Arrived in Queensland!!!!

Trip Start Jan 06, 2009
1
16
28
Trip End Nov 24, 2009


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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Thursday, June 11, 2009

We had a late morning departure from Moree due to locking our keys in the campervan. After the locksmith tried for almost 2 hours to pick the locks, Wayne ended up climbing up on the roof of the van, removing the air vent lid, then cutting the mesh screen to reach inside and get the keys.

Our 1st stop was Lightning Ridge – home of the Black Opal. On a tour of an old mine, we saw how they mined for opals with picks and shovels just a few years back. Now they use jackhammers or machines with names like “digger”, “blower” and “agitator”. Each opal mining claim is a maximum of 50 metres X 50 metres and each miner can have up to 2 claims registered in his name. To begin mining, a hole of about a metre in diameter is drilled down to the level thought to contain opal; they then dig horizontal tunnels. The opal “dirt” is taken up to ground level using a hoist (blower) and dumped into the back of a truck. The opal dirt is then washed down by tumbling it for several hours inside a modified cement mixer (agitator). Finally the remaining tailings (left over sandstone, pebbles and opal hopefully) are sorted with very keen eyes searching for any hint of opal color.

It was very interesting to see how the miners lived here, most of them lived in caravans or huts on their claim site. We were told Lightning Ridge is home to some keen home brewers, there is no longer a sly grog shop at the foot of Lunatic Hill, however John Landers wrote the below story of an earlier time: “Now, at nearly the foot of the hill, was erected our biggest refreshment shop. It was also run as a boarding house, and a pie and coffee shop. If you wanted a cup of coffee and pie, you simply went in and put down 6p. But if you desired anything stronger, you put down half a sovereign and asked for 2 pies. A few minutes afterwards, you went to the back of the house and about 20 yards away you found a tent. You then put your hand inside, and you got your bottle of smile! "

After leaving Lightning Ridge, we made our way across the border into Queensland. We stopped at the 1st town – Hebel which had 1 general store and a pub. We spent our 1st night in Queensland parked in a paddock that joins Nindigully pub. It was in our camping book, so we thought we would check it out. Apparently it is a very popular spot for campers as there were about 20 other campers there that night. The Nindigully pub provides free hot showers and happy hour drinks – great way to obtain business as this place is in the middle of nowhere.

We spent a night each in Goondiwindi and Killarney. Did some hiking in and around Killarney, with beautiful countryside scenery. We walked to Queen Mary Falls, Brown's Falls and Daggs Falls. It rained most of the day, but it didn't stop us from enjoying our addiction with waterfalls.

Border Ranges National Park and Mt. Warning National Park are both beautiful parks, but we only did a couple of short walks in these parks as it was raining and windy. We did find a great camp spot – before entering Border Ranges called Andrew Drynan Park, right on the river and we were able to have a big camp fire there one night.

We made our way down the mountains into Nimbin – Australia's alternative lifestyle capital, with old shopfronts converted to cafes and the retail shops are brightly decorated in indigenous and new age motifs. The biggest surprise was the amount of dogs, every 2nd person seemed to have 1 or 2 dogs walking around with them. A great place to visit and people watch.

We have been to a lot of National Parks in our travels so far, but never tire of the beauty and uniqueness of each one – Springbrook National Park was no exception. The Purlingbrook Falls was beautiful but even more breathtaking was Twin Falls Circuit. This was a 6km walk with many waterfalls, gorges, caves, creek crossings, tree ferns and palms. One of the very best hikes we have done so far. We made some close friends with leeches on this hike, between us both we removed at least a dozen from our boots and legs. We actually ended up doing this hike twice, the 1st time it was raining, the 2nd time was a perfectly clear day.

Out of the bush for a while, we made our way to Brisbane and took a bus into the city the 1st evening. We walked around China Town in Fortitude Valley, had an excellent meal, and went to a night market before heading back to the caravan park. The next day we caught up with Vicki and Michelle (sister and niece from Tasmania) who flew into Brisbane for a 5 day holiday. Michelle had purchased tickets for us all to go to an AFL game (Brisbane Lions Vs Carlton Blues) at the Gabba – great night!! The next day Vicki and Michelle's hubbies (Gary and Stu) arrived. They were all staying at a Time Share resort in Nerang (Gold Coast), so Wayne and I spent the next 4 days hanging out with them. We did the SpringBrook National Park walks again with them, we played some tennis, golf, paddled some boats, barbecued and just sat around, relaxed and ate way too much. It was wonderful to spend time with them again.
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Comments

l-j
l-j on

Hey Guys
Awesome pics guys. Must have been great catching up with family again! Thinking of you. Luv LJx

l-j
l-j on

Hey Guys
Awesome pics !!! Must have been really great catching up with family again. ENJOY !!!

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