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.

Monto Birthday Celebrations

The first focus point of this trip was to attend the Highway Wanderers' 23rd Birthday Celebrations in Monto.
The Highway Wanderer's is an RV chapter or club within the CMCA. It is open to RVers of all sorts and sizes for those who are full time or long time on the road each year.


The town had given special permission for our club to stay at the Polocrossse Grounds next door to the airport. This is a huge flat ground with a 'open' club house, toilets and showers. It was very much appreciated by our members during our birthday rally.

It is a very relaxed week spent catching up with like minded friends and making new friends. It is up to you just much you participate. Some like to chat, play disc bowls, go for walks, go shopping or sight seeing, etc. One of our ladies, our illustrious president,  arranged a craft class converting a t shirt into a cushion cover.


Happy hours are the one daily ritual. Again it is entirely up to you whether you attend and for how long. Each happy hour is well attended and very casual, though there will be an welcoming introduction to new members and first timers especially early in the rally. Sometimes there are jokes, some singing or music, or even the occasional skit or practical joke enacted. One just never knows what is going to happen at one of our happy hours. We even had the mayor come and welcome us as well as get a mention in the local paper.


Usually there is a fire going afterward after happy hour, which was very welcomed on the cold evenings, though many of the less hardy ones, like Rob and myself prefer to retreat to the relative warmth of our motorhome. It did get mighty cold here in Monto, down to 1 degree some mornings, but the days were perfect usually around 22-24.


One or two evenings will include a combine dinner with or without entertainment which our own members put on.


We spent one more night after the rally, still in Monto but out at the RV park right in the town. It is a low cost RV stop just behind the Information Centre. We wanted to wait until the rally was over before taking a day to visit Cania Gorge. I also had fun restocking my haberdashery at the Stitch 'N' Stash. We capped off a wonderful day with a lovely dinner at the local Thai and Indian Family Restaurant that night in the delightful company of Michael who was also staying a night at the Monto RV stop.


The foothills of the Glasshouse Mountains

Our first main stay in Queensland this trip was at Beerburrum which is partway between The fabulous Glass House Mountains and Caboulture, just inland from the famed Sunshine Coast.


We are not actually free camping though there is no cost involved, we are really staying at a MSO. We covered what an MSO is here.

The place where we are staying belongs to a fellow member of the CMCA and they have kindly opened their property at various times for fellow CMCA members. We first stayed here at year ago and were warmly welcomed then by Barry and Marlene, just as we are now. We also met up with 3 other campers here, 2 which were here the same time last year and it was great to catch up with them. I even jokingly asked if they had loved it so much that they stayed here the whole 12 months! LOL


All these people also mean great happy hours. Barry, Marlene, Patricia, Rod, Vickie, Rod, Debbie and.... Oh darn, I was going good at remembering names. Blast, one name got away from me.


Whilst here, Rob had time to install his newly purchased Dash Cam and to check out Trackr which we have adhered to my cochlear, in case we lose it. He also had to get under the bus to tighten the bolt on the front axle. You know, general maintenance is always an ongoing thing doubly especially when you have an old bus.


It would have been lovely to stay here longer but 3 night was all we could afford as we had a date in Monto to keep.