October 2008

Oct 3 Atherton to Lake Eacham 25.65 klms, Avg speed 12.7 kph, Cycling time 2.01 hrs; Total kms 4570.38

New pedals attached we headed off, we make it exactly 1.5 kilometres down the road and stop for morning tea. It’s raining and we have coffee or an hour while we wait for it to pass, then we head for Lake Eacham via Yungaburra where we stopped for lunch.  The scenery is all green and rolling hills dotted with cows and horses. Yungaburra is a pretty village that’s remained largely unchanged since 1910 with several art & craft galleries, restaurants & a variety of accommodation.  Just before setting off after lunch my back tyre was flat, we’re both getting so many flats, Greg can fix them in 15 mins but he’s concerned about the amount.  The entrance road to Lake Eacham was charming with deep stands of rainforest nearly meeting overhead to create a tunnel.  Lake Eacham is a crater lake and is approx. 65 metres deep and thought to be around 40,000 years old, the views across the lake were spectacular.  The Lake Eacham Tourist Park sat on 10 shady areas of natural beauty where we met Ozzie the ostrich & Josie the pig.

Oct 4 Lake Eacham to Malanda 17.42 klms, Avg speed 13.2 kph, Cycling time 1.19 hrs; Total kms 4587.80

There was a snorer in our midst last night but we’re not fast enough to identify the owner of the hooter. The weather forecast is for showers and we see the clouds skirting the range top and heading west. Fortunately a short ride today to Malanda, a quiet town that sits in one of the wettest areas of the Atherton Tablelands and therefore is surrounded by pockets of rainforest and rolling hills.

The reason for Malanda’s existence is the Tropical North Queensland dairy industry, one of the world’s largest diary factories provides the main source of employment for Malanda and is supported by 190 local dairy farmers.  The Malanda Dairy Centre features a museum & is a tribute to the pioneers who lived & farmed in the area over a century ago, very interesting to visit.  We stayed at the Malanda Falls Caravan Park in a quiet bush setting & next to the Malanda Falls.  We ate that night at the Breezes Restaurant at the Malanda Lodge, excellent food.  But before we rode there Greg had yet another flat tyre!

Oct 5 Malanda to Millaa Millaa 28.09 klms, Avg speed 11.9 kph, Cycling time 2.21 hrs; Total kms 4615.89

We had a little rain last night and that combined with a large dinner and our snorer interrupted sleep the night before meant we slept very well. We woke to the sound of birds doing their thing and clearing skies. Malanda was 800 metres above sea level and we’re still climbing, both down to our lowest gears and panting away, 4 weeks lazing around in Innisfail and Cairns could be the cause!  We’re riding towards Millaa Millaa (pop 300) nestled in emerald hills, surrounded by dairy farms & a circuit of waterfalls, it is stunning countryside.  We stopped at Tarzali for coffee (make your own, free, instant coffee—his machine wasn’t working) and we both had flat tyres.  Greg has plenty of spare patches to fix but he needs to find solution to stop so many flats.  After checking into the Millaa Millaa Tourist Park (all these parks are lovely and quiet, the Victorians have all gone home) and helping the owner with her spread sheet formatting we rode into the village where there wasn’t a lot happening.  In fact there was nothing happening. No supermarket or general store open, but there was a good cafe open and we made ourselves comfortable sitting outside in the shade with a coffee, piece of fruit cake and yesterdays news paper. We don’t get to read the newspaper all that often because we’re always doing something, like fixing bloody flat tyres, so it’s a real treat and we both relish the sedentary half hour. Interesting to see huge Kauri Pine Tree, 870 years old, that fell in 2003 20 kilometres NE from Millaa Millaa. It was 26 metres to the 1st branch, 2.7 metres in diameter & 8.5 metre in circumference.  Permission was granted to move the tree to its present site after Cyclone Larry in 2006.  Larry (the cyclone) also came through Millaa Millaa, there wasn’t as much damage though as Innisfail.  In the park was a statue of Christie Palmerston & Pompo, former 1882 1st European Explorer of Rainforest, accompanied for 5 years by aboriginal teenage boy whom he called Pompo.  The Palmerston Highway, where we head tomorrow, is named after Christie.

