So needed a bit of tree time and decided to do a quick overnight camp at Flanagan’s Reserve and do a walk in the Mt Barney National park. Since we were planning a national park walk and Bronte was staying home for work and study we thought this was a good opportunity to leave Ada with Bronte and Cassie while we had some down time without a hound in tow. I love having Ada but it has meant we have had to be selective in where we walk and unless I have dog sitting arranged, national parks are off the agenda.
The weekend didn’t go quite as planned.
4X4s and SUVs are ubiquitious but we don’t have one, in fact we have made a point of having the smallest most fuel efficient vehicle possible and this weekend for the first time ever we discovered we could not get everywhere with our little city car after all. Since we could only afford an overnighter we went down to Flanaghan’s Reserve on Saturday, we took our time stopping at Maroon dam on the way and checked out the Maroon lake campgrounds which might be a future camp.
The last part of the road into Flanaghan’s is dirt but that was no drama with the pod. Well maintained, dry, dirt roads have never presented an obstacle for us, so that was all good. The camp grounds were pretty packed, due to school holidays I guess. Really nice to see so many families and kids spending time in the bush. Lots of families with dogs, which was also nice as it is a dog friendly location. Flanaghan’s and the Mt Barney national park are fairly easy access from Brisbane so a good, close location to escape from the city. While it was nice to see so many people out and enjoying the bush it did not make for a particularly peaceful weekend, although noise stopped around 8pm. I think I would have liked a little more peace and isolation but I really have nothing to complain about.
The camp itself is on the Logan River and the river bank offers nice views, of the river and the mountains, plenty of shady trees but the ground was all dirt, dry and dusty. The river had enough water to warrant swimming but you would have been pretty limited in how far you could go in a kayak.
Flanaghan’s is a very economical camp, with basics provided, no powered sites. An amenities block with one shower in the male and female toilets and an additional disabled shower and toilet. Given how busy the camp was on the weekend that meant queuing for a shower, it also meant queuing for the loos at times, unless you were willing to use the additional port a loos they had running. Afraid the smell of an over worked sewage system and porta loos is my lasting memory of the the weekend. To be fair I suspect it was a particularly busy weekend and the reserve is not normally so populated.
We thought we would just have a lazy afternoon wandering about the river bank and then do a national park walk the next day after we packed up and left the reserve, that was a mistake. We know from experience our little city car and the pod can cope with any well maintained dirt road as long it is not wet. First up we missed the turn off to the lower portals which was the walk we were going to do and ended up at Yellow pinch, a dirt road in, that was okay but the car park when we got there was absolutely packed, so we back tracked and found the correct turn off for the lower portals walk. More dirt road, which was fine up to the last little bit and the actual entry to the car park, for the first time ever we had wheels slip and spin and yep we managed to get slightly stuck, nothing we couldn’t get out of fairly easily but we did have to do some mucking about with disconnecting the pod and then using a chain to pull the pod back into a position to re-hitch and get out. We were pushing our luck but this is the first time I have ever felt like we were ever really in danger of getting stuck anywhere.
We have always made it one of our goals to reduce our footprint as much as possible which is why we have been a single car household for most of our married lives and why we have always tried to have the smallest most fuel efficient vehicle possible. Slightly unusual in Australia, since everyone and their dog seems to drive a hulking 4X4 or some type of SUV. Currently investigating our options for the future but environmental concerns will always be the first consideration. Our compact lifestyle is not for everyone but it has suited us.
Anyway having extricated ourselves from the initial tricky spot we decided since we still had to get back up a narrow steep hill which was pushing our luck, we would call it quits and head back out. We could see the car park was absolutely packed which meant the walk was likely to busy and noisy anyway. The day was also warming up so we wimped out. We will try again another day but next time we will time it better and leave the pod in camp while we walk. Maybe when we do the Maroon lake camp we might have Bronte with us and we can work out a dog sitting deal for a day.
I am afraid Queensland national parks in general tend to be a bit rough and ready and dirt roads in with minimal trail maintenance is the norm. Queensland does not charge for entry to national parks and only charges minimal fees for camping. Queensland national parks are markedly different to their New South Wales counterparts that do charge fees but provide excellent facilities in exchange. Queensland national parks are under funded. It seems that here in the sunshine state the general attitude is if you can’t mine it or farm it, it is not worth spending money on and that is an attitude that goes back decades. Something I would like to see change.
Anyway despite the weekend not going quite as planned it was still a nice escape from town and with the cool night it was nice snuggling in the pod with no fur princess between us for a change, although I did miss Ada.