The Great Gay Way
Dee Dansa & Alex Baker – the first leg, Noosa to Charters Towers
Setting out from Noosa on 4 August, our first stop was Gayndah, well known for it’s roadside fruit stalls and delicious mandarins. We stopped for coffee, scones jam and cream which were as gorgeous as you’d expect from a country town.
There are few places for R.V. Campers. The first one we checked out was the Heritage Railway free camp, looking a bit desolate and uninviting deciding instead to stay at the Riverview Caravan Park. The place is run down having been through floods and some neglect. Stacey, the camp manager makes up for all that with her cheerful friendly welcome and assistance. The amenities were being painted and restored. We met some interesting characters there, including one local who told us about the Gayndah dragon he met, who lived in tunnels under the town. He picked up that both of us were born in the year of the dragon! You wouldn’t have ever guessed how!
We enjoyed our stay in Gayndah under blue skies beside the Burnett River. At only $20 a night, with power and water this town is a winner.
Our second stop was a free camp with a 72 hour stop over limit.
Lawgi Hall, situated midway between Monto and Biloela, is managed by a group of local volunteers, not, as often is the case, by the local council. Spacious level parking, clean and well maintained toilet facilities and fresh tank water makes this stop over and absolute must for those heading north to the Capricorn Highway.
We were unable to stop at Biloela as we hurried north toward Emerald for some maintenance on a faulty fridge. Things go wrong on a journey and this was to be our first real challenge.
Still heading north to Dingo, on the Capricorn highway between Rockhampton and Emerald.
The Dingo Van and Motorhome Park came highly recommended by friends Helen, Andrea and Mari, it didn’t disappoint. We have come to realise that the best parks are those with the friendliest park managers. Jen and Ted really fit the bill. Nothing is too much trouble for them, and every evening they host a communal get together around the fire pit. If you are lucky, you might get to hear Jen entertain, singing and playing guitar.
We met a couple in a huge touring bus which they had converted into a magnificent motor home, and another guy in a five wheeler which he towed with a very powerful 4×4 Ute. A great little community of people here. We are going to explore the town tomorrow. Alas, the town of Dingo consisted of closed General store, Post Office, Pharmacy and would you believe the Pub….and it wasn’t the weekend or public holiday. The park hosts recommended the Racetrack (sans Races), and the Cemetery!
One of the highlights of our stay in Dingo was a visit to the Blackdown National Park, with its spectacular views.
We are traveling with fur kids, they both get top marks for behaviour.
About the most friendly welcome ever from the smiling Jodie, and the two little dogs Millie and Peggy Sue. Millie is friendly, but it was quite funny to see Peggy Sue (a mini Foxy x Jack Russell Terrier) bare her teeth in what was meant to be a terrifying smile.
So far every campground manager have been complying with the government’s COVID Tracking policy which requires guests to list all the previous places visited in the preceding fortnight with dates and a questionnaire. We are pleased they are taking our safety seriously.
We found the music at the happy hour circle to be a little depressing with sad old tunes, so after a few wines we decided to start our own little concert at our site a suitable distance from the wailing, singing and playing the spoons, even though we can’t actually do either. We thought we were terrific, so did some of the other campers as they asked us to come over to to join in with the group.
The following night we baby sat an aged toy poodle named Ruby, while her owners went along to a concert. See attached flyer for the lineup.
We didn’t go to join the big crowd, one of us wasn’t particularly crazy about the main performer!
As Ruby could not go into Alex’s motor home, which is ruled by our Queen Cat, we remained outside wrapped up in many layers of warm clothes and told some inappropriate stories and sang songs to the shivering, shaking little Poodle. Hope she doesn’t tell her human!
A visit to the Pub for dinner on the next night was an experience. The open air foyer that lead to the bar was crowded with smokers, mainly local miners. Pushing our way though the crowd we dutifully cleaned our hands with sanitiser and found a table, where a few others from the caravan park sat at tables 1.5 meters apart.
We enjoyed the meal, as the smoke wafted in, and hopefully avoided both Covid 19 and lung cancer.
We laughed our way through all these experiences!
Overnight Truck Stop Llanarth
We pulled into our first truck stop for this trip at about 4pm, parking well over to the left. Just as well as right before dark, a road train roared in beside us. This road train had four trailers and was 53.5m long. The truckie jumped out to do his safety check of the many tyres and his load. He was a very friendly bloke, so Alex took the opportunity to ask about the safest way to let trucks pass slow vehicles. He said the worst thing a driver can do is slow down and pull over to the side at a slow speed and then speed up again if the trucks don’t pass. This stopping and starting is very difficult for these huge vehicles.
What should slow drivers towing vans do? It’s quite simple really. Just continue on at an even, steady pace, be it 80 or 90; let the truck driver decide when it is time to pass and as they pull out, that is when you slow down. Dee said another good tip for faster vehicles is to wait until the truck driver blinks the right blinker once; this is a signal that it is safe to pass these long trucks. Can you trust them? Well they can see a long way down the road and are in touch with each other over UHF radio. However never pass unless you decide that it is safe to do so.
Lots of pics taken, the best of them was when Alex thought it might be fun to drive a road train. The good humoured Truckie said ‘Go for it mate’!
The next morning we left the truck roadside stop for Charters Towers Tourist Park.
Charters Towers is a wonderful little town, with beautifully maintained old buildings and very friendly people.
The caravan park was full to capacity almost every night, it feels a little too crowded for us.
The scouts hosted a corned beef dinner for $20, and entertained the crowd with some funny skits. We kept our distance.
We parked up in a lovely spot, greenery all about us and the Apostle Birds and Kites keeping us amused.
Free Wi Fi is a bonus, and because we booked for a week we have one day free of charge, always welcome for those on a budget.
One day we took the one and a half hour trip east to Townsville, to visit the memorial dedicated to the 16 SAS and 2 Army servicemen who lost their lives, 12 June 1996 in the Black Hawk helicopter crash. Alex lost her beloved nephew, Cpl Darren Oldham SASR. So many years ago yet a recollection never forgotten.
For the rest of the week we relaxed, shopped, ate and enjoyed a few bevies as well. We are happy to have completed the first leg of our journey, from Noosa to Charters Towers.
Our next stop is only a short drive north, so we took the time to check it out first. It’s a peaceful free camp by a river, and hopefully away from the crowds.
Stay tuned for further gay adventures with Dee and Alex