Oct 6 Millaa Millaa to Ravenshoe 36.37 klms, Avg speed 11.1 kph, Cycling time 3.16 hrs; Total kms 4652.24

The sun is riz, and so are we. After a quick breaky, and Greg helping one of the caravaners we met last night install their printer we packed up and left. We knew today would be an even tougher ride as we were riding to the highest town in Queensland, Ravenshoe at 920 metres.  The route we took wasn’t suitable for caravans, great news for us, less traffic so should be quiet.  We’d just started on this windy road when a ute in the opposite direction thought he’d give both of us a fright & aim for Greg before pulling sharply away.  What a pity he was too quick to note his number plate to report him to the police.  Frightening to think the locals aren’t surprised when you mention the incident.  Once again the scenery is beautiful, verdant green dairy farms with cows so full of grass they can hardly stand, indeed most of the lazy buggers are sitting down in the shade silently working their jaws. Cycling days like these have been rare recently and we both feel happy that our recent traumas have left us relatively unscathed and able to enjoy the journey again....However there’s nothing like a few good hills to take your mind off things....on one long uphill Greg’s waiting for me, I asked him if my back tyre looked OK and he said to get off the bike as it was FLAT, no wonder I found the hill tough.  Another quick fix and we finally reached the top, a good test for my knee which now seems OK.  Ravenshoe’s 920 metres is put to good use, Windy Hill Wind Farm was the first wind farm to be constructed in Qld in 2000 & the 20 turbines produce enough energy to supply 3,500 homes—equivalent to the towns of Atherton & Mareeba, they are an amazing sight.  Ravenshoe (pop 1000) is a charming rural town due to its isolation & rainforest surroundings.  It’s also the nearest town to the Misty Mountains 130 kilometres of walking trails & is a great location for possum & tree –kangaroo spotting, none seen yet.  At the weekends the Millstream Express historic steam train, Capella, runs on a heritage listed railway, pity we wont be here to go on it.  We’re spending 3 days here to use the facilities, internet cafe, 2 supermarkets etc. we may not have such access over the next couple of weeks as our journey takes us further into the outback.  We’re staying at the Tall Timbers Motel & Caravan Park, pretty basic & run down but we are surrounded by lot of beautiful gum trees and for $10 per night with hot showers and laundry facilities we aren’t complaining.

Oct 9 Ravenshoe to Innot Hot Springs 31.70 klms, Avg speed 22.4 kph, Cycling time 1.24 hrs; Total kms 4683.94

Lovely flat, quiet, short ride along the Kennedy Highway to Innot Hot Springs Leisure & Health Park.  Not quite as luxurious as the name suggests, however, very comfortable & overlooking a lake with great birdlife.  The Park has swimming pools filled with Thermal Mineral Water from the Hot Spring of Nettle Creek and hot they were.  We had to go and laze by the pool most of the afternoon to recover from the shock of the sound of my front tyre exploding as we set up camp, luckily it did it there and not as I was doing a Cadell Evans sprint downhill.  Before cooking dinner in the camp kitchen we had a drink at the Innot Hot Springs Hotel just over the Creek & chatted to some locals.  A delight to find a place with no pokies or tab.

Oct 10 Innot Hot Springs to Mt. Garnet 17.73 klms, Avg speed 14.9 kph, Cycling time 1.11 hrs; Total kms 4701.76

Happy Birthday Greg!  As we rode the short distance to Mt. Garnet Greg was telling me his birthday lunch menu “Duck liver parfait, free range roasted chicken with butter and oregano, roasted chats etc etc, all washed down with bubbly, Riesling, Pinot Noir, cheese plate blah blah blah” you get the picture, the man’s a pig. I had to remind him I was taking him to the Mt. Garnet Hotel, est. 1897 & not his favourite restaurant at Bondi Beach.  After setting up camp at the Mt. Garnet Travellers Park where I picked up a brochure entitled “Don’t Tangle With A Road Train” we had a celebratory lunch. After the landlord saying he didn’t have a wine list he took Greg around the back where he stocked the most incredible wine selection with prices ranging from $38 up to $3400!  We drank a 2004 Grosset Polish Hill & 1996 Katnook Estate Coonawarra Cab. Sav & in the afternoon sat under a couple of huge mango trees with locals Josh, Stretch, Pedro & Pete chatting with Greg about the current financial situation, so many experts, such limited expertise...it was soon time to go home!  The next day we explored Mt Garnet & the surrounding area, situated on the great dividing range with old mine sites surrounding the town.  Enjoyed a cup of coffee at the local and only cafe and then scoured the supermarkets limited supplies for our journey ahead. Greg is continuing to endure equipment failures. He was fuming that he hadn’t kept the receipt to make yet another warranty claim, but he did manage to find more than adequate replacements.  This is the second time in his life he’s had to replace them due to glue failure and he wasn’t happy. His thongs had finally had enough after at least 15 years faithful service. At the now ripe old age of 47 he was having to purchase a third set of thongs for the outrageous price of $7.50 all the time muttering that the recent fall in the Au$ had probably doubled the price. He is now the proud owner of new blue two tone strapped thongs and can continue in the great Aussie tradition of scuffing hither and thither. We had a BBQ dinner under an evening sky bright with stars & retired early as we had a long ride tomorrow. Greg in his element with a wood fired Barbie, huge donkey donger sausages, and masses of carb’ filled potatoes sizzling away, while he practiced walking in his newly acquired foot ware. I, of course, said I wouldn’t eat very much but, in the great Wells tradition, stuffed myself silly on sausages and crispy potatoes busily justifying this by the fact we had to ride around 100 kilometres the next day.

