Location: Willows Gem Fields, Australia
Just sitting under our bottle tree cooking jaffles & throwing the bread crusts to some bettongs that turn up each night for a feed of our veg scraps.
Location: Willows Gem Fields, Australia
Friday 1st March
It being April Fool's Day we thought we should not travel too far today so we stayed at a caravan park at Bororen although we were held up for a couple of hours along the way as 3 cars had a prang & that held up traffic in both directions. The RACQ helicopter carried off the injured & we sat in our van in the shade & waited for the road to be cleared.
The van park at Bororen is in the middle of nowhere beside the highway. The fellow running it must have been lonely as he talked our ears off telling us his life's story & the history of the van park. The park even though was pretty basic the amenities were brilliant & the tariff was cheap.
Saturday 2nd to the 7th March
We pushed through to Emerald today where we booked into the Emerald van park & with the temperature hovering around 37 degrees, turned the air conditioner on & sat & waited until the day cooled a bit before putting our smells around the shopping centres then walked around to the golf club for dinner, which was the worst meal we have had for a long time, then back to spend the night in the heat.
The next day with us being in Queensland & it being Sunday had to wait until 9am until the shops open so Pud could shop & I could get my beer to last us until Thursday week then we headed the last 83km to Gem-Air van park at The Willows.
Gem-Air van park has changed hands & several manages since we were here last time & there has been no maintenance done for the last 6 months so the condition of the park was pretty ordinary but fortunately the couple who are looking after it & they have been here for only a week, have been working flat out & the park is returning to its sparkling best. Pretty good seeing the temperature has been 37deg each day & Mick, the manager, is doing a great job. The park should be pretty good for when the bulk of the fossickers arrive over the next month or so.
Well we are back at one of our old holes at The Duffer where we are heading towards those big sapphires that are waiting for us. It has been 19 to 37 deg every day so we have an early start & we are back in the van by lunch with the air-conditioner working.
Location: Emerald, Australia
Monday 28th to 30th March
After leaving Burpengary we went to Nambour set up our van then off to the Ginger Factory for lunch then the macadamia factory then back to Nambour.
Tuesday off to Montville, had brunch overlooking the valley below Montville then went in & out of every shop in town & bought a few souvenirs.
On Wednesday Eumundi markets & I am sure we covered several km looking at each & every stall, but we had a very pleasant day.
Thursday 31st March
Gympie our next stop where we stayed the night at Steve & Rea's new place that they are really getting stuck into renovating but when finished will be great.
We parked in their carport/outbuilding over night. Steve lit the fire & we sat around drinking & reminiscing about the caravan park & the people there. It was good to catch-up about those times.
Saturday 2nd April
So far we have stayed in the Gill caravan park, the Warmsley caravan park & are now in the Emerald caravan park that is so hot we had to go to the Emerald shopping centre to cool down & can imagine how hot it is going to be at The Willows. Oh well we will get all those sapphires before anybody else gets there.
Location: burpengary qld, Australia
Wednesday 23rd to 27th March
Burpengary is where friends Pete & Barb live & we visited them over the Easter weekend. They have a very nice new house there & we were able to have the van in their yard.
While we were there Pete & Barb drove us around & went sightseeing around the area, played cards, drank a bit of rum & had good laughs.
Last year was the first time we have not met up & traveled together in lots of places over Australia so it was great to catch up for a few days.
Location: Tenterfield, Australia
Sunday 20th to 22nd March
On way to Warwick in Queensland but stopped at Tenterfield for smoko then Pud remembered that her grandmother was born & married here so we decided to stop here for 3 days & check out the rellies. So for the next 3 days had a great time finding records in the local library, checking out the cemetery headstones, driving up & down the streets & touring the drives in the district.
We did find Pud's great grandparents grave & headstone as well found what he did for a living (a government plus a council employee). Pud had a talk to them & invited them to come & haunt our house.
The trips around here are spectacular with the countryside pretty green for this time of year plus the granite hills & boulders made for a great tour.
Location: Glen Innes
Emmaville had its 2016 Sheep Races today where the sheep have saddles strapped on their backs & teddy bear is mounted on it. Then the sheep race over a 400 metre course with16 in each race. There were 10 races with people betting on which sheep with its jockey come a place.
Well we bet on the last race that was called The State Of Origin race & we picked the first place getter & won $300.
There were market stalls, raffles, guess the number of jelly beans in a jar competition, the normal bar, BBQ, Devonshire tea, mechanical bull & all those things found in country events. We had a great day arriving back at our van in Glen Innes about 5pm.
Location: inverell NSW
The tag-a-long trip was a failure as we found nothing worthwhile but it was an interesting trip along the tracks south east of Glen Innes.
Emmaville has a great gem & rock museum that we checked out. Then lunch at the Emmaville Pub returning to Glen Innes via Torrington & Deepwater. All those areas have fossicking areas but we just had a nice Sunday drive.
65km to Inverell & a walk over town
This time last year we were travelling overseas & this year we find ourselves in a creek on a hot day digging for quartz crystals being bitten by march flies & having blood sucked out by leaches 3 to 4 inches long but we would rather be doing this than what we did last year, a bit boring eh!
Years ago we found heaps of jellybean crystals at Stannifer, just south of Inverell, & we thought we would have another dig in the creek near there.
Tingha Sands is a sand mining company that when separating sand from rocks heaps the rocks in a pile near the separator. A lot of the 'rocks' are smoky & clear quartz & when the plant is operating several people including us stand back with long handled shovels jostle to score some good smoky quartz that can be facetted into gems. We have to stand well back for if we were to get too close we could get hit on the noggin, understandably we had to sign an understanding about the perils of being injured. We did find a couple of nice samples.
It has been a couple of years since we have been digging & our muscles are aching, so a couple of Disprin to ease the pains & they are just starting to work.
We are at Glen Innes & been to the Gemorama, bought a couple of things & admired all those lovely faceted gem etc. It was well worth going to.
We came across a few people we know both from home & from where we dig sapphires.
Had lunch at the local RSL club where the festival was held so it was poached eggs on toast for dinner tonight.
We have booked in for a tag-along fossicking trip for tomorrow & hope to find a big sapphire but we dont hold out much hope.
We left home on our way to Queensland for our yearly migration north away from the winter at home.
Our first stop is at Uralla overnight where had a walk around town to get over all that sitting for so long in the car.
We were sitting outside the van having a cuppa when the resident chooks strolled by on their way to their coop. As they "broke cover" from behind our ute they went into a fast chook walk making me wonder what was going on. Well as they got into open ground on their way to the coop a couple of magpies attacked, well, chooks went everywhere and then the maggies hid under our van ready for another performance. I reckon that is a daily routine between chooks & maggies.
Anyway we felt sorry for the chooks & gave them a feed of bread.
There is a 'Gemorama' at Glen Innes over the weekend & that is where we will be heading.