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Old 05-18-2012, 08:38 PM   #1
Goosefeather OP
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Timbuktu and Back !

Happy Snapper was motivated again . . . after the success of our Birdsville trip last year (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=686207) he wanted to go on another multi-day trip.

Rather than an extended “there and back” trip, we thought it might be good to park up in a central location and do several day trips from there. Originally we thought about northern New South Wales, but I thought it would be handy to kill two birds with one stone and look up my mum and friends in the Central Queensland area. Besides, as it was to be in May (southern hemisphere autumn/winter), CQ seemed a far warmer proposition than NSW!

Not wanting to stretch the relationship with she who must be obeyed, I only took a week off work this time. To make getting permissions easier, I took her to Melbourne for the weekend, and then returned to Brisbane to pack on the Monday public holiday for a Tuesday departure. Mark opted to take his better half to Thailand for a week, so I think I got off cheaper.

So Happy Snapper (Mark, Red KLR650), myself (Gregor, Blue DR650) set off on our trip, not expecting that we would make it to Timbuktu. Not the Timbuktu in the West African nation of Mali, but the slightly lesser known cattle property near Cracow.

Our original plan was to head in the general direction of Kroombit Tops national park and check out the Beautiful Betsy Liberator bomber crash site, but we didn’t quite make it!

Our eventual itinerary was:

Day 1 - Brisbane - Kilcoy – Kilcoy-Murgon Road – Hivesville – Gayndah – Binjour – Eidssvold – Mulgildie

Day 2 – Mulgilldie – Mt Perry – Boolboonda – Kalpowar – Monto – Biloela

Day 3 – Biloela – Camboon – Cracow – Theodore – Banana – Biloela

Day 4 – Biloela – Callide Coal Road – Boynedale – Many Peaks – Kalpowar – Monto – Abercorn – Ceratodus – Eidsvold – Mundubbera-Gayndah Road – Gayndah

Day 5 – Gayndah – Ban Ban Springs – Byee – Wondai – Kingaroy – Kumbia – Maidenwell – Crows Nest – Hampton – Esk – Somerset Dam – Mount Glorious – Brisbane

We endeavoured to balance some interesting dirt with some tar, to achieve a reasonable distance each day, trying to avoid the highway where possible, and run on parallel B-roads..




{the wider aspect ratio photos are Happy Snappers, with mine being the 4:3 ratio, and a couple of panoramas]

Day 1

Near Jimna - Last chance to turn around:







The local shire councils must have been trying to burn their road maintenance budget allocation before the end of the financial year – we came across roadworks everywhere, starting with Kilcoy-Murgon Road:








Lunch at Hivesville (the first of many pub stops):




B-roads:




Overnight at my mum’s place in downtown Mulgildie . . . my nieces/nephews had left a few rubber snakes to help Happy Snapper off to a good start:




Had dinner at the Mulgildie pub, staffed by a couple of Swedish backpackers who appeared to be doing a good job of pulling in the local punters – to the bar, I mean.
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:41 PM   #2
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Day 2

Some nice dirt:




Was I worshipping the DR?




No – just trying for an arty shot:




Got an excellent burger here at Mt Perry:




While we pondered our next move:




Then explored the park:




And admired the architecture:




Before heading for Boolboonda tunnel – quite an impressive effort – almost 200 m of unlined and unsupported tunnel, that has been standing for almost 130 years:






We rode through, then I braved the noise and guano to check out the bat colony that lives there (sorry about the flash, Mr Bat):






Enjoyed the road:






Before catching some more roadworks:




“Can we get a coffee at Kalpowar?”, Happy Snapper asked . . . “I don’t think so!”:





Found our way back to Monto:





Where I secured some red for our host:
(shaken, not stirred)





We then snuck up to Biloela on the Burnett Highway as it was getting late. I did my senior high school years at Bilo – a most enjoyable time. The next two nights were spent with an old school mate and groomsman. In our school days, he had a Honda SL100 which was soon replaced by a Yammie XT500 when he got an apprenticeship. Spent some fun weekends on the back, going to local swimming holes. I learned to ride (well – my version of it, anyway) riding the XT around his then girfriend’s family farm which fronted Callide Dam.

Sometime on this day, my UHF radio gave up the ghost unfortunately. On the positive side, Ihat was my only mechanical/electrical issue for the trip.

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Old 05-18-2012, 08:43 PM   #3
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What a ripper of a trip.
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:48 PM   #4
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Day 3

Having visited Mum earlier, it was time to say hello to dad:




Although we had originally planned to investigate Kroombit Tops, east of Bilo, we decided to go look to the west instead, heading towards Cracow. Taking the road towards Banana, we turned left onto Crowsdale-Camboon Road.

We encountered a lot of these:




But only a few of these (emus, for any overseas viewers) :





Finally, we make it to Timbuktu:




Having enjoyed the scenery:




. . . and enjoyed the ride . . .




. . . and enjoyed the road/locality names . . .





