From the scrub to the tropics

Part two: Emerald to Newell Beach, Queensland

Crossing the road at Big Bend

G’day all, I hope you enjoyed our last instalment: part one “scrub to the scrub”. Originally I intended to write our journey from Gayndah to Newell Beach, Queensland in one segment however I may have gotten (ever so slightly) carried away with the descriptive details in my writing. For those of you that found the descriptions overwhelming I’d like to personally blame Henry Lawson, one of Australia’s greatest bush poets. During our time in Port Douglas I picked up a book by the Author called “Joe Wilsons mates” a collective of some of his greatest writings and after reading the book I was inspired to write in a similar manner, no way near as great as Henry Lawson mind you, but I gave it a crack regardless.

In this latest instalment we tackle Queensland’s northern hinterland from Emerald to Newell Beach. I spent most of my energy writing the last piece and by the end had major writer’s block, so in this chapter I’m going to do something different and write a small poem of our journey and add plenty of photos! So sit back relax and enjoy part two of our journey, what was from the scrub to the scrub now turns to from the scrub to the tropics..

Emerald Queensland we stayed two nights,
And during that time we saw most of the sights,
From giant easels, botanic gardens and sipping cold draught larger,
To the Nogoa river, bridges and a lake three times the size of Sydney harbour,
Emerald’s giant easel
We stayed in a campground that lay rest on a saddle,
Close to the lake where Moose liked to Paddle,
Evenings were pleasant with sunsets to admire,
And when cold we huddled around our well stoked campfire,
Our time in Emerald went rather quick and fast,
What was your favourite part? One might ask?
Our highlight of Emerald now this may sound crazy,
Were chips in a bowl served with delicious curry gravy,
Mother’s milk
We woke up the next day nice and early,
And with a good night’s rest we were feeling fresh and pearly,
With the caravan all packed and everything stowed,
We were finally about to hit the long frog and toad,          
I was just about to slip on my driving shoes,
When Dixie all of a sudden decided to chase some Roos,
When she came back she was the colour of red,
Dark red blood running from her head,
Covered in blood we were feeling quite tense,
Turns out she slit her ear under a barb wired fence,
We left north bound and soon met the Gregory highway,
Not a cloud in the sky that beautiful sunny Tuesday,
We soon reached Capella where there was a scenery of change,
To our left in the distance lay the Capella Peak Range,
The range consisted of ancient volcanic plugs,
That once was mined for sapphires and golden nuggs,
Capella Peak Range
The journey was rather boring after Capella,
So we put on some tunes by the artist Ben Kweller,
We soon arrived at Claremont 40km up the track,
But slipped on by as we had 375km to attack,
The town was just a country town full of Sharrons and Karrens,
The ironbark trees soon faded and the landscape was left barren,
Two hours of paddocks full of dust and dry scrub,
An outback of nothingness not even a pub,
We soon pulled over to stretch our tiresome legs,
Moose and I pissed all over the Cobblers-pegs,
Our fuel gauge was starting to indicate low,
So we stopped in at a roadhouse located in Belyando,
$2.30 a litre for octane 91,
A pretty hefty price considered by some,
Belyadno Roadhouse
The land stayed the same for an hour and a bit,
But soon the land started to wind and split,
Valleys and mountains and signs of Aussie wildflowers,
Soon made an appearance as we came into Charters Towers,
Our first impressions of the town may have left a scar,
Whilst a young intoxicated fella was picked up in a police car,
But the town soon made an impression ever so sweet,
With beautiful old buildings that made up the main street,
Charters Towers
We fuelled up the falcon again we seem to do that of late,
And stopped into the tackle shop to pick up some bait,
My wife said you may as well throw the bait in the bin,
Who’s going to be laughing when I soon reel them on in!
It had been a day a long day at that, six hours in a car,
Just 40km to go up the highway not too bloody far,
Soon we will be camping next to the Burkedin river,
Relaxing by the fire and working out our livers,
But problems soon arose when we arrived at Big Bend,
Our destination soon was greeted with a dead end,
Water, knee deep was flowing across the road,
There was no way we were getting across with our heavy load,
Ever so tired and disappointed after hours travel,
We turned around sighed and hit the corrugated gravel,
A few miles later there lay a camp located at Fletchers creek,
A spot and a home for the caravan we ever dare seek,
Tarp cities and communes of drifters lay there to the right,
It was getting ever so hard to find the perfect camp site,
To the right of the highway the communes started to clear out,
We found a nice site eventually did we ever have a doubt?
Moose and Dixie burning off some energy at Fletchers Creek campground
Amongst the Aussie wild grass and rigid Jarrah trees,
The sun started to go down with an ever so light breeze,
Our pups played some fetch and ran around ever so free,
Then our bellies started rumbling it was time for some tea,
Our dinner started sizzling over the scorching campfire
The rigid Jarrah silhouetting behind a sunset to admire,
With our bellies nice and full it was time to go to bed,
Darkness soon found us when the pillows hit our heads,
How’s the serenity?
With the crack of dawn we were up and soon hit the road,
Towing the caravan behind us that we didn’t unload,
Back to the infamous roadblock located near the Big Bend,
Where we took of our shoes and waded across with our furry four-legged friends,
Crossing the road block
We walked some miles to the river where time didn’t pass,
Next to paddocks with Brahman cattle eating scrubby long wild grass,
After a long enduring walk, hot and sweaty we ever walked so far,
There finally lay the river nestled amongst the ancient basalt bar,
The basalt bar consisted of many patterns and milky shades,
And the water who danced over the rocky formations turned to crystal cascades,
With sandy banks ever so soft that only one could ever wish,
It was time to cast in the line and catch a many fish,
Dixie would bark during my cast until the sinker made a plomp,
Moose would jump and paddle to the splash which he would bite, wrestle and chomp,
And to my luck the fish would jump amongst the basalt and Jarrah,
And there I was reeling them in from Perch to the almighty Barra,
Who’s laughing now??
It was now time to go and hit the road and cruise in fifth gear,
But before we went we sat down and ate cheese accompanied with a beer,
Big Bend is definitely a place you could spend many days and hours,
Would recommend to any of my friends travelling to Charters Towers,
Platter day, Platter day
We continued north on the Gregory highway with many more kilometres ahead,
The land lay there flat and barren and the tarmac soon turned red,
Greenvale was the next major town with a population of 234,
It had a historic hotel and a petrol bowser located at the general store,
The petrol was steep so we made a dash with our caravan that we towed,
We were finally finished with Gregory highway now for the Kennedy development road,
Kennedy development road
The road was long and rather bland and we were becoming rather weary,
Our fuel was becoming rather low so we filled up the tank with the jerry,
Half a tank is all we had which wasn’t much a fun,
As we soon turned off Kennedy road which turned to National-Highway 1,
On our right there it lay the 40mile National park,
But we had to move and find a camp before the day turned dark,
The scrub turned flat and all of a sudden termite mounds would stand,
Six feet tall, reds and browns towering over the land,
Towering Termite mounds
Time ticked along National one and our fuel tank was getting low,
We gritted our teeth with the realisation that we still had 40km to go,
There in the distance lay the tablelands the clouds looked cold and wet,
And with some time we finally fuelled up at the bowser Mount Garnet,
We stopped out of town just up the hill 10km to the right,
Where we found a clearing next to the road where we decided to stay the night,       
We released the hounds and played some fetch until they panted and frothed,
Whom then went to bed under the van after a big meal which they scoffed,
The rain started to trickle over the hills ever so soft and light,
Our bellies weighing of lead and an episode in bed it was time to call it a night,
Roadside trash
The next morning we tired the pups with torps, barrels and dropkicks,
It was time to hit the tablelands that were covered in wet green tropics,
As we hit the tablelands the rain came down sideways, rough and heavy,
We made our way up and down slowly but surely steady,
The fog was thick it was hard to see the canyons amongst clouds,
Soon farmland appeared luscious and green full of dairy cows,
We arrived in Atherton not long later and stopped for a coffee and a walk,
We went to visit the crystal caves whose title turns out to be talk,
Tolga, Walkamin and Mareeba were towns we crossed on our way,
Hosting dairies and wineries of mangoes even a coffee café,
We turned right at Mount Molly where we descended on down the plain,
Where we arrived at Shannonvale nestled amongst the sugar cane,
Sugarcane in Mossman
Sugar canes made the scenery all the way to the town of Port Douglas,
And the sun soon shone out of the clouds which turned out to be a plus,
No dogs allowed at our caravan park google failed us again,
So we tried the park across the road that would cost us an extra 10,
Turns out that the park was full and there we no other dog parks in town,
The remark left us slightly concerned leaving an impression of a frown,
Only one dog park in all of Port Douglas, now that seemed rather cruel,
So out of town we went and went on northbound to Newell,
We passed the town of Mossman that was home to a sugar mill,
And saw our first croc sign that gave our spines a chill,
To our right lay Newell Beach, hidden from Captain Cook,
Across the beach there lay the park where we went and betook,
Newell Beach Queensland our home for the next 7 days,
A beautiful place to relax and listen to the ocean’s waves.
Newell Beach Queensland!

Published by callumjbamford

Armature blogger. Currently working around Australia with his wife and two dogs.

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