17/05/2015 The repairs to the Discovery turned out to be a non-event. After delaying our travels to have the car fixed, our repairer couldn’t find any further error codes being recorded since the ‘Suspension Fault’ light came on in Ballina a week earlier. Nor was any leak able to be found in the air suspension system. While he initially thought there may be an air leak in the system, that proved not to be the case and it was decided that the fault was most probably electrical and intermittent, meaning that it could not readily be repeated or the cause isolated. Throwing replacement parts at it would be costly and possibly fruitless and, as the fault had only happened that one time, the best course of action was to do nothing and hope like hell that it was just a one-time event. Hopefully not famous last words (touch wood!)
From Woodford, we headed west through Kilcoy and enjoyed a pleasant lunch stop at Moore, a small town on the D’Aguilar Highway not far from Caboolture that is transforming itself into an arty-foodsy type country village. We first came across the Kai Lounge & Bar last year when we were camped at nearby Linville. As well as the terrific healthy food, we like this Aladdin’s Cave of art, eclectic clothes and books. Once again I came very close to buying one of their cow hide rugs.
From Moore, it was a slow and steady climb up the Blackbutt Range to Yarraman, where we turned onto the New England Highway and descended the Cooyar Range through Cooyar to our intended overnight camp at Swinging Bridge Park. Di was feeling good with the travel, though, so we pushed on via Maclagan to meet the Warrego Highway at Jondaryan. It was then a short drive up the highway to the small town of Bowenville and the nearby Bowenville Reserve, a very picturesque free camp spot beside the Oakey Creek. After setting up, we took a wander along the creek which was still swollen and very brown from recent rains, and then settled into a couple of wines on the ‘patio’ back at the van. While we could easily have stayed on longer at this very pleasant spot, we were both inclined to head off the next morning and keep travelling.
Our next overnight camp was at Warra, only an hour further west along the Warrego Highway. This short travel leg compensated for the double leg of the day before. We set up at a small rest area tucked away from the highway behind the Richard Best Heritage Park, home to the restored Warra Railway Station, the old Police lockup, and the nicely presented Haystack State School building. The park is next to Cooranga Creek and in 1844 this was the campsite of the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt and his party when they came through on their way north.
Very conveniently, the historic Warra Hotel was erected in 1906 right across from the park, just so that 109 years later Di and I could do our bit to share the wealth across the bar. The new owners have started renovating the old rambling two-storey Queenslander-style pub, and while they still have a long way to go with the work on the interior, the front has been restored back to its original balustrade verandas and looks very grand. It’s great to see enterprise like this in a small town. The local school currently had seven students, four of which were the bar attendant’s children, one being the oldest student and another being the youngest.
The next morning, we pushed on west along the Warrego, through Chinchilla and Miles, to our next camp site at Wallumbilla. This is a free camp site in the showgrounds, with power and water available. This one was certainly different from the last two sites as it was very open and dusty, but I figured so is most of western Queensland in the current drought. Just after we’d set up, a guy called John pulled up next to us in a large box truck with a caravan attached. It turned out that he travelled the country for eight months of the year to quite a number of show days presenting talks and demonstrations on bush techniques such as rope making, butter making, working dog show, Australiana, story-telling and so forth. Quite an interesting character to talk to and a good source of free camp sites around the place. One night at Wallumbilla Showgrounds proved to be enough for us. While power and water were provided at no charge, the camp site was a very exposed and dusty and just wasn’t enjoyable. We later learned that the annual show had been held only two weekends earlier, which accounted for the grounds being so worked over and dusty when we arrived.