We woke up to cloudy skies and a little bit of rain. When the rain passed us by we cooked up some breakfast, packed up the camper and started to make our way towards the coast – Woody Point to be specific.
Bells Caravan Park
Having arrived on the coast and located a park we wandered over to the caravan park. We had been calling for most of the morning and hadn’t been able to get anyone on the phone. We had also forgotten it was QLD school holidays, as NSW isn’t on holidays for another couple of weeks so the parks were both looking very full. Thankfully there was someone at the office when we wandered over and there were still a few sites left. We collected the car and trailer and set up on our site at the Bells Caravan Park.
The park is along the main drag into Clontaff and Woody Point and across the road from Bells Beach. We grabbed a bite to eat for lunch and wandered along the waterfront in front of the park.
We spent the afternoon unpacking and packing the trailer, ready to hand our gear over to our mates, and try to pack the rest of it into the truck for the journey home, then it was time to head to the pub for a sunset drink and dinner.
Dinner at Belvedere
Dinner was at the Belvedere and dinner was pretty delicious.
Sunday morning, we finalised the last of the unpacking and packing and rearranging before heading to our mates for the final exchange of gear, a bite to eat and a little bit of exploring of the northern side of the peninsula.
After such a scrumptious (and filling) lunch we opted for a bit a walk along the esplanade.
We then went for a little drive around the new canals and found a pretty darn impressive boat!
Our last night
Unfortunately, it was time to say our goodbyes and hit the road for our final destination for this trip – Brisbane Gateway Resort, located only a few km’s from the factory for a quick (and early) departure in the morning. The park has all the bells and whistles but my gosh its expensive – $53 per night (powered). That has to be the most we’ve paid for a site and i think that includes Vegas !!
With an early start on Monday morning we dropped Leeroy off into the safe hands of the Lifestyle boys before heading home via some family at Tweed Heads and Lismore.
We left Allora and Dalrymple Creek Park behind after spending a bit of time trying to work out where we were going next. We were a little under-prepared for this part of the trip. We need to be in Brisbane on Monday (its Friday) for the trailer to go back to the factory for some repairs and work. We are heading to some mates north of Brisbane for Saturday/Sunday as they have kindly agreed to hold some of our stuff that we need to remove from the trailer whilst its at the factory, but hadn’t anticipated being this efficient in our travels LOL so we essentially now have a day spare and no idea where to go.
After a bit of map searching we opted to head towards the Glass House Mountains. We haven’t been there before and after looking at Wikicamps (if you like to camp and don’t have it seriously go to the App Store pay and download it, its so worth it) the options were somewhat limited and the available options didn’t have glowing recommendations, so we were taking a bit of a punt on a caravan park in the glass house mountains.
We stopped for a stretch break at Esk and headed into the Visitor Centre to grab some info on the mountains – there wasn’t any. This probably should have a been sign.
With the Caravan Park loaded into the GPS we headed towards the mountains and more dark clouds hanging around. We found the caravan park, drove in and essentially drove straight back out. The wikicamp comments were well lets say on point!
Landsborough Pines Caravan Park
So after some more searching, we found a park about 15km up the road at Landsborough, and as it turns out not too far from Australia Zoo. We headed to Landsborough Pines Caravan Park, set up the trailer and decided to try and beat the weather and go for a look see of the mountains.
We headed down along the Old Gympie Road towards the main Glass House Mountains National Park lookout. These mountains and the surrounding plains are the ancestral home of the Jinibara people and Kabi Kabi people.
According to Jinibara peoples’ lore and custom, Beerwah is the ancestral pregnant mother and Tibrogargan is the father with his faithful dingo, Ngungun, lying at his feet. Around the parents are their children—Coonowrin the eldest, Beerburrum, Coochin, Elimbah, Tibberoowuccum, Miketeebumulgrai, Tunbubudla and the youngest known today as Wild Horse Mountain.
We pulled into a few lookouts along the way.
