Paul and Pam's Website - Queensland Australia
Roo's on the Beach trip...2022
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The trip is named 'Roo's on the Beach', so called as the highlight will be to see kangaroos and wallabies feeding on mangrove pods on the beach at Cape Hillsborough a little north of Mackay, it is one of only three places in Australia where this can be seen, ....comments and photos of this trip appear below.
Of the maps below the one on the left shows our route north to Bowen and on the right our route home.
Nanango showgrounds are typical showgrounds...contrary to what many think showgrounds, and recreation grounds are preferred over caravan park not solely due to the cost but because campers can usually choose how and where they choose to set up. Nanango is a perfect example, when we arrived a strong and cold southerly was blowing, we were told we could park anywhere we could find a power bx and tap, there are plenty of them, we parked the van with the wind behind us...in a caravan park we would probably need to park as directed, regardless of the wind.
Nanango showgrounds camping area is huge, flat and grassy, two amenities blocks, two dump points.
It is a short drive to the township, quite a large township it is too.
We decided to stay 3 nights here....we wanted to visit a cattle property owned by friends of many years ago, we lost contact with them in that time.
The wind abated on our second day and it was almost summery.
Stop One - Nanango Showgrounds
Stop two - Mundubbera Showgrounds
Mundubbera is around 200 km north of Nanango along the Burnett Highway, a good road but one that has been damaged in many places by recent floods...there are lots road works going on.
We have stayed in the Mundubbera Showgrounds on a number of occasions....each previous time we have had the choice of sites but not so this time!...the place was nearly chocka block when we arrived....we did however find a site and we were happy to stay here for three days.
Stop three - Biloela Heritage RV 48 hr Park
Biloela is home to a great Heritage Park, a massive display of all things old....old trucks, tractors, cars, old buildings, old photographs and tons of more old stuff...it is alongside this huge museum where we camped, in the Heritage Park 48 hour RV park.
A bit sad we can only stay 48 hours, we had planned on visiting nearby Lake Callide, time did not allow this, we needed to do washing, something we could not do at the RV park due to no sullage facilities
Stop four....The Caves Showground. A little north of Rocky.
Rockhampton is a city in Central Queensland, Australia. Straddling the Fitzroy River, it's known for beef production and has several bull statues around town. North, local life from 1850 to 1950 is re-created with cottages, woolsheds and antique cars at Rockhampton Heritage Village. The Dreamtime Cultural Centre has Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural displays, plus replica sandstone caves. ― Google
The Rockhampton Region is a known crocodile habitat. Rockhampton has a number of management zones outlined in the Queensland Crocodile Management Plan. The Plan is designed to ensure the conservation of estuarine crocodiles in the wild, and reduce the risks to public safety from crocodiles.
When looking for a suitable place to stay at Rockhampton Wikicamps reviews were less than complementary for nearly every caravan park in town, the descriptive term 'sardine' was regularly used....we chose therefore to travel about 25 km further up the Bruce Highway to The Caves Showground...this showground is near to the Capricorn Caves tourist attraction...we have seen caves before and elected not to visit these ones.
We were very happy to stay at the showground as the photos state.
Our stay here was longer than expected, we had to await the processing and arrival of Pam's RA medication from Brisbane. We were quite happy to do so as there are a few things to see and this area. We ended up staying at the Caves Showground for 11 days, and we were indeed happy to do so...at $25 per night it was a lot cheaper than the caravan parks in Rocky, and from what we understand a lot less crowded.
We spent one day at the beautiful Capricorn Coast, Yeppoon and Emu Park and in downtown Pockhampton..to see these photos click here.
And some photos taken in Rockhampton below
Stop five - Saint Lawrence
St Lawrence Recreation Grounds was our next stop on this trip.
A big camp, two sections, one for generators, one not.
Wetlands nearby, Small town too, General Store, Hotel, Police, PO.
Camp has excellent facilities, showers, drinking water, dump point, lot's of room, no TV by good Telstra. A good camp indeed. $13 for two.
