Van rolling to Oz travel blog

A nicely deserted camping area

Under the Jackaranda tree

Brisbane - Somerset Dam (105km)

We decided to spend our last day in the Brisbane area up in the hills around it. Today was Indy car race day on the Gold Coast and Tim was concerned we would get caught up in the traffic and have problems finding somewhere to stay, so we headed out west. I was driving, as always seems to be the case when we are on narrow mountainous roads, crawling up in 2nd gear with a trail of frustrated weekend boy racers in our wake. We stopped to let some pass after a bum steer in the navigation department from the co-driver. We found a lookout point which gave us a great view over the city and suburbs and a huge reservoir which was our destination for the day.

Eventually we arrived at Somerset Dam camping area, set beside a river downstream from the dam. In fact we never made it as far as the dam until the following morning as once we had got our supplies from the only grocery store in the village (the Sunday paper and some biscuits) we were not inclined to move for the rest of the day. We got the deckchairs out, although it threatened rain a few times the weather remained fine.

Food was a bit restricted as we really needed to go shopping, so Tim's lunch was a can of soup someone at the end of their holiday had donated us in Darwin, and mine was a packet of 2 minute noodles which we have had as emergency supplies since leaving Perth, which tasted so disgusting I only managed 2 mouthfuls before throwing them away.

There was only one other van on our part of the camping area, so we spread out, and went to collect some wood for a fire. Someone had kindly left some kindling in the fire pit, and there was a pile of wood near the toilets which we raided.

The jacaranda trees are in flower here at the moment and one of them had dropped flowers all over the ground creating a weird sensory sensation on the eye, as purple is such an odd colour in nature. It was a bit like being in a wood full of bluebells in early spring in England.

I went to make an early phone call home to check on the progress of my new niece, and while I was on the phone I saw a koala shimmy down a tree, have a quick look around before running over to the adjacent tree and climbing up it. A few minutes later he obviously didn't much like his choice as he was climbing back up the original tree. This is the first time I had seen a koala move over the ground, and only the second time I had seen one in the wild- it was very exciting. When I got back and told Tim we noticed the other campers near by looking up in a tree, and sure enough there was another one up there. They are such cuddly and soft looking animals- I would quite like one as a pet if I could grow enough gum trees in the garden!

We got the fire going and thoroughly enjoyed an evening around the fire. It was quite chilly out so we really felt the benefit. We headed to bed around 9.30pm to watch another episode of 24, I am not sure how they are going to drag it out for another 20 episodes they could finish it in one. I also got to finish my book- The Little Friend by Donna Tartt which I can thoroughly recommend.

After a cosy night under the duvet we were woken up early in the morning by banging on the top of the van, like someone walking over it. At first I thought it may be a possum or better still a koala! When I could bare the suspense no longer I looked out from the curtain and saw a magpie which kept repeatedly dive bombing our wing mirrors! There are 2 stainless steel vent caps on the roof so they must have been bombing them as well. They had left a right mess all over the windows. We seem to be getting a lot of magpie grief this trip. One tried dive bombing me on the way to the phone earlier too.


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