Free Camp Friday – Calliope River, QLD

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Calliope is situated just north of Gladstone in Queensland. Calliope River Rest Area is a free camping area provided by Gladstone Regional Council.

The camping area is separated into a north and south area, divided by the river. The south area is accessible from the Old Bruce Highway, however it was due to be closed on 3/11/14 I believe in case of flooding. It flooded quite severely through there last year, and you can still see debris in many of the trees.

The north area is accessible from the highway; there is a day use area at the top near the historical village and store, with the camping area further down the road.

We camped on the north side. The vans mostly line the road at the top, but there is lots of grass and shade down the hill. We found a nice little hideyhole and were largely on our own and undisturbed, other than a pretty big brown snake who decided to come through our camp one day.

In terms of amenities, there is a toilet block on either side and a
composting toilet as well on the north side (although this is closed about six months out of the year). There is only non-potable water, so bring your own drinking water, and there are no fires at this site.

The Historical Village opens daily and you can tour it for a small fee. We didn’t actually do the tour because, well because my family are philistines, but we did get a glimpse into the past when we visited the monthly markets held in the village.

I love a good market, but I’ve learned not to get too excited too far in advance. Case in point: Seisia. One jewellery stall, one pongy stuff stall, the woman from the butcher selling dot painting pillow cases and one of the tour companies. But the Calliope River market was ace. A bit of fruit and veg (more pumpkins than I have ever seen before in my life), heaps of clothing, plants, and beautiful homemade goodies that would make great gifts (I believe the next one is December 7 so if you’re around you could sort out a heap of your pressies in one hit). The markets are held monthly and adult entry is by a gold coin donation.

As for the fishing – well, there were plenty of lines out there but I don’t know how well anyone did. We heard talk of Barra and Mangrove Jack but we didn’t see any. The boys did catch a couple of bream, but that was about as well as we did. And a heap of catfish, which were a bit of fun to catch. Heaps of birds around, we took an injured lorikeet into Gladstone for treatment and were surrounded by very friendly kookaburras.

WikiCamps gives the coordinates for the north area as 23° 57′ 41″ S 151° 9′ 8″ E and the time period is 48 hours.

Melbourne Cup Musings

I’ve always loved Cup Day. My great-grandfather was a farrier, and I’m pretty sure there’s some genetics at play to determine whether you’re a horse person or not. Plus, wearing hats and drinking copious amounts of alcohol are two of my very favourite things, so any chance to combine them is alright by me.

In the last few years though, I’ve started to look at the horse racing industry through different eyes. Through Cai’s eyes. And I haven’t really been all that down with what I’ve been seeing.

It’s a hard thing to explain to kids. We whip these animals so they run really fast and earn (or lose) people heaps of money. Sometimes the horses die. Sometimes the jockeys die. Sometimes people bet their rent or food money on the outcome of these races, and then have nowhere to live or nothing to eat.

I’m not down with the Melbourne Cup anymore. But yesterday, old mate came around with a sweep. “Clare will be in that” said Matt.

I’d decided that I wasn’t taking part this year (I hadn’t last year either) but I felt obliged. So I put my hand in my pocket to the tune of $7 and had a couple of entries in the sweeps.

Yep, peer pressure at 38 years old.

Anyway, race time drew closer and we wandered over to a neighbouring campsite to watch the Cup. That was a bit of an experience in itself, as our fellow traveller had penned a bit of a bush poem that she recited to us all about horse racing. It was about a horse named My Face, and I pretty much could have lived my whole life without hearing her scream “COME ON MY FACE” at the poem’s, well, climax.

There was also the race goer in the hat who, after I complimented her on it, informed me it belonged to her dog.

And the generator dying resulting in the TV losing power less than 30 seconds in was something even Murphy would be shaking his head at.

As it turned out, one of the horses I drew ran third, netting me a big $13. The kids thought that was pretty ace and promptly started hitting me up for new scrapbooks and maybe an iceblock.

Until they heard that one of the horses had collapsed and died shortly after the completion of the race.

And another was undergoing surgery.

Then, my little animal activists had a different view of that $13 altogether.

We’d like to donate that $13 to an animal charity, preferably equine, so if you are one or know one please get in touch.

Our Travel First Aid Kit

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I’m not ashamed to admit that I am slightly over the top when it comes to first aid supplies. A look inside my handbag reveals more than a packet of bandaids and a few tissues. Instead, you’ll find four EpiPens, about 35 thousand Ventolin puffers, a couple of spacers, enough antihistamine to make the authorities look twice, and usually an elastic bandage in case of snake bite. And that’s just to make a trip to the supermarket.

So when it came time to think about our first aid requirements for our trip, Matt knew it was time to intervene. Although I’m known as the “cure everything with breastmilk and/or coconut oil” lady, I also like to have all my bases covered and be prepared for every eventuality. He is the voice of reason that tells me that I probably don’t need to bring along a whole chemist just in case.

However, although we left with what Matt still considered to be way over the top in terms of our first aid supplies, we’ve used just about everything we brought with us in the past four months. We’re at the point now where we will need to restock a few items in the not too distant future. And I have to say, even I’m a little bit surprised by what we’ve used and what we haven’t.

Touch wood, other than Cai, no one has been seriously hurt or injured so far. Cai of course had the infected mozzie bite and MRSA infection, and also sliced his hand open at Wunjunga in the period we refer to fondly as “4 hospital visits in 2 weeks”. Harper had a suspected ear infection and high temps for a couple of days in the early weeks that was we were able to manage just with pain relief. Mackenzie has escaped pretty much unscathed except for a couple of giant stacks, Matt just about knackered himself on the tow ball the other day and my only real injuries have come from wine in a box.

Here’s a few things we couldn’t do without.

EpiPens and EpiPen trainers

Obviously these guys are our first priority. We don’t go anywhere without them. The Authority prescription from our allergist gives us two at PBS prices and we pay full price for two more. Why carry 4? We’ve heard stories about misfires, EpiPens “blowing” due to extreme temperatures and having to use more than one dose while waiting for emergency services. For us, 4 is a good number to carry. We have the trainer pens so we can explain to people who don’t know about life threatening food allergies how an acute episode is treated and how to use an EpiPen.

Antihistamine

Cai takes a daily dose as well as having an emergency dose as the first line of defence in case of an allergic reaction, and we try to carry at least two months worth with us most times.

Ventolin and small volume spacer

We have 5 puffers stashed in different locations – 2 in Cai’s kit, 1 in the car, 1 in the bag and 1 in the box for easy access in an emergency.

Seretide and large volume spacer

Cai’s regular asthma preventer

Cortisone and Bactroban creams

Steroid and Antibiotic creams for use on Cai’s eczema, and we also use this combo on mozzie bites at times to try to calm the itch and prevent infection.

Various waterproof dressings

Gauze, non-adhesive dressings and Micropor

Syringes for administering Cai’s immunotherapy injections if we get somewhere so remote they don’t have the right size!

Silver shock blankets – you can actually use these in your bedding if it gets stupid cold too.

Elastic bandages – For sprains or snake bites

Triangle sling

Betadine

Saline

Paracetamol (and baby version), ibuprofen, aspirin

Sunscreen

Stingoes

Paw Paw Ointment

Hydralyte – which I forgot I had and could have come in handy after the last wine in a box incident.
Safety pins, spare prescriptions, spare spacer and mask.

What’s in your first aid kit? Anything I’ve forgotten?

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You can read this post, and other travel ideas over at the Wanderlust monthly link up!

Wanderlust