A fantastic weekend away was had by four members, and in two cases, their partners over the 1st and 2nd of November.
By Tim Moore. Photos by Gloria Wade
Organised by Rob Stevens and Clive Wade to absolute perfection, the participants were Clive and Gloria Wade in their Land Rover Discovery, Rob Stevens and his two children in their Toyota Prado, John & Penny Barram in their Mitsubishi Pajero, and myself in my Land Rover Defender.
We met Saturday morning at Peak Crossing Park and, after a short briefing and organising what radio frequency we would communicate on, we headed off. The first stops were on the Head Road and at Teviot Falls. There wasn’t much water coming over the falls but what a sensational view from this point, it was truly stunning. Then over the hill towards the Condamine River. At this stage we were greeted by some of the most beautiful country I’ve seen anywhere, undulating plains with some trees, and green as green. Our next adventure was to cross the Condamine River, which we did 14 times, as we made our way down Condamine Gorge, it was a great adventure for someone like myself with my limited 4WD experience. If there was more water running it would have been a lot more challenging, but it was still challenging enough.
At the first crossing we stopped for a compulsory cup of tea and a morning snack. Then we were off to Killarney, a couple of us needed to bolster the larder as we had forgotten some key stocks needed for the overnight stop. Next off to Queen Mary Falls for lunch in the park and a walk to the falls. The falls were spectacular as normal with a large amount of water, a great photo opportunity. Then we were back to the café at the falls for a cappuccino and iced coffee fix, as well as a close up with the exquisite King Parrots.
Next we were off to our camp site for the night; Manna Gums Camp Site in the Main Range National Park. Clive led us on a journey down memory lane where some of his friends had property. First stop Tannymorel. for a photo opportunity with the statue of a coal miner (coal mining was carried out from 1909 to 1967). After this short interlude it was on to the Goomburra Valley and Manna Gums Camp Site via Emu Vale and Yangan.
Arriving at about 3.30 in the afternoon it all became very busy setting up camp for the night, all of us admiring some element of the others set up. Rob Stevens took the prize for all the gadgets he had developed, obviously perfected with his wife on their many excursions into the great outback. While the adults set up camp, Rob’s children were straight off through the rainforest to the creek where they found a rock pool to go swimming.
Meanwhile, we were greeted by a variety of bird life, cheeky Satin Bower Birds that came right into the tent as well as the wonderful calls of both the bellbirds and whip birds.
Once all was set up we met in the meeting room area that John and Penny had provided; an Oz Trail tent with a number of tables in the centre and stoves on the side. Soon after the afternoon cuppa it was obviously “drink o’clock“.
A couple of beers, then onto some white wine followed by red. A sumptuous dinner was cooked and then it was time to light the fire, which Rob and his kids got underway followed by all of us sitting around the fire and doing what we normally do in these circumstances; solving the problems of the world. We all turned in at about 9 pm, and we experienced something that we haven’t seen in Brisbane for a long time; constant rain, which continued through to about 2am, testing all of our tents, happily with no leaks reported.
In the morning we were again greeted by the call of the Bell and Whip Birds, we cooked up bacon and eggs, and then bid John and Penny farewell as they were off to pick up John’s dad for his 94th birthday lunch.
The remaining team headed up to Sylvester Lookout, a short drive through rainforest followed by a 500 metre walk to a sensational vista across the Fassifern Valley and Moogerah Dam.
After returning to the cars from the lookout Rob headed off leaving Clive, Gloria and I to make our way back to the camp site for morning tea and Clive’s final pack up.
Then, too soon, the weekend was over and we headed down from the range. A stop at Aratulla for lunch and coffee, then Clive led us on a drive via Kalbar, Peak Crossing and on to the Cunningham Highway, a much more interesting route than travelling down the highway.
Clive and Gloria turned off to the Moggill Ferry leaving me on my own to head home.
For all those Lotus members who didn’t make it on this weekend; after my story and the photos Gloria has provided, I hope we can get a larger contingency next year. It really was a fabulous weekend away with some very nice people, and a camp site that was truly iconic Australian bush.