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South West Queensland Trip

AUSTRALIA | Thursday, 3 July 2014 | Views [518]



MondayJune 9th 2014

New car. New caravan. New adventure.


We have now purchased a Nissan Navarra and a Jayco Penguin. Neither are new but both are in
exceptionally good condition.
Sad parting with the old green Ford which now has a new home with my brother. We still have the
old camper and that is on the market !
These new vehicles will take us onto new adventures in a lot more ease and a little more comfort.

Leaving Melbourne it was wet and cold, we were looking for warmth quickly. Unfortunately it wasn't
to be.

Our first nights stop was Deniliquin and it rained. Leaving Deniliquin, we stopped to take some

The Long Paddock as it is known from its days of the network of stock routes back in
the early 1800's. Most routes following either The Darling River or The Murrumbidgee.

The next night we stayed at Lachlan River at Hilston. No rain but very cold. Quite a good free camp
site by the river. Interesting gnome tree house that someone had made 
Having been to these places before, we didn't do any sight seeing, we were after the heat and
happy to move on.

On through to Bourke refuelled and moved on

By now the days were sunny but still cool. Overnight stop at Wyandra in the show grounds.
Luckily we camped on high ground as it poured down all night !! Nice lot of puddles to slosh
through.
.

Sat 14th June

TAMBO:

This will be our first three day break and the sun is out.

We had heard about the caravan park and it's owners on Wiki Camps. Daphne and Bill lived up to
all we had read. Daphne would have to be the most jovial caravan park owner we have ever met.

The first night, around the camp fire, with fellow travellers and road workers, many a tale was told.
Some of course seemed to be embellished by the amount of beers that were being consumed. All
good fun.

Next morning one of the ladies ( Kaye ) and I went for a walk into town and around the Heritage
walk. Along the walk we even saw some brolgas dancing in the park. Tambo is the oldest town in
the Central West.** There are some lovely old bottle trees all around the town.

Tambo is the home of the Tambo Teddies. Three ladies started making these Teddies out of sheep
wool back in **. Today another group of ladies continue making these lovely bears in the heart of
the town, where visitors are welcome to watch. As it was a Sunday we sadly missed this.
We also did the Coolibah walk which goes alongside of the Barcoo River.

Time of course for a coffee before heading back to the park. We had a great roast dinner that night
cooked by Kaye and her husband Barry.
Peter and I drove out the next day to the QANTAS crash site which happened in 1927 where four
lives were lost.
Onto the racecourse and let's not miss out on seeing another golf course, which was a bit rough on
the fairways!
The local hotel put on a great counter tea that night.
Tambo should be a visit on everyone's journey lots of history and beautiful scenery and most of all
really friendly folk.

BLACKALL : 110 k's up the road.

The Black Stump which marked the Astro Station, was used back in 1887 for the surveyors in the
area. Anything West of there was considered "beyond the Black. Stump".

The town also has the only fully intact steam powered wool washing plant left in Australia. The
Woolscour is now a museum showing all the authentic machinery and history. It was in service
from 1908 until 1978.
Of course what town wouldn't be complete, if it didn't have a Major Mitchell Memorial.
Major Thomas Mitchell is my hero for all the places he discovered, which now we are reaping the
benefits.
He was one of the first Europeans to explore most of Queensland and New South Wales. I'm in
awe of what this man and his team achieved by horseback in the mid 1800's. It's my next project to
follow the route that he took.


Tuesday 17th June

ISISFORD:

122 k's up the road that's where we were heading. We had been told about a good camping spot
by the water.

Oma Waterhole is part of the Barcoo River. We arrived to find lots of great spots by the water and
soon we were set up for the next five days. After all, at the grand some of $3:00 a night, it's not
going to break the bank !!
After setting up on the bank of the river, I mapped out my 5,8 and 10k tracks and took off for my
shuffle, there was a lot of photo stops along the way whilst I snapped at the bird life and scenery.
There are a colony of pelicans just cruising up and down the river. Kangaroos are grazing
alongside some brolgas, cattle and goats. Which none are at all interested in this crazy women
saying good morning to them !
The moon is still out, as I capture it with the sun blazing down on my back.
Life's morning walk doesn't get much better than this.


Saturday 21st June

Peter has lost all his golf balls practicing his shots across the river !! Luckily they were all old ones.
He's been busy today putting his yabbie nets in and hoping for a catch in the morning.
I have discovered a few new tracks to wander down and was quite amazed at how many other
campers are spread along the river.
Tonight we went into town for a meal at the golf club. Good meal but will need to run off the
cheesecake tomorrow !!
We are enjoying this warm weather.