The area was once badly impacted by Prickly Pear:

“Prickly pears (mostly Opuntia stricta) were originally imported into Australia in the 18th century for gardens, and were later used as a natural agricultural fencing and in an attempt to establish a cochineal dye industry. They quickly became a widespread invasive weed, eventually converting 101,000 sq mi (260,000 km2) of farming land into an impenetrable green jungle of prickly-pear, in places 20 ft (6.1 m) high. Scores of farmers were driven off their land by what they called the “green hell”; their abandoned homes were crushed under the cactus growth which advanced at a rate of 1,000,000 acres (4,046.9 km2; 1,562.5 sq mi) per year. In 1919, the Federal Government established the Commonwealth Prickly Pear Board to coordinate efforts to eradicate them with the State Governments. Early attempts with mechanical removal and poisonous chemicals failed, so in a last resort, biological control was attempted. The moth Cactoblastis cactorum from South America, the larvae of which eat prickly pear, was introduced in 1925 and almost wiped out the cactus population. The son of the noted entomologist Frederick Parkhurst Dodd, Alan Dodd was a lead official in combating the prickly pear. There is a memorial hall in Chinchilla (Queensland) commemorating the moth.” [thanks Wikipedia]

Isolated plants look harmless at present, but apparently in their day they were nearly as bad as Triffids!










Can’t beat a good bridge (althoughly sadly you can’t use this one!):




Found some more wildlife (an echidna, for you foreigners)




When disturbed, they grip the earth fiercely:




Passed Camboon (only a property / campdraft venue), and followed Defence Road to Eidsvold-Theodore Road, then in to Cracow.

Cracow is an old gold mining town, which has been through a few boom/bust cycles. Lots of old buildings, with one underground gold mine operating currently. The Cracow Pub is a worthy destination, with a connection to Fred Brophy, of Boxing Troupe fame).

http://www.flyingtheoutback.com.au/assets/pdf/cracow_hotel/0711_Cracow_Pub.pdf








The famous drum:



Catering was interesting – again, a couple of European / Scandinavian backpackers behind the bar:

“what type of sandwiches do you have?”

. . . “ordinary sandwiches”

“Can I have a ham and cheese sandwich please?”

. . . “uh – do you want chicken on that?”


Happy Snapper ordered his mini pizza, and I stuck with ordinary ham and cheese. Sat down with our drinks, and a backpacker appears . . “sorry, mini pizzas are off”, so HS settled for a sausage roll. A few minutes later same backpacker reappears – “sorry, we have no sandwiches”, so I settled for a sausage roll. As we were eating the said sausage rolls, the backpackers then came out and scoffed tow real nice looking “ordinary” toasted sandwiches!?!

The Cracow Kindle:




Newcrest run the gold mine, and have injected some funds into the community enabling them to do up the old courthouse into a Heritage Centre:













From Cracow, we headed into Theodore, aiming for Banana, the back to Biloela before dark – hopefully before the shops shut so I could source a new UHF if possible. We had a bit of a comms mix up in Theodore – I pulled up to clear my goggles, while Happy Snapper went ahead. I didn’t think he was far ahead, and when I got the junction where you go straight on to Banana or left to Taroom, he wasn’t in sight on the long straight ahead, and I was worried he may have taken the turn to Taroom after some earlier discussion and signs that had both Taroom and Banana on them. Not wanting us both to be “lost” I waited for a while at the junction.

I decided that the best option was to wait at the Junction for another 15 minutes and then press on the correct route, assuming if he failed to see me in his mirrors for a while that he’d come back from whatever road he’d taken – our normal practice – and get back into text range. I sent him a text to that effect, and just as I’d decided to move on, he texted me he was near Banana.

So off I went, and we regrouped at Banana.

Where are you Happy ?? :




This bloke was guarding the intersection



On the trip over to Biloela, I noticed HS had blown his low beam. He picked up a replacement bulb in Bilo, but discovered that the KLR appears to buillt around the bulb, and that refitting needs small fingers and articulated forearms.
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:51 PM   #5
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Day 4

The plan for the day was to get halfway back to Brisbane. At the start of the day, I went back to my old training ground at Callide Dam. From there, we went past the mine (where I worked from 82-90), and along the old coal road, along Rainbow Creek, to join the Biloela-Gladstone highway. This road is surprisingly good shape (mostly skinny bitumen) as it is no really used any more. There has been a huge upgrade of a section of the Biloela-Gladstone highway in one place – must have spent a fortune on regrading and drainage/rock-fall protection. Past Catfish Creek, and almost into Calliope, before turning right onto the Gladstone-Monto Road (along the Boyne River valley) and onto Many Peaks. From there to Monto, Three Moon Creek, Abercorn, Eidsvold, Mundubbera, then along the south bank of the Burnett River to Gayndah.

