I did make contact with my parents on Skype, but unfortunately the second linkup was marred by the lack of sound their end. We did communicate a few necessary items of news with me asking questions and great shaking or nodding of heads their end for responses. It is frustrating when these technical hitches spoil what would otherwise be a bonus; they make one question the positives of modern communication.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
The camp here has 120 self-contained units and 100 caravan sites. We read the other day that Mackay is bursting at the seams with workers requiring accommodation, and in need of extra “beds”. Many of the occupants here are those very people described in that article, those working in the mines and supporting services. There is a nice swimming pool, although not quite as classy as that at Gracemere, however no one is making use of the pools at this time of the year. It is winter, even if the temperatures of late have been in the early 20s. Again, like Gracemere, the amenities are old, but very clean and big enough to serve the customers well. We are within walking distance of the CBD but the rain or threat of the same, does not encourage an outing on foot.
After setting up and having lunch, making use of the electricity and using our toasted sandwich maker, we headed back across the river, firstly to visit the caravan accessories place we had spied as we entered the city, and again back to Porters to seek a tap handle so that we can take water from taps in parklands that have had their tops off to stop such practices. This is done of course to deter young vandals, not such fine persons as ourselves!
We also found the
dealer who was able to provide us with a replacement bulb for one of the headlights. The bulb is more than that, a whole fitting costing more than a simple filament that one would expect. Toyota
En route, we fell upon a shop called Vegies Unlimited and stopped to check their prices out. Bananas at nearly $13 a kilo, tomatoes at nearly $9, apples at nearly $5… such prices have made us pause and consider whether we actually need these particular food items. This greengrocer was like Pandora’s Box. The further we ventured into the store, the more bargains we found, the more we unloaded those first seen and replaced with better. We exited with a large bag of spuds, carrots, tomatoes, an avocado, apples, pears, a portion of pawpaw and a beautiful "topless acid free” pineapple. We indulged in the pineapple after our wonderful dinner of butter chicken, rice, carrots and broccoli. It is years since I ate such a large amount of fresh pineapple, what a treat! And so appropriate in this subtropical region.
We were dismayed to learn on Facebook that our wonderfully athletic India had broken her wrist playing soccer at school; we were glad to touch base with her mother to hear that matters were under control even if still unpleasant for our granddaughter. In fact it was quite a night of catch up; we ended up speaking with all three of our kids and their partners on Skype, always a pleasure even if there is sometimes less than happy news to impart.
It rained much of last night; the creek did not flood and we were safe and sound in our little home. It was very soon after eight that we broke camp and came further north. The road continued as it had the previous afternoon, but the cattle farms were replaced by sugar cane fields the further north we came.
Last night, in the absence of television, we watched a couple of travel DVDs we have, with particular attention to the Mackay episode of Spider Everitt’s “The Great Australian Doorstep”. We had seen this at least twice before, however it was all the more pertinent given that we were closing on this city of more than sixty thousand, about ten thousand less than Rockhampton. And it was just as well that we did because we were keen to do a tour through a sugar mill and knew that his wife Sheree had done so somewhere near Mackay. Wonder of wonders, it was at Sarina, the place we planned to stop and gather local maps from the Information Centre. The Sugar Shed is part of the complex on the southern entry to Sarina called “Field of Dreams”, a very fancy name for the Centre, the Shed, an
and a museum. The Plane Creek sugar mill stands beside this “field” billowing out great clouds of steam; a living monument to the region’s industry. The next tour was due to start within the hour of our arrival, so we signed on at once. Again Chris’s Art Gallery ’s Senior Card proved useful; it is surprising how often this comes in handy. Queensland
We turned into the road on which this lookout is situated, to find that caravans and trailers are banned from travelling beyond the sign. There was a suggestion we could unhook and drive on, but we decided to simply park and walk on. Rain threatened yet again so we donned raincoats and set off. A government vehicle pulled up beside us and we asked how far the lookout was. He in turn asked us if we would like a lift to the top. We accepted of course and he, an employee of the Quarantine Service, went out of his way to run us up the very steep but relatively short road. A wonderful gesture; yet another from the wonderful people that live in this land.
A squall came over as we arrived at the top so we sheltered out of the wind until it passed. Below us lay the industrial scene. It was a shame the weather was not better however we were able to make out over a dozen coal freighters waiting out on the horizon to be guided in by the pilots, who are all helicoptered out, as in
. We walked back to the caravan in the sunshine, away before the rain recommenced. Gladstone
Monday, June 27, 2011
We called yet again in to the central post office, this time with no success. Five of the six pieces of mail, forwarded twelve days ago from the Sunshine Coast have successfully arrived, one remains in never-never land. We left instructions for it to be forwarded on when and if it turns up, but how crazy is this!!
