Monday, 26 May 2008

May Day Weekend 2008 - Calliope

May Day weekend is the annual Combined Clubs Bushwalker's get-together, where clubs from Bundaberg to Rockhampton meet on yearly, to enjoy the hospitality of a host club - this year - Gladstone Bushwalking Club.
I took a flex day on the Friday, so we could pack and we hit the road with Graham, heading south down the highway to Calliope (just over 100km). We set up camp under the gum trees at Calliope Sports Ground, and said hello to a few fellow campers. We were pleased to meet an old acquaintance from Gin Gin  - Richard. In the evening we walked down the road to the
Calliope Railway Hotel for a pub meal. It was a really good feed..and I would recommend it to anyone passing through.

Although, on Saturday, some people took off early on walks, we decided on a relaxed start, and spent the morning socialising before a very enjoyable drive and walk in the afternoon to Bindawalla Gorge. This small, but picturesque area is along Tablelands Rd, which leads to Kroombit Tops. Howard and his wife were the walk leaders, pointing out features on the way...such as the unique 'emu' mailbox along the road. On arrival at the crossing on

Takilberan Creek, we firstly walked left and looked at the rock formations. Howard explained that the water-hole, which appeared quite deep to us, was fairly low. As we approached the water, a freshwater tortoise dived, and we looked for Burdekin Plum trees, which are native to the area.
A short walk downstream led to a flat rocky area, where we had afternoon tea, and some walkers cooled off by going for a swim in a waterhole. Around this location, I saw native Pepperomia, and Hoya, along with some Shield Ferns - quite lovely!
On the way back to the cars we saw some wonderful fig trees, and finally found some Burdekin Plum trees with fruit dropping from the trees.
There was also a very interesting old house on the way home. Plenty of photos were taken.

We had brought along our Canadian canoe to go on the canoe trip on Sunday, and discovered in the morning that, apart from the leaders, Noel and Bev, we were the only partakers. The trip started from the 'Old Bridge' picnic area on the Calliope River, which had lots of campers enjoying the banks. We found a good spot to launch, and started a leisurely paddle upstream. Huge trees hung precariously to the high banks..some looking like they might fall in the next flood.
We were intriqued by glimpses of houses and other buildings along the really can't see enough to work out what they are..but it is fun to guess...
This river has no barrages or weirs, and is tidal, but, even so, we were surprised to round a corner to see hardy, fresh-tolerant mangroves, and stingrays startled by our passing. Fish were in abundance, from millions of small fry, up to probably a half-metre in length. We stopped on a sandbank for morning tea at an area which seemed to be close to the limit of the tidal effect.
I was having a very easy time of it, with Darryl doing most of the paddling, but after this stop there were a few big rocks in the water, so I had to pay more attention, and steer clear of these.
Along the banks there appeared to be some sort of quarry. We came across a camper/fisherman, but he said he hadn't caught much. There were several ducks along the way.

Further up was an area where the river became very narrow, and we had to portage the canoes. As the men pulled the canoes through, Bev pointed out, up in the trees, a curious owl (Howard has suggested it is a Barking Owl). He was none-too -pleased at our presence, but tolerated our photos.

Above this area the waterlillies started. There were beautiful purple ones, but also some brilliant white blooms, full of bees.

There are some really big pools, full of fish, and we eventually turned around and headed back to 'barbecuearea', a sand-bank which had an old rusted metal BBQ grill sitting on the spit. This was where we enjoyed our lunch, a really peaceful spot. The trip back was equally relaxing and enjoyable, apart from some cattle which startled and then ran along beside us for around a kilometre. Eventually we swapped to the opposite side of the river, and they lost interest in us.
A sea eagle gliding above was a highlight. As we neared the end, there were people skiing in the river, and we avoided their wake. Noel reported that we had paddled around 7 1/2km.
At night we enjoyed the dinner provided by the Gladstone club, and were then entertained by skits, including one with a fantastic Ozzie dunny, bush poetry, and the handing over of the 'Wolca Stick' to the club which will host the event in 2009.
On Monday, many walkers headed off on the many interesting walks which had been organised, but I was intending to have a relaxing day, and as Darryl was still feeling a little ill, we decided to pack up and head home. What a lovely weekend! Thanks Gladstone Club!

Check the photo album for more photos.....

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