Posts Tagged With: boyne river

Day 72 – Boyne River to Maryborough

After a good night’s sleep we woke to see the free camp area transformed. Although still early, the sun was out and the scene looking over at the bridge over the river from the van was wonderfully peaceful. Some of the vans had already left and the number of cars and tents that seemed to have appeared overnight was quite surprising. There was even a convoy of military vehicles stopped in the rest area. By the time we were packed up and ready to leave the number of cars simply stopping for a cuppa – or to use the toilet facilities – was again, surprising. This is a very popular place!

View of the bridge over the Boyne River - from the van

View of the bridge over the Boyne River – from the van

Boyne River Rest Area Transformed, including army convoy

Boyne River Rest Area Transformed, including army convoy

Breakfast at Boyne River rest area

Breakfast at Boyne River rest area

Our first morning stop wasn’t too far down the highway at Miriam Vale.  Although we had stopped there last year we nearly missed the turn to the main street which is not very well signposted at all on the highway. Miriam Vale is a delightful “village” with a friendly looking pub, a couple of coffee shops, some interesting gift shops, good visitor facilities and is overall a great place to stop for travellers. The coffee shop where we enjoyed coffee and non-fattening cakes was full of friendly, chatty travellers so our morning coffee was very enjoyable.

Main Street, Miriam Vale

Main Street, Miriam Vale

From Miriam Vale we continued due south and stopped for lunch at Gin Gin. Gin Gin has a great free camp on the north end of town which we had a look at last year but couldn’t fit in – so we stayed at the Gin Gin showgrounds. Again, Gin Gin is a traveller friendly town with a good variety of shops, pubs, amenities, an information centre, caravan parking in the middle of town, and more. Ann and I lashed out on the $8.50 roast of the day with vegies and gravy at the Highway Hotel.

Interesting street scape in Gin Gin

Interesting street scape in Gin Gin

Highway Hotel in Gin Gin

Highway Hotel in Gin Gin

The scenery today was varied. Around Gin Gin we experienced more sugar cane fields, although there were also orchards growing various fruits including citrus, mangoes and we believe macadamias. We were also a bit surprised to see some pine forests.

More sugar cane fields near Gin Gin

More sugar cane fields near Gin Gin

Orchards near Gin Gin

Orchards near Gin Gin

I might also make a quick comment about the Bruce Highway. Last year we made many comments about the state of this highway, most of them in the negative. This year there are still roadworks but it is very obvious that massive works have taken place over the past year or so and the improvements are considerable. The highway has been widened and in some places duplicated, corners and bends made safer, hills flattened, overtaking lanes added and rest stops and pull-overs added and improved. All in all it is a much better and safer driving experience and the various levels of government involved should be congratulated. One can only hope that all the good work going on won’t be destroyed by the next storm or flood!

We drove through Childers without a stop but again, we were here last year and this is a nice little town worth exploring.

Main street of Childers was very busy

Main street of Childers was very busy

From Childers we continued to our final destination today, the Wallace Motel and Caravan Park in Maryborough. Ann had booked a drive-through site which made getting set-up a lot easier. This is a nice park which has been rebuilding after three damaging floods in the last three years. The sites are flat and grassy, we have a concrete slab under the awning, and the facilities are good. TV reception isn’t wonderful here but we do get some channels and we can live without TV anyway – we came prepared with some DVDs just for this situation.

Set Up at Maryborough

Set Up at Maryborough

Relaxing at Maryborough

Relaxing at Maryborough

After setting up we went for a walk and visited Aldi for a few supplies. Upon our return to the van we sat outside for a while just relaxing and reading. That was until it started raining a little, which got a little heavier, so we packed up the chairs and retired back into the van. We haven’t heard any more rain on the roof for a while now so hopefully it has blown over and we will have a fine day tomorrow.

Categories: 2014 Townsville Adventure | Tags: , ,

Day 71 – St Lawrence to Boyne River Rest Area

Ann and I both slept like logs last night. The darkness was a major factor – no bright caravan park security lights outside the bedroom windows – just stars punctuating the blackness! The silence was another welcome factor.

It was a bit cool when I got up so I started in jeans and a long sleeve top but changed into the more traditional shorts and tee-shirt once we hit the road as it was obviously going to be another beautiful day.

Today was to be another driving day similar to yesterday, with no specific destination in mind and just a couple of places that might be possibilities.

