Tuesday 28th May 2013
Day 35 - Georgetown to Mount Surprise, Qld - 94 kms.

It was a mild night and we slept well and awoke about 7:15am, which was great.
Today is our 'biggest' of the trip so far, a whopping distance of 94kms, so I did not start packing up until 8:30am. I had to pack up Marg's 'special' room, the Sat Dish and cable, the chairs, the water and power, while Marg does inside the fiver. Shock, horror, we were last of the group in the park to leave. We left at 9:42am and drove over to the Info centre, so I could empty 'the shitter' at their dump point.
We were off at the speed of a startled gazelle, well maybe not, there were roadworks off and on for the first 65kms from Georgetown, with many stretches of single lane bitumen. There was meant to be a rest area at the 53kms, but it had disappeared, so we drove non stop, except for many road work traffic lights, probably about 5 in total. As we arrived in Mount Surprise, the town has a free wash area that they want you to use so they can try and control the spread of some weed disease, so we ran our rig over the automated washer, which sprays high pressure jets under and up the side of our rig. There was a sign that said close all windows, which we did and proceeded on through this car wash. It did a great job, as the mighty Navara was dusty from its adventure to Agate Creek. Now it is all clean again ready for tomorrow's adventure to O'Briens creek along 40 odd kilometers of gravel road.

After our epic drive of 94kms, we arrived at Mount Surprise at 11:15am and were shown to our site, we were shown 3 sites and we had to choose one, I thought that I had left all these major management decisions at work, now that I am retired we don't have to make these major decisions anymore, so I handballed the decision to Marg. As we are here for 4 nights, we did a full setup without the awning as we are surrounded by trees.
After we finished setting up, we drove over to Mt Surprise gems (aka The Gem Den) to confirm our attendance at tomorrow's tag along adventure to O'Briens Creek where we are going to find humungous topaz or that's the plan. After leaving The Gem Den, we drove all of 50 meters to the service station/supermarket to buy some bread and top up with fuel, next stop was all of 10 meters and stopped out the front of the Pub, where I wandered out with a 'block of 30 cans' of XXXX Gold, that should see me through until Innot Hot Springs in 5 days. After all that activity we made it back to camp and relaxed after such a stressful day. Sometimes, I really think about pulling the pin, as we are under so much stress, then I think we are doing it for the team.

Marg had a nanna nap, while I buggered about here. I am sitting outside writing this when a 'million', or bloody close to it, Apostle Birds flew into the surrounding trees and made a bloody racket. I have been lured inside as Marg is cooking dinner and it smells YUMMA, fish and vegies. We will have a quiet night watching TV, as I set up the Dish, so all is good.

Tomorrow, we have to be at 'The Gem Den' at 7:45am for our tag along adventure. Wish us luck.

Our route from Georgetown to Mount Surprise, Qld - 94 kms.

Wednesday 29th May 2013
Day 36 - Mt Surprise Gem's tag along to O'Briens Creek - 84kms round trip.

Another mild night and Marg slept well, but I slept awful, tossed and turned from 3:30am and finally got up about 6am.
Today, we had to meet at Mt Surprise Gems at 7:50am with 2 other couples for the 42kms tag along to their own claim at O'Briens Creek. We arrived at 7:45am, and were first there, we chatted with Peter and Pam and then the 2 other couples arrived together, they are friends and travelled in the same 4WD. We left 'bang on' 8am and Peter gave each couple a map with directions and said that he would wait for us at the O'Briens Ck campground and as we all had a UHF radio, if we got into trouble to call on channel 6, we all arrived at the campground without any drama. We 'forded' the raging Elizabeth creek all of about 8" deep without any trouble and Peter lead us to his claim. He explained the rules and safety issues and gave each couple a pick, spade and seive and led us to his fossicking area.

