buffs should visit Cardwell’s Coral Sea Battle Memorial Park. On the first Monday each May there is a Coral Sea Battle Commemoration with dignitaries from the United States and Australia attending to pay tribute to those who took part in an air and sea battle 800 kilometres off the Cardwell coast where the Allied victory helped ensure the safety of Australia. Six kilometres down the partly sealed Cardwell Forest Drive leads to the Cardwell Lookout. Choose to stop at the viewing
platform with commanding views of Cardwell and the coastline or, if you don’t mind a steep climb, it’s well worth doing the bushwalk to the three other lookouts: Hinchinbrook Channel, Hinchinbrook Island and Rockingham Bay. The views are phenomenal. Continue on the Cardwell Forest Drive inland to Attie Creek, Dead Horse Creek and Spa Pool. After the wet season these creeks are flowing and are beautiful swimming spots, but during the dry there is hardly any water. I will admit it was a bit of a challenge to find Attie Creek and Dead Horse Creek due to a lack of signs. There are plenty of other tracks along the drive for the adventurous explorer, however take care to avoid becoming lost. For a refreshing swim drive seven kilometres out of Cardwell to the Five Mile Swimming Hole. Even during the dry there is plenty of water in the creek and it’s so clear you can see the bottom. There are toilets and barbeque
winter escape WET TROPICS WORLD HERITAGE AREA The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area comprises 900,000 hectares and is renowned for its spectacular rainforests that cloak its rugged mountain ranges and sweep down to white sandy beaches and coral reefs. They are the oldest continually surviving rainforests on earth. The breathtaking, rugged landscape of mountain peaks, deep gorges, fast-flowing rivers and waterfalls is a hotspot for biodiversity and home to rare plant and animal species. The Wet Tropics received the highest possible heritage honours when it was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1988. This area contains the largest tract of remaining rainforest in Australia. While the Wet Tropics cover only one thousandth of the entire Australian land mass, it contains a third of the nation’s marsupials, three-fifths of our butterflies, a fifth of our birds, a third of our frogs, a quarter of our reptiles, two-thirds of our bats and two-fifths of our plant species.
Road to Broadwater Camping Area.
Clockwise from top: Sunset at Cardwell Beach. Family photo in the rainforest. Frogs abound in the rainforest.
facilities for a family picnic lunch, but camping is not allowed. Did I mention the fishing? Just about any kind of fishing experience is available here and the inland boat ramps make access easy. Cardwell has a reputation for mud crab and the Hinchinbrook Channel is a fisherman’s haven with mangrove-lined creeks and inlets sheltering all kinds of sea creatures. If you are fortunate, like we were, you might even spot a dugong. Port Hinchinbrook is a world-class marina at the southern end of Cardwell with waterfront dining and accommodation and is also the place to take boat trips to Hinchinbrook Island and the Great Barrier Reef. After the hustle and bustle of Cardwell town we sought solitude in the tropical rainforest of Abergowrie State Forest. The turn-off is three kilometres south of Ingham and it is forty-six kilometres to the campground; the final sixteen kilometres is unsealed. It’s an interesting drive
past sugarcane fields and, at harvest time, there are cane trains and harvesters to watch. Suddenly the sugarcane fields disappear and there are pine plantations with pockets of rainforest. There are lots of interesting-looking off-road tracks, but unfortunately they are all closed to the public. The Broadwater campground is simply beautiful; a tropical rainforest retreat for campers that has flush toilets, cold showers, taps, picnic tables, barbeques, fire places and rubbish receptacles. The birdlife is amazing and nearby Broadwater Creek is a great place to swim. The thirteen sites are spacious, shady and private. It is a fantastic place for kids, with ample space to run around and ride a bike. After setting up the camper trailer we spot our first goanna, which hides by climbing a tree. The bush turkeys are everywhere, but are wild enough that they stay away from our tent. Kookaburras perch on a branch overlooking Go Ca mpinG austr a li a
View of Hinchinbrook Island.
Picturesque Murray Falls.
HORROR ON HINCHINBROOK ISLAND On the morning of 18 December 1942, the American B-24 Liberator Texas Terror got lost in a storm after leaving Townsville and slammed into Mt Straloch on Hinchinbrook Island killing everyone on board. A search began after it failed to show at its destination, but was abandoned the following month. In 1943, a group of Aboriginals discovered burnt currency whilst scratching for tin. A search party found the plane on 7 January 1944 and the remains of the crew were interred in the US Armed Forces Cemetery at Ipswich before eventually being buried as a group at Ft McPherson National Cemetery, Nebraska. Throughout the years, other objects have been recovered from the site, including the dog tags of Lt John Cooper and Captain Carl Silber, which were returned to their families, and a red stiletto-healed shoe, which cannot be explained as there were no listed female passengers on board. An aluminium cross now stands on Mt Straloch in honour of those who died in the crash. Another monument, unveiled at the 1998 Anzac Day ceremony by family members of those who died in the crash, was erected in the Ingham Memorial Gardens along with a section of the aircraft’s propeller.
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our site just in case we drop some food. The kids also spot a couple of wallabies and hubby almost places his tripod on top of a long coppercoloured snake that is curled up under tree roots close to the creek. From Broadwater we make a day trip to the World Heritage-listed Wallaman Falls; Australia’s longest permanent sheer drop waterfall that spills 305 metres into a sparkling rock pool. The fiftyfive kilometre drive (one way) is sealed most of the way with good gravel road for the last ten kilometres. Most travellers make the fifty-one kilometre trip from Ingham. The road to Wallaman Falls is very steep and winding with stunning views of the surrounding countryside; towing a caravan is not recommended. A breathtaking sight, the falls can be viewed through a rainbow-fringed cloud of early morning mist or, for a different viewpoint, a strenuous four-kilometre return track leads to its base. If you don’t want to make the trip down, walk 300 metres to the lookout over the Herbert River Valley, which is well worth it. There is also a walk-in campground two kilometres from the lookout. Facilities include toilets, cold showers, taps, picnic tables and barbeques. The absence
of bins is a reminder to take your rubbish out with you. From Wallaman Falls drive to Mount Fox, a dormant volcano in Girringun National Park, seventy-five kilometres south-west of Ingham. Having erupted violently, the volcanic crater is a spectacle atop the mountain, but it’s a climb for only the very fit. There are no set tracks and experienced walkers can manage the twokilometre hike to the top and back in around ninety minutes. The well-formed crater is about ten metres deep and covered with sparse grasses and stunted trees. Back at Broadwater campground we enjoy a campfire (bring your own firewood), which the kids think is fantastic. The sky is clear and the rainforest is alive with the sound of nightlife and we simply sit there and marvel at the beauty of the place. Our trip started with a majestic sunrise overlooking Hinchinbrook Island and finished with a campfire under a star-filled sky in the rainforest at Broadwater. The area between Ingham and Cardwell truly is nature’s adventure playground.
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Tyto Wetlands Information Centre, Saxby Ingham: Dalgonally (07) 4776 4792 or www.tyto.com.au
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Georgetown Park facilities include toilets, cold showers, taps, picnic tables,
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Campfires & Country Music
Words and images: Barbara and Kevin Weimer
A full house at the homestead stage.
re you going to Hartwood?’ said Reg, an old friend we’d run into while camped overnight at the Gulgong Showground on the Sunday before Easter in 2012. ‘What or where is Hartwood?’ we asked. ‘Well, you’ll never ever know if you never ever go!’ was the witty response! So we went. After listening to Reg and others wax lyrical about this ‘secret’ place, what it offered and where it was, and what a great Easter week we had! In fact, we enjoyed ourselves so much that we went back again this year and, perhaps because we knew what it was all about, had an even better time. Hartwood Campfires and Country Music Festival is held at Hartwood, a 1680-acre property on the Coolah-Gunnedah Road in central New South Wales owned by Paul and Hele McCloud. Whether travelling north or south, you’ll find it difficult to miss the entrance to the property. Moreover, from the Monday prior to Easter there are many signs advising of the approaching turn off. Every Easter Paul and Hele open their property gates to the public to enjoy first-class entertainment in a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere. A campfire stage, set among the gum trees, presents a combination of
professional and ‘walk up’ artists every night from Wednesday through to Sunday, while a second stage at the homestead provides non-stop professional entertainment on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday and Sunday. Great country music, rock music from the ‘early years’, and a good dose of comedy all combine for a memorable Easter holiday. Campers are encouraged to come early and most do. The gates open on the Monday prior to the Easter break and ‘early bird’ campers line up waiting for the gate to open at 8.00 am to bag their favourite spot. Hartwood has been called the people’s festival – pets and children attend for free. Hundreds of caravans, motorhomes, camper trailers and a sprinkling of tents gather here for the week to enjoy the entertainment and also the camping experience. There is no power, no showers, plenty of spring water on tap, lots of portable toilets and a number of flushing toilets. The week tests innovative endeavours in ‘roughing it’ on a private property, which is a mix of open paddocks and shady trees. Solar panels, ‘gennies’ and torches together with campfires provide light and heat. Firewood can be collected on the property. Early in the week, chainsaws whine away gathering enough wood to last for the week.
FestivAl CAMping tips Check whether camping is available on the festival site and what amenities are provided as you may need to be self-sufficient. Check if site bookings are needed and, if not, arrive early to select a spot that meets your needs. Check whether groceries and food are available onsite or nearby to ensure you’re well provisioned. Respect your fellow campers and comply with all requirements, particularly noise from generators and overenthusiastic partying. Have fun.
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Clockwise from left: Tom Maxwell, host of the campfire stage, with Frank. Leave us in the long yard, don’t rush us ... Peter (Goanna) Horan the keyboard magician. All I want is a proper cup of tea!
Groups of caravanners circle their ‘wagons’ with a central fire used to cook meals, provide warmth and hold happy hours and social suppers. Many groups camp in the same area each year and names have been given to some parts of the property, such as Dusty Paddock, Wombat Walk, Happy Corner, and Naughty Nook.
The first festival was held in 1988 and 77 people attended. In 2013, the twenty-sixth festival had more than a thousand visitors from all corners of Australia and even a smattering from overseas. There are family groups, caravan clubs and groups of old friends, some of whom don’t see each other from one Hartwood to the next – first timers and veterans of twenty or more festivals.
Around the AreA Popular overnight stops around Hartwood include Dunedoo, Coonabarabran, Coolah or Premer. At Premer Park on the Sunday before Easter, the local P&C sets up a big tent and provides baked dinners. Coolah Tops National Park is 42 km east of Coolah. It’s famous for large grass trees, stands of huge snow gums, walking trails and waterfalls. Coonabarabran is about 30 km from the Warrumbungle National Park. Free camping is available at nearby Mendooran on the banks of the Castlereagh River. Binnaway provides camping at the end of the main street for a small charge. other Festivals Hartwood can be combined with a visit to other events held in the area around the same time such as the Poets’ Festival at Dunedoo on the first weekend in March; the Bylong Mouse Races on the last weekend in March. For others festivals visit www.countrymusicbulletin.com.au or keep an eye on the Go Camping Australia Facebook page.
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With three days to enjoy our camping experience before the concerts began we took the opportunity to wander around the property and talk to fellow campers. People were engaged in a great variety of activities: playing cards; playing musical instruments; sewing; doing puzzles; reading books; and, of course, talking. We talked to one older fellow who walked the length of the property every morning and we also met Tom. Tom, who turns 88 this year, has been coming to Hartwood for 22 years. He brings along his chainsaw and cuts logs for anyone that asks, but he won’t let anyone borrow the saw. He says that he doesn’t lend his ute, his chainsaw or his partner because: ‘they’re all dangerous’! He can name all the campers in his corner of the property and is self-described as a ‘true blue Aussie’. He told us that he’d travelled all over this land and considers it to be ‘God’s own country’. He doesn’t own a passport, nor does he intend to own one, all of which he states in a thick eastern European accent. Such is his patriotic fervour that every morning around 6.00 am the campground is awakened by Tom’s voice loudly yelling: ‘Good morning, Australia!’ The campfire stage, situated within the campground, and the homestead stage, a fifteen-minute walk from the campground, are both constructed of logs and corrugated iron on a concrete slab, which adds to the feeling of being in the bush. Campers are
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Early in n La encouraged toWilla bring the Tru ke e t nd le er Condobolin S CreRoto u g a rl Bu o af ek rrandong carie Kandos week, people position their chairs in front both stages in their Park Molo ND Myall Lake Point MAITLAPo Hill End Lakeof CessnockR Cargelligo ng es rt Stephe Garnpung Lake R ns favourite viewing spots and theFoentire a ym Nelson B Kurri Kurri r these remain their spots for rbes L ORANGE ay on d T ive Hillston Lake BallyroganBurcher a chla Toronto Boreeweek. those ton avoid e rrace ins For less active Rcampers and for Narad B han Unwishing La A N Lake MungPla T E H ke U W R iv R o ga S rie C T A Ra La nkins both stages. ST L E ke Macqu Booligal e Cowal the walk, there are carparks next GOSFOR arie Canorwindra Blayney d Sprinto gs n D Po r t l a n Goolgowipeople are encouraged to be a part la R At the campfire stage, ic h m h w C on E Li thg o d N T RA L C c Grenfell Oberon West Wyalon La OA ST Cowra of the entertainment. Any camper that writes his or her name g Broken Ba a b K y a m o t o Ye nd a Lake Burra nga Lake Ba rm ude at the backGrof on the Ma board the stage gets to perform. Thus, ed ma n gorang iffith Hay Bigga Balranald binvale Port Jackso Darlington M U thrilled by a ukulele n Camden we were player; a number of singers; a Temora RRU MBIDG EE Point Ardlethan Botany Ba Young Picton LeetonThis system creates Tahmoor Bundeena y washboard player; poets andRstory tellers. Boorowa Cootamundra Mittagong Helensburg Coleambally I VER nangatang h other characters MoHartwood Crookwell ulamein Narranderawho writes his own songs RIVERINAlike Wayne, HardenBowral W OLLONG Coola M Murrumburra os Nyah We mon s V st almost daily about many of the professional performers. 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CATERING FOR D FUNCTIONS AN EVENTS
‘Rental’ On The
River Road Words and images: Belinda nixon
hree years, eight months and twenty-six days ago I fell in love with the Kimberley while on a road trip from the Northern Territory. I was young and broke, my dual battery system and car fridge were failing me, and my friend broke her toe with an overly adventurous bouldering escapade. We made it as far as El Questro Wilderness Park where I begrudgingly made the call to take the bitumen route to Broome instead of the Gibb River Road. Now, I have just completed this long awaited ten day trip down the Gibb River Road with my partner and braved it in a rental car! Despite not having my own rig, I loved every second of it. There is some controversy around venturing into remote areas in rental cars. Many people understandably argue that you need your own rig fully equipped to cope with everything a remote area throws at you. However, this isn’t an option for everyone and with some preparation it is possible to plan a safe trip down the Gibb in a rented fourwheel-drive. This is excellent news for those who are time poor, can’t afford a four-wheel-drive, or can’t justify one for the amount they would use it each year. On the Gibb, road conditions and crossing depths can vary from deep to dry throughout the season so, regardless of when you’re travelling, ensure you have the four-wheel-driving experience to navigate changing conditions. Novices should consider taking a four-wheel-drive course before 32 |
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they go. Generally, on our trip, the creeks, including the iconic Pentecost River, were low, but we encountered a few deep crossings. On day one we flew into Kununurra, arriving to the wonderful tropical smells that come with humidity and blazing sunshine, making you instantly feel like you’re on holiday! Our rig of choice was a dual cab Toyota Hilux (with two spare tyres) from Avis at the airport and she served us dutifully for the duration of the trip. After playing car-Tetris with our gear, we headed into Kununurra and filled up on supplies. At the information centre we bought a good map and a locally prepared annual guide to the Gibb for $5.00. Before leaving town we compiled our emergency details in case of a breakdown. We then headed off to El Questro Wilderness Park, the jewel of the Gibb River Road, with its towering waterfalls, lush gorges, private hot spring, and steep four-wheel-drive accessible lookouts. Our first stop was Emma Gorge, a small bush resort with eco-tents. Camping is available up the road at El Questro Station. The gorge ends at a beautiful swimming hole. It is truly a special experience floating in the cool water, dwarfed by the towering 65 metre waterfall above you. It was my first ‘gorge’ for the holiday, so it holds a special place in my heart. It was the first of many ‘I’m swimming in a postcard’ moments this holiday had to offer.
In the morning we made a bee-line for Amalia Gorge, spotting a kingfisher along the walk. We had the waterhole to ourselves, revelling under the natural shower and I fulfilled my fantasy of sitting behind a waterfall. El Questro gorge walk meanders along a palm and fern-clad creek line through a towering gorge. Stop at picturesque Halfway Pool, or complete the challenging second half of the walk where you wade across pools, spider climb between boulders and scramble up a waterfall. It’s best done in pairs and has what my partner calls ‘The Mountain Factor’ – the satisfaction that you had to work hard to get there and not everyone can do it. We ran out of light and turned around mockingly close to the end, so I was again trumped by the walk that bested my friend and her toe so many years ago! Third time will be a charm – I’ll be back. Because of our limited gear we opted to camp at the Station to take advantage of showers and their renowned outback bar, barbeque and live acoustic entertainment. The next morning we raced the sunrise up the steep incline of Saddleback Ridge to be greeted by spectacular views of the surrounding valleys and ranges. Our final El Questro stop was the magical Zebedee Springs; thermal pools of crystal clear warm water surrounded by palms. At this point we made a rule that neither of us could say: ‘I wish we had more time’, but instead: ‘put it on the list for next time’, so we could make
Clockwise from far left: Day dawns on a boab on the Mornington entrance road. Watching the sunrise over El Questro from Branco’s Lookout. The towering Emma Gorge waterfall. The sunset lights up the Cockburn Ranges at Home Valley.
the most of this trip. The Kimberley is vast and you just can’t see everything. Just down the road is Home Valley Station or HV8; an iconic Kimberley destination. It boasts prime fishing real estate on the banks of the mighty Pentecost River and nine unique bushwalks through rugged escarpments and gorges. The Pentecost River Campground, overlooking the spectacular Cockburn Ranges, has one of the most picturesque campground views in Australia. We indulged in a grass castle room on the edge of the Bindoola Creek. If you’re going to splash out on optional extras, this end of the Gibb is the place to do so. Over our four nights at HV8 we tasted most of the activities on offer, including the station tour, where we learned about the station’s history and operations, and a surreal morning horse ride guided by a tale-spinning bushman. Home Valley has a reputation for having some of the best barramundi fishing in the Kimberley and it certainly lived up to it. The highlight for us was a long-anticipated helicopter fishing trip. A fellow traveller was left tauntingly close to the ‘one metre club’ with a catch of 96.5 cm! The experience finished with a sunset flight over the Cockburn Ranges, where we learned that this iconic range, featured in the movie Australia, has recently been protected as part of the Wilinggin Indigenous Protected Area: we farewelled the day with fresh barra and beers.
