Day 93 - Wednesday 8th July 2009
Townsville to Clermont - 508kms.

We packed up and left sunny Townsville about 8am, Marg made a coffee to go. Headed out to Charters Towers, an easy drive, no dramas with road closures in Townsville. Filled up at Charters towers, I was a bit worried about the Gregory Development Road, as it turned out there was no reason for concern, the road was 2 lane the whole way to Clermont, it was a bit bumpy between Belyando Crossing and Clermont, the shelves in the pantry fell down a first. We turned into Belyando Crossing, the place was jumping, at least 3 road trains and 10 vans, as we couldn't get Next G reception, we decided to drive onto Clermont. We filled up and continued for another 175kms to Clermont. Arrived in Clermont and are staying at the CP for an overnighter. We receive SBS2, so I can tape the Tour de France stage 5 tonight.

Today, the temperature got to 23°.

Our current itinerary:
    1. Clermont - overnighter
    2. Sapphire - 5 nights - more fossicking.
    3. Bundaberg - 2 nights - Marg has finished all her Bundy Liqueur.
    4. Don't know yet - 7 nights.
    5. Dicky Beach - 11 nights
    6. Southport - 42 nights.

Tomorrow, we head for Sapphire, a short 126kms away.

Day 94 - Thursday 9th July 2009
Clermont to Sapphire - 126kms.

As we only had 126kms to go today, we didn't need to leave early, so we didn't.
We left about 9am, just as we were about to head onto the Gregory Development Road, we heard over channel 40, that there was a 8m wide load coming, so we pulled over into the service station and waited, just as we did, the wide load appeared, there were 3 police cars, 3 pilots and two wide loads, carrying a Tonka Dump truck (Caterpillar 789C 177 tonne tray capacity), it was huge. The road from Clermont to Emerald was bumpy, so we coasted along. In Emerald, I had to go to the ATM, that was an experience, trying to find somewhere to park the rig. In the end I dropped Marg at the ATM and circled the block. We arrived at Blue Gem CP in Sapphire, it is a nice park. During the afternoon, we drove to Rubyvale and sussed it out, we also booked a tag along tour for tomorrow. We also checked out the Blue Hollow Mine in Sapphire. Every place you drove past in Sapphire and Rubyvale there are signs advertising something to do with sapphires, they are everywhere.

Today, the temperature got to 22.4° in Emerald, about 50kms away, it appears that it gets cold at night, a fellow camper told me, we will see. Just to be on the safe side, my sleeping bag will be at the ready.

Tomorrow, we meet Keith in a park at 8:30am for our Sapphire tag along tour. This should be interesting.

Wideload - Caterpillar 789C.

Wideload - Caterpillar 789C.

Wideload - Caterpillar 789C.

Day 95 - Friday 10th July 2009
Sapphire - Tag along tour.

We woke at 6:30 and it was 1° on my outside sensor, the cold nights have come with a venegance. My sleeping bag came in very handy.
Left camp about 8am and met with Keith our guide and 3 other couples, two included with children, who were mid teens. The fossicking site was about 20kms west of Sapphire and about 1km off the highway, it was real mountain goat territory, the mighty Navara had never been on such rough terrain. I used 4WD low range to get out, when we left. While we were there, it was bloody hard digging, I used a pick and shovel, while Marg sorted each bucket. We stayed for approx 3 hours, and in that time, we found 3 sapphires, 2 little gem quality and one larger, but not gem quality.
We spent the afternoon, talking to various fossickers staying in our park. Bob and Chris, our new neighbours, went to Armfest and bought a bucket of wash and found many small sapphires, so Marg and I are off there tomorrow. It beats all the back breaking effort of digging.

Today, the temperature got to 22.0° in Emerald.

Tomorrow, we are going to Armfest and buy a bucket of wash (wash is the gravel with sapphires hopefully).

Our diggings.

Marg at work.

Marg hard at work.

Day 96 - Saturday 11th July 2009
Sapphire hunting at Armfest.

We woke at 6:30 and it was -1.1° on my outside sensor, the cold nights are here. I was as warm as a bug in a rug, in my sleeping bag.
Left camp about 8:25am and drive the kilometer or so to Armfest, met Carol and BJ (Carol's son), paid $20 and receive a bucket of wash. The wash contains the dirt and sapphires, hopefully, obtained from their commercial mine. You have 2 sieves and put about 3 handfuls of wash in the top bigger hole sieve which then falls into the lower smaller hole sieve. You rinse the sieves in water to clean the dirt and mud off the stones and pebbles, then you empty the sieves onto a table and look for sapphires. We stayed for 4 hours and processed 2 buckets, our net result was at least 40 sapphires smallish, big enough for earrings and our 41.75 carat sapphire will probably be polished and turned into a pendant. It was not good enough quality to be cut.
We had an absolute ball. One lady found a 8.55 carat double star sapphire, which when cut could be worth $1,000 a carat. This a lot less stressful then attacking the ground with a pick. We will probably go back to Armfest next week for another bucket or two. Marg has spent some hours sorting up her sapphires.

