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Tesla adventure in Outback Queensland and North-QLD

Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
Section 11b: Normanton – Croydon – Georgetown:

To complete our job in Normanton we quickly passed by the NSF to keep them informed.
Suddenly realizing we were running late on schedule to timely reach Croydon before noon time and to top-up batteries at the Croydon Council Workshop....
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Only the colors were distinctly different once in a while....just outback...
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And now and then some cattle were showing up...
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Due to late departure at NSF we had to hurry to Croydon at max speed and made it at 11:50 AM to timely meet the person at the Council workshop. Plugging in using their 3ph 20A 5pin socket....nothing happened....the neutral pinhole wasn’t wired! They contacted another person at their welding and metal fabrication workshop, we headed there...same trouble...

Murphy was overactive....and there wasn’t a sparky around to overcome the trouble!
Of course...if we hadn’t driven at such high speeds we had more than enough battery to reach Georgetown...LOL
Keeping our heads cool we went to the Croydon Caravan Park to top-up enough energy to increase our range to “easily” reach Georgetown.
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Crisis delivers opportunities so we had the time to take some good food at the Croydon Cafe and meanwhile figured out they also had some 3ph equipment at the Croydon Centre Supermarket but it was hard wired.
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After a nice brainstorming the interim manager was convinced it would only cost them a little to install a AEVA/TOCA donated 3ph socket....and accepted the challenge but on condition the owners would agree.

Hummm, Teslas navigator gave a distance to Georgetown of about 140km and reaching close to Georgetown we felt confident we would be OK and decided to have a quick stop at the Cumberland Chimney Historic site and dam...
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Some Jacanas to be spotted there!
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However, back on the road we found out Georgetown centre was 10 km further than expected so we arrived with only 11km range left!
Murphy strikes again...all goodies come in 3!
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Warren & Lydia from the Ampol petrol station and roadhouse had kindly prepared a 3ph 32A 5-pin socket for us to charge but also this one didn’t work due to issues with earthing.
Both were travelling but Warren took the time to find a miraculous solution for us which I prefer not to reveal to respect the person’s wishes.

Just in short, I quickly drove to Latara Motel where we had a reservation and dropped all luggages. While my spouse checked-in I went to our miraculous 3ph 10A 5p charging spot with 8km range left changed the connector tail for our Maxicharger EVSE to happily use this 10A outlet. With the night falling Electra had just enough time left to get a full charge the next morning for us to pursue our program.
A big thanks to the provider of this 10A spot!!!
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We were aware that Latara Motel had 3ph power coming into their switchboard and explained them what happened to us and how beneficial it would be for future EV cars to be able to find a 3 ph socket at Latara with a potential of overnight tourism and extra restaurant usage. Katrina was very understanding and willing to get the sparky to come over and install a 3ph socket so we gave her a 3ph socket donated by AEVA/TOCA.
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Latara Motel Restaurant serves some very nice meals and if you like some top quality beef as for their superb Wagyu beef! It comes supersized and I had enough for 2 meals!
 

Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
Section 12a Georgetown – Forsayth – Cobbold Gorge - Forsayth

Not too far from Georgetown there are a few famous tourist attractions that you have to visit while in the area:
Cobbold Gorge: Georgetown to Forsayth 42km (14km unsealed) + 43km of unsealed road to the entrance of Cobbold Gorge Village.
Agate Creek Gemfields: 95 km south of Georgetown (passing the exit to Cobbold Gorge) including 67 km unsealed road. We didn’t visit here due to lack of time.

Early morning we left Georgetown driving to Forsayth, checking in at the Goldfields Hotel .
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We took a very nice breakfast before continuing to Cobbold Gorge for a day trip which was an unforgettable experience. They have great guides with masterful knowledge about the area’s geology, cultural heritage and outback history, bush tucker and poisons....
This place is now getting >10,000 tourists per year.
While in Cobbold Gorge we were allowed to use a 15A camping socket to charge.
I let the pictures speak for themselves:
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We were very lucky to see 2 freshwater crocodiles and picture them in one shot.
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Back at the hotel we had the whole evening and night for a good battery top-up using the Tesla UMC at 10A from a socket in our room.
Goldfield Hotel has some splendid collection of gemstones, mostly originating from the Agate Creek Gemfield.
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Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
Section 12b: Forsayth – Einasleigh

Must see in Einasleigh:
Copperfield Gorge and the iconic 1909 Einasleigh Hotel: Forsayth to Einasleigh Hotel 67km +/-20km unsealed

The day after visiting Cobbold Gorge we continued early morning (and avoid the heat) from Forsayth to the Einasleigh. Closer to Einasleigh the landscape became quite different with taller trees, quite contrasting to the outback. There were also a few big red kangaroos to spot. Arriving at Einasleigh Hotel, we found it still closed but 2 friendly ladies running the pub guided us to the Copperfield Gorge parking area nearby.
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Copperfield Gorge is totally different than Cobbold Gorge and part of the gorge formation consists of old lava stone. Further down where the gorge becomes wider there are very attractive quiet sand beaches and swimming spots. Crocodiles are part of the habitat but luckily these are freshwater crocodiles that don’t tend to attack and eat people. As per info from the elder lady no one was ever bitten in the last 50 years while swimming there, so we decided to have a cool dip and swim in the gorge.
There were no other people around which left us alone in this vast beautiful oasis!
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After a good swim we took some very simple lunch and drinks at the Einasleigh Hotel before continuing to Mount Surprise.
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wilsilly

Member
Aug 22, 2016
41
45
Calliope, Qld
Section 10b : Burke & Wills – Normanton

More endless outback as far as you can see when driving from Four Ways to Normanton, no villages at all...
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Arriving at Normanton we were expected by Doug & Lyn, the main promotors and investors into the Normanton Solar Farm.

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The 5 megawatt solar farm has 4 ha under power, 50 rows of PV panels, each row having 100 kW of installed power. The NSF will provide enough energy to power the towns of Normanton and Karumba, and the cattle stations of the Carpentaria Shire covering an area 1 ½ the size of Tasmania.
The area currently gets its electricity from a coal fired power plant at Rockhampton, nearly 1700 km away and according Doug’s explanation: “from our research we are yet to prove, to deliver approximately 4 MW of electricity to the Normanton substation the power plant has to supply approximately 10 MW of energy to the network landlines which translates into what we believe would be 60% power losses!”

Consequently Doug Scouller and NSF designed the PV farm to match the power load needs of the nearby Normanton substation and reduce the landline power losses to 0%.

In my perception, this project, located at the fringe of the existing network makes absolute common sense as:

  • To Ergon, it will reduce the power losses and energy cost delivered to the Normanton substation
  • To the QLD Government this will result in fewer subsidies to be paid out to reduce the cost per kWh delivered to the local users in the area.
  • To the NSF investors it makes the project highly financially sustainable all while creating permanent jobs in the area.
  • To the local council it provides availability of reliable cost worthy energy allowing a vision for further economic development of the area.
  • According ARENA, to ARENA and Ergon the “Normanton Solar Farm will act as a test case for network provider Ergon Energy to understand the true impact on network losses. This will provide a starting point to explore regulatory changes that would support more renewable energy installations in fringe-of-grid locations across Australia.”
Considering this win-win for all parties involved people with common sense cannot understand or accept that till now, 10 months after completion of the PV farm, it is still not exporting energy. Commissioning is now planned for 9th October.
That solar farm deserves a very big thumbs up. Brilliant hope Oct 9th connects them up properly.
 
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Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
Section 12c: Einasleigh – Mount Surprise

Einasleigh to Mount Surprise: 78km of which +/- 40km unsealed
In Mount Surprise we met Russel at “Planet Earth Adventures” to organize another battery top-up.
When charging the car at his workshop, ask if he will do a snake show while you’re there and enjoy his incredible knowledge about snakes!
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During the last 2 days Electra had to digest about 150kms of unsealed road but with the adjustable air suspension she adjusted flawlessly! And if you wonder how she coped with the dust, have a look to the pics below. Only a tiny bit of dust did enter the car when opening or closing the doors, during driving the dust didn’t “trespass” the seals as you can note from the photo. It was easy to rinse it away.
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wilsilly

Member
Aug 22, 2016
41
45
Calliope, Qld
Section 12a Georgetown – Forsayth – Cobbold Gorge - Forsayth

Not too far from Georgetown there are a few famous tourist attractions that you have to visit while in the area:
Cobbold Gorge: Georgetown to Forsayth 42km (14km unsealed) + 43km of unsealed road to the entrance of Cobbold Gorge Village.
Agate Creek Gemfields: 95 km south of Georgetown (passing the exit to Cobbold Gorge) including 67 km unsealed road. We didn’t visit here due to lack of time.

Early morning we left Georgetown driving to Forsayth, checking in at the Goldfields Hotel .
View attachment 252089
We took a very nice breakfast before continuing to Cobbold Gorge for a day trip which was an unforgettable experience. They have great guides with masterful knowledge about the area’s geology, cultural heritage and outback history, bush tucker and poisons....
This place is now getting >10,000 tourists per year.
While in Cobbold Gorge we were allowed to use a 15A camping socket to charge.
I let the pictures speak for themselves:
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We were very lucky to see 2 freshwater crocodiles and picture them in one shot.
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Back at the hotel we had the whole evening and night for a good battery top-up using the Tesla UMC at 10A from a socket in our room.
Goldfield Hotel has some splendid collection of gemstones, mostly originating from the Agate Creek Gemfield.
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Love the agates!!
You have done so much exploring, and the driving your car off the sealed roads will give other Tesla owners confidence. I do it all the time because I live in the bush, but many probably don't. Top marks and great photos too.
 

Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
Section 13a Mount Surprise - Undarra National Park

Leaving Mount Surprise towards Atherton we made a side trip to the Undara Volcanic National Park about 30 kms off the highway, all sealed road, to join a tour visiting the Undara Lava Tubes. It’s another touristic target that you shouldn’t miss when driving in the area!

Also here the guides were very knowledgeable and if you like to overnight there, the restaurant and lodging is consisting of first class renovated QueenslandRail carriages.
Around the collapsed parts of the lava tube and inside the lava tubes there is a particular ecosystem, distincly different from the area. The lava tubes are also inhabited by micro bats and a special blue butterfly.
We absolutely loved the place!!! Let the photos speak...
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Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
Section 13c: Undarra National Park - Inot Hot Springs - Ravenshoe - Herberton - Atherton

Our next stop on the way to Atherton was Inot Hot Springs. And yes, they were extremely hot! Good that the water mixes with the cooler creek water...
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Our third short stop was at Ravenshoe. We do have some nice memories about our previous trip there when we charged Electra’s batteries using 100% wind power energy from the Ravenshoe Wind Farm and we had the chance to evangelize about EVs and renewable energy for 2 classes of the local college.
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Next we side tracked a little to revisit the Herberton Historical Village, a unique experience that was attracting 35,000 visitors in the past year. On average, a person stays about 4h for a visit and I would really suggest Tesla to install 2 destination chargers there now that Teslas are being sold in Cairns!
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Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
Section 14: Atherton - Yungaburra - Cairns - Townsville

In Atherton, we established another 3phase charging spot at the Atherton Hinterland Motel where we also stayed for the night.
From there, we traveled to Yungaburra, one of the jewel villages of the Atherton Tablelands. We wanted to check with the Officers of the Tourist Information Centre if they could accept us to put the 3 phase socket in the neighbouring Maude Park on Plugshare and yes, they accepted on the basis that in the future it will bring more EV traffic to Yungabarra and that the charging spot was in the midst of the village, close to food and accomodation facilities.
In fact during our 10 days of holidaying at the Atherton tablelands we regularly used this charging spot while staying in Yungaburra.
When going to Yungaburra, please make a walk at the Peterson Creek early morning or late afternoon and you'll have a 90% chance to spot the Platypus. This time around we also spotted a tree Kangaroo and a family of Stone Cerlews with baby chicks. We were overwhelmed to see how the parents mended their chicks to train hiding behavior. The birds didn't move a mm for about 20 min while we watched them.

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Finally we went to Cairns and Townsville. Electra was enjoying her first fast electrons gulp using the QLD Electrical Highway charger while we chatted we a local business man who now owns 4 Teslas active in his limousine Co.
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WhiteStar

Member
Sep 28, 2014
534
117
Sydney, AU
So much to see & do out there! Swimming with the freshies must be quite an experience even if they don’t bite or devour people. Cobbald Gorge looks amazing...it was featured in Ivan Sen’s outback noir film Goldstone - apparently they built an entire town as the film set around Middleton.
 

Chuq

Active Member
Jan 1, 2015
3,321
3,989
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Brilliant work. A few months ago I read someone on a forum who was explaining how useless EVs were in the outback, as we've probably all seen morons do. He used Camooweal as an example. Brilliant that you can now get from Camooweal to the coast in FOUR directions via 3-phase now :)
 

Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
So much to see & do out there! Swimming with the freshies must be quite an experience even if they don’t bite or devour people. Cobbald Gorge looks amazing...it was featured in Ivan Sen’s outback noir film Goldstone - apparently they built an entire town as the film set around Middleton.
That's interesting to know WhiteStar! Just looked it up and found this article...
 

Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
Section 15a) Townsville - Mackay + Finch Hatton

On the way to Townsville we made a short stop at Frosty Mango using their Tesla Destination Charger for a short top-up while we stretched our legs and took some food.
In Townsville we had a room booked at Mercure Hotel with the Tesla Destination Charger available for our usage.
The next day we used a 3 phase socket at Bowen Showgrounds and continued to Mackay, staying over for 2 nights at Potters' Ocean Side Motel which we absolutely recommend. They also have 2 TDC for customers use.
From Mackay we did a day trip to the Eungella National Park located about 75km to the east in the high up hinterland. This park has a lot to offer for nature lovers!
Broken River is re-known to be another Platypus viewing spot but we didn't have any luck there. We used the jungle trail along the river and made some nice shots:
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In Finch Hatton we also made contact with the caretaker of the local showground and could confirm that they have several 3 phase 32 A 5p sockets which are OK to be used by Tesla and other EV drivers against a small fee. I have added the spot to Plugshare.
 

Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
Section 15b) Townsville - Mackay + Eungella Dam

After our long morning walk at Broken River we went to Eungella as it was their market day and a good time to buy some local specialties. We also took a nice breakfast there and than continued to Eungella Dam, about 35km past Broken River using unsealed road.
Arriving at the dam's camping ground there were plenty of big 4W ICE's with tents as it was the last day of the QLD school holidays.
We drove past them slowly and silently....you had to see the faces! It will certainly have given them an understanding what your able to do with Tesla EV!
Here are our last shots for this trip, including water plant eating horses and a collage of the Black Fronted Dottler Bird pictures.
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Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
To conclude the report of this trip I can say that we enjoyed being a trailblazer and we hope other EV drivers will follow suit.
We drove approximately 6400 km on this trip in 21 days and only used 1 QLD Government sponsored DC fast charger...
Along the way we were able to establish many new charging points and we added 20 new charging spots to the Plugshare app, see below:
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I also wanted to take the chance to officially thank my spouse for her support and patience during this interesting but tiring trip.
Luckily for other EV drivers to do this routes now it will be a lot easier without wasting time for searching where to charge.

Here are some other destinations in N-QLD that are attractive and waiting to be visited by other EV drivers!
 
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raynewman

Active Member
Oct 11, 2014
1,514
512
Brisbane, Australia
I also wanted to take the chance to officially thank my spouse for her support and patience during this interesting but tiring trip.
Luckily for other EV drivers to do this routes now it will be a lot easier without wasting time for searching where to charge.

Here are some other destinations in N-QLD that are attractive and waiting to be visited by other EV drivers!

Twenty years ago we did the trip from Northern NSW to Dajarra (South of Mt Isa). Looks like it's time to re-visit and this time in a proper car.
 

Dylanpete

Member
Jul 10, 2014
144
135
Moreton Bay, QLD, Australia
Thanks for your time and energy on this project. I do hope this helps EV take up beyond the SE corner of QLD. Hope to hear good news about NSF soon.
Love the platypus and had forgotten how cute emu chicks really are.
KT, it may take a while before we see regular EV trips to the Outback but look, raynewman may travel to Dajarra and Sylvia is preparing her big trip, that's a good start!
How did you feel about the photo of the upside down platypus? Ever seen one like this? I must say that my spouse had a unique shot there!
We also have some platypus video but I didn't post it as TMC wants us to put it on youtube first etc...
 
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