Tony Bates shows motohome 'Isabel' to interested fellow travellers.
Tony Bates shows motohome 'Isabel' to interested fellow travellers.

Andy shows fellow travellers his agates on Dawson River bank

OPINION: Theodore seemed like a good target for our first night out on the track in Isabel.

We had camped at the pleasant site on the banks of the Dawson River on our last overland ramble but two years later we found it a little different.

Instead of a dozen or so travellers parked up the area was jammed with Grey Nomads, forming a village population of more than 100.

We pulled in late in the day and had trouble finding a spot.

We were waved into a space by a friendly couple who introduced themselves as Kerry and Andy from Canberra.

Everyone seems to be enjoying happy hour.

Laughter wafts through the campsites.

We had been warned not to camp near the town end of the park because the parties are usually late and loud.

Andy was fascinated with Isabel, checking her inside and out while she was still warm.

After retiring as a house painter in Sydney, he and Kerry moved to Canberra.

They didn't like it at first but now don't mind it - except for the cold.

They flee to Queensland for three months of the year in search of agates, precious and semi-precious stones.

As the morning sun poked through the trees a few campers emerged.

Grey Nomads tend to get up when they feel like it. Kerry and Andy were among the early risers.

They showed us their rocks and talked candidly about their adventures.

"You should see me up at Agate Creek, crawling around on my bloody hands and knees looking for this stuff," says Kerry.

"In the bloody spear grass too."

She grabs her chest to show us where she had been seriously speared.

Andy jigs in mock pain as he demonstrates his worst spearings, gesturing animatedly towards his nether regions where rest what my father commonly referred to as agates.

We leave grinning with fond farewells.

Retired Chronicle editor Nancy Bates is travelling with husband Tony in 'Isabel' the Global Warrior motorhome and filing reports on their travels.



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