Cania Gorge

Trip Start Aug 11, 2007
Trip End Jan 06, 2008

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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Wednesday, 29th August, 2007  (written by Suzanne)
Stephen and I woke at about 7.00am to a foggy landscape as the boys slept. I opened the curtains and I spotted about 6 kangaroos feeding on the grass.
We boiled the kettle and sat looking over the waterless dam with our cuppa's as the sun broke through the clouds. We could hear the cows and bulls mooing off in the distance but within about 30 minutes they rounded the corner and wandered closer and closer. They investigated the numerous empty fireplaces around the picnic area and even at one stage tried nibbling on the boys wetsuits (which were still drying off from the swim at the beach the day before).
We woke the boys at 8.30am so we could start to pack up the camper and make tracks to Cania Gorge, if we didn't have a booking already make I would have been quite happy to stay at least another night. The shear quietness of the place is so relaxing, I now know that they mean about the "serenity" of a place. As Michael Caton said in "The Castle" "You can just smell the serenity".
We hit the road by about 9.30am and drove to Monto a town about 30kms  south of Cania Gorge for more supplies. It is quite unbelievable the amount of food 4 people can consume and with only little storage space you seem (I am) to be at the shops everyday or every second day. (Addition by Stephen) For those interested we passed through a little town called Mulgildie and we pulled over as we received a phone call (good timing Maree - as it would have been a couple of days since we were in range).I was looking around and saw a sign $4-50 roast lunch 7 days a week - great value then I noticed the package beer prices and one stood out Carlton mid strength $90-99 a slab (take note David S.)- should have taken a photo.
We became members of the Top Tourist Park group as you receive 10% of each stay to a maximum of $25 per booking.
We arrived at Cania Gorge at about noon and picked a lovely unpowered site under the trees. Daniel and Ryan went off the to play cheese at the giant chess board while we set up camp, I should actually say, Stephen set up the most of camp while I made a extended stop over on the way to the loos talking to other caravaners.
After lunch and a swim in the pool we did the first of many walks in the gorge to 'Dragon Cave'.    The walk starts at about 2kms from the caravan park and it ambles up to a cave that has a picture of a "Dragon" (see the photo and you be the judge), I think someone has a very good imagination.  
Back at the caravan park they have bird feeding at 4.00pm. Birds seem to fly in from everywhere. They were mainly Rainbow Lorikeets.
Again we had steak, sausages and potatoes on the open fire and I even attempted to make damper for the very first time. It turned out well but it tasted a little funny. I will need to get another recipe and try again. (Addition by Stephen) Tony you will be happy to note that I finally sat down and had a XXXX tonight and guess what it hasn't improved much but it is about $10 a case cheaper than everything else so may have to get accustomed.
Weather: Glorious; 23 degrees with no wind and dotted clouds in the sky
Alcohol: $50
Shopping: $10 & $21
2 nights at Cania Gorge Retreat @ $27.00 per night
Top Tourist Park membership for 2 years: $25