The Callide Dam had flood gates fitted many years ago, and it only recently filled to reach the gates. The dam provides cooling water for the Callide power stations:



Lot of memories here:







Can’t believe we used to sneak our old HT sedan in over these rocks (as always, look less impressive in the photos):


Like a shag on a rock ?:




An arty shot at the Monto turn-off:




The Gladstone-Monto road has had to be relocated as Awoonga Dam has increased in size – gave the GPS something to think about:




The Gladstone Region Shire must have got a bulk deal on these signs telling you which way to lean your bike . . .there were hundreds:




Lunch at the Many Peaks Hotel – for sale if you fancy it:




Welcome back:









A fancy mail box on the outskirts of Monto:




Hmm – a bit of fatigue cracking from vibration – must redrill and remount with some insertion rubber:



[P.S. – note the maroon – Go Queensland !]
The road on the south bank of the Burnett River is so much more fun than the highway on the north bank. A lot of citrus production in the Gayndah area:




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Old 05-18-2012, 08:52 PM   #6
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Day 5


The homeward leg – from Gayndah, via Ban Ban Springs, Byee, Wondai, Kingaroy, Kumbia, Maidenwell then on to Crows Nest, Hampton, Esk, Somerset Dam and home over Mount Glorious.

A bit of a chilly start to the day – Murgon turn-off:







I want some BLUR said Happy Snapper:




It’s all happening at Byee:




Back in a cotton area:








More roadworks:




Back over Mount Glorious:




. . . and home again, home again, jigitty-jig ! :



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Old 05-18-2012, 09:22 PM   #7
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Brilliant

Brillliant photos, looks like a great route you guys took. Any ideas arouond the Melbourne area and Perth. Not in Australia yet, thinking of moving out there in 3 years time.

How long did it take you guys to prepare such an adventure? And how much was the fuel guzzling setting you back?
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Old 05-18-2012, 09:32 PM   #8
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Fabulous trip with Gregor... he can find the most amazing way to connect two dots on a map. If he lived next door to you he would go around the block to visit you :-)

Magic time meeting his mum and friends. And a big thank you for putting up with us.

(Well.. putting up with me actually!)

The last day's ride home was magic. Stuff-all dirt but what a pretty ride. I am thinking of doing it in reverse and ending up at Gayndah. Then ride home direct on the Sunday!

And the big thing with Gregor.. he is a very safety minded rider. That counts for a lot with me. You just know that he won't bin it and take you out at the same time. A big thing for me as I turn into an old fart.

And thanks Gregor.. great time with you mate... headlight bulb replaced. If it blows again.. new bike. No way will I ever replace a headlight bulb on a KLR again!

And to the inmate asking about planning.. this one took about 5 mins on a phone... "What are you taking?"

"OK.. sounds good!"

We both took too much stuff to Birdsville. I am over sleeping in a tent (even though I took one) and prefer a hot shows and AC at the end of the day.

Tools, clothing.. credit card.

Way to go!

KLR averaged around 5litres/100 KM
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Old 05-18-2012, 09:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Datan556 View Post
Brillliant photos, looks like a great route you guys took. Any ideas arouond the Melbourne area and Perth. Not in Australia yet, thinking of moving out there in 3 years time.

How long did it take you guys to prepare such an adventure? And how much was the fuel guzzling setting you back?

sorry - haven't been on dirt in Vic or WA - plenty of ideas in the Ozzie forum area though. Petrol about $1.50-1.60 per litre.

Planning - took a couple of hours looking at other trips/Google Earth and loading a few waypoints, and only a few minutes over a beer to change the scope half way
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Old 05-19-2012, 02:21 AM   #10
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On the positive side, sometime on this day, my UHF radio gave up the ghost unfortunately.

Fixed
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Old 05-19-2012, 05:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Sleepy John View Post
On the positive side, sometime on this day, my UHF radio gave up the ghost unfortunately.

Fixed

hmmmm - maybe Mark is getting suspicious of my consecutive comms failures :)
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Old 05-19-2012, 06:58 PM   #12
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Nice report mate and some cool shots.
Backpakers as barmaids are becomming a curse. A lot of them look the goods behind the bar but as you found out they are often lacking in the service department. I gave up when i was doing a lap of QLD in my 4x4. Trying to find a backpaker that could pull a tap beer was nigh on impossible i ended up drinking bottled beer everywhere there was a backpaker behind the bar. And even that proved difficult some times
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Old 05-19-2012, 11:00 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by crowe2815 View Post
Nice report mate and some cool shots.
Backpakers as barmaids are becomming a curse. A lot of them look the goods behind the bar but as you found out they are often lacking in the service department. I gave up when i was doing a lap of QLD in my 4x4. Trying to find a backpaker that could pull a tap beer was nigh on impossible i ended up drinking bottled beer everywhere there was a backpaker behind the bar. And even that proved difficult some times
I think the reality is.. back Hot Swedish back packers are wasted as barmaids to middle aged men.

Now if I was 23 again..... who would care about the sandwiches??
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Old 05-20-2012, 02:03 PM   #14
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great weather for your ride thanks for sharing
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:15 AM   #15
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A couple of ring-in shots - took these on a day trip to Maidenwell earlier in the year - Coomba Falls - a couple of km out of town:



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