Stop six...Cape Palmerston
So far this would have to have been one of our best stops...the Holiday Park is excellent...well designed in that every site is drive-through and terraced so the slab is level. Whilst right on the beach it does require a walk along a 100m track through a mangrove stand.
A large park but all sites separated by shrubs. A great amenities block too. Mobile phone coverage non-existent on most site but could be had up at reception. Our Telstra modem worked good. We had intended to stay just 3 nights but extended this by 2 nights.
Water was ok although slightly cloudy, a dump point here too.
We can see us returning here.
Cape Palmerston National Park.
During our stay at Cape Palmerston we drove up to the national park...we had brunch there...random shots below.
Stop 7. Mackay.
Our stay in Mackay was not in the city but 12 km outside...we stayed at Rowallan Park and Scout Camp.
I pleasant place, nice grounds. No power here but with sunny skies we had what we wanted. Again, the Wikicamps reviews of caravan parks in Mackay were less than flattering...a bit over priced too, in our opinion.
Rowallan Park was $15 per night.
Water was good, toilets nearby, plenty of room, our kind of camp.
To the right are some photos taken during our stay in the Mackay district.
Stop 8, Cape Hillsborough.
Cape Hillsborough is this Trips Highlight, indeed the whole reason for the trip.
The Cape Hillsborough Tourist Park was a disappointment, this caravan park has the distinction of being the most expensive caravan park we have stayed in...some readers here may laugh and feel that $45 is not expensive today...for us is was. At $45 per night we would have expected a great park, we didn't get that...the parks roads were mostly broken bitumen with shovels of gravel chucked into potholes, as a blade shaver I would have liked amenities handbasins to have hot water, am I causing a laugh when I feel $6 is too much for a washing machine...what if I think the small water fountain pond near reception should actually be operating instead of being filled with green smiley water, a mozzie heaven.
In addition to our disappointment with the caravan park we were a little disappointed concerning the main reason for our visit here, that was to see the 'roo's feeding on the beach...impressions we had harbored for a number of years were that this is a unique experience and one of only a few places where we could see these animals feeding on mangroves on the beach..in actual fact the kangaroos feed on an 'especially formulated' food placed in plastic plates on the beach by a ranger...this was despite the ranger telling all that it is against the law to feed native Australian animals!...in addition I observed a caravan park employee feeding kangaroo's within the park from a 'Black & Gold' supermarket bag which I suspect contained oatmeal.
This left us thinking that the kangaroo feeding is maintained more for commercial interests....apart from the awesome Hillsborough National Park there is little reason to visit this location, if it were not to see the much advertised kangaroo's on the beach.
Disregarding the caravan park our reason for visiting...to see the kangaroo's on the beach was good...some photos below.
Stop 9. Bowen
Bowen is a lovely place, a nice clean town, surrounded by beaches and views to the Whitsunday islands.
We stayed in the Bowen Holiday, as we did back in 2018, sadly the park management has dropped the ball somewhat, very daggy looking permanent vans, lots of non-nutted coconut trees though out the park, We are unlikely to return here.
And the slide show below is of random photos taken on the beach...
Stop 10. Collinsville
Collinsville is a mining town, it is located 87 km south-west of Bowen, 1,144 km north west of Brisbane and 187 m above sea-level.
No matter where you look in this small town you are reminded of its mining heritage. There is a memorial statue at the entrance to the United Mineworkers Club (now known as the Collinsville & Scottsville Workers Club) in Railway Road which bears testimony to the miners that have been killed in the district's mines over the years. We camped in an excellent free camp opposite the Workers club where, on our last night, we had fillet steak and chicken fillet, at very reasonable prices. There are eight murals around town representing aspects of regional coal mining. The entrance to the town boasts an impressive brass statue of a Pit Pony and even the local pub has been renamed the Pit Pony Tavern. In 2013 the mining company, Glencore, closed the local mine down. It had been making a loss for years. Then, with an increase in price, the mine was reopened in 2016. Between the two events houses in the town were selling for as low as $65,000. Today, with the price of coal rising, the mine has reopened and Glencore are, once again, employing over 300 people in the mines. The other company operating in the area - Q Coal - have mines on the southern end of town: Sonoma mine, Drake mine, Jax mine and, in 2017, a new mine under construction called Byerwen mine.
