Days 30 & 31: Opera in the Caves then Gympie

Starting where I left off, at Waterpark Creek Camping area, we had a good rain downpour our last night there, and very pleased to report that Arty kept as dry and warm. It delayed our departure the next day though as we didn’t want to fold the tent up wet. While waiting for it to dry we got to talking to a couple who were wandering around the campsite taking bird photos – twitchers! Both had decent cameras to capture lovely photos – fast and with good magnification. We are seriously tempted – need guidance Deb!

Headed back through Yeppoon to Rockhampton and The Caves. Tonight is the night for Opera in the Caves. The Caves has a camping ground – bonus … just walk back to our tent after the show! Sounds good, except that an unpowered site cost us $30, camp kitchen didn’t have a cooktop, the kettle didn’t work at all, no hot water, no internet and the lights are on an automatic setting and they didn’t come on until after we’d made our dinner in the dusk! Not impressed and definitely won’t be recommending this spot to anyone.

Opera in the Caves

Darian Di Stefano-Johns, Baritone; Glenn Lorimer, Tenor; Susan Ellis, Soprano; Louise Dorsman, Mezzo-Soprano.

Opera in the Caves

Hard to show perspective of the towering roof of the cave.

However – the Opera in the Caves. Wow – wow, wow, wow! It was amazing, surreal, fantastic, incredible. Loved every second of it and didn’t ever want it to stop. Yep – you’ve probably guessed that we enjoyed it. The singers were fantastic, the venue (the Cathedral Cave) outstanding. There were about 50 in the audience, which was about 2/3 capacity, there was just a single piano and the singers (a baritone, a tenor, a mezze soprano and a soprano). It was so personal and so awe-inspiring to have these incredible singers right beside us, their voices soaring to the tops of the cave. And a few bats flying around added even more atmosphere. We’ll definitely be looking to see where their next performances are. We’ve got our sights on their Jenolan Caves performance and their Mt Isa in the mine performance – maybe even the Spring Hill in the water reservoirs too.

Click here to view more photos of The Opera.

Well that concluded our last real camping day. Today we’re heading for Gympie to spend the night with our friends Patrick and Sally. We’re currently in Childers having driven the last leg from Bororen. It was very stressful driving with so much road works happening – not so much being delayed, but more the continual changes to speed limits – 60, 40, 80, 90, 100 (briefly) and backwards and forwards on those speeds all the time … then the cars behind you that see no reason to stick to 80 for many km (neither did I frankly, it seemed pretty average 100 territory); who then roar past me at the slightest opportunity that may or may not be safe and speed away. Not happy Jan! Either make the speed limit what they want, repeat it often and then police it, or leave it at 100 which we all expect.

Finished lunch now, with some peanuts from the Peanut Van and maybe a Mamimo icecream.

Days 28 & 29: Waterpark Creek, Byfield

BBQ for dinner, and a turkey. 'Nuff said.

BBQ for dinner, and a turkey. ‘Nuff said.

We felt a bit flat yesterday and didn’t want to do much at all. Steve did the final fix of the dividers into the drawer system in the back of Mitzy, and just tidied stuff up and did some washing. BBQ for dinner.

Last night I was peacefully sleeping away when Steve wakes me: “I’ve got a tick. Take it off!”
Me: “It’s 3am. Can’t it wait till morning?”
Steve: “No. It could be huge and I’ll have no blood left by then.”
I removed the tick! Sorry, no photos.

Today we were feeling more energetic and decided to do the kayak trip again – we loved it so much last time. Went upstream in the morning, spent a couple of hours at the rapids and had lunch there and returned midafternoon. At times (all the time, actually) it felt like we were the only people in the world and we were exploring the wild Orinoko! We’re definitely planning more kayaking trips, they are so enjoyable.



For a few more photos of Waterpark Creek (not many!) click here.

Day 27: Eurimbula to Waterpark Creek, Byfield

Despite booking in to Eurimbula for 3 nights we decided to move on this morning – back north again to Waterpark Creek campsite in Byfield Forestry Reserve. We have to be near to Rockhampton anyway for Friday night’s Opera.

Fun 4-wheel drive track.

Fun 4-wheel drive track.

It was mostly a day of driving. In yesterday’s post I described the road to Eurimbula, but what I didn’t add is that it is really interesting. The ‘road’ is really only two wheel tracks for most of the way, weaving in and out around the trees. The bush is ferns and palms and paperbarks with some quite tall gums. A really pretty drive.
Stopped for lunch at Kershaw Gardens, botanical gardens on the northern side of the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton. Great place for a break and a walk around – which I had to do just to try to find the toilets! Prepared tonight’s tea and put it in the Dreampot.
We enjoyed Waterpark Creek so much last week we were happy to come back. Unfortunately National Parks won’t transfer bookings from one campsite to another, which is very annoying! Looks like we’ll be paying double for tonight and tomorrow night – luckily it’s only $11.20 a night for us both!
Arrived mid afternoon, setup and spent the afternoon checking mail, writing this blog, and going for a walk down to the creek.

Day 23: Water Park Creek, Byfield Forestry Park

A pair of bush turkeys were making their nest near where we camped. Love the pretty neck!

A pair of bush turkeys were making their nest near where we camped. Love the pretty neck!

Another magic day! The campsite is beside Water Park Creek, which is a nice wide-ish creek with a weir where the road crosses. We got in late-ish yesterday so just wandered down to the creek, relaxed with our iPads (3 bars 3G!) had delicious BBQ lamb steaks and salad for dinner and spent the dusk swatting midgies and marsh flies! This campsite is very heavily treed (read, lots of shade), and has 10 defined camp sites which are mostly quite secluded from each other. To one side is a large park with sheltered tables, modern electric BBQs and clean, flushing toilets (no showers). We get the use of these excellent facilities for the princely sum of $11.20 per night. I love Australia.

This is the prettiest kayaking we've done to date.

This is the prettiest kayaking we’ve done to date.

Today the plan was to paddle the kayak up the creek. 7K of it is navigable from the weir. We pumped it up and set off about 11am, with a picnic lunch. Within minutes we were in Nirvana. The creek was so beautiful as it meandered through natural bush on both sides, palms, fallen trees in the water, some parts shallow as we just skimmed over the creek bed, other areas so deep we couldn’t see the bottom.
When we got hungry we tied the kayak to a tree and just relaxed in the boat eating our picnic – the creek sides were fairly steep, so we didn’t want to get out. I was sure I could hear rapids ahead, so after lunch we kept going, past some tricky fallen trees and rocks, and sure enough there were the rapids and a small waterfall. To the side was a little sandy area where we pulled the kayak up and got out. We spent a lovely hour or so here swimming, sitting under the waterfall and lying in the beautiful chilling rapids – who needs a spa pool?
We turned for home and life became even easier. Going up we would have sworn there was hardly any current and didn’t think we were paddling too hard, but coming back we only had to paddle ever so gently and we just kept gliding along.

Wompoo Fruit Dove. We were indeed excited and so fortunate to see these fairly reclusive birds.

Wompoo Fruit Dove. We were indeed excited and so fortunate to see these fairly reclusive birds.

We didn’t see much bird life which surprised us, but were delighted to be treated to seeing two Wompoo Fruit Doves. We sat under the tree they were in and they seemed just as intrigued by us as we were by them. Other wildlife was just a couple of cormorants and lots of water monitor goannas from little ones to very big, and a couple of turtles.
Back to camp, feeling pretty good for our 14K paddle, and noted this as a place we’d love to return to (not on weekends or school holidays though).
Click on this sentence to open the gallery of photos we took while camping here.Kayaking on Waterpark Creek