Posted by: glenswatman | April 11, 2007

200211 Australia-Qld NSW

Friday 1 November 2002  Usual lazy day.  Gerry & Graham return and Toni & Russell arrive so the club house is pretty full for happy hour. 
SAVANNAH 10
Saturday 2 November  Jo & Kevin leave and Mim arrives to join Toni & Russell.  I slip into town with Lloyd & Marie but return to find Steve has still done nothing to help with the packing up.  Whilst I would rather have everything checked off before we go to the port Steve is happy to leave it all to the last minute.  On an island with no shops I think this is a bit risky so I’m not a happy bunny.  Brett & Megan and Jeff & Netty rock up in the afternoon which makes for a good evening celebrating the birthdays of Merv, Gloria, Graham and Toni.  Steve rolls into bed at 4.00am after watching soccer – later than ever now that England have put the clocks back.
SAVANNAH 11
Sunday 3 November  Arrive in the recreation room to find cooked breakfast being prepared for everyone, except Steve who remains in bed.  By mid afternoon the only packing done has been by me so I tell Steve that I am not at all happy and if he doesn’t want to help finish packing today then we won’t go.  By the time Marie & Lloyd take us out to join the other 8 at the Yacht Club we are not going.  After our $9.90 (£3.50) 3 course roast dinner and chats to a few people we are!
SAVANNAH 12
Monday 4 November  Up at 5.15am to get some packing done and load Lloyd & Marie’s stuff into Billy.  With Glen (the man) from Savannah accompanying us we’re pretty weighed down when we set off at 6.15am.  At Rosslyn Bay Port we all meet up and begin unloading our gear or in our case packing it!  Male Glen drives Billy back to Savannah whilst the other people put their cars into storage.  The next big heave is getting all the stuff aboard Tropical Diva who for $600 (£220) in total / $100 (£35) per couple will take us out to Humpy Island and collect us in 11 days time.  We leave around 8.00am and on the 1 1/2 journey get to really meet the rest of the group.  Keith & Diana we already know, Jeff & Joan we have met before and also Kevin but not his wife Carol which just leaves Don & Pat.  Kevin has brought his tinny boat along for fishing and we tow this behind us.  The sea is a beautiful colour and clear enough for us to see the coral below.  Just south of  Keppel Island the speck which is Humpy Island grows and it’s soon easy to see how it gets it’s name with lots of small hummocks.  9.30am at high tide we come ashore onto the beautiful soft white sandy beach.  By the time we have unloaded there’s a huge mountain of gear stacked up on the beach waiting for us to trudge up the sandy hill to the camping area.  There’s just a family of 6 on the island and they are perfectly agreeable to us all being nude which is great.  Surprisingly we are the first to have our stuff at the top so go back to help the others.  Many have brought fridges, solar panels and at least twice as much as we have.  Disrobe then select our camping spot under the shade of the Cassuarina Trees (with a sea view) and begin by sweeping an area clear of the prickly cones which they shed.  We are the first to have the tent up which is a bloody miracle considering we haven’t camped for donkeys years.  Maybe the old fashioned tents with poles are quicker to erect than the modern dome versions which everyone else has!  There are plenty of picnic benches around so we drag one to our site and proceed to set out our stall.  Next priority is to check out the sanitary facilities which are excellent.  A block with male and female sections each having 2 flushing toilets, heaps of bog rolls and a sink.  Around the camping area are outdoor showers one of which is enclosed.  The water for all of these is provided by a bore so for drinking they have installed a rainwater tank however in case this was empty we were advised to bring our own.  We brought 60 litres and all got a further 25 litres from the boat people.  It’s an excellent set up and reasonable at $4 (£1.45) per person per night.  Next it’s into the sea for a cooling swim then a brief exploration of the immediate area.  Our west facing beach runs out to a point which then turns east to an even longer north facing beach.  We wade out and it’s not far to the sections of coral reef which should be great for snorkelling.  Once everyone has set up their own camping area Keith & Diana bring out a couple of huge tarpaulins.  With one strung up overhead and another at the back it provides reasonable shelter from the sun or heaven forbid the rain.  Keith sets up his radio communications centre (he’s in Coastguard) and makes contact with the mainland.  After tea we join Kevin who is playing his guitar.  Steve moves on when Keith brings his mini Black & White TV into the "community centre" to watch football.
HUMPY ISLAND 1
Tuesday 5 November  Amazingly Steve is up first up for a 6.00am swim.  Enjoy a tropical breakfast of fresh pineapple, orange juice and coffee whilst sitting on our terrace looking out to sea – paradise.  Walk up the hills to the south side of the island where we have fabulous views.  Spot a turtle swimming in the water below us.  Return to "our" beach to do a bit of snorkelling but I am not too thrilled to spot a stingray.  It’s Melbourne Cup day so we all gather in the community centre with our best hats on.  We buy 2 horse each in the sweep at $2 (70p) a time.  Can’t believe our luck when my horse "Media Puzzle" comes in first and Steve’s "Beekeeper" 3rd giving us a total win of $36 (£13).  Kevin takes us out on the tinny for a spot of fishing by trawling the lines resulting in a few nibbles but no catches.  View the coral using bowls which have had the bottoms cut out and replaced them with glass.  Chat to the family – Mike & Cherie with their kids Nathan (9) and Blake (5) along with Cherie’s parents Ken & Shirley.  Cherie tells us she is sick of eating lobster and doesn’t want Mike to catch anymore.  We express our amazement that he has been able to catch them by spearfishing and he offers to get us one tomorrow.   He seems like a real typical Aussie bloke, very friendly, stocky and bronzed, forever on the go and keen to show his skills to anyone interested.  The "dirty dozen"  gather for "sundowners" looking out to sea and get lucky and spot another turtle.   Evening gathering to watch "The Bill" on TV.
HUMPY 2
Wednesday 6 November   Steve’s up first again (a very good reason for us to settle by the sea).  Today we walk to the other end of the island before fitting in plenty of sunbathing, swimming and relaxing.  Afternoon session of boules.  True to his word Mike brings us an enormous "Painted Lobster" which everyone says would cost about $60 (£22) in the shops.  We cook it up then take it over to the community centre to share. 
HUMPY 3
Thursday 7 November  Thought it was too good to last as I end up getting up first.  Find a shovel nose shark washed ashore on the beach.  We only have a torch for light in the evenings so prefer to eat our main meal at mid day when we can cook and wash up in daylight.  Today get to enjoy a Thai fish curry made with some of the fresh fish caught by Don & Kevin. A Virgin plane flies low overhead and we find out that Richard Branson is on board and flying with lots of travel agents from the area to promote his new route from Brisbane to Rockhampton.  Play cards in the afternoon.  Mike comes back with another lobster which Pat cooks up for us to share.  Teach some of the crowd to play "Shithead" in the evening.
HUMPY 4
Friday 8 November  Mike swims in with a live turtle.  We go down on the shore and once he has stroked it’s neck to send it to sleep Steve takes a turn stroking it.  After it wakes up Blake clings onto it’s back for a ride out to sea.  Steve takes a trip out with Mike and Nathan in Ken’s tinny to Keppel Island where there is a big tourist resort.  They just happen to arrive as the bar is opening so stop for a few beers but redeem themselves by returning with Mars bars for everyone.  I keep my hand in as a Grandma by helping Nathan and Blake build a car in the sand.  Steve goes off late afternoon with Geoff and Joan to collect oysters off the rocks.  Gee it’s tough here having to eat lobster, fresh fish and oysters, well it is for me!  Just before dark a boat pulls up with a family on board including 2 teenage girls.  Keith greets them and explains we are nudists.  Steve helps carry their bags up and tries to direct them to the back of the camping area near the other beach.  The woman says they want to camp right next to us so Steve explains that we are nudists and she just says "Oh" but almost drops her bag!  They still camp right at the side of us and don’t offer a word of thanks for help with the bags.  Take our pocket sized version of Trivial Pursuit over to the community centre for evening entertainment.
HUMPY 5
Saturday 9 November  Both manage to get up at the same time and take an early morning walk around the rocks to Cathedral Rock.  Return and find everyone nude as normal in the camp.  Today I help the lads build a plane using the plan which Nathan has worked out.  Watch over the ladies when they play their mah-jong.  Quite a few boats come over to visit and a large group of kids camp behind the other beach.  Steve goes out with Mike to learn about spearfishing but can’t hold his breath long enough or dive deep enough to get anything.  Mike is having bad pains in his guts but still manages to stay under and go deeper than Steve.  In the evening our neighbours start gathering wood so Don goes over to point out that fires are banned on the island.  This sparks off a tit for tat reaction with the man saying that nudity is also banned and that he is going to report us to the rangers and the police.  Why didn’t he say something before now and why camp amongst us?  Evening choice of Bush Rummy or watching Bill on TV.
HUMPY 6
Sunday 10 November  Head off to the far side of the island with Lloyd & Marie for some snorkelling.  Return and find that Keith has negotiated a compromise with our neighbours in that we can go nude on the beach but not around camp although the man said he didn’t have a problem with the women being nude it was just the men – I’ll bet he didn’t, pervert.  I join in with mah-jong and start to get to grips with it’s complexities.  More fish for lunch and probably more tomorrow as the fishermen come back having caught a great big travally.  Mike’s friend Scotty arrives in his boat to take the family back home.  We’re all sorry to see them leave as they have been great company.  The lads have done pictures for me thanking me for playing with them and being a good friend.  It’s even better later on when the family leave and we can all relax as we have the island to ourselves.
HUMPY 7
Monday 11 November  Remembrance day and at 11.00pm Keith gathers us together.  He’s borrowed our Union Jack towel and the Anzac book Steve is reading and put them together on a table.  He says the "we will remember them" speech then we have a minute silence followed by Don singing an old war song.  Steve then goes off for his first fishing trip with Don whilst I play mah-jong.  Steve returns happy having personally caught 8 fish, wire netting cod, venus tusk fish, rock cod, coloured reef fish and whip tail plus others which were used as bait.  Boules with Lloyd & Marie. Evening bush rummy.  News comes in that Mike is in hospital with suspected appendicitis and is about to be operated on.
HUMPY 8
Tuesday 12 November  A lazy day apart from me taking a short boat trip with Kevin and a boules session.  Evening teaching my keen students how to play the card game of Golf.  Find out that Mike didn’t have appendicitis but a twisted gut which was cutting off the blood supply to his bowel – poor chap, no wonder he was in pain. 
Wednesday 13 November  Steve & Kevins early morning fishing trip gives Steve a chance to catch coral reef fish, silver bream and parrot fish.  Receive a visit from the Ranger accompanied by the Water Police known here as Water Rats.  The family did report us and although the Ranger knows and accepts we go nude the Police have to be seen to be doing something about it as it is actually illegal in Queensland.  He listens sympathetically to Keith and makes a few notes but doesn’t even bother to get our names and addresses.  Mah-jong, snorkelling and the rest of the usual activities.  A yacht anchors up with some Swiss people who come to explore the island.  Whilst everyone else is cooking their evening meal we sit looking out to sea and watching the stars.  Something catches my eye as it scuttles past the side of my chair.  I shriek and it turns back to the beach.  We grab a light and manage to pick out a huge water rat on the sand (that’s two visits from waters rats in one day). Apparently they are often around and will steal any food that is left out, glad I didn’t see it on the first night.  Evening sing song with Kevin on guitar.
HUMPY 10
Thursday 14 November  Don & Kevin return with a huge catch of fish, enough to feed us all.  People begin to start packing and the community centre is dismantled.  At 4.00pm we gather for a photo call with us all posing in our newly washed Sunday best outfits.  Final session of bush rummy whilst the non card players chat.
HUMPY 11
Friday 15 November  It’s hard to believe we have been here 11 days as the time has flown and we have really enjoyed it. I get up at 5.30am and we are soon breakfasted and have our stuff packed and down to the beach.  Take our last walk along the beach really soaking it up as we won’t see the sea again until we get to Adelaide next February.  Have to make a quick dash back as the boat which was due at 8.00am arrives early.  Although we have all eaten most of our food supplies and emptied the water bottles there still seems a lot to load up.  Notice quite a few cloud gathering as we head back.  The weather forecast last night was for storms heading this way so it looks like we are getting out just at the right time.  Everyone says it has been the best 11 days weather they have had on the camping trips.  Back in Rosslyn Bay the boat is unloaded.  There’s not enough room in anyones car for Steve to get a lift back to Savannah and no one can spare the time to run him down so he gets a taxi $25 (£10).  Billy starts first time and by the time he returns Marie and I have been and done all the washing in the laundry.  Soon load the van up, we may have taken comparatively little to the island but we managed very well and everything we took was used.  Arrive back at Savannah around 12.00.  Unpack before I join Lloyd & Marie to go back to Yeppoon to re stock the groceries whilst Steve stays in charge of bringing the washing in.  Join together in the recreation room to cook a lovely roast beef dinner followed by plum pudding and custard.  Shortly after that the heavens open up and we get a good few hours of torrential rain, thunder and lightening.  Glad we got back when we did.
SAVANNAH PARK RETREAT
Saturday 16 November  Trevor is up early making the most of conditions to grade the driveway.  I  begin catching up on diary etc and planning the next leg of our trip. Rain on and off throughout the day.  Evening out with Lloyd & Marie to the Rising Sun Chinese Restaurant in Yeppoon.  Saturday and Sunday they do a Chinese and Australian smorgasbord at $15.50 (£6) for adults and children pay their age (i.e. 5 year olds pay $5). It’s very busy and the food is varied and good.
SAVANNAH 2
Sunday 17 November  Lloyd & Marie set off and 8.00am and us soon after leaving Savannah Park empty.  We head west and inland along the Capricorn Highway with me soon taking over the driving so Steve can catch up on his sleep after watching football until 4.00am.  This is more like the Australia we remember and love, red earth, dead kangaroos and little traffic!  Pass lots of 1km long coal trains.  Near Blackwater are huge coal heaps with a vehicle manoeuvring the coal onto a conveyer belt which takes it over the road and drops it into the waiting train carriages.  Call in to visit Jeff & Netty and soon get talked into staying overnight.  Netty takes us for a tour of the town which just 4 years ago was a thriving mining town with over 10,000 population.  Since the bottom fell out of the coal industry the numbers have dwindled to around 3,000.  It’s almost spooky driving down dual carriageways with no traffic on them.  See rows and rows of houses for sale and land which was earmarked for further house building left to grow over, many empty shops.   There’s a small Japanese Garden built as part of the twinning of their town with one in Japan.  They even have a house available for Japanese to stay in when they visit.  Jeff & Netty’s children Travis (17) and Shae (15) just love it here and never want to move.  Kids can leave school with no qualifications and start earning $100,000 (£35,000) year down the mines.  Maybe that high figure reflect the accidents which do happen.  There’s a  memorial in town to the men who lost their lives in a recent cave in. It’s "schoolies" week in Australia.  The kids who are finishing school begin with their "formal".  This is a meal and party for the student plus their parents and 1 friend.  After this they spend the week partying, usually at the beach.  Reports on the news say there are around 50,000 schoolies on the Gold Coast. 
 Spend the evening at neighbour Tania’s where along with other friends we share a BBQ. 
BLACKWATER
Monday 18 November  Continue west through to Emerald, named for the lush green countryside and not the gem stone.  Hard to imagine it ever being green as we are seeing it in severe drought conditions.  The Gemfields region begins at Anakie notorious for a local who was barred from the pub but returned to blow the front off it!  Turn north to Sapphire and visit Jenny & Malcolm who makes gem faceting machines. Soon make friends with their dog Porky.  The town is very quiet as most visitors just fossick here in the winter, now it’s far too hot and dry.  Visit a quirky monument nearby made by a Yugoslavian.  Known as the pyramid of peace he has tried to make something out of junk and concrete but it hasn’t quite worked out.  Pass the day chatting and the evening in the spa then eating.
SAPPHIRE
Tuesday 19 November  Jenny takes us for a tour around pointing out local characters as we pass.  As we approach Rubyvale we can see which areas have been mined.  Old digs have been left as heaps but today the land must be filled in.  In the fossicking zone outside town dozens of cabins and old caravans are scattered through the forest as people come here to try their luck. As one of the richest sapphire zones in the world finding something is not difficult but finding the valuable ones is.  We’re surprised to find the stones come in many colours, in fact the yellow ones are worth more than the traditional blue and we also see pink, white and green ones.  Visit a couple of shops with the high class stones in jewellery selling for 10’s of thousand dollars.  Next check out the more tourist shops selling cheap jewellery and offering buckets of wash at $6 (£2.20) for you to sift through.  They provide all the facilities but often the soil has already been checked for good stones then spiked with rejects.  They want you to find a stone which you will then pay to have cut and set which is how they really make their money.  Call and visit a dealer friend of Jenny’s who shows us case after case of valuable and unusual stones.  We find the whole place and many of the characters who live here quite weird.   Finish off the day with a lovely roast beef dinner which Malcolm has cooked in the camp oven.
SAPPHIRE 2
Wednesday 20 November  Detour via Fairburn Dam at the head off Maraboon Lake.  Over 3 times the size of Sydney harbour it’s sad to see just how little water is left.  Join the Great Inland Highway to get to Rollaston.  Use the Library Internet for $2.50 (£1) hour then move to a free parking spot at the stockyards complete with electricity, toilets, showers and just a few flies.
ROLLASTON
Thursday 21 November  A very early start and on the road before 6.00am.  Turn off towards Carnarvon Gorge cringing as we bounce over the last 25km of rough track. Check onto the Takarakka Bush resort campsite $16 (£5.80) unpowered $22 (£8) powered.   Drive up to the gorge entrance and by 8.30am we are off on our long hike.  It’s 9.3km to the end of the gorge and a total of 25km return trip if you do all the side gorges as well.  We’ve been told we are setting out too late to do it all so reduce the amount of water we are taking.  We follow the course of the Carnarvon Creek and cross it frequently using stepping stones.  Sadly Moss Garden is closed so we continue to The Amphitheatre.  Detour up a hill to climb a steel ladder then squeeze through a narrow rock crevice to a large chasm carved out by water.  Back to the track then another climb up to Aijon Falls and Ward’s Canyon where we see the rare king fern.  At 5.6km there’s a detour to The Art Gallery with hundred of Aboriginal engravings and freehand paintings.  It’s only 11.00am so we decide to head on to Cathedral Cave.  This involves another 3.9km of creek hopping but believing there to be no one else daft enough to do this stretch we strip off, and get sprung by a chap walking out.  He tells us not to worry covering up and that there are no other people ahead.  Cathedral Cave is quite magnificent with the huge rock shelter used by Aboriginals and therefore plenty of rock art at the lower level.  After lunch and a doze we press on to Big Bend and enjoy a cooling swim in the creek.  The 9.3km hike out is not so much fun.  We are knackered and running low on water but make it out by 4.30pm having made 40 creek crossings and covered around 23km (15 miles).  After a refreshing shower back at camp we summon up the energy to take our food over to the camp kitchen where we are amazed to find over 20 people using the excellent facilities.  Kookaburra’s hang around and often swoop down to try and steal some food.    . 
