Day 1: Home to Isla Gorge

In October 2013 we explored Carnarvon Gorge and did all the bushwalks there (see the blog entry for that month). We enjoyed this so much that I thought it would be good to explore the other National Parks within the Sandstone Belt hence the purpose of this trip. We have limited time so only Isla Gorge, Lake Murphy Conservation Area, Robinson Gorge, Ka Ka Mundi and Salvatore Rosa are on the itinerary. Trish and Bryan, the friends we walked Carnarvon Gorge with, are also joining us for the first 3 parks.

The week before we left was very busy preparing for this trip. While it’s been planned for a long time, preparations didn’t get underway as we had the joy of our visiting family with their new babies to keep us very preoccupied. Because the majority of this trip will be in National Parks with only one opportunity to shop I decided to precook all the main meals and bring them frozen. For my future reference 5 meals fitted in the freezer – more would fit if I’d chosen similar sized containers and fitted them to the freezer. Another 5 frozen meals were put into the fridge.

The park at Nanango.

The park at Nanango.

21st April: Kilcoy to Isla Gorge National Park
We left home around 7.30am in Priscilla, with Nanango our first stop for breakfast. This town provides a lovely park and picnic area with a working windmill and a typical gold miners mine head and equipment displayed.
Next stop Gayndah for lunch and to buy some oranges – after all, this IS the centre of Queensland’s citrus industry. Here the Council allows a 20-hour stop-over for the travelling public with clean showers and toilets. Great facilities Gayndah, well done.
Onward to Eisdvold to top-up the fuel tanks and have a chat to the lovely man at the Information Centre. The Information Centre is a part of the RM Williams education centre – would be good to visit when some presentations are on. RM Williams’ first property is midway between Eisdvold and Theodore.
We’re having problems refueling. The diesel seems to foam at the mouth of the inlet and it only dribbles in from the bowser taking ages and ages to fill the tank – might have something to do with the long-range fuel tanks. We’ve asked Trakka about it and will see if they have any ideas.
On to Theodore via Cracow. Cracow is a gold town with a working goldmine. We didn’t stop. Closer to Theodore we started to see cropping¬† – particularly a tall spindley weedy-looking crop which we later learned was mung beans. Fancy that! The sorghum fields were also very pretty with their red heads of grain just waiting to be harvested. However the major crop is cotton and has recently been harvested. These fields are all irrigated from the Dawson River via an open-channel irrigation system which runs alongside the road for many kilometers.
From here it was a short drive down the Leichhardt Highway to the Isla Gorge turnoff and to our camp for the night. We very much enjoyed watching the sun set over this spectacular gorge – but we’ll look at it more tomorrow when our friends join us.

The sun is setting. Note the 'island' in the middle of the gorge.

The sun is setting. Note the ‘island’ in the middle of the gorge.

514K today – a big drive, but handled well by swapping drivers every two hours and having decent, long breaks along the way.

To see more photos from this section of the trip click HERE.

Day 1: Mt Kuring Gai to Umina Beach

Weather: drizzling on and off; pleasant temperature
Distance: 54K

We timed our arrival at Trakka for just after opening – too excited to delay longer. Wow our campervan is BEAUTIFUL – big, looks tough, but oh so gorgeous – just my unbiased opinion!

Martin at Trakka did the handover. These are complicated machines! You can see more details of our Jabiru in the ‘Our Gear’ page (when Steve does the write up).

the handover

She’s OURS!

About 1pm we were ready to leave. I drove her out with Steve chief navigator. Driving her is so easy, and comfortable. Loved it!
Our first night is just down the road at Umina Beach. Due to it being school holidays the caravan park was packed – hoards of pre-adolescent children riding bikes and scooters everywhere. With the benefit of reversing cameras parking was easy, and all children are still alive!
That’s it!! Set-up complete!

Though difficult to do we left the Jabiru to go for a long, brisk walk on the beach. This bay is quite beautiful with a lovely beach, great for swimming and in the strong winds we were having, the kite surfers were fantastic to watch. Despite those strong winds the campsite is quite well protected. This would be a lovely place to camp outside school holidays (for those without children!).

Back ‘home’ now for our first meal and a restful night in our new baby.

Celebrations

Celebrations

Preparations – the day before

The long awaited day is nearly here and we have to get to Sydney. We had friends take us to the train at Caboolture, then onto the airtrain to the airport and a flight to Sydney. Our luggage consisted of a backpack each with our clothes and two large suitcases containing a bare minimum kit to outfit the campervan enough to last us a week to drive her home. We had bedding and saucepans and a kettle and grocery items and even a cooked meal for the first night.

It has been 6 months since we ordered our Mercedes Benz 4×4 Sprinter campervan conversion to a Jabiru by Trakka, and I’ve just about worn the brochure out studying it and dreaming of adventures to come (as all friends who’ve been anywhere near me in the last 6 months can attest to!).¬† She’s been ready for us to collect since mid-December, however due to a business trip to Montreal, then on to Qatar and Berlin where our first two grandbabies were born (happy dance) we’ve only been back in Australia for 3 days.

Tonight we’re at the Meriton Apartments in Sydney, ready to catch the train to Mt Kuring Gai to Trakka’s factory and showrooms first thing in the morning.