Tuesday 12th June 2012
Day 24 - Cloncurry to Richmond - 285kms.

I woke at 6am, while Marg managed to sleep in. The weather is 'the Norm' (cold, cloudless blue skies).
We left The Oasis CP at 9:02am after saying goodbye to Ken and Deb, the owners, and headed due east into the sun. Our first stop was at Julia Creek, about 135kms away, our next stop was at Maxwelton, another 100kms further on, this is where I took the photo of the road and rest area. We arrived at Lakeview CP, Richmond at 12:30pm, after an uneventful drive, which is what we like.

We met Patricia and John, who run the park, they directed us to our spot, it overlooks the Fred Tritton lake, the best site in the park. After we setup camp we drove to Kronosaurus Korner, which is also the Information centre. Kronosaurus Korner has a museum which is a self guided tour with headphones telling you what's what, we will do this tour tomorrow morning, then will drive about 12kms out of town to their 'fossil fossicking' areas and try our luck looking for a fossil.
Spent late afternoon, just sitting outside in the sun, taking in the vistas, they were beautiful. See the panoramics below.
Dinner was baked fish and vegies. Yumma. We taped Rafters and Pictures of you, as they are aired a bit late for these two old farts. We watched a couple of The Vicar of Dibley episodes. It feels like it will be a cold night.

Are we there yet? Nearly.

Where is the traffic?

Where is the traffic? I am not really upset, though.

At Maxwelton Rest Area.

my view from inside the van.

Unpowered section of the park.

Fred Tritton lake.

this is what we see from our van.

Wednesday 13th June 2012
Day 25 - Roaming around Richmond.

I woke at 5:50am, and looked outside, it was dark but as we were facing the East, the sun was about to rise and looked absolutely beautiful. I did take some photos but they didn't do justice to the scene. I was back to using my sleepingbag and slept like a baby. Marg is still asleep and there is a snoring sound coming from her direction.

We left camp about 10:30am and went to Kronosaurus Korner to check out its display of fossils, this cost us $10 each, which was good value. It started with a 10 minute video of this area 110 Million years ago, not much has changed, except where we were sitting was 40 meters under water, but apart from that, no change.
After the video, we walked into the display rooms, we also carried an audio player, each display had a number and you entered that number and listened to the dude tell us about what we were looking at. Very informative.

We saw the following fossils:
  • Kronosaurus queenslandicus - an apex predator of the sea, this animal could attack and eat anything that it came across. Length about 12.5m.
  • Elasmosaur - had a tiny head and a very long neck about 8m long.
  • Eromangasaurus australis - very similiar to Elasmosaur,
  • Ichthyosaur - like dolphin but 7m long,
  • Flindersichthys - like a modern day groper,
  • Notochelone - turtles
  • Ammonites - distant relative to octopus and cuttlefish.,
  • Richmond Pilosaur - 4.25m carnivorous marine reptile.
  • Ankylosaur - small plant eating dinosaur.
It took over 1.5 hours and was well worth it.
Back to camp for lunch and then out to the fossil fossicking area. This was an excavated quarry and you walk around and dig anywhere in the quarry. We didn't find much, because we didn't know what we were looking for, we took what we found back to Kronosaurus Korner and Paul the curator told us that we had found some Coprolite - fossilised poo, Fish jaw about 1" long, some Inoceramus shell - giant clam, our specimen was about an inch long, Aucellina shell - a smaller shell about 1/2 inch long. We were happy that we found something. We washed and wrapped our fossils in tissue paper and packed them away, before I took any photographs, sorry. We may unwrap them later on and I will photograph them then.
Spent late afternoon, walking around the lake, it was 1.2 km walk.
Dinner was baked fish and vegies. Yumma. We watched the taped Rafters and Pictures of you.

Richmond as a town, is one of those surprises, the caravan park is built on a hill, overlooking the lake with magnificent views and hardly any noise except for birds. It is so peaceful, a magic place to stop for a few days.
Tomorrow we head to Hughenden about 115kms for 3 nights.

Today's sunrise - the lights around the lake.

Just beautiful.

This is a true replica of a 12.5 meter Kronorosaur. The teeth are as big as bananas.

This is only a 3 meter Kronorosaur.


Richmond Pilosaur.


Model of an Ankylosaur - an ugly looking critter.


An old fossil.

Marg the young fossil.

Fossil fossicking area.

Lake Fred Tritton.

Sunset - another ripper.

Another view of the lake.

Thursday 14th June 2012
Day 26 - Richmond to Hughenden - 115kms.

I woke at 6:30am, while Marg managed to sleep in until 7;30am, as we only had 115kms to Hughenden, we were no hurry to leave. The weather is 'the Norm' (cold, cloudless blue skies).
We left Lakeview CP at 9:20am after saying goodbye to John and Murph his dog, and headed due east into the sun. Our only stop was about 48kms away then we drove direct to Hughenden. Again there was bugger all traffic, so another uneventful drive. We arrived at Allen Terry CP in Hughenden at 11:15am, was given a large site which suited us well. At lunchtime, we visited the Info Centre and did some shopping and bought some pies from the bakery. They were Yumma.
During the afternoon, we checked out the brochures from the info centre while sitting outside, it was so nice, did I mention that it was 26.8° today, I had to move my chair into the shade.