Thursday, 30th August, 2007    (written by Stephen)
A good night sleep for Daniel and I but Ryan who had hopped into bed with us was itching and restless so kept Suzanne awake for a couple of hours. Suzanne was up first and rekindled the fire and boiled up some water for our cuppas. Very foggy again this morning it took until well after 10am before the sun burnt it all away.
The boys again after much cajoling/persuasion and threats did an hour or so on their diaries but are still a few days behind so must catch up either this afternoon or tomorrow. We were able to recharge the battery for the Waeco overnight as the owners said it would be OK to drive the car onto a powered site later in the evening and hook up the charger (as long as we did it discretely - not sure how you do anything discretely moving a station wagon about in a caravan park and parking next to three other sites of campers and plugging into the power at 9 o'clock at night).
The battery for the Waeco only seems to last about 36 hours without charging so unless we can use the generator more frequently to charge we may have to consider just using the Waeco as a fridge and get some meat cryo-vaced (will keep at normal fridge temperature for 3 days). This will extend the amount of time we can free camp or non-power camp. The battery in the camper is working a treat we have just gone three days now with lighting and it is still fairly charged so we could possibly watch a DVD or listen to the radio of it as well and last three days easily before having to get on the power so we can recharge up.
Eventually the boys had written enough for the moment in their diaries so Daniel, Ryan and I had a game of footy as they are always after playing a game of some sorts and footy is still high on the agenda. Great open spaces here so we are making the most of it because several parks we were at earlier either didn't allow ball games or had no room anyway. The boys then went and played a couple of games on the big chess board and Suzanne and I socialized with other travelers - basically picking their brains for ideas and suggestions as again everyone here is heading south (having already been north). Looks like we may just go and have a quick fossick up at Rubyvale after Carnarvon Gorge.
The boys and I again had a quick dip in the very refreshing pool (alright when you get in but the boys and I are the only ones who have been getting in out of everyone here at the park). It had been a pretty laid back day as the park itself is very tranquil with heaps of birds and the occasional wallaby hopping by. To burn off some more energy we headed off at 4pm to do a 5.2km walk around part of the gorge. We visited the Giant's Chair Lookout which did give us a very panoramic view of parts of the gorge a few photos taken and we continued on. It was reasonably strenuous the first 1.5 km as a lot of uphill sections and big steps. It is fairly dry country here but there are grass trees dotted around as well as some huge cactus's so quite varied vegetation. We continued on down into the Fern Tree Pool and wound our way back and it took just over 60 minutes. The boys were great no complaints, getting used to do some walking, and Ryan walks like he has a million ants in his pants alternating his walking with skips, jumps and semi karate kicks (you don't want to walk near him).
Another first for tea tonight as the boys and I built up the campfire Suzanne prepared Italian Tomoatoes and Chicken in our camp oven which we placed on the embers and what a treat. It cooked in about half the time we thought it would and with mashed potatoes it was food for Kings and Queens especially when washed down with a beer and wine soda (lemonade for the boys). I think we will plan to cook up a few more meals that way it was excellent tucker. The boys and I visited the 'Big Campfire' that is lit up every night in the park and we were lucky enough to spot three "Bettongs" feeding on the lawn behind the swimming pool. They are a sort of wallaby/possum type creature and very shy but quite regularly visit this area at night.
Having again put the car over on a powered site to run the Waeco overnight we had cuppas from our billy and tucked ourselves in as it certainly felt a little cooler tonight (it might get under 10).
1 night at Cania Gorge Retreat @ $27 per night
Weather: Beautiful; 22 degrees with occasional cloud and wind

Friday, 31st August, 2007  (written by Suzanne)
After another itchy night for the boys and a lot of broken sleep for me and Ryan (as he jumps into our bed and itches and keeps me awake), I was up at 7 am to put on a load of wash. I thought I would wash all the sheets, donar covers, towels, etc Unfortunately that part of housework never goes away. At least I don't have bathrooms, vaccuming, mopping dusting, etc to do but it all still takes time that I would prefer to be relaxing with a book in the hammocks that they have hung all around the caravan park..
The boys made another dent into the diaries with the encouragement of lollies depending on how much was written - amazing how heads down and bums up happened.
After a quick sandwich we jumped into the car drove up to Cania Dam. We had a quick look around and then hired a canoe for a few hours to explore the lake. The dam was complete in 1978 and has only ever been 76% full and it is currently sitting at 5%.
We hired for the canoe for 2 hours and we saw a few other tinnies out on the water with people fishing, one of the grey nomads from our caravan park caught a 38cm bass but other people said they didn't even get a nibble. Apparently you CAN catch yellow bellies (perch), saratoga's, bass, snob nose garfish and barramudi. Again the water has been too cold.
Stephen rigged up 2 rods with lures on so we could trail them behind the canoe as we paddled. We cruised up the lake for an hour and then turned around and came back just as we were nearly back at the boat ramp one of the fishing rods "took off", the boys were so excited and they started to reel in. This went on for a few minutes and the excitement grew, rod bending and camera at the ready - then NOTHING. The lure must have been snagged on a rock or a branch. The boys, in particular Daniel, were very disappointed it was such a let down.
They then continued to have a fish on the edge of the lake for a while but again they didn't have any luck.
We headed off to the Shammock Mine ruins about 3 kms from the dam wall. (I neglected to mention that there is an old gold mine town site under the lake.) We wondered up the hill and you can see all the holes left by the miners looking for alluvial gold. There were a few mine shafts but mainly diggings that look like mini craters all over the hill side.
Ryan collected the twigs for the fire and lit it all by himself  for the first time (obviously under supervision).
Back at the caravan park we wandered over to the communal fire place at 6.00pm where they have a sausage sizzle for a gold coin donation (to the local primary school). We chatted with other travellers for a few hours.
I cooked scrambled eggs for supper to top up Daniel and Stephen.
Canoe hire: $20
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