Oct 12 Mount Garnet to Undara National Park 99.65 klms, Avg speed 16.9 kph, Cycling time 5.53 hrs; Total kms 4801.32

We left at 6.30am, it was hilly, hot & windy & we had our first encounter with a few Road Trains.  These heavy beasts can be up to 55 metres long, the length of 10 cars & often travelling on single lane roads with wide shoulders each side.  It was easy for us to pull over on to the shoulder and let them pass.  We’ve come to Undara to visit the lava tubes.  As we had such a long ride we’re staying 2 nights in the Swags Tent Village at Undara Experience, like camping without roughing it, a permanent tent in a shady bush setting.  Luxury for us as we each had a single bed, and that means we don’t have to get on the ground to go to bed. On any bed we would have slept well, after 100 kilometres, we selpt the sleep of the dead. The place itself is dry & barren, hard to image it being green in a few months in the wet season.  The Bistro menu wasn’t operating, only a $37ph buffet which we thought expensive, so we enjoyed cooking our own risotto washed down with some extortionately expensive beers.

Oct 13—Undara Experience

Our guide for the 4 hour Lava Tube tour was Levi and he did a great job explaining the geological & historical features of the region which occurred 190,000 years ago.  One of the lava flows from Undara extends more than 160kms making it the longest lava flow on planet Earth from a single volcanic crater.  In the evening we went on a “Wildlife at Sunset” tour with Mac, where we saw a variety of different kangaroos/wallabies & the highlight of the evening was climbing a hill to watch a magnificent sunset drinking champagne & feasting on cheese & fruit.

Oct 14 Undara to Mt. Surprise 54.28 klms, Avg speed 19.0 kph, Cycling time 2.51 hrs; Total kms 4855.60

We set off into a pretty significant head wind for the first 15 klms before we dropped from 800 to 400 metres above sea level as we the turned and rode to Mt. Surprise & with a back wind most of my ride was free wheeling, if only all rides were like this!  Gem fossicking is a big drawcard here so it’s no surprise the town’s signage says “A Gem of a Town”.  The Bedrock Village Caravan Park had been recommended to us and we made use of its swimming pool and healthy vege patch where we picked tomatoes, spinach & zucchini   We went to the local pub for a pre dinner drink & sat outside, it was still 32 degrees at 6.30pm.  We chatted to a truck driver & learnt about life on the road.  During the night an Echidna (like a large hedgehog) decided he’d did a hole between the 2 linings of the tent, I remained reasonably calm while I poked and prodded Greg from his slumber. I had visions of holes appearing in the tent and Greg volunteered to move him on, thank goodness!  The next morning we chatted to Julian & Jerome from France & Marcel & Constanze from Germany.  Julian & Jerome were going to work on a cattle station for the next 2 weeks in return for board & food, we often wonder how the boys are going.  These guys are part of a world wide community called wwoofa’s as were some German girls doing work at the caravan park. This organisation provides a contact point between people wanting short term work done, usually by travellers, in exchange for food and accommodation. Mt. Surprise was full of surprises, over the road in a huge tin shed owned by Russell who had an internet cafe (great coffee) cum museum cum tyre repairer cum snake show host, he also employed wwoofa’s.