At about 4:30pm, we drove to Mount Walker about 15kms from camp to photograph the sunset, it was stunnimg. we drove back in the dark, but didn't see any wildlife.
We had a scratch tea and watched TV then in bed early for our big day tomorrow.
We will drive 180kms north of Hughenden to Moonstone Hill, where we will fossick for moonstones, on the way home, we will call into Chudleigh Park, where we will fossick for peridot and then hopefully get home before dark.

Entrance to Mount Walker.

On top of Mount Walker.

Hughenden in the middle.

Sunset will happen.


getting redder.



All gone. Well, nearly.

Friday 15th June 2012
Day 27 - Fossicking at Moonstone Hill and Chudleigh park..

We woke about 6:15am, as we were leaving early for Moonstone Hill about 180kms north of Hughenden. The weather is 'the Norm' (cold, cloudless blue skies).
Marg made sangas for lunch and I packed the mighty Navara with all our fossicking tools.
We left camp at 7:50am and headed North along the Kennedy Development road approx 180kms to Moonstone Hill. Along the way, we past the Porcupine Gorge turnoff about 65kms from camp, we didn't stop as we wanted to get to Moonstone Hill, as we didn't know what to expect. We stopped a couple of times along the route, first was to watch a Wedge Tailed Eagle having breakfast on a dead roo, but as I was about to photograph him, he flew off, Bastard. The road varied from a good bitumen 2 way road to a single bitumen lane to a gravel road varying into degrees of roughness. When we were on the gravel road and you passed signs saying "Rough surfaces", they didn't lie and you DID slow down or suffer the consequences.
We arrived at the partly hidden gate (at 10:03am) that led into the Moonstone Hill fossicking area, the track to the other side of the hill was overgrown to say the least. As we drove along the track the grass was hitting the bonnet, it would have to be 3 feet high. The whole area was covered in this long grass, it really needed a bush fire to go through and burn all the grass, then the fossicking area would be a breeze to work in, but it was a bugger to work. We came to a clearing about 20 feet square where the grass was only a foot high. So we stopped and set up our chairs and I surveyed the hill side looking for diggings, we worked an old digging and got the moonstones that appear in the photos. The larger stones are probably big enough to be 'cut'. We decided that we had enough stones and we wanted to check out Chudleigh Park for Peridot. Before we left, I walked to the top of the hill, which maybe about 50 meters high so the views were spectacular. There was only a very small ridge, guess what, it was covered in 2 foot long grass. In the distance I noticed dust along the road, so I waited for the 'car' to get to me, well, the 'car' was a B triple cattle truck full of cattle, see photos. We packed up (at 12:12pm) and headed to the Chudleigh Park turnoff about 15kms back towards Hughenden.
The Chudleigh Park gemfields are 15kms off the 'main' road, through private property, some fossickers just lob and wonder why the owner gets pissed off, SO we rang the Chudleigh Park homestead the previous day and Sarah gave us permission to visit, it's not real rocket science to get approval, I don't understand why some don't. <End of rant> When we arrived at the gemfields, there were 2 campers already setup, Joe an old dude who had been there for 10 days and has found and shown me, bugger all stones, and the other couple had been there 2 days and found a similiar amount. They both told us that we would be pushing shit uphill. We were. Our first obstacle was to drive across the creek, it was covered in rocks and sand, I checked it out and Joe showed me where he crossed and the other couple cross, so we gave it a go, well, we got to the other side, BUT NOT before I put a large dent and scratch on our side steps, as it crashed onto a rock. I continued on to the fossicking area along a goat track, when I parked and checked the damage, the mighty Navara had sustained a major dent and scratch. I was devastated, I was now worried about re-crossing the creek, so I was NOT really interested in fossicking, but we did stay a short time. To find peridot you have to dig into the hard ground and everything was covered in dirt and brownish, so it was extremely hard to find, as we were only staying an hour or so, it was near impossible for us. I stopped digging, as I was going nowhere and we checked out other fossickers' discarded digging piles, we found some Moonstone but no peridot, so we decided that peridot fossicking is not for us. We packed up and headed to the creek. This time I walked the creek and decided to give the rocks a miss and drive on the sand, it was an S shape path in the water. In low range 1st, I entered the water but couldn't turn enough to make the exit track, so I stopped in the middle of the creek and backed up a bit and ended up doing a 3 point turn in a creek that was probably 6" deep and flowing slowly. Anyway, we make it out under our own steam, thank God. We stopped and spoke to both campers and said our goodbyes.
We drove back through Chudleigh Park property, the views were stunning, we stopped and waited for the cattle to get off the track, opened and closed gates, it was fun just driving through various properties. We stopped for a smoko at the 'main' road before heading 161kms back to Hughenden. On our way back, I noticed something about a kilometer behind us in our dust and it was catching us fast, it was a truck, so I got onto Ch 40 on our UHF and spoke to the truckie and told him that we were pulling off the road, so he could pass us. He acknowledged us. We stopped, made sure all our windows were up tight and waited. Within a minute you could see the red dust rising as the truck approached and went by, it was another B triple cattle truck, so you can imagine the amount of that red dust it kicked up. We were covered in it on the outside, the inside was no prob. I was going to wash the mighty Navara yesterday, good decision that I didn't. After a couple of minutes the dust had died down and we continued on our way back to camp. The next strange sight was coming upon 3 drovers, droving a couple of hundred head of cattle along grasses beside the road, the rest of the drive was uneventful.