The station walks are spectacular and highlights were watching the sunset at Bindoola Gorge Lookout and our first croc-spot of the trip, a rather large ‘freshie’. The short Nyarli Lagoon walk ends at a magic waterhole abundant with birdlife, and we added tackling the challenging Salmond River trails to the list for next time. Home Valley is owned by Voyages Indigenous Tourism and it runs a successful Indigenous traineeship program. It provides remote area employment opportunities across all areas of the business, from stock work to hospitality and tour guiding. On a hot tip from a local we stopped at the quirky Ellenbrae Station for some of the best homemade scones I’ve ever had. The Kimberley splendour was perfectly captured in the David Byard artwork adorning the walls. The outside drop toilet with bush views was a memorable toileting experience! A highlight of any trip is the people you meet. Two of our favourites were a duo of feisty women that started travelling together after losing their husbands. Their itinerary was enviable and their sense of adventure admirable. Another highlight was running into a large mob of postie bikes scooting along the Gibb. We stopped for a yarn with the charming Aussie support team and discovered it was an annual pilgrimage of dedicated folks raising money for Bright Blue, a police charity.
After making a donation, we continued to Manning Gorge. We camped surrounded by magnificent boab trees that have stood watch here for over a thousand years. The gorge walk starts by crossing the campground swimming hole on a pulley-system boat. After climbing escarpments we spotted faded rock art before the gorge opened into a huge natural amphitheatre. In the afternoon we stopped at Galvan’s and Adcock Gorge, each beautiful and unique. Our last stop was Mornington Sanctuary, a ‘twitcher’s’ heaven brimming with birdlife. It even offered up the chance to spot the rare Gouldian finch. We camped in the beautiful bush campground and were woken on the first night by the haunting sounds of dingo howls, their population playing an important ecological role in the landscape. We used the Sanctuary’s free guide to navigate our action-packed day. We watched the sunrise, swam at the secluded sandy beach of Diamond Gorge, went spotting for rainbow bee-eater birds at Cajeput, and lay in the bubbling creek shallows at Bluebush. I had my first rope swing experience cheered on by a group of Sanctuary volunteers. As we ate dinner under a vivid sunset at Sir John Gorge, we were lucky to glimpse the very rare northern quoll. That night we went to a free slideshow where we learned that Mornington Sanctuary is owned by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. This not-for-profit Go Ca mpinG austr a li a
Below: A rainbow bee-eater, which were abundant at Cajeput. Exploring around Bindoola Falls.
organisation is working toward achieving a goal to protect all Australian mammal species through donor-funded strategic land acquisition. The last day of our trip was a huge drive skipping most of the western end of the Gibb River Road. We frantically packed at Cable Beach, making our flight just in time to return the trusty Hilux. One of the best things about the Kimberley was the dramatic colours. Yellow grasses, every shade of green, vivid red and brown soils, and endless blue sky. Sunrise bathes the landscape in beautiful soft light creating perfect photos. In the afternoon the sun immerses everything in a warm glow as the ranges change colour and the sun sets on another Kimberley day. If you choose to travel the Gibb River Road, you will truly feel like you escaped to another world. Now that you know you can go ‘rental’ on the Gibb, rope in your mates or family and book a trip. I know you want to.
Hibernia Reef Ashmore Reef
Humpty Doo Mt Bundey
Peron Island North
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Mt Wells 983
Purchase Nongra Lake Birrindudu
Gordon Downs Mt Junction Sturt Creek 617
Bring a tyre pressure gauge and run your tyres at the recommend pressure for gravel. Mt
Flights depart Broome daily with Qantas www.qantas.com.au Christmas Creek GA R RA and Virgin Australia.
G R E A T
Where Nto stay D E S E R T D Y Mt Stewart S A Tanami Downs 381 Emma Gorge – wilderness tent accommodation and El Questro Wilderness Park. Unpowered campground or private sites and a range of accommodation options Lake Dennis www.elquestro.com.au or 1300 863 248.
Purchase a large water container for emergency breakdowns and take one litre per person per hour when hiking. Consider emergency precautions like a satellite Lake Buckphone. TANAMI DESERT
Home Valley Station – powered/unpowered station campground, unpowered river Lakes campground andPercival a range of accommodation options Lake Wills Tobin Lake www.hvstation.com.au or (02) 8296 8010.
Have all your rental and roadside assist details handy in case of a breakdown. Rabbit Flat
Mt Davidson Pack a hat 457 and sunscreen.
Take care when around waterfalls and rocks for slippery surfaces and floating objects.
Watch for livestock on the road.
Balgo Lake Gregory
Lake Dora Manning Gorge (Mt Barnett Roadhouse) – unpowered campground LAKE MACKAY (08) 9191Lake 7007. Auld Blanche Lake
Silent Grove 427Camping Area (King Leopold Ranges Conservation Park) – Mt Webb 531 unpowered camping www.dec.wa.gov.au (soon to be www.dpaw.wa.gov.au) Mt Tietkens or (08) 9195 5500. RA 543 E N
Lake Disappointment 34 | G o C a m p i n G a u s t r a l i a
Kintore Mt Leisler 897
a quality map.
4WD rental Mindibungu We booked with Avis www.avis.com.au however most rental companies also hire from Kununurra. Check with your chosen Kununurra depot for off-road restrictions before you book. Mt Elliott 429
Victoria River Downs
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safety Always have a second spare tyre. Flat tyres are Mount Sanford responsibility, so know how to the car hirer’s Mistake Creek Limbunya change one.
Flights leave Perth to Kununurra through Skywest, now owned Nicholsonby Bunda Y Fossil Downs Ma rg a Creek to Kununurra through Fitzroy Crossing ret Virgin Australia www.virginaustralia.com or from Halls Darwin Flora Valley RIV ER Lamboo Airnorth www.airnorth.com.au
Babrongan Tower 225
RR BO YD R A
R Windjana Gorge S National Park – unpowered KE STO camping Bullita www.dec.wa.gov.au or (08) 9195 5500. Outstation
Mt Remarkable Mt Parker 751 724 Bedford Downs
Leopold Downs Camballin daily Looma from
Lissadell Warmun (Turkey Creek)
Yulumbu (Tableland) Mt Ord 947 Glenroy Riv
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West Baines R
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Karunjie Dunham River
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Napier Downs Mt Broome 935 Kimberly Downs
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Gibb river road
Oobagooma Mount Hart
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Kununurra Lake Argyle Village
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CT Mornington Wilderness Sanctuary – unpowered O A RI A YAMB and limited accommodation camping RIVE R www.australianwildlife.org or 08 9191 7406. RA
Carlton Hill Spirit Hill Kununurra
Mt Hann 779
Hayes Creek Emerald Springs Tipperary
Dorisvale Fitzm au
BRUNSWICK BAY Heywood Islands
Peppimenarti Wadeye (Port Keats) Nganmarriyanga
Mt Greenwood 135 Nauiyu (Daly River)
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JOSEPH BONAPARTE GULF
E IP CH Cape Voltaire ADMIRALTY
Kalumburu GULF Getting there MONTAGUE SOUN D Pearce Point F The Gibb River Road runs for 659 km in northern WA between Derby and U L the I Bigge Quee EG ns C G Theda D han Wyndham/Kununurra YORK SOturn-off on the Great Northern Highway. U n
o lag ipe rch Montgomery Is A er Doubtful Bay ne COLLIER BAY
When to go East Holothuria The Gibb River Road isHolothuria only accessible Reefin the dry Reef West Cape dependent. Londonderry season from approximately May to October, weather GO Cape Bougainville A Check www.mainroads.wa.gov.au before you go for road closure information.Hyland Bay L Long Reef
General information Mt Singleton Head to807 www.gibbriverroad.net for a wealth of RA ER EU Vaugh an Springyour information to plan trip. s TR my Mt Cockbutip Newhaven rn 845 Central Mount Wedge Take a Benne snorkel mask to Lake tt holes!
spot fish in the swimming
4WD The Holland Track can be muddy and boggy after rain.
HollandTrack Following the path of John Holland and the prospectors Words and images: Jill Harrison
s we sloshed, slid, crawled, heaved, bumped and rocked in the relative comfort of our four-wheel-drive through the vast uninhabited eucalypt woodlands south of the CoolgardieKalgoorlie goldfields my admiration grew for the thousands of prospectors that tramped these tracks more than one hundred years ago. Bayley and Ford’s discovery of gold at Fly Flat, Coolgardie, in September 1892 brought thousands of hopeful prospectors pouring
into Western Australia, landing in Fremantle, Esperance or Albany on the south coast. Several attempts were made to open a route from the south, all forced back by the seemingly waterless and impenetrable country. On 14 April 1893, John Holland, an experienced bushman, his two brothers, Rudolph and David Krakouer, and John Carmody, with five ponies and a light dray loaded with provisions for up to six months, started a carefully planned expedition to cut
a track in a north-easterly direction through virgin bushland from Broomehill to Coolgardie using compass bearings. They arrived in Coolgardie on 18 June. In a mere two months and four days they had cut a 538-kilometre (330 mile) track – the longest cart road ever made in Western Australia in one stretch. During the next three years 18,000 people used Holland’s track, including Holland’s carting business and camel teams taking supplies to the goldfields. Go Ca mpinG austr a li a
Make preparation for remote 4WD travel.
Carrying sufficient fuel, water, food, supplies, communication gear, spare tyres, puncture repair equipment, recovery gear, safety equipment and first aid, as well as emergency backup supplies.
Recommended tyre pressure is 28–36 psi.
There is no fuel or food between Hyden and Coolgardie.
A good map and/or GPS tracker is very handy to keep on track.
It is recommended you travel with others, but it is important to minimise impact on the track and environment so convoys are limited to no more than ten vehicles at a time.
The Great Western Woodlands is environmentally significant and it’s important to keep to the tracks.
The track can be impassable after heavy rain when there is a significant risk of bogging and track damage.
Only walk, do not drive, over the environmentally sensitive granite rocks.
Camp only in established, cleared areas.
Take rubbish away with you.
When travelling in convoy a two-way radio is invaluable to keep in touch about track conditions ahead.
Be aware of oncoming traffic particularly on weekends or holiday periods.
Do not tow a caravan. Camper trailers built to handle true off-road conditions are okay.
Keep in mind drawbar height when traversing bog holes.
Don’t have a four-wheel-drive? Explore the area by taking the gravel Victoria Rock Road north from Lake Johnston on the Hyden-Norseman Road through to Coolgardie.
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In comparison, it was an easy task for us to carry our fuel, food and water in our four-wheel-drive for a three-day trip along the Holland Track, but I wondered how those early prospectors carried enough supplies and mining equipment, walking with a pack, pushing wheelbarrows, or travelling on horseback or on carts for the two or three weeks it took to reach the goldfields. Perhaps they shot or trapped wildlife along the way and the track links granite outcrops where water can be found laying in gnamma holes (a rock hole capable of holding water formed by weathering) after rain. No doubt the trip claimed the lives of some who lie in unmarked graves along the way. When the Perth to Coolgardie railway line was completed, Holland’s track fell into disuse and was largely forgotten. The southern half was incorporated into farmland in the 1920s and the northern part returned to bushland. Holland was never recognised or recompensed. He died aged eighty in Coolgardie in 1936. However, in November 1992, a group led by Broomehill farmer Graeme Newbey and researcher Adrian Malloy succeeded, with the aid of Newbey’s tractor, to re-cut the track from Wattle Rocks (about twenty-two kilometres north of the Hyden-Norseman Road) to Thursday Rock (about seventy kilometres south of Coolgardie). In June 1993, Newbey led a four-wheel-drive expedition along the newly opened track to mark the centenary of Holland’s historic journey. Today, the track is popular with four-wheel-drive enthusiasts and the Western Australian Department of Conservation and Land Management, Track Care WA Inc., and the Toyota Landcruiser Club keep it maintained. Travelling in convoy with our family in late April, we joined the Holland Track at Newdegate heading for Dragon Rocks where apparently the
Clockwise from top left: The Great Western Woodlands is environmentally significant; the largest remaining Mediterranean climate woodland left on earth. Small clearings provide good camping or lunch spots. Take it easy through the bog holes. The Holland Track is an ideal way to introduce children to bush camping and get them away from computer games and TV!
imprints of prospectors’ cart tracks remain. And, sure enough, after a bit of searching we were fairly sure we found what looked very much like cart wheel tracks. Gravel and sand tracks lead to the HydenNorseman Road, one section skirting around the edge of Lake Carmody and passing through the State Barrier Vermin Proof Fence. Be sure to shut the gate to keep the emus out! Fifty-six kilometres east of Hyden along the Hyden-Norseman Road is the point where most people start the track and here there are some interpretive panels that reveal its history. Not far along it became apparent why the track is best travelled in the dry and with company. We encountered numerous significant bog holes and deep muddy rutted sections that needed some technical four-wheel-driving skills. My husband stood in one dry wheel trench that was mid-thigh height in depth! One of our crew, Paul, was towing a camper trailer and made this useful reflection of the conditions: ‘You need a camper built to handle true off-road conditions and be constantly aware that you’ve got an extra set of tyres behind you. I took the corners wide to minimise cutting the corners with the trailer and risking
tyre sidewall damage. Keep in mind drawbar clearance as the deep wheel ruts can easily catch the drawbar.’ The tightly winding track is just one vehicle wide, lined with scrub and trees and has low, overhanging trees in some places. Clear vision ahead is difficult and it’s wise to turn the side mirrors in to avoid them being damaged. The Holland Track lies within the environmentally significant Great Western Woodlands. Covering sixteen million hectares, it is the largest and healthiest remaining Mediterranean climate woodland left on earth. There are a lot of intersecting tracks and limited signage, so a good Hema map or GPS tracking device is a wise inclusion. Allow at least two days to get from Hyden to Coolgardie so be prepared to camp. There are plenty of camping opportunities: in small clearings or at any of the granite outcrops. The campsites at Mount Holland and Thursday Rock are roomy, but have no facilities. On our first night we camped in a small clearing about thirty kilometres from the Hyden-Norseman Road and our second night at Thursday Rock, twenty-one kilometres from the Victoria Rock Road.
It was here we met Steve from Albany. His group had camped for two nights in clearings along the track and he thought it was easier to bring tents than a camper trailer. He had done the trip eight years before on a motorbike and reckoned the ruts were worse this time. Thursday Rock was a beautiful place to camp; open with shady trees, one picnic table and one fire ring – though the march flies were a bit too friendly! The rock is only one hundred metres from camp and the magnificent 360 degree views highlight the isolation of this vast woodland and the sunset and sunrise were astounding. We had the campsite to ourselves and took the opportunity to have a bush shower. Not far from the Marvel Loch-Forrestania Road intersection is Mount Holland where there are also excellent views from the summit. Further north the track meanders around Sandalwood Rocks and, curiously, around the end of the vermin proof fence. I read that it ends here because the government ran out of money! Make sure you sign the visitors’ book in the suitcase at the Banker-Mount Day Road intersection. There’s a plaque here celebrating the Holland Track centenary and commemorating its builders. Go Ca mpinG austr a li a
Lagrange Bay Be ach
TH GU LF
Mt Essendon 910
R iv I N S O N R A S er
TheMoorari Great Western Woodlands: Cunyu www.dec.wa.gov.au and e Outstation Mount Hale‘great Beringarrasearch Karalundi woodlands’ or ‘goldfields woodlands’ western rra Koonma under the Park Finder tab.
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Rocky outcrops provide a great place for children to look for tadpoles NICH O in the gnamma rock pools. LS O N n Nerren Nerre
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travel is autumn or spring; definitely not Talawana winter months or after rain. Mt Newman
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Lak ry Camping vo Sa Turee Creek Mundiwindi BushR camping is allowed anywhere along the Holland KE NN IV Bulloo Downs ET ER H LITTLE SANDY DESERT RA Track. Most people camp at the well-known rock sites Mount Vernon LO FT Y R A as these have cleared areas suitableW for large groups S T E R N E Mount Augustus and many provide interesting options for bush walking, Kumarina R Athe including easy climbs up rock face to the summits. RA ER
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Wallareeny Warrawagine there The 4WD-only section of the Holland Marble Bar Mt Edgar Lake Wuakarlycarly 371 Track runs direction rra for 170 km in a north-easterly Yandeya A R A B L I P starting 56 km east of Hyden on the n e Hyden-Norseman i g l la Telfer Nu Road, 78 km south of Hillside Rock Road and ending at Victoria R Coolawanyah Nullagine CH Coolgardie. ICH
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Lake Toyota Land Cruiser Club:Booylgoo www.tlccwa.org.au Darlot Spring Leinster Cosmo Newbery Sandstone Agnew then click on ‘Adopted Tracks’ tab and then ‘Holland Track’. Mount Magnet
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One of the trees common along the track is the ribbon gum Ri Tardie Tallering Hill 443 Ajana A U S T R AErlistounL I A (Eucalyptus Sheathiana), which replaces its bark annually as part of Yoweragabbie Nambi An excellent guide book with GPS coordinates and notes Yalgoo White on Noondie Lake ampt the normal eucalypt growth pattern. The bark seemsNorth to dance in the on points of interest is: Explore the Holland Track and Cave Laverton wa r Mulle Pinda Valley breeze and ‘clacks’ together in the wind. Ida Wallabi Group Youangarr Leonora Hill Woodlines bya Nick Underwood. La Cashmere an Wydgee Houtmcontains The Great Western Woodlands twenty-five percent of ke Downs Canna Lake Carey rolhos GE RALDTON Ab Australia’s known plant species, so the track would be ablaze with Pelsaert I Lake Barlee Minge new Kookynie ers Mong wildflowers in spring. Morawa Pindabunna Lake Dongara Lake Lake Ballard Twenty-one kilometres from Thursday Rock is Victoria Rock and Marmion Menzies Three Edjudina gs of another good camping area. At Gnarlbine Rock you can seeSprin one ah Riverina Carnam Eneabba Lake Moore Coorow Charles Hunt’s wells, which was a vital water supply for Coolgardie e Buntin Lake Po Leeman nt Rebecca Wubin on before the building of the Perth to Kalgoorlie pipeline. Dalwallinu Ora Banda Yindi eroo Arrow Broad Lake Wath Ryan Butler, the WA Department of Environment and Conservation Beacon Jurien Bay Miling Coolgardie Kalannie Yindarlgooda Lake Deborah Bonnie Rock East Goldfields Regional Fire Coordinator says, ‘The Holland Cervantes Track and Ballidu Mt Burges Lake Deborah KALGOORLIE Koolyanobbing West 554 Bencubbin Danda ragan Cadoux [Cave Hill] Woodlines is a great drive in autumn. There are plenty of Moora Avoca Downs Mukinbudin Lake Seabrook Coolgardie Wongan Hills Koorda owing Cowc Kambalda West Coonana Z Bullfinch Norcia New camping and historical areas to explore. Having communications is Trayning Lakes elin Lanc Nungarin Southern Cross Lake Lefroy essential and a schedule of contacts when you start and finish. It is Yellowdine Wyalkatchem Bolgart Goomalling Widgiemooltha Bodallin Madoonia Downs Marvel Loch Merredin Gingin best to stick to the track rather than create your own pathways as the Yanchep Toodya y din Cunder s Rock Two Lake Cowan Great Western Woodlands is a very environmentally significant area. rin Muntadgin Northam BruceKellerber Rock WANNEROO Wundowie Fraser Ra Please do not drive over the granite rocks as they often havePER heritage TH Mundaring York Quairading d Narembeen Rottnest Islan Av values and highly sensitive vegetation. DEC has upgraded several Norseman on Beverley FREMANTLaE Lake Johnston Balla Byford Corrigin Kwinan Hyden tracks that intersect the Holland Track for fire response, which may Jarrahdale Brookton R M HA NG Hope Lake ROCKI Kondinin y Lake Dundas Pingell be used for access on and off the track, but we are not going toURA touch Kulin H MAND Peak Charles Wickepin Pinjarra Dwellingup 651 the Holland Track so it remains a four-wheel-drive trail.’ Lake Tay gton Boddin Dudinin Waroona Salmon Gums in Narrog King Lake GraceHyden Lake The Holland Track is one of Western Australia’s great four-wheel- Yarloop Williams Newdegate Harvey Dumbleyung Grace L drive treks for those who want to appreciate some of our early wick Junction Kukerin South Brunshistory. Lake Collie Darkan Wagin BURY Magenta Ravensthorpe Including travel from Perth, you can complete the trackGEOinGRBUN four Nyabing APH days, illing Woodan Zeehan Donnybrook E e Naturaliste BAY Cap g Katannin Munglinup which is achievable for people wanting a remote driving experience Capel r Dunsborough Esperance Orleans F e v i t raul e Clai R Busselton Gnowangerup close to home. We experienced perfect weather andCap had no problems Boyup Brook Kojonup Jerramungup Hopetoun Tambellup Pa Nannup M Bridgetown Margaret River Mondrain I lli Borden d ran other than a broken headlight protector. nu Esp e oo t p ok L NE AN CH
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Land Rovers ready for the club’s first outing in 1963. Bob Bilton (far right) and Vic Jaeger (second from right) were on the 1967 Victorian Alps crossing.