Highest temperature was 23.6° in Emerald, another beautiful day after a cold night.

Tomorrow is market day in Sapphire.

Sapphire hunting at Armfest - Marg in full flight.

Sapphire hunting at Armfest - Marg in full flight.

The Brag board, we are on it.

The camp's pesky Rainbow Lorikeets.

Our camp.

The drivein bottleshop halfway between Sapphire and Rubyvale.

Day 97 - Sunday 12th July 2009
Sunday Markets in Sapphire.

The Blue Gem CP would have to be the friendlist CP that we have stayed in, everyone stops and chats. It is probably because everyone here, are looking for sapphires and have another common interest apart from caravanning.
At 7:00am this morning, my outside sensor showed MINUS 2.1°, but I was warm in my sleeping bag.
We wandered over to the Markets about 9am, we saw and spoke to Carol from Armfest, she pointed us to 2 people regarding our 42carat Sapphire Bomb. A Bomb is a sapphire which is valueless because you cannot see through it. We are having our Bomb polished and made into a pendant. The market specailises in sapphires, cutting, selling, you name it and it was there, we also bought a set of scales which measure carats. Marg has had a bit of fun weighing all our stones. Here is a quick summary -Sapphires 102 carats (largest 41.75 carat), topaz 107.7 carats (largest 43.6 carats), zircon 40 carats, and garnets approx 100 carats, so Marg is pretty happy with her gems.

This afternoon, I am watching the V8s from Townsville. The weather in Townsville looks identical to the weather in Sapphire, it is beautiful, probably mid 20s.

Today's top temperature was 24.5° in Emerald, another beautiful day after a cold night.

Tomorrow is back to Armfest for a couple more buckets.

Sunday markets in Sapphire.

Some of the crowd.

Marg at our polishers stall.

Day 98 - Monday 13th July 2009
Sapphire fossicking at Armfest.

At 7:00am this morning, my outside sensor showed MINUS 0.8°, but I was warm in my sleeping bag, Marg also had her sleeping bag..
We arrived at Armfest about 8:35am, but the sign on their gate said open 9am, so we drove around Sapphire, believe me, there is bugger all to see in Sapphire, apart from holes everywhere, similiar to Coober Pedy.
Back at Armfest at 8:55am, firsy customer today, by 9:30am, Bob and Kris our neighbours were here, as well as, our other neighbours beside us. We purchased 2 buckets of wash and ended up with 2 Sapphire bombs (26 and 10 carats) and heaps probably 30 small sapphires. These small sapphires are suitable for earrings or surround stones for rings. As we were leaving, we purchased 3 bags of wash, which Marg will look through over the coming weeks.

If anyone goes to Sapphire or Rubyvale, then I recommend Armfest, as a place to go, to look for sapphires. Carol and her son BJ, are so friendly and willingly help the novices like us or anyone who asks. It was great fun.

During the afternoon, we slowly started packing up, in readiness for our drive to Springsure via Emerald tomorrow.
Tonight, we are off to bingo over the road, I have never been to bingo, I must be getting old. hehehehe..

Today's top temperature was 26.6° in Emerald, another beautiful day after a cold night.

Update: Bingo was great Marg and I won 3 games, but down $5 for the night.

Tomorrow, we are off to Springsure, via Emerald where we will do some food shopping.

Who's a pretty boy?

Marg looking for sapphires.

Our fellow sapphire hunters.

Bingo in Sapphire.

Bingo in Sapphire.

Bingo in Sapphire.

Day 99 - Tuesday 14th July 2009
Sapphire to Springsure - 122kms.

It was mild over night, if anything, I was too warm in my sleeping bag, but couldn't be stuffed to change it.
We packed up and left Sapphire around 9am, on the way out of town, we emptied the 'shitter', by the way, Sapphire is a CMCA friendly town. Turned east on the Capricorn Hwy and proceeded at 'Keith's speed' (about 80kph) towards Emerald. Thanks Bob for your directions to Coles Supermarket in Emerald, very easy. Coles has parking over the road for caravans, so we parked and shopped and by the time, that we left, there were at least 7 vans and motorhomes parked with us. Drove East out of Emerald to the Springsure Rd (Dawson Hwy), then had a 8.5 meter wide load approach us, so we had to stop on the side of the road and wait for it to pass. It was another Tonka Dump truck tray. We arrived at the Springsure Roadhouse and Caravan Park about midday. Lucky that we booked, because it was full and turning away caravanners. The park reminds me of Leighton's at Peak Hill, cosy and nice. The afternoon was spent with Marg playing with her rocks and I am updating this website.

