Low cost camping in Ingham

The CMCA has opened it's first low cost camp ground for members only. These are great and are in response for basic accommodation for fully self-contained vehicles. I know some friends who really want a no frills park but also want a secure place to park. The fact that there is potable water on site and a dump point is great. The park is within walking distance of town and the fabulous wetlands

Sadly I have lost my photos of this area, not that it is a photogenic place. It does have lots of grass.
This park is almost level and there is little restriction on where and how to park within the boundary. There is also a covered area for Happy Hours etc.

Just a part of the magnificent Tyto Wetlands

We enjoyed morning coffee and a walk around the fantastic Tyto Wetlands. There are so many birds too.

Azure Kingfisher
On another day we went for a drive to to coast to Taylor's Beach, Halifax and Lucinda.

Wallaman Falls

Pretty colourful flower & foliage

Lucinda Jetty the longest service jetty in the Southern Hemisphere

It is great that the CMCA plans to establish many more low cost, no frills RV parks across Australia over the next five years. You can read more details on the CMCA page. I understand that the TYTO free camping is still available for non CMCA members. It too is within walking distance to town.

Rain, Rain and More Rain

Welcome to sunny Queensland, they say. Still, look on the bright side (pun intended), without the rain, we wouldn't have attractive water features especially my beloved waterfalls.

My grand daughter celebrating the start of the rain when they lived in Gove, NT
I'm still waiting for the weather to clear up, but the way things are going, that may not happen anytime soon.

It blew an absolute gale last night. I've just about had it up to my chin with rain. I generally don't get cabin fever as I am happy to be crafting or playing on the computer all day and if I do get sick of that I can read or play games with Rob.

My craft space in the Robbiebago
However part of the reason for coming north at this time of year is that it is supposed to be warm and it's known as the dry season. Well at least it is warm, most days I am running around in my shorts and a tank top with a shirt over it in the mornings (nights don't get cooler until well after midnight. At least I can get asleep on top of the bed but sometime during the night it cools down and I must reach down to pull a sheet up.

All this wet weather may be great for farmers and I must remind myself not to be selfish but to me is a tad depressing. I am thinking how true John Denver's song is: "Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy"

On a practical level when there is this much continual rain (without any damaging floods) the whole area just turns into a quagmire. Thankfully I have gumboots for such weather. Still I can't complain too much at least it is not cold.

Oh my gosh....What a change, sunshine - I'd almost forgotten what it felt like. All is well in my world - I am happy again.

Solar Power in Overcast & Wet Weather

We hit some wet weather after the rally. We are so thankful for the invention of solar panels and lithium batteries. We have set up the motorhome that we can cope power wise, with a week’s overcast weather if we are careful without resorting to shore power or using a genie (which we don’t have anyway). Click on the words: solar or lithium  to go to our set upon our bus.

The induction cooker, the kettle and the microwave oven are amongst the biggest power users. Since it is overcast, it is cool enough not to need air con which is another huge poser consumer. We do need power essentially for running my CPAP machine every night and to run the regular household fridge. The LED lights run off a separate battery and use very little power any way.

We cope easily by heating water and cooking on the butane gas cooker when it is overcast and/or the batteries are low. We’ve worked out that we use an average of 1 can of butane gas per day for our coffee, tea, cooking and just washing up once a day under these circumstances.
How do you manage in lots of wet weather?

Dam Fine Rally Townsville

On our way in to Twnsville and the rally, we first had to call into a Big Wheel tyre place in Townsville. We had discovered that all our bus tyres were very old and so we needed to buy new tyres and get them fitted.

We finally made it to our second CMCA rally. The rally is held at a park that is not normally open to the public on the side of the Ross River Dam, just about 3km from town. You can’t see the dam from any camp site, but it is just a short (uphill) walk up the embankment to the top of the dam wall.

Camped at the Rally - We're just off centre to the right a bit!

I was really laid back this time about the rally. I had little or no expectation since I really didn’t enjoy the Bathurst Rally. I was here because Rob wanted to come. At least with knowing a few people here from the Highway Wanderers especially Steve and Lorraine. There were a few people from Home Hill here too as can be expected. So it was certainly off to a fine start when you know you are amongst friends.

The rally itself costs $10 per night (unpowered). This covers the site, Port-a-Loos, rubbish disposal, entertainment each night and a few ‘talks’. We had Happy Hours each night with Steve and Lorraine. Most of the time there were members of the Highway Wanderers there too. Admittedly I struggle with following anything when it gets too big, but that is just what I have to live with all the time being deaf. The HHW do have a microphone which makes it a tad easier when I can see the person talking for lip reading.

