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Things beginning with B

This last ten days has been mostly about things beginning with the letter ‘B’: Brisbane, books and bookings, Bix & Bob, Bunya Mountains, buckwheat pasta, bamboo dinnerware and batteries.

We arrived at my mother’s place in Toowong, a suburb of Brisbane, on Saturday evening and spent a lovely few days with her although the weather in Brisbane was much warmer – and more humid – than we were expecting for this time of year. Ron and I took advantage of having an OfficeWorks nearby to print (and have bound) a copy of a 300-page PDF on Cape York that I’d purchased. After unsuccessfully trying to purchase a Hema Cape York map from a number of camping stores we finally managed to track down a copy at a Dymocks book store – these maps are quite hard to come by at this time of year as lots of other people are also planning trips to the Cape!

We also had dinner with Andrew, a former work associate of mine, and his wife Nellie at a wonderful Thai restaurant in Auchenflower named ‘My Thai’ – the food and presentation was amazing! Andrew is also heading to the Cape in July and, with the help of his itinerary, Ron and I put together an itinerary of our own and made bookings for the National Parks we’ll be staying in (it was just as well that we booked now as we secured the last camper trailer space available for the dates we want at one of the parks).

We left Brisbane on Thursday and headed to Caloundra to catch with some motorcycling friends – Bix (aka Jeff) and Bob – who have been travelling around Queensland for the last month or so on their three-wheeled motorcycles towing trailers. Bix is riding a Honda GL1800 Goldwing trike and Bob is riding a Honda GL1800 Goldwing with a sidecar attached and they were on the homeward leg of their trip and both heading south towards their homes – and much cooler temperatures – in Raymond Terrace and Bairnsdale.

After seeing Bix and Bob off on Friday morning we headed to Bunya Mountains to stay for a couple of days. We’ve only been there once before and that was about 15 years ago when we spent one night camping there with our daughter Sarah while we were on a motorcycling trip from Canberra to Hervey Bay. We found out about this place from a shopkeeper in Kingaroy and, as it was a lovely place back then, we were keen to revisit it and spend more time there. We stopped in Kilcoy for morning tea and then purchased some groceries from the IGA in Nanango (including San Remo buckwheat spirals and fettuccine – I’ve never seen these products before but I am always interested in low/no gluten pastas for Ron). I noticed the IGA store was selling Decor bamboo dinnerware – it’s the same dinnerware we have although ours is the EcoSouLife brand.

When we arrived at the Bunya Mountains campground on Friday afternoon there were already quite a few other campers there – it’s obviously a popular place even in May! That said, I don’t think the very cold nights that followed (3-5C each night) were particularly welcome – it was such a contrast to the night-time temperatures we’d experienced in Brisbane and we had to dig out our extra down quilt (and we’ll be investing in some hot water bottles!).

On Saturday we decided that, just because we could, we’d stay for another couple of nights so that we could do some of the nearby walks when it was quieter. We spent most of Saturday reading and on Sunday we went for a drive to the Coomba Water Hole near Maidenwell and then on to Nanango again before returning via Kingaroy.

On Monday we did a 3 1/2 hour walk through the nearby rainforest where we saw the amazing work of strangler figs, impressive Bunya Pine and Hoop Pine trees, elegant Python Trees (so named because of the varied colours in their bark), beautiful waterfalls and waterholes and saw and heard lots of birds. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of the birds we saw – including a Paradise Rifle Bird – but I did manage to get a photo of the nest mound of an Australian brush-turkey.

There were also lots of Red-Necked Wallabies around the campground and the village of Bunya and although they were tolerant of people they definitely weren’t tame – it’s obvious that visitors and locals do the right thing by not feeding them! Some of them had an unusual habit of reclining with their tail out in front of them and there were quite a few females with a large joey in their pouch.

On Tuesday morning, and while we were waiting for the condensation on the canvas on the camper to dry, we did another rainforest walk to visit some of the places we’d missed the previous day. After returning from our walk, and our final delicious morning coffee at the Elz Cafe, we packed up and headed for Marlborough …

 

The car and the camper …

The ‘Alternator Voltage Booster’ (AVB) diode was in Brisbane when we arrived and Ron installed it the following day – it immediately made a noticeable difference to the charging of the second battery. In addition, and with lots of great sunlight while we were camped at Bunya Mountains, we were able to use the solar panels to charge the batteries in the camper and the second battery.

While we were packing the Ultimate we were approached by a couple who were camped nearby – they live at Rainbow Beach (just south of one of the ferry terminals for Fraser Island) and while they’ve seen lots of Ultimate campers whizzing by on the way to and from Fraser Island they’ve never had the chance to get a close look at one let alone the inside of one. They were very impressed with the setup, the layout, the low weight and the lower than expected price tag – future Ultimate owners maybe …

 

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