NSW---QLD---NT---SA August 2013

Submitted: Wednesday, Oct 02, 2013 at 20:47
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On August 1st we left the home town and headed north. First stop Wilcannia where we camped on the Darling River near the old golf course. A very quiet and relaxing spot for the night. This free camping spot was recommended by the local Police Station.
Our next day drive was from Wilcannia to Tilpa on the south side of the Darling River as the northern side was too rough according to the locals, the road was in a real mess with wash out’s each side of the track that could not be avoided. I named them “The Suspension Busters”. If you tried to miss the left side holes you would end up in the right ones. The worst section was between Trevallyn and Budda Stations.
As the river has been fenced off to the public there is only one spot we found where we could walk to look at the river. On arrival at Tilpa we had lunch at the local and talked with bar staff and other travellers regarding road conditions to Louth and Bourke. The northern side was our choice to Louth which is in far better condition and from Louth to Bourke was like a highway.
As we had been in this area before we decided to stay at Augathella for the night. Road kill started at Bourke and got worse the further north we went, so it was a bit like driving on the off bitumen, “driving to the conditions”. Not a lot to see at Auga but had good night’s sleep in the C’van park.
Heading north for Barcaldine next day with a stop at Blackall to see the Black Stump and go through the Wool Scouring Plant which is well worth a visit, as the Guide we had was very clued up and full of knowledge with the whole plant. We then headed to Barcaldine for the night.
Longreach was our next stop for 2 days where we went to check out the Quantas Aviation Museum including the Wing Walk on the Boeing 747 wing. We also visited the Stockman’s Hall of Fame and me being an old bushy we seen the Live Stockman’s Performance which is a MUST see. How this young man has trained his horse is a real credit to him, his wife and horse.
Departing Longreach for Hughenden via Winton there was less road kill, even thought Western Queensland is in a bad Drought the dead roo’s on side of road was decreasing. We noticed the Age of the Dinosaur sign post and continued on into Winton where we told we had to go Hughenden for the Dinosaur Museum, so we fuelled up and headed off. The road from Winton to Hughenden is rough bitumen (at the time) but the Queensland Government are spending a lot on their outback roads as we seen road crews on just about all our travels. At arrival at Hughie we were informed that we had driven past the Dinosaur Museum. Very disappointed indeed!! Never mind, next time.
As we did not want to arrive into Townsville prior to our son starting leave we decided to go as far as Charters Towers the next day, then into Townsville the following day for a week. Our camper trailer was stored at Storage King Hyde Park about 2 k’s from the sons flat. Storage King Storage outlets are nearly Australia wide and are very good and competitive with their prices. I do recommend them.
After 2 days in Charters Towers we headed west for Cloncurry staying overnight at Richmond so we could have a look at the Fossils and remains of Dinosaurs and Sea Creatures of the Great Inland Sea. Cloncurry was to be a place of interest for me; my Uncle was an Inland Missionary Minister there about 45 years ago. Unfortunately there are no records of the names and dates of the Ministers who served there. We visited the Mary Kathleen Museum and Rev John Flynn Museum and Airport. Our Sunday Night evening meal was at the Central Hotel (as not much open for meals) and the roast was red raw meat, ate the salad and departed!
Two days were spent at the very interesting town of Mount Isa, “what a town in the middle of nowhere”, The 15 min scenic joy flight was worth the money as we had a good look over the City, Queensland’s largest operating Copper Mine, Lake Moondarra and smaller operating mines with a knowledgeable Pilot in the small Chopper. Also went to the Old Underground Hospital Museum and a general look around town with time to relax before heading west next day.
Camooweal was chockers with people as the annual Cattle Drovers Camp was being held. So we refuelled, crossed the border into N.T. for Barkley Homestead which has a pretty good camping area, but at $40-00/night for unpowered is a bit rich.
At Threeway we turned left for Alice Springs and went as far as Ti Tree where they have whopping evening meals. There were twelve people there for the evening meal and not one of them could eat the lot. I have never had such a big serve on a plate. But it was “bloody nice”. More than we can say for their shower/toilet units, not many used them as they are a real disgrace to the hotel and let’s hope they see the light and replace them soon.
Alice Springs was our next destination where we stayed for 3 days to relax and catch up with Relations. Whilst staying at the McDonald Ranges Caravan Park we had 3 ExplorOz vehicles around us. Sorry I can’t remember their names but if they read this they will remember the silver Pioneer Camper. Checking out of the park after 3 days we then headed for Marla where we refuelled before heading east along the Oodnadatta Track for Marree. Camping just off the track in the Coongra Creek was a country treat for us after all the Caravan Parks.
So far the Track is in very good condition from Marla to Oodnadatta; on arrival at Oodna we had a bite to eat at the pink roadhouse, look around town then headed to William Creek. After a nice hotel feed we headed for the camper as storms were brewing in the SW, a storm hit William Creek with strong wind and some rain. The wind played havoc with swags, tents, and campers, but no damage done.
Heading to Marree early morning gave us the chance to see a Dingo about 1km out of William Creek and four snakes towards Marree. Thought we would have seen these animals and creatures up north. Arriving at my second home Marree (Muloorina Station) we visited the Marree Hotel for a coldy, quick snack and a spot behind the Pub for the night. As we had been to William Creek before and Marree heaps of times the main reason was to see the Tom Kruse Memorabilia Room at the hotel that has been done by new publicans Phil & Maz Turner. Well done Phil & Maz.
Approx 6,500 Kilometres, 500+ Litres of Diesel. Average fuel cost $ 1.75 Ltr.
Dearest diesel locations; Marla $2.22, Oodnadatta $2.10, Marree $2.05

Cheers and happy travelling to all P&J

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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Oct 03, 2013 at 22:09

Thursday, Oct 03, 2013 at 22:09
Hi Paul

Sounds like you had a great trip, and saw some great outback country.


Cheers


Stephen
Simpson Desert Colours

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Follow Up By: P and JM - Friday, Oct 04, 2013 at 17:35

Friday, Oct 04, 2013 at 17:35
G'day Stephen,

Trip was very quick as we only had the month to do it in, but we had fun and enjoyed it.

Yes the outback changes so much there is always something different to see.

Would have done more off road but have a problem with camper so stuck to the tar for various reasons.

The Oodna Track was is real good shape but you still get those from various parts of Aussie that DON'T know how to slow down for oncoming traffic on the dirt roads.

Never the less we had a good safe trip.

Catch you soon, Regards P&J
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