There are many stories from the indigenous peoples of the land in relation to the mountains however the main story seems to go – Coonowrin is said to be the son of Tibrogargan and Beerwah. During a violent storm, Tibrogargan commanded his son Coonowrin to take his mother Beerwah and his siblings and help them move to safety. Being scared of the storm, Coonowrin instead ran off and when his father found him he hit him on the back of the head, resulting in Coonowrin’s crooked neck. Tibrogargan was so ashamed of his son’s cowardice that to this day he sits with his back to Coonowrin.
We stopped at the trail head to check out the walks, discovering most are 3km or over. So given the time of day and impending weather walking appeared to be off the list.
From here we headed to the main lookout. The lookout is about 10km from the Glass House Mountains township, in Beerburrum West State Forest and apparently offers panoramic views of the mountain peaks, Caloundra, Maroochydore, Brisbane and Moreton Island, just not today LOL.
10" x 20" Photo Print of Mt Cogee, Mt Tibrogargan and Mt Beerburrum
With storm on approach we left the lookout and started to make our way back to the park. We stopped at the Tibrogargan trail head carpark to check out the walks.
With the rain holding out, we opted to quickly head up the Mountain View Lookout trail.
With the rain now well and truly coming down we headed back to the camp to dry out the chairs and settle in for the evening.
We reluctantly packed up camp at Lemontree Flat and made our way out of Kwiambal National Park with sad faces. The GPS was locked into Stanthorpe meaning we also had to cross the border into QLD.
We opted to cross at the beautiful old township of Texas, making our way over the ranges and whilst the landscape was getting greener and more lush, the sky was getting darker and the temperature was going down.
We arrived at Stanthorpe around lunchtime and we almost needed a jersey LOL. We grabbed some information from the Visitor Centre and had lunch by the lovely wetlands right behind the centre.
After a bite to eat we decided to check out some of the tourist sites around town. Our first site was Quart Pot Creek Rail Bridge, a heritage-listed railway bridge at Quart Pot Creek, locally known as the Red Bridge.
The Red Bridge
Quart Pot Bridge
Someone had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction at this point, with the funniest bit being we have no idea how long she’s been walking around like that 😂😂😂
Deciding to wear it with flair
A little wardrobe malfunction
From the bridge we headed up the hill to the Soldiers Memorial, a heritage listed memorial built in 1926 and took the form of a park and rest house located on Foxton’s Hill described at the time by The Queenslander as one of the lonely hills overlooking Stanthorpe.
Soldiers Memorial Stanthorpe
Benches line the east/west walls with honour rolls on the walls
The Soldiers Memorial Stanthorpe
Going further up the hill we ended up at the Mt Marlay Lookout which has fantastic views across the town to the mountains.
Suttons Juice Farm
We were now headed for the beautiful agricultural area of Allora, however we couldn’t resist a stop at Suttons Juice Farm/Factory along the way.
Dalrymple Creek Park/Reserve
We arrived into Allora just before sunset, and pulled up at the free overnight camp at Dalrymple Creek Park/Reserve. There’s a little playground for the kids, a big open green space, with a walking track around the park, and a toilet, making it a great little overnight stop.
In 1948, an allora district farmer Watty Stark, received an unusually rare gift for his birthday. To his surprise his mates Jack Busiko and Bill Blocsidge delivered a 1200 gallon wooden water trough for use in his cattle yard on his ellinthorpe property. The trough, which took two days for the men to construct, was made from a dead bloodwood tree taken from the Pechey State Forest. Due to the size and weight of the trough the men used an army GMC 6×6 truck to transport it to Watty’s property. In 1980, the Stark family sold the property to Don and Margaret Duff who then donated the large trough to the Allora shire council. In 1991 the trough was placed in its current position in dalrymple creek park, allora.
We left Ezzy’s Crossing and stopped Visitor Centre at Warialda, and the lady there suggested we head to Crank Rock before heading to Kwiambal National Park. I had seen the Cranky Rock pamphlet but given how dry it was we weren’t really expecting to see any water, however the VC lady indicated the water is spring fed so there is usually water there. This changed our minds and off to Cranky Rock we headed.
