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carmel’s Travel Diary

Monday, 26 Sep 2005

Location: Glen Innes, Australia

MapHi folk, I've worked it out. It's a good idea to press 'send' if you want to send an e-mail. Life's a worry.

18/9/05 ctd.

We left home at 8.00 am (51344 kms on the speedo) loaded to the gills (the car and camper, not us) and, after an excellent run, reached Ballina about 11.00 am. However it took nearly an hour to find the caravan park, the Ballina Lakeside Holiday Park. (I’m going to do the navigating from now on – a joint decision.)

We are well settled in now, and find we have only forgotten 2 things – coffee mugs and bowls. I thought they were in our permanent equipment store and Barrie thought they were in the picnic set. So we’ll be getting some as soon as I finish here. Our only problems are (2 important ones in my opinion) we can’t pick up the TV on the computer, and the digital camera doesn’t work (disaster), it needs to be reinstalled and poor old Barrie didn’t think to bring the disc. So no photos till we get to Wakefield.

We drove to a really nice but oh so wild beach, Lighthouse Beach, this afternoon despite the fact that it was only 600 metres away – I’m going to have to get Barrie walking. We then went for a walk along the groyne, and I reckon it would have been at least 600 metres.


We had to buy fuel today so got it in Ballina – a bad move. It was 132.9c there (after 119.5c on the Gold Coast and 129.5c past Ballina) I had thought we were not going to be moving from place to place, but guess what, we are on the move again. We are heading over to Glen Innes. A chap told us the temperature there this morning was 0o – at least we’ve been warned.

The road between Ballina and Glen Innes was very windy with lots of road works, so it took much longer than expected, but the Caravan Park (the Craigieburn) here is great. It is heritage listed but only 3½ stars because it is a bit primitive but clean and tidy with very pleasant owners. It is on 40 acres with horses, lyre birds and rabbits, plus lots of birds. (That’s all we have seen so far). It’s a bit like what I would imagine a farmstay would be. There seems to be stacks to do here, so we (or rather I) have booked in for, believe it or not, a week.

Wednesday, 21/5 (I’m starting to put the days in so I know what day it is).

We both had a good night sleep and didn’t feel cold at all – admittedly we used sleeping bags and a doona. (Initially I thought there was only 1 ladies toilet and 4 showers, but I found another 2 newer toilets today, so I feel much happier.) We both spent the morning getting things properly organised. I now know where everything is.

.We then went into town and I saw my first ‘Beardie” (that wasn’t what I thought he was) but then I found out we are in the Land of the Beardies. We even went to the ‘Land of the Beardies’ museum. That was really interesting.

It is now Thursday, 21/9, and we spent this morning exploring the park. Getaway or the Great Outdoors could do a great segment on it. It must be in a very volcanic area (I hope they are extinct). There are these enormous rocks everywhere, but also a creek and bulbs growing all over the place. In a month or so, the place will be a picture. The man camping near us is a lecturer at USQ, and he and his sons had gone fossicking and had brought back a trailer load of mainly quartz, which, of course, is of no value to the true fossikrer, but it looked pretty good to us. He was really helpful. We also had a talk to a local sapphire fossiker. You pay $10 for a bucket of dirt and all the equipment and he helps you check it out. The people who were doing it while we watched, were getting quite a few little pieces, but I don’t think we will get enough to pay for our trip. We are going to have a go at that tomorrow. My only regret is that we can’t do our own fossicking there, like in Coober Pedy. Admittedly there are other places where we can, but we’ll give this a try first.

Then this afternoon, we checked out the Australian Standing Stones (not nearly as good as Stonehenge, but at least you can interpret them (with the guide) as long as you work out where west is. I don’t know that I did. To quote the brochure, they are a megalithic array, like those around which the ancient Celts danced. However these were only erected 13 years ago.
Friday 23/9
We bought our $10 bucket of diggings and had a demonstration on how to sluice and sieve. We did much better than we expected. We found 1 sapphire that even impressed the man who was running it – although still not big enough to finance our trip. He suggested we take it to a gemologist for cutting, but I don’t know whether we will bother. When the dirt is wet, the sapphires really show up, but when we look at them now, apart from the good one, they just look like bits of gravel. We also went to see the lone piper playing the bagpipes on the balcony of the Town Hall. She plays there every Friday at noon. Waltzing Matilda doesn’t sound the best on bagpipes, but the ‘traditional Scottish airs’ were great.
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