Today's top temperature was 24.0° in Emerald, another beautiful day after a cold night.

Tomorrow, we are off to fossick for Labradorite.

The wideload.

Day 100 - Wednesday 15th July 2009
Fossicking for Labradorite (Lazza Rock).

It is MINUS 5.9 that is BLOODY Cold

We drove off to the Labradorite area about 9am, it was about 20kms from camp, along a sealed road, then a couple of kms along a gravel road, then 200m along a dirt track. This led us to a dry river bed, upon closer inspection, we knew we were in the right area, as there were numerous diggings. This is the second time that we have gone fossicking on our own, we still don't know what we are doing. So I started digging in an existing hole, and after 3 hours, we had found nice pieces of Labradorite. Marg was very happy.
We left the Lazza Rock area and went back to our camp or in particular, the Roadhouse and bought some sandwiches for lunch. We decided as we were quite dusty and dirty, that we would now drive out to the 'Opalised Wood' area. This was about 16kms back along the highway towards Emerald, then 6kms along a gravel road and then 400m along a dry track. The 'Opalised Wood' area, stood out like the proverbial, and we picked a shopping bag full in quick time. Back at camp, Marg sorted out our days collections, we had over 250 carats of 'cutable' Labradorite, and she was more than happy with the result.

Today's top temperature was 21° in Springsure with a low of 2°, another beautiful day after a cold night. Tonight it is forecasted to get to zero, so my outside sensor should display about minus 7, we will see.

Tomorrow, we are off to Biloela for an overnighter.

Springsure Roadhouse and Caravan Park.

The 'big' Labradorite hunter.

The dry riverbed.

Marg is looking for Labradorite.

Marg is looking for Opalised Wood.

The Opalised Wood area.

Day 101 - Thursday 16th July 2009
Springsure to Biloela - 284kms.

It is MINUS 5.5, postively balmy compared to yesterday.

We packed up and left Springsure about 8:30am. Our first stop was Rolleston, the next stop was Bauhinia, the road was extremely bouncy and bumpy. I checked on the inside of the van and the shit had hit the fan, well with all the bouncing, the fridge door opened and I had margarine on the floor, but the worst was the top of the nacho salsa bottle came off and went over the bath mat. After I had cleaned up all the mess, we continued onto Moura then through Banana and finally to Biloela, where we stopped at Biloela CP for the night. This park is ok.
I rang Simon at Bundy's Glenlodge Caravan Village and booked in for 6 nights starting tomorrow, then we drive straight to Dicky Beach.

It has been noticeably cooler today. In Biloela the lowest this morning was 2.0°.

Tomorrow, we are off to Glenlodge Caravan Village in Bundy.

Day 102 - Friday 17th July 2009
Biloela to Bundaberg - 286kms.

It is MINUS 6.5, a new record for us. In the van it got down to 4°, but we are both in our own sleeping bags and are as warm as toast.

I am waiting for Marg to wake up, so we can pack up and leave for Bundy this morning. We decided to stay at Bundy for the 6 nights, until our booking at Dicky Beach which commences on Thursday 23rd July for 11 nights.
I think that our trip is coming to an end, because there are only 3 Caravan Parks until we start heading back home, but those 3 CPs total over 2 months (59 nights) stays(Bundy 6 nights, Dicky Beach 11 nights and Southport 42 nights), so really, we have nearly a third of our trip to go.
We arrived at Glenlodge Caravan Village, Bundy about 1pm, our site is right next to our site last year. During the aftertnoon, we setup camp and did some washing, it's great that we can sleep in tomorrow.

It only got to 19° during the day, mainly due to the cool breeze.

Tomorrow, we are off to the Bundy Distillery to buy some Liqueur. Rumour has it that, it is on special at $100 for 3 x 700ml bottles.

Day 103 - Saturday 18th July 2009
Bumming about in Bundy.

