2015 Trip to Brisbane, northern New South Wales, Blazeaid

Last updated 5 Maypril 2015

12 March. The main reason to go down south was to obtain a new passport which could only be done in Brisbane at the Dutch consulate. On the way down we stopped at our favourite spots. Luke and Nikaela in Mackay, Carmilla beach, Calliope.
We visited a lot of friends on the way. Cris and Dough Dwyer in Rockhampton, Betty Jenjy and Liz Cameron in Harvey Bay. John and Robyn de Lange in Maryborough. We stayed overnight at the RV homebase with John and Lynne Pollard
Whenever we are in Brisbane we always catch up with Linda Llewellyn. We bought our first car from her wen we arrived in Australia and are still friends. We went out for dinner and the next day Linda picked us up from our overnight stay at the powerhouse car park to bring us to the city and picked us up again. After I drove Susan to the airport I continued south in the hope to find some cooler weather but to no avail.
                          First stop                                                                                                     Calliope

26 March. Boonah to New South Wales. I had planned to drive straight south but a sign waterfall circuit caught my eye and I took the road. After a few kilometres there were big signs not suitable for caravans or busses but this had never stopped me before. The road was fine but after a lot of climbing and the fog was so bad that the road was nearly invisible. Susan would have liked this (not). On a clear day the views would have been spectacular. However it did clear up and it is spectacular country. Beautiful waterfalls and great views. I ended up staying in Toolom Falls. We were here in January 2014 when there was a heatwave on. We had 46 degrees in the bus this time it was only 34.
Last year there was less water and cleaner to swim in not this time.

           Queen Mary falls                                                                              Toolom Falls
Tree nights in Toolom falls with beautiful weather. The weekend was fairly busy with campers but the sound of the waterfall drowned out any other sound. Sunday to Warwick. It was ad dead as a doornail but Monday morning was another story. A quick visit to Aldi and to a campsite which had the thick of approval in the camps book but when it is overcast and looking like rain I decided to move on. The countryside is very appealing. Mountainous on the horizon and flowing fields with sunflowers, corn, sorghum and the occasional paddock.
Tuesday a quick walk through Toowoomba, filled up with fuel and drove to the Bunya Mountains. Spend the night practically beside all the TV towers at 1100 M. Toowoomba was chilly in the morning but that is only 500 M. When I woke up it was 16 degrees. It was a twisty misty way down to Kingaroy. Some shopping and the laundry. Off to Gayndah via Murgon. As soon as I get to a few hundred meters above sea level the temperature improves but the rain keeps the temperature down.
Next day to Biloela where I am volunteering with blaze aid. If you want to know more: http://blazeaid.com/

Biloela campsite for blazeaid. Rainbow is NOT photoshop.

This is the fence when we started clearing the open space
you see are fence posts pushed over by the water.
This is the same fence as seen from the other side after we dug the holes put the posts in and strained the wire.
2 April. When I arrived in Biloela I was met by the coordinator who made me very welcome and showed me a place to park. Water and electricity provided. A nice flat grassed area in heritage park. There are only about twenty people here but this number changes frequently as people are coming and going. The work comprises of cleaning the fence of any debris, straightening the posts, or putting them back in place when they are washed away, and repairing broken barb wire and straining the line. Blazeaid has a lot of equipment and they are very well organised. The day starts with the alarm going off at 5.30 AM. Cuppa tea and a bit of news on TV. 6.15 we have muster. This is getting informed about the days work. Breakfast is laid out and help yourself. They have bacon and eggs sausages and cereals or toast and spreads. If you go to a farm who supplies you with morning tea and lunch all you have to do is bring water. You can take anything you like out of the fridge. If the farmer does not supply lunch you have an enormous variety of different toppings you can put in your lunchbox. The work is hard and the first couple of days I was out of breath all the time. The temperature and humidity are still high which does not help. I am slowly getting used to the work and after five days here I am already promoted to team leader which does not mean much and because I am here with a motorhome I can not drive to the farm. Everyone is here with a caravan. At night we also have a muster when we explain what we have done during the day followed by dinner. No complains here. About 7.30 PM everyone goes home. Most go to bed early because they are exhausted from the work.
9 April. Winter has arrived. The previous evening a jumper had to be worn to dinner. This morning 8 degrees. It is my day off and cleaning chores. Laundry, washing bus inside and out and an extra blanket on the bed. The cold weather is great during the day when working but not so good at night. Instead of digging holes to put the ripped out posts in yesterday's farmer had a hydraulic ram which saved a lot of backbreaking work. We got the job finished and the farmer could put his cattle in the paddock without it wandering in to neighbours yards.
16 April. Slowly getting used to the work. Still dead tired at the end of the day. Every Saturday night there is farmers night, this is when the farmers we have worked for are invited for a meal. Tonight's meal will be provided by the Rotary club. Beautiful weather, laundry done and house cleaned.
23 April. Time goes very fast. The week is over before you know it. Only one day rain and miserable cold but for the rest cold nights but beautiful days. I must be getting used to the work because I am no longer dog tired. Probably also because it is not stinking hot anymore.

                  Before the cleanup                                   Half way the cleanup                                      New picket fence

Article in the Central Telegraph. I just happen to be in the team where the photo was taken.

                           A major washout                                                                       Me the expert wire strainer
After nearly six weeks time to move on. On my day off I made a trip to Maura with no difficulties getting there but when I wanted to start the bus no joy. Maura mechanical services got me going but did not know why they fixed it. So when I headed home problems slowly developed. The motor was losing power at times and it was getting worse. I just managed to reach Emerald but when I wanted to start next morning no hope. After several tries I bought new batteries and this got me on the way again. I had planned to spend a few days getting back to Townsville but after this headed straight home. But after 300 Km all of a sudden a loud bang and one of the front tyres blew. It could not have happened in a better spot. For hundred of Km. a sharp drop-off at the side of the road but here a nice gravel level spot with a family who had set up camp for the night. I had a few beers with them and changed the tyre in the morning.
13 May. The countryside from Emerald to Charters Towers is not very exiting. (600KM) After the tyre incident 450 Km to home. Surprisingly no incidents happened. Got home around 3 PM. and we were a family again.

Not a good sight