We called into
, one hundred kilometres north of Rockhampton, for lunch. The posts beside the road stated the number of kilometres to travel to the destination; MB for Marlborough . We were expecting a little more when we arrived and apparently once upon a time there was, when the main road intersected the town. Now there is a store, a pub which offers free camping or rather, a gold coin donation, for the privilege of parking in its back yard, a swimming pool and a rest area with clean toilets. The population is similar to Boomi, of our cotton picking days, but is occupied with cattle farming instead. Several groups of the touring public found their way from the highway to this poorly signed spot and stayed to enjoy the peace and birds while they lunched. Marlborough
|Mining gear on the move along the Bruce Highway under police escort.|
The road on from
Here we already have at least ten fellow camping parties in at four o’clock, but no television reception so Chris will miss seeing
Australia’s own Tomac attempting yet another round to stay in the lead up to the Wimbledon finals. It is a busy time for Chris, what with Wimbledon and the Tour de France starting next week. He is resigned to the fact that he will miss much of it, since television reception seems so whimsical. He says, “It is hard work being an armchair sportsman.”
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Tonight is our last at this caravan park and on power for at least a couple of days; how many can never be guessed because who knows what the days ahead hold, apart from the fact that there will be new places and new experiences. Camera batteries have been charged, cellphones are charging and the computer battery is charging as I type this. The crock pot has been packed away as have the loose parts of the microwave, so our departure in the morning should not be held up by such matters.
Yesterday, Saturday, dawned a little warmer than the days before after a night similarly less cold. My mother was celebrating her eightieth birthday amid food and family. We had arranged with Olly to purchase and deliver a web-cam to her as a gift, so that she could no longer say, “It’s so long since we have seen you!” We were aware that there is a two hour time difference, that Olly had to travel south to Tauranga from West Auckland with his family, including two wee boys, and that when he arrived there would be in excess of twenty other family members all eager to greet my mother. We hoped that in the middle of all that, there would be an opportunity to connect briefly with her and so demonstrate the wonders of Skype. As a result our plans for the day were very loose, to the point of dropping whatever we were doing to accommodate the convenience of the situation.
was the next port of call. We arrived dead on one and were offered the opportunity to hear a talk by the curator of an exhibition launched the previous evening. The exhibition titled “Big Eye – Aboriginal Animations” was presented by Jenny Fraser, a woman who identifies herself as aboriginal from an area south west of Boonah, the carrot capital we stayed in. The exhibition is screen based and on-line, which is to us a strange concept. When I think animations, I think Mickey Mouse, Smurfs and Homer Simpson. The works, compiled by both Australian and North American aboriginal artists, that we observed, were mostly a series of stills with subtitles, many aimed at young people with messages targeting potential challenges and problems that are most prevalent in that realm. But was it art? Apart from this, the presentation was not inspiring. I am sure that Ms Fraser is passionate and committed to the artists she is working with, but her reserve did her no favours, coupled with the fact that her power point presentation was spoiled by the computer not functioning as she needed it to. Rockhampton Art Gallery
The gallery also had an exhibition titled “1888 Melbourne Cup”, which may have appealed more to those who feel Melbourne Cup rather than know of it as we do. There were also some wonderful works by greater artists squeezed into the stairwell and hallway, and no doubt even more stored away in the basement, all of which would have better impressed had they been hung in the rooms that were usurped by the projected images of non-art.
This morning was even warmer than yesterday, about 14 degrees on rising. I set the computer up to send a birthday greeting to our two year old grand-daughter Isabella, or rather to her parents, and was delighted to receive the first Skype call from my parents. Olly was tutoring them and it was just serendipitous that we happened to go on line at that moment. I was on battery, without my magic aerial wire suspended from the ceiling, and so the contact was poor, hopefully not so much as to discourage future effort.
Further south we stopped on the northern shore of the
, really just an inlet. A half-hearted market was in the process of being packed up, but a garage sale nearby rendered a rather ancient (1969) edition of the Readers Digest Complete Australian Atlas. You may well wonder why we bothered with such when we have so many maps and books already cluttering up our on-board library, but this one is topographical, a feature missing with all others. Causeway Lake
After walking up and down the street which offered little more than cafes and many many real estate offices, we decided to return to Rockhampton. Once back in the city we drove to the large Stockland’s Shopping Centre on the north side of the river, and indulged in some retail therapy before stocking up with groceries. We now have a DVD and some fishing gear to occupy us at some future time when we are at a loss to do otherwise. Watch this space!