Participants in the 2013 trip.
Pioneers Words: Bob Badham
on the 50th anniversary of the formation of the land rover owners’ Club of Victoria, a group set out to re-enact one of the early trips over the snowy mountains.
he Victorian High Country has long been a magnet to escape the rush and bustle of the city and, with its good roads and plentiful facilities, you don’t have to be adventurous to enjoy the peace and beauty of the mountains and valleys and all they have to offer – but it wasn’t always so easy. On 26 December 1967, eleven friends set out to cross the Victorian Alps from west to east as much off-road as they could. Their vehicles were all Series II, leaf-sprung Land Rovers: very basic and a far cry from today’s luxurious four-wheel-drive vehicles. The route began at Lilydale and covered a total of 1135 miles (1827 km) to Nowa Nowa and took seven days. With only two exceptions all camps were in the bush. The participants were all members of the Land Rover Owners’ Club of Victoria; the first four-wheeldrive club to be formed in Australia. The club commenced on Friday, 13 September 1963 at the instigation of Bevan Fenner, who was a member of the overseas branch of the Land Rover Owners’ Club in England, and this was the Victorian Club’s first extended trip. The aim of the club was to utilise four-wheel-drive vehicles as a means of travelling to camp in remote areas and enjoy the environment. Fifty years on, the club has grown and prospered. It has a large membership and a diverse range of trips to suit any travelling style from conservative to adventurous. There is a strong focus on driver training, responsible behaviour in the bush, and Go Ca mpinG austr a li a
respect for other travellers. The club also has a community focus and assists with clean-up and remedial work after bushfires and floods and has been a long-time supporter of the Murray Marathon (one of the world’s longest canoe [kayak] events). In April 2013, a group of club members set out to re-enact the Alps crossing as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations. There were four vehicles, all modern four-wheel-drives, including two Land Rovers. The trip officially began at Mansfield, as it was the most convenient meeting point. It also happened to be the first refuelling stop for the original 1967 trip. The group travelled to the east of Lake Eildon and up the Goulburn River valley. The need for care when travelling in this area and for good preparations for such a trip was brought home quite quickly. The group came upon paramedics attending to an injured trail bike rider and later had to contend with steep, muddy sections of track as they climbed into the high country. The plan was to spend the first night at Upper Jamieson Hut but, as it was already occupied, a separate camp was established. Around the campfire the trip leader, Peter Dunn, read the notes from that day’s travel on the original trip and this became a regular feature of each night’s camp; the comparison of then and now adding to the enjoyment of the experience. Next morning, the tents and swags were covered with a thick layer of ice, so ‘defrosting’ delayed departure. The morning was spent on steep climbs and stops for photos of geological features and panoramic landscapes, before pausing for lunch at the Zeka Spur Track 40 |
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turnoff. In some places the track is more than 1700 metres above sea level. On the descent into the Wonnangatta Valley the group was forewarned of a four-wheel-drive up ahead that had a broken drive component and had to wait until the track was cleared before they could proceed. This incident underlined the value of radio communications on a common channel to keep all track users informed. The notes for this day on the original trip read: ‘ … 35.8 miles for 6 engine hours and 6 gallons of fuel. (In today’s units, this is 57.6 km for 6 engine hours and 27.3 litres of fuel or 9.6 kph at 47.4 l/100km). The inclinometer measured the long run down onto the valley at 22 degrees, and the valley floor is at 2000 feet (over 600 metres).’ The climb out of the valley the next morning had a little extra ‘spice’ due to overnight rain. The tracks have many spoon drains across them to prevent erosion, which provide some excitement for drivers and passengers. The route continued through the Grant area and onto the Birregun Road to the Dog’s Grave. This is a memorial to ‘Boney’ the cattle dog that worked with his master on a cattle run in the mid 1850s. A cattlemen’s hut, which once stood on the site, was destroyed by fire in the late 1980s. Omeo marked the end of the day where vehicles were refuelled and the travellers enjoyed a delicious pub meal: a touch of luxury that was not available to the original group! The next morning saw another heavy frost and the mandatory ‘defrosting’ before setting out on the day’s drive. Rough and steep sections on the Cobberas Track provided some challenges,
Gordon Prest Gordon Prest
Clockwise from top left: Scree beside King Billy Track. Trip Leader crossing the Wongungarra River. View from Mt Blowhard Lookout. McKillops Bridge.
but this was more than compensated for by the beautiful scenery. A surprise highlight of the day was when two magnificent brumbies broke from the trees and crossed the track. After lunch at MacFarlane Flat the group tried, unsuccessfully, to find the point where the original group crossed the Snowy River, so they camped at Willis on the Victoria–New South Wales border, which was voted the best campsite and campfire to date. The notes for this day on the original trip read: ‘ … some of the party forded the Snowy on foot to check out the next section of track, which could be seen from the camp. On the return crossing John stepped off a rock into 4ft of water while Colin, clad in a hat and pair of boots, was noticed by a passing car.’ Unfortunately, one of the vehicles developed a fuel problem that could not be rectified, so arrangements were made the next day for recovery. As is always the case with club trips, the vehicle was well stocked with adequate food, water and clothing to sustain the occupants during their wait. The other vehicles continued on to the restored schoolhouse at Suggan Buggan, then through Wulgulmerang and down the narrow mountainous road to McKillops Bridge. This is quite an impressive structure that gives an indication of the allowances needed to cope with water flows when the river ran free. It is 244 metres (800 feet) long and 27.4 metres (90 feet) above the current water level. The day’s travel was completed with a pub meal at Delegate and an ‘indoor’ campfire in a hut in the park, shared with a pair of German touring cyclists.
After the usual morning defrosting, the route continued through pine forests around Craigie. On several occasions trees and other debris had to be cleared from the track. At the junction with the highway another of the vehicles departed for Melbourne for family commitments. The remaining two vehicles continued to Mallacoota then Shipwreck Creek to camp for the night. This is a beautiful spot set in gum tree forest but, for the first time on the trip, the mozzies were a nuisance. The next day the route continued along the Betka River Road through stringy bark forest to Wingan Inlet where lyre birds provided entertainment during the morning tea stop. The very scenic drive through Croajingalong National Park was followed by a tour of the Point Hicks lighthouse. There were many steps to climb, but the tour was informative and the views worth the effort. The original group had gone from here along the Old Coast Road but, because it is now closed to vehicles, the current group had to return to Cann River before heading west. That night the local possums had good sport trampolining on the tent awning! The final day began with a return to the coastal track and on to Bemm River. A large flock of pelicans provided an escort for a
walk along the pier. Beside the road to Marlo a large goanna was sunning itself on a banksia tree where it totally ignored the ‘shutterbugs’ gathered below. At Marlo the trip officially ended and it was time to reflect on an eventful week; a week of challenging driving, peaceful camps, spectacular scener y, and good fellowship. The goal had been achieved; even though only two of the four vehicles completed the trip. The fuel system failure was the only mechanical problem experienced. It was also time to sit back and marvel at the original participants that completed the trip in seven days driving basic vehicles on tracks that were poorly maintained and rarely signposted. They had their share of mechanical challenges, including four springs with broken main leaves and a number of minor electrical failures; all brought on by the harshness of the terrain. But the ingenuity and capability within the group ensured that they could carry out repairs to keep their vehicles going. Forty-five years later the roads are better and the vehicles more comfortable, but the efforts of the club’s ‘pioneers’ and others like them contributed to opening up this part of Victoria to other travellers. Long may we be able to enjoy the High Country.
more information Land Rover Owners’ Club of Victoria: Telephone: 1800 357 628 or visit www.lrocv.com.au Land Rover Owners Club Australia and links to all other Land Rover clubs in Australia: Visit www.lroc.com.au or email email@example.com Four Wheel Drive Victoria – The peak body representing four-wheel-drive interests in Victoria: Telephone: (03) 9857 5209 or visit www.fwdvictoria.org.au Snowy Mountains Tourism: www.snowymountains.com.au Parks Victoria – Alpine National Park: www.parkweb.vic.gov.au and search ‘alpine national park’
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Bright Words: megan Blandford The view from Mt. Buffalo.
UN!’ he shouted. I hesitated for a second – if someone told you to run off a cliff, would you? He yelled again, ‘RUN!’ I did it. I ran. My paragliding pilot, Fred, had downplayed this scenario when I asked him how scary it would be: ‘Even my mother’s done it,’ he laughed. ‘Yeah, but it’s still scary,’ I insisted, but he shrugged. Then again he’s done this before: ‘… five or six thousand times,’ he estimates. However, I’m here to give it to you straight: running towards the edge of a mountain, then jumping off and trusting someone to keep you safe is scary. It only took half a dozen steps before I screamed as my feet left the ground. My legs kept moving in a step-like motion for a few seconds longer than necessary, wanting to find something to cling onto, but no luck – I was in mid-air. I was on the flight of a lifetime; gliding through an aerial tour of the towns and mountains of north-east Victoria. Or at least I would be if I could convince myself to look down. Once I did I was surprised how quickly I got used to it and the first thing I could see was the town I’d just left: Bright.
Bright township Bright is a delightful little town nestled in a valley surrounded by the Victorian Alps. Like many towns in the high country, Bright was established to service the goldminers that flocked to the nearby Buckland River from around 1853. 42 |
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They’ve left their legacy on the environment; the pine plantations were started on land virtually destroyed by the gold dredges and many exminers turned to the farming of fruits, nuts, hops and vineyards when prospecting failed. Many Melburnians also have a personal history with Bright. My family spent summers of the 1980s lazing by a pool near town and to this day I can’t drive to Bright without listening to the soundtrack of my childhood (Midnight Oil, Crowded House, INXS …) and remembering backseat squabbles with my siblings. Bright remains a lot like it was back then; the years don’t do much to age a country town, or at least it is on the surface. You have to dig a little deeper to find the changes – smatterings of modern life where the treasures of an old town are found. The town is diverse and has something for everyone: the legacy of the early farming days with modern fine foods and wineries for those who love to indulge, through to outdoor adventures in the nearby mountain ranges and camping spots aplenty. It’s a great central place for a base if you want to see more of the alpine region. I have two overwhelming memories from childhood holidays in Bright. The first is the ice cream. These days the ice creamery makes all its own tubs of frozen goodness using fresh, local ingredients, which sums up the change between Bright then and Bright now: always fun
Megan Blandford Megan Blandford Megan Blandford Megan Blandford
and beautiful, but with added freshness and a new determination to utilise and showcase the amazing produce in the area. And they take such pride in doing just that: everyone is excited to talk about the way they do things. The drive between Milawa and Bright, for example, besides being amazingly beautiful, also incorporates almost every type of farmgrown or freshly made produce you could think of: meat, berries, nuts, olives, wine, fruit, cheese, vegetables, butter, honey, beer ... the list goes on. Flying over the town of Bright I realised how small the place is – which makes it all the more impressive that it has so much jam-packed into it. My paragliding pilot and I were at this point spinning in mid-air to … um, where exactly? ‘We’re flying up to that cloud,’ Fred said as we whirled around and around in the thermal. ‘How high is that?’ I asked. ‘About 14,000 feet,’ was the answer. (That’s skydiving height!) Getting this high was a matter of luck and if I’d hesitated in running off the cliff any longer it wouldn’t have happened this way. We were caught in the middle of a thermal, which meant we could rise higher and stay in flight for half an hour, while two others that took off twenty seconds later landed on the ground soon after. It’s all a matter of timing in this game and I just happened to be on the flight of my life. But at that point I wasn’t sure who I felt happier for: me, at 14,000 feet in the air with nothing between me and the ground but a harness, or
those that were safely on the earth! I smiled as Fred asked how I was: ‘All good!’ I replied, putting on my bravest smile as I tried to forget my fears. ‘This is amazing!’ (Albeit, terrifyingly amazing.) Wow, the view. Everywhere I looked was mountain ranges. Mountains Buffalo, Hotham, Feathertop, even Bogong – Victoria’s highest – seemed like little mounds on a scaled model in a tourist visitor centre. When you’re in Bright you know there are mountain ranges around, but you don’t really get it until you see it from way up above. This musing brings me to my second big memory of the area: Mt. Buffalo, just one part of one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in the country.
mt. Buffalo Buffalo’s jutting cliff faces create an imprint in your mind as they stand tall and imposing over the towns daring you to take on the adventures it has in store. It’s an hour’s drive from Bright to the peak; a mini-road-trip best taken with a few stops for some short walks to visit waterfalls before heading up to see the view. The mountain offers ninety kilometres of walking tracks covering everything from easy thirty-minute bushwalks through to ‘The Big Walk’ for the more enthusiastic walker ascending 1000 metres in just nine kilometres.
Clockwise from bottom left: Paragliding over the Alps. Looking down over Bright – scary but worth it. Coming in to land after gliding over Bright. The main street of Bright.
There’s also a lake atop this mountain (yes, it really does have everything) that’s popular with canoeists. There’s a great camping area by the lake too with basic facilities and a peaceful mountain ambience. In winter this is the spot for families that aren’t into the hardcore skiing to slide down the white, powdery hills on toboggans. Buffalo’s crosscountry skiing has fourteen kilometres of marked trails and more than twenty kilometres of remote trails to explore as well as a ski school. Meanwhile, back in the sky, things were peaceful for a while as I gazed down at Buffalo and remembered the fun it has on offer until Fred asked if I wanted to do some spins and tricks. ‘Sure, sounds fun!’ said I. He pulled a few strings and angled his body differently and within seconds we were pointing sideways twirling around fast. When my laughter turned to a sickened sound, he queried it: ‘Just scared or feeling it in your stomach?’ I confirmed it was the latter and he stopped straight away. I’m tipping he’s had some unfortunate experiences up there with sick passengers! Back to peaceful gliding, except now my mind and my stomach were in overdrive. ‘Don’t be sick, don’t be sick,’ I chanted silently to myself. As we were coming in to land Fred told me to get ready to take some steps. It was odd to realise that I wasn’t sure I could and I awkwardly practised some air steps in preparation to hit the ground. As we got closer to my family, I waved Go Ca mpinG austr a li a
and Fred asked me, ‘Do you want to show them another spin?’ I didn’t, but I really wanted to show off, so I said ‘yes’. He spun us around – until I made that sickened sound again – and promptly fell to the ground. I tried to be brave and walk over to my little audience, but my legs just wouldn’t hold me. I seemed to have misplaced my stomach up there, my head was spinning and I sat down on the grass in the hope that I could avoid embarrassing myself by either falling over or being sick – or both. It took a while for my mind to catch up with it all. I’d thought through the process of the glide, but I hadn’t thought about afterwards. There was motion sickness right to the pit of my stomach – I can still feel it as I write this – mixed with the feeling that comes with having done something amazing plus a ‘now what?’ thought. How does one finish off a day after that? What should you do after you’ve jumped off a mountain, caught a thermal 14,000 feet into the clouds and then Darnick glided down to earth? Moornanyah Lake This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and Coombah Lake Mindona something I’d wanted to do since I was a kid on Mulurulu Lake ah Lake Popilt holidays in Bright seeing the gliders dot the air. Travellers Lake Now I’ve done it, and that’s a brilliant feeling. Pooncarie The jump itself was scary, the flight Garnpung Lake exhilarating, and the landing on my feet a shock to the system. Just like life really. It’s just lucky Boree Plains weLake have a spot like Bright to land into because Lake Mungo Victoria reality can’t get any better than that.
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Bright in autumn.
