Bringing Henry Home - Cloncurry to Tennant Creek

Monday, Jun 12, 2017 at 10:00

Peter Beard (WA)

Monday 12 June 2017

Another early morning and another long day of driving but Henry is now happily parked at the Bluestone Motel Tennant Creek and Pete and Ali are firmly ensconced at the Tenant Creek RSL Memorial Club – one of those truly Australian oases that can be found in towns and cities across the country. On this public holiday Monday it is the only place open for dinner, and it also runs a courtesy bus between Tennant Creek’s hotels and motels gathering up weary travellers and locals to make sure they can have a meal, a drink and not get busted by the local cops.

The drive from Cloncurry to the Queensland/Northern Territory border goes first through the industrial town of Mount Isa - its refinery stacks belching smoke into a blue sky dotted with high, white clouds. Pete and Ali grabbed a coffee, fuel and sandwiches then continued west for the long drive to the border and Stuart Highway beyond. The first couple of hundred kilometres are amazing. The road weaves through rocky hills and down into steep gullies, most water courses dry except for the mighty Leichhardt River, which eventually empties into the Gulf of Carpentaria way up north near Burketown. From the border onwards the land is pure cattle country - flat dry grass plains dotted with a surprising number of trees.

Trees were absent from Pete, Kris and Henry's third day on the road from Perth - the incredible Nullarbor Plain. Their new travelling companion Colin settled into Henry's back seat and the trio enjoyed a selection of Triple J Roy and HG This Sporting Life podcasts playing through the stereo. When telecommunications allowed Colin was busy findng an alternative shitbox so he and his partner could do the Shitbox Rally. It wasn't too hard – let’s face it, there are plenty of old cars worth less that $1,000 sitting out there. He was able to secure a Toyota Corolla that had done last year's Shitbox Rally from MacKay to Hobart. It had returned to Adelaide and was being used as a daily driver but its owner was happy to send it off on another adventure. That's the true Shitbox Rally spirit; always ready to help.

Pete, Kris and Colin spent their third night at the beautiful Streaky Bay. Just a few kilometres down the Flinders Highway from Ceduna this lovely seaside town offers a delightful haven for travellers coming off the Nullarbor. The pub looks over the jetty with incredible sunset views and has a top notch restaurant with a great seafood menu. The boys had a rather late night of it, getting in to the rally spirit. The next day would be Adelaide and time to get serious. Seriously Shitbox!

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