Today had been less sunny than those over the last week, but warmer. Spots of rain fell on the windscreen at one point of today’s journey but thankfully never came to anything, and the washing was quite dry when we brought it in on our return. The forecast is for similar weather for the next week which means that we might actually believe we are travelling in more tropical climes. Fingers crossed.
Friday, June 24, 2011
What an interesting day we have had! Yet another lovely sunny day, perhaps a little cooler after a slightly warmer night. After breakfast, dressed in jeans and sturdy shoes, we headed to the Gracemere Saleyards. Today was the weekly prime beef sale and while cattle auctions might well be a mundane event for many pastoral people, the sales here in Gracemere are well promoted as a tourist attraction as well as being a major part of the running of the main industry here: beef.
We stayed for just under an hour, careful to keep our hands in our pockets; we did not think it would be very humane to have a beast on a rope behind our rig. We do travel slowly but not that slowly! From there we drove into the "town” of Gracemere, expecting a less classy suburb of Rockhampton. I had seen or heard media reports of a negative nature about the place, however bad stuff can go down anywhere. Instead we found a small country town with a shopping centre as big as Onerahi, but with service industries such as light engineering on the outskirts and the residential area no more or less than anywhere else. We purchased fresh bread for lunch and the daily newspaper and returned to our camp which is just down the road toward Rockhampton.
I quickly packed up our lunch and we headed off to the Botanic Gardens. These are situated on the south western edge of the city, beside the Murray Lagoon, and were established 130 years ago. There are many tropical plants and trees here and it is just lovely to wander through the plantings. We walked quite randomly along the pathways confused by the poor map but found our way easily back to the cruiser. The park also houses a small free zoo, an absolute gem with a variety of Australian wildlife. There we saw kangaroos, snakes, monitors, dingoes, wallabies, wombats and most especially, koalas. This was the first time I had seen a koala here in
apart from those on road signs, although disappointingly not in the wild, not so confined that they could not find their way into the gardens if they had a mind to escape. Australia
After leaving the gardens we drove into the city, stood in a queue at our bank for longer than is acceptable, picked up the fifth of the six expected pieces of mail and indulged in sundaes at our favourite Scottish restaurant. Our trip home was slow; we thought ourselves caught up in Rockhampton’s rush hour however discovered closer to home that there had been a car accident and rubber-neckers were causing mayhem.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Another day in the tropical paradise of Rockhampton. I spent the early part of the day with laundry before we headed off into town, across the river to
At one, we were at the Dreamtime Cultural Centre ready for the afternoon tour. This centre is on Darambal land, nestled amidst 30 hectares of natural bush. The guides, Wayne and Stephen, imparted the history of the region’s Aboriginal and Torres Islander communities.
led us through interpretative panels hung on the “rock” walls of an artificial sandstone structure, telling the stories of the ancient rock stencil art in the Carnavon Gorge. After a spell with Stephen whose “lecture” we found extremely interesting and enlightening, Wayne revealed some of the secrets of Didgeridoo playing and we all had a go throwing boomerangs. Chris threw a wild shot that flew out and around, and we all ducked as it came looking for him. The tour was well worth the money spent and more, and we would readily recommend it to anyone travelling this way. We had of course had it recommended to us by Lance and Uta in Sydney, Spider Everitt on his “Great Australia Door Step” DVD and in two of our travel “encyclopaedias”. How could we go wrong! Wayne
We drove up to the top of Mt Archer to see the spectacular views of the city from the summit. We were duly rewarded however the haze did not suggest good photos. From there we came on down, called again at the post office to find two more of the letters forwarded by Pauline, and returned to camp.
