Jul
23

Going Bush, Down Under!

So after leaving the cold and wet of Sydney we headed West and slightly south to Canberra. We nearly got divorced en route as Al refused to get on a paytoll road and had a melt down. I explained that we had to get on said road as there was no other way and after circling Sydney several times he realised I was the best half and got on the right road!!

Arrived in Canberra, late on due to the detours and managed to find a camp site and pitch tent just before dark.

Barton Highway at Canberra12 Cookaburra

We decided to sleep in the car again tonight as we feared the cold. The temperature here was even colder to Sydney but at least it was dry. The wind though was like ice. The good thing was that the camp site had a TV room so we sat and watched a film, ate dinner and then went to bed. We were up early the next day and packed up and went into the town to check out the capital.

Although some parts were very pretty, the town seemed somewhat clinical and lacked character, but I suppose as it is only about 80 years old and purpose built that’s to be expected. We crossed over the main bridge and got a great shot of the Captain Cook memorial fountain with the parliament buildings behind.

Capt Cook Memorial Jet7 

Then it was on to the new Parliament house,

New Parliament House5 

with view over the Telstra building,

Ouch on Telstra tower 

the old parliament building

Old Parliament House2 

the anzac memorial

Anzac Memorial1 

We decided at this point that we would head north through the bush rather than travelling back up the well trodden East coast road. So off we went.

Onward to Molong3 

So we left Canberra on a rainy day and headed north Wagga Wagga bound. However after a further look at the map realised the route there was unsealed road and changed plans to head to Molong. En route stopped off to buy a fan heater as the cold was too much to bear. Headed through a small town called Orange which was full of posh houses and it’s very own Wentworth Golf course. Stopped off to get a picture of me with a singing monument to Banjo Paterson (the dude who wrote Waltzing Matilda) but unfortunately it was not signing.

The Non Singing Monument to Banjo Paterson 

I think Al was glad. Anyway continued north and found a cute wee campsite for the night, run by yokels. Half way through cooking dinner the gas ran out so instead of chicken stir fry it was more like steamed casserole.

The next day we headed north again destination Bourke – apparently the middle of the outback. The scenery on the way was fantastic with red dusty roads and vast openness.

Recent rain Sexy and Skippy Train station

Found an old railway track which Al played on and stole a bit of then headed on to Bourke. Stayed in a fantastic camp site with cam fire and yarns and we met a couple who we had a few vinos with and the night passed away blissfully under the stars by the fire.

Bourke Camping ground2 Bourke Camping ground1

The next day it was off again for another 400km bought. Not sure if we mentioned but  the fuel tank was not working so we had always topped up the gas at 400Km to assure we didn’t run out. Leaving the camp site without checking was a mistake and after about an hour’s driving we realised we had done 475 Km. We began to drive the equivalent of 55 mph to try an conserve gas and eventually we reached a small town Enngonia. and were sure they’d be gas here. Unfortunately not. Asked in the police station who advised us the nearest gas was another 37 Km away at which I shat myself and was sure we’d not make it. So continued to drive on at 75Kph. Amongst all this debacle we saw some amazing scenery from a flock of pink and grey Galas, to 5 kangaroos jump across the road in front of us, to the vast extensive sky and fluffy clouds and tumbleweed crossing the road in front.

Roadrunner emu2  Roo at Charleville

Anyway we made it to the gas station which was literally some pump in the middle of the bush. Fuel was extortionate at 152 a litre (normally 132). Put in $50 worth and set off again feeling relieved and proud of Skippy for making it.

Skippy full again  

Drove on to Charlesville seeing maybe only 10 cars in the 500 K. When we arrived we saw there was a Cosmos centre and observatory so Al went in and enquired about tours. They said he could come back at 18:30 for a tour and look through a telescope. So we headed off and bought some food for tea and after several wrong turns finally found the caravan park. The place was heaving but they managed to squeeze us in between two huts which was good to protect us form the wind. Set up, then headed back to the observatory where Al looked at the night sky and I found and internet and caught up on some of the blog.

Left Charleville the next morning, heading to Longreach. The road for the first few hundred Km was like the kangaroo killing fields with dead roos every few hundred metres. Very sad. I saw a half dead one at the side of the road who was just looking up at me with a big broken leg. Nothing we could do but drive on. Passed through Augathella, next place Tambo then on. The road continued to be strewn with dead animals and was not pleasant viewing. Later on that afternoon after a chip stop, the wildlife on this section of the road seemed to explode with massive herds of cattle working their way through the fresh grass at the roadside, reeking havoc (along with an odd whiff of garlic) to everything in their paths. The garlic smell and the rain continued all the way to Longreach. Pulled into a camp site at about 4ish to find out that it and the other campsites around were full. At this point decided just to continue on to Winton and spend the night in a motel. Well this was luxury a roof and proper bed – however in the morning on re-assessment was more like the hotel from Psycho.