Pit ponies hauled empty skips into the bords for the miners to fill, then hauled full skips out to the rail end where a winch rope was hooked onto a string of full skips and then winched to the surface. They also dragged metal sleds full of supplies for the miners all around the pit, pulled electrical boxes into position and delivered rolls of cable and drums of oil. They were eventually retired in 1990. The statue is located on the median strip in Sonoma Street at the entrance to the town. More photos in the State Mine One photos below.
The RV camp in Collinsville is excellent, toilets, showers (showers are cold only except for a disabled shower that has a $2 slot...the Workers Club, across the road has hot and cold showers). There is a dump point, taps for 'van connection, good water, dump points, picnic tables. All for free.
Where are we right now???
Collinsville - Scottsdale State Mine No One.
An excellent tour of this facility was conducted by a local old timer...the mine is 4.5 km from Collinsville.
It was one of the very first mines commenced in the Bowen Basin...the photos are mostly self explanatory.
Stop 11...Lake Elphinstone.
A natural lake 145 km from Collinsville along the Bowen Development Road. we had intended to stay here for a few days, sadly the clouds rolled in and looked like staying...our battery got to 42% and we had to leave.
The photo below, (with the misspelt name) was taken from a poster...I had forgotten to take one of our campsite. We left there vowing to return someday.
During our visit there was very little water in the lake,
Stop 12 ...Nebo
A small town 60 km south of Lake Elphinstone. Nebo was officially known as Fort Cooper; however, in 1923 the name was changed by popular demand to Nebo, derived from Nebo Creek. In the early years Nebo Township was strategically situated at the crossroads of the main south-to-north track and the east-to-west track now known as Peak Downs Highway. During the establishment decade, Nebo's primary production was dominated by sheep and wool growing. However, the area proved unsuitable for sheep and they were eventually replaced by cattle.
Nebo's heritage listed hotel (photo included below) still retains great character and hasn't changed much since it was built overlooking Nebo Creek in 1862. The current structure replaced the original slab hut hotel some years later, still under its original name, the Fort Cooper Hotel. It was renamed the Nebo Hotel in 1948. The dance hall is gone, but the spirit still survives. Located in Reynolds Street it is well worth a visit just to soak up some history and enjoy a cool ale.
From Nebo, a 153km drive to Middlemount.
A town in the heart of the mining district...we only stopped in Middlemount over night, a camp at the Golf Club. I nice enough spot to stop...a large area and totally free of charge with the expectation we would but a drink and/or a meal...we had both.
The campground has no facilities, there is a toilet but that is only available when the club is open.
We did have a bit of drama:...we set up camp on the grass near to the golf course, it was fine until the rain drops got bigger and bigger, the realization that we were camped on black soil has us decamp quickly and move up to the car park on the bitumen...this was late at night!...fortunately I had packed almost every thing away, we just drove the 200M up to the carpark with Pammy sitting in the van, even though the rain had only been going for about an hour I need to engage 4 wheel drive to get out!.
Stop 14... Emerald
From Middlemount a nice run to Emerald, stopping in Capella for breakfast along the way. We stayed in the Emerald Cabin and Caravan park almost right in town...we have stayed here a number of times before...there are two van parks here and this one gets the better Wikicamps reviews...there is also a free camp in Emerald but we wanted needed to do some washing.
The park is ok but it has an odd arrangement for many of the sites, 'vans are park so they awnings are almost facing each other, this is fine if you know your neighbors. It ends up that your neighbors car is parked directly in front of your awning.
Other than that the park is quite ok, all utilities are good, inc. TV which struggled on our last stay...2 years ago. $35 per night here.
While in Emerald we drove to Lake Maraboon, some 24 km away...photos below.
Along the Capricorn Highway, east from Emerald, we stopped at MacKenzie Park, an RV park at the small town of Duaringa.....not much else in Duaringa, a pub, servo, little else.
It is a popular location on this main highway, about 160 km from Emerald.
