For a combination of reasons we have decided that we need to make our way home more quickly that we had originally planned. In our short time here, we caught up with our friends Downunda and Faye, who are staying at Cotton Tree in Maroochydore where we stayed last year. Afternoon tea at Cotton Tree with Downunda and Faye stretched into Happy Hour when Carole and Robin joined us. Happy hour is always fun at Cotton Tree.
Our first challenge today was to get out of our site without damaging anything. It was a bit of a tight fit but after moving some concrete edging and under the watchful eye of the owner of the van in front of us – he actually put his awning up to be on the safe side – and having the Ute in low range, we slowly and carefully made our way to the main driveway. What a relief! Big 4 Forest Glen is not our favourite caravan park and we won’t be coming back again.
Next challenge was to make some sense of the Queensland motorway/freeway system. There are lots of freeways and motorways and exchanges and it’s quite confusing to the uninitiated. There is also a surprising volume of traffic at all times! We had been advised to ignore the Garmin GPS to get through to Ipswich and to go down the M1 and then the M2 and this added a little bit of extra excitement. Motorways are great at moving traffic quickly, when there aren’t roadworks that is, but if you are moving from one motorway to another there aren’t too many opportunities for coffee or other stops.
We successfully made our way over the Gateway Bridge, which is an amazing structure and after sneaking into a servo along the way for a quick stop, we eventually stopped for a more relaxed coffee break somewhere along the Cunningham Highway some 170 kms from Forest Glen. Our next stop was to top up the diesel at Warwick and we then made our way to the famous Warwick Pie Shop for a couple of their delicious pies for lunch.
Driving today has had its challenges. There were roadworks of course, but we’ve come to expect that. The most spectacular part of the drive was crossing the Great Dividing Range, mostly in 3rd gear. It’s quite amazing countryside with huge cuttings into the mountains for the road, and it’s quite steep in places. This type of driving really chews through the fuel in the Ute. Ann got to see the scenery a lot better than I did, and hopefully some of the photos will do it justice.
After lunch it wasn’t too far from Warwick to Lake Leslie, where we stopped at the Washpool Camping Ground. Ann had rung the caretaker in advance and he had explained the process. Basically, there are 60 acres on the banks of Lake Leslie and you can camp pretty well anywhere you wish for a modest fee per head per night. We were told that there are a number of powered sites, at an extra $3.50 per night, which actually turned out to mean that there were a few power poles spaced irregularly around one area, with a few randomly placed water taps as well. There are no marked sites so you just find the best place you can amongst the trees and as near as you can get to power or water or both, without blocking any of the unmarked roadways. There is a brand new amenities block, including showers, which is in better condition that those at many caravan parks we have been to. There is also a dump point.
We found a great flat site and connected to power. Lake Leslie is a beautiful spot. The lake is stocked with fingerlings each year and attracts many fisherpersons. There were several boats out on the lake and others fishing from the shore. There are plenty of ducks and other birds and kangaroos feed by the water’s edge. We went for a long walk around the camping area before settling down outside to catch up on some reading. As it got a bit cooler many of the other campers started up camp fires; some for warmth and other for cooking as well. There were some delicious aromas coming from some of the camping sites.
After watching a beautiful sunset we packed up the chairs and went inside for the night.
It’s places like this that make caravanning so enjoyable!