Winton Motel luxury2 Shower from psycho Winton Motel luxury1

After breakfast the next day we saw the town’s highlight – Arnot’s wall – a wall made of junk.

Arnos Wall10 Arnos Wall5

We then took 4 attempts to leave the town as kept taking the wrong turn and thought we were stuck in the twilight zone. Continued on the never ending road in the wilderness where the only other vehicles were road trains that buzzed their 55m past at roaring speeds.

Caution Road Trains Buzzed by roadtrain1

Stopped briefly at “Walkabout Creek”, home to Crocodile Dundee but with in sign of him continued on. 

In search of Donk1 In search of Donk2

Set up camp early that night in Cloncurry and got stuck into a box of goon which was not the best move.

The skipmeister in Clonkers View from campsite

Awoke the next morning not happy and finally managed to leave at 11-30 to head to the north coast of Queensland – Karumba. Journey uneventful but grouchy due to sore heads.

Termite wasteland1 Unsealed highway  

Finally managed to reach Karumba at just after 5 o’clock only realising that we had no money – and the search was on for an ATM. Search was completed then off to caravan site. Tent erected, then off to the pub via the beach for sunset, fish and chips (couple o’ schooners of XXXX Gold to boot). Sunset good – only place in Queensland where the sunsets into the sea, food – alright, then back to the tent for a well earned kip.

Us and sunset Port of Karumba Karumba sunset  

Phoned Andy to wish him all the best for best manning at Robbie’s Wedding tomorrow and to pass on our congrats.
Try to sleep however the local oldies are hockey cokeying the night away to some old crooner just 100 ft away – f**kers.

Managed to get some sleep and in the morning headed back to Normanton, where we stopped to get pictures with a giant crocodile, some petrol and some brekkie.

 

Krys and Al Krys and Sarah

Headed south and then east towards Croyden then onto Georgetown. En route we saw less road kill and more trees and some amazing birdlife. While approaching an animal on the road I began to slow down as I thought it was a kangaroo. However as we got closer it transpired that to was a massive eagle about the size of a Emperor penguin. We were then swooped by a huge beast who had about a 2 m wingspan and was about 2m away from the car which cast a shadow over the windscreen, Al was pretty scared and convinced it was trying to take the car off to it’s giant nest and feed us to his chicks. However we survived to tell another tale. Carried on driving through Mount Surprise looking for the campsite which then appeared 40 k later. Had a 9 k off road track to the site and petrol was running thin so a bit worried we would break down (again).

 Finally a good shot of a Cow

Arrived at campsite which was fab, it was in the middle of nowhere with train carriages as the reception and dinner.

Undarra National Park2  

Checked in and bought a pack of meat from the shop – steak and sausages I think and booked tour for tomorrow to the lava tubes. Set up camp and a fire and cooked sausage and steak stir fry. Al ate the steak and said it was a bit dodgy and I had some snags which tasted odd. Listened to a load of kids singing around the camp fire and drank a couple of glasses of wine then off to bed for our last night of camping.

No Me Make Fire! Undarra Sun Set 2 Undarra Camp Set up

The next morning it was a trip to the lava caves, based at the campsite. They were pretty amazing and had been formed a volcanic eruption and subsequent lava flow. The top layer cooled and crusted over forming the tubes while the hot lava inside continued to flow until the eruption stopped.However the tubes were so well insulated that the lava flowed out leaving the tubes hollow.

Sarah In the Lava Tube Lava Tubes5  Lava Tubes2

An interesting yokel lad showed us around who seemed more excited than anyone else! Anyway from there it was back on roads well travelled along to Mount Garnet then back towards sunny Cairns.

 Skippy Does the Savannah Way Views over the Savannah Way

We stopped off at a crater along route which we though had been created by a meteor but was in fact just another volcanic eruption. Anyway headed back to Marty’s from there for a surprise encounter but will chat more on that in the next blog.

20 Responses to “Going Bush, Down Under!”

Max, Ally and Logan said:

OMG Adidas tracky bottoms and leather sandals!!! :o
Nuff said!

Posted on August 8th, 2007.

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