Monthly Archives: November 2013

Bell Gorge

DSC_0091Right, back to a post about the trip!  At the rate we are going you guys will all be still reading posts about our trip twelve months after we finished it!

After two nights camping at Windjana Gorge and checking out Tunnel Creek we headed off to get a few kilometres of the Gibb River Road under our tyres.  We were a bit nervous about what the road conditions would be like, but we were pleasantly surprised to find this stretch of road – about 1oo kilometres from Windjana Gorge to Bell Gorge – was pretty good.  Corrugated and mostly dirt but it looked like it had been very recently graded so we travelled along with no problems.  It was hard to bypass Lennard Gorge and the Mt Hart Homestead, but as we only had a week we had to be selective with where we stopped on the Gibb. We had decided that this was just to be a ‘practice run’ Gibb River Road trip and we will come back and do it properly one day!!

This stretch of the Gibb was quite scenic – with some lovely spots to stop and check out the views.

Lookout view Gibb River Road

Lookout view Gibb River Road

Peter Prado and Karen Camper on the Gibb River Road

Peter Prado and Karen Camper on the Gibb River Road

We had decided that Bell Gorge would be our lunch time stop, but we didn’t realise that it was actually 39km in to the Gorge along the access road off the Gibb River Road.  This road was actually pretty rough and there are a couple of creek crossings along the way which we didn’t know about either.  They were quite shallow when we went through so no problems and a bit of excitement for us as they were Karen Camper’s first water crossings!

Creek Crossing on Access Road into Bell Gorge

Creek Crossing on Access Road into Bell Gorge

Peter Prado and Karen Camper handled them too easy!

Peter Prado and Karen Camper handled them too easy!

We unhitched Karen Camper at the entrance to the Bell Gorge Campsite (called Silent Grove) as we thought the road was getting quite rough and we weren’t sure what parking there would be at the Gorge entrance. We were really glad we did this as the road did get more corrugated (it was another 10km’s from the campsite to the gorge) and the car park at the Gorge is really quite small – it would have been difficult to park the camper down there.  The Silent Grove campsite looked quite nice – very dry and dusty but some shade and amenities so you could easily have a few nights there.  We then had a quick bite of lunch and headed off for the short 3km return walk into the gorge – yes dragging a few reluctant kids again for another walk!

Back of the car lunch preparation

Back of the car lunch preparation

Off to walk in to Bell Gorge

Off to walk in to Bell Gorge

It was an easy walk in to the Gorge although it was quite hot walking in the middle of the day!  We were glad to have a swim when we got there!  The water in the swimming hole at the bottom of the water falls was freezing!!  But we did all get in eventually – even me!  Be warned though – the edge going in to the water is very slippery and slimy – we all had big slips going in!!  The pools at the top of the gorge are really lovely and not as cold as the bottom pool – they would make a great spot to waste away a few hours soaking in the sun and water.  The climb down to the water fall pool is very steep but our kids made it no problems – their walking skills have definitely improved heaps over the duration of the trip!

Jack, Tobes and Lex at the top of Bell Gorge

Jack, Tobes and Lex at the top of Bell Gorge

Looking over the edge at Bell Gorge

Looking over the edge at Bell Gorge

Walking down to the waterfall pool Bell Gorge

Walking down to the waterfall pool Bell Gorge

The lovely top pools at Bell Gorge

The lovely top pools at Bell Gorge

Having a swim in the freezing water at Bell Gorge

Having a swim in the freezing water at Bell Gorge

When we first arrived at the waterfall pool at Bell Gorge there was a tour bus of people there but they left shortly after we arrived (I’m sure we didn’t scare them off – we didn’t smell that bad!) and we had the place pretty much to ourselves – it was heaven!  We were definitely glad that we got to see this spot!  After about an hour swimming and relaxing we headed back to pick up the camper and push on to our campsite for the night at Manning Gorge which was about another 80km’s along the Gibb River Road once we had got back out off the 40km stretch of the Bell Gorge access road.  Once again we had to reluctantly drive right past Adcock Gorge and Charnley River Station, with a promise of ‘next time’.  We stopped at the Barnett Roadhouse and purchased our camping permit for the next two nights camping at Manning Gorge.  It was of course ‘ice-cream o’clock’ and we thought we all deserved one so we bought those and a souvenir stubby cooler too!

Barnett Roadhouse

Barnett Roadhouse

Yum - Icecreams!

Yum – Icecreams!

Our time at Manning Gorge will be our next post.  So, who has stopped at the places we missed along the way from Windjana Gorge to Manning Gorge?  C’mon then, make us jealous, tell us what did we miss out on???

 

Categories: Camping, WA Camping | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Buy A Bale of Hay

DSC_0702I am sure most of you are aware of the plight facing many of our farmers with two thirds of Queensland now drought declared.  We drove through many of the places currently experiencing drought on our trip and we thought things were really bad then, that was months ago.

Some of the drought country we saw around WInton, QLD in June.

Some of the drought country we saw around WInton, QLD in June.

Just some of the drought affected country we saw on our trip

Boulia, Qld – drought affected country we saw on our trip. 

Those of you who have been following our blog for a while now know that we are passionate about rural Australia and the need to support our Australian Farmers (you can read some of our other posts on this topic here and here).  Now that we are part of the farming community ourselves, we understand even better the challenges which are presently facing all Australian Farmers in relation to the profitability and future viability of our agricultural industry.  So, today I am sharing a letter ‘from the Bush’ which I think explains really well why this drought is so bad and what is happening in the Australian agricultural arena at present.  I know not all of you will read the letter but at least please check out the ‘Buy A Bale’ website or their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/BuyaBaleofHay which is doing great things to help drought affected farmers. You can buy a bale of hay for just $20 or donate a small amount to be used towards buying a few litres of diesel, groceries and other necessities for our struggling farmers.

Australian Farmers need our support, please spread the word!

“A Letter from the Bush

This drought is different.

It’s not different because virtually all of inland Queensland missed the 2013 wet season; that has happened in the past on numerous occasions. In a bad year, conversations tend to drift to other bad years and for the first time ever I have heard 1926 mentioned. Usually a comparison can be drawn with ’82 or ‘69 but this time they are going back 87 years to find a season that makes them feel lucky to be around now. Nevertheless, seasons have been missed before, that is not why this one is different.

It’s not different because of other factors such as fire or overstocking that have exacerbated the effects of the drought in some areas. The risks associated with a lack of grass are well understood in the industry because everyone has had to deal with it on some level in the past. Producers who went into this season with no grass were extremely aware of the importance of rain to their immediate prospects and that rain failed to materialise. The suffering, among both people and animals that resulted, does not make this drought different to those of the past.

This drought is not different because of the lack of options available to distressed stock. In a widespread drought, grass and water quickly become scarce. Tens of thousands of head of stock needed to be moved onto decent pasture but very little existed and as a result producers were forced to market cattle in preference to letting them die in the paddock. Markets thrive on distress and the cattle market this year has provided the perfect example. Distressed vendors are not unique to this year, however and markets have collapsed in the past. This drought is different but not for any of the reasons above.

This drought is different because people don’t see a way back. Droughts come and go and the seasons will come back but even with a succession of good years, people will not recover from the beating that they have taken in the last twelve months. There is no ‘fat’ left in the agricultural system to plan for bad years, nor to recover from them.

The process of rebuilding a breeding herd involves retaining heifers for several years and waiting for them to mature. During that time, revenue is severely impacted through reduced sales while costs increase with the growing herd numbers. It will be extremely difficult for producers to invest in rebuilding herd numbers from a low base whilst servicing all of the fixed costs associated with their business. They face very difficult and distorted markets both domestically and internationally and a high cost structure.

Profitability was eroded, many years ago and the industry has limped along on the back of cash reserves, cost cutting and equity ever since. That process is very nearly at an end. The capacity to endure further losses does not exist. The profitability crisis in agriculture can be linked to virtually every one of the issues that regional Australia is currently facing from skill shortages, to the malaise of small towns, to the perilous state of agricultural infrastructure and to the fact that these businesses are no longer in a position to properly manage in the natural environment that they are built on.

The markets for Australian agricultural product are damaged. Internationally Australian produce competes with protected industries in all of our developed world competitors. They are protected because they are not in a position to compete with the low costs of production in the developing world. Australian businesses are not able to compete either but they are expected to and they have to because the domestic market cannot absorb the entirety of our agricultural product.

Domestically, the market is dominated by a limited number of buyers and the resulting lack of competition has transferred wealth from the agricultural community to retailers and consumers.

The marketing of agricultural product has not been helped, at least in some industries, by a lack of sophistication among vendors. Prices offered have been accepted without regard to normal business practices. There has been no demand to maintain profit margins. There has been no demand to maintain excess cash flows to fund infrastructure or development. It is difficult to determine the cost of production in agriculture and many vendors have no idea what price they need to achieve to recover their costs.

Whatever the reasons for the profitability crisis, it has crippled the industry and robbed the cash reserves required for issues like drought and investment.

This drought is different because it isn’t really about the drought. The drought is just one more straw on the back of a very rickety camel.

Ben Callcott
Glenmore Station
Einasleigh 4871

Australia, we need to share this, tweet, reblog, share on Facebook and forward to all we can. Thank You”

Categories: About Us, Every Family Needs A Farmer | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: