Day 1. 25th June. Two years ago I planned to go on this trip but at the last minute a health problem stopped it. Last year we were to go but the birth of my grand daughter stopped it again. Today we are off, across Australia, and back, on gravel roads. The Landcruiser has been washed and polished, loaded, fuel tanks filled and at 8am we hit the road, first forJervois Station camp siter Blackbutt, where we picked up John & Pauline, who will spend the first couple of days with us, then through Yarraman to the Swing Bridge at Cooyar for morning tea. Then on to Dalby, where we top up with fuel and have lunch. After lunch we head for Tara and Meandarra where we camped for the night by the creek. We had to retreat inside when the rain started. A very good camp spot though. Fuelled at Dalby 28.63ltrs, $36.51, 221.6klms. Today we travelled 313.8klms.

Day 2. Cloudy but not cold, had breakfast and hit the road at 8am. First stop was Surat. All this area is growing, the Surat Basin is all coal and will soon all be a large mining area. On to Roma filled with fuel, had morning ea at the Big Rig, had a look around town and headed west for Mitchell. Mitchell town centre was very quiet, the van parks seemed only half full, if that. We stopped for lunch, pies from the bakery and then headed for Morven. We camped for the night at the Morven Sports Grounds where there is limited power, first in best dressed and hot showers all for a donation. A good camp spot which I hope doesn't get spoilt by travellers abusing the privileges offered there. Rain started during "Happy Hour" but there was a good shelter available and we called it a night at tea time. Fuelled at Roma 43.08ltrs, $57.19, 323.4klms. Today we travelled 368klms.

Day 3. We had a little rain during the night but I was able to dry the fly off before hitting the road at 8.30. We drove to Charleville and on arrival headed for the Information Centre. The centre is at the Cosmos Centre and is a very well set out place with a friendly and helpful staff. We had a look around and just as I was about to walk out in walked Bob & Lyn Phillips whom I haven't seen in years. We had a good old chat before saying goodbye and heading up town for morning tea. John and Pauline then left us to make their way back home and we hit the road, heading west for Quilpie. We stayed the night at the Sundown Caravan Park. At four o'clock the park put on billy tea and damper. This was quite pleasant and the guests sat around and talked, there are some well travelled people out on our roads. The county side is beautiful at the moment, the grass is green and long, it's amazing what rain does to this part of the country. Fuelled at Charleville 38.26ltrs, $55.06, 275.6klms. Today we travelled 310.7klms.

Day 4. On the road by 8.30 after filling with fuel. Today we headed north west to Windorah, there was no traffic at all on the road so we just travelled at a leisurely 70 KPH. The road is just a single band of bitumen through dead flat county side, Georgena Riverwhenever a vehicle passed you just run two wheels off into the gravel, as does the other driver, except if it is a road train, then you get right off the road and stop. At the halfway mark, Kyabra Creek, is a picnic table so we stopped for morning tea and at 11 started on our leisurely way again. It is all so green out here at the moment, the creeks have water in them and there is a bit of surface water lying around too. We reached Cooper's Creek at 12.45 and stopped for lunch before heading into Windorah for a look around. This is a very, very small town with just the one shop, police station, bank, school, a lovely Information Centre cum library and museum. A drive out to the red sand hills filled in the afternoon before heading back to Cooper's Creek where we are camped for the night next to a couple who have really travelled around Australia, we sat around with them before tea and had a good chat. Fuelled at Quilpie 31.79ltrs, $47.65 ($1.499 per ltr), 216klms. Today we travelled 287klms.

Day 5. A change of plans this morning. We were going to run out to Bedourie and then up to Boulia but have now decided to run up through Jundah, Stonehenge and on to Longreach for the night and then up to Winton and down to Boulia. We have done the Bedourie, Boulia run before. So at 8.30 we were on the road, again at a steady 75 to 80 KPH. There is no traffic so I hold nobody up at this speed. It is a lovely run up to Jundah, all the countryside is green from recent rains, we are lucky to see it like this. Jundah is a lovely little town, very tidy and lots of bougainvillea growing. To get into Stonehenge from this end we turned onto a a gravel road which has been churned up a bit with traffic over it while it was wet. Stonehenge is also a nice little place, they have a small rest area with showers and power in the centre of town where we stopped for morning tea. Just before Stonehenge is a lookout which is quite spectacular because all the land below is dead flat as far as all horizons. We arrived in Longreach about lunch time and did a bit of shopping, filled with fuel and water. We had a walk around town before heading for our camp spot for tonight at Macsland Rest Area, 24klms north of Longreach. This is a large rest area where you can get right off the road into little bush land camp spots, very good, it also has full mobile phone coverage. Fuelled at Longreach 68.31ltrs, $97.61, 603.9klms. (by slowing down my consumption has gone from 7.133klms per ltr to 8.842klms per ltr) Today we travelled 342.7klms