The first leg of our journey was one of the most uncomfortable driving experiences we had ever encountered, and I am sure that all caravanners will have experienced similar situations. As soon as we got onto the Bruce Highway from the St Lawrence road, we ended up behind an older Millard caravan being towed by an older Ford Falcon sedan. Speed-wise it stayed around 75 kmh with bursts of speed up to 80 kmh. In itself this wouldn’t normally be a problem as the BT50 has plenty of grunt and we have met these drivers before and I am usually quite comfortable overtaking in the right conditions.

With a fair bit of traffic coming in the opposite direction it was starting to take a bit longer that I would have preferred to be able to overtake the Millard and then disaster struck. The Millard van got stuck behind an older motorhome that seemed to be only able to manage 75 kmh at best, so we were stuck. There was simply no way I was going to be able to overtake two slow and totally erratically driven rvs in one go. The traffic behind us was going berserk and a few crazy drivers made overtaking manoeuvres, even over double lines, and often requiring the slamming on of brakes and pushing in to get back onto the right side of the road in the face of oncoming traffic. At times it was potentially quite dangerous!

Then, obviously seeing the error of his ways, the driver of the motorhome pulled off at a roadside stop and let traffic past. What a relief! Even the old Millard van got a bit carried away and started speeding up. Low and behold, just as it seemed that it was my turn to make a move to overtake, the Millard got stuck behind a slow moving Golf caravan. We were in exactly the same situation as before but with even heavier oncoming traffic making overtaking even more difficult!

Finally, just before Marlborough, the Golf van pulled off onto a side road and the Millard gained speed. We turned off the highway into Marlborough and had a well-deserved cup of coffee. Then, lo and behold, the Golf van parked behind us. Coffees were gulped down, dishes quickly washed, and we were off again. After a quick stop at the servo to top up the diesel we were back on the highway, ahead of that Golf slowcoach. It was a fantastic feeling to be able to get to 90 kmh, and that was in third gear! We eventually caught up with the Millard van but fortune was on our side at last and an overtaking lane saw that problem disappear and we were able to continue our journey at our own pace.

During this time the countryside had changed. We were no longer in sugar cane country and the scenery changed from flat cattle grazing land to bush and scrub, but all the while with mountains in the background. At times we saw the signs of recent bushfires, and smoke from current fires as well.

Changing scenery

Changing scenery

We stopped for lunch on the outskirts of Rockhampton. We had spent a few days in Rocky last year and it was quite nice to see the river and some of the other places we recognised. There were also some interesting roadworks underway. While following Gabby the Garmin GPS to a rest are in the Camps 7 book we saw some nice shady spots on the side of the road and decided to stop there instead of driving any further.

Views of Rockhampton

Views of Rockhampton

New bridge under construction near Rockhampton

New bridge under construction near Rockhampton

Lunch on the outskirts of Rockhampton

Lunch on the outskirts of Rockhampton

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After lunch we headed for the Calliope River Rest Area – Q102 in Camps 7 – which we had seen last year and made some favourable notes about. Unfortunately things have changed since then and the main access road had been closed. When we tried the alternative route we found more changes to access including signs forbidding camping. There were a few parked vans at the end of the Old Bruce Highway and more along the riverbank but we were simply not game enough to take our van down the sandy and rough road that we assumed they used to get where they were.

We were a lot more successful at the next free camp we tried – the Boyne River rest area Q105 – although again there were changes compared to last year. Access to the area had changed with a result that vans had squeezed into all sorts of strange positions. The higgledy piggledy result left otherwise good flat areas inaccessible. In amongst the chaos there were actually several concrete slabs – it just didn’t make much sense. This is a very busy place and there are a lot of caravans and motorhomes here, and also several people simply sleeping in their cars or tents. Despite all this we managed to find a nice flat site with views overlooking the river and without close neighbours.

Views of the Boyne River from our van tonight

Views of the Boyne River from our van tonight

Views of Boyne River Rest Area free camp

Views of Boyne River Rest Area free camp

We feel that the Boyne River rest area isn’t as good as St Lawrence, but after a reasonably long day’s drive, and viewing a beautiful sunset over the river while having BBQ lamb and vegies for dinner, I’m sure that we’re going to sleep well tonight anyway.

We have no idea where we’ll be staying tomorrow night, but that’s all part of the adventure!!!!!

Categories: 2014 Townsville Adventure, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

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