Day 75 - Saturday 20th June 2009
Normanton to Croydon - 155kms.

Last night was mild 12.7c at 7am and 30.9c at 4pm.

Today we head to Croydon for an overnighter. As the Darwin round of the V8 Supercars is on, I want to be all setup in time. Can we do it?
Yep, made it with ease. Graham and Gail in the other Trailblazer left Normanton about 5 minutes before us, we saw them at the dump point on the outskirts of town. We slowly caught them by Blackbull Siding, where we stopped for a break and they kept driving on and we never saw them again. After 155kms, we arrived in Croydon, nothing has changed since last year, the galahs are still screeching in the trees and no one is around. It's 3:15pm and I am watching TV, waiting for the V8s to start in about 40 minutes.

Our current itinerary:
    1. Croydon - Overnighter
    2. Mount Surprise - 3 nights
    3. Innot Hot Springs - overnighter
    4. Wonga Beach, 40kms north of Port Douglas - 3 nights
    5. Cardwell - overnighter
    6. Townsville - 7 nights
    7. Charters Towers - overnighter
    8. Belyando Crossing - overnighter
    9. Clermont - overnighter
    10. Sapphire - 5 nights - more fossicking.
    11. Don't know yet - 13 nights.
    12. Dicky Beach - 7 nights
    13. Southport - 42 nights.

Tomorrow, Croydon to Mount Surprise - 240kms.

Croydon CP.

Our camp.

Georgetown, here we come.

Day 76 - Sunday 21st June 2009
Croydon to Mount Surprise - 240kms.

Last night was warm and the local 'natives' were partying untill 2am.

Today we head to Mount Surprise for 3 nights. As the Darwin round of the V8 Supercars are on, I want to be all setup in time including the Satellite Dish.
Our first stop was at the Gilbert river RA, it is as dry as. The next stop was at Georgetown and then onto Mount Surprise, as we entered Mt Surprise we went over the water washer on the outskirts. This helps to keep the underneath of your car and van free from grass nasties.
As we paid for our site, I ordered 2 wood fire pizza for dinner, Bedrock Village CP offers its patrons, various dinner meals, tonight it is wood fire pizza.
Our site was a drive through and shady, I found enough room between the trees for the satellite dish to see its satellite. Marg and I walked upto see Peter at Mt Surprise Gems to finalise our Topaz tag along tour tomorrow, we have to be there at 7:50am.
Now I am watching the V8s, Lowndesy is leading on lap 9, ah shit, Caruso has just passed him. Go Lowndesy.
edit: Lowndesy came 3rd.

Our pizza for dinner was yumma. I am washing it down with a VB.

Tomorrow, Topaz tag along tour.

Gilbert River Bridge.

Gilbert River Bridge.

A Bond Bridge - Gilbert River.

Day 77 - Monday 22nd June 2009
Topaz fossicking tour.

Last night was warm and today was cloudy with prospects of rain, but no rain arrived.

Today we were up at 6:30am and arrived at Mt Surprise Gems at 7:45am, just on time. There were 3 other couples joining us with Doug our tour guide. We left Mt Surprise Gems at 8am and headed 60kms to O'Briens Creek fossicking area, with 57kms on gravel and a monstrous river to drive through. I have never driven that far on gravel and never ever driven through a river, well creek actually, but the river was about a foot deep. We arrived at the O'Briens creek about 9am after driving past herds of cattle. Doug gave us a sieve, pick and spade and took us over to the fossicking area. After about 5 minutes, Marg and I had found our 2 largest topaz, about midday, we packed up and headed back to camp. On the way back to camp, we stopped and took photos of the various herds of cattle.
Back at Mt Surprise Gems, Pam said that Marg's largest Topaz was about 12 carats, which is rather large. All in all, we had a ball.

Tomorrow, a quiet day.

Fording the O'Briens creek.

Fording the O'Briens creek.

Doug our tour guide.

Going to the fossicking area.

Me - the champion topaz digger.

Me - the champion topaz digger.

View on the way back to Mt Surprise.

Beautiful mum and calf.

2 bulls fighting.

Lovely calf.

Our Topaz.

Our Topaz.

Day 78 - Tuesday 23rd June 2009
Not much happening in Mt Surprise.

Last night was warm and today is sunny as usual.

Today we slept in, well Marg did, I was up at 7am. Mid morning, we drove to Junction creek about 20kms west of Mt Surprise, but it is private property. So we drove further to Einasleigh River about 35kms west of Mt Surprise, because it has a little water and some nice rocks to walk over. We found some nice quartz, but nothing else. Back in town, we filled up with diesel, ready for tomorrow's marathon drive to Innot Hot Springs, all 130 kms. Next door to the service station was the pub, so 2 pots of VB (one each) later, we left for camp. Quite afternoon at camp.

Tomorrow, a quiet day.

Junction Creek and Savannah Way.

Einasleigh River.

Marg has trouble leaving any Pub.

Day 79 - Wednesday 24th June 2009
Mt Surprise to Innot Hot Springs - 139kms.

Last night started out warm, but by 3:30am I was pulling on blankets. I awoke to a chilly (7c), cloundless, windless, sunny morning.

Today, up at 6:30am and showered, the amenities here at Bedrock Village are excellent. I am waiting for Marg to wake, but if she is still asleep at 7:30, she gets wokened.
We plan to get to Innot Hot Springs about 11am and have a spa or two, there is also a Pub there, which, if upto last year's standard, serve great counter meals. We will wait and see.

Well we are here, arrived about 11am. There is no Internet reception, so we setup camp and the satellite dish, so Marg could watch Ghost Whisperer. During the afternoon, we went for a spa the hot one (43-45c) was too hot, the next one was cold, the next one was 39-41c was just right, so we spent about 40 minutes in there and came out like a prune. After a rest, we wandered over to the pub, shock horror, the pub is in the process of changing hands and there are no counter meals at present. Bummer.

Tomorrow, we drive to Wonga Beach - 206kms.

The just right spa (37-39c).

Innot Hot Springs CP.

Marg at the Hot Springs Hotel.

*2009 - Index page*

**NEXT - Heading to Wonga Beach**