Day 6. There was a bit of rain during the night. It started around tea time and we had some heavy falls early in the morning. This was a good camp spot, we were well off the road so it was nice and quiet. We were on the road by 8.30 heading north west for Winton. The grey nomads are starting to hit the road and there was a lot of chatter on the two way radio, ladies talking about their crocheting etc. We stopped in Winton and had coffee at the Information Centre, walked around town and then hit the road for Boulia. The first part of the trip was all flat open grasslands, very green from the recent good rains. AfteNorthern territory Queensland borderr about 80klms we were driving through old eroded mountain landscape with jump-ups and flat top hills, still green but now breaking to spinnifex. The countryside is really something to see after the rains, it might be 10's of years before it is like this again. There are no towns on this road but after about 185klms we came to the Middleton Hotel, built in 1876 and now the last one of eight such places built as staging posts for Cobb and Co coach services. It is classed as Queensland's remotest pub. Thirty kilometres further is the Middleton Rest Area where we are camped for the night. The skies are clear with a south easterly blowing, we are in for a cool night and a cold morning. Today we travelled 370.2 klms.

Day 7. Very cool morning but it was lovely sitting out in the sun having breakfast. We were on the road by 8.30. Just down the road we came to the Cawnpore Lookout. The hills around are all eroded but the surrounding landscape is dead flat from horizon to horizon, this was once the Eromanga Sea. Stood here on this bluff you can just imagine it. We drove on to Boulia where we filled with fuel, went to the Information Centre to check road conditions ahead, had a bit of lunch and headed for the Donohue Highway. This started off a good sealed road but soon became a gravel road. Because of the big wet they have had it is actually just two tyre tracks. Because it has not dried out it has become compressed with the traffic on it and so is quite smooth to drive on, no corrugations or bull dust. We have driven about 125klms along and come to the Georgena River where we have camped for the night. We have the place to ourselves, as a matter of fact we have the highway to ourselves. Fuelled at Boulia, 67.42ltrs, $94.32, 542.7klms. Today we have travelled 282.2klms.

Day 8. The sun comes up later out west, so we slept in a bit this morning, had breakfast and was on the road at nine. It is so green out here, the Mitchell grass is knee high, the graziers are going to have a few good years and young steers are being dropped out on the stations to fatten up. Still no traffic on this highway. It is the only highway I have driven on at no more than 75KPH and not been overtaken, the first and only car to overtake me today did so after 190klms. The road is still good, sometimes wide, sometimes just two tracks, sometimes rough gravel but mostly compacted red clay. We pulled off the road for lunch, as there are no rest areas as such along here, and early afternoon arrived at Jervois Station where we have decided to stay for the night. They have a caravan park area, showers and toilets, $10.00 per vehicle per night. I asked if they had a book store, as I had forgot to pack any books other than the one I was reading. The lady said she would see and to check back later, when I did she had two boxes of new, good books, including two Lynda La Plant, which I had beTermite mound Plenty Highway, NT.en looking forward to reading. At $2.00 each, as a donation to the Flying Doctor, I bought five. Today we travelled 345.5klms.

Day 9. It was a very cold, late start. 9am we were on the road. From here there were road works going on along the road. In places the road is being raised and widened and parts of the road were very good, some of the best gravel roads we have travelled on. As we neared the Harts Ranges though we were brought back to earth, the road became very rough, corrugated and loads of bull dust, this lasted for about 20klms, until the Harts Range Police Station, but it was very bad. Just past the police station we turned into the Tiger Eye camp grounds for a look. These are the camp grounds for the fossicking fields that are here. It is a really well set up place, toilets, showers with a donkey water heater, shelters and a laundry. Not a camper in sight, but when they arrive they have a good place to camp. We then drove on to the zircon fossicking fields and decided to stay and try our luck. We spoke to a couple who told us where to go to get amongst it and headed off. I went for a wander to see what people were finding and came across a couple who were slaving away but, he told me, for little reward. His wife showed me a zircon they had found and as I held it up to the sun for a look, I dropped it. Well no matter how hard we looked we couldn't find it, so I made as dignified as a retreat as I could. We did a bit of scratching around but only came up with cracked stones. At 5pm we called it a day and set up camp for the night. Today we travelled 230.9klms.

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Cawnpore Lookout Western Qld.
Cawnpore lookout Western QLD
The danahew Highway Western Qld.
ACROSS AUSTRALIA TO THE KIMBERLEYS
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