To fill up on National Park goodness before we head into the dry bleak interior, we headed to Blackdown Tableland National Park, a short 134 km hop from Mt Hay. A completely unremarkable trip unless you include passing through the township of Dingo, bad jokes aside, it would be a unique address to have. The road up to the plateau was 8km of unrelenting 10% plus gradient. Steep, very curvy and NOT recommended for caravans, yes yes, we’ve seen all this before. It was not a problem, although (nerd alert here) I was watching my exhaust gas temperature gauge climb to over 550 degrees! Poor old Betsy was working hard getting five and a half tons up the mountain. It turned out that going down two days later was far more perilous and nerve wracking as the car brakes started to fade, even with the big diesel in second and sometimes first gear! Luckily there was nothing larger than a brush turkey to avoid on the way down.
Mook Mook lookout, just a short walk from camp.
Arriving by lunch, we were able to squeeze in a short walk to some rock art. Just some hand prints, and after Kakadu, disappointing. Dinner was pork burritos, James’ second favourite dinner, why? Because the next day was his eighth birthday! He had a written plan prepared for how he wanted his big day to pan out, including cuddles in bed, presents, extra extra tablet time, a walk, his favourite dinner (Carbonara), cake and a movie!
A very happy bush birthday boy.
James enjoying his new Lego kit. Sam was very keen to help build it!
He scored snacks and some Lego and can now finally wear his very groovy kangaroo skin hat that we bought back in Kuranda. Hopefully this stays put on his head (his last hat, my old heritage listed scout hat, has been lost and recovered more times than I can count!).
With the boys engrossed in Minecraft, I walked out to Mook Mook, a look out that reveals a magnificent view over the range, complete with that rare remote travelers commodity, reception. Our afternoon walk was to Rainbow Falls, a very pretty droplet waterfall and plunge pool, surrounded by ferns. Apart from dropping my car keys into the water, we all had a great day (thankfully the chipped key and the remote still work).
James enjoyed his day, ending it with a Spiderman movie and a mini-birthday cake (K – the plan was to share the big cake with Pa the next night at Carnarvon). The only downside to eating anything tasty outside was the ever-present threat of currawongs. always gathered en-mass and poised ready to swoop cake from unsuspecting hands.
A beautiful bird call, but the currawongs were always ready to pounce!
Each night we had a camp fire, using seasoned rose wood fence posts brought from Mt Hay. I kept a few of the nicer samples for dad to take home to turn into cheese knives and the like. The wood is incredibly hard and fine-grained. It is so hard it resists termites and almost resists burning. At least the coals for marshmallows were excellent.