Cranky Rock turn off is About 5km east of Warialda, off the Gwydir Highway, the 3 km sealed road will take you all the way to Cranky Rock where you will find a jumble of giant boulders heaped in the most fantastic positions by a past volcanic upheaval, features include a suspension bridge, a viewing platform and short walking tracks. The facilities include picnic areas, a large shelter with free barbecues, public toilets and a children’s playground. There is a full time caretaker and kiosk on site if want to stay overnight or even longer there is a campground with powered/unpowered sites and hot showers available.
The name Cranky Rock was derived from an old legend which said that an old ‘Cranky Chinaman’ jumped to his death from the highest point of the balancing rocks after being accused of some wrong doing.
The start of the walk
Suspension Bridge at the start
Looking down into the gorge
Down into the gorge
Down at water level
The boulders are huge!
Cranky Rock is definitely worth a quick or a long stop if you’re out that way.
Kwiambal National Park
Kwiambal NP is located about 30 km from the town of Ashford (about 50km north of Inverell). The Severn River and Macintyre River both flow through and finally converge in the park below the MacIntyre falls.
Gorges, caves and waterholes are only a few of the surprises of Kwiambal National Park. The facilities in the park are brilliant. Each of the areas have covered seated areas, toilets and other than the cave there are free BBQs again undercover. The campgrounds have free firewood (when its available) and Lemontree had a small covered basic camp kitchen like area.
This is one of those places you almost don’t want to share its that good, because as soon as you do, y’all are going to want to go there !!!! (And you should it’s brilliant).
As you first enter the park, you reach the Ashford/Limestone Caves.
From 1916 to 1967, at least 3 of the Ashford Caves were sporadically mined for their phosphate -rich bat droppings (guano) which was used as fertiliser. The current entry to Ashford Main Cave is actually the result of an excavation of 1-2 metres of guano from the cave floor and then tunnelling through the bedrock.
Ashford Main Cave is horizontal in form, allowing easy access for visitors, outside of the summer bat-maternity season. During this period, when thousands of threatened species of bats use the caves as a birthing site, access is limited as disturbance can result in the abandonment and mortality of infant bats.
Ashford Caves occurs on the northern edge of a limestone outcrop, which stretches for 10 kilometres along Limestone Creek.
The parking bay
Once inside the cave you are going to want to have a torch as it gets pretty dark pretty quick! There are a few larger main cavities that you can walk through quite easily however as you go in further the roof level lowers and whilst you could see some had opted for exploring the smaller (ie crawl through) cavities we were happy to stay standing LOL
Entrance to the Limestone Cave
Inside the cave – looking back to the entrance from as far back as we ventured.
Inside Limestone Cave
The walk is really easy, there is a small incline and a few steps when you first leave the parking lot but otherwise its flat and pretty smooth going.
Lemontree Flat Campground
From the cave we made our way to Lemontree Flat Campground, the bigger of the two campgrounds in the park. With the camper up, we had a bite to eat under the shade of the trees and had a bit of a chat to Mr Friendly Skippy who I’m quite sure would have happily let me pat him and hand feed him had i been inclined. It was pretty clear this little guy knew we were a source of food, thankfully the others we saw weren’t quite as comfortable with us and stayed their distance.
As cute as it is dont feed the animals people, its for their own good and for our own safety in some cases particularly the little ones, even the size of these little guys they could do some serious damage if they were frightened or felt threatened.
After a bite to eat we decided to go and check out the other campground before heading to the falls.
Kookabitta is a smaller campground with about maybe 8 sites. There are tables and firepits, drop toilets and an undercover BBQ area. The view of the river is much clearer and its easier to access than at Lemontree.
From Kookabitta we headed to Macintrye Falls where there are few walks and views of the gorge below.
View from the lookout
Looking down into the swimming hole from the lookout
There are two lookouts at the Falls area.
We headed down the track along the Rock Pool Walk which takes you down to the water hole you can see from the first lookout.
