Day 1. Friday July 24th. Everything was loaded and ready to go yesterday so this morning we just had our freezer goods to load. We were on the road at 7.30am and on our way to Blackbutt to meet up with John & Pauline. The first day of our trip coincides with our monthly motor home club meeting and so we are heading to Jimbour, outside Dalby, for the Queensland Music Festival’s Opera@Jimbour in the grounds of historic Jimbour Homestead. I have arranged with Dalby Shire Council that we can camp at the homestead for the weekend and by evening we have fourteen vans set up and about 25 members for Happy Hour.

Day 2. At Jimbour Homestead. Between 6,000 and 8,000 people were present for the Opera@Jimbour. They started arriving early for the market stalls that had been set up. By 2pm all the ground around the ampetheatre was crowded and a Opera@Jimbourmarvellous afternoon of music by the Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra and the Noonan family began. People sat around with their picnic hampers and sipping their wine as the entertainment went on. At 4.30 we just walked up the hill to our vans and watched as thousands departed the grounds in buses, cars and planes. After we grey nomads had partaken of a couple of wines we stood in a long line along the edge of the runway and waved goodbye to the small aircraft as they took off. Total travelled 221.5klms.

Day 3. Said goodbye to everyone and was on the road by 9am. First stop was Dalby for fuel and then on to Moonie for morning tea. Moonie is the supply town for the Moone oil and gas fields, there is very little here, a motel, garage cum pub, sports club and a Gov’t centre comprising post office, liberary, internet access & information centre. After morning tea we drove on to St George, a prosperous farming town by the Bolllon River. We lunched in the park by the river, filled with fuel, where through some mix up we paid $35.00 for $68.00 worth of fuel, and then drove on to Bollon. Bollon is a small town on the highway but has free hot showers in the main street and a wonderful camping area by the Wallum Creek where we have camped for the night. We have travelled 440.7klms today.

Day 4. We were up early this morning as we had had a very early night last night. It was cool but not cold so we sat by the creek and had breakfast and watched the sun come up. Packed up, visited the dump point anThe Paroo River, Currawinya NP, Qld.d emptied the toilet and was on the road at 8.30am headed for Cunnanulla 180klms west. We had the road to ourselves, travelling at 90klms nothing overtook us the whole trip. At the 90klm point we started meeting traffic coming in the opposite direction. We had morning tea in the park at the information Centre, had a walk around town, bought bread and saw the people at Betta Electrical about installing a Data Pack on my mobile so I can start emailing when we get service somewhere. We filled with fuel & headed further west to Eulo and two klms further turned south for the Currawinya National Park. This is a gravel road and for the first fifteen klms was in great condition, it deteriorated after this though, but it wasn’t too bad but worst tPython at Currawinta NPhan last time we travelled on it. About fifty klms down the road we turned into Caiwarro ruins and our camp spot for tonight by the Paroo River. There is nobody else here, we have it to ourselves. I set up camp and went for a walk down river. About 100mtrs down from where we are camped Ii passed a tree with a huge carpet python sunning himself on a limb about head height. I was surprised to see a snake out at this time of year. The park is full of birdlife and lots of emus walking around.
Braised steak for tea and then we sat out until after sunset and until it grew too cool to stay out. Today we have travelled 332.3klms

Day 5. It was freezing cold when we got up this morning but not a breath of wind. The Paroo was dead still and all the trees along the river banks made perfect reflections. We were parked in the shade of trees so as the sun came up I carried the table out to the road in the sun and we had breakfast, it was hard keeping our fingers warm though. The dew had settled on the fly so I lay it in the sun to dry while we packed the van up. It was still a bit damp when all was packed so with Alice on one end and me on the other, we stood it end on and held it towards the sun and shook it gently to help dry it. This attracted a flock of emus who wandered over to see what was going on and watch us finish packing. W met a couple of four wheel drives at the ruins, I asked them if they had camped the night but they had just arrived from Eulo, it seems we had the park to ourselves last night. The fifty kilometres of dirt road to Hungerford was in good condition and we arrived at the Hungerford Hotel at 9.30, had a cup of coffee for the price of a donation to the Royal Flying Doctor, watched the Pollination Specialists (bee keepers to anyone else, but in Hungerford it pays to have important sounding occupations) depart for work and then we hit the dirt road for Thargomindah 260klms away. The road is in better condition than last time we were here last year so we could drive at a steady 90klms per hour. We didn’t see much wild life except for one suicidal emu, who ran out in front of me and just pulled in his tail feathers as I passed him, a load of kangaroos trying to jump the dog fence into NSW. and some pigs eating a bit of road kill. We arrived in Thagomindah at lunch time and had lunch in the park. I filled with fuel at a pump that told me I had put in 61 litres but had in fact only pumped in 51 litres, I was charged for 51 litres but I don’t think they would get away with a pump like that in the city. Back onto the sealed road again heading for Noccundra. It is only a single track road, you get off if something is coming towards you, right off if it is a road train. It is all gibber out here, no grass and just low grey trees and dead flat. You look towards the sun and all the ground appears black, away from the sun and it is all red. We arrived in Noccundra at 3.15pm. There is only the pub, public toilets and showers, we had a lovely hot shower and drove through a paddock across the road from the pub to the camp ground by the Wilson River. The wind is up and it is very cool, we sat out till the sun went down and are now snug inside, it is going to be cold in the morning. Today we drove 361.7klms.