Oct 16-17—Savannahlander Train Trip-The Outback Rail Experience

A 1960 rail motor, the Savanahlander train travels from Cairns once a week, a memorable trip covering 850 klms in around 35 hours & a special way to experience the towns of the Gulf Savannah including Mt. Surprise & Forsayth.  We boarded the train at Mt. Surprise to stay overnight at Forsayth, via Einasleigh, followed by an excursion to Cobbold Gorge (organised by Max) in the morning & boarding the train back to Mt. Surprise from Einasleigh in the afternoon.  I think we’d both agree this trip was a highlight, for much of the journey the Savannahlander travels slowly, has the railway line to itself allowing passengers to experience train travel that most wont have come across before—it was very relaxing with our driver, Matt, giving great commentary being assisted Wayno & Garry.  On route to Forsayth we all stretched our legs & walked to the hotel at Einasleigh, a tiny town that sits on the banks of the Copperfield River & has dramatic outback scenery with flat top hills that rise out of the grasslands.  5 hours later we were transferred by Max to his Motel/Van Park at Forsayth, a small community still bearing abandoned mines that once produced ransoms in gold.  We had a delicious meal there & slept well in a very comfortable motel room—what luxury!  After a cooked breakfast Max drove us 42 klms to Cobbold Gorge where deep gorges with permanent waterholes flanked by sheer cliffs have formed an oasis for wildlife including fresh water crocodiles, we did see a small one + eggs on the bank side.  The overall length of the gorge is about 6 klms, however, only the last 500 metres is accessible by flat bottom boats with electric motors.  The gorge lies on the Robin Hood Station belonging to the Terry family where they raise 14,000 head of Braham cattle on 1284 square kilometres or 33,000 acres—it’s hard to image the size and while it’s one of Queensland’s big cattle stations it’s not the largest.  Greg thought he’d like to be a Braham Bull, only 70 to service all those cows!!  Lucky for us Simon Terry has now opened the gorge to the public which was an awesome & unforgettable experience.  We had a train to catch so Max drove us 70 klms to the Einasleigh Hotel where lunch was waiting & we boarded the train arriving back at Mt. Surprise at 2.30pm being slightly delayed as the train broke down—the brakes ran out of air which Matt soon fixed. Passengers from the train were staying either in the same caravan park we were, or in the pub. We walked back to the caravan park, erected our tent on that same site that we had previously used, picked some more veg from the vege patch, showered and joined many of our fellow travellers at the pub for a few quite sherbets and an early dinner for us.

Oct 18 Mt. Surprise to Einasleigh 75.92 klms, Avg speed 12.0 kph, Cycling time 6.18 hrs; Total kms 4931.52

Over the next 5 days were heading S/SE to Charters Towers which meant heading back to Einasleigh.  I think this was one of our toughest rides, it was hot, windy & 45 klms was riding over a corrugated gravel and sandy road, we should have put the bikes on the train.  We stayed at the Copperfield Gorge Caravan Park at Einasleigh with a lovely garden being developed by owner Mark.  We had a BBQ dinner at the Einasleigh Hotel, we felt like locals as we’d been there 3 times over the past few days. Greg had mixed feeling on arriving at the pub that evening. He was given his first beer free as it wasn’t quite a glass full, that’s the good news, the pub had finished it’s last keg of beer, that’s the bad news, but they did have plenty of bottled beer (there is a God). There is mining activity going on in the local area so most of the residents, there aren’t many, of both the caravan park and the pub are mine workers, working 12 hour shifts day and night, 10 days on 4 days off. The pub provides breakfast, lets them make their own lunch, and cooks them dinner.

Oct 19 Einasleigh to Lynd Junction 78.44 klms, Avg speed 11.1 kph, Cycling time 7.03 hrs; Total kms 5009.96

We woke early again ready for a long ride on a gravel road with no corrugations but another head wind so it took us 7 hours to reach the Lynd, luckily it was cloudy so not too hot.  Paul & Pat, returning to Mackay, stopped & gave us oranges, apples & chocolate covered liquorice sticks—yum!  They also asked if we had enough water, which we did, how kind they were.  It was another long day and we were both pleased to finally arrive a The Lynd Junction where we stayed in the camp site behind the BP Roadhouse at the Junction, not flash but it had showers.  After a pasta meal and a bit of a listen to the cricket on the radio we had an early night and slept well. Radio reception is not good where we’re travelling and we miss our Radio National programmes and the news, however, as we’re encountering road trains on our next stretch we won’t be listening to any radio for the next few days.

