The trip so far, so grab a coffee, a comfy seat, blanket if you need it & enjoy.
A two day stay at Charleville in a caravan park, we visited the weather station for a tour & watched the weather balloon inflate & be released. We then went & watched the computer track the balloon where the data was being collected & processed so that the weather can then be released to the public. This is a must as the information that is collected is unbelievable. We then travelled to Quilpie & checked out other camping areas that our van possibly shouldn’t have gone on those dirt tracks. J
We spent 5 days at Quilpie on the side of a causeway, the water was flowing fast over the causeway & the fish were jumping up & over into the deeper water. Josh caught around 20 small fish in his hat, that kept him busy for awhile. We climbed Table Top & Baldy Rock which the views were great, swam at the local pool & met a lot of locals who were very friendly & welcoming. We then drove to Windorah & crossed Coopers Creek.
On our way to Windorah there was water over the road in several places & around 200 metres of channel country, a low level bridge was covered with 12 inches of water. Coopers Creek was flowing quite quickly so the kids got photos on the tyres near the bridge. We stayed in the caravan park in town, cranked up the a/c as the temp was about 40 deg. Then we set the cruiser up for the trip to Birdsville the next day the van was left in the van park.
We drove out of Windorah at sun rise for the 400km trip to Birdsville lots of wild life along the road, after 120ks we hit dirt road, Kylie was driving so I hung out the window & took a photo of the dust behind us. We turned off to head towards Haddon’s Corner, the road was being graded. The next thing we got a rock through the tread of the LH rear tyre yep not much luck with tyres, so we did a tyre swap & decided to head towards Birdsville since that tyre was buggered ( J 3- K 1)J We stopped for a break at Deon’s lookout, by now it was over 40deg & the flies were unbelievable. After a 7 hour trip we made it to Birdsville, set up the tent at the caravan park (ouch $$) then cooled down at the pub in the a/c. The next morning we drove out to Big & Little Red sand dunes.
An hour’s drive out to the dunes we crossed several small dunes because there was a detour due to water that had cut off the track to the main dunes. Well, there is Little Red as we looked up the sand dune nearing the top was a lip & then a quick turn right, shall we walk up first? Nope I gunned the cruiser H2 got to the lip & bogged down to the diffs the excitement in the car was pleasant J I grabbed reverse & drove back down cool as cucumbers, got a bit more of a run up not as far back as Birdsville but close, hit the bottom of the dune in L3 full noise (Batman would have liked our smoke screen) hit the lip grabbed L2 &&& we’re on top of Little Red no sweat. After some photos & a look around we were the 1st there that morning. Hey let’s check out Big Red!!
We came to a T intersection in the track, left to go across the Simpson Desert, right to Big Red, let’s go right. Looking up at the dune there are 3 tracks, the left looks like it goes vertical, right not as steep but longer, third is definitely chicken run, so the run up begins, L3 noise & smoke (the noise was from the engine, not passengers screaming I think) a quiet voice from the passenger seat says you are going to the right??J
So we hit the right track (opposed to the wrong track) up & around the top this time there was laughter as we came over the top there was someone camped there, oops, good morning & we kept going. The kids were off up & down sand dunes, the views were spectacular there is so much water & bird life out there it is incredible. We watched some others try the left track but it was too boggy. We made our way back to Birdsville for lunch with the flies, checked out the Diamantina river as it was in flood the river rose while we were there about a metre. We had tea that night at the pub & left at dawn the next morning for Windorah.
We met John & Janet at the van park who were from Longreach (we would meet up with them again). We saw a purple land cruiser that a German couple where driving around Australia filming a documentary on our country. We also went out to Windorah sand dunes for sunset the kids rolled down the dunes red sand & sweaty kids mix really well. The Sunday the kids ended up at the Windorah Family Fun Day this was an all day event, they teamed up with one of the local larrikins Dicko. The kids had a ball playing the team events, at the end of each event points were awarded & totalled at the end of the day. Because they were the tourists their teams name was the IRA country humour so the points were added up after some lengthy discussions & maybe a few beers & the IRA came in as the winners I think they had to many beers so they were awarded with trophies & were invited back next year (stay tuned for that). We finished up that night after 8pm we had planned on leaving earlier that day so we stayed another night. You have to be flexible with your schedule things change all the time.
Dicko had invited us to the cattle station he was working on, on the Monday, so the kids could help with the cattle. We arrived at the station where the yards were full of cattle looks like he knew he was getting helpJ Josh & I got in the yards & moved the cattle through the race HA HA where’s Josh? A cow put him up the fence he was ok but he kept his eye on what they were doing after that. I was in a small yard before lunch & some of the cattle were a bit toey next thing I know a cow is looking me up & down her head is down I’m running for the fence I don’t think my feet touched the railings but I was on top pretty quick then I hear kylie laughing outside the yards she said that was close you nearly had a horn in your butt, I said I’m 40 something & not about to let that happen J. After lunch we got the calves in the race dehorned, crouched, branded & tagged, this was a great experience for all of us, the kids love talking about that day. We had put about 200 cattle & 43 calves through the race. Thanks to Dicko & Leanne for a great day, we finished at 3:30pm & drove to Longreach that was a big day we drove into a head wind all the way I had to get off the road for a road train & nearly got bogged, the car & van were covered in mud they looked good.
We stayed on the Thompson River 5ks out of Longreach for 7 days I worked for 2 ½ painting at a cafe in the centre of town. Josh got 2 yellow belly fish off some other campers then they showed him how to fillet them he & Kylie battered & cooked them that night for tea. We caught up with John & Janet where we went to their house for tea one night we all had a great time Janet spoilt the kids which they accepted quite well it was strange being in a house with so much room thanks for your hopitaity it was a night to remember. There were a lot of people we met at the river it was usually an hour walk to the toilets it was only a 100 metres away as you had to stop & have a chat to everyone there & back. The day before we left Longreach we met Ken & Deidre from the central coast in NSW we hit it off straight away & we spent the next week travelling with them both. We are now heading to Winton.
We headed off to Winton after we fuelled up & topped up the water tanks we sort of had a side/tail wind the plains winds are deceiving as you can’t see where it is coming from so going was tuff around an hour into the trip we stopped at a rest area for lunch as we pulled in behind a van which ended up being Ken & Deidre a quick catch up & lunch. When we got to Winton we made our way to long water hole camp ground where we found Wayne & Wendy already set up & Ken & Deidre set up close by. There were some great yarns the next few nights at that camp. This was the start of our travelling adventure with Ken & Deidre. The next day we visited Age of Dinosaurs which was a great day it is amazing that Australia has so many dinosaur fossils. We had a look around Winton then it was time to move onto Hughenden.
Hughenden was a one night stop over the Finders River was so clear we all ended up playing in the river for a few hours. The next morning Ken & Deidre headed off to Porcupine Gorge where we would meet up later that day. The walk down to the bottom of the Gorge was 1km straight down lots of stairs, when we got down to the water it was crystal clear it is amazing after seeing Brisbane Rivers how good a clear river looks. We swam for a couple of hours some sun burn started to show up, then the walk back up the Gorge started. The Gorge is in a NP so there weren’t any other walks unless it was back down the Gorge so the vote was to move on the next day. Back into Hughenden then to a free stay 90 k out of Charters Towers which was between the highway & a railway line. We washed clothes & had a fire between the vans not a lot of noise but more than we are used to.
At Charters we stayed in a van park stocked up on food & fuel the kids swam in the pool & there was a jumping balloon there so that kept them busy for a while. From there we went to Townsville & found a free stay on the beach called Saunders Beach back in humidity we haven’t missed that. On the Tuesday our travelling buddies decided to move on, even though we had only been travelling together for a week we had experienced so much together, at least we know we will see them again soon.
We left Saunders Beach & headed north 4 days in one place we had itchy feet. We stopped for a break at a NP & decided to go on a bush walk to a water fall about a km into the walk we hear Josh um hey I’ve cut my finger looking around there was blood everywhere yep that’s a cut alright so back to the van he picked up a fig & cut it in half while he was walking & quite a bit of his finger, a cleanup & off to Ingham hospital where 4 hours & 4 stitches later we’re off to find somewhere to camp the night. Kennedy Store was the choice it’s a free camp if you buy something from the store ;)? The store is between a rail line & highway (just between) & on a rail crossing, the first train was exciting & oops a quick shower after, there was only one other train that night & he didn’t sound his horn at the crossing. Off the next morning & rain has set in, a stop a Tully very wet as usual then to Josephine falls for a walk no swim as Josh was a little sore, so onto Babinda to camp at a free stay, this was for only 1 night there was a party. An important lesson when free camping, stay 50ks from a town or if it doesn’t feel right don’t stay, we weren’t in any danger but discernment is vital. So the next morning we went up to Babinda Boulders set up camp & went down to the swimming area the water was unbelievably cold so it was a quick swim & wash off. The night there was much quieter. Bush walks the next day & another swim, we left the next day a one nighter back down at Babinda so Kylie could work then we were off to our next location so stay turned, go & wash up your coffee cup so it is ready for the next postJ