Burton's Perth to Cape York Longreach QLD Day 19-20 - 18 and 19 April 2011

Friday, Apr 27, 2012 at 16:13

Mike & Amanda

Three nights in one place - luxury, sleep-ins and laziness! Oh no, not to be, did I mention the damn corella alarm clocks? Every morning just before the rising sun, they and their partners in crime, the pink and grey clowns descend to just above our Odyssey and maliciously scream and cavort until I get up and make the elixir of camping life...the first cup of drip coffee...

Another thing, this is a caravan park. Last night we were surrounded by Western Australians, one from down the road from where we live! There are noisy and inconsiderate people in caravan parks. These people live in tents, caravans and some are even, shock, gasp, in camper trailers! They clang, bang, rattle, giggle, and make other alcohol fueled noises just as you drift into noddy land. Mind you, with the sun setting at about 7 o'clock the kids, with us not far behind are in bed by 7 or 8ish.....we inevitably exact our revenge making that first cup of coffee after the corellas have done their evil alarm call. A few days in a caravan park has us yearning for the remote bush camp site, minus the flies of course, and uh the sand flies...oh and don't forget the mossies...

This park can cater for hundreds of vans and people, it is huge, yet the swimming pool is a very small rectangle. It is clean,there is no doubt about that and filled with very stern adults that frown at the children, doing what children do. We banished the little folk to the far end to splash away whilst we chatted to the stern adults and caravan people. The park is full of Jaycos, Coromels, Goldstreams..and so on. Grey haired people can be seen struggling with satellite dishes and pointy looking TV antennas. A group of rowdy old people spending their children's inheritance are drinking copious amounts of beer around the pool cabana, happy hour or beer o'clock I think it is called.

We visited the Longreach town, the bakery being the first stop. The aroma of the most delicious pasties and pies filled the air. The kids openly gaped in amazement at the colourful cake counter, before the inevitable "dad, could I have...."

Mitre 10 provided some heavy duty gaffer tape to repair the Stone Stomper and stoneguard on the trailer, both looking a little frayed. Some cash from the ATM at ANZ to replace our depleted stores - it is amazing how many places we've encountered that don't have Eftpos and require old fashioned cash. By chance, next door was a very handy bottle shop that provided a carton of Heineken. Essential jobs done we zoomed toward the airport and the Stockman's Hall of Fame. Very impressive building, costing $70 for a family ticket to enter its' unusual in these days of OHS and liability, rapidly revolving door. The contents were interesting, however consisted mainly of displays that required the visitor to read or listen to copious amounts of text, resulting in museum overload very quickly. There was nothing in the place we haven't seen elsewhere and the special Ned Kelly exhibition consisted of about six tall posted with no exhibits at all. Oh well, we had to see it, but not again.

The Longreach School of Distance Education was amazing. This was the old school of the air and they provide a great tour of their facilities for around $16 a couple or $24 for the family. It started with an overview video followed by a tour of the facilities. Lastly we watched a Year 1 on-air teaching session using the computer and video cams. It is an amazing service and technology has certainly added another dimension. Our kids goggled at the amazing library and even managed to buy a book each.

The QANTAS museum had a fantastic cafe. Fortified with coffee and raisin toast we entered the new museum, displays of huge jet engines, stories of the founders, old planes and the story of the link with the Royal Flying Doctor Service. It is a compelling story and a tribute to so many brave and energetic people. Outside the kids crawled into a WW2 DC3. The original QANTAS hanger was open and once again the kids were able to climb into a replica of an old Gypsy Moth. Sadly the big 747 was closed to the public due to ground subsidence under the front wheel. An old fuel tank used to be located there and the ground had never been properly compacted.

Into town, The exciting shop at IGA, a visit to outback stockists Kinnon and Co to see an original Cobb and Co Mail Coach. Kate's heart melted when she spotted a little cattle dog stuffed toy...she immediