Blackdown Tablelands

We’ve been staying at a lot of caravan parks in Australia which is not really something that we planned on doing. The problem is that to get to most of the actual campgrounds, you either have to have a 4-wheel drive vehicle or you have to hike in with a tent. We are equipped with neither of these things (renting a vehicle like that would have taken up our entire budget for Australia), so usually we either have to camp on the side of the road or in a caravan park. Most of the side-of-the-road campsites are pretty sad – not somewhere you want to spend a good deal of time, but caravan parks have their downside as well. First, you are usually parked almost on top of someone else in the site next to you. Privacy is not exactly paramount in the caravan parks. Also, most of the caravan parks cater both to tourists and to long-term stays—those people who have all but built a foundation for their trailer. For the most part these residents don’t regard the tourists very highly. After all, we’re camping on their land and using their bathrooms. So it was nice to find an actual campground that we could get to and have a little room to breathe and a nice campfire.

When we pulled up to the park entrance, we saw that, unlike in New Zealand where you can simply self-register and drop some money in an envelope, here you must pre-book the campsites by internet or phone. If you had not done that, you could press the little green button on what was essentially a speaker phone that connected to a central booking office. As is normal when talking on a speaker phone, it was very hard for both parties to make themselves heard. This was especially comical when trying to give the woman on the other end of the line my credit card number. I screamed the number several times into the speaker and she read it back several times giving any people who crouch in the bushes and steal credit card numbers for a living a perfect opportunity. When we were finally done yelling at each other, we drove up to the campground and found a lovely secluded spot. Adam built a fire, we had some dinner, and we spent most of the rest of the night drinking wine while looking up at the stars and listening to Carl Sagan’s The Pale Blue Dot which was entirely appropriate for the occasion.

We got up at 5:00 the next morning to hike up to a lookout which promised spectacular views of the sunrise. I don’t think I would call the sunrise spectacular, it was pretty cloudy, but it was nice to be standing there as the light slowly revealed a pretty impressive view of the dense tree-covered valley even without the colors of the sunrise.

Then it was off to Yeppoon which is a place with a somewhat unfortunate name, but really lovely beaches.

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