Our ability to travel has become severely limited to Covid 19. Going overseas isn’t possible and even after a vaccine is freely administered we would think twice about heading anywhere out of the Asia-Pacific region given how poorly some countries have managed to control its spread. Even our state borders have been locked down several times in the last 12 months as various flare ups of Covid 19 have occurred. If things go well we are going to head north to Queensland in July and August to avoid some of the wintry weather. So now is a good time for me to reminisce about another caravan trip we made to Queensland back in 2019 to escape some of the winter here on the Mornington Peninsula and to enjoy some winter warmth.
After putting up with the start of the colder weather we hitched up our old faithful caravan in the middle of July and headed north.
Our route took us through the eastern and northern suburbs of Melbourne before reaching the Hume Freeway. Along the way we stopped for lunch at one of the roadside stops before continuing on until just after Seymour when we took the turnoff for Shepparton. From there we took the C363 to Strathmerton where we got onto the A39 and wiggled through to Tocumwal after crossing the Murray River which marks the border between Victoria and New South Wales. By that point it was late afternoon so we checked into the Big4 caravan park there. We ate dinner at The Palms, Tocumwal before taking an early night.
After breakfast the next morning we were soon on our way north. Even though it was a very short drive we stopped in Finley, falling to the temptation of buying one of their renowned vanilla slices which I duly ate at lunchtime in Ardlethan. Our drive took us through mostly farming land.
Just before 14:00 we reached the town of West Wyalong. There are some well preserved buildings here. The old pubs being a feature.
By 15:30 we had arrived in Parkes, our planned stopping point for the night. We checked into an ensuite site at the Spicer Caravan Park. Once we were set up we drove back into town to grab a few supplies at the supermarket and have a look around. There was some terrific street art.
We quite liked this unique advertising wall for the Roasted Kombi Café too.
At one point we found the statue honouring Sir Henry Parkes, one of the instigators for the idea of federating all the states into what is now known as Australia. Nothing like brushing shoulders with someone famous.
The weather the next day was pretty gloomy so a good day to be driving, even if there were a lot of large trucks on the Newell Highway (A39).
We made steady progress, passing through Dubbo and Gilgandra, and by the time we made our first stop we had the Warrumbungles within eyeshot.
We stopped for lunch in Coonabaraban before continuing on. A constant as we drove along were the trucks and the massive silos in each town.
Our stopping point that day was the Gwydir Thermal Pools Motel and Caravan Park. Once we had the caravan set up we changed into our bathers and went to the pools for a warm, relaxing soak. (No cameras here, so no photos.)
The next day was another day of mostly driving. Goondiwindi is a neat looking town on the NSW/QLD border. From there we continued on the A5 north to Miles. Sadly the road quality was a lot poorer once we were in QLD. Just north of Miles we checked into Possum Park, which had been recommended to us by several other caravanning friends of ours.
After setting up our caravan for the next we joined about a dozen others around the fire pit for a drink at beer o’clock and a good chat. If you aren’t travelling with a caravan they have set up a number of old train carriages as cabins.
They are also in the process of completing another monumental project. Back in 2013 they bought an old Vickers Viscount 756C, originally flown by TAA. Over time it has been renovated, had a massive shed constructed around it, one wing reattached with a view to doing the second. Eventually it will be set up as another accommodation option.
The following day we were back on the road again, travelling north on the A5, the Leichhardt Highway. In this shot you can see evidence of controlled burning off.
We passed through a number of small towns. The name of one of them tickled our funny bone, Banana. It was here we switched to State Route 60 to head to Bileola, where we stopped for lunch. We stayed on this road for most of the remainder of the afternoon, only using a few local roads to arrive at our next overnight stop, Boyne Island Caravan Park. After setting up the caravan we took a walk out the back of the park where the boat ramp was located.
We didn’t stay long as the area was quite muddy and the light was fading but it did provide an interesting photo opportunity as dusk arrived.
On the fifth day of our road trip we had needed to drive for a few hours. Initially we travelled up the A1.
Once we reached Rockhampton, which is right on the Tropic of Capricorn,
we turned back towards the coast. Passing through Kinka Beach we arrived at the NRMA Capricorn Yeppoon Holiday Park just on lunch time. Our road trip up to a warmer winter had finished as we would be spending the next week here. After setting up the caravan, having a late lunch and a quick afternoon nap we drove up to Yeppoon late in the afternoon for a reconnaissance of the shops, cafés and other services in the area. On our way back we took the Wreck Point Scenic Walk. Sadly no wildlife in the water at that time but we did have a good panoramic view as golden hour approached.
We had quite a few warm winter days and golden sunsets to come. You can read more about our time in Queensland in the next few posts.