I had my first Market Stall for my sock dolls here at the rally. The stall was cheap at just $10 for members and it was open to people from the community though with the Townsville Show on etc there weren’t many people from the general community there which many of the regular stall holders were quite unhappy about. Still I managed to sell a couple of my smaller dolls. I gave me a good insight in to what people are attracted to. I also got to know my fellow neighbouring stall holders too.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is a church service at the rally and Rob and I attended it along with about 30 others. It was country style music accompanied by guitars. There was a short message on the world changes but God doesn’t. A pleasant service.

Lorraine and a new friend Chris and I spent a couple of hours when we went into Spotlight to get some crafting supplies since we find some items hard to get on the road.

All in all,Rob & I enjoyed ourselves here at this rally. We have been talked into attending the Christmas in July Rally in Mareeba in a month’s time. We had not planned on travelling so far north, but Rob thinks we should as we may not be able to do so in the future.So we have to grab the opportunities while you can!

Home Hill

Home Hill was our main objective prior to attending the Dam Fine Rally. Comfort Stop is the free camp in town just one block west of the main street, but with so many people on the road it was packed. I would assume the rally would be attracting even bigger numbers to this area at the moment too. We did see a couple of CMCA member’s stickers on their RVs.

The sun sets over the Robbiebago at Home Hill

Since it was full we decided to stay at the Home Hill Showground without power. It was just $12 per night including toilets and showers. There are a couple of washing machines on site so you can catch up with your washing if you so desire. A general Happy Hour is held in the covered communal area though of course you can have your own private happy hour anywhere. There’s a pool table, a book swap table. The caretakers were trying to encourage me to have a stall for me sock creations, which was very nice of them. I didn’t take up the offer though. I just wasn’t confident enough but I still managed to sell a couple of dolls here.

Rob and I with some statues at the Home Hill Showground
Rob wasn’t feeling the best here so we made great use of the quiet times here catching up on naps and I was content with my sewing & reading.

One of the days we took a short drive to Burdekin Cane Farm where our friends, Lorraine and Steve Wilson were camped. It had been a month or so since we caught up with them in Nanando. It looks a great spot on a canal. We will have to see if we can pop in some time later when we come back south in a month or so.

Free Camping in Rockhampton

Who knew you could Free Camp right in the heart of Rockhampton at Kershaw Park.

Image from Aussie Musing: We had neglected to take a photo at the campsite!

I think it is awesome that a city such as Rocky would allow free camping right in the middle of the city. In fact it is just across the road from Stockland Shopping Centre.

We also had the advantage of meeting up with long time friends Sue & Peter, whom we haven’t seen for ages. They used to live us back home, until they moved to Coffs. It is so great to have this time to catch up.

After a quick settle in, we had a cuppa with Peter and Sue and I took a wander over to the shopping centre looking for a restaurant for the 4 of us to go to later that night as they had to be moving on early the next morning. As it was we decided to hop in the car and drive to a Thai restaurant in a neighbouring suburb.

Emu Park

It has become a tradition that we have bacon and eggs on the first morning at a new location if we are going to stay there a few days. So after our scrumptious breakfast we took the car to the Tourist Information Centre to seek advice of what to see in the area. We decided to take a scenic trip out to the seashore via Emu Park where we had a delightful picnic lunch on the headland at Wreck Point and then onto Yeppoon which is another pretty inlet.

Free camping just outside of Mackay

The drive north from Rockhampton is very pretty however we weren’t planning on visiting Mackay this trip and so basically we bypassed it and free camped overnight at The Leap Hotel just north west of Mackay. It is a very green grassy site with a beautiful leafy backdrop and a magnificent view of the little mountain upon which the legend of The Leap is based. (Legend is repeated below)

The Leap was found via Wiki Camps as it is not in the Camps Australia Wide 8 book. The hotel offers a all night toilet (it’s the men’s toilet during pub hours) and a shower for a small price but only during pub hours as it is locked up within the pub itself. It is appreciated that you buy a beer or dinner at the pub in exchange for a free night. The chips we bought to accompany our steaks were wonderful. They have tried to specify specific camping areas. ie camping & wiz bangers further from the pub and motorhomes and caravans closer. I think it has more to do with the soil under the grass. It does look rather soft and wet weather might be a concern for getting bogged. We are being constantly reminded that we are now in the wet tropics as we travel further north.

The Legend of The Leap

In 1867 settlers had had enough of local Aborigines spearing their cattle for food. One raid in particular caused so much consternation among the farmers that matters came to a head and police got involved. The troopers tracked the natives to the top of the mountain that looms behind the hotel today. From high up near the clouds, a tribeswoman named Kowaha reportedly hurled herself from the sheer cliff face, rather than surrender to authorities. With her baby in her embrace, she leapt from Mt Mandarana and fell to her death far, far below.

Surprisingly, the baby girl survived her and was taken into care by the wife of a trooper. The Leap Baby, as she came to be known, remained in the district until her death in 1928.

Since that fateful day of confrontation the area has become known simply as ‘The Leap’, a place where visitors come to learn of and ponder about the mysteries surrounding events in Mackay’s heart-rending past.