More Groper Creek

June 13 to 23 Well, the Groper Creek bug has well and truly got hold of us. The people in the camp site are all very friendly and there is a great atmosphere. Bob has been really lucky to be offered boat trips fishing … more of that later. We have booked in for another 3 weeks and after that, who knows ?

The local industry is mainly based around sugar cane, with a large processing plant at Home Hill just south of the large Burdekin River bridge. The cane is just beginning to be harvested, which means that it has to be burned first which results in spectacular sunsets thanks to the smoke. Also, in the morning we see lots of ‘Burdekin Snow’, the local name for the dead embers from the cane field burnoffs.

Richard is one of the regular visitors to the Creek every winter. Fortunately, Richard is a keen Rugby League fan and he only has local TV in his van but he has a boat and we have a satellite dish with Foxtel and no boat. Sounds like a marriage made in heaven !! Yes, Richard offered to take us out in his boat and he will be seeing plenty of footy ! We had a great time and came back with a good feed of whiting.

The camp fire is lit every evening for happy hour (or two) and tonight is Jaffla Irons night – a great way to make toasted sandwiches on the campfire embers.

Kevin, one of 3 brothers at Groper Creek for the winter’s fishing, kindly offers a seat in his boat for Bob to try for a Barramundi. What a fantastic day, with over 10 ‘barra’ caught between the two of us but all were undersize. We also had a go at some whiting and another good feed was brought home. (Bob had to sign a non-disclosure agreement for Kevin that his favourite spots would never be revealed to any third party !!)

Kevin kindly offered Bob another trip the following day and yet another fantastic day was finished of with a ‘keeper’ barramundi for Bob – the pacemaker was given a workout.

Groper Creek

June 12 We have to take a short detour to an auto electrician in Airlie Beach who finds and fixes our electrical issues. So it is back to the Bruce Highway, turn right and head north.

For us, it is impossible to be travelling north between Mackay and Townsville without stopping at Groper Creek. We are lucky enough to have a site right on the water so we can set out the crab pot, cast for prawns for bait and fish right from our back door. We have booked in for a week but will probably extend.

I just wanted to mention an adventure that my brother, Richard, has just completed. In his retirement year, he has cycled (yes cycled) 1,027 Miles (approx 1,640 Kms) from his home in Shrewsbury to visit each of his 3 children and their families, one of whom lives in Holland. Susan, his wife, drove the campervan and set up over 20 campsites on the journey.

I think we will stick to the Landcruiser and the 24 ft caravan.

Conway Beach

June 10,11 Conway Beach is one of those places you never get to see unless someone tells you about it. We stopped at a truck stop for a coffee and some fellow travellers told us about it so off we went. It is about 25 Kms south of Airlie Beach . We were having some electrical problems with the caravan so we had to stay in the caravan park.

If the Wiggles lived in a caravan park, this would be it (see photos).

Yaamba and St Lawrence

June 6 to 9 After an overnight free camp at Yaamba we pull in to St Lawrence free camp for a couple of days. We have been here before and it has to be one of the best free camps we have stayed at. The facilities are always clean, there is fresh water and the local people provide freshly cut wood and camp fire grates. St Lawrence is located 802 kilometres north of Brisbane. At the last census St Lawrence and the surrounding area had a population of 195.

Once a prosperous port town, exporting cattle from the hinterland, most residents are now railway workers. The town is located south of St Lawrence Creek, which flows into a vast bay known as Broad Sound, a waterway noted for its large tidal range (up to 9 metres (30 ft) in the summer).

Heading For Groper Creek

June 4 2013 We finally head out of Cotton Tree and head north on the Bruce Highway. First overnight stop and free camp is at Gin Gin. Next night is another free camp at Benaraby where we met some interesting local birdlife. We aim to free camp as much as possible (now we have the technology !) as it is a real cost saver.

2013’s Big Adventure Begins

May 21 2013 Our 2013 Big Adventure begins … the current plan is to head north for the winter, visiting some old fishing haunts (Groper Creek – remember the barra story last year) and then on to some new fishing territory at Karumba on the Gulf of Carpentaria. Darwin, Kakadu and Lichfield National Parks will then follow. The caravan’s first trip into the Northern Territory. We have to be in Canberra in November for the Aussie Vets National Golf Championships so we will head down the ‘middle’ from Darwin taking in Alice Springs and Uluru (Ayres Rock).

Before we leave we have a couple of maintenance issues to complete – one on the caravan and one on Bob’s head ! – the removal of a small skin cancer.

The car now has new automatic caravan towing mirrors and the caravan is the proud owner of 2 solar panels and an inverter so nothing can now stop the necessary viewing of Coronation Street.

We begin the trip at our favourite local spot at Cotton Tree to finish all the maintenance issues. Note the photo of the Steve Irwin statue which is on the beach at Mooloolaba where he used to surf as a child.