We followed Rocky (Peter's dog) to his fossicking area, Peter explained what to do and let us select our area to fossick and away we went. My body is not built for a pick and shovel, but I managed to move plenty of dirt and Marg and I had a ball. It was warm (high 20s°) and we drank a lot of water, after an hour and a bit we adjourned back to Pete's Hilton (a very old rundown shed with 3 walls), where we sat in the shade and had morning smoko. Peter supplied cheese and bikkies, sweet bikkies, tea and coffee, sliced fruit and cold water. I tried everything except the tea and coffee. Nature called and I visited the Hilton's outside 'thunder box', it served its purpose, very well.
After morning smoko, it was back to digging in the hot sun, with the sweat running off my glistening body, anyway enough of those thoughts. At midday, we finished and packed up, put our equipment in Pete's storage box, compared our hauls amongst the 3 couple, we were all happy with our finds. We said our goodbyes and headed homeward, but first, we drove down the track on the northside of O'Briens Creek to check it out as we are going back there tomorrow by ourselves. Driving back, we had more time to take in the scenery and all the cattle, tomorrow, we will stop and take photos. We arrived back at camp at 1:20pm and I was absolutely knackered with little sleep and did I tell you about all the digging I did in the 'hot' sun. Well, I had a big nanna nap this afternoon and now feel as fit as the bulls we passed today.

Dinner was pizza from Bedrock Village CP, $18 each but bloody nice. A quiet night watching TV and then hopefully I will sleep well tonight.

Tomorrow, we are off to O'Briens creek on our own. Wish us luck.

Our group on the Tag Along. Peter is on the left.

The fossickers in action.

Peter ordering 2 beers.

Morning smoko break.

Peter's Hilton of O'Brien Ck.

Our haul. Quartz crystal (left) Topaz (right).

Thursday 30th May 2013
Day 37 - Fossicking at O'Briens Creek by oursleves - 84kms round trip.

Another mild night and Marg slept well, but I slept like a 'big' baby, and finally woke about 6am and turned on Sunrise.
Today, we had no deadlines to meet, so we left when we were ready, it just happened to be at 8:53am. We stopped in at Peter's Gem Den to buy 2 new seives and a stand. As we headed off to O'Briens Creek, we passed a pilot walking from the airport to town.
I digress, it turns out that Thursday is the day that the Royal Flying Doctor visits Mt Surpise's Clinic and a car picks up the doctor and nurse and equipment from the plane, and leaves the pilot to secure the plane and he then walks the 3 plus kilometers to town, mainly for exercise and to waste time as he has to wait until the Clinic closes before he flys the Doctor and Nurse and equipment back to Cairns. It takes 35 minutes flying time from Cairns to Mt Surprise, compared to Marg and me, it will take 5 days with some extended stops along the way.
I did think of doing a U-Turn and giving him a lift but there was no room in our back seat, it was full of our gear. So we drove on and arrived at O'Briens Creek at 9:44am, parked the mighty Navara and got out and we both walked along the dry creek bed looking for a likely spot that oozed topaz, we picked a spot and set up our gear, which consisted of dropping the spade and mattock on the ground, putting the 17" seive on its stand and setting up Marg's chair.
I dug gravel, filled the seive, put the seive on the stand and shook the dirt out of it, so only the gravel and TOPAZ was left, then I emptied the contents of my seive into Marg's seive. She then checked the contents for any topaz or quartz crystal, while Marg did that the digger aka me, filled the 17" seive and started the process again. After 3.25 hours of shifting a 'mountain of soil' with sweat glistening in the hot sun off my toned body, I called it a day. I was absolutely 'rooted' that's a technical term for a tad tired. In summary, I drank 3 bottles of water, we found 4 topaz and 8 quartz crystals.
We left O'Briens creek at 1:05pm and after stopping a few times to photo the cattle, we arrived back at camp at 2:01pm.

After a beautiful shower, I wandered over to Peter's Gem Den to confirm today's haul (4 topaz and 6 quartz crystals), while there I ordered a coffee and sat outside in their coffee lounge with their dog 'Rocky'. Back at camp, we relaxed in the shade and later walked up to the CP Office andd bought a soft drink.

Dinner was steak for me and Marg had chicken cooked on our outside BBQ. Needless to say, it was YUMMA. Another quiet night watching TV.

Tomorrow, we are off to O'Briens creek again. Wish us luck.

Crossing Elizabeth Creek.

Me in action.

Marg in action.

Our fossicking spot.

Entering O'Briens Creek campground.

O'Briens Creek campground prices.

Shift your bum.

We were being watched.

Today's haul - Topaz (left) Quartz (Right).

Friday 31st May 2013
Day 38 - 2nd day - Fossicking at O'Briens Creek by oursleves - 84kms round trip.