Start of the Rock Pool Walk
A very tall Cactus Tree
There are steps to navigate on this track
As you get towards the bottom you are walking/rock hopping across the boulders
Looking downstream from the water hole
The little waterfall was running when we were there, and i can only imagine how spectacular it would be after rain!
We headed back to camp for a nice relaxing afternoon in the shade – well that was the original plan. When we got back to camp i saw the sign for the Dungeon Walk and we decided that we were already in walking mode we may as well keep going.
The Dungeon Walk
The dungeon walk. Hmm. This is one of those funnier after the fact stories. We had downloaded the NSW National Parks app which allows you to download info for offline use, which is great as there is very limited phone service in the park, however we hit a small fault with this walk. There was little info about the walk and a picture showed the walk sign – 1km walk via the Junction Walk. Now Junction Walk track left the campground not far from our campsite, so i thought perfect, a small little lookout walk to end the afternoon.
We jumped on and off the track to check out/try to find the river and look at the flood debris that was around the area.
The little side arm area in front of the campground that still had some water left in it
This guy was soooo tall!!
The track is well marked
Nature’s Easter Egg ?
The track was very well maintained and has markers along the trail so you know where the path is and was free from debris, but beware of the little cactus that jump out of nowhere onto you – those suckers hurt and are a pain to get rid of, i was pulling teeny tiny thorns out of my leg and fingers for quite sometime.
After a little while, we were like this is a very long 1km walk and we aren’t anywhere near a high point for a lookout. We started to doubt this was actually a 1km walk and started to wonder if in fact the lookout was a detour off the Junction Track which was about 7km round trip, which we weren’t looking for at this time of day.
We opted to walk for another 20 mins and if we didn’t see/find anything we would turn around and head back to camp, before sunset. Right on the 20 minutes mark we started to climb and found a pretty awesome view.
The view was pretty special
Looking towards Dungeon Lookout
The Severn River has huge granite slabs on its edges, some with scars from being ground down under the pressure of flooding water mixed with gravel.
We also managed a little bit of signal to access – yep you guessed Google Maps – which showed where we were on the track and sure enough the Dungeon Lookout was still a good 1km away. Given we’d come this far already we decided to push on.
The Dungeon lookout is a great spot to view the Severn rushing through a deep river gorge with steep granite walls and cascades. This is a relatively easy walk, but keep an eye on the kids as the track contours along the cliff line at some spots. We even saw a few little billy goats. Interesting (or maybe not), as goats are not natural to the park area, NPS have an action plan to rid the park of the wild goats by tagging and releasing one goat then tracking it down once it joins an established herd, which means they can capture a bigger herd – a silent assassion goat – cant say we’ve heard of this method before!
As we hit the crest leading out to Dungeon Lookout we were met with a few different signs – no wonder we are confused lol.
From where we had come
We opted not to take this track back
The view from the lookout is pretty impressive and well worth the walk.
With sunset looming, we decided to just backtrack the way we had come up and head back to camp.
We arrived back at camp just before sunset and in time to get the fire stoked up – our first one for this trip, so Tash was a happy camper.
Tuesday morning! Normal Business day – hooray! We got up and headed a few streets up to the Dunlop mechanics we had spied on Saturday hoping they would be able to fix the tyre today (and somewhat quickly). We were in luck. We dropped the truck and headed to the cafe for breakfast. Well what else were we supposed to do !!!!
With a little bit of shopping under our belt – an array of odds and ends that would make you laugh, we got the text to say the truck was ready.
So with Charlie looking a little more flash with his proper tyre back on and spare under the rear we headed back to the park to collect Leeroy and get back on our way.
We drove through to Narrabri and stopped at the always helpful and welcoming Visitor Centre to grab some information (and update some old ones). I had sort of forgotten/not realised that it was cotton harvest time, thinking it was later in April. So i was pretty stoked to see this display and hear that the cotton was out and ready to be harvested.
Not too far into our drive our first crop of cotton for the trip was spotted.