CARNARVON GORGE – TAKARAKKA BUSH CAMP
Friday 22 November  Think all that walking must have gone to our heads as we get up before 5.00am to try and spot Platypus in the creek but without success.  So at 6.00am it’s back to bed for a couple of hours. Head off through Injune which offers 2 nights free camping.  Next it’s into Roma where we find out the Roma Cup Races are being held tomorrow.  After browsing around town we drive out to Campbell Park for the afternoon.  Back into town for the Friday night smorgasbord at Maranoa Club $9.95 (£3.50).  A bit disappointing as it is only main courses. 
ROMA – CAMPBELL PARK
Saturday 23 November  Arrive at the race track mid day.  $15 (£5.50) per person covers parking (toilets and showers in the car park), admission to the races and evening entertainment.  It’s a huge day out for the country folk and although anything goes in clothing there are many women competing for Fashion on the Field.  This area is suffering severe drought so in true Aussie style the crowds throng here from miles around to forget their worries for a day.   For each race I decide to bet $4 (£1.45) as an each way and Steve is going $5 (£1.80) on the winner (last of the big spenders).  We get off to a bad start with no wins on the first 3 races.  For the fourth race I invest my betting money in a bucket of hot chips (a dead cert) whilst Steve loses again but would have won if he had taken an each way bet.  Return to "Billy" and crack open our bottle of champagne.  We’re parked level with the start of the next race so stay there to watch.  I’ve backed "Always Trumps" which seems appropriate for a couple of reasons!  I come up Trumps when it finishes in first place.  Whilst returning to the bookmakers to collect my winnings Steve spots a $20 (£7.20) bank note on the floor and considers himself a winner also!  Now that I’ve found my form I go for "Blaze a Fortune" in the 6th race and this also wins.  I back "Clear Memory" in the last race and it romps home in record time giving me my 3rd win whilst "Billy Blanket" whom I had a side bet on brings up the rear.  Had I placed all my bets to win I could have won heaps more but feel content with at total of $55 (£20).  Back to the van for a shower and change of clothes.  Return to find a band playing in the marquee and thousands of mainly young people standing around drinking.  Manage to squeeze onto the dance floor for a few dances but spend most of the time watching the antics of the Aussies enjoying a real good piss up.  As the evening progresses the hospitality tents and stacks of unopened drinks are abandoned.  We soon latch on to the fact that just anybody is going in and helping themselves so when in Roma do as the locals do.  By the time we leave at 10.00pm the floor is ankle deep in empty cans and the area looks like a war zone.
ROMA 2 – CAMPBELL PARK
Sunday 24 November  Arrivaderchi Roma as we head south and pause at Thallon to make use of the BBQ’s to cook lunch.  Separated by the Barwon River half of Mungindi is Queensland and the rest in NEW SOUTH WALES.  Each side of the town has it’s own police station and other facilities and also support different rugby teams.  Put our clocks forward 1 hour onto Eastern Daylight saving time (11 hours ahead of GMT) which will suit us much better.  Lighter nights and a chance of getting Steve out of bed earlier.  Join the Newell Highway at Moree with a big difference in the volume of traffic.  Semi-trailers hurtle up and down constantly.  Just through Gurley we find Billy loses power and begins to chug along.  Shortly after the red fuel warning light comes on.  We immediately turn round to head back to the town but he soon gives up on us.  Guess that my driving at 100km hour with a head wind as opposed to Steve cruising at 85km has severely affected the fuel consumption.  Fat lot of good a warning light is when it only gives you about 2km notice.  Pull over to the side of the road and Steve sets out to walk to the petrol station which fortunately is less than 1km away.  The garage owner brings him back along with a 5 litre $8 (£5.60) can of petrol.  Unfortunately we still can’t start Billy and about 1/2 hour later the garage owner (who was staying open for us to return) comes back.  He suggests going against the instructions in the manual and pumping the accelerator.  Eventually this works and we drive on to get more petrol.  An hour or so wasted but a valuable lesson learnt.  Find good free parking right beside the river in Narrabri.
