Over the Australia Day weekend the lucky ones that got to have the extra day off were able to take a trip to Eungella Dam, near Mackay.
3 Vehicles, 6 Adults had fun exploring the area thanks to trip leaders Nick and Val.
We left Townsville on Wednesday afternoon around 2pm. It was a relatively good trip down the coast road to Bloomsbury where we topped up with fuel. We continued on to Calen where we turned off the highway and followed the winding road through to Finch Hatton and climbed the steep incline to Eungella Township. The views were beautiful and as it was nearing dusk made it even more special. On to the dirt road for another ¾ hour or so and arrived at Eungella Dam around 7:15pm. There were already quite a few campers set up, so we drove around trying to find a good spot to camp, a little difficult in the dark. After about half an hour of toing and froing we decided to camp on the shoreline where all the water skiers camp. A bit of a challenge to level the trailers but after a bit of shovel work all was set up and we congratulated ourselves with a well earned beverage or two. Luckily Nick and Val had some firewood with them, so the fire was lit. Definitely not the normal size fire but sufficient to enjoy the ambience. Dinner was done and dusted by 9pm and an early night was had by all.
Thursday 26th January AUSTRALIA DAY.
Surprisingly we were not woken up by the ski brigade and a leisurely breaky was consumed. Danni and Errol arrived around 9am, with them leaving Townsville around 3am!!!!!!!!!!!! They decided to set up camp on the rise so had the best of both worlds, views and shade. We enjoyed watching the action on the dam, skiers, wake boards, canoes and stand up paddle boarders. We even saw one skier sitting on a chair with a kangaroo on his lap, flag and a beer. Good to see everyone enjoying our national holiday and no drunken incidents etc. In the afternoon we drove to the lookout, the dam wall for a look and found several native rosella trees in flower, then up the hill to find some firewood. It was very warm so a few of us had a swim, trying not to get tangled in all the weed and attempted to find some shade. There was a nice breeze so it was very pleasant. Happy hour was spent in the Aussie tradition with beer and party pies. Danni and Errol provided the party pies complete with little Aussie flags adorning them. We had a decent fire with plenty of coals for our camp ovens.
Friday 27th January.
After a leisurely breaky we decided to go to Mt Britton, an old gold mining town. We enjoyed the history of the area as they have interpretive signs depicting life on the goldfields. We have been told it is a very popular place in the winter with Grey Nomads, a definite place NOT to visit at that time of the year. There are plenty of areas to camp but it is quite remote. We drove into Homevale National Park to the camping area of Moonlight Dam where we had lunch. The dam area is very overgrown and had very little water. From there we took the 4WD track that we had done the previous year. After losing the track a few times due to the overgrowth we followed some of the previous wheel tracks until we went over a lowboy and there were no wheel tracks to see. Errol used his scouting knowledge and walked through the bush trying to find the track. We had to manoeuvre around a large washout and through a gully which was a little challenging and Val remarked “she would prefer to be enjoying a coffee in a Sydney café”. We came to the creek crossing and decided it was best to check it was ok to go through as it was quite a steep descent and ascent. The previous year it had water in the creek but surprisingly there was no water to traverse this time. This was a surprise as the previous year the dam was very low and this year was filled almost to capacity. We all enjoyed the creek crossing and arrived at the cattle yards and found a closed gate. Luckily it was not locked so we got back on to the main road and back to camp. Another camp fire was lit to sit around and enjoy the company.
Saturday 28th January.
Nick, Val and ourselves packed up camp and were on the road by 10am. We decided to take the Collinsville route on the return trip and rather than follow the water pipeline we drove back up the 4WD only road to the turnoff to Collinsville where the road became a real 4WD track with rocky ridges, ruts etc. It was good 4WD territory and just a little along the track we remarked to Val that she would probably prefer to be in a ‘café in Sydney’ than doing this particular drive. It took some time to drive this section as quite often we had to engage low 4WD. This would be a very interesting drive coming from the other direction, especially towing a trailer but if you wanted some good 4WD’ing then it would test your skills. Anyway we met up with the Collinsville main road just after Blenheim station and continued on till we got to the bitumen about 20kms from Collinsville. We had lunch in the park and then continued on our journey back to Townsville. Stopped off at Home Hill for cheap fuel and apart from one wrong turn off by our trip leader Nick, taking the short cut on the Port road to his office in South Townsville – whoops – he was trying to go via the abattoir turn off, which gave Lindsay and I some amusement. MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
We had an excellent time on this trip with good company, good 4WD’ing, weather and good sleeping temperatures. Thanks again to Nick and Val for being trip leaders.
Heather and Lindsay.
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