Dinner was waiting in the crock pot (hooray for power!), the bird lady next door had managed to attract kookaburras, rainbow lorikeets and crested pigeons to her empty feeding trays and we managed to catch both Larissa and Olly on Skype; all in all, an excellent day.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
We hung about the wonderful Calliope River Rest Area campsite until ten o’clock this morning, waiting for the condensation on the awning to dry. Wood ducks and peewees wandered around our rig; the ducks grazing on the grass and the peewees keeping them company. Perhaps they were checking out the manufacturers of the worm castings that had arrived overnight. Presumably there were big worms lurking underground; apparently there are some earthworms here in
We had spent eight nights bush camping, although I prefer the
term "freedom camping", especially since none of the camp sites were actually in the bush. Our batteries have performed well, and while we have been able to top up with water at parks about the place, we have also had to exercise economy with the water as well as with the limited power. Eight nights is a record for us; our previous record here in New Zealand was four. Of course this is far short of our Australia New Zealand record of months, but then motor-homing in New Zealand is a far cry from caravanning in . Australia
The road north to Rockhampton is pretty good for its entire one hundred kilometre length, mostly fairly flat. We travelled through beef country although the cattle seen were few and far between. Construction of gas drilling works was more obvious. There has been much controversy over this, as farmers object to the loss of their land to the exploration, and yet it would seem that the final structures will be small and in the grand scale of things, not effecting the agricultural operation.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Fog surrounded us when we rose this morning and it was not until we drove up and away from our camp site that we were sure of yet another sunny day. Chris reckons the thermometer read 4 degrees this morning; I won’t bother disputing that. It was temperatures such as these that drove us into caravan parks west and inland of Sydney all those months ago; we are either hardening up or just buoyed by the fact that we are moving north, albeit slowly.
This PR woman was voluble about the great works of the Port Corporation for the people of Gladstone, the labour that is provided free of charge for so many projects, the wonderful environmental systems they have in place, and on and on. Between them and Rio Tinto, it seems that they have the whole town tied up.
Chris and I drove over to Barney’s Beach on the southern side of the CBD where there is respite from the industry; a sandy beach and a very pleasant park, no doubt courtesy of the Port Corporation. We picnicked on a hill overlooking the bay, the water glistening in the sunlight below us.
As we finally left this surprising town, we called at Coles and stocked up after wandering around the Stockland’s Shopping Centre, and made our way back to our delightful camp here by the river.
Chris has made an attempt at removing the worst of the dirt from the caravan and so we will look relatively presentable as we pull away on the Bruce Highway tomorrow morning, heading north toward Rockhampton.
Here we are back for another 48 hours, having absented ourselves to comply with the council’s regulations. We have spent an excellent day taking in more of the sights and experiences that
This morning we travelled back into
Gladstone and visited the , fifty three acres of wonderful wooded parklands. This was once the site of the water reservoir for Tondoon Botanic Gardens Gladstone prior to the construction of the dam on the Boyne River, creating , and still has a chain of ponds and lakes which are home to many water birds. The trees are also home to a huge variety of other birds including blue eyed honey-eaters and kookaburras which made us very welcome. We wandered about the shaded paths and remarked that this would be a wonderful refuge from the heat in the middle of summer. This morning we were glad to have our hats, socks and shoes on, apart from the rest of our layers of clothing. Lake Aroonga
The café which stands elevated beside the main lake sells turtle food, which drew our attention to the fact that there were creatures other than ducks on and in the water. A more diligent search proved that there were in fact quite a few of these little fellows dog paddling in the water directly below the terrace along with a very large eel looking decidedly like his New Zealand cousins. We purchased a small bag of turtle goodies and began to drop pellets into the water. Ducks swam and flew from all over the park, gobbling it all up before the turtles could get a look in. They are either too well fed or most likely just whimps when it comes to battling their feathered fellow combatants. We gave up and came away with most of the food still in the bag, ready for braver turtles yet to be met.
After lunch we joined a small bus tour out to the Gladstone Power Station, again leaving from the Information Centre. This, like last Friday’s tour, is one of the free Industry Tours on offer to visitors and town residents alike. This power station is located five kilometres
north west of ’s CBD, and of course is visible from the entire town, as are all of the other industries that are the life blood of this city. Gladstone
Eleven thousand tonnes of black coal, railed east to
Gladstone, are consumed daily, generating 1,680 megawatts, making this ’s largest power generator. It was sited here to take advantage of the seawater used for cooling, unlike all others sited inland which use fresh water. Because of this, the generating capacity of the plant is not affected by drought. Queensland
Our guide, a retired employee of the station, was, apart from his body odour, just brilliant, and while the tour was less than one and a half hours long, we came away brimming with information, the rest I will not bore you with.
Our return to this camp was uneventful, apart from the fact that the rig is now as dirty as can be, having been exposed to muddy road works this morning. This will help to camouflage the fact that we have been here before, if the regulation actually is meant to be “48 hours in one week”.