We were both buggered after our day out, we left at 7:50am and arrived home at 4:20pm, 8.5 hours, also drove 405kms, so it was a big day for us. Naturally, a very early night and just a scratch dinner.

Tomorrow, we have to visit the Flinders Discovery Centre.

This is our parking spot surrounded by long grass.

The old diggings that we worked.

The outgrown track.

The sign.

The view of the Hill from just inside the gate.

The Cattle Road Train in the distance.

Getting closer.

There it goes.

These are our non cutters.

These are our cutters.

The sign on the Kennedy Development Road aka 'main' road.

The only gate that we had to open and close.

The sign on the gate.

Nice views.

More nice views.

The sign in the campground area.

Saturday 16th June 2012
Day 28 - Rest Day in Hughenden, sort of.

After our early night last night, strange that I awoke at 5:50am, while Marg snored on, I mean, slept like a baby.
I was up and on the computer by 6:15am, when I noticed outside, that we had a new neighbour, must have arrived sometime overnight. It was a backpacker campervan. Darryl, the caravan park owner, parked his truck behind them, blocking their campervan from going anywhere. About 9:30am, there was still no action next door, so Darryl woke them. Their story is: A young french couple, early 20s, drove from Cairns yesterday, got here at 2am this morning, running on empty and could go no further, so stayed in our CP. Darryl blocked them in, so they couldn't do a 'runner'. In the end, it was all good, they paid and left and were heading for Mount Isa. They have ONE month to drive from Sydney to Cairns to Ayers Rock to Great Ocean Road back to Sydney. They thought that Alice Spring and Ayers Rock were one and the same, they were a little concerned when I explained that Ayers Rock is only 400kms from Alice.

Around 7:30am, while Marg had our bedroom full of zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, I went and washed the mighty Navara. It took probably an hour or more to wash it, as it was the first time this trip that it was washed, so it was absolutely filthy, with a dent. From today, we have finished our off road adventures, but we can never be to sure. The mighty Navara looks glistening.
We met Jim and Lesley who own the double decker bus next door. What a great couple. They sold up everything and converted the bus into their home, they left Sydney 2.5 years ago and have only got this far, doing a lap of Oz. They originally planned to be away for 2 years but have revised their plans to 6 - 7 years, as they have only visited NSW and a bit of Qld so far, they have heaps to go. They showed us through their 'home', it is magic, the upstairs beer garden is awesome.

We finally dragged ourselves away from Jim and Lesley and then visited the Flinders Discovery Centre. This was very interesting with Fossils, Rocks and other stuff. We topped up with fuel and air and some bread, and back to camp, where I packed up a few thing in readiness for our departure tomorrow for Charters Towers. During the afternoon, Marg had a nanna nap, while I taped the V8s to watch later and sat outside in the shade, updating our website. (Di eat your heart out. Hehehehehehe. Is it sunny in WA yet?)

Tomorrow, we drive to Charters Towers and stay at Aussie Outback Oasis Cabin and Van Village for an overnighter.

Jim and Lesley's Blue bus.

Jim and Lesley's Blue bus.

What a lovely couple.


Nice and Clean mighty Navara.

Our camp at Allen Terry CP.

Sunday 17th June 2012
Day 29 - Hughenden to Charters Towers - 254kms.

I woke at 6:00am, while Marg managed to sleep in until 7:00am. The weather is 'the Norm' (cold, cloudless blue skies).
We left Allen Terry CP, Hughenden and went to the Dump Point and emptied the 'shitter' at the CMCA Dump point. Finally got under way at 9:15am and headed towards Charters Towers 254kms away. First rest stop was at 75kms just on a stopping area on the very busy highway. There were 2 road trains and that was it. The traffic since we left home has been very, very light, which is great. Our next rest stop was at a rest area with about 8 other vans, I have no idea why they were there, but they were. While driving, I nearly drove off the road, as we got closer to Charters Towers, I noticed a cloud, I was devastated. We arrived at 12:26pm, setup camp, drove to Towers Hill for a photo shoot, bought beer and topped up with fuel and still back at camp in time for the V8s. Go Lowndesy. He won today, it was a great race.
While I am writing this Marg is watching 'Dancing with the Stars' which bores me shitless. Tonight will be a quiet night.

Tomorrow we drive to Townsville for a weeks R&R. We need it.

Looking Eastwards - No traffic

Looking Westwards - 2 Road trains in the distance.

Charters Towers from the Tower Hill lookout.

Charters Towers from the Tower Hill lookout.

Charters Towers from the Tower Hill lookout.

Sunday arvo, everything except the Pubs are shut.

I am stressed to the max, I see clouds.

*2012 - Index page*

Heading to Townsville.