Sunday, 25 May 2014

Kilkivan - May 2014

On Wednesday we hitched up the van to spend a few days at Kilkivan Bush Camping and Caravan Park with the caravan club. It has been operating for about 30 years but the current owners have been there for 3 years. The weather was perfect and the first couple of nights were very warm, with a shower of rain on Thursday night. The 5 days we were there were warm and sunny. We had had our solar installed a couple of weeks ago and were keen to try it out. There were already 5 vans there when we arrived with 13 in total expected.

The campgrounds were about 10 or 12 kms out of Kilkivan and were on quite a few acres of land with intentions to expand in the future. The grounds cover a few different levels of land. Even though there were quite a lot of vans there, it didn't appear to be crowded. The amenities block is in the process of being renovated. They have done the ladies but not the men's.

Along the road to the campgrounds (Rossmore Rd), we passed the original site for Kilkivan which was originally established in 1868 when gold was discovered. It was moved to its present site in 1874. The only thing left nearby is the cemetery. We arrived at the camp area mid afternoon and by the time we were set up, we were ready for happy hour. A great way to settle in to the group.

Thursday we went into Kilkivan to have a look at the town. There is no phone or internet reception at the camping area and Bruce needed to get his footy tips on! There is not a lot in Kilkivan. There is a nice looking hotel, a butcher, a couple of cafes. Bruce tried to get served at one but he gave up waiting and left. There is a second-hand shop/craft shop which I had a browse in and chatted to the lady there who was doing some embroidery. She was telling me a bit about the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival which is on this weekend. They have a parade Sunday morning and a pumpkin rolling competition and it is very busy in nearby Goomeri - last year they had 15,000 people there.

By Friday afternoon everyone had arrived. Each night we had a campfire with everyone gathered around for a drink and a chat, and lots of laughter.

Saturday started off with a pancake breakfast put on by the Campground owners. It happens every Saturday morning. The pancakes were light and fluffy and were yummy.

After breakfast we went 4 wheel driving through the National Park with Stuart and Jean who are experienced and go regularly. Neither Bruce nor I are interested in 4 wheel driving for its own sake but thought it was a good opportunity to go with someone who was experienced. As it turned out the roads we drove on were not too bad. We had been on worse over the years in our earlier Corolla!

The drive took us along the mountain ridge so we had some lovely views. We also went past a huge lake covered in water lilies. Unfortunately someone couldn't take their rubbish with them.
We also drove up to the Mt Clara Copper Smelter which is about 8kms further along Rossmore Road, past the camp grounds. The Smelter was built in 1873 and only operated for 2 years. The chimney, really all that is standing these days, was renovated in 1978 and is quite lovely.

We arrived back at the campgrounds in time for a session of quoits with the group, something we haven't played in years. We all had a good old laugh, with Jean and Stuart the Champions.
Also put on by the campground is a dinner on Saturday night. This costs $20/person for a roast dinner and dessert. There is a magician to entertain before dinner and a couple singing and playing guitar. The poor magician copped a bit of a hard time with kids just about sitting on top of him, but he got the better of them and left them dumbfounded with one of his tricks.
After dinner, the owner came back to our campfire and played his guitar and sang for the caravan club for about 2 hours, while his dog slept in his guitar case at his feet. It was a great night and it was interesting listening to him talk about his plans for the place. He and his wife have 6 children and home school them.
Sunday morning we had to pack up and leave. Some of the club members were staying on till Monday but Bruce and I had work on Monday.
In 4 weeks time, we are heading out west to Thargomindah, Bourke, down the Darling River Run to Wilcannia, White Cliffs, Broken Hill and Menindee Lakes. Really looking forward to it. Over the weekend we heard many tips on places to visit along the way as a few people in the club have travelled this route.