Trip report - Coongie Lakes

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 20:40
ThreadID: 35190 Views:3968 Replies:6 FollowUps:4
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Just back from a 3 week trip to Coongie Lakes.
Basics : 4200 klms; used 825 Lts Diesel in the 4.2 Patrol towing the Coromal Camper. (Can I plead mud and sand for the excess fuel consumption?)
Route : Ipswich; Dalby; St Goerge; Cunnamulla; Thargominda; Bulloo Downs; Old Tickalara; Youngs Tank; Fortville Gate; Fort Grey; Camerons Corner; Merty Merty; Innamincka; Coongie Lakes; Jackson Oil; Eromanga; Quartpot Creek; Quilpie; Charleville; Home.

The road to Thargominda is bitumen – (like watching paint dry).
Bulloo Downs to Fortville gate was interesting – corrugated on sand then rocks on the wide gibber plains. Wide open scenery – red sand under the tyres at last. Camped by the Bulloo River.

Fort Grey is a surprise. Gas barbeques; toilets; clean water in the middle of a remote desert park.
Well marked walking tracks with information plaques were also a bonus.
Camerons Corner has gone all civilized with rooms and accommodation. Nice folk run it.
They had ran out of both unleaded and Diesel. We carried reserves – luckily.

The Old Stezlecki is a wide well graded road – 'thanks' to the oil coys.
Saw the Geothermal Energy Project – cold water pumped down one bore 4200 mtrs deep– turns to steam and returns to the surface by 2 bores to drive turbines. Water is cooled then back down it goes.
Had roast dinner at the Outamincka pub. Recommended.
Caught yellowbelly in the Cooper, which was flowing over the ford at Innamincka, and flowing into Coongie Lakes at a fair rate. The ford would cause concern without the trailer weight.
The road to Coongie was OK – a little corrugated but drive to conditions.
Coongie is a must visit – 'vast inland sea' is an apt description.
Too many rabbits for the dingoes to keep under control.
Saw dark storm clouds on the horizon which could have extended out stay a few weeks.
It dropped its load around Eromanga instead.
The Dig tree is fenced plus board walks – carvings are still clear.
The storm caused flooding on one property we camped on – got bogged on the way in and on the way out (with 13psi front and 17 psi rear). The owner is happy for us to send him a bill, anytime we visit and bring that much water.
Fossicked for opals NW of Eromanga and west of Quartpot Creek, and roasted marshmellows over glowing coals under a wide sparkling night sky (better than finding a fortune).

Stayed on another sheep property near Charleville – had 2” rain the night we arrived.
Another very happy farmer. Visited the Bilbies at Charleville.
Saw many Roos and Emus - feral pigs and Wedgetail eagles (breeding up from the road kill).
Dingoes, Rabbits and goats are definitely not endangered.
Had the tyre on the LHS camper burst twice – probably roo bones. (one Bridgestone; one Kumo)
Coopers on the Patrol were fine.
Nights were fairly cold. Days were brilliant.
Took 770 photos to re-live the experience before the next trip - (thanks to the digital camera and the laptop). Actually needed the GPS and laptop mapping on 3 occasions – but we were on remote tracks at the time. At least it justified buying the toys.
Best experience – Getting the camper out over flooded claypans onto the Winton Road.
Worst experience – how can you possibly have a bad experience on a West Qld desert holiday?
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 21:13

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 21:13
Sounds like you had a great time Keith.

We also saw many Wedgies during our trip to the SA NW Desert region.
They are a truely magnificent looking bird. We could get really close to them feeding, but as soon as we stopped to take a picture, they flew off.

I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

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AnswerID: 179954

Reply By: atoyot - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 22:04

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 22:04
Keith, I love reading posts like this; that's what it's all about, isn't it. First feeling is one of sheer jealousy, then all the memories of the last trip come flooding back, then you get all enthused about the next one. Time to get the maps out, fill in a leave form and pull the kids out of school. Or maybe I might just get the photo albums out (we still print ours and we usually take 800 or so photos - thank God for Harvey Norman 15c prints). To me, this is the cycle of travelling this country, reading about someone else's trip, then doing it all again yourself. My motto is "happiness is found along the way"; so true.


AnswerID: 179966

Reply By: Des Lexic - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 22:09

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 22:09
A fully agree with the others Kieth. A great read and brings backs heaps of good memories.
AnswerID: 179967

Reply By: GREENDOG - Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 22:21

Thursday, Jun 22, 2006 at 22:21
Keith, i agree with the other's, love reading great story's about your trip mate sound's like you had a ball,i ca'nt wait for my turn in 7 weeks time Adel,Lawn Hill,Karumba,Cairns,Tnsville,Winton,Longreach,Innamicka,Arkaroola,Parachilna,then home, i ca;nt wait ,cheer's GREENDOG
AnswerID: 179970

Reply By: Member - Brian H (QLD) - Friday, Jun 23, 2006 at 08:45

Friday, Jun 23, 2006 at 08:45
Enjoyed the read myself, and just so happens you have visited many of the places we are going to next year. So if its ok I may drop an email and get some more info off you.

AnswerID: 180024

Follow Up By: Keith_A (Qld) - Friday, Jun 23, 2006 at 10:10

Friday, Jun 23, 2006 at 10:10
Hi Brian - more than happy to fill in any extra details to help.
Could even send a CD of pics if useful.
We are planning next years trip to Broome - from your members info, seems you were in that area recently................Keith
FollowupID: 436223

Follow Up By: Member - Brian H (QLD) - Friday, Jun 23, 2006 at 19:28

Friday, Jun 23, 2006 at 19:28

Can you fire me off an email and I can then get some more info which will be great. Looking forward to chatting and would love the CD.

Will have to check my info have not been there as yet, however your one year ahead of me as I'm looking at Broome 2008.

FollowupID: 436340

Follow Up By: Keith_A (Qld) - Friday, Jun 23, 2006 at 22:55

Friday, Jun 23, 2006 at 22:55
Hi Brian - couldn't find youre email address. Mine is klladams at optusnet dot com dot au. Drop me a line..............Keith
FollowupID: 436386

Reply By: Shawsie (Bris) - Friday, Jun 23, 2006 at 14:16

Friday, Jun 23, 2006 at 14:16
Hi Keith, SHWBO & I are travelling a very similar route; Thargomindah to Camerons Corner; Bore Track to Innamincka, then Birdsville. How was the trip from Tharg. to Cam.Cnr in relation to track conditions etc? is this where you needed gps? I have track logs for most of my trip thanks to this site :o) but I'm in the dark from Tharg. to Cam.Cnr and any help would be appreciated. You can email me directly if you wish at
Cheers, Andrew
AnswerID: 180079

Follow Up By: Keith_A (Qld) - Friday, Jun 23, 2006 at 15:07

Friday, Jun 23, 2006 at 15:07
Hi Andrew - We went SW from Thargominda through Bulloo Downs, then across to Old Tickalara, Youngs Tank then via Fortville Gate.
The only time we needed the GPS was at the Left track to Fortville Gate.
The main track went straight to Camerons Corner, and our track was not signed.
Track was good - travelled the whole length in 2wd. The track crosses the sand dunes many times, but was quite solid and well graded - other than some build-up of soft sand each side of the dunes. As I said - 2wd stuff.
Where the road crossed the Gibber plains around Tickalara the road was a bit rough (as you would expect), but keep the tyres up to 50psi to avoid side wall damage.
In all it is a well defined well graded road. Will email you some pics.
The more major route is NW from Thargo via the Bulloo Devl road (Bitumen) then the Warri Gate road through Noccundra then Naryilco.
I would recommened you plan on stopping at Fort Grey. It is only 25klms from Camerons Corner, and well worth the stop over for a day.

We took the old Stezlecki, hoping to get away from civilization. Didn't work - wide well graded roads again. Never stayed in a caravan park the whole trip. Water can be an issue - we had 2 x 60 ltr tanks. Refilled at Fort Grey and the sheep stations. You can buy it from most stops - but I am looking at fitting a couple of water purifiers to the front - drop the shower 12V pump into the Cooper and pump it through the filter- clear water for washing etc and boil to drink. Better than running out, or showering/washing in the red/brown of the cooper.
You will enjoy it - just take care with drinking water, and perhaps carry 20lts fuel.
FollowupID: 436285

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