Bush Camping at Deepwater

A nice spot for a bit of R&R
After time in Bundaberg with my sister, we headed north towards 1770 and Agnes Waters right next to the Deepwater National Park.

Eric, Marion & Rob sit around the campfire every evening

When we free camped or rather bush camped at Victoria Lake, we met this lovely couple, Barry and Lyn and they invited us to camp on their private property near 1770 at Deepwater when we were in the area. We took them up on the offer. The property has a couple of sheds and caravans with lean-to type sheds on it for various family members as their extended family come and go frequently using the property too. It is an open forest with a big clearing, ideal for camping. They gave us limited access to tank water, a toilet and some electricity for the lights in the large undercover area with a table around which to sit, socialize and craft. There's a nearby camp fire area and there's lots of firewood to be scrounged from the surrounding bushland.

A visiting wallaby gets curious. And yes a tiny little bit of rain fell during our stay.

It was a very quiet spot with wallabies and lots of birds visiting. The property is also alongside a swampy river which you can see but really couldn't get into at all. I certainly wouldn't want to swim in it but it might be good for fishing. We didn't try.

Marion and I stroll along Wreck Bay

We really appreciated this offer and we stayed at Deepwater for a week with a blessed nothing to do except relax and craft. Thankfully for Rob, who doesn't like to sit and do absolutely nothing, his brother, Eric and his wife were on their way home after spending a month or so caravanning further north. They came and stayed 5 days with us. It was wonderful to catch up with them and hopefully now that Eric has retired we may have a few more trips together.

During their time with us, we did a day trip up to 1770. As the crow flies, it is not far but one can't drive directly from their place to 1770, instead you have to go about 70km in a round trip. We visited many of the lovely beaches in this area where Captain Cook was possibly the first white man to ever land in this area.

Michelle and Rob at Agnes Waters
We also did a few short drives to look at the local area - Baffle Creek, Rules Beach and a very short drive on the beach before deciding it was a bit too soft sand. We had a night out at only place in the area - bistro at Baffle Creek tavern. It was a freezing cold evening that night and with the poor service and the food taking so long to arrive, we decided to move inside the bar. We said goodbye to Eric and Marion and enjoyed a few more days before Rob was itching to move on again. I'd love to go back there again in another trip to this area!

Family time at Bundaberg

Rob and I had a week spent in Bundaberg with family. There's nothing exciting really to report. We have been here many times and since this was principally to catch up with family and be of assistance to my brother in law as he recovers from hip surgery, we stayed home mostly.

I enjoy spending time with my niece. She's a gorgeous 7 year old. Though not actually shy, she is a quiet one who loves reading and watching the TV. She's happy playing outside once she gets it into her head that technology is off limits for a while. I had a go showing her how to make a tied fleecy blanket and she did about half the fringe with me. I think this may be the beginning of craft time together! Her bike skills and road sense needs working on so we frequently went around the neighbourhood with her riding and me walking. It was great to watch her interact at her school carnival. She did very well in her first race.

My niece and her blanket she helped make.

Oh well after about 10 days we were ready to move on (The best way to remain friends with family is not to stay too long in one go! LOL

We are travelling with a loose plan. We had already decided that we were not going to do a lot of travelling this winter. Just sticking within a smaller area closer to the coast with Gladstone as our northern most town with Biloela and Tara being as west as we planned. ie 550 x 300km sq or 340m x 190miles sq)

We enjoy winging it as we go. We have a general idea where to go but are more than willing to change course as we meet people and listen to what they have to recommend. We are quite happy with this loose planing and it has worked out exceptionally well this winter with some unexpected invitations thrown in. It has certainly has worked out well with no regrets.

The Robbiebago on the road through a forest

The Robbiebago motorhome has performed magnificently with no real dramas which we really appreciate.

Free camping at Calliope

Free camping at Calliope Rest area is wonderful. There are places on both sides of the river with most being reasonably level and grassy with toilet blocks on both sides.

Campers on the southern bank
There is a 48 hour maximum stay. We missed the turn off on the northern side. As it turned out, we are glad as we preferred the southern bank, not that we knew that at the time. That was just a happy coincidence. The southern side gives easier access to the boat ramp and swimming too if that's important to you.

A closer view
There is plenty of room for large rigs as well as caravans, and often plenty of sites but it was rather busy with the north side being almost crowded during our winter time stop. The temperatures are very warm this year, so much so, that some braver people than I were swimming. I guess there is fishing. It would be an ideal place for canoeing and kayaking too.

A boat ramp on the southern bank for water sports and fishing
There is an old bridge that has be closed to road traffic but you can walk from one side to the other. Being so close to Gladstone, it is a popular spot on weekends.

Michelle standing on the old bridge with the new one in the background
We took a walk to the north bank which is much higher above the river thus looking down. It is also more bitumen with grassy verge for parking but it is much more crowded. It is also closer to the museum and little takeaway shop which we enjoyed our chips there. We intend to come back another time for the museum when the markets are on as well.

Low cost camping at Dululu

Our stay in Dululu (pronounced Do Loo Loo!) was not planned however our stay at Lake Victoria was cut short due to heavy cloud cover heralding rain. 

The campsite at Dululu is OK. We have stayed here back in 2012 and not much has changed since. It is a flat area with some concrete pads but mostly it is grassed except on the tracks or heavy camped spots. Powered sites are available for an extra cost. There is a portable building serving as a shower unit but it is cold water only, the hot water appears not to be working anymore. It is a clean site and there is a good covered BBQ with tables and nearby is a well serviced and clean toilet block. It is a 48 hour stop.

Sunset at Dululu

The pub is within walking distance but was closed at the time of our visit due to a fire in 2015 that gutted a lot of it. One of the locals tells me it is under new ownership who hopes to have it up and running again within 12 months. Extensive renovations is obviously needed there, so maybe next year.

Morning Mist at Dululu

Sadly the town is dying especially without the pub as it's social hub nor are there any other shops in town. No work, people can't afford to stay.

One of the campers entertained himself by building this miniature model camp site and then setting the perimeter alight. I love the caravan with the solar panels on the roof and the portable ones on the ground!

Close up of the miniature model caravan with its solar panels

The murals of Biloela

We stopped in Biloela principally to do some shopping.

A couple of lovely things fell into place for us here. First off was the happy coincidence of friends, Peter and Sue driving through and they recognized our bus and rang up to see where we were. As we were in the shops having lunch, they happily joined us as we spent a good hour or so chatting. Pity they had to keep on rolling further south, but still it was good to see them. They used to live in Wollongong too but moved up the coast many years back. We had happily met up with them in Rockhampton around this time last year too!

Since we had stopped longer having caught up with Peter and Sue, we decided to stay over at the Federation Park RV Stop. It is not a free camp but the low cost included admittance to the museums on site. I can not say that I enjoyed the museums in fact The first one was so crappy in my opinion that I didn't even bother with the engine one. Still we made our own fun. Another great aspect of our staying over was that we met up with some Highway Wanderer friends from the Monto rally. Of course we  enjoyed another Happy Hour with them.

Some of our HHW buddies
On our way out we decided to pop past the murals were painted on the big water tank depicting principally the stories of women from two cultures from before white man invasion until the present time.

Free camping at Victoria Lake

Victoria Lake was recommended to us and we probably wouldn't have thought to go there otherwise. This is what I like about chatting with other RVer's at free camps. They can be a wealth of information that you would not necessarily find at the information centres or even on the internet.

The fact that there are no facilities at Victoria Lake is part of the charm for many people - a true getting back to nature type of break.  There's a fine line between bush camping and free camping. I am not sure where the differences are. It is a quiet spot and it seems as though not many people know of it.

It is about 20 kilometres south of Dululu along a dirt road. We came up from Biloela which is a much longer dirt road.  Next time I think we'll come up the Burnett Highway and turn south from there and just travel a much shorter dirt road to the road leading into the lake. The campsite is about  one kilometre from the gate, but there are many locations along the lake you can choose.

Being a dirt road in a black soil area, the track into and around the lake can be quite rutted. You will need to take care. Watch also for the many low branches of trees too. We took a short trip to look at a couple of spots in the car, but choose a spot right at the first sighting of the lake as it was reasonably level there and there was a lot more open area for the sun to charge up our solar panels/lithium batteries we need.

There was one couple camping not far away and we asked them out of courtesy if they'd mind if we park within 20m of them. They were fine with that. As it sometimes happens, we became quite good friends. Barry and Lyn live not too far away and like to come here for breaks. They had some family camping in a different area around the lake. We enjoyed our happy hours together with Barry and Lyn.

There was supposed to be some red claw(freshwater crayfish) in the lake and Rob got out some traps but we didn't have much success, just caught the one. Still we live in hope and set the traps again. I did some hand washing and Rob cut up some fire wood for happy hour.

We caught some lovely sunsets over the water and I even got a decent photo of the moon where you can even see the craters.

We enjoyed a lovely quiet couple of days here but we cut our time sort here as there was threats of rain and this is a notorious black soil which would bog a vehicle in no time at all, even Barry cut his time short too for the same reason. We'll leave it for the 4WD enthusiasts that will undoubtedly come a churn up the grounds even more. Still it would be nice to come back another time.

Just a little drive around Cania Gorge

Cania Gorge National Park and all the walking tracks within the National Park are just a short 35km out of Monto.  On the way out we were stopped by road maintenance team cutting down a huge tree. It was interesting watching the work. It only held us up for about 15 minutes and we certainly didn't mind at all.

Cania Gorge has fabulous sandstone cliffs and a multitude of weathered caves of vivid yellow and red ochres. We opted out of walking today and just drove around and had a picnic down at the lake. As you drive you can see the dry rain forest that is typical of this area. Apparently there are some wonderful flora to be seen if you were to take to any of the myriads of bush tracks in the area.

I particularly liked the scenic Lake Cania which  apparently has been stocked with Australian Bass, Yellowbelly, Silver Perch and the highly-prized Saratoga. We spoke to one local who comes in regularly to fish. He was just getting back with his catch.

There's a memorial to the pioneers of the valley esp the ones buried in the cemetery that is under all that water.

On the way out we decided to check out the Big 4 caravan park as one of our dear friends worked here for a year or three.

I generally don't like caravan parks and Big 4 in particular but I must say I do like this one, or at least the bush camping part out the back away from the inevitable cabins, pool and jumping pillow. Out there, they didn't really try to stick people into little boxed areas or at least not in the quieter time we saw.

All in all it was a lovely easy day's outing.