Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Expedition National Park - Robinson Gorge

We left for a long weekend with Darryl & I in our Hilux, and John, Glynn, and Stan in John's fully packed ute, from Gracemere at 9:30am. Just after the Dululu Crossroads, John went to overtake a semi on a straight section, but as he was on the righ 2 big roos started across the road from the left in front of the truck. Luckily one turned back, and we are not sure what happened to the other, but at least John was ok. We also saw emus and an echidna on the way.
We have a smaller fuel tank than John and so fuelled up at Theodore ($1.669 – it would have be 10c cheaper at Banana), after we had stopped under the Dawson River Bridge for lunch outside Theodore. With no more major events, apart from some dust (and some wacko who overtook us on the dirt and then turned off a few kms later) and some nice views, we arrived at Starkvale Campsite at 3:05, just in time for afternoon tea! Everyone enjoyed my Flourless Orange Cake.

We surveyed the area, there were quite a few other campers with various setups, and set up our own camp, nears the trees where we camped last time. 

Soon it was time for Happy Hour, followed by dinner and I made Mulled Wine on the campfire, to share. 
There was a storm during the night, and water got into our tent. Even though we were high and dry on our air mattress, some water dripped into my bags, and the edges of our sheets and blankets got wet.

On Sunday morning we left camp at 8am to walk down in the gorge. We had only gone down a fairly short way, when the sole fell off my shoe. I had kind-of been expecting it and had a spare pair of shoes tied to my pack. I left the old ones near a tree to pick up on the way back. We walked up the gorge past a couple of creeks. 



Glynn sat on a rock, I think to remove a stone from his shoe, and I noticed that curled up below him was a lovely Carpet Python. 

Shortly after this we turned right into Waterfall Creek gorge. There was a pool at the entrance, and we had to climb up and along the edge to get past it. Once we made it to the falls, it was obvious that we weren't going any further, so re-traced our steps. 
Further up Robinson Gorge was Glenhaughton Creek, and we turned right into it. Eventually, at 10am we found a reasonably shady spot to stop and have morning tea.

Continuing on, we left Glynn before lunch, at a bend in the creek. 
We went on, and had our lunch in the creekbed, at a reasonably shady spot. 
All the way we were looking for the rock art, but didn't find it, as regrowth made it difficult for Darryl to recognise the spot.

 Eventually we turned around and got back to camp at around 4:30pm (picking up my shoes on the way).
 Happy Hour was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and a new batch of Mulled Wine after dinner. I think everyone slept very soundly after such a big day.

On Monday, Darryl, John, Stan and Glynn headed down into the gorge again, but this time going towards the 'Cattle Dip', while I stayed at camp. 
I had a sore toe from a mishap with my spare shoes, and I don't think my thigh muscles would have let me go with them. I pottered around, tidying up, reading, doing some family history, and generally have a fantastically relaxing day. 
There was only a couple of hours where I was completely alone, when all the other campers had either gone off on their walks, or departed. 
When the men arrived home, they had again had quite a big day, and were keen for Happy Hour.
Dinner was followed by Mulled Wine and Stan showed a slide-show of his photos. 
It turned out to be a pretty cold night, although, to be honest the whole trip was a fair bit warmer than I was anticipating for the time of year.

Darryl's account of the day
Left the campsite around 8am and followed the track to the lookout at the top of the gorge before walking the well worn path to the bottom, where we headed downstream. Like the previous day, the absence of sand in Gorge Creek meant we were forced to pick most of our way through high grassy banks, over rocks and fallen trees. On reaching the mouth of Surprise Creek, we took a short detour upstream until our way was blocked by a waterfall. On returning to the gorge we continued downstream to the mouth of Andys Creek, where John decided to wait for our return under the cabbage tree palms. The three of us pressed on, but Glynn's back played up again, and he decided to wait in the shade of an eroded steep bank for us. Stan and I continued on and were relieved when we were able to pick up the pace over the creeks sandy bed as the gorge narrowed.


It was not long before we found the narrow gorge and large pool at the entrance of Starkvale Creek. A bit further on around the bend we found the Cattle Dip.

As we thought we could see a way up to the lookout from the Cattle Dip pool, Stan stripped off to see if it was possible to climb out there in the future. After a few metres, the cold water forced him back to the beach, where he thawed out before we headed back with the intention of having lunch with Glynn. After a quick lunch stop, we headed upstream to John, where Glynn and I took a short walk up Andys Creek.

This small creek provided most of the water that was flowing downstream in Gorge Creek, and the large pools upstream of it provided a nice spot for camping.
On our return, to the main gorge we used our knowledge of the gorge for a speedy return to camp for happy hour.
John, Stan & Glynn drove up to the cattle dip lookout on Tuesday morning at around 8am, while we did some final packing for the drive home. 