We have stopped there often. One of the features of this park was the 'oasis - type' water feature at the park, water cascading over some sandstone blocks , a sprinkler system keeping a section of grass green, it was in stark contrast to the red dirt which most of the park is. Sadly the water feature is now gone but the sprinkler system remains and a great place for us to set up our camp for two nights.
MacKenzie Park is free but a donation is requested...we gave $10. There are h & c showers, a toilet and drinking water taps and a dump point there.
The lady in the Tourist Info Centre told us that there are plans to rework the water feature but she was not aware of exactly what or when that would happen.
Stop 16 ….Wondoan
Following Duaringa we had planned on stopping in Theodore Showground, we had heard that a severs weather front was coming so Theodore would be a good place to await its passing.
However, when we got to Theodore we found the showground shut due to a camp draft this weekend.
We stopped for a coffee and something to eat and decided on what we would do....we had planned to stop in Taroom after Theodore and decided to travel on there a bit early.
When we got to Taroom we found the RV camp there to be very wet and muddy, they had had very heavy rain recently, and more was expected, we could not see anywhere there to camp and not risk getting bogged in the blacksoil.
Plan C was Wondoan Showgrounds....since leaving Duaringa that morning we had drive 327 km!..a record for us, with the caravan behind.
Wandoan showgrounds ok, would be great in fine weather, ABC TV only!, did not look at amenities, many taps and power boxes. $24, money is placed in envelope and dropped in box.
Stop 17...Chinchilla Showgrounds
Due to the wetness laying around the roadsides on the way into town we had decided to stay in a caravan park instead of our usual camp in Chinchilla, the Showgrounds.
However the caravan park had a 'no vacancies' sign up, it was likely due to the park being flooded rather than being booked out. So, to the showgrounds we went, we were pleasantly surprised to find many dry sites here, a lot of the grounds being raised. Many other caravaners made the same choice.
Good TV, WiFi and water. We were at eastern end of showgrounds. We like it here...good meals at the RSL. $25 power and water.
Also below you can see photos taken out at Chinchilla Weir, 8 km south of Chinchilla on the Condamine River, it was built in 1973 to address a shortage of urban water supply for the town of Chinchilla.
It supplies irrigators upstream through the pond created by the weir and downstream from water releases.
Water helps the region’s agriculture industry, including beef and pork production, fruit and vegetable crops, cotton and most notably melons. Producing 25% of the country’s watermelons, rockmelons and honeydew melons, Chinchilla is the melon capital of Australia.
The weir is also home to a very popular free camp for RV's....we went there just to take a look, we have camped there before and were pleased to see the council has made a lot of upgrades...power is available for a few sites but there is plenty of room around...caution needs to be taken during wet weather however...we could see many examples of where campers had become bogged in the black soil.
Stop 18...Lake Broadwater Conversation Park.
Our final stop on this trip was at Lake Broadwater Conversation Park. We have stayed here a number of time previously....the park is some 30 km south of Dalby.
Lake Broadwater, a natural lake was full for our visit. A big lake, area wise but not very deep, likely just 1.5 meters in the middle.
It is a popular place for Dalby locals, especially during the weekend. It is also a popular camping stop over for travelling caravaners, it gets excellent reviews in Wikicamps.
The campground consists of some powered and many unpowered sites, the site cost is just $7 per person, powered or unpowered.
We would normally stay in the unpowered section at the northern end of the park but this time, with a full cloud cover, we selected a powered site.
As you can see the park is well equipped, toilets and showers, fire places, drinking water taps but no tap connection for caravans...there is also no dump point but the caretaker is hopeful this may change soon.
In the afternoon a large mob of kangaroo's came close to the campground in an adjoining paddock.
It was indeed a fitting end to this 'Roo's on the Beach' trip.
Photos below including some I took on our first dawning, a beautiful day it was.
Lake Broadwater is a shortish drive to home so this trip ends here.
Thank you for following us on this trip...our next trip, not sure exactly when that will be, it likely will be south...a revisit to some of the many places we went to during the time our grandkids were in Sydney, we got to know every route between Queensland and NSW...and many other places too...the Murray River and even Uluru!....call back some time or email us and we will advise you when we can give some more information.
Paul and Pam...September 2022