Hot Springs Muster

What better place to have a muster than the Innot Hot Springs in Queensland?

innot hot springs

The local ACC Rainforest Ramblers were having their June muster at the Innot Hot Springs so I decided it to go along and join them. I go through the little hamlet when coming and going to Walkamin, Qld, most years.

innot hot springsAs usual, the weather on the twisty and hilly road from Atherton to Ravenshoe was wet and very foggy but it was good to be driving Yemmy again after a few weeks of being stationary. After Ravenshoe it cleared up and was fine for the weekend.

For various reasons, there were only four of us there, two from the Ramblers and two of us ‘Lone Trekkers’, but we still had a great time.

The caravan park was very busy and there were a lot of people taking a dip in the springs, some in the treated pools in the park at various temperatures and others in the springs themselves. I stayed dry – someone had to take the pics!

innot hot springs
The van park was quite busy.

The local hotel was our Saturday evening outing. We walked across the bridge and we enjoyed our food. For a small pub they put on a good meal.

The van park and hotel are under the same management and were changing owners when we were there.


The park was very busy last weekend. A group of RVs from the local branch of the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia came to stay and joined in with our Quiz and Hot Dag evening.

It was fun and Dallas (co-owner of the park) was the MC. The food was delicious and the questions hard, but it was a very enjoyable evening. Everyone got an ice cream at the end of the night served by the other co-owner, Dallas’s hubby, Mark.


innot hot springsMy lovely new computer is driving me mad! Everything is in a different place, the spell-checker keeps changing things, I lost all my folders from the screen and found them and stacks more in the rubbish bin, so I had to sort them and just keep the ones I needed on screen. I then emptied the bin but didn’t realise ‘Yemmy’s Story’ was in there! I spent a day getting it back so you will be able to read the final chapter below.


All good things come to an end so after a few weeks Lionel packed up, got me ready for the road and we started our next stage that was to take us down the east coast to one of Lionel’s favourite camping spots, Smalleys Beach in the Cape Hillsborough National Park north of Mackay.

Quite a few people came to see us off and Lionel assured them we would be back in the future.

It was a bit late by the time they had said their goodbyes so Lionel decided to stop at a little national park on the way down to Innisfail. It’s called Henrietta Creek, a lovely, quiet spot. Lionel went for a walk and when he got back he told me he’d seen platypuses in the creek.

We didn’t know it then but a cyclone did a lot of damage to the trees a few years later and we were sad to see the bare trees when we called there again.

Next morning we were on the road early and after an enjoyable drive down to the coast, we motored along the highway through lovely Queensland towns like Innisfail, Tully, Ingham and the largest city in north Queensland, Townsville.

It wasn’t long before we reached our destination, Smalleys Beach in the Cape Hillsborough National Park. Our site wasn’t vacant for a couple of days but Lionel’s friends Aub and Betty had   told Lionel we could stay on their site for a few nights.

Our stay at Smalleys was a bit boring for me as we didn’t go out much, just a shopping outing once a week to Mackay. Lionel has friends in Mackay, Tony and Denyse, who invited him to dinner and to sleep the night.

There were some spectacular sunsets over the sea at Smalleys Beach. I was in for an unexpected treat. They put me on the lawn and connected up a cable to charge my house batteries that were getting a bit low as we had no power at Smalleys and had been relying on the solar panels for charging.

One day I thought I must be back in a former life as we drove to a hospital in Mackay. Lionel had been complaining about a pain in his groin that was keeping him awake at night so he headed to the Mater Hospital. After quite a long wait we were sent to the Mackay Base Hospital where after an examination, they gave him a script for some strong painkillers and sent him home. He didn’t want to drive me while drugged so he didn’t take any pills and we drove slowly back to Smalleys where he took the pills and went to bed early.

They must have worked because he was his old self again in the morning. He had to be at the hospital again the next day and this time they gave him an X-ray and a blood test to help their diagnosis. They decided it was a hernia and said he could drive back to Mornington, Vic, and get it fixed after getting home or stay longer in Mackay and let them fix it. He decided to leave it for now as the pain had gone. We spent the night with Tony and Denyse and once again I stayed on the lawn and my batteries got a charge.

Nightfall at Paradise Dam.

Next morning we headed for St Lawrence. There is a lovely free campsite at the polo ground with a dump point, water and toilets/showers with hot water. Lionel told me that a $2 coin is all that’s needed to get a hot shower.

We got to St Lawrence quite early so we went sight-seeing in the afternoon – not that there’s much to see in the area but we did discover a seldom-used boat ramp at the river. I heard someone saying that they serve good meals in the pub but of course a good fill of diesel is all I need.

The Australian Caravan Club has a farm stay scheme so next day after doing some shopping in Rockhampton we headed for a farm stay at nearby Port Curtis.