NARRABRI
Monday 25 November  Narrabri seems to have everything we need, good supermarkets, laundries and library so we have a busy morning.  15km south of town we turn off to visit Running Bare naturist retreat.  It started 4 years ago when Glennis & Laurie bought the land, built a rough cabin and began breeding pigs.  They invited other naturists to join them and 20 people now live here full time including daughter Jodie with son Bailey, daughter Tina with daughter Chloe and boyfriend Phil, Paul & Leslie, Peter & Marie plus their 3 children.  Many people stay here for weeks on end – Colin & Cherie, others use the cabins for a short holiday – Graham, Annette and Cindy.   It has a swimming pool, club house and powered sites for visitors at $15 (£5.40) night or $11 (£4) night if staying a week or more.  We’ve arranged to meet Gerry & Anne here and they arrive about 1 hour before us. Spend the evening in the club house and meet Alan & Sandra who own "Goody’s" retreat near Mackay so add that to our list of places to visit.  Other guests include Ken & Lenore with dog Julio. 
NARRABRI – RUNNING BARE
Tuesday 26 November  It’s a blustery day but this does bring down the temperature a little.  Gerry & Anne head off into town to meet their son who is passing through.  Play Gerry’s British railway game in the evening and chuckle as we stop off at Manchester to visit David and Keighley station to see Claire.  By the time we go to bed the wind has dropped but the cloud cover has brought the temperature up so I sneak out for a midnight swim to cool down.  The first Steve knows of this is when I climb back into bed cold and wet!
NARRABRI 2
Wednesday 27 November  Explore a bit of the site and see a scraggy koala up a tree.  Due to the drought there is little food for them and they are de-hydrating.  Uncharacteristically it has even been for a dip in the pond earlier in the day.  Look around the piggery and discover that it wasn’t people in caravans snoring at night but the pigs.  Watch them at feeding time and now fully understand many expressions including "get your foot out of the trough", "it’s like a pigs dinner" and "happy as a pig in muck".
NARRABRI 3
Thursday 28 November  Cloudy day which is fine for getting on with a few jobs on Billy.   
Evening game of Aussie trivia which reminds us of how much more we have to see and learn about Australia.
NARRABRI 4
Friday 29 November  Cloudy, windy but warm day.  Get to meet a real live "babe" when someone shows us an incredibly cute 1 week old premature pig.  Everyone gathers in the club house for an evening BBQ $4 (£1.35) but almost without warning a very strong wind gets up which moments later brings torrential rain.  Steve dashes back to Billy to close the flaps in the roof but ends up staying to bail out.  The rain comes with such force that it hits the van sideways.   Steve manages to pull the pop top down but this compresses the canvas and squeezes the water onto the bed.  Rain pours in around the doorway but once he removes the tea towel which is trapped in it things improve.  Rain flood into the club house through roof joints and under the walls.  The severe part of the storm lasts for about 15 minutes but it’s at least an hour before the rain lets up.  The road is like a river and some trees have been blown down.  Fortunately little damage is done and most problems will just be drying things out.  I join in and learn to play a card game called Samba which is similar to Canasta. 
NARRABRI 5
Saturday 30 November  The cleaning up operation begins.  Once I have all the bedding out to dry I help clean up in the club house.  Take a walk to inspect the surrounding area, quite a few fallen trees and branches, most of the bark chipping road surface has been washed away, the dam is full and some guttering is hanging off a carport.  Steve helps cleaning the debris out of the pool and it’s not too long before the hot sun starts to dry the land.  The club house is full at night with the main event being a darts competition.  We’re feeling quite settled here and just might stay here right through Christmas and the New Year.  Let’s face it where else are we going to get all these facilities for just £4 night? 
NARRABRI 6
 
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