Last night's minimum was a positive 1.1°, the cold breeze is slowly abating.
Marg managed to sleep in this morning, so we didn't go shopping until 10am. First stop was the Bundy Distillery, while we were there, there were 2 guys buying heaps of Bundy, like the last 4 cases of 8 year old Bundy (96 bottles) plus 30 bottles of liqueur, I heard him say that he had 100 Para Port 101. Obviously, he buys grog for investment. I hope, otherwise he is a real soak. Anyway, we bought our Bundy Liqueur, which was on special, 3 bottles for $100, so the rumour was spot on. Marg is happy. The liqueur can only be bought from the Bundy shop, it is not sold in any other retail outlet.
Next stop was Coles and Woollies, except there were NO available car spaces, obviously all Bundy people do their shopping on Saturday morning, so we went over the road to Super IGA and shopped. It was nearly empty. Onto Spotlight as Marg needed to buy some crafty stuff. We planned to go to the Across the Waves Sports Club for dinner, but I was very tired and we gave it a miss until tomorrow night.

It got to 20.8° during the day. Very pleasant sitting in the sun.

Tomorrow, we are off to the Sunday Markets.

Here is what it is all about. Bundy Liqueur.

Day 104 - Sunday 19th July 2009
Bumming about in Bundy.

It was positively balmy last night with a minimum of 9.2°.
Went to the markets this morning, except the queue was bloody huge, does everyone in Bundy go to the markets on Sunday because everything else is closed on Sundays. Bundy only has 6 day shopping, believe it or not. So after staying in the queue, we decided to drive to Bundy Port and then down the coast to Elliot Heads. The Port was small and quiet and had a Bulk Sugar Terminal, the river and ocean was dead calm and flat. Off to Burnett Heads, then to Mon Repos, famous for the Turtles rookery, but wrong time of the year, next was Bargara, then Innes Park, followed by Coral Cove and finally, Elliot Heads, this is a gem, we had lunch at the kiosk and we could easily stay there for 2 nights, as the Caravan park is about 100m from the kiosk and the heads.
We went to the Across the Water Sports Club for dinner, so Marg could play the pokies. It is a good club, I watched the Saints beat the Crows, we did leave with 8 minutes to go in the last quarter, so the Saints should have won.

It got to 22.6° during the day.

Tomorrow, we are sightseeing around Bundy.

Bundaberg Bulk Sugar Terminal.

Bundaberg Bulk Sugar Terminal.

Bundaberg Bulk Sugar Terminal.

Elliott Heads Caravan Park.

Elliot river looking inland at low tide.

Elliot river looking inland at low tide.

Day 105 - Monday 20th July 2009
Bumming about in Bundy.

It was positively balmy last night with a minimum of 11°, I was actually a bit too warm with my sleeping bag on, but I couldn't be bothered to get my blankets.
Late morning, we went to Woollies, naturally, there were heaps of car spaces this time, we walked all around the Hinkler Central Shopping Centre. During the afternoon, I sat in the sun and started another John Grisham book The Rainmaker. We both had a nanna nap later in the afternoon.

It got to 23.4° during the day.

Tomorrow, we are sightseeing around Bundy.

Day 106 - Tuesday 21st July 2009
Bumming about in Bundy.

The weather has improved, it is no longer as cold at night, we have thrown off the sleeping bags and back to blankets.
This morning was cleaning day, Marg spring cleaned the van and then vaccuumed the car, I cleaned the car and then did the outside of the van. They came up a treat. After our morning of full on cleaning, we drove into the Hinkler Central shopping centre and had lunch with a coffee.
Back at camp, I sat outside and started into my book John Grisham The Rainmaker, I thought that I had read every Grisham book, but I can't remember this one and it has sucked me right in, I can hardly put it down. Dinner tonight was a roast lamb and vegies in our Turbo Oven, it was yumma. We will be selling our Cobb Cooker, as we no longer need it.

It got to 22.9° during the day,witha minimum of 9.4°.

Tomorrow, I still want to go to the Hummock Lookout, so here's hoping.

Our 'clean' camp at Glenlodge Caravan Village.

Our 'clean' camp at Glenlodge Caravan Village.

Our 'clean' camp at Glenlodge Caravan Village.

Day 107 - Wednesday 22nd July 2009
Bumming about in Bundy.

The weather has improved, it was warm overnight and pleasant during the day with a top of 22.8°.
As today is our last day in Bundy, we went to the other shopping Centre, Sugarland. We re-acquainted ourselves with Donut King, the coffee and donuts were great. We also went to the Hummock Lookout and took some piccies. Back at camp, I started to pack up, then it was time to goto the Bundy RSL to play the pokies and have dinner. Marg lost on the pokies and our meal was beautiful.
Our son Jason is due in Bundy sometime tonight for work commitments. We spoke to him and will try and see him as we leave Bundy in the morning.

Tomorrow, we are off to Dicky Beach - 288 kms.

*2009 - Index page*

**NEXT - Heading to Dicky Beach**