Another mild night and we both slept well, and finally woke about 6am and turned on Sunrise.
Today, we are off to try our luck again fossicking for Topaz at O'Briens Creek. We left camp at 8:31am and arrived at the same spot as yesterday at 9:15am. We setup our gear at the same hole that we started digging yesterday, where we found 4 topaz. Well today didn't go according to plan, after 3 hours of hard, physical labour, with the sweat glistening off my toned body, WE DID NOT FIND ONE TOPAZ, Marg was not happy and I was BLOODY WELL . But for some consolation, we did find some quartz crystal, nothing startling but something. We sat in our chairs on the dry creek bed and ate our lunch, the scenery was beautiful.

We drove back to camp arriving at 12:54pm, showered and feeling refreshed again, I drove over and topped up with fuel and air, in preparation for tomorrow's drive to Innot Hot Spring.

Dinner was chicken and vegies. YUMMA. Another quiet night watching TV.

Tomorrow, we are off to Innot Hot Springs (139kms) for 3 nights.

Bedrock Village - site 20.

Saturday 1st June 2013
Day 39 - Mount Surprise to Innot Hot Springs, Qld - 138 kms.

It was a mild night and we slept well and awoke about 7:15am, which was great.
Today is only 138kms, so an easy 2 hour drive and again we are in no hurry to leave, so we got on the internet and I started packing up at 8am. As I packed up it looked like it would rain at any time, but it held off while we pack up and we were on the road at 9:08am, heading eastwards. We stopped at the 60km mark which just happen to the 40 Mile Scrub NP information rest area, while there we spoke to another couple who were having hassles with their freezer in the back of their 4WD, it wasn't getting cold, so they were running their generator to cool it down, before hitting the road again. We wished them luck and continued on our way to Innot Hot Springs about 78kms away. As we left the rest area the drizzle started, not heavy, but persistent, we arrived at 11:02am.
We paid $96 for 3 nights and were assigned to site 25, which backs onto the spa pools. It took about an hour to set up and then we headed to Ravenshoe (30kms away) to do some shopping and while we are there, we bought some lunch. It drizzled the whole way to Ravenshoe, we parked in the middle of the street and walked over to the Cafe, while checking out the menu, I noticed that they don't take EFTPOS and also their prices were rather high, so we walked out and noticed the take away shop over the road, so in we went. Marg ordered a roast beef and gravy roll, while I ordered a hamburger with the lot. We could eat it there, so we did and it was YUMMA. While we were in Ravenshoe, we rang Dad and our 2 boys to tell them that we do not have any phone reception until next Tuesday when we arrive in Atherton. We shopped at the IGA supermarket and then visited the dump point to check it out for later use, we will probably use that on Tuesday. On the way out of Ravenshoe, we called into the Info Centre to get info on fossicking at Mt Gibson, the staff told us that we are wasting out time, they reckon it has been fossicked out, that didn't please us, so we will still try it tomorrow.

After we arrived back at camp, we both had a nanna nap, before hitting the spa pools. These pools are heated by a hot spring about 50meters away in Nettle Creek. There are 3 pools outside and 3 inside. The inside pools are the hottest and sign say to stay in the water for only 10 minutes and it was hot, one of the outside pool was a very warm bath and we stayed in their for over 30 minutes. We looked like a prune.

Dinner was scrambled eggs on toast and bloody YUMMA. A quiet night watching TV.

Tomorrow, we plan to visit Mt Gibson for a spot of fossicking and later in the day, we will drive into Ravenshoe so we can get on the internet. See we are really 'hooked' on the internet.

No photos for today.

Our route from Mount Surprise to Innot Hot Springs, Qld - 138 kms.

Sunday 2nd June 2013
Day 40 - Fossicking at Mount Gibson - 12kms round trip.

It was a cool night and we slept well and I awoke about 6:00am and laid in bed and listened to Macca over Australia on ABC radio.
Marg awoke feeling a bit shabby, so we decided a quick trip to the Mt Gibson fossicking area and then drive to Mount Garnet to use the Internet, as we don't have phone reception at Innot Hot Springs. We left camp at 10:01am and drove the 6 kilometers, well this was the roughest track that we have driven, so far on our fossicking adventures. It was very scary, mainly deep ruts and wash aways, I used 4WD LOW frequently and the mighty Navara handled it very well, but I didn't. We stopped and fossicked at a various spots but with no luck, we did find some quartz but nothing startling. The track was getting rougher, and I didn't want to do any damage, so we did a U turn and slowly headed back to camp, driving along that awful track again. I was glad when we got to the gate, and the road was smoother. We will not be visiting Mt Gibson again, as it is too rough for us and we will leave the topaz for more adventurous fossickers.

Back at camp we made a couple of sangas for lunch and drove to Mount Garnet about 15kms west of Innot Hot Springs, we parked opposite the Info Centre and turned on our modem, bingo we have reception, after 1.5 hours, we turned off our laptops and drove back to camp.
I had a nanna nap, when I awoke, we went for a spa or two, they were beautiful, then we sat outside and I had a chilled refresher or two.

Dinner was a scratch meal, I had pizza singles, and Marg made a cheese jaffle. They were YUMMA. A quiet night watching TV.

Tomorrow, we are driving to Atherton 80kms away. If you are on the ball, you will have read that we planned to stay at Innot for 3 nights, but are only staying 2 nights, because fossicking is no good and more importantly, WE DON'T HAVE INTERNET and we are going stir crazy without it.
See we are really 'hooked' on the internet.

Foggy morning at Innot Hot Springs.

Foggy morning at Innot Hot Springs.

Some of the pools were empty.

These weren't empty.

The sign on the gate allowing us in.

The start of the horrendous track.

Some good parts of the track.

Us on the Internet at Mount Garnet.

Innot Hot Springs - Site 25.

View of the Innot Hot Springs Health Waters Van Park.

View of the Innot Hot Springs Health Waters Van Park.

Monday 3rd June 2013
Day 41 - Innot Hot Springs to Atherton, Qld - 83 kms.

It was a cooler night and we both slept very well and awoke about 6:10am.
Today is only 83kms, so an easy 1.5 hour drive and again we are in no hurry to leave, so we watched Sunrise as WE DIDN'T HAVE INTERNET AND WE MISSED IT BIG TIME. That is the main reason that we cut our stay at Innot Hot Springs short by ONE day and also we didn't find any topaz, SO we thought lets head for Atherton a day earlier.
We left Innot at 9:13am and after stopping at Windy Hill lookout to take photos, we arrived in Atherton at 10:49am. This park is on a hill but all sites are flat and the view to the west is just beautiful. It is very noticeable the difference in greenery, from leaving home to now, the landscape is brown and dry, after coming over the Great Dividing Range to Atherton, you can see where the rain stops, because everything here is green as.

After setting up camp, we washed the towels, sheets in the park's washing machines, if we used our washer it would take forever. After we hung out the washing, we checked out where The Crystal Caves is and then went to Woollies, ahhh, the joy of finding a Woollies supermarket, plus Marg had a bit of retail therapy in at Target Country.
Back at camp, I watched a couple of episodes of the 'Blue Bloods' TV series, while Marg sat outside in the shade and read.

Dinner was 'spag bol' and it was YUMMA. Another quiet night watching TV and on the internet.

Tomorrow, we plan to visit The Crystal Caves.

Our route from Innot Hot Springs to Atherton, Qld - 83 kms.

The Windy Hill wind farm.

The Windy Hill wind farm.

The Windy Hill wind farm.

The Windy Hill wind farm.

The Windy Hill wind farm.

Our site 7.

Views from the Halloran's Hill Lookout.

Views from the Halloran's Hill Lookout.

Views from the Halloran's Hill Lookout.

Views from the Halloran's Hill Lookout.

Tuesday 4th June 2013
Day 42 - Visited The Crystal Caves in Atherton.

It was a cooler night and we both slept very well and awoke about 6:30am.
While the weather has turned sour, we eventually had brekky and got organised around 10am and drove to The Crystal Caves.

Crystal caves is absolutely magnificent, it cost $17.50 each with the old fart's discount to enter its display and is worth every cent. The ticket allows you to come back many times in the day. It took us over an hour to walk through the display and then to check out their shop. We bought 3 geodes, which we cracked open to reveal beautiful crystals. See photos below.

After leaving there, we drove to Big W for more retail therapy for Marg, then we went to maccas for lunch. The afternoon was spent inside as it drizzled continuously, I watched a few episodes of Revenge, while Marg read and had a nanna nap.

Tonight, dinner will be a scratch meal.

Tomorrow, we drive the 85kms to the Lake Placid Tourist Park in Cairns for 4 nights.

Sphalerite and quartz crystals.

Quartz crystals.

Dolomite crystal cluster with Pyrite.

Citrine - Brazil.

Marg and the Empress.

The Empress and I.

Marg beside the Reflective pool.

The Crystal caves hotrod.

Admit one.

Geode No: 1.

Geode No: 2.

Geode No: 3.

*2013 - Index page*

Heading to Lake Placid, Cairns.