Day 6. As expected it was a cool morning, my fingers were frozen yesterday so I dug my gloves out this morning. We were up at sunrise. Sunrise is later out west, it was about 7am before it came up this morning. We sat out overlooking the river while we had breakfast, the wind had dropped so it was quite pleasant. We were packed and on the road before 8.30 on a lovely, clear, sunny morning. The small grey shrubs gave way to tufts of grass and soon this petered out to just gibber stone as far as the eye can see. We passed the Mooney and Jackson oil fields and about 60klms further the sealed road ran out. Eventually the road will be sealed all the way to Innaminka and there has been a fair bit done since we came out 12 months ago, but the unsealed road is now rougher than it was when we were last here. We bounced over about fifty klms of corrugations and slewed through a fair bit of bull dust before hitting the bitumen again just before the Dig Tree turn off, then another ten klms of good gravel road to the Dig Tree campground. We arrived about 12.30pm, set up camp and have sat reading for the rest of the afternoon. The breeze turned cool just at sunset and the correlas have just arrived to roost in the tree next to us, so for the next half hour there will be no peace as they squark themselves in for the night. Today we travelled 220klms.

Day 7. We were to stay and have a rest day at the Dig Tree today but, because of the flies, decided to move on. It was a lovely morning and we watched the sun rise over Cooper Creek as we had our breakfast, the corellas all took off for where ever it is they go during the day and we hit the road at about 9am. The road into Innaminka was a bit rough after the SABourke's Grave, by the Cooper Creek, Innaminka, WA. border. Just before reaching Innaminka we spotted the turnoff to Bourke’s grave. It is about five klms from the main road and is a beautiful spot. Camping is available there and new toilets have just been built. There are some beautiful old coolibah trees along the creek bank and after a walk of about 300 mtrs you come across the coolibah that Bourke was buried under. We drove in to Innaminka, filled with fuel, had coffee at the pub and then headed out into the desert on the Old Strezliki Track. This was mainly a two wheel track through the desert sand for about the first 46klms although it was smooth running most of the way. The Old S.T. then became the Strezliki Track, a wide, smooth On the Strezliki Trackgravel highway and we turned for the Moonie oil fields. We were out in the desert now and running between sandhills for about fifty kilms. We lunched overlooking the Moonie oil and gas installations and then headed south, the road was still good. After fifty klms we turned to the east and headed for Cameron’s Corner, 110Corellas, on the Srezliki track, SA klms away. We had been running parallel to the sandhills and now we were running across them and what a ride it was. The road is a good gravel road and I drove most of it at about 90 kph. We climbed the sand hills up the smoother side, reached the peak and dropped off down the steep back of them. Sometimes the road curved right on the crest, so as you came over the top there was just the desert floor beneath you leaving you to wonder what happened to the road, only to discover it had swung to the right. Once we could see the road ran straight we flew over the sand hills and experienced the sensation of weightlessness as we dropped off the crest. All in all a great drive. We arrived at Cameron’s Corner about 4.30pm and have set up camp here for the night. The cost of camping is a $5.00 donation to the Royal Flying Dr Service, but the five dollar note has to be stuck to the ceiling of the Corner Store Pub before you can camp. How do you stick it there? You’ll have to make the trip and find out. Today we travelled 330klms.