There were lots of large kangaroos in the paddocks, and a big mob at one point. 
Luckily we arrived at Lake Murphy just after 10am, so it was in time for morning tea. We walked down to the lake and saw quite a few varieties of birds, including pelicans, and cattle in the distance. 

Lunch was enjoyed at Junction Park in Theodore, and we went our separate ways at Mt Morgan.

A very enjoyable few days was had by all.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Coming Home

Sunday was a lovely sunny day, but being Ireland there was a bus strike! We knew it was likely so booked a taxi for the airport. We ended up sharing with another girl from our accommodation. We were flying home on Emirates, and had to take evasive action for rough weather and another plane. Their planes have a similar feel to Singapore Airlines. I loved the entertainment system (with power for my netbook) and the “stars” on the ceiling once it was nightfall. The first leg, Dublin to Dubai was 7 ½ hours. Finally we were able to get into a lounge, the Emirates Business Lounge, which was very swank. We even had a daybed to sleep on (although there weren't a lot of them). We had arrived at midnight and flew out around 10am. We arrived back in Brisbane on Tuesday morning, and back in Rocky around midday. We pretty much opened the windows, turned on the hot-water system and then went to bed until dinner, when we headed over to the Frenchville Sports Club to have dinner with Marc. It was 'really' good to be home. 
The wow moment and biggest thrill of our trip was meeting our georgeous, intelligent, soon-to-be daughter-in-law, and mother of our first grandchild. Shane always has had great taste, and Jess is definitely the proof of it. 








Sunday, 4 August 2013

Ireland Trip - Dublin Day 3

The National Library of Ireland was open on Saturday morning, so we returned to continue our research. Once it closed we had something to eat then walked to the building next door which was the Museum of Archaeology and History. The building was a mirror image of the National Library, and was really beautiful. It was very hard to get a phot which could capture the inside decoration adequately. Inside were many fascinating ancient Irish displays, including 3 bog bodies - Clonycavan Man, Oldcrogan Man, and Gallah Man. I was intrigued by the Silver Gundestrup Cauldron, which is huge (I don't believe my arms could reach around it) and decorated inside and out (even knowing this one was a reproduction of the original in Norway didn't diminish the effect). Another item (of which there were many) which intigued me were the reliliquaries. These came in all shapes and forms, an arm, a bell, a shoe, and books (for holy books). One can only assume that the arm one had contained the relic of a saint's arm, and the shoe one likewise. They seemed to like to have gems on the outside, so I can only imagine the value of these. http://www.museum.ie/en/intro/archaeology-and-ethnography-museum.aspx. We walked down to St Stephen's Green Park, which was very nice, being set out in quite a classical way, with lots of statues and monuments. We then walked back to see the Natural History Museum http://www.museum.ie/en/intro/natural-history.aspx. This was really amazing, much like the Old Brisbane Museum used to be, with cases of animals all lined up – I just loved it! Especially interesting were the skeletons of Giant Irish Deer, which had been extinct from way before people came to Ireland. Once again we had dinner at O'Sheas Pub, nicely washed down with a Guinness...or two!

An early pottery bowl

Inside the Museum of Archaeology and History

Clonycavan Man

Oldcrogan man

Gundestrup Cauldron

Gallah Man

Gold bracelets


Ceremonial hammer head from Knowth Megolithic Tomb

Church arch and door

Bronze hammer

Carved head with faces on 3 sides

Gold neckely

Religious item

Reliliquary

Brooch

Brooch

Gold Torc

A reminder that Medieval times were pretty brutal...look at the cuts in the skull

This guy didn't survive having half his head hacked off.

A Holy Book Reliliqary

A London Plane tree

Flax growing at St Stephen's Green Gardens

The Museum of Natural History

Upstairs at the Museum of Natural History

Skeletons at the Museum of Natural History

Ireland Trip - Dublin Day 2

As seeing the Book of Kells was high on my list of things to do in Dublin, we decided to go early on Friday morning. Although we arrived well before opening time, there was already a lineup, but no-where as long as on Thursday. It cost 17 euros for us both to go in, and there was a full display including the Book of Amagh, the Book of Mulling, and the Book of Kells. http://www.tcd.ie/Library/bookofkells/ No photos were allowed inside that part of the display, but I was able to take some in The Old Library. The rest of the day was spend doing research at the National Library of Ireland. We enjoyed our dinner at O'Sheas Pub so much we returned. The street was still noisy at night but I slept a bit better.

Sculpture at Trinity College Dublin

The Long Room in The Old Library at Trinity College Dublin - that is SOME library!

A historic text

A book recording Inquisitions

Another illustrated manuscript