Oct 20 Lynd Junction to Greenvale 55.25 klms, Avg speed 13.3 kph, Cycling time 4.09 hrs; Total kms 5065.21

Another head wind!  Still not too far to travel today.  We’re travelling down the Gregory Development Road & the “Don’t Tangle With A Road Train” brochure said the IES Resources Group runs road trains up and down this road from Mt Garnet to Charters Towers 24 hours 7 days a week so they’ll keep us company all the way!  When we heard them coming we easily rode onto the shoulder, it wasn’t stressful riding with them but not relaxing either. A wave from us & flash of lights from the driver was the norm by the time we reached Charters Towers as drivers had spread the word via radio there were a couple of crazy cyclists on the road.  Even a policeman looked concerned when we said we were heading to Greenvale.  We cycled into the Greenvale Caravan Park early afternoon, set up tent, showered & while waiting for the washing to finish was invited over to have tea & cake with Emma & Jimmy, a couple from Perth, it was delicious too, you meet so many kind & interesting people. We ate at the Three Rivers Hotel famous because Slim Dusty wrote a song about having a beer there. We’re famous now because we did the same.

Oct 21 Greenvale to Bluewater Springs 94.59 klms, Avg speed 14.9 kph, Cycling time 6.20 hrs; Total kms 5159.80

6.30am start, we did surprisingly well considering the conditions - single road, more road trains & more head winds.   The surrounding country side is showing the full effects of being at the end of the dry season. Brown grass, hanging on for grim life in dry dusty quartz riddled soil interrupted by the occasional eucalypt. Rolling hills broken with dry creek beds and the very occasional flowing river apparently make for great cattle country. They’re everywhere and evidence that the live cattle export business is alive and well. As are the huge 3 trailored, double decker cattle road trains that pass us. Occasionally we see a homestead, but they are few a far between. The population of Bluewater Springs is 2 & they own the Roadhouse/Caravan Park.  We were the only campers there, in fact we are the only ones there apart from the owners and their two empty caravans. It’s quite noisy with road trains rumbling through the night, still after a hot shower & washing done we were happy. We sat in their dining room, with the air conditioner roaring away with some cold beers and had dinner while we watched the ABC news.

Oct 22 Bluewater Springs to Charters Towers 110.85 klms, Avg speed 15.4 kph, Cycling time 7.12 hrs; Total kms 5270.65

Our longest ride in the saddle to date, & yes, another head wind.  We reached a free camping spot called Fletcher Creek at lunchtime. We could either stay here the night or cycle another 40 klms to Charters Towers.  Greg filtered some water from the Creek (the water apparently flows from Papua New Guinea) & filled up our bottles.  With plenty of water & still early afternoon we decided to continue on (I think the thought of not cycling the next day spurred us on) stopping every 10 klms for a break & arrived at the Dalrymple Tourist Van Park late afternoon looking forward to a weeks break off the bikes.  We’d ridden just over 400 klms in 5 days with only 1 puncture along the way, considering some of the rough road conditions our bikes performed well, wish I could say the same about my bum which was looking forward to being off a seat!  The Caravan Park is quiet, has a great camp kitchen, lots of bird life and swimming pool too.  Hopefully we shall get to use whilst here.  We walked to the local RSL for dinner (no booking required, we were one of two tables) & slept soundly. 

Oct 23—27—Charters Towers

Population approx. 8000, a superb historic mining town full of gracious buildings, it is a city built from the proceeds of goldmining & as such the city fathers were determined to flaunt their wealth.  Located 130 km south-west of Townsville, 1506 km from Brisbane via Townsville and 310 m above sea-level, Charters Towers lies on gently undulating country 138 km east of the Great Dividing Range.  It is about 200 km east of the edge of the vast flat plains which extend across to the Gulf of Carpentaria and into far western Queensland.

Gold was discovered at the foot of Towers Hill in December 1871, registered in Ravenswood January 1872. The name Charters Towers was given after the Mining Warden Mr. W.S.E.M. Charters who the claim was registered to—it will be an interesting town to explore.

You’d think 5 days in Charters would give us plenty of time to be sloths, in fact we’re always busy when we stop, catching up on emails, updating the web, washing bikes, stocking up on supplies doing touristy things in town that it was only on our last afternoon that we finally got to laze around the pool.  Some good news, Greg’s new tyres and replacement wireless modum were waiting at the Post Office + his visit to the local doctor to get some repeat prescriptions wasn’t a drama so we left Charters on a positive note!

Oct 28 Charters Towers to Cape River 114.00 klms, Avg speed 15.2 kph, Cycling time 7.28 hrs; Total kms 5384.65

With new tyres on the bikes, panniers stuffed with food for the next 5/6 days, Greg carrying additional water,  we set off for Emerald, 484 klms away.  Our daily cycling klms are now increasing as facilities get further apart, on this leg of the journey we will need to camp in the bush a couple of times the first time being tonight at Cape River.  This was a long ride in the saddle, another hot, windy day fortunately we found a lovely spot to camp well away from the road.  We’d been assured we’d be able to get water from the river (most rivers are dry at the moment) and Greg filtered enough water for a shower & to replenish our water bottles for the next day.  After a meal of pasta & salad we were in bed by 7.30pm as it’s dark by then although we didn’t have any difficulty in falling into a slumber state after our day’s ride.

Oct 29 Cape River to Belyando Crossing 84.68 klms, Avg speed 15.1 kph, Cycling time 5.36 hrs; Total kms 5469.33

The sun rises in Qld around 5.30am so we’re on the road by 7.00am, it’s also still relatively cool although that doesn’t last long.  We’re currently riding in temperatures of between 32-35 degrees Celsius. A quiet, hilly ride with a slight headwind, again.  We reached Belyando Crossing just after lunch and set up camp under a large shady tree.  Lots of cattle & farm trucks stop here for refreshments & we discovered some really comfortable chairs in the shade, armed with cold beers we sat there in a daze, played with their dogs & watched the world go by.  We were still there late afternoon & ate delicious hamburgers and chips for dinner.

Oct 30 Belyando Crossing to Mazeppa National Park 94.79 klms, Avg speed 12.6 kph, Cycling time 7.29 hrs; Total kms 5564.12

Another long, hot windy day to start so we were on the road early. With little or no radio reception Greg was listening to podcasts and I tried for ABC local radio on AM from time to time to break what Greg calls “white line fever” on these very long straight stretches of road. Again, having been promised north easterly winds, we were disappointed to be cycling into a south easterly for most of the day. Our morning tea and lunch stops are now being determined not by our stomachs, but by the availability of shady trees. Whilst this is not quite the Nullabor (no trees) they are few and far between and invariably on a farmers land. So by lunch today we’d had enough and limbo danced under a farmers barbed wire fence to sit under a tree for 45 minutes while we ate hot cheese, hot lettuce, hot tomatoes, hot oranges and drank hot water. By 4.30 in the afternoon we were disappearing into the National Park to camp.  We knew there was no water in the Park so stocked up at Belyando, Greg carrying 20 litres & me 11 litres which is a lot of extra weight to carry 90 odd kilometres and changes the bikes handling quite significantly.  The Park was pretty drab with lots of dead trees, as there was only pedestrian access into the Park there was only us 2 camping + millions of flies! These were tough flies too, they could stay hanging around even though there was a reasonable breeze blowing, so it made our cuppa tea an arm swinging affair whilst we caught up on world news as we now has some sort of radio reception. Greg had been trying to follow the cricket, but I think he started on the first test and finished on the last day of the second. After a bush shower + dinner we were soon zipped up in the tent to get away from the pesky things.

Oct 31 Mazeppa National Park to Clermont 79.28 klms, Avg speed 15.0 kph, Cycling time 5.16 hrs; Total kms 5643.41

The field next to the National Park was full of Brolgas, large grey cranes standing just over a metre tall, I reckon there were about 500 birds in this field so they were an amazing sight.  These were competing with Galahs, kangaroos and cattle. Only just over 5 hours in the saddle so relatively short ride today, however, Greg found the ride tough, he was suffering the after effects of carrying all the water yesterday + was saddle sore + I even beat him up the hill into town.  We arrived in time for lunch and sat at a table in the shade of a tree in a church yard. We’re not huge soft drink consumers as we find them too sweet and not very thirst quenching, however we both sat there with what seemed like small buckets of icy cold Coke while we wolfed our fresh tomato, hommos and tabouleh sandwiches down. Fresh fruit is also a bit of a rarity so we really got stuck into oranges, grapes, apples and pretty well anything green.   We set up tent under a huge tree in the Clermont Caravan Park & decided to have a rest day tomorrow. We dined that night at a pub called the Hoey Moey (Hotel Motel) which had all the architectural qualities of a 1960 Soviet constructed toilet block. We sat outside and spoke with Lance the publican while we enjoyed some cold beers before retreating inside for what was a pretty good meal. Greg, of course, ordered steak, I was having an attack of conscious having watched all the cattle being brought to market staring out from the huge cattle road trains rumble past the pub, so I had a vegetable plate. Try as he might, Greg couldn’t spend any more than $11 on either white or red wine. This is really headache territory!