After a restful time, we intended going to Biggenden but Lionel had seen somewhere that camping was now allowed at nearby Paradise Dam so that’s where we went and it was really lovely with us set-up right on the shore of the lake.

Our solar panels were once again topping up my house batteries. Lionel altered the wiring a  few days ago and now they really charge well – better than their claimed output, he told me.

Yemmy at Paradise Dam.

It was not far from Paradise Dam to get to Ray and Jeanette’s home at Hervey Bay and we were there by lunchtime. Lionel had gotten his wires crossed and they had been expecting us the day before and had tried to ring to see what had happened. Unfortunately there was no mobile coverage at the dam so they were a bit concerned.

Lionel and Ray spent the rest of the day reminiscing about the time when they both played  trombone in the Musicians Union Training Band in Melbourne, and talking about people they knew from those days.

On Sunday they left me at home and went up to a farm owned by their son Chris and his wife Tina. Lionel told me they had enjoyed a lovely day with home-made pizzas for lunch.

On Monday morning we had a late start as Lionel spent time trying to get Skype up on Ray’s computer – without success, apparently.

On the way south we called in at Noosaville and Lionel was able to change his faulty electric bike for a new one. He made sure it was okay by giving it a good test run before we left.

It was getting a bit late so we spent the night in a crowded rest area just off the highway. Next day we were soon through Brisbane using the Gateway Bridge to get down to Yatala where Don and Anne’s daughter and son-in-law Karen and Russell live and were kind enough to let us park in their drive.

We drove up each day to the Care Centre where Anne and Don now live. For the next four days we went to the Care Centre every day and Lionel went on the morning ‘walk’ with Don and Anne. Lionel and Anne have been friends for many years and he was devastated when he had an email last year in France telling him she had motor neurone disease, a terrible affliction that is nearly always fatal and that gradually shuts down various parts of the body. Lionel was very sad when our four days were up and we had to move on.

We were booked on an ACC ‘tagalong’ trip and joined the rest of the group at Mt Warning. Lionel told me it was great to meet up with some old friends and to make new ones. We will be travelling with these Australian Caravan Club members to the National Muster and Annual General Meeting at Bingara.

Each night they have a happy hour and exchange yarns and talk about the day’s travel. We had a day off at Mt Warning and I was left behind when two of Lionel’s friends, Graeme and Lynne, took him for a sightseeing drive around the beautiful scenic countryside.

Next morning after the daily briefing, everyone left to make their way to the next stop at Casino. There were two alternative routes to our next stop and Lionel chose to travel through the  colourful hippy town of Nimbin – notorious for the use of certain banned substances.

Next day we headed for the lovely little town of Iluka on the Clarence River and we were first to arrive. Lionel was putting my roll-out awning out in quite strong wind and was about to anchor it down when a particularly strong gust blew it right over my roof and broke some of its parts.

When the others arrived there was soon a team of helpers on hand to take it down and make it safe for travelling.

Next day saw us at Wooli, another nice holiday town further down the coast and Lionel took his bike out again to ride down to the rivermouth where he saw people surfing. On the way back his battery went flat and he had to pedal home to me. He had forgotten to charge the batteries after doing a lot of riding around Iluka yesterday.

The spacious Wooli caravan park is very green and has lots of trees. Some of our group were keen fishermen and spent time on the bank of the river that flowed through the park.

We moved over the hills to Jackadgery and someone took a picture of me going over the huge bridge over the river.

There was only one more stop before reaching the Australian Caravan Club’s National Muster.

Our final two nights were spent at Inverell and Lionel gave his bike a real test of hill climbing by riding to the National Transport Museum. He didn’t take his camera’s short lens and couldn’t get far enough back to get good pictures of the cars and motorbikes.

The next week was spent at Bingarra for the ACC National Muster and I didn’t go anywhere much for the whole seven days. The hall was packed for the talks by informative speakers.

After the muster it was all downhill with a stop along the way at Narooma where Lionel’s mate Roy lives and as usual the two of them left me on our site and went off in Roy’s BMW to have dinner and play the pokies at one of the clubs.

Lionel had picked up some kind of virus that made him feel pretty bad after the muster and he was quite pleased when we left Narooma with just two days’ travel to reach home at Mornington in Victoria.

It had been a great trip and Lionel said he’d been very pleased with me apart from the little drama of my gear selection that turned out to be just a minor earthing problem.

We covered more than14,000km during our four and a half months on the road and were to travel together for many more journeys before an accident with a truck some four years later put an end to my travels.

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Lionel Mussell has been RVing around Australia for decades, first in a caravan and nowadays in a motorhome. He is also one of the founders of the Australian Caravan Club (and still an active member!).