Author: Mrs A
Thursday: Ceratodus Rest Area to Moura, Qld
We left bright and early heading further inland, calling first at a little settlement called Eidsvold where we filled up with water and emptied the toilet, before continuing. We drove through a virtual ghost town, Cracow, where shop after shop was closed down and boarded up, just a few houses, a little museum and a community hall remained. It’s amazing how any little settlement like this survives, hanging on to the remnants of the mining life that once sustained them.
From Cracow we continued on to Theodore, a slightly bigger settlement with a small pub, an IGA supermarket and a bowling club. It is also a self proclaimed RV friendly town, offering cheek by jowl free camping alongside the main park in town. We stopped there for a break and a cup of tea, but didn’t fancy staying longer.
We continued on to another free camp, just past Moura, another tiny town, with a new hospital in the making and a thriving coffee and snack truck. Our camp was alongside the Dawson River, and when we pulled up was not too busy, allowing everyone plenty of space to park hitched up. There were toilets (one male, one female) and showers, but a lot of people for these limited facilities. I’d estimate there were around 25 different parties camped there, mostly in caravans but the odd tent or two.Miss Tassie jumped out of the car enthusiastic for an explore, but was quickly scared back into the caravan by a pair of yapping dogs in the van behind us. She chose not to come out again.The owner of aforementioned dogs came over to apologise and explain that his fur children lived with cats and were not threatening Tassie, just saying hello. They were holidaying at this spot for 10 days. One night was more than enough for us – while at face value the riverside camp looked pretty enough, the road trains thundering just metres away along the highway from 4am onwards were not ideal.
Friday: Moura to Carnarvon Gorge, Qld
We set off early again, on the road just after 7am. The scenery really opened up, with beautiful rolling hills, roadways lined with pink tipped grasses, lime greens and creams blending into the stunning spotted gum trees. Fields of beef cattle stretched off into the distance, as the hills began rise steeper, with craggy sandstone walls rising up before us. The road surface was shocking, as though someone had poured tar over a field without first smoothing it!
Our first stop for the day was the little settlement of Rolleston where we had planned to do a final top up of water and clean out the toilet. It was there we discovered a most unfortunate accident – Mr A had forgotten to replace the cap on the toilet after emptying it yesterday. While this had no consequence when we were driving with it empty yesterday, today’s bumpy road had ensured the night’s contents (number 1s only, that’s our rule!) spilled out everywhere! What a nightmare! So an hour of cleaning followed, thankfully while there was plenty of water around. Trusty duct tape will have to do the trick until we pick up a new cap in Mackay later next week.
Eventually we arrived in Carnarvon Gorge at its newest campground, Sandstone Park. It has only been open a year, and boasts 360 degree views of the gorges, perched high up on a hill. It’s not too pricey either, at $28 per caravan at the moment, immaculate port-a-loos, firewood and bins. There is no power or water, but that is why we have filled up our tanks and have plenty of solar panels.We selected a spot with no nearby neighbours and plenty of views, and got settled in. Miss Tassie had a good look around and gave it her tick of approval before retiring to bed.
After lunch we drove down to the National Parks office to have a read about the wildlife, and did a short walk along the nature trail. A pair of pale faced rosellas flew by along the creek, followed by some red winged parrots. It all bodes well for tomorrow’s walk in the gorge.At 4.30pm there was a talk by a local expert about the gorge’s history and the wildlife we can expect to see. There are extensive examples of Aboriginal spray painting artwork here, much of which has been dated back 20,000 years. We are looking forward to seeing that. It was a great talk, and we’re feeling extra enthusiastic about our hike in the morning.
We returned to camp as the sun set, admiring the incredible views from our high point.