Here we are back again beside the
After lunch yesterday we wandered up to the
which is adjacent to the riverside camping area. The museum is made up of twenty re-located houses, a railway station, a school, an airport terminal, halls, a church and the like. As with most museums of this type, it is run by enthusiastic volunteers who have lots of time, but little resources and even fewer years left to them. The grounds are certainly well maintained and it is evident that a lot of work has gone into the relocation and initial restoration, but there the matter stands. To say I was not impressed would be unfair because there were two displays that particularly stood out; the railway carriage which had a corridor running down the side and the seating in booths, just as I have seen in films but never in reality and the authentic slab hut, cracks in the floors and walls included. Chris was even more impressed with this than I. Certainly they were a hardy lot that lived in these dwellings, far more so that the woosey lot that live now (me included). Heritage Village
Geoff, Denise, Charlie and Sue had gone off for the day into
, asking that we keep an eye on their unhitched vans. This we did but really quite unnecessarily. There were many who had done the same, and the calibre of the campers in suggested that nothing untoward would occur. Gladstone
We wandered down to see them once we saw the smoke rising from their camp fire early in the evening, to find out what they had been up to during the day. Our intention was to spend only ten minutes or so with them, but we ended up staying more than half an hour. When we finally left, we had all swapped notes as to our future routes and parted sure that we would meet again in the not too distant future.
This morning we woke to seven degrees, later than normal, to yet another glorious day. The notices for the camp spell out that the space is available for travellers for no more than forty eight hours. There was a general exodus of those who had done their time, us included.
I am fascinated by the fact that the water reservoirs here in
, at least those we have visited, are edged by the dead trees submerged by the rising water. I have never seen this in Australia in the many man made lakes we have visited. Perhaps this is because the trees that would otherwise be lost (in New Zealand) are considered too valuable to discount, and are milled for timber before the dam is filled, whereas the trees here are generally gum and seem to be considered quite dispensable, because after all, so many of them are consumed by fire, even if in a controlled fashion. New Zealand
We came away from the lake, rather disappointed in some respects, and returned to this camp on the
, downstream from the dam, pulling in at about three o’clock. Already there were about ten lots of campers in, many of whom are parked in the “No Camping” section of the rest area. Why do they do that? I do wish the powers that be would enforce these regulations regularly, rather than wait until the facility has been abused. Boyne River
Friday, June 17, 2011
Late morning settled under the awning sheltering from the glorious sunshine; it is indeed the most perfect day here. We woke to about eight degrees and have certainly returned to burying ourselves at night in winceyette pyjamas under layers of duvets and blankets, but are forever appreciative of the clear sunny days that follow.
Today is Kit’s thirty second birthday; I made a very brief call to him conveying my love and wishing him a happy day. Co-incidentally, I spoke just two days ago with his father who had been chasing us for a travel progress report for the last couple of months. We spoke of Kit’s birthday then. It does not seem so many years since Kit came into the world, however seems decades longer since I was with his father. My travel companion seems to have been beside me for ever; it is only the existence of our respective children that remind me this is not so.
A load of hand washing is hanging on my rotary line and my hair is drying in the gentle breeze after having been washed in cold water over a bucket. Very invigorating, I tell you.
Yesterday morning we left this wonderful camp very soon after seven and travelled by a better and more direct road back in to
. Quite frankly I am not sure how the distance compared with our round about route of the day before. We parked in the same spot on the marina, breakfasted and then went over to the Information Centre as our fellow tour passengers were assembling. Gladstone
Forty three of us boarded a large tour coach, were briefed by our guide Brian, who had been employed by Queensland Alumina from the time it opened in 1967 until his retirement. We were taken firstly to a look out, resplendent with interpretive panels and a view out across the refinery. Here we were allowed to take photos. While our cameras were not then confiscated, we were on notice that no more photos could be taken. This was a shame because I could have tried for some really arty shots. We entered the refinery and travelled around, remaining all the time in the coach, having the processes explained to us by Brian.
The bauxite is mined up at Weipa which is on the western side of Cape York and shipped the 2,000 kilometres around the Cape and down to
. We watched a ship being unloaded, and the raw mineral being carried on a conveyor belt across to the refinery. We were shown the great rust coloured tanks, vats and other receptacles where the bauxite is refined step by step down to the fine alumina powder. From there it is taken back by conveyer belt to the wharf and shipped to Gladstone Japan, America and . Some is transferred across again by conveyor belts to the Boyne Smelter, just eleven kilometres away as the crow flies. We were also shown the buildings that housed the laboratory, the canteen, the workshops, the medical centre which houses a doctor and two nurses, and the showers. New Zealand
Back in 1960,
lost its one industry; the Meatworks closed its doors. At that time it was still a fairly small seaside town of perhaps 5,000 people. Fortunately for Gladstone, given its sheltered deep water port, nearby rail access and the coalfields at Moura not too far away, in addition to the fact that there were now workers sitting about twiddling their thumbs, in 1964 a consortium of organisations, Comalco, Kaiser, Alcan and Pechiney joined forces and chose to construct their planned refinery here. Gladstone
Today QAL, which started in 1967 with a production of 600,000 tonnes of alumina, now turns out four million tons a year. It is one of the world’s largest refineries, and of course saved
from oblivion. Gladstone
Needless to say, we enjoyed this tour very much and also the one that immediately followed.
