This one’s for Mal

This is a story about a great Aussie bloke named Mal.  Mal is the sort of man that has been the spine of the outback all his life giving spirit and strength to small community groups and keeping the sport of Bronco Branding alive.

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Mal
Mal is an accomplished Bronco Branding champion and well regarded for his great skill in the sport.  He has been on a small town Council and he put in many of the hard yards to establish the local Camp Drafting Club.  He has been a hard-working man on the land all of his life.  He is not only a champion bronco brander but he has made every effort to keep this sport going in Australia.

I got to meet Mal because he is the Dad of my friend, Megs.  Meg’s Mum, Liz, has been married to Mal for almost all of her life, supporting him and working with him on stations, going to Bronco Branding events and moving around the countryside from one cattle station to the next.  Behind every good man is a good woman and this is what Liz is.  I would often see Mal, proud as punch, driving his Nissan Patrol ute around town.  He set Megs up with a Nissan Patrol ute too so she could travel Australia with her faithful dog, PK, and also her friends Reggie and Pup.   We will talk more about Reggie and Pup later.

Each of us has an animal in our lives that we really bond with.  Mal had a horse named Nugget.  To Mal, Nugget was loyal, determined and one of a kind.  That horse was like a best friend to him.  They rode and worked together as a great team for many years.  To everyone else, Nugget was a rogue and Nugget never had the same regard for anyone the same as he did for Mal.  In fact, there are many stories that have been told about Nugget and his antics with other people, but those are stories more for beers around a campfire than a blog. Let’s just say that Nugget was a one man horse.

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Mal and his mate, Nugget the horse.

Sadly and unexpectedly a few months ago, Mal was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and passed away so very quickly, well before his time.  This broke the hearts of many outback people, young and old, and it was fitting that he was given a send-off led by his bronco branding mates, his dogs and horses at the local camp drafting grounds.

This is where my mates, Reggie and Rhiannon have come into the picture.  They too are good friends of Megs and knew Mal.  Reggie and her husband Pup traveled Australia with Megs in their Nissan Utes.  There are many good yarns that have come from this epic Australian camping adventure that would be best told around a camp fire with beers too, perhaps the same campfire that the Nugget the Horse stories are told.

Reggie and Rhiannon are some of the best mates a girl could have.  These outback girls are hilarious, always up to shenanigans and can be relied upon to be there for you no matter what.  You rarely find them out of their boots and Akubras.  They are Nissan fans.  We have all camped and gone to outback events together for many years.  This pair have even ended up on the feature page of the Courier Mail with their pants down at the Birdsville Races IN FULL COLOUR!  These girls are what the word shenanigans was made up for.

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The Racks from the Stacks, Reggie and Rhiannon.
Reggie and Rhiannon have entered this year’s Mystery Box Rally, a rally that raises awareness and funds for the Cancer Council.  Over the last 9 years, Mystery Box and Shit Box Rally have raised over $12 Million for the Cancer Council.  It is a cause that is very raw and close to all of our hearts. Their entry into the Mystery Box Rally is in honour of Mal.  Look out Mystery Box Rally, the Racks from the Stacks are heading your way!

Mal would love the fact that this pair have purchased an old Nissan to do the rally in.  They have called it Nugget the Nissan in honour of Nugget the horse. I am sure Mal would have chuckled at that.  They have raised thousands of dollars for the Cancer causes already, with many people who knew Mal getting behind them with generous sponsorship and others throwing support towards the cause because it is about stopping cancer, something we all want.

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Reggie and Rhiannon in Nugget the Nissan.
Reggie’s husband Pup happens to be a mechanic, and Reggie’s not-so-willing brother, Bretto is a fitter, both very handy trades to have.  Both men have been roped into getting Nugget the Nissan on the road ready for the Mystery Box Rally.  They have also roped in a bunch of ring-ins to help so Nugget the Nissan will be roaring at it’s finest.  Most of these ring-ins have names that end in ‘o’ or refer to an animal or something crazy that they did.  The don’t use their real names because no one can remember what their real names are now except for their mothers.  The good thing is, they all work for beer and are happy to lend a hand for a good cause.  What appeared to be a few little repairs here and there has turned into a mammoth challenge but with a few beers being thrown their way these boys can be relied upon to get Nugget the Nissan in ship shape ready to start the rally.

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Pup, Reggie’s hard working husband, working his magic to get Nugget the Nissan on the road.
So, this is where these girls are at, in honour of Mal – a great man, Meg’s Dad, Liz’s husband, a proud grandfather, a champion bronco brander, Nugget’s best mate, a man of the community, a man of the outback.  There will be more updates as Reggie and Rhiannon get closer to starting the rally and we will keep you updated during the rally as well.

If you want to follow the journey of Reggie and Rhiannon in Nugget the Nissan in the Mystery Box Rally join their Facebook page.  If you have a few dollars or a fiver to spare then log onto their fund raising site and make even a small donation.  It all adds up.

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Racks from the Stacks, Rhiannon and Reggie, madly fundraising at BCF.

This one’s for you, Mal.  Cheers.

 

Like our page on Facebook– Get Fit for Life and Travel – Tips for the Average Jo

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#FitAverageJo

Previous travel blogs:

LONGREACH, Queensland – A free camping spot that was second to none.

Eumundi Markets – World famous markets on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

MOUNT ISA RODEO – An outback event not to be missed.

Winton’s Way Out West Fest, 2018.

Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival 2018

Roma Street Parklands, Brisbane, Queensland

Beer, one of my most favourite topics!

Paronella Park, Far North Queensland

Is a 12 week fitness challenge right for you?

What is the first step in your fitness journey?

Where does your journey to fitness and travel really begin?

 

 

 

 

LONGREACH, Queensland – A free camping spot that was second to none.

Darr River, Morella – A hidden gem.

After a long day of driving through Western Queensland we decided to see what free camps might be available near Longreach as paid camping seemed to be hard to find.  We filled up with fuel in Longreach, got some supplies and searched the trusty Wiki Camps App.

About 50km north of Longreach we found a great overnight camping spot on the banks of the Darr River.  It is free, there is phone reception and enough room for many, many, many camps.  We were the only people there which was a blessing.  There was a train line close by but we were not disturbed by the train.

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The track in to the camp site is a dirt road but can be easily accessed by cars, caravans and camping trailers.  It wasn’t clearly marked so we had to be a bit adventurous to find it.  If you turn off the highway onto the dirt road and turn off before the station grid you will find the river, which is partly sign posted.

This spot typified Outback Australia and I nearly found myself singing the words to Waltzing Matilda!  There are no amenities so the camp requires you to be self-contained.

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The sunset when we arrived and the sunrise the next morning were nothing short of spectacular.  We were able to have a fire safely without fear of it getting away.

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If you are travelling through Longreach and looking for an awesome overnight camping spot then give this one a go.  It’s the full Outback camping experience.

 

Like our page on Facebook– Get Fit for Life and Travel – Tips for the Average Jo

Instagram – @FitAverageJo

Previous travel blogs:

Eumundi Markets – World famous markets on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

MOUNT ISA RODEO – An outback event not to be missed.

Winton’s Way Out West Fest, 2018.

Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival 2018

Roma Street Parklands, Brisbane, Queensland

Beer, one of my most favourite topics!

Paronella Park, Far North Queensland

Is a 12 week fitness challenge right for you?

What is the first step in your fitness journey?

Where does your journey to fitness and travel really begin?

Eumundi Markets – World famous markets on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

These markets are one of my favourite markets in Queensland.  The colourful and fun Eumundi markets are held in the town centre of Eumundi, 20 km from Noosa Heads on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.  They are held every Saturday and Wedensday, rain, hail or shine.  If you are travelling by car from Brisbane it will take just over an hour.  If you have a sense of adventure you can use a combination of trains and public transport to get there from Brisbane.

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The Eumundi Markets are unique, renowned for locally made artisan treasures. There are many wares for sale made by talented local artists seeking to share their gifts with the world. The Original Eumundi Market is believed to be the biggest and the best art and craft market in Australia.

I am a bit of a coffee snob so I do look for a good coffee whenever I can find one.  I grabbed a quick coffee at the Bean and Gone coffee stall.  I have to say it is one of the best coffees I have tasted IN THE WORLD!  It was unexpectedly fabulous.  I cant wait to go back to get another one.  Bean and Gone will be my first stop when I go back.  Wow, just wow, is all I can say about that coffee.

Local artists have  handcrafted furniture, homewares, artworks, ceramics, cutting-edge fashion and jewellery stalls.  You can also buy direct from the local farmers and bakers who sell fresh produce and gourmet delights.  You can grab a massage, have your palm read or lose yourself in the stellar line-up of musicians and street performers. There are many, many, many stalls to keep you walking and getting those fitness steps up.

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You can get free street parking if you are lucky enough but there is also paid parking close by, with proceeds going to local charities.  Volunteers manage this parking facility which is well worth paying for.

If you are looking for a fun day to stay active and shop (combining two of my loves) then head to the Eumundi Markets.  It’s a great way to support local artists and a small community.

Like our page on Facebook– Get Fit for Life and Travel – Tips for the Average Jo

Instagram – @FitAverageJo

Previous travel blogs:

MOUNT ISA RODEO – An outback event not to be missed.

Winton’s Way Out West Fest, 2018.

Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival 2018

Roma Street Parklands, Brisbane, Queensland

Beer, one of my most favourite topics!

Paronella Park, Far North Queensland

Is a 12 week fitness challenge right for you?

What is the first step in your fitness journey?

Where does your journey to fitness and travel really begin?

MOUNT ISA RODEO – An outback event not to be missed.

THE BIGGEST RODEO IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE.

The Isa Rodeo is a bucket list event, something you have to do at least once in your lifetime.  It is a spectacular week of fun and entertainment in Outback Queensland, Australia.  The Mount Isa Rodeo site suggests that the Mount Isa Mines Rodeo is where the romance of the Australian Outback meets the grit of a mining town, east meets west and man meets beast. It is non-stop rodeo action – bull riding, saddle bronc, bareback bronc, rope & tie, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping. They aren’t wrong.  It’s a full week of raw outback fun.

For me, the rodeo week in Mount Isa is one of my favourite Outback Australia weeks of the year.  There is so much entertainment during the Mount Isa rodeo week that it is hard to get to everything. It is held every year over the second weekend of August, at a time when the Outback weather is at it’s best.

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The week kicks off with the Mount Isa City Council Isa Street Festival which features a street parade, stalls, food vans, entertainment and top Australian musicians.  Last year Jessica Mauboy rocked the Mount Isa street crowd.  This year it was Isaiah.  Some of Australia’s best Indigenous artists have entertained the crowds in Mount Isa, all free to the public.

Fred Brophy’s Boxing troupe is something not to be missed with a show every night during the rodeo events.  According to Fred himself, he is Australia’s last tent boxing showman who regularly tours around Australia.  In fact, he could be one of the last boxing troupes in the world.  With his regular travelling boxers and a few local boxers, local people enter the open ring to prove their worth against them.  It’s not just the men who get to take on Fred’s finest boxers, the women can also challenge Fred’s only female boxer, Beaver, who Fred says has “hairs on her legs that could spear a rat”.

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The Isa Street Festival is followed by the Mailman Express on the Thursday night.   Held every year as part of the Isa Rodeo festivities, the Mailman Express is a time-trial race for non-thoroughbred horses. The race takes place over a 200 metre straight on the Buchanan Park race track and is named in honour of the late Wally Mailman – a champion rough rider, rodeo judge and racing steward in Mount Isa. Wally was a keen horseman who worked on numerous stations throughout north-west Queensland and made a significant contribution to the racing and rodeo industries. He is also the father of Secret Life of Us personality and actress Deborah Mailman.

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This year saw the International Rodeo challenge between Australia’s finest sportsmen and women in these events go up against the best from the United States of America.  This final challenge on the rodeo schedule was nothing short of nail-biting sportsmanship with the crowd going wild after each event.

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The crowd at the rodeo event was a sea of Akubra hats, Wrangler jeans, checkered shirts for the men and Hitchley & Harrow shirts for the women, big belt buckles and Ariat boots.  The entertainment was top-notch this year at the rodeo with  some of Australian’s finest bands – Sheppard, The Viper Creek Band, The McClymonts, Travis Collins, Jimmy Barnes, The Wolfe Brothers, James Blundell, Tania Kernaghan, Brewn and local band Bulldust.  This year Jimmy Barnes hit the news after falling through the stage during his concert at the Mount Isa rodeo.  Being the true legend that he is, Jimmy got straight back up and kept singing, despite being in agony.  That’s just what true Aussie legends do in the Outback.

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Accommodation during the rodeo week is scarce and usually needs to be booked weeks in advance.  The motel rooms across town are full, caravan parks were full and many of the free camping spots out of town were full too.  There is rough camping at the rodeo grounds in the middle of the race track which is a great location if you don’t want to line up for a long time for a taxi and you like to party into the night.

The Mount Isa Rodeo week is a one of a kind Outback event schedule, not to be missed.  Put it on your bucket list and make the trip to the outback for the next rodeo.  You certainly won’t be disappointed.

 

Like our page on Facebook– Get Fit for Life and Travel – Tips for the Average Jo

Instagram – @FitAverageJo

Other blog posts:

LONGREACH, Queensland – A free camping spot that was second to none.

Gold Coast Marathon Weekend – combining two of my loves, travel and running.

Earn QANTAS points by exercising. WINNING!

Eumundi Markets – World famous markets on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

Winton’s Way Out West Fest, 2018.

Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival 2018

Roma Street Parklands, Brisbane, Queensland

Beer, one of my most favourite topics!

Paronella Park, Far North Queensland

This one’s for Mal

Is a 12 week fitness challenge right for you?

What is the first step in your fitness journey?

Where does your journey to fitness and travel really begin?

 

Winton’s Way Out West Fest, 2018.

The small outback town of Winton went all out between 19 – 22 April 2018 to celebrate Waltzing Matilda.  Winton is a friendly town 5 hours from Mount Isa, 6 hours from Townsville and 15 hours drive from Brisbane, Queensland.

A devastating fire in 2015 all but destroyed the old Waltzing Matilda Centre.  Three years later, thousands of people trekked from across Australia and from overseas to celebrate the opening of the newly rebuilt $23 million Waltzing Matilda Centre that is now the pride of the Winton community once more.  Mayors from across the North West came to support the Winton Shire Council in the opening. #WWOWF

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The Tattersals Hotel busier than ever in the main street of Winton.
The town swelled by the thousands with visitors and locals taking part in several action packed days of entertainment, celebrity encounters and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to mark the opening of the new Centre.  The main street of Winton was cordoned off so visitors and locals could walk freely between the pubs, the bands, eating vans and shops.  It was certainly one of the biggest events that the little town had seen in a long time.

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North Gregory Motel, packed with visitors soaking up the entertainment.
Local pubs had entertainment galore with local artists, novelty entertainment activities, beer taps flowing and a buzz of activity.  Aside from the opening of the Waltzing Matilda Centre, one of the great highlights of the weekend was the variety of street concerts and small pub entertainment options across Winton where crowds could mix with the artists on a personal level. There was also a country race meet and street markets.

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The Pierce Brothers playing in the backyard of the Winton Pub
The crowds  were able to mix with artists like Busby Marou, Pierce Brothers, Charlie Worsham (USA), John Williamson, James Blundell and the Crack Up Sisters in the streets.  There were so many events across Winton that it was difficult to get around and see everything, necessitating some very clever planning to make sure that you could get to see the line-up you wanted.

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Charlie Worsham, all the way from Nashville, USA, getting to meet us in the main street of Winton. 😉
At night the entertainment was world class – literally – with top Australian and overseas names playing each night.  Sheppard, Lee Brice (USA), Kip Moore (USA), The Black Sorrows,Charlie Worsham (USA), John Williamson, Brad Butcher, Busby Marou, Russell Morris, Jessica Mauboy, and the Living End played at the festival grounds, keeping the crowd dancing all night.

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The Main Stage at the Winton Festival Grounds under an outback sky.
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Busby Marou

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Kip Moore (USA)
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Lee Brice (USA)
One of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities was to see Busby Marou invite James Blundell to the stage and together they whipped up a storm with Blundell’s hit ‘Way Out West’……………in Winton.  An absolutely unforgettable version of the song with these top Australian artists jamming it out together.

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Busby Marou and James Blundell

There was some ironing out to do with the buses which didn’t seem to run as well as advertised, requiring some opportunistic riding of bulls back to the campground at the race track to get back from the town centre.

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The Winton Club in  Winton was the location of Qantas’ first Board Meeting on 10th February, 1921.  The club has a variety of Qantas items on display including a sign that states ‘Qantas Board Room Lounge’, originally incorrectly spelled as the ‘Qantas Bored Room Lounge’.  The incorrect inscription is still hanging in the Winton Club on the back of the sign that now displays the correct spelling.  The lovely volunteers who served on the bar let us in on the secret and allowed us to look under the sign.  The Winton Club is a must-do stop for aviation fans and frequent flyers.

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There was a great deal of history to be found around Winton with Winton claiming to be the dinosaur capital of Australia.  There is the Australian Age of Dinosaurs to visit, 24 kilometers south of Winton, the Diamantina Heritage Truck and Machinery Museum on the Hughenden Road and the Lark Quarry Conservation Park 120 km south west of Winton.

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Getting a lift on a dinosaur was one of the other options people had for transport when the buses didn’t run as expected throughout the event.  No use standing in a line burning to a crisp and dehydrating in the hot sun waiting for a bus to rarely turn up when you can get a lift on a dinosaur.  Its the Winton thing to do.

Camping options were available to cater for different needs.  Tent City was right in the middle of the action between the festival grounds and town center.  There were camp sites carefully drawn out in the middle of the race track with many visitors opting to stay at this site.  The crowds were pretty well behaved considering how many people were camped in so close together.  Praise goes to the Fairies who kept the showers and porta-loos so clean with the thousands of people who were camped in the one spot.    They did an outstanding job, as did Nipper, our Camp Marshall.

For a small country town, the people of Winton know how to throw a great party!

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With the great success of this event we can only hope that the organisers are planning for many more to come.  I have left a little piece of my heart in Winton and hope to be back soon.

If you are headed for the Queensland outback soon then make sure you call into Winton.  There are many hidden treasures to find in Winton.  Stay awhile, talk to the locals and unearth the local secrets as there are plenty to find.

 

Like our page on FacebookGet Fit for Life and Travel – Tips for the Average Jo

Instagram@FitAverageJo

Previous travel blogs:

Paronella Park, FNQ

Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane, Queensland

XXXX Factory, Brisbane, Queensland

Julia Creek Dirt n Dust, Queensland

Eumundi Markets – World famous markets on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

MOUNT ISA RODEO – An outback event not to be missed.

Earn QANTAS points by exercising. WINNING!

Gold Coast Marathon Weekend – combining two of my loves, travel and running.

This one’s for Mal

LONGREACH, Queensland – A free camping spot that was second to none.

Is a 12 week fitness challenge right for you?

 

Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival 2018

This year’s Julia Creek Dirt n Dust (DnD) Festival (#DnD18) was once again another great event on the North West Queensland event calendar.  Julia Creek is a little outback town 3 hours from Mount Isa, 7 hours from Townsville and 17 hours drive from Brisbane.  Every year this little outback country town comes alive for a triathlon, a PBR Rodeo, the races, a Best Butts competition, bog snorkelling, novelty events and great bands.  The event is held annually in April.

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Starting in 1994, DnD began with a couple of locals spinning yarns over the bar at the Town and Country Club, coming up with ways to put Julia Creek on the map. In one of Queensland’s hottest and harshest climates the idea was born to run a triathlon.  

15 people participated in the very first Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Triathlon, those numbers have now reached well over 300.

Renowned as one of the toughest triathlons in the country, the Dirt n Dust triathlon has long been seen as not only a bucket list item but also a bragging right, with competitors overcoming the toughest outback conditions and continuing to return each year to better their personal bests.

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After the triathlon the Pro Bull Riders (PBR) Bull Ride is three hours of non-stop dangerous fun on dirt as the PBR’s insanely bravest cowboys risk it all against the monstrous bulls.  Cowboys come from all over Australia to take home the prize money.  This year there were many great PBR Cowboys vying for the top prize.  There was also a stubborn bull that just wouldn’t go back into the yards, entertaining the crowd with it’s antics.  The rodeo clowns certainly earned their keep by distracting the bulls to keep the riders safe.

While the festival’s PBR Bull Ride draws a crowd of thousands and the triathlon features more than 400 junior and senior competitors,  it is also very hard to go past the Bog Snorkelling Championships!

The DnD site explains that the rules of the famous and ancient sport of Bog Snorkelling state that competitors can’t use their hands or conventional swimming strokes, instead they must rely on flipper power alone, and if they lose that… bad luck. It has often been likened to a game of pinball with competitors often bouncing from side to side of the trench, whilst blowing out a steady stream of mud through their snorkel. Visibility is none so the fear of what lies beneath gets snorkellers to the finish line in record time. The first to the other end of the water/mud filled trench (aka the Bog Pit) is crowned the Bog Winner!

 

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The Best Butts competition is something all visitors to DnD have to see.  #australiasbestbutt.  I am sure there is nothing like it anywhere else.  It all started when a power outage happened during a live Mental As Anything set at the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival one year. Instead of panic, someone had the bright idea of grabbing a torch and starting a dance competition… and so began one of the toughest events over the Dirt n Dust weekend – Australia’s Best Butt!

It’s all about having good, clean, outrageous fun! Contestants are required to remain fully clothed during the competition and put all of their efforts into their butt dancing, crowd-pleasing antics!

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The Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival join forces with the Julia Creek Turf Club to present the Artesian Express Race Day.  It is a fantastic day of country racing for visitors to the region. Horses from all around North West Queensland compete at one of the richest race meetings in North West Queensland.

The race day includes the exclusive Country Tastes Luncheon, Fashions on the Field, children’s entertainment and good old fashioned novelty games entertainment for the big and little kids.

Each year the Dirt n Dust stage is the centre for some of the best home-grown Aussie talent from across the country, plus a few International artists.  From the greats to the up-and-comers, the Dirt n Dust stage has seen a wide variety of musical talent – Troy Cassar-Daley, Mick Lindsay, Missy Lancaster and James Blundell.

This year, my pick of the bands was The Nu Black.  This band is certainly one to watch out for in the future with their classic old school rock.  They had the crowd pumping with a sea of boots, jeans and hats dancing into the early hours on Friday and Saturday nights.  Lets hope we get to see this Townsville based band again at future D&D events.

There was whip cracking fun with Walter the Whip who not only put on a great display before the rodeo but also ran whip cracking classes for the kids of all sizes.  Walter the Whip clearly has no fear as he cracked whips in the middle of flames, he set alight things with his fire whip and he cracked roses from the mouth of his assistant with just his whip.

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There are a variety of options for accommodation, mostly camping.  Generally all Motel and Hotel accommodation is booked out well in advance.  For the true outback experience there are a couple of options available including McIntyre Park Self-Camping campsites (near the racetrack), the Julia Creek Caravan Park (in Julia Creek) and also the Free RV Camping site along the creek (no amenities available, self-servicing RV’s only).

If you are staying at McIntyre Park Campgrounds, and want a powered site, bookings are essential as these run out quickly.  If you want a non powered site, you can still make bookings however this is not essential as you can also turn up on the weekend and pay the volunteer coordinators with cash at the gate. If you wish to stay at the Julia Creek Caravan Park bookings are essential for all powered and non powered sites.

If you are looking for a great weekend of fun and entertainment you can’t go past the annual Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival in April.

Like our facebook pageGet Fit for Life and Travel – Tips for the Average Jo

Instagram@FitAverageJo

 

Read our previous blogs:

Earn QANTAS points by exercising. WINNING!

Gold Coast Marathon Weekend – combining two of my loves, travel and running.

This one’s for Mal

LONGREACH, Queensland – A free camping spot that was second to none.

Eumundi Markets – World famous markets on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

MOUNT ISA RODEO – An outback event not to be missed.

Winton’s Way Out West Fest, 2018.

Paronella Park, Far North Queensland

XXXX Factory, Milton, Brisbane, Queensland

Roma Street Gardens, Brisbane, Queensland

 

 

 

Roma Street Parklands, Brisbane, Queensland

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I love walking through Roma Street Parkland in Brisbane, Queensland.  The Parkland is in the heart of the Brisbane City, a very short walk from the Queen Street Mall. If you are looking for somewhere to relax, find some peace in the middle of the city or exercise in a beautiful location then the Roma Street Parkland is the place.  Entrance to the gardens is free.  Except for a few small sections, the Parkland can be accessed 24/7.

There is a long history of the area having many uses.  According to the Visit Brisbane Website,  before European settlement, the area now known as Roma Street Parkland was used as a meeting place. Here, the Turrbal Aboriginal Nation gathered to hunt, camp, and mingle with others. In the early 1840s, the area played host to a major gathering of Aboriginal peoples from around South East Queensland.

In 1874, the area became a focal point of Brisbane, when the Roma Street railway station was constructed to connect Ipswich and Toowoomba to the capital city. In 2001, Brisbane was transformed by the addition of Roma Street Parkland, a vibrant collection of gardens rooms, lawns, and walkways.  Construction of the $72 million development began in January 2000, and over 100,000 shrubs, 1200 mature trees, 1800 unique species of plants, and 250 ferns were planted, with a massive area excavated for the parkland’s new man-made lake.

So, how do you find this piece if paradise in inner city Brisbane?  The good news is you can get to the Roma Street Garden’s fairly easily via train.  The Roma Street Train Station exits directly to the gardens on the back exit.  The Parkland is also a very short walk from the Queen Street Mall.  There are walking tracks that go to and from the Parkland as well as cycling tracks.  There is metered and undercover parking at the Parkland. For more information about how to get there go to the ‘getting there’ website.

The Roma Street Parkland is a myriad of paths, walkways, bridges, ponds, fountains, waterfalls and beautiful gardens.  There are maps all around the Parkland but you might want to download one before you go.  The map show you all the different paths, ponds and gardens.  Even when the park is full of people laughing and enjoying themselves you can easily find a quiet corner somewhere.  There are wide open lawns for playing sport and exercising as well if that is more of your thing.  You can easily clock up 10,000 steps walking around during your visit.  Every step counts towards staying fit and mobile.

There are organised walks or you can wander around yourself, easily forgetting you are in the middle of the Queensland State capital city.  There is a lot of wildlife to see around the park.  You can spot birds, lizards, frogs, fish and other animals throughout the gardens and ponds so there is fun for all the family.  There are family and play areas for children and experiential gardens to explore.

If you are hungry there is a cafe right at the escalators that take you to the Roma Street Train Station.  With BBQs and picnic areas you can also take your own picnic.

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The Roma Street Parkland is a great place to visit, explore, picnic, exercise and play.  Do yourself a favour and make some time to take a walk through the gardens next time you are in Brisbane.

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Brisbane Beer, one of my most favourite topics!

Having often walked past the XXXX Brewery in Milton (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia) I thought it was high time I stopped and had a look. 

It turns out luck was on my side.  The Brewery holds tours several times a day.  This @FitAverageJo LOVES beer.  Surely it was 5 o’clock somewhere.  

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Cheers Mr Fourex.

The tour of the XXXX Brewery ended up being an enjoyable journey through the 135-year history of XXXX, from its origins to what the beers are today. I found out how the XXXX brew got its name, how the beer is made and got to see the production and packaging of the beer. I got to learn all about XXXX beer: its world-class brewing methods, ingredients and how to pour a perfect XXXX. If you want to read more about the history head to the XXXX History site.

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There is a small museum that has quite a few intersting displays to wander through.

There was quite a bit of information about Mr FOUREX, a key figure in the development of the XXXX Bitter.  No one knows where he came from, but since 1924, he’s been watching over the creation of the traditional Australian lager, XXXX Bitter.  It turns out the recipe for XXXX Bitter hasn’t changed much since a German bloke named Alhois ‘Billy’ Leitner bottom-fermented a lager so good that it cemented his place in XXXX history. Today the brewers stay true to Billy’s original recipe which has been the same for over 90 years.

After the floods of 2011, the brewery had to refurbished sections and you get to see where the water came up to during the flood.

The tour took approximately 90 minutes & concluded with a beer tasting session at the end.  I had worked up a thirst during the tour after talking about beer for that long so it was perfect timing.

I ended up tasting five sampler beers, three from the XXXX Summer range – Lager, Lager with Mango and Lager with Lime, the XXXX Gold Lager and XXXX Bitter.  My favourite was the XXXX Summer Bright range.  You can’t go past it.

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The original door that has been kept in good condition.

Treat yourself to the historic XXXX Brewery & Alehouse Tour.  It’s an unbeatable way to discover the legend of XXXX and experience a true Australian icon up close.

Safety is a key issue so be prepared to wear a bright vest, wear safety glasses and have closed in shoes.  There are lots of industrial stair climbs and a lot of walking during the tour so if you aren’t fit or agile this may not be the tour for you.  This fitness requirement  for this tour are a very good example of why this @FitAverageJo promotes getting fit for travel – you can find beer more easily.

For further information about prices and tour times go to the XXXX Brewery Tours site.

 

Find us on Facebook: Get Fit for Life and Travel – Tips for the Average Jo

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Read our other blog articles:

Previous travel blogs:

Earn QANTAS points by exercising. WINNING!

Gold Coast Marathon Weekend – combining two of my loves, travel and running.

This one’s for Mal

LONGREACH, Queensland – A free camping spot that was second to none.

Eumundi Markets – World famous markets on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

Earn money and gift cards in your down time while travelling.

MOUNT ISA RODEO – An outback event not to be missed.

Winton’s Way Out West Fest, 2018.

Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival 2018

Roma Street Parklands, Brisbane, Queensland

Beer, one of my most favourite topics!

Paronella Park, Far North Queensland

Is a 12 week fitness challenge right for you?

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Where does your journey to fitness and travel really begin?

 

Paronella Park, Far North Queensland

I always have to know the story.  This is why I love to travel.

 

Ruins, ghost towns and abandoned buildings have always fascinated me.  I want to know the story behind the place.  Who lived there, what is their story, why did they leave, who was the last person to walk away, did they ever come back?  I have so many questions.  Paronella Park is one of those places that had my interest from the moment I arrived.

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Situated 120 km south of Cairns and 280 km north of Townsville in Far North Queensland, Australia, Paronella Park is situated on the ‘old’ Bruce Highway at Mena Creek.  It is situated in the heart of the banana growing area.

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Included in the entry fee is a tour of the park, a definite must do.  I was lucky enough to have an awesome guide for my tour, Yeng.  Not only did Yeng do an extraordinary job of telling me about the history of the park and answer my many questions, but he was also a super photographer with my i-phone so credit goes to this awesome dude for the great photos.

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Paronella Park is an award winning tourist destination, one I have now ticked off my list.  If you visit the Paronella Park web site you will be able to read the whole history of this fascinating place.  I have taken the most interesting bits from the site and put them together with my photos.

The park was a vision of an inspiring man, José Paronella, who arrived in Australia from Catalonia in Spain, in 1913. José first saw this 13 acres of virgin scrub along Mena Creek in 1914. He eventually purchased it in 1929 for £120 and started to build his pleasure gardens and reception centre for the enjoyment of the public.  The earliest structure, the Grand Staircase, was built to facilitate the carrying of the river sand to make the concrete.  They certainly would have been fit in those days carrying sand up and down those stairs!  José would have exceeded his 10,000 steps a day on this staircase.

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First they built a house to live in, then they started on the Castle itself. Apart from the house, which is made of stone, all of the structures were constructed of poured, reinforced concrete, the reinforcing being old railway track.

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They laboured with unswerving determination, until, in 1935, the Park was officially opened to the public. The Theatre showed movies every Saturday night. In addition, with canvas chairs removed, the Hall was a favourite venue for dances and parties.

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The concrete slab tables forming the lower Tea Gardens and the swimming pool both proved extremely popular, as they still do today. The avenues and paths were well laid out with the familiar shaped planters which are still to be seen wherever you go in the Park.

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Upwards of 7000 trees were planted by José. The creek is lined with rocks and traversed by small bridges. The Hydro Electric generating plant, commissioned in 1933, was the earliest in North Queensland, and supplied power to the entire Park.  José was certainly a visionary, well before his time.

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In 1946, disaster struck. Upstream from the Park a patch of scrub had been cleared and the logs and branches pushed into the creek. When the first rains of the Wet Season came, the whole mass began to move downstream until it piled up against a railway bridge a few hundred metres from the Castle. Water backed up until the weight broke the bridge, and the entire mass descended on the Park. The downstairs Refreshment Rooms were all but destroyed, the Hydro was extensively damaged, as was the Theatre and Foyer.

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Undaunted, the family began the task of rebuilding and José built the fountain. The Castle was repaired, the gardens replanted, and the Park was alive again.

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In 1948, José died of cancer.  The Park was sold out of the family in 1977 and sadly, in 1979, a fire swept through the Castle. For a time, the Park was closed to the public. Cyclone Winifred in 1986, a flood in January 1994, Cyclone Larry in March 2006, and Cyclone Yasi in January 2011 were all further setbacks and challenges for Paronella Park.

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The current owner/operators, purchased the Park in 1993 and formulated a plan to put the Park back on the map. They see the Park as a work of art, and work on maintaining and preserving, rather than rebuilding. Small restoration projects have been undertaken, pathways uncovered and improved, and the Museum, an ongoing project, is continuously being enhanced.

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In November 2009, the ambitious project to restore Paronella Park’s original (1930s era) hydro electric system was completed. At a cost of $450,000, the system once again provides all of the Park’s electricity requirements. Paronella Park’s life as a pleasure gardens continues as José intended, for visitors, and with social gatherings, particularly weddings, continuing to make use of this unique location.

If you are travelling by road between Townsville and Cairns make sure you take the time to stop for a few hours to explore Paronella Park.  The park is a tribute to José, a man with big dreams, determination and a vision well before his time.

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Find us on Facebook – Get Fit for Life and Travel – Tips for the Average Jo

Twitter and Instagram – @FitAverageJo

#paronellapark  #FitAverageJo  #getfitforlifeandtravel

Previous travel blogs:

Eumundi Markets – World famous markets on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

LONGREACH, Queensland – A free camping spot that was second to none.

This one’s for Mal

Gold Coast Marathon Weekend – combining two of my loves, travel and running.

Earn QANTAS points by exercising. WINNING!

MOUNT ISA RODEO – An outback event not to be missed.

Winton’s Way Out West Fest, 2018.

Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival 2018

Roma Street Parklands, Brisbane, Queensland

Beer, one of my most favourite topics!

Paronella Park, Far North Queensland

Is a 12 week fitness challenge right for you?

What is the first step in your fitness journey?

Where does your journey to fitness and travel really begin?

Earn money and gift cards in your down time while travelling.

Is a 12 week fitness challenge right for you?

Is a 12 week fitness challenge right for you?  If you want to lose a whole lot of weight quickly and you need a quick fix to jump-start the ‘new you’ that you dream of……..then NO, a 12 week challenge is not for you.

It won’ t last. It’s not sustainable.  It’s a short cut that will last for…..only 12 weeks.  12 week challenges are a great start to changing your lifestyle but if you think it will be the quick fix solution to all your health and fitness challenges then you will be sadly disappointed, at about week 14.

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A 12 week challenge is the start, not the destination.  So often I see people sign up for 12 week challenges with hopes and dreams of amazing results.  They do get those amazing results in 12 weeks.  But what happens at week 13, 14 & 15?  They end up going back to their old habits and lose many of the gains they worked so very hard to achieve over 12 weeks.  And their pockets are a little lighter than when they started.

Don’t get me wrong, 12 week challenges can work.  For 12 weeks.  It certainly does work while someone is programming your diet, expecting you at training, emptying your pockets of hard-earned cash.  These are all very good motivating reasons that will keep you on track for 12 weeks.  Maybe 13 weeks.  14 weeks at the most.

What happens though when it all ends and you don’t have an exercise timetable to keep to each week, your trainer is not giving you a hard time if you miss training, your training buddies have stopped training with you,  you don’t have reminders, you relax your diet because ‘you deserve it’ after 12 weeks of hard work?   This will be when you realise that your achievements really were for, well, 12 weeks.

12 week challenges are costly.  They are costly in financial terms, in time, in effort.  A lot of the time this can’t be sustained beyond 12 weeks. However, it is an over commitment people are prepared to make for 12 weeks to be able to short cut what would normally be long-term hard work.

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If you have your heart set on a 12 week challenge then see it as the beginning, only the beginning.  If you are thinking about long-term goals then a 12 week challenge may give you the quick results you crave.  Go for it!  Learn about what you can achieve.  Be amazing.  Commit yourself to the full 12 weeks.  It can be a good thing, but have a bigger goal.  Don’t stop your planning at 12 weeks.  12 weeks is the warm up to the ‘new you’ that you want to be for the rest of your life.

The good news is that exercise and training beyond a 12 week challenge is much cheaper than a 12 week challenge.  The not-so-good news is that YOU have to do the self-motivating.  YOU have to be the one to set the goals, YOU have to make sure you get to training, YOU need to find reliable training buddies, YOU need to keep yourself in check.  That is where the real work starts.

So, if you have your heart set on a 12 week challenge, and you can afford it, go for it.  Squeeze every bit of learning out of the opportunity you can with a view to being the ‘new you’ beyond 12 weeks.  During the 12 weeks plan for beyond the 12 weeks.  Find a suitable gym, personal trainer or exercise buddy to keep you on track.  Lock in a plan.  Set achievable goals.  Keep roughly to your healthy food intake.  Be the person you wanted to be in 12 weeks for the rest of your life.

12 week challenges are a great way to get started.  Don’t let it end there. Get fit, stay fit, train and exercise consistently. Don’t stop at 12 weeks. Invest in your future health now.

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What is the first step in your fitness journey?

Are your clothes getting tight, maybe you have had to go up a size or two?  Perhaps you have over-indulged over the holiday period?  Do you puff going up stairs when you used to skip up stairs easily.  Are you feeling uncomfortable, but you don’t really have time or energy to start going to the gym?  Sound like you? The good news is that most of us feel this way at some time in our lives.  You are normal, an Average Jo.

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Keeping fit and active can be very difficult when you have no energy left every day, you have too much to do, there isn’t enough time for yourself, you are working full-time trying to make ends meet.  It is hard to know where to start.

The Average Jo should start small.  Too often people sign up for a year’s membership to the flashiest gym in town.  They sign up for all the classes and PT sessions with un-achievable goals of losing ridiculous amounts of weight in a week, perhaps 2 weeks.

Next thing they can’t make it to all those classes because they are too sore from biting off more than they can chew.  The reality is they won’t see any real gains for weeks, often giving up just as the gains are about to be achieved.  Then they are too tired to go back for more and their gym membership ticks over unused for weeks, then months, until it expires.  Know anyone like this?  Has this been you?

If you have had time away from fitness workouts or you have never really paid attention to your health and fitness then start small.  Don’t overdo it.  You can build on your achievements every week.

My recommendation for any Average Jo is to start with 10,000 steps a day.  Get yourself a pedometer.  They can be very affordable from a few dollars up to more elaborate FitBits and Apple Watches.  Some smart phones let you record steps while it is in your pocket.  Choose something that fits your price range and lifestyle.

For the average Jo 10,000 steps is achievable.  It will get you moving, you will have a daily goal and it means you are going to be more mobile every day.  I encourage everyone, Average Jo’s and fit people, to achieve 10,000 steps a day.  Keep yourself to it.

If you get to the evening and you have only made 8,000 steps then go for a walk with your family after dinner.  Encourage all of your family to join in.  If you are travelling it doesn’t cost anything to get walking.  You can do 10,000 steps pretty much anywhere.

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Your goal in the beginning should be to start increasing your movement and steps during the day.  Set aside the dreams of being an Olympic level athlete for a few weeks and just get moving, set a routine and increase what you are doing every day.  Keep yourself committed to the 10,000 steps each day.  Once you have that sorted and know you are going to keep to it then you can look at doing something more.

You choose, hospital or health in later life.  The choice is yours.  Your fitness and healthy lifestyle is your choice.  The responsibility sits with you.  Invest in your future health by moving more and getting fitter now, today, tomorrow, everyday.  Don’t put it off any longer.  Do it for yourself and your family.  10,000 steps.  It’s achievable. Start today. Excuses don’t burn calories.

*Always talk with your medical practitioner before commencing any new exercise regime.

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