I have discovered a few new tracks to wander down and was quite amazed at how many other
campers are spread along the river bank.

Driving into town just on dusk, the amount of kangaroos is staggering. Hope our "Roo Shoo" ***on
the car works.
Went into town for a meal at the Isisford Golf Club, Saturday night they put a meal on for $18:50
each.
It was a lovely meal of silverside and veggies, but I will need to run off the cheesecake tomorrow !!
Nice to see quite a few travelling nomads there supporting the town.

Monday 23rd June

Pleased to say the "Roo Shoo" must work. Not one ran in front of us, there were plenty just
standing on the side of the road.

We are enjoying this warm weather, today is heading for 30c !

Two little shrimps caught and released......

Will be packing up today ready for leaving in the morning as we head for Longreach.


LONGREACH

Unbelievable the amount of caravans,trailers and mobile homes that are in town. All parks are full
including the motels.
We managed to get a spot, in the free camp just outside of town. This is not my idea of camping !!
There is no room between vans for their annexes to even be pull down. We were hoping to stay
here for a few days but there is no way, not packed in like sardines.

Thinking that there must be something big on in town, I took off into the information centre to see
what was on. I was informed this was the usual at this time of the year with everyone heading
North. The town must benefit from the money all the travellers generate by attending the tourist
attractions,supermarkets,shops and petrol plus the motels and caravan parks.

We visited The Stockman's Hall of Fame www.stockmanshalloffame.com.au QANTAS museum
www.qfom.com.au they well worth the visit.

Had we been staying, I would have liked to do the river cruise and maybe one of the station tours,
but they will be saved for our next visit when the town is quieter !! There is also a heap of other
tours and attractions. kinnonando.com.au

STONEHENGE

Let me assure you this is nothing like its namesake in the UK !
This is one small dusty outback town. The main attraction is the Stone address book where people
have placed the name of their home town in stones. Apparently it was started years ago by the
mailman.
The thing I like about all these little towns, is that they all have a sign saying RV friendly town.
Often the towns population is less than a couple of hundred, yet they often have free hot showers
or a gold coin donation. The rest rooms are always clean and most have a really good information
centre.

XXXX Hill lookout has scenic views of the Thomson River flood plains and surrounding Johntone
Ranges.

JUNDAH

This will be our camp site for the next couple of nights. We are camped on the banks of the
Thomson River. Hardly anyone else around, so it's very peaceful.

Jundah has a shop, hotel, police station, post office and information centre. Very tranquil living out
here.
The have a great replicate of one of the historic shop fronts as a welcome sign.

WINDORAH

This town generates all it's own power from four huge solar panels. They look like satellite dishes.
You can understand how well it works with all the sun they get out here.

QUILPIE

The town is named after the Aboriginal name for " stone curlew" or quilpeta. The stone curlew is a
large ground-dwelling bird unique to Australia.

Well it had to happen..yep I have managed to get a chest infection, yet again a few weeks into the
trip. I am sure it must be from the dust and the smoke from the camp fires. So I'm not a happy
camper at the moment.

Thinking it would be a good time to fire up the generate and recharge the computers, iPads,
cameras etc. Well the thought was there, the generator had other ideas and has stopped working.

The handyman travelling with me discovers he has left the spark plugs and tool kit at home but we
have the chainsaw kit.
Yes, you guessed it, we don't have the chainsaw on this trip !!


 

Sorry just ran out of internet time so will update photo places etc later xxxx

 

Until we do, it looks like lots of walks around Lake Houdraman where we are camped. Lake Houdraman is a beautiful expanse of water with shady gum trees along the waterline. The bird life is spectacular, amazing variety of birds all calling to each other.
There are a few emus as well as some pelicans.
Also wandering through are a small herd of cattle, who seem to enjoy chasing the emus !!

NUCCUNDRA

Camped over night by the Wilson River. We were here three years ago just after the big floods. That visit is very different to this one as the bird life here now is vastly depleted.

Travelling along the road to Coopers Creek, I know although it is the same road, it is a very different one my parents would have experienced when they did this journey many years ago.

Passing by Jackson and Naccowlah Oil Plants, plus Bellera Gas Plant, is probably the main reason this road is now bitumen and a pleasure to drive on.

THE DIG TREE, COOPERS CREEK

How exciting to be sleeping under the stars in the same place as past explorers Burke and Wills.

Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills, left Melbourne Monday August 20 1860,to undertake a journey never done before, to try and reach the Gulf of Carpentaria.

What an epic task ahead of them and their team (who often miss out on the accolades, John King, William Wright and William Brahe,are just three who come to mind.)


The Dig Tree is on the cattle station Nappa Merrie, just inside the Queensland border. It has a fantastic camping area once you get down the 14's of rough road.
The tree is protected by a boardwalk these days, due to the banks of the Cooper eroding.
You can see the markings in the tree which Burke left.

Looking around, I find it not hard to comprehend how difficult it would have been back in 1860.

The disappointment in April 1861 when Burke,Wills and King arrived back at the camp, only to find they had missed the depot party by 6-8 hours. Too weary to try and catch up to them they were shattered men.
William Brahe had waited an extra month than what was planned, in hope they would return.

They also only missed reaching the Gulf by about 20 miles, turning back as supplies were low and nothing on the horizon to suggest they were getting close to the sea.

So very different from the way we do things today with all our technology. Thanks to my friend Maria for loaning me the book " The Dig Tree " by Sarah Murgatroyd, which allowed me to follow the adventure step by step for part of the way.

It's a great read for my book lover friends.

We are now packing up and heading down to Innaminckahttp://www.southaustralia.com/info.aspx?id=9002316

and Cameron Corner http://www.outbacknsw.com.au/cameron_corner_store.htm

 via the Strzelecki Desert.

http://www.postcards-sa.com.au/features/strzelecki_track.html 

 

 

The trip from the Dig Tree was one of the most beautiful journeys I have been on. After stopping at Burkes Memorial where he died but isn't buried there...I found that very moving, as it was such an lonely isolated spot to die.
We called into Innamincka which was such a dusty bowl. Nothing much there but trucks, grey nomads filling up the 4x4's. A hotel and a supermarket.

The next stretch of road was the old Strzelecki Hwy 280k's of unmade road through the desert and we loved it.
At times it was a corrugated dust bowl and then as smooth as bitumen. There was never a dull moment with so much happening on the road side.
We had emus, roos, cattle and wedge tail eagles all vying for our attention. Not to mention the concentration of what the road ahead was going to spring on us.

Arriving at Cameron Corner, we found the camper had a few loose screws ( not us ).....The lock on the van had broken as well. Which consider in what we had been through wasn't too much damage at all.
Cameron Corner is where the three states meet. Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales.
We decided to have a night off and have dinner at the hotel with the other 14 campers. Very interesting talking to others about where they have been or where they are going.

The next section of the road to Mutawintji National Park was also through the desert and over dry lake beds that went for miles.

Mutawintji is one of the nicest parks we have seen. There are deep gorges and beautiful wild flowers just starting to appear. The sand belt of the river bed turned different colours as the sun moved through the day.
Mutawintji NP is the tribal area for the Malankapa and Pandjikali people.

Sadly we had to leave earlier than expected as the ranger informed us the road would be closing due to the rain that was forecast ( dry weather roads only ) but we will defiantly be back for a longer visit.

So here we are Broken Hill only for today as we have done all we need to here, having been many times before.
I will put some photos up later in the day and will continue our journey........

 

Stayed an extra day in Broken Hill and will now leave Monday 14th. Will add a few more photos taken today.

We are now at Menindee and I feel like I'm home. I love this place and no matter how many times I come here there is always something beautiiful to see.

Today is the 21st and we were going to leave but it is just to nice, so we will maybe go tomorrow. It is so relaxing here and I love my daily walks through the bush or along the beach. The wetlands with the bird life is so peaceful to watch.
I will be sorry to leave.

 

 

 Well leave we did as hard as it was packing up we know we will be back.

Drove down to Wentworth and shock horror booked into a caravan park for two nights. We are at Willow Bend Caravan Park and it is beautiful.

 

 http://willowbendcaravanpark.com/

Our van backs right onto the river which has an abundance of birdlife. This is also the place where Captain Charles Sturt camped on his journey.  

Did a tour of the town and visited The Old Wentworth Goal, which was apparently the first of the Australian design Goals.

 http://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/outback-nsw/wentworth-area/wentworth/attractions/old-wentworth-gaol

Will put a few photos up later.

Only a few more days left before we have to be home....

We are now at my sisters in Moama so this is the end of this trip. I have enjoyed all your comments and am pleased to have you all on the journey with us.  

 

 

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