Day 8. Another fine and cool morning this morning. I went out to have breakfast and the bloke parked next door said “The sun comes up late here, five to seven I woke and it was just coming up.” I told him to hop over the fence, it rose at six twenty five over there. We drove out of Queensland at 8.30am, drove through South Australia and was on the road in NSW by 8.31am. Our first sixty klms was through the Sturt National Park, the road was well corrugated with patched of bull dust. The first part of the drive was through the red sandhills and eventually this broke to gibber stone. The rest of the day has been through gibber stone desert and very, very dry. As well as the road conditions I had to contend with large red and greyTibooburra Hotel, Tibooburra, NSW kangaroos, they have no brains and no road sense, they will hop along beside you and then suddenly decide to cross the road. They mainly decide to do this as you are trying to round a corrugated bend while sliding sideways through the bull dust. Just when you think you have mastered the road you will see a sign saying “Rough Road Ahead”. We arrived in Tibooburra about ten thirty and had morning tea in a nice little park at the end of town. Tibooburra is a bigger town than I thought it would be, two pubs, two service stations, two supermarkets, a motel and 150 residents. They have a National Parks Office with good displays of what is significant in the Sturt NP, and a good little museum in the old Court House, we Camping in the dry Fowlers Gap Creek, NSW looked around both before filling with fuel and heading off down the Silver City Highway. This highway is good, bitumen for ten or so kilms and then a good gravel road, back to bitumen for a while and then back to gravel. We turned off the road and pulled into the historic town of Milparinka for a look. This was the first settlement out this way and is now just a pub, a restored police station, restored courthouse and not much else. The old police station is the information centre and is manned by volunteers. The gentleman there, Graham, told us that people volunteer to come for two week stints and are accommodated in an old restored stone cottage while they are there, he had come from Goulburne for his two week stay. We then travelled down to Packsaddle and said hello to Muriel Kennish’s daughter who, with her husband, own the Packsaddle Roadhouse. After lunch we moved on and was hoping to stop at the Fowler’s Gap Rest Stop but it is just a roadside stop. We back tracked about a kilometre to Fowler’s Gap Creek and drove up the dry creek bed to a lovely spot amongst the coolibah trees, we sat out on the sandy creek bed and had tea while we watched the sun set. Today we have travelled 368klms.

 

Day 9. Very cool start to the morning, there were ice crystals on the fly, but the sun was shining onto our creek bed so we sat Silverton Hotel, Siverton, NSW. That is the car used in the Mad Max movie parked in front of the hotel.out and had our breakfast. It was a great campsite, not a sound all night, a herd of feral goats walked past as we had our breakfast, I don’t think they even noticed we were there. After packing everything away my fingers were frozen from holding onto the cold steel sides of the truck to get everything tied down. We were on the road at 9.00am and heading for Broken Hill. We drove to the Information Centre and then to the launderette, had a coffee and vanilla slice while we waited for the washing to finish and while Alice looked after the drying of the laundry I checked my email on an unsecured wireless network. We went to the shopping centre, stocked up and then headed for Silverton, a supposed ghost town, 25 klms west of Broken Hill. Silverton is in the desert and was the town where the first Mad Max movie was made, the car is still sitting outside the pub. There are four or five art galleries, a museum, a couple of houses and a few abandoned stone buildings there now, it is a lovely little place to visit though. We are camped tonight at Penrose Park at Silverton, as soon as the sun set it became very cool. Today we travelled 140klms.

Day 10. Another cool start but once the sun was up it was a beautiful morning, we sat out and had breakfast and watched all the birds around the park. We had to wait around a while as the fly was wet from due and had to dry before I could roll it up.Kinshega Shearing Shed, Menindee, NSW. Drove into Broken Hill and filled with fuel, I can’t understand why fuel is cheaper in Broken Hill than it is in Brisbane, especially when you take the distance it has to come. We drove through a deserted town centre, Sunday morning, and headed south for Menindee. It was a good run, it is very dry, sandy flat country with low salt bush type vegetation, We saw a few emus on the way down but very little else in the way of wildlife or stock. Menindee is the oldest town on the Darling River, it’s a small place but does not look very prosperous. We called in at the Information Centre and had a talk to a very helpful old gentleman who told us where the campsites were around the place and then headed for Kinshega National Park. We drove through the park along the Darling River to the old shearing shed and then back through town to the Menindee weir and the Bourke and Wills campground where we have made camp for the night. It is a lovely spot by the river with plenty of level campsites, barbecues and fireplaces, it also has mobile phone reception, a real luxury.

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Camping at Bollon, Qld.
Currawinya NP, by th Paroo, Qld
At Cooper Creek, Qld.
A TRIP TO MUNGO NATIONAL PARK
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