Col, the driver, took us back to the Information Centre for a comfort stop, then we were driven out to , about twenty five kilometres by road, to the Boyne Smelter. At the gate we were met by another guide, a bubbly woman, who took any aluminium or tin container from the passengers, including inhalers. We had all been instructed to wear long sleeves, sturdy covered shoes, and long pants. Given that we all remained in the coach for the entire time within the confines of both factories, this was all quite ridiculous. However company policy is company policy and it seems that Australian Health and Safety regulations are even more rigorous than those we left behind. (We see that this is being made patently clear by a coal miner who left Pike River Coal just weeks before the disaster last November, who is making sure that everyone knows his opinion on Boyne Island ’s backward safety regulations.) New Zealand
Any way, I digress. We drove around the mine and peeked in doorways of the huge buildings hoping to catch glimpses of various stages of the process. Fortunately we had been shown an excellent DVD on the trip out to
, and so those things we did see were simply evidence of their existence. Boyne Island
We were back at the marina before one o’clock and drove around to
on the end of the seawall, formed during the dredging for the marina, where we enjoyed the birds and the lovely views as we ate. Spinnaker Park
Returning to this camp, arriving soon after three o’clock, we found it to be as busy as the day before. No sooner had we set up, did we receive a visit from Geoff whom we had become acquainted with in Bundaberg. He invited us to join him and Denise, together with the couple they are travelling with for drinks by their camp fire. Chris and I went for a walk about the camp, then spying smoke from the direction of our friends’ camp, took our mugs of coffee over. Charlie and Sue are also from
We sat up late watching a movie we had missed at the cinema a few years ago, The Last Scottish King, about Idi Amin, and retired later than ever, but knowing that today we had little to do but enjoy this wonderful spot.
This morning dawned clear, blue and fresh while we slept later than we have for a while. When we finally were ready to leave, we were delayed firstly in engaging in conversation with a fellow camper whom we had encountered at the hideous
The second cause of delay was a chatty encounter with a highway worker with whom we had passed the time of the day just after arrival yesterday. He was dead envious of the fact that we were travelling without time constraints, and longed for the time he was at our stage in life. I had actually thought he looked about my age; obviously he thought we were both in the grey nomad bracket.
We finally tore ourselves away and travelled the short distance in to
, east of the main Bruce Highway. As we neared our destination, we travelled over low tidal mangrove flats. The sun glistened on the residual water and it was the very best of conditions to enter a seaside settlement. We followed the Information Centre signs around the city and down across a canter lever bridge to the marina. Gladstone
The third exhibition was of photos take by citizens of this city depicting life here, part of an exchange exhibition with
’s Japanese sister-city. It was interesting but generally as amateurish as my own photography. Gladstone
Tucked away behind a shopping block, we found another gallery recommended to us, featuring the work of local artists. The gallery is sponsored by Rio Tinto, shareholders in the aluminium smelter, and of course is a PR exercise. There was some good work there as well as some unimpressive. I have to say however that when one no longer has a house in which to hang artworks, one has an entirely different take on the art featured in these places.
By this time we had decided that we wanted to spend several days in or near
. We were interested in the Industry Tours and had discovered at the Information Centre earlier in the day that each of the industries who offer these tours, do so only one day each week, and we needed to remain in the area through to early next week. Again, as so often seems to happen, we had arrived at the wrong time of the week, and we would be stymied by the weekend. Gladstone
At about four o’clock, there were about twenty five rigs or motorhomes on each side of the river. Subsequent to that time, many more ventured in. I was reminded of the scores of motorhomes that one sees lining part of the seabird coast, the south western shores of New Zealand’s Firth of Thames; perhaps as many as a hundred around Easter.
We are just flabbergasted by the number of campers and absolutely wowed by the beauty of the place. We sat outside before sunset and listened to the birds readying themselves for bed, before settling in for the evening ourselves.