HardenMurrumburra MALLEE Coolamon RIVERINA Kulwin Manangatang Junee Moulamein Ouyen AGGAYa Underbool Ck Nyah West AGGA WGundagai Pinnaroo W Wanganella anco meroo Fore st Hillvisit Getting there Lake Tyrrell art To book yourYown terrifyingly amazing Lockh paragliding experience Swan Hill Jerilderie ille Murrayv www.redballoon.com.au Urana Bright is 3.5 hours’ drive from Melbourne via the HumeMFreeway. The Rock Tumut UR Patchewollock Ade long Wakool Exit at the Great Alpine Road and follow the signs. Oaklan Sea Lake ds information on Mt. Deniliq RA uin A CT Parks Victoria provide great Buffalo Hent y Batlow Y Barham Hopetoun Talbingo Culcairn walking tracks: www.parkweb.vic.gov.au Berrig an Finley Woomelang Kerang Bimberi Peak Albacutya Lake When to go Mathoura Tocumwal Holbrook 1913 nga rowa long Cohuna o Cobram Any timeRainbow of year, but keep in mind Birchip that Bright experiences Tumbarumba Mu aw Co How r r r four very distinct Lake and at times extreme seasons. Autumn and Ya ALBURY ray Numurkah Hindmarsh n e l Christmas holidaysJeparit are the peak times. Corryong g Echuca r R u th e Kyabram Charlton Lake Hume Nhill WOD Khancoban ONGA Warracknabeal wn Rochester Tallangatta Ov Donald Where to camp en Beechworth a t Wedderburn t Dimboola Kaniva a s Bright Mt Kosciuszko SHEPPARTON ngar Myrtleford St Arnaud Bush camping is available at Buckland State Park nearInglewood Buckland, WIMMERA Jin 2228 Murtoa Rushworth a or Pioneers Bridge near Milawa. Thredbo V Horsham Goroke Mount Beauty W Bena lla Lak e Dar tmo uth BENDIGO Euroa Mt Bogong Dunolly Camping at Lake Catani on Mt. Buffalo is available from Bright 1986 rte R Hotham Heights Melbourne Cup Weekend to April inclusive. Bookings are N Edenhope A Castlem aine Stawelland Christmas). Mansfield Seym R Omeo essential for peak periods (long weekends our h g Balmoral Mt Buller Campsites are unpowered, there are toilet and shower rou facilities, Kyneton Kilmore Alexandra Lake o Eildon1805 NSwiGfts Cre b y I Ararat r a M enola Rocklands D I ek BYO drinking water. Daylesford R DIV G R E AT Reservoir Beaufort e Willaura g Dargo Buchan tbrid Casterton There are Coleraine stacks of Dunkeld holiday parks in and around Bright.SUNBURY BALLARAT Hurs Healesville llicent Warburton Bacchus Marsh Bruthen bier Hamilton Orbost Lake Bolac
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Pakenham in Maffra Paynesville B eac h Drouarragul ile Lakes Entrance M Sale Lake Wellington Cranbourn W e Moe Traralgon ty e Mor well in Leong
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Camperdown Winchelsea Cobden Colac Forrest
MELTON GEE LONG
more information Derrinallum Bright VictoriaPenshurst tourism: Mortlake www.brightvictoria.com.au
ell Heywood VERY DISCO BAY 44 | G o
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Life’s Simple Pleasures Words and images: Barry lyon
A freshwater section of the Wenlock River.
this is a real-life story about a visit by my family and friends to our ‘home’ camp on the banks of the Wenlock river on northern Cape York where my wife and i work as rangers. i believe that the world is about much more than just natural resources. all too often we spurn nature’s broader benefits because of the all-enticing attractions of modern technology. the loss to modern society is immeasurable.
he family are skimming to my favourite fishing spot where a small creek enters the Wenlock River in two small aluminium dinghies. It’s a steamy October morning in Australia’s Top End and we’re together for a weekend of laid-back camping under the lofty rainforest canopy at Bullshark Camp. Steering to avoid shallow sand, occasional rocks and timber snags, I glance over at four-year-old Eligh. His face is a picture of concentration: eyes darting about taking in the huge rainforest trees and the birds fluttering about in the lush foliage. A flock of colourful, screeching rainbow lorikeets grabs his attention and he points excitedly. A little further on a pair of Torres Strait pigeons cross the river to perch on a tree branch. As I slow for a closer look, grandma explains how these birds have flown here from New Guinea for the summer to nest. Around the bend a white-breasted sea eagle is perched on the branch of an overhanging paperbark tree. The young fellow is spellbound as, startled, the eagle climbs powerfully skyward. ‘Wow’, he sighs. Meanwhile as we reach the fishing spot, Eligh’s brother Ryan, travelling in the other boat, has missed all the adventure – he’s fast asleep! As the keen anglers tangle with a few feisty barramundi, Eligh eagerly pulls in a couple of fish and leans over the gunwhale fascinated to see the barra we release swim away into the river’s depths.
I’m slightly disappointed not to sight the three-metre crocodile we often see basking on the river bank here. Eventually our grumbling stomachs prevail and we head back to camp for a delicious barbeque lunch. Croissants (brought from Weipa) are halved and filled with sliced tomato, ham, avocado and brie cheese and grilled on the barbeque – superb! The afternoon is spent snoozing for some adults and playing along the top of the shady river bank for the less-sleepy kids. At about four o’clock there is a general migration to some safe, shallow water for a cool off – or ‘marination’ as some call it! The children help collect firewood on the way back to camp. By late afternoon the temperature has dropped and the rainforest bird choir starts in earnest. The little boys are captivated as they peer up into the canopy pointing every time a leaf moves. But what’s more fun for a toddler – searching for rainforest birds or checking out the fish that the older kids are catching from the river bank? The fishing action wins as a khakicoloured sooty grunter is landed. The flapping fish is promptly returned to the water and the youngsters watch a school of rifle fish patrol the river’s edge. One spurts a jet of water from its mouth water pistol-like as it tries to knock down a passing dragonfly. Eventually the fish go off the bite and darkness slowly envelops our riverside paradise
as we gather companionably around the fire. A couple of camp ovens filled with tasty stew and dumplings bubble over the coals and everyone has a drink at hand as defence against the tropical dehydration. But the kids won’t sit still, so I take them on a little nature hunt in the rainforest. Armed with torches and head lamps we catch and identify some rocket frogs bouncing about in the leaf litter. The striped, bumpy and tawny varieties leap about providing great entertainment. We also check out the jewel spiders – identified by their sparkling green eye-shines. The children are entranced – eager to learn animal names; find out what they eat; and chatter about what else might live around the camp. On the return path we divert to the river bank and search for ‘Joy’, the resident 2.5-metre saltwater crocodile. At night she likes to hang about near a fallen tree in the river about one hundred metres upstream. Sure enough I spot her distinctive red eye-shine.
AbouT The AuThor Barry Lyon has worked as a remote area ranger for more than thirty years. He also owned and operated the Lyon’s Bush Guide Service for five years. Currently, Barry is a ranger on the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve on northern Cape York where for the past five years he has camped at Bullshark Camp for about eight months of the year. The camp got its name because two bull sharks, which do travel upstream into the freshwater at times, were visible the first time Barry walked in to the river.
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ReseaRch on steve IRwIn wIldlIfe ReseRve The Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve is a wetland conservation property and a tribute to Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. The 135,000 ha property, in Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula, is home to a set of important spring fed wetlands which provide a critical water source to threatened habitat, provide permanent flow of water to the Wenlock River, and is home to rare and vulnerable plants and wildlife. The Reserve was acquired as part of the National Reserve System Programme for the purpose of nature conservation with the assistance of the Australian Government and is home to many and varied environmental and wildlife research programs. For more information visit www.australiazoo.com.au
The kids have to be lifted up to get a view, but unfortunately the crocodile submerges before everyone gets to see her. I explain, in good grandad fashion, that the croc may have been frightened by the lights or perhaps she’s gone under the water to catch some dinner. Joy is quickly forgotten as a white-lipped tree frog starts croaking nearby sparking a new hunt. However, the calls come from inside a tree hollow just out of sight. So after a little yarn about what a safe home the froggy has, the young nature seekers head back to camp. About an hour after dark the relaxed nature of the camp is suddenly disrupted. The first summer storm is heading in our direction and there’s a rush to storm-proof the camp. In a few minutes Bullshark Camp is deluged as water pours off tarps and the campfire is drowned. The group huddle under the small bush kitchen tarp in good humour while the kids scamper about in the rain. The storm abates as quickly as it began. Mums and dads dry the now cold little ones and we tuck into a feed of stew that had fortunately finished cooking before the rain hit. Less than an hour later the exhausted youngsters, and some of the adults, are contentedly snoozing away in their swags while the ‘stayers’ yarn beside the wet ashes of the former campfire. You definitely don’t need a fire to keep warm on a tropical summer night! 46 |
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Clockwise from top left: A giant white-lipped tree frog on the bush shower. Superb fishing on the Wenlock River. Fishing fun. A Cape York freshwater whiptail ray.
And so the weekend continued until we all had to head back to Weipa and work or school. The camping trip was what I like to describe as an absolute snodger. Just one of countless similar occasions we’ve enjoyed with family and friends. These get-togethers are such a healthy, fun experience that these days, unfortunately, are too rare. Nature’s stage dominated the venue. The beautiful rainforest-fringed Wenlock River offering a superb venue for people to really interact – do things together totally free from the distractions of modern life. It didn’t matter what people were doing: be it swimming, fishing, sitting on the river bank enjoying the serenity, cooking or helping each other during the storm, we got into the ‘spirit of things’ even when some ‘things’ didn’t go to plan. What was clearer to me than the stars on the Southern Cross was the sheer enjoyment the children got from spending time with their parents. That is when they weren’t amusing themselves playing in the river sand, building shelters out of sticks and leaves, pretending to catch crocodiles, and clambering up and down a small hill using a rope tied off a tree trunk. Electronic gadget-free zone! The young ones also gained some crucial life skills and self-confidence. Children learn from their first visit to Bullshark Camp not to approach
the edge of the river bank without an adult. This strict camp rule is reinforced by a boundary of logs along the top of the bank. The youngsters also became aware of the campfire and other local dangers. With supervision, camping and the bush experience is such a wonderful, practical way for children to learn how to deal with hazards. Overall, the weekend stimulated the children’s natural curiosity and developed their senses; particularly their powers of observation, hearing, touch and smell. All of the camping activities honed their motor skills and burned energy. Without exception they all slept very well at Bullshark Camp! Being part of the camp ‘family’ the children also learned how to be helpful and considerate; not only to other people, but to the environment, in a situation completely different from home or school. Importantly, by the end of the weekend, everyone had wound down, relaxed, and was refreshed. Mother Nature had worked her therapeutic magic. While all the campers were sidelined in her wonderful theatre of bush and river, they had escaped those all too often unrealised pressures and stresses of hectic modern life. Bullshark Camp had once again recharged the spirit of everyone.
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WELLESLEY ISLANDS www.wilderness.org.au
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eI Moreton Telegraph Station offerst rcamping with some facilities on the banks of the Borroloola Wenlock. www.moretonstation.com.au or (07) 4060 3360.
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On the the Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation Campgrounds about 5 km from the upper Wenlock crossing on Portland Roads Road. There are toilets, picnic tables, fireplace and pets are allowed. No alcohol is allowed and it’s SIR EDWA RD Chuulangun PELLEW GROUAboriginal P BYO drinking water. Contact Kaanju Corporation on West I theNorth Island (07) 4060 3240 Bing or visit www.kaanjungaachi.com.au Bong C
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The the Kuuku I'yu (northern Kaanju) Ngaachi have O F developed GROOTE EYLANDT protocols for people visiting and passing through their homelands on the Wenlock Numbulwar Cape Beatrice and Pascoe rivers, Cape York Peninsula and camping is allowed only at designated campgrounds with the consent of the Kaanju People.
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LIMMEN BIGHT Wenlock River visit Maria Island
The Steve Irwin Bullshark Camp is located, is not open to the public because of the sensitive ecological research being undertaken there. Milyakburra Alyangula Aboriginal people of Angurugu
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*Fare based on triple share cabin, shared facilities, for travel between 1st November 2013 and 30th April 2014. All departures and schedules are subject to cargo and weather considerations. ** Optional tours are operated by outside companies. Extra charges apply and their operation cannot be guaranteed. Springvale For Terms & Conditions, see our website or request an Information Booklet. Ma yne
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Sue and Ian Gordon.
Words and images: Heather Grant-Campbell
itting by Dalrymple Creek nestled in the western foothills of the Great Dividing Range the smell of ashes from a previous night’s fire wafts about mixed with the fresh scent of eucalypt. It’s raw. It’s idyllic. This is Gordon Country: a 1003-hectare cattle property backing onto the Goomburra section of the World Heritage-listed Main Range National Park in south-east Queensland. In 1861, Samuel Gordon settled in the valley and built his homestead, Rockmount. He ran cattle, supplementing his income timber hauling and butchering. Fast forward a little more than 150 years and grandson, Ian Gordon, presides over Rockmount with his wife Sue. It’s still a working cattle property with a herd of about 600 Charolais Brahman – but it is so much more. When farming times got tough in the late 1970s, the Gordon family had to supplement their income, just as their forefathers had. In their case, survival meant selling off small parcels of 48 |
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land (some of which they have bought back in recent years) and Sue taking a town job. And they decided to open up their property to visitors. Rockmount became Gordon Country, a no-frills camping getaway. At first they were a tad reserved about their high country property being tourist worthy. Except for a few years when he had worked as a stockman in the Northern Territory and in Queensland’s western channel country – landscapes that could not be more different than Goomburra – this land was simply ‘home’ to Ian Gordon. He knew every nook and cranny from the lowland pastures to the lightly wooded eucalypt forests and magical pockets of pristine rainforest. Plus, he didn’t quite ‘get’ the allure of camping. ‘I’ve never camped, not in a tent anyway,’ he confesses. He’s a man of few words, but his piercing blue eyes miss nothing. ‘I’ve slept in a swag under the stars … here and outback. There’s nothing like it … I just couldn’t
quite understand why people would pay for the privilege.’ Meanwhile, Sue saw the place from a different perspective. She was a ‘townie’ who had never camped or ridden a horse until she came to Rockmount. The couple met in 1967 in Warwick when she was 18 and he was 24. Ian, an accomplished horseman and champion campdrafter, had had a ‘disagreement’ with a horse and ended up in hospital. Sue was his nurse. ‘He couldn’t run away!’ she laughs. When the blonde-haired grazier took his nurse to Rockmount, she fell in love – with the land and the man: ‘They both captivated me,’ she recalls. They were married within a year. Three children and more than four decades on, Sue is still mesmerised by the place and understands what draws people to camp. ‘Before the word ‘environmentalist’ was bandied around, Ian and his father were living the principles in caring for their land and that’s why it’s possibly some of the best of the Australian bush,’ she explains. ‘Even the legendary RM Williams, who was a regular visitor, acknowledged our place very highly.’ Gordon Country’s embrace of eco-tourism has been low-key, like its owners. Not for them a place swarming with people tripping over each other’s tent pegs and guy ropes. Instead, they wanted visitors to be able to pick their own space and do their own ‘thing’: be it walking along the creek, exploring the forty kilometres of fourwheel-drive off-road tracks, or simply rigging up a hammock and enjoying solitude. Mostly, they wanted it to be a safe place for kids to be kids doing the things their own children had loved: rock hopping across the
people Clockwise from top right: Nature’s sculpture in a tree. Banshee Creek. Campers and cattle share Gordon Country.
About Gordon Country
crystal-clear creek; swimming in its deep water holes; flying through the air on makeshift swings; catching yabbies; spotlighting wildlife at night; with parents whose attention was not taken by mobile phone calls, emails and work pressures. Put simply, they wanted visitors to find peace in a low-impact way on the land they loved. Visitors started to find their way down Inverramsey Road, Goomburra in the 1970s. A cricket team’s change rooms and some former rangers’ huts were moved onto the property and turned into cabins. However, Mother’s Day 1997 saw the Gordons’ world upended. Their eldest son Dean, then 29 and just back from an agricultural exchange in America, copped a head-high tackle playing rugby for Warwick. He ended up on life support and for five weeks he lay in a coma with Sue at his bedside. ‘When Dean came to, the doctors said he’d have no life at all. There was no help. We were just told what we couldn’t do, what we couldn’t have, what couldn’t be done,’ she recalls, her eyes bright with unshed tears as she reflects on the years that followed: fighting for the rights of people with disabilities in regional Queensland to access quality rehabilitation services and support. ‘Never say never became my creed.’ Sue relocated to Brisbane and for twelve months visited Dean in a rehabilitation ward ensuring he received daily therapy. Quick trips to Rockmount were her sanity-saver; a magnet drawing her home for brief respite and to recharge for the next battle. ‘There’s a magic about this place,’ she says. ‘It kept me going.’ ‘It was hard, particularly leaving our daughter Sarah behind. Our other son, Tony, had already
left home but Sarah was just a little girl. It’s no wonder, under Ian’s watch, she became such a magnificent horsewoman.’ Praise from a proud mother for a daughter now twenty-five and a Brisbane lawyer. Dean eventually moved to Toowoomba, which was much closer to home, but in those early days he needed the hands-on support of his mother. In turn, Sue looked to her husband, who she describes as ‘the backbone of the property’, for strength. Sue Gordon’s persistence has been amply repaid. While Dean still has some mobility challenges, he lives independently in Toowoomba and is a passionate speaker for disability rights. He recently graduated from the University of Southern Queensland with a degree in Human Services. Sue’s work in disability advocacy – she now works for Toowoomba’s Advocacy and Support Centre – earned her a national award in 2009. Sixteen years on, the Gordons put their personal and professional survival down to the restorative atmosphere of the place they call ‘home’. ‘Gordon Country is a slice of Australian life the way it used to be,’ says Sue. ‘There’s nothing like sitting around an open fire (yes, we allow them!) and talking to one another under a starlit night. ‘And we learn so much from our visitors who come here from all over the world and have such varied interests and backgrounds: photographers, bird lovers, ar tists and stargazers alike. ‘I cannot imagine leaving: this land has me under its spell.’
Gordon Country at Inverramsey Road, Goomburra, is 160 km south-west of Brisbane and 46 km north-east of Warwick.
16 camping areas are located along Dalrymple and Banshee creeks.
Some campsites are accessible by conventional vehicles and caravans. Others can only be accessed by 4WD.
Powered sites are available.
BYO water or boil your billycan from the creek.
There are three ablutions blocks on the property (with hot showers).
Dogs are welcome. Dirt bikes are not.
4WD tracks are classed as moderate. Low gear and medium level experience is required for safety.
A mandatory vehicle fee per booking ($10 per stay) applies. Expect to pay an additional amount if using the 4WD trails.
Cabins (unpowered) are located in the mountain areas of Dalrymple and Banshee Creeks. BYO gas tank for BBQ. A shared ablutions block is a short walk away.
A grocery store with basics is close by.
For tariffs and more information, including online bookings visit www.gordoncountry.com.au
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World Heritage Way
Words and images: lee atkinson lee atkinson gets back to nature on a drive through the ancient Gondwana rainforest in northern new south Wales.
aking up to a chorus of birdsong is one of the things I love most about camping – unless it’s lyrebird mating season! The male lyrebird can copy the sound of just about anything; including the ear-piercing screams of a car alarm and, once one starts, they all do. If you thought inner-city living was noisy, it’s nothing compared to winter in Washpool National Park. East of Glen Innes at the top of the Great Dividing Range, Washpool National Park is one of three very different World Heritage national parks on the World Heritage Way, a two-hundred and thirty kilometre scenic drive along the Gwydir Highway between Glen Innes and the coast. The three parks are all part of the Gondwana Rainforest, a vast swathe of mountainous wilderness in northern NSW and south-eastern Queensland that has earned World Heritage listing, not just for its outstanding natural beauty, but because of the ‘high number of rare and threatened rainforest species of international significance for science and conservation’, according to UNESCO. Each of the parks offer 50 |
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a different type of landscape and three very different camping experiences. Washpool National Park, home to the noisy lyrebirds that we really would have liked to have seen rather than heard, has some beautiful cool temperature rainforest. Largely a wilderness area, the park features steep gorges, clear boulder-strewn creeks with tumbling waters, moss covered trees, lush ferns and some of the most diverse and least disturbed forest in NSW; including the world’s largest stand of coachwood trees and beautiful specimens of old growth red cedar. A highlight of our stay was the four-hour Washpool Walk, a mini-wilderness circuitous trek through gorgeous other-world-like rainforest that follows the twists and turns of a beautiful fern-lined creek before heading deep into the forest to emerge at a lovely waterfall. Literally, just across the road from the entrance to the park is Gibraltar Range National Park. It may only be a few minutes’ drive from the lush cool rainforests of Washpool, but because it’s on the eastern side of the range and subjected to a
different set of weather patterns it feels like it’s in another country such is the spectacular contrast. Deep-sided valleys and striking granite outcrops are the main attraction, many of which form fantastic shapes with balancing rocks that give rise to descriptive names such as Anvil Rock, Old Mans Hat and the Needles. The outcrops are actually the exposed tops of the New England Batholith, a huge underground mass of rock that stretches some four-hundred kilometres from Tamworth in NSW to Stanthorpe in Queensland. There are a number of pretty waterfalls and scenic lookouts: the park’s highest point is Summit Mountain at 1175 metres. Raspberry Lookout and Vinegar Hill offer great views over the surrounding wilderness. We headed to Mulligans picnic spot (named after William Mulligan who surveyed the area for a proposed hydroelectric scheme in the 1920s) where there is a large shelter with free gas barbeques surrounded by grass trees. It’s also within an easy stroll of Little Dandahra Creek, a nice place to swim in summer, and Burra Nulla Cascades.
Clockwise from far left: Sunrise on the beach at Black Rocks in Bundjalung National Park. Take a walk through magical rainforest to Summit Creek Falls in Washpool National Park. Granite outcrops in Gibraltar Range National Park.
We visited in winter so swimming was not an option, but the creeks are home to platypus, so we lazed away a couple of hours basking in morning sun on the large river rocks. Camping in the middle of the rainforest in Washpool is gorgeous, but dark and cool in winter so it was nice to warm up. The six-kilometre Needles walking trail led us along an old stock route through the open woodland to six spectacular granite columns on the edge of the escarpment, overlooking a deep gorge. From the top of the range the World Heritage Way snakes down the mountains towards Grafton. It’s a steep, winding section of very pretty road through lush forest with road signs warning us to keep our eyes open for spotted quolls along the way. It takes around an hour to get to Grafton, where we followed the Clarence River to Bundjalung National Park, a beautiful expanse of undeveloped coastline that runs south of Evans Head near Ballina to Iluka, just across the wide mouth of the Clarence from Yamba. The Esk River, the largest untouched coastal river system
on the north coast, runs through the southern half of the park, which also contains the World Heritage-listed Iluka Nature Reserve, the largest remaining beachside rainforest in NSW. We spent an hour strolling along a walking track through the centre of the narrow rainforest strip, past massive buttressed strangler figs and lilly pilly covered in vines, the calls of whipbirds, rather than frisky lyrebirds, ringing in our ears as we emerged at the beach near Iluka Bluff where we stopped to watch some whales from the lookout. There’s a popular picnic and grassy camping area at Woody Head with beaches on the doorstep, but we opted instead for the smaller, and deserted in the middle of winter, campground at Black Rocks. It gets its name from the coffee rock formations on the beach, a crumbly chocolate-coloured soft rock formed from ancient river sediments that really does look and feel like spent coffee grounds. Cradling a cup of my own spent coffee grounds and watching the dark cliffs change colour as the sun rose remains one of my favourite camping moments,
along with our sunset walk the night before beside the tea-tree stained waters of Jerusalem Creek. It’s lined with flowering banksias and tea trees and is a great place to go paddling if you have a kayak or canoe as the creek meanders north towards the sea. Theoretically you could do this drive in less than half a day, but it took us four. After all, a road trip through an ancient landscape is not something you should do in a hurry.
lee atkinson is the author of ten guide books to travelling around australia. she has just released a new smartphone and ipad app, Australia on the Cheap, that has more than 130 caravan park and campsite reviews. it’s available on itunes and Google play or download it from www.ozyroadtripper.com.au
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Fact File Getting there
The World Heritage Way is 230 km, from Glen Innes on the north-eastern tablelands of NSW to Iluka, north of Yamba (275 km south of Brisbane, 680 Co nd km north of Sydney). Washpool and Gibraltar Range national parks straddle the Great Condamine amin Dividing Range approximately halfway between Grafton (104 km east) and Glen Innes e
ibie Island In Glen Innes, don’t miss the Australian Standing Stones, the only ones erected outside the British Crows Cape More (79 km west). Glenmorgan Tara Nest Isles in the past 3000 years. They were erected Esk Moreton Is in 1992Lake as a National Monument to the Celts. If Meandarra Wivenhoe When to go Kumbarilla travelling Mo reto n Bay through Grafton in spring, stop to admire Oakey Plains In mid-winter it’s cold at the top of the range in Washpool and Gibraltar, especiallyCecil at night when some of the hundreds of jacaranda trees in bloom. temperatures often drop below zero. It’s also lyrebird mating season, which means you have Pittsworth Moonie Maclean calls itself the ‘Scottish Town in Australia’ a good chance of seeing the beautiful birds darting through the bush, but it may be noisier North Stra r and many of its street signs are written in Gaelic as Rive Lake Millm Kajarabie erran than you expect. Winter is a great time to see whales from Iluka Bluff in Bundjalung. There are Bollon well as English. In Iluka,Jim takeboo themba ferry across theSouth Stradb Leumeah swimming opportunities in all three parks in summer, when days are warm and nights are cool. Clifto Boo St George river to Yamba, orncall in nah for a drink at the Sedgers Beaudesert DARLING DOWNS Reef Hotel – it’s famous for its fish and chips and Where to camp Nindigully MC P H ER has a great view over the Clarence River. ood beah SO N Woolerina Talwcentre,Toiso the most popular camping Killarney Bundjalung NP: Woody Head, just 6 km from Iluka town R A Inglewood spot in Bundjalung, Ocean Shores R with hot showers, a kiosk, great views and room for 103 tents and caravans. more information Stanthorpe Mullumbimb Yelarb Kyog on (Bookings are essential: call 1300 072 757). The Black Rocks campground, roughly mid-way www.environment.nsw.gov.au le Thallon Dirranbandi Du Cape Byro Bon albo m betweenaEvans Head and Iluka, has 49 campsites in a great little camping area hidden behind r o ar Texas ve i g e l R the u dunes of Ten Mile Beach. BYO firewood. Hebel sq Mungindi Walla Surat
Garah Bonshaw Gibraltar Range NP: There are two drive-in campgrounds. Mulligans is near Little Dandahra Goodooga
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Creek and facilities include cold showers, gas barbeques, firewood and flush toilets. Boundary Coolatai Falls, on the site of an old sawmill, is a little more basic, but close to some lovely waterfalls. Ashfo rd S Lightning Ridge a A N really Ifartowing a caravan, there is a very narrow bridge on the road into Mulligans and RMsites T Ethe S A M h A R k Collarenebri Mehi Larger vans should opt for Boundary Creek, where there is moreda room Bo only suit smaller vans. Warial River to manoeuvre. Delungra
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Maclean Glen Innes R Cumborah Grafton Rowena Terewah Or Bingara Washpool NP: Coombadjha is a walk-in only camp, although it’s only a few hundred metres na Inver ell Tingha Glen innes Narran Lake Bellata from the car park; nearby Bellbird campground has good drive-in sites but they G can be a bit da Nymboida w Burren Junction yd i r damp as they don’t getWalgett much sun. There is a cooking shelter with gas/electric barbeques, and NEW ENGLAND Glen Wee Waa reagh Bundarra Namoi Woolgoolga Yarrawin Guyra NANDEWAR Pilliga Dorr Narrabri igo RA COFFS HARBOU Barraba Armidale Round Mtn Carinda Sawtell i 1586 o m R Bellingen Gwabegar Urunga a ck N Uralla Boggabri Manilla Nambucca Heads Macksville Quambone Coonamble Bende meer Baradine Innisvale Attunga M South West Rocks Gunnedah ac Kootingal BI Walcha Coolabah lea RA Curlewis y Kempsey Mt Exmouth G R TAM Coonabarabran Crescent Head WO RTH L E 1206 Werris Creek Gulargambone e RA N GE AT Join the growing band of experienced campers upgrading to Binnaway Premer Nyngan PORT MACQUARIE E Quirindi R Wauchope L IV G the comfort and convenience of the Journeyman. Bon ny Hills Gilgandra E RP Warren Murrurundi OO L R Ca R Coolah md E A N G en Haven Nevertire ive to set up... ground level operation, quick Wingham Simple Bo Manning r Dunedoo ga r r Tar ee e Scone R te Glouc ester and easy, swing n Trangie gar over top. R iv Old Bar Merriwa gee un bra
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Kids ‘n’ Camping Words: lynne tuck
y husband and I were lucky to be taken on camping holidays by our parents, so naturally we’ve taken our own children camping from when they were a very early age. Generally, if we take the boat, we’ll tent camp, otherwise it’s the basic camper trailer set up and the kids, now twelve and fourteen, will often put up their own small four-person tent while we kip in the camper. Over the years I’ve discovered a few tips and tricks to keep children amused and entertained on the journey and at the campsite.
Glow sticks One excellent idea when camping with young children is to buy glow sticks in bulk from eBay. If you’re worried about the kids wandering off into the bush at night, put some glow sticks on them. When they go to bed, put the sticks in the fridge or the esky as they last longer and can be used the next night. We’ve even put them around the dog’s collar! Kids in the Car We often travel more than 500 kilometres in a day – a chore for any kid. A DVD player has been added to the car in the last two years, but we limit use to one movie every three or four days. I’m a fan of the great word games book, Quizzles. Photocopy pages to take with you and try to solve. It’s heaps of fun and even tests the adults. Animal in my Head is a family favourite of ours. Someone thinks of an animal and keeps it a secret, while the others ask questions such as: Does it live in the ocean? Does it fly? Does it have two legs? The only answer able to be given is yes or no until the animal is guessed. 54 |
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We’ve morphed this into Place in my Head, which has to be somewhere we have passed through or stayed as a family. Questions asked are: Did we stay in the tent? Did we swim there? Did we take the bikes? And so forth until the place is guessed. This is my favourite game as it helps the kids (and us) remember places we have been. Other good car games are Spot the Roo or Spot the Emu. Or the ABC game where everyone has to think of a boy’s name beginning with ‘A’, then a girl’s name, then an animal, then a place, Once you’ve completed ‘A’, then go to ‘B’ and keep going until the alphabet is exhausted. You can take turns or yell it out as soon as you think of one – make the rules to suit your family.
Kids’ Jobs Our kids have their own jobs to help set up and pack up the campsite that include: collecting wood, setting up chairs and table, filling the solar shower, winding the stabiliser legs on the camper trailer, organising the airbeds, drying the dishes, and looking after the dog. around the Fire An important part of camping is the campfire. We’ve allowed our kids to ‘play’ with the fire from a young age. Yes, they’ve had some minor burns on fingers, but we felt it was an important life lesson that they remember forever. Now, they not only have the confidence and skills to safely build a fire and keep it burning, they also have a very healthy respect for fire. They have their own flint, which when struck at night puts out a pretty shower of sparks. However, they know they’re not allowed to use it during fire bans or take it to school! popping the tin Put an empty Milo tin (any tin with a lid will work), with about 1 cm of water in it and the lid fastened
left: No television here! above: Hiding out in the ‘bathroom’.
firmly, on the edge of the fire and wait for the water to heat up. (It only takes a minute or two). The steam builds up pressure in the tin until the lid flies up into the air with a loud ‘pop’. Our daughter is especially good at catching the lid, which you would expect to be hot but, by the time it has flown in the air, it’s cooled down. Make sure the kids are a safe distance away so they don’t fall in the fire when looking up trying to catch the lid! Use tongs or a stick to get the tin out of the fire. You can reuse the tin although you may have to add water (less is better) now and then. The only problem – our dog hates the noise!
sparkler Fountains We take a few packets of sparklers every time we go away. My son wraps about fifteen together with masking tape making sure it’s wound tightly, especially at the bottom. Use several layers of tape right to the top and leave one sparkler in the middle pointing out about four centimetres for the ‘wick’. Bend the wire outwards at the bottom to make a stand and put rocks or something heavy on it to secure it well. If it’s on sand or dirt, just poke it into the ground firmly. Make sure everyone stands well back then light it. Sometimes they can shoot metres into the air; sometimes they are fizzers, but it’s always fun to watch! magnifying Glass Children can spend hours ‘drawing’ pictures in wood with a magnifying glass and the sun. My son even won a school art competition with one of his creations. Get the kids to collect big sticks to use for their artwork. This is great if they have a marshmallow stick that they don’t want to end up in the fire as when it’s ‘drawn’ on everyone knows it’s a ‘special’ stick. Make sure the kids put the magnifying glasses away after they’ve used them as you don’t want an unplanned fire.
Lynne Tuck Lynne Tuck
Clockwise from below: Kids are fortunate to be taken camping at an early age. The kids have special camping only pocket knives and they carefully whittle their own marshmallowholding sticks. Drawing on sticks using the sun and a magnifying glass. Always wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Try doing this in suburbia!
can’t be experienced in suburbia. Australia is a great place to explore, so get your kids out there and go camping! Emma George
pocket Knives This is another life skill we think is important for children. Ours have ‘camping only’ pocket knives that they play with while sitting around the fire; whittling patterns into sticks or sharpening stick ends for their marshmallows. Camping for us is special family time, but it’s also a time to experiment and learn life skills that
Editor’s note: Clearly, any activity around fire or with sharp objects is hazardous and direct adult supervision is paramount.
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Weeds Words and images: Blake muir
eeds are generally categorised under a number of headings: pest, invasive, and maybe even ugly. However, one title rarely seen associated with weeds is food. There is no reason why certain weed species cannot be considered a food or medicinal bush resource. Many weeds are actually very nutritious and some even contain powerful medicinal properties. Weeds, put simply, are plants that grow with particular vigour in a location that they aren’t wanted or native to. By definition weeds are an unwelcome addition to the landscape, which tends to make us want to discredit them as a food source. The fact is that many weeds that grow in the bush and in our gardens are a nutritious source of vitamins and minerals. Almost all are a common vegetable in other countries. Traditionally, weeds are introduced species and doing your bit to remove them from our environment not only can supply you with a healthy snack, but also gives the Aussie bush a helping hand. Mind you, not all weeds are edible and, as with any wild food, there are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind before you start munching away on your nature strip! First of all it goes without saying that you should always be certain that what you are eating is safe. Some plants, if consumed in high amounts, can have negative interactions with health conditions and medications, so do your research first. Even then it’s wise to start slow if you are trying a plant for the first time 56 |
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as you may be allergic to a certain plant family without knowing. These days identifying most plants is a reasonably painless experience. There are a number of excellent books on the subject of edible weeds in Australia. One particularly excellent book on the subject of edible weeds and their preparation is Wild Herbs of Australia and New Zealand by Tim Low. There are also practical courses available and reliable online resources, some of which focus solely on weed species. Finally, it is a good idea to avoid foraging directly near roadsides, parks or urban areas where water run-off could be contaminated or the plants may have been treated with pesticides or herbicides. With those boxes ticked there really is an untapped buffet of weed species that are a genuine bush food source. Here are some of my favourites.
plantains (Plantago sp.) Plantains are a very common herbaceous plant in areas where the ground tends to stay damp for a while. Plantains are easy to recognise and are a very common weed in Australia. They consist of a circular arrangement of elongated leaves with three to five distinct parallel veins. The leaves form the base of the flower stem (basal rosette) and can vary widely in size from a few centimetres long to more than twenty centimetres. Plantains are an ancient and very well-known plant that has been used by many cultures as a
salad food and herbal remedy for a long list of ailments. Most commonly, the young raw leaves make a pleasant salad vegetable. The leaves are also chewed and applied as a poultice to treat rashes, minor wounds or insect bites. Brewed as a tea it is used to treat coughs and colds.
prickly pear (Opuntia stricta) A cactus brought to Australia in 1788 with Arthur Phillip as the host of cochineal insects that were used to produce red-coloured garments. But, the insects died and the cactus went wild. Fortunately it was eventually brought under control with the introduction of the Cactoblastis moth in the 1920s. These days the common prickly pear can still be found throughout Australia. Like many cactus, the prickly pear has clusters of succulent pads covered in large spines and fine hairs. This species of prickly pear can grow to about two metres and produces a small globular fruit that darkens to a dark-purple colour when ripe. The fruit is sweet and very pleasant raw and also makes an excellent jam. Before consuming, the hairs must be carefully removed as they can be very irritating to the skin and mouth. The most common ways to prepare the fruit are to peel it carefully with a knife or remove the hairs with a makeshift grass torch while standing upwind.
Cobbler’s peg (Bidens pilosa) Also known as farmers’ friend because of its love of sticking to farmers’ clothing. It is so widespread and successful throughout eastern
Clockwise from far left: Plantain: Throw it in the salad or use as a herbal remedy for a long list of ailments. A yummy weed salad! Cobbler’s Peg: Known to be an effective treatment for toothache.
Australia that it is widely considered to be a weed introduced to Australia. However, cobbler’s peg actually pre-dates European settlement and was collected in 1770 by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander at Botany Bay. The leaves are toothed and ovate in shape often appearing with three to five leaflets from slender stalks. This plant enjoys growing in areas of full sun, where ground has been recently disturbed, often to a height of around one metre. Flowers are yellow with white petals, which appear throughout the year, but most often from summer to autumn. The seeds are slender, black and rigid, one centimetre long with two to three barbs on the end and arranged in circular clusters. The young leaves and flowers can be eaten raw as a salad green and also make a pleasant tea to treat muscle aches and pains. The seeds and leaves are said to be an effective treatment for toothache, much like cloves. A recent research study showed that the leaves have a strong antibacterial property that, when chewed, is effective against the bacteria that causes tooth decay and bad breath.
Wood sorrel (Oxalis sp.) A clover-like plant in appearance that produces three, heart-shaped leaflets; although some species appear more like a butterfly wing. There are many species of sorrel that are often mistaken for common white clover. Sorrel can be often found on the edges of moist paddocks or grassland and are generally a lighter green colour than white clover.
if you would like to continue your education of edible weeds, here are some more tasty and useful aussie plants to look into. remember to do your research first as not all parts of a plant can be eaten and some can be toxic at various stages of growth: Agave (Agave sp.) Amaranth (Amaranthus species) Angled Onion (Allium triquetrum) Blowfly Grass (Briza maxima) Chickweed (Stellaria media) Chinee Apple (Ziziphus mauritiana) Cleavers (Galium aparine) Clover (Trifolium sp.) Coastal Morning Glory (Ipomoea cairica) Crowsfoot Grass (Dactyloctenium aegyptium) Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Docks (Rumex sp.) Fat Hen (Chenopodium album) Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) Lantana (Lantana camara) Mallows (Malva sp.) Mossman River Grass (Cenchrus echinatus) Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) Parkinsonia (Parkinsonia aculeata) Potato Weed (Galinsoga parviflora) Prickly Acacia (Acacia nilotica) Prickly Lettuce (Lactuca serriola) Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) Scotch Thistle (Cirsium acanthium) Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella) Snake Weed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis) Sow Thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) Spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare) Stinging Nettle (Urtica sp.) Turkey Rhubarb (Acetosa sagittata) Violets (Viola sp.) Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) Wild Lettuce (Lactuca serriola) Wild Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) Wild Rose (Rosa sp.)
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From left: Wood Sorrel: Often mistaken for white clover, it has a lemon tang and is high in Vitamin C. Blackberry: A thorny weed with delicious, sweet fruit. Prickly Pear: The fruit makes an excellent jam.
All parts of the plant are edible and particularly tasty raw having an enjoyable lemon tang due to their content of oxalic acid. Wood sorrel is also high in vitamin C, can be made into a poultice to treat swelling and can be boiled to obtain an orange dye. It’s worth noting that too much oxalic acid can be fatal in very high doses so don’t go overboard. Less than 100g per day seems to be a fairly safe figure.
Cat’s Ear, Flat Weed (Hypochoeris radicata) Chances are that you have this persistent little plant growing in your garden right now. Cat’s ears are almost always confused as dandelions, but differ in their leaf shape and flower stem. Cat’s ear is a perennial herb that is characterised by a basal
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rosette of leaves from which one or more yellow flowers can grow. The leaves are lance-shaped, tapering at the base with undulating margins and a sparse covering of soft hairs. When picked, the stems and leaves exude a white latex-based sap. The leaves are a tasty salad green superior to dandelion leaves but remain slightly bitter. The flavour is significantly improved when cooked in dishes such as omelettes or stir frys. The root of the plant can be dug up, roasted over the fire and ground into a coffee substitute.
Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus aggregate) An absolute pest of moist temperate regions of Australia, blackberry is a very hardy scrambler that grows into a large, dense and impenetrable
mass if left unmanaged. The woody stems have numerous short, curved spines. Leaves comprise of three to five oval leaflets with toothed margins. The globe-shaped aggregate fruit of the blackberry range from one to three centimetres across and ripen from green to black. Blackberry fruits are particularly delicious and sweet and make tasty jams and preserves. The woody stems with the spines removed make an excellent basket weaving material. To find out more fascinating bushcraft skills and information, head to www.bushcraftoz.com – the Australian Bushcraft Forum.
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to know Denham Maximum stay: 72 hours Yalardy Koonmarra Useless Loop Amenities: toilets, picnic tables, Steep Point Hamelin l Poo ur ri Curb Hen fire rings, RV dump pointWiluna Meekatharra Freycinet Hamelin Words and images: Lake Way Harbour Jill Harrison Drinking water: No Meadow RA Kalli LD Tamala Annean E Lake Powered sites: No W Beebyn Yarrabubbaand camper trailers: suitable Wonganoo Caravans Tuckanarra NICH O L S Albion Downs O N RA Nerren en rie Nerr wee Barlo Mt aralee Rock is a free campsite fifty kilometres south to428 the railway siding – an Camp size: generous and spacious Mount Wittenoom Cue Mt Goode kilometres east of Southern Cross on enormous achievement. Dog friendly: yes, but owners New Forest 558should be Lake Austin Bandy Lake Mason ide Lakes the Great Eastern Highway. Eurardy Station The flume aqueduct has been conserved by aware of wildBooylgoo dog baiting in the area Lake Darlot e er Spring amyn Nerr Leinster Lake It was built in the 1890s toKalb service the National Trust of Australia (WA) for its heritage arri Scenic value: high v e Sandston Ri Agnew Tardie Hill of the Karalee Tallering steam trains heading to the goldfields, but its Magnet value, but none township remains. Mount Things to do: walking, viewing historical 443 Ajana U S T R A Yoweragabbie relics, canoeing history goes back thousands of years to when Thanks to the National Trust and the Southern Nambi Yalgoo Noondie Lake pton Northamcommunity, visitors can camp or picnic in Aboriginal people camped here and collected Cross Civilisation: The closest town is r MullewashadyPinda Valley and fuel water from the rock’s gnamma holes. Idafood the peaceful, surrounds. There are two easy Southern Cross where up Wallabi Gro Youangarra Leonora Lak Cashmere Early explorers, sandalwood cutters and walking trails with interpretive signage through the Wydgee are available Houtman e Downs Canna N TO s LD ho RA rol gold seekers followed and Karalee was officially bush and over some rocks to see magnificent GE Ab Further information Lake Barlee Pelsaert I enewwalk around the dam wall. gazetted as a water reserve in 1888. By 1895, Ming views. You can also Kookynie nna Pindabu Morawa Mongers Wheatbelt Tourism: Lake Dongara most of the 600 teams and 4000 horses plying The campground is suitable for caravans, Lake Lake Ballard www.wheatbelttourism.com Marmio Menzies their trade between Southern Cross and camper trailers Threeand tents and has a wheelchair Ed Springs Carnamah Coolgardie regularly stopped at Karalee, as well friendly eco-flushing toilet and hand basin, picnic The Golden Pipeline NationalRiverina Trust Eneabba e Moor Lake ow RV dump. It’s BYO water as construction workers building the Goldfields tables, fire ringsCoor and Project: www.goldenpipeline.com.au Buntine Leeman R Wubin all rubbish. Fire Water Supply Pipeline in 1902. and firewood and takeaway Dalwallinu Ora Banda When the Perth to Kalgoorlie railway was restrictions may Wath apply Broad Arrow eroo at times. Beacon Jurien Bay Miling Kalannie Lake Deborah Bonnie Rock completed in 1896, a series of rock walls, an Karalee is a great place to camp between East Ballidu Cervantes Mt Burges Lake Deborah KALGO Koolyanobbing West 554 aragan x Bencubbin aqueduct and 48.3 million litre dam were Perth andDand Kalgoorlie. We aagreed withCadou fellow Moor din Mukinbu an Hills said Lake Seabrook Coolgardie Wongwho Koorda constructed at Karalee to collect rainwater camper, Peter from Wyalkatchem, Kambald Cowcowing Bullfinch New Norcia s a few Trayning Lake elin an ideal place to camp run-off for steam trains en route to Kalgoorlie. KaraleeLanc was for Nungarin Southern Cross Lake Yellowdine Wyalkatchem Six kilometres of huge granite slab walls were days with his grandchildren wasalling plenty rt there Goom Bolgaas Widgiemooltha Bodallin Marvel Loch Merredin in Ging laid by hand to direct rainwater into the dam for them to Yanc explore. We Toody sawaythem several times hep Cunderdin Rocksrocks with their butterfly net or Two the via a hand-riveted, large, semi-circular walking over Karalee Rock rrin Muntadgin Northam BruceKellerbe O Rock ERO N N WA on the dam in their kayak. Wundowie paddling steel flume aqueduct to be pumped 3.6 Dirk Hartog I
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Cooktown Words: Geoffrey Cartner
riving into Cooktown is like turning back the pages of history. It was at Cooktown that Captain James Cook repaired the Endeavour after hitting a reef that now bears the ship’s name. And, it was at Cooktown that thousands of miners began their journey to the Palmer River gold fields to make their fortune. Cooktown is a popular destination and there is a smorgasbord of things to see and do here. Walk in Cook’s footsteps by climbing to the top of Grassy Hill and taking in the same view as the great man did when he was attempting to plot a safe passage through the many coral reefs that form a barrier to the open sea. Immerse yourself in the local Aboriginal history while gazing at the images of seemingly supernatural beings in nearby ancient rock art sites. Other features not to be missed are: World Heritage-listed rainforests, ancient geological formations, and pioneer architecture. Cooktown has all the facilities of a reasonablysized town including the usual amenities such as hotels, motels, and supermarkets. Fuel is available as are competent mechanics. We towed a camper trailer to Cooktown, booked into a caravan park and, after settling in, took a quick drive around town to familiarise ourselves with the area. Our first impressions took in the wide streets; the timber two-storey hotels and the number of 60 |
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A Veritable Visitor’s Feast dusty four-wheel-drive vehicles parked in the street. It made us feel like we were on the edge of civilisation; which technically we were! With the exception of Weipa, which is on the west of Cape York, there is nothing north of Cooktown except open space, remote Aboriginal settlements and the one-horse towns of Laura and Coen, until you reach the tip of the country. Driving down the main street I imagined what it was like in Cooktown during its gold rush heyday. One of the reminders of the past is a monument dedicated to the miners that walked from Cooktown to the gold fields on the Palmer River. There is also a hand-made stone gutter that was once part of the main street. Visitors to the botanical gardens, an experience not be missed, are also walking a path well-trod as the gardens date back to the early pioneer days. Although a visit to a cemetery might not generally be high on the list of all travellers, Cooktown’s cemetery is one that proves that dead men (and women) do tell tales. At least some of the tombstones relate the tragedies that occurred in the harsh early days of the settlement. Perhaps the grave that is the most haunting is that of Mrs Watson and her child. Mrs Watson lived on Lizard Island with her husband and child and one day, when her husband was away fishing, a group of Aborigines attacked the house. Mrs Watson, together with her child and a Chinese gardener, escaped to sea in a
large steel tank only to die of thirst when, after drifting around for eight days, they were cast up on a deserted island. A facsimile of her diary is held in the local (and brilliant) James Cook Museum. We used Cooktown as a base and did a number of day trips to some of the outlying areas, even though many of the places we visited really need weeks to properly explore, and that might not be enough! We had heard about some beautiful coloured sands north of Hopevale, forty-six kilometres north. Part of the road is gravel, but it’s in good condition. Once you’re in Hopevale you are on Aboriginal land and a permit is required to travel to the coloured sands. Permits are available at the Hopevale service station. The road out to the coloured sands is sandy and, at the time of our visit, parts of it were very soft requiring a shift into four-wheel-drive, but it was well worth the trip. It is possible to drive on the beach, although some vehicles came to grief in the soft mud and got hopelessly bogged. The crocodile warning signs removed any temptation that we may have had to swim in the crystal clear water! The longest day trip was to Laura via Battle Camp and the old Laura Homestead returning via the Split Rock Aboriginal art site and Lakeland Downs. A word of warning; the road through Battle Camp was described by one local as the roughest on the Cape.
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CARAVAN, MOTORHOME & 4WD Clockwise from far left: James Cook Historical Museum. View from Grassy Hill where Europeans first saw a kangaroo. Black Mountain: what mythological secrets does it hold? Ask a local for directions to Trevethan Creek Falls.
The Quinkin Cultural Centre at Laura offers tours of Aboriginal rock art sites. The Split Rock site is beside the road just south of Laura and was fascinating. One could take a month to really explore this area so it was a bit rushed in one day. I was a great fan of Ion Idriess when I was young. He was a prolific Australian author that travelled and wrote extensively about prospecting for gold and tin in the Bloomfield area. So I just had to go there and see it for myself. A four-wheel-drive is essential for the trip and it shouldn’t be attempted after rain. There are many points of interest to experience on the drive to the Bloomfield River. Black Mountain is an enormous pile of huge boulders t went y-six kilometres from Cooktown and features prominently in Aboriginal mythology. A number of stories and urban myths about people, and even herds of cattle, entering the rock cavities never to be seen again abound. A stop off to the iconic and historic Lions Den Hotel on the banks of the Little Annan River is mandatory to soak up the atmosphere. The hotel, built in 1875, is a prime example of bush architecture and has a campground. Access to the Lions Den Hotel is open to all vehicles. Further south the road passes through the Cedar Bay National Park best known for a police raid on a hippie commune in 1976. The town of Ayton, with a general store and
camping ground, is in Weary Bay; so named because the sailors towing the Endeavour in row boats from where it struck the reef to what is now Cooktown were exhausted by the time they got there! A short drive from Ayton is the pristine waters of the Bloomfield River and the Aboriginal community of Wujal Wujal where you can fish and enjoy the beauty of the river. As a reward for the long drive, take a short walk to the Bloomfield falls – truly beautiful. If you prefer to bush camp rather than use a caravan park, try Archer Point, the site of a failed agricultural experiment. Grain grown at Lakeland Downs was to be shipped out from Archer Point, but the only thing left of this venture now is the ruins of a wharf. The camping area is huge, but the prime spots are protected from the south-easterly trade winds that often blow at up to thirty knots. Here, the reef comes right to the shore and, if you have a boat, there is an offshore island nearby to try your luck fishing. Cooktown was a veritable visitor’s feast. We visited both museums; craft shops and galleries that feature local art; and hidden waterfalls. We went fishing; four-wheel-driving and so much more. A visit to Cooktown should be on every Australian’s list of places to see. Take the trip, go soon, you won’t be disappointed.
We service, repair and stock spare parts for these brands.
(07) 3209 5044
www.caravanservices.com.au 4/68–72 Perrin Drive Underwood Q 4119
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Clockwise from left: Statue of Captain Cook. All that is left of the failed enterprise at Archer Point is the ruins of a wharf. Two-storey wooden hotels and fourwheel-drives signal the edge of civilisation.
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Warwick Tourism and Events
Jumpers & Festival Jazz
Spice tree yarn-bomb.
t would be stretching the truth – okay, an out and out lie – to say that Queensland’s Southern Downs in mid-winter is anything less than chilly. Why else would its wine-growing capital Stanthorpe refer to winter as the ‘brass monkey’ season? While true-believers will contend that no season is off-limits to camping – they all have their charms – some of us (or our partners) need inducement. And that’s what Warwick’s tenth annual Jumpers & Jazz Festival proved to be. Held over eleven days, it’s quirky and carefully programmed to offer something for all interests: from vintage cars to jazz music and craft workshops to local produce samplings. It also caters to varying budgets with lots of free or low-cost events along with big ticket items. Cunningly, organisers
Words: Heather Grant-Campbell
straddle signature ‘must see’ events over the two weekends effectively book-ending the festival. Warwick artist, festival organiser and camping enthusiast Alain Colfs believes, ‘Camping is a perfect excuse to move around and visit places cheaply.’ So here was a reason for me to take time to explore the region, cold and all, for a few days. Colfs is a sculptor and mosaic artist who used an oversized Knitting Nancy and 2.5 kilometres of baling twine to French knit a 200-metre fibre trail that wended its way, a la Hansel and Gretel’s crumbs, from Warwick’s Town Hall in Palmerin Street to a 1.5 metre tall ball of wool (another of his creations), drawing visitors towards the hidden-away Art Gallery, its mad-cap tea cosy exhibition and hands-on craft workshops.
As its name suggests, jumpers and jazz are the two focal elements. But there’s also a whole lot more and mulled wine drunk around a massive bonfire at Killarney’s polocrosse field was one way to keep the chill away on the first Saturday night of the festival. The following morning began with a poet’s breakfast; hearty fodder and heartier laughs courtesy of Stanthorpe balladeer Jack Drake; then onto the bumper-to-bumper vintage car display that literally brought traffic to a halt in Warwick’s main drag. Then there was the music – and the jumpers, but not the cabled or Fair Isle sweater kind. Imagine 110 trees in Warwick’s central business district dressed in colourfully whacky knitted or crocheted ‘tree jumpers’. Go Ca mpinG austr a li a
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Girraween National Park. ‘It remains my favourite of all places. Nature’s rock sculpture is breathtaking.’ Lake Kajarabie River Bollon Cunnamulla www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/girraween
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ten things to do around WarWick
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GR Island Ingham Palm Great Palm Island EA HALIFAX BAY Kangaroo Hills Bambaroo Balgal Beach Beach T Paluma d n a l nvale sh Mt Halifax Bu Magnetic Island 1063 t TOWNSVILLE er Deeragun BA Marion Reef R iv Bowling Green Bay Mt Elliot Giru RR Bay 1235 t e r Ayr a Bluff Downs Woodstock Home Hill IE 2 00 ale R Riv Mingela Clare er Abbot Point nd sla I r e t s Gumlu Bowen Glouce ayman Island Ravenswood Balfes Now that’s a bonfire! Killarney alight during the Jumpers & Jazz Festival. MtSunday Abbot in the park, soakingHup sun and jazz. Mt Stewart Whitsunday Group Creek R Charters 1056 997 worth EE Whitsu Dalbeg nday Island Airlie Beach Towers Homestead Hamilto e n Island p F Proserpine Campas Ri Mount C Collinsville LAR v Pentland Lindeman Group KE Wambiana er Ravenswood Re pu CUMBERLAND Midge Point of l sCrochet, R ‘They’re snug as a bug in a rug,’ said Warwick’s Queen e Ba e y an ISLANDS Lake Dalrymple Torrens Creek Sue Marshman, a ‘yarn-bomber’ Rsince began. Her firstd C Scawfell Island Seaforth Mt William Longton AN the festival River h 1259 flames for a anne Mounttrebling Elsie creation was a simple of redGE woolFinch to create l Hatton Marian Natal Downs MAC seasonally-naked flame tree. SheNewlands then found herselfWalkerst crocheting a KAY Glenden on Hay Point E NG poncho and thinking how much itMount reminded Sarina Coolon her Yarrowmere RAof a pool of water: 1. Explore Main Range National Park, Cunningham’s Gap Su Mount Douglas M t to A a pool of Lake water in which an octopus r R might Koumala NHlive. The poncho project NORT HUM Aberfoyle E 2. BERL FeedAND the red parrots at Queen Mary Falls, Nebo D BuchananInstead it became a double was abandoned. bed-sized Octopus’s Goonyella outside Killarney Saumarez Reef Moray Downs garden, complete with anemone and coral, wrapped around a sturdyCarmila ISLANDS Coppabel Moranbah la Corinda 3. Hire a tandem bike and ride around Killarney palm tree! This year’s Mamma Mia theme was open to interpretation: Saltbush Park BROAD ATER Drive the 4WD trails around Spicers Gap, Goomburra Frankfield Galilee Lakemother-and-child Peak Downs 4. relationship, ABBA, 70s pop, psychedelic days, SOUND SHOALW BAY Townshend Island St Lawrence and Killarney Greek islands … The yarn-bombing was notSaraji restricted to trees. Public Eastmere ttaburra Port Clinton Dysart PE Cape Clint buildings, children’s bicycles even a statue Ogmore on A of former state premier Blair– Athol 5. Take a steam train trip (runs during the Jumpers & K (and Member for Warwick) TJClermont Byrnes – were dressed for the festival. Marlbo R rough Jazz Festival) Middlemount A Byfield Aramac Junee As for jazz, Warwick really swung. ‘Doesn’t Tierieveryone love jazz?’ oy 6. Yepp Follow the Southern Food Trail down to Stanthorpe to Surbiton Capella Fitzr R oon Leura was Alain Colfs’ rhetorical offering. Clearly so: even if you didn’t Peak Vale AN Yaamba Great local sample Keppelproduce Island NE Emu Park Rubyvale realise it before you came. It was impossible Emerald not to step to the beat Mt Tabletop L ROC y KHA a MPT B l ON e Barcaldine p 7. Be in July Capricorn pa part of Christmas 833andAnakie e Gr Blackwa oup frivolities Jericho while walking the city streets there was foot-tapping aplenty as ter K Grace mere Bogantungan e R Curtis I Heron Island Comet er Port Alma Lake café to street entertainment. However, possibly the Alpha Bluff 8. t Morg Book into a craft workshop Riv patrons listened Moun Kinrola an Maraboon Duaringa GLA DS TON DA E most telling of all was the crowd on the last day. After some market Wowa n W Enjoy high tea andCH jazz at Goomburra Town Hall Mount9.Larcom South S Port Curtis A Durrandella Blackwa Yalleroi Calliope ter mooching and suitcase rummaging for a vintage bargain, about Tannum Sands N N Springsure 10. Fish at Leslie Dam EL Woorab inda 10,000 folks sprawled on the grass in Leslie Park, lapping up the Lad y Elliott I Baralaba Nandowrie rd Callide Agnes Water sun and music until the last riff. Castlevale Banana Miria m Vale Ri Blackall Biloe Rolleston la ve Moura r Thangool GE et R AN RA ES Yandaran DAW Consuelo Peak Tambo O San dy Cape EG R 1174 Bargara Monto Theodo re AR Mt Drummond Gin Gin Collabara W CA BUNDABERG Waddy Point RN 859 AR HERVEY VO Mount Perry N BAY RA Cracow Eidsvold R Childers HERVEY BAY rn Howard R et t Goomburra Valley Camp Grounds Biggenden FRASER ISLAND A Taroom Mundubbera Maryborough N How to get there Augathella www.goomburravalleycampground.com.au Gayndah G Mt Hutton davale Tiaro E Warwick is a two-hour drive west of Brisbane approximately Injune 940 and or (07) 4666 6006 Ambathala Tin Can Bay one hour from Toowoomba.k Wandoan on C Queen Mary FallsProst Caravan Park and Cabins, Killarney Murgo n Charleville Morven Guluguba Gympie www.queenmaryfallscaravanpark.com.au Wondai Wallumb When to go illa la Mungallala Roma Yuleba heepie Westgate ella NOOSA HEADS Mitchell (07) 4664 7151 Dulacca orMiles Cooroy Jumpers & Jazz Festival is held in July. Kingaroy ng chilla A Cooladdi Chin Jandowae MAROOCHYDORE Nambour www.jumpersandjazz.com or (07) 4661 9073. Lake Leslie Tourist Park Nanango Yarraman Co CALOUNDRA nd Bell Kilco y www.lakeleslietouristpark.com.au Bribie Isla nd Condamine ami ne Surat Tartulla Bongaree Where to camp (07) 4661 9166 ine Crows Wyandra Glenmorgan or Tara Dalby Cape Moreton Nest Esk Alain Colfs’ favourite local camping locations: Caboolture Moreton Isla Humeburn Meandarra nd Lake Wiv enhoe Kumbarilla Moreton Bay Oake y Cecil Plains
Coromal Navigator Camper Set for
Family Adventure Words: Carrol Baker
sleek by design and savvy in attitude, this stylish contemporary camper is built to go the distance.
he name Coromal is synonymous with quality, durability, and style; in fact they’ve been in the game since 1977, so it’s fair to say they know what they are talking about. Their range of products has stood the test of time. First impressions count and we loved the compact design, the fibreglass sandwich panel walls topped with the red exterior logo adding a splash of modern colour. Safety and reliability of course is paramount and Coromal prides itself on its fully independent Knee® suspension with leaf springs. As campers who enjoy venturing off the beaten track, we loved the way it hugged the road and gave us
a smooth ride. It’s lightweight and so easy to tow, even along gravel roads – you don’t even know it’s there. This fresh new look in campers will tick the box for those who love to explore this vast continent. Families, couples, singles and retirees, all will find it comfortable and tough enough to withstand all the punishment a little off-road camping, and families with kids can dish out. We initially checked out the layout of both the N421 and N422 models, but eventually decided on the N421, as the floor plan, seating and kitchen configuration suited us better. There’s not a great deal of difference really. Both models sleep four adults with a queen and a double bed in front and rear, both models have all the same height, and size specs. And both have a dining table that easily converts to another comfy (smallish) bed. The dining table is large enough to seat four adults. Go Ca mpinG austr a li a
Technical SpecificaTionS n Make: Coromal Navigator series n Model: N421 n Length: 4250 mm n Width: 2200 mm n Overall height erected: 2950 mm n Overall length erected: 6700 mm n Internal height: 2160 mm n Tare Weight: 1440 kg Carrol Baker
n Electric brakes n 15” steel belted LT-rated tyres n 80 litre heavy duty water tank and protector n 15 amp external 240v power inlet n 12v circuit to power fridge For full specification details visit www.coromal.com.au For more information telephone 1800 COROMAL
From top: Setting up takes 5 – 10 minutes and is slightly easier with two people. Packing up is quick and easy, particularly with two people. Carrol Baker
I think it’s great to have a choice of floor plan and we were also impressed with the range of fresh, modern colour selections available for the upholstery fabric and trim combinations. The camper’s interior boasts swish European furniture and fittings. The seating is covered in thick, hardwearing fabric that offers comfort and durability. As you know, when camping there’s bound to be sand, mud, soil (and goodness knows what else) traipsed through the camper, so for us it’s good to know the fabric is tough and easy to keep clean. The curtains are grey, with neutral faux-wood grain floor, and laminate bench tops in a grey and black speck combo called ‘tiger’. All neutral shades, designed to complement the fabric colour scheme. We pulled up by a scenic riverside spot and the large screened windows allowed us to fully appreciate the glorious views. The plus-size windows also kept the bugs at bay and let the cooling breeze in. There’s also a screen on the wind up roof hatch that lets in even more air: perfect for summer camping. 66 |
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The exterior lockable boot at the front of the camper was huge. Big enough to pop a couple of the kids in if they’re misbehaving or complaining in the back seat! Seriously though, it’s deep and wide and an ample size to stow all sorts of camping gear. As an added bonus, it’s accessible from the outside, so handy for tool storage, and other messy camping bits and pieces. When it comes to setting up, our Coromal salesman reckons from start to finish you can do it in five minutes, or ten tops – if you have a stubby in one hand! Yes, it’s definitely easy to set up; one person can do it at a pinch. It took mere minutes to get the job done. While you’re winding up, a safety cable prevents eager little helpers (or perhaps those who have had a few too many ales) from overwinding the mechanism. The canvas bits all snap into place easily, however affixing the higher parts of the canvas panel walls could be a little bit of a challenge if you aren’t tall. But this is easily overcome by popping in a step to the roomy front boot. The relaxed ease of set up makes it the perfect choice for travellers and those who’d
much prefer taxing themselves by tossing in a line to catch dinner, rather than wrestling with fiddly hard-to-erect camping gear. After all camping is about fun and relaxation – not hard work! Before we knew it, we were sitting down relaxing, taking in the views and crisp, clean country air. On the whole I’d have to say that setting up and the eventual packing up was a breeze. We did find that it’s marginally easier with two to pack up, one to tuck in the canvas while the other manned the winch. The winch was surprisingly very easy to manoeuvre, which of course sped up the whole process of set up and pack up even more. Like most campers, the two piece main door is suspended from the roof when packed up; when unpacked it flips out easily to lock into place. The full-length one piece moulded roof design is a key feature. If you’re travelling or camping in the rain there’s no chance of annoying leaks and drips. The Coromal crew have delivered a quality product. Their newest offering in campers is sure
Introducing the compact new Navigator. The new Navigator Camper from Coromal is the perfect way for families and couplestoenjoytheadventureofcamping.Itcomeswithtwowelllaidoutfloor plansthatsleep4adultswiththeoptionofanextrabed.Cleverdesigningmeans EurostyleFurnishings ensureutmostcomfort.
ensure lower fuel consumption while quick deployment means wherever you are,youâ€™llfeelathome.Withapricethatkeepsyourbudgetinmind,youwonâ€™t findamoreaffordableorconvenientwaytogetsetandgo.Call your nearest Twowelllaidout floorplanstochoose.
Coromal Dealer on 1300 CARAVAN or visit www.coromal.com.au
Built for Adventure AD IMPACT FRV 15663
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Clockwise from top left: The stylish interior boasts European fittings and furnishings and there is a range of options to choose from. The Navigator has all the mod cons: stove, microwave and fridge. Navigator by Coromal. The roomy and well ventilated sleeping spaces are extra comfortable. Plenty of room to relax and the table folds down to create another bed.
Fleetwood Recreational Vehicles and Ad Impact Carrol Baker
to please Australian travellers looking for a comfor table, durable and af fordable camper option. There are quality roof seals to minimise dust intake, large LED tail lights for added safety, ample ground clearance, and a heavy duty 80-litre water tank and water tank protector. This camper is designed to travel virtually anywhere with ease. The stylish, comfortable interior is really cosy and has all the mod cons: a stove with a four burner grill (3 gas, 1 electric burner); a good-sized fridge; and large, rectangular stainless steel sink. There are also plenty of power points, a microwave, and eco-friendly interior LED lighting. There’s also a lot of interior storage space. No matter how frugal many campers (including us) try to be when packing for holidays, cupboard space inevitably gets filled, so it’s handy to know there’s lots of it. Every nook within the interior has been put to good use, if not for appliances, 68 |
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bedding or seating, it’s been allocated as cupboard space. They’ve achieved this without compromising the spaciousness of the camper’s interior. I particularly love the durable metal drawers and positive lock mechanisms on the cupboards. Once it’s shut it’s a done deal. This is a definite bonus if you have young children or if, like me, you forget to click the button shut and your draws and cupboards empty out as you travel! After a big day’s travelling it’s good to know you can tumble into a comfortable bed without having to wrestle with complicated sliding mechanisms. The Coromal has strong steel supports for their slide out beds that simply glide in and out. Pack a few essential supplies, throw in a carton or two to keep the man of the house happy and you’re ready to hit the road. So where to go for our next adventure? I hear the wildflowers in Western Australia are as pretty as a picture this time of year.
get off road
Meet Phil Hello to all the readers of Go Camping Australia. I’m Phil Bianchi and I’ve had more than twenty years of four-wheel driving experience, mostly in Western Australia and the Central Deserts. I’m also a keen historian and have published or co-edited numerous books on explorers, bushmen, the Canning Stock Route and the woodlines of Western Australia. I’m fortunate to combine my passion for history and four-wheel-driving into what I call histo-tourism! My four-wheel-driving has taken me from coastal to remote areas following explorer routes and seeking features named by them. Places I’ve visited include Steep Point, Quobba, south coast of Western Australia, Kimberley, Rudall River National Park, Tanami and Great Central roads, the Len Beadell bomb roads and numerous places in between. On countless occasions I have travelled cross country for days to reach remote features. Over the years I’ve developed a wealth of four-wheel-driving capability that includes vehicle set ups; preparation and maintenance; camping with camper trailers, swag or tent; and bush cooking. I’m really looking forward to sharing my experience with you and passing on some tips and ideas.
Choosing a 4WD will depend on what you want to do with it.
Four Wheel Drive
Words and images: phil Bianchi
y wife, Mrs B, and I have a motto: ‘buy cheap buy twice!’ How many of you when wanting to buy a new tent, for example, and, after seeing the range, you decide that you really want the $800 single-pole high quality canvas tent but you baulk at the price and decide on a cheaper non-canvas tent with numerous poles and a bucket full of guy ropes and tent pegs? Then, after two weeks of putting it up and packing it away every day you become frustrated with the fiddling around so you buy the more expensive tent and the cheap tent is consigned to the corner of the shed! I’m sure some of you have been there – I know I have. Keep the ‘cheap tent motto’ in mind when buying anything; whether it’s a four-wheel-drive, camping equipment or after-market components and accessories. Anyway, enough of me telling you I’m an ‘eye specialist’, let’s get down to business. Go Ca mpinG austr a li a
Clockwise from left: An SUV will get you many places a 2WD can’t, however they don’t have the capability of a 4WD. Hanging Rock in Rudall River National Park. You can’t fix this. Avoid exotic tyre sizes. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a 4WD. This well maintained 1989 Landcruiser will go anywhere.
What four-wheel-drive should i buy? I figure the best place to start my life as a Go Camping columnist is at the beginning – the purchase of your four-wheel-drive! After seeing photos and reading articles about four-wheeldriving to Cape York, the Simpson Desert or the Canning Stock Route you make that big decision – I’m going to buy a four-wheel-drive! But what do you buy? Don’t fall for the ‘Uncle Bill always liked Land Rovers’ or ‘Fred at work has a Jeep so that’s what I’ll buy’ caper. Or, worse, be taken in by the flashy advertisements on television of a four-wheel-drive rooster-tailing mud and water out both sides as it races along a track. Each vehicle on the market has its place and not all will suit your needs or budget. I strongly suggest developing some vehicle suitability selection criteria.
type of trips and terrain to be travelled Will you be using the vehicle mainly for day trips, weekend trips or longer off-road adventures?
people Who will be driving the vehicle and who will be the passengers? Partners need to be considered. Will you be taking children in the back seats? 70 |
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A cab-chassis, style-side ute or station wagon? All are capable and useful vehicles depending on what you want to do with them and this decision is more a personal preference.
Tyres should be closely investigated. Some current model top end of the market fourwheel-drives come with 255/55H R19 or 285/60 R18 tyres. Try buying a replacement tyre out in remote or regional Australia! To avoid the potential of being stranded for days or weeks, consider buying a vehicle with readily available and affordable tyre sizes.
auto or manual? Modern automatic transmissions can match any manual gear box these days. In fact, many people say they are superior. Older automatics had a weakness when going down steep hills because they tended to run away.
leaf or coil springs? You may not have much choice depending on the vehicle chosen. Most modern fourwheel-drives typically used as tourers have coil springs however, vehicles such as the Landcruiser troop carrier or tray back ute have leaf springs on the rear. Be aware that leaf springs, although allowing you to carry more weight, have a harsher ride.
towing capacity The towing capacity of a vehicle is often overlooked. It’s no good buying a vehicle that can’t legally tow your 2500 kg off-road caravan or big boat.
petrol or diesel? If you’re mainly city driving or doing short, local trips then a petrol motor is probably best. Even though fuel consumption will be higher, petrol vehicles are cheaper to buy and service. Although more expensive to service, consider a diesel if planning remote touring or long-distance towing.
4WD or suV? Many people come unstuck here. Our fourwheel-drive club had a well-attended open day recently where a number of people, when told they had an SUV (sports utility vehicle) and not a four-wheel-drive with a low range gear box, were devastated and some were reduced to tears. ‘But the salesman said it’s a four-wheel-drive’, was a common cry. An SUV might get into most places but there is always the risk of getting stuck; one will soon tire of being bogged or skull-dragged over sand dunes.
get off road
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Make sure your vehicle has the capacity to tow your camping trailer or caravan.
accessories Af termarket four-wheel-drive accessor y manufacturers concentrate their research and development on high-volume four-wheel-drive sellers. Don’t expect to buy a Great Wall vehicle, for example, and have a choice of suppliers for long-range fuel tanks, side steps, bull bars, diff locks and the like. By staying with high-volume sellers you’ll improve your chance of buying the accessories you want.
Budget – new or used? Depending on your budget you may be forced to buy used and not new. There are many fantastic used four-wheel-drives out there; many are oneowner or have been used just for school runs and the odd trip away at Easter or Christmas. Buying a quality used four-wheel-drive has the benefit of scoring a much cheaper vehicle often fitted with a few aftermarket accessories. When buying used I strongly suggest having a qualified mechanic, preferably with fourwheel-drive experience, complete a thorough inspection to ensure you’re not buying expensive trouble. Steer clear of used mining vehicles as they tend to have had a hard life with many components, such as clutch, shock absorbers, springs and other suspension components, 72 |
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being near the end of their useful life and requiring replacement. I also encourage buyers of used vehicles to replace all engine, transmission and diff oils, change radiator and brake fluid and replace all belts and hoses regardless of what the logbook may say. Have the radiator pressure tested; radiator service centres usually do this free. Check the tyres closely to ensure they are in good condition. Any suspect part should be replaced before you go travelling. It’s cheaper to carry out repairs at home than be stranded by the side of the road in 40°C with no shade and an upset wife and kids! Many years ago a vehicle broke down on the Gunbarrel Highway. Fortunately they had a HF radio and were able to organise parts, which were flown to Wiluna to a traveller going their way willing to take the parts out to them. Luckily the traveller had the expertise to fit the part or there would have been another wait. On another occasion, north of Gary Junction Road, a vehicle broke down. Fortunately they had a satellite telephone. Parts were ordered but couldn’t be delivered by plane as it’s illegal to drop items from aeroplanes; so a helicopter was used! Imagine the horrendous expense, the frustration and feeling of helplessness while waiting it out.
You’re the new owner of the vehicle so make sure it’s in top condition; you need to be confident when you leave. A capable four-wheel-drive should last at least ten years. Our first four-wheel-drive was a diesel 80 series Toyota Landcruiser purchased new in 1991. The ‘Old Girl’ served us well for nineteen years before she was put on well-earned light duties. Throughout those years she didn’t miss a beat and the engine didn’t use any oil. It’s impor tant to keep up a regular maintenance schedule. Why do you think my old 80 series lasted so long and didn’t use any oil? It was because of regular maintenance and changing the oil and oil filter every five-thousand kilometres. Buying a four-wheel-drive that truly meets your needs the first time around will ensure you get value for money. If you make a mistake it could prove to be very expensive because you have to buy and set up another vehicle all over again. Remember the cheap tent motto! Well, that’s it for this issue. I hope this article has been of interest. If you’ve got questions or items you would like me to cover in future columns, drop a line to the Go Camping editor or post your question on the Go Camping Facebook page and I’ll do my best to help you out.
gear to go pelican proGear lED Headlights The 2740 LED Headlight features three LEDs with dual modes: high (35 lumens / 20 hours) and low (13 lumens / 51 hours). Available in black, white and translucent blue. The 2750 LED Headlight features dual LEDs with multiple modes: high (100 lumens / 3 hours, 45 minutes); low (40 lumens / 12 hours); night-vision friendly red; and flashing. It has a low battery warning. Available in black, white and safety yellow.
Compiled by andrea Ferris
Both headlights are made of water/weather resistant polymer and pivot to a 45 degree angle to direct their brilliant light where it’s needed. Each weighs in at 900 g with three AAA batteries ( ) and come with a comfortable cloth strap. Both headlights are backed by Pelican Products’ Legendary Lifetime Guarantee of Excellence and are available for purchase through the authorised resellers. Visit www.pelicanaustralia.com.au or phone (02) 4367 7022 for stockists.
Kathmandu north star tent v3 No peak is off limits with Kathmandu’s North Star Tent. With true mountaineering capabilities this two person tent is engineered to withstand high winds and at just 2.93 kg is light enough to take on your most extreme adventures. Ensuring even the coldest conditions can be tackled; the tent’s steep side walls assist in shedding snow. RRP: $749.98. Visit www.kathmandu.com.au For stockist information phone 1800 333 484.
turn water into power Campers of all levels will agree on two common problems faced when they head out on an adventure; keeping sand out of the sleeping bag, and keeping the phone charged. Thanks to the PowerPot, one of those issues has finally been resolved. The PowerPot taps the transfer of heat to generate electricity. It comes with a 5V USB regulator and a 12V regulator for car-charged gadgets. Simply fill the pot with cold water, place it over an open flame, and in 10 seconds your device will be charging up with the power that is essential to stay connected when you’re in the bush. With a maximum power output of 5W, the PowerPot charges everything from your smart phone and GPS units, to your fancy SLR camera and floodlights. There’s no need to worry about it melting before your eyes either; the PowerPot is safe up to 315ºC, with a heat-resistant regulator cable protected by a silicone fibreglass layer that is self-extinguishing and extremely durable. This means it can be operated carefully over an open-pit fire as well as on portable or home stoves. Perfect for campers, the PowerPot is waterproof, flame-resistant, and extremely portable weighing in at less than 500 g. PowerPot RRP: $269.95. Visit www.zenimports.com.au or phone (02) 8878 3600 for stockists.
scarpa Kinesis tech GtX The Kinesis Tech GTX is the ideal boot for hiking, backpacking and general adventure. Lightweight, durable and stylish, the Kinesis ticks all the boxes. Scarpa’s ActivFit technology means the Kinesis was built around a foot, to make it more comfortable than any boot you’ve ever worn. A tough Nubuck upper and protective rubber rand give the Kinesis strength as well as balance and flexibility. Gore-Tex lining guarantees waterproof, breathable protection, while the anatomically designed Vibram sole offers luxurious support. The Scarpa Kinesis Tech GTX is a progressive and reliable hiking boot that will never let you down. RRP: $479.95. Scarpa footwear is available at all leading outdoor retailers. Phone 1300 784 266 or visit www.outdooragencies.com.au Go Ca mpinG austr a li a
gear to go
BlackWolf tuff all season sleeping Bag They may look like any normal sleeping bag on the outside, but for the first time, you can be comfortable in both summer and winter – in just one sleeping bag.
BlackWolf ryebuck swag BlackWolf has taken the best elements of the tent and combined them with the iconic Australian swag to create the next generation of camping equipment. Made from a completely waterproof, 350gsm rip-stop poly/cotton blend, the Ryebuck Swag opens right up to allow the breeze to penetrate the walls of this opulent, bushman’s abode. The Ryebuck is one metre at its highest point, making it the Everest of the swag world and has a comfortable 220x90 cm high density foam mattress. This 11 kg of luxury rolls up in a matter of minutes, leaving time for more important outdoor activities. There’s no doubt the BlackWolf Ryebuck Swag will give you instant bush-cred. Available from all leading outdoor retailers in September. RRP: $599.00. Visit www.blackwolf.com.au or phone 1800 227 070.
The top layer of the Tuff All Season is perfect for warm conditions. With its synsilk lining and light cover, the summer compartment will never cause you to overheat on a hot summer’s night. The bottom layer of this versatile bag will keep you snug right down to five below zero, with flannel lining and a detachable hood to keep the cold air out and the warm air in. From the Tuff All Season King (250x100 cm and 3.2 kgs), down to the Junior (180x80 cm and just 2.6 kgs), the Tuff All Season range has something for the whole family. King RRP $229; Jumbo RRP $219; Tuff All Season RRP $199; Junior RRP $169. Visit www.blackwolf.com.au or phone 1800 227 070.
phones on the move
Cobb supreme The new Cobb Supreme is the latest addition to the popular Cobb range of portable cooking systems. With the same attributes of versatility and effectiveness, the Supreme is bigger than the Cobb Premier and easily caters for a group of ten. Weighing only 6.9 kg and 80% larger, the Cobb Supreme enables you to cook two chickens and vegetables simultaneously with only two Cobble Stones, or 12 – 20 charcoal briquettes. The Cobb Supreme comes standard with a base, inner sleeve, fire basket, Teflon coated grill grid, lifter, dome cover with 100% silicone handle and a carrier bag. RRP (online): $319.90. For retailers visit www.cobbaustralia.com.au
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Designed for bicycles and motorcycles, the Pelican CE1020 features a shock absorbing clamp system allowing for easy lock and release. Fitting up to 33 mm diameter handlebars, the mount can be adjusted to multiple angles, making it easier for the user to view their phone outdoors. RRP: A$49.95. Great for hiking, the CE1130 Sport Armband is made from stretchable, sweat-resistant neoprene material and features a storage pouch for keys, money, credit cards or other essentials. It also has a clear polymer protective cover that allows the user to operate their phone on the go. RRP: A$39.95. Visit www.pelicanprogear.com.au or phone (02) 4367 7022 for stockists.
gear to go
30th anniversary Gold leatherman tool The Leatherman 30th Anniversary, Collector’s Edition, 24K Gold Charge TTi is as luxurious as it sounds. It comes with all the bells and whistles that you expect with Leatherman. The standard Charge TTi is a 19-in-1 tool, including pliers, a diamond-coated file, large and small bit driver, and a bottle opener.
Quickboat – the folding boat The revolutionary Quickboat is a flat-packed boat that can be assembled within 60 seconds, launched from anywhere with water access and easily fits on any roof rack. When not in use, simply hang it up on a wall, put it on a shelf or store it under the bed! Quickboat, made of high-end fibreglass and Kevlar, packs into two bags weighing 36 kg and 18 kg – easy for two people to carry (excluding the motor). When assembled, the boat is 3.7 m long and 1.7 m wide and comfortably fits four adults. It can travel in enclosed waters at more than 20 knots with a 9.8 hp motor. An all Australian invention, Quickboat is the perfect boat for campers and travellers. RRP: $4375. Available exclusively at www.quickboats.com
A 24K gold body sets this multi-tool apart, making it a highly prestigious and sought after edition. The 30th Anniversary Tool is inscribed with Leatherman founder, Tim Leatherman’s, signature, as well as a classic Leatherman sheath. Those lucky enough to get their hands on this glorious piece of craftsmanship will also receive a unique gift box, a Leatherman sheath, and a 30th birthday Leatherman lapel pin. Leatherman 30th Anniversary Charge TTi RRP: $500.00. Visit www.leatherman.com.au
Komperdell Carbon Vario approach 4 walking pole The Carbon Vario Approach 4 walking pole from Komperdell is made from a specially developed carbon fibre to maximise durability and minimise weight. The upper part of the pole is made of Titanal; an extremely hard aluminium alloy.
EVap rescues water-damaged electronic devices
Each pole folds into four sections and is only 45 cm when completely packed. The Power Lock II enables the walker to quickly make height adjustments between 125 cm and 145 cm. Tungsten Carbide Tips provide mountain goat-like grip regardless of the terrain and ensure a safe and sure-footed journey.
After your device gets a dunking, dry it with a cloth and switch it off. If it’s a mobile phone, remove the SIM card and battery. Place it between the two vacuum-sealed EVAP Tyvek pouches and then into the larger Rescue Pouch. After the device is sealed in the bag, a humidity indicator will change colour within 6 – 24 hours to signify the rescue operation is complete.
Komperdell Vario Approach 4 RRP: $199.95. Available at all leading outdoor retailers. To find your local stockist phone 1300 784 266.
Kensington has developed an effective rescue package for wet electronic devices. The EVAP uses a high-grade molecular sieve, featuring Absorber Plastic Grain, an industry-leading absorbent material and is small enough to take anywhere.
Seven times more effective at removing moisture than rice, EVAP can rescue smart phones, PDAs, cameras, video cameras, MP3 players and even small devices, like handheld GPS devices that can suffer water damage. RRP: $19.95. For stockists visit www.kensington.com Go Ca mpinG austr a li a
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plan your meals and freeze the chicken before you leave – the easy option when camping. Dice the chicken ready for the recipe and freeze in a secure container or lock‘n’seal bag. Chicken must be stored at below 5ºC to keep fresh and safe. Words and images: Julie Bishop and regina Jones
Chicken Scone Casserole This superb tasting treat is a combination of sundried tomatoes and wholegrain mustard. Serve without the scone topping if you’re in a hurry. Chop the sweet potato into small pieces to cook it faster.
500 g chicken thigh fillets, diced 1 medium onion, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 tbl plain flour 1 chicken stock cube 250 ml long-life cream 1 tbl wholegrain mustard 190 g can of champignons ½ cup sundried tomatoes, sliced 2 medium sweet potatoes, finely diced 1 cup hot water oil for frying
1 cup SR flour 2 tbl butter 2 bacon rashers, rind removed, finely chopped ¼ cup finely grated parmesan ½ cup milk
Sear diced chicken in a hot pan. Set aside. Cook onion and garlic until softened. Add flour; cook and stir for one minute or until onion is well coated. Whisk stock, cream and mustard in a jug. Gradually stir into onion mix until smooth and combined. Return chicken to pan with tomato, sweet potato and hot water. Simmer gently until sweet potato is soft. Add mushrooms. At home: pour into greased casserole dish. Out camping: cook in camp oven. Place heat beads on lid to bake scones.
scone toppers: Place SR flour in a large bowl. Using fingertips, rub in butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in parmesan and bacon. Add enough milk to form a soft, sticky dough. Turn dough onto floured surface. Press dough out to 2 cm thick. Use lid of a small oil spray can to cut out scones. Arrange scones over chicken mixture; brush with a little milk. Bake uncovered in oven for 20–25 minutes at 180ºC or until scones are golden and sound hollow when tapped.
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Creamy Chicken & Broccoli ingredients: Feeds 4
150 g Vetta Hi Fibre corkscrew pasta 500 g chicken breast, cut into strips 1 tbl lime or lemon rind 200 g mushrooms, sliced 1 x lge head of broccoli (steamed) 250 g Philadelphia cream cheese (60% less fat) 2 tbl rice bran oil for frying Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta as per packet instructions. Stir fry chicken and lemon rind. Add mushrooms and broccoli, cook until softened. Stir through cream cheese until melted. Combine with pasta, season with cracked pepper and salt. Handy Hint: When broccoli is unavailable use frozen green beans.
Cheesy Chicken, Zucchini & Spinach Lasagne ingredients:
2 tsp oil 1 leek, trimmed, halved, washed, sliced 2 garlic cloves, crushed 2 tbl flour 1½ cups chicken stock 1¼ cups parmesan cheese, grated 3 cups shredded cooked chicken 50 g baby spinach (a large handful) 4 fresh lasagne sheets 250 g tub reduced fat ricotta cheese 1 medium zucchini, cut into ribbons
Heat oil over medium heat, cook garlic and leek till soft. Add flour, stir for one minute. Add stock, stir until thickened. Stir in half the parmesan. Add chicken and spinach, cook until spinach wilts. Place one lasagne sheet on base of greased baking dish. Top with a third chicken mixture. Arrange a third of zucchini on top. Repeat twice. Top with remaining lasagne sheet. Combine ricotta and ¼ cup parmesan. Spread over lasagne sheet. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes at 180ºC. Handy Hint: Practise at home with a suitable baking dish for camping – we use a two litre square glass dish. Camp Oven Cooking: Place baking dish on a trivet in camp oven on medium heat coals or gas stove. Cook 20 minutes, lift lid and check if bubbling around the edge on top. Cook longer if needed.
Chicken & Asparagus Quinoa ingredients:
1 cup quinoa 2 cups chicken stock 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 red onion, finely diced 1 x 425 g can asparagus spears, drained 1 cup frozen peas, thawed 1 cup shredded cooked chicken 1 cup baby spinach leaves oil for frying Salt and pepper to taste
Cook quinoa as per packet instructions in stock. Set to one side. Cook onion and garlic on medium heat for five minutes. Add asparagus, peas, chicken and quinoa to frypan. Mix through until all the ingredients are blended together. Place the spinach leaves on top and cover frypan for a few minutes. When spinach has wilted, stir through and serve. DreamPot: Bring quinoa and stock to boil, simmer for two minutes. Minimum cooking time is 30 minutes. Cook all other ingredients in frypan except spinach. Add to quinoa, quickly mix through. Place spinach leaves on top. Return to DreamPot to keep hot until ready to serve.
a Woman’s look at Camping & Cooking 4th Edition $25.00 plus $3 postage. a Woman’s look at Cooking (150 recipes) $18.00 plus $2 postage. www.wlacamping.info E: aWomanslook@bigpond.com for bank deposit details.
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Words: Danielle lancaster
millions of digital images are taken every hour (if not minute) around the world. Everyone, it seems, has a digital camera – anything from a smartphone to a complex high resolution digital slr or something in between.
haring images with family and friends has never been easier via the internet using easy-to-use software, multiple social media platforms and compact, lightweight hardware and storage systems.
Placing images online can be as simple as a click of a button and bingo there is your image for everyone to see. However, there is more than just a click of a button to consider before placing an image ‘in space’ and viewable to everyone – and I mean that could be everyone and anyone. One point to remember is that the internet is an ever-changing platform and what may apply this year can be quickly outdated. In this series we’ll look at a wide range of issues to consider from security to image size, resolution and technical pointers before you press the ‘send’ button.
Do i need to resize my images to share online? It depends (a word we use a lot in photography!) on what type of device you use and at what file 78 |
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size and type (if you are using a camera) your images are recorded. We don’t need as large or as high a quality an image to post online as we do if we were sending an image to print. If you are ‘sharing’ from a camera it will depend on the image size in the camera settings. If it’s set at ‘fine’ or ‘best’ then you will have to resize the image to make it smaller and faster to transfer. If it’s set at ‘basic’ you won’t have to resize. If you are ‘sharing’ images from a smartphone (perhaps via email, sms or to Facebook) then you don’t have to resize as the images are automatically sized by the phone so sharing is quick and easy. The other factor to take into account is the time it takes to upload an image, which can become expensive and time consuming as it chews through data allowance. Not everyone that receives your image will have high-speed internet connection, so resizing images is actually courteous. Let’s face it, none of us want to be stuck behind a computer for hours while we’re out camping resizing images for our friends and family to view. We want to get them up on
the site quickly and get back to enjoying the great outdoors.
the never Ever rule Before you even start to work on an image make sure it is not your original file. A good habit is to make two folders: I call one ‘originals’ and the other ‘working’. I download all my images from my camera into the ‘originals’ folder and then copy and paste the images I want to share online into my ‘working’ folder. Then no original images are ever opened and accidently saved as much smaller, lower quality images.
Cropping is the First step The next step, before worrying about image size and resolution, is to crop the image. Ask yourself is everything in the image area really important? Could a crop make an image more dramatic, interesting and tell a story? All image editing software, including the software that came with the camera and, even special functions within a smartphone, allow image cropping.
image resolution and size We are told that images for the internet should be around 600 pixels or no bigger than 800 pixels to stop internet image theft (the unauthorised use of an image for commercial purposes). Images straight from the camera are usually very large: the image size (often more than 3000 pixels along the widest side) and resolution (mostly yielding 240 – 300 dpi or dots per inch) usually need to be changed before uploading online. The two reasons for this is the time it takes to upload and image theft. Step one is image resolution. Set the image resolution for images to share online to 72 dpi. This is the web-standard although some save to 96 dpi to accommodate the new higher resolution screens. Either is fine and makes images quick to load and radically reduces the chance of image theft – protecting your image and saving space.
Now for image size. Most people currently make the images they share online a minimum of 1000 pixels or 1200 pixels wide. This makes the finer detail in the image viewable to show off your photography prowess and the true beauty of the image, but doesn’t render the image large enough to print. Then there are images that are too small. This is frustrating for the viewer so aim for good online viewing, but not a good enough quality to print. All image editing software has a command to change the resolution and pixel dimensions. Look for: image size, resize or resample. Locate a dialog box to enter the resolution and pixels you want. Always enter the resolution first. There are some other options that may be in this dialog box such as: Resample (use this when downsizing) to change the pixel dimensions. Constrain proportions or keep aspect ratio (prevents the image being distorted
Dialog box in photoshop
or looking stretched and out of proportion). Enter one value, either height or width, and it adjusts automatically. In the next issue we will cover tips for using mobile devices to upload images and how to protect your privacy and that of others in your photos once you upload your images. Go Ca mpinG austr a li a
DRAWN ON THE 30TH OF AUGUST HURRY AND SUBSCRIBE NOW! Subscribe to Go Camping Australia and you could WIN THE ULTIMATE CAMPING PACKAGE valued at $14,916
1. James Baroud Roof Top Tent Space Evolution RRP $3,950 2. The DreamPot 3 & 6L Models/Accessory Pack/Cookbook RRP $553 3. Cobb Cooker Premier Oven Smoker BBQ Stove RRP $219 4. Evakool Fridge/Freezer FridgeMate FM 60L Fridge/Freezer with 240 Volt Adaptor plus Evakool 100 Watt Solar Panel Kit RRP $2137 5. Primus ExoLite Tent 430 RRP $999 6. ACR Artex ResQmate PLB RRP $449 7. ACR Firefly Strobelight RRP $175 8. ACR Survival Kit RRP $100 9. ACR Signal Mirror Combo RRP $19.99 10. Yamaha Generator EF2000is RRP $1999 11. Darche Swag Megadome RRP $536 12. Spelean Petzl Headtorches 2 x Tikka2 RRP $120 Spelean Petzl Headtorches 2 x Tikkina2 RRP $80
13. Thermarest Self Inflating Mattresses 2 x BaseCamp RRP $300 14. Tilley Hat RRP $150 15. GSI Assorted Camp Kitchen Gear RRP $130 16. Buff Multifunctional Headwear x 2 RRP $65 17. Okuma Salina 3 10000 High Speed Spinning Reel RRP $389.95 18. Okuma Salina 3 PE6 Jigging Rod RRP $209.95 19. Rapala Plano Soft Tackle Bag with Trays RRP $44.95 20. Sufix Matrix Pro Metered Braid 50lb 275 yds RRP $84.95 21. Rapala Magnetic Tool Holder Combo & Tools RRP $69.95 22. Sea to Summit BioLite RRP $229 23. Rosco 15ft Canoe RRP $1650 2 x Tuff Canoe Paddle RRP $96 2 X BLA Coastal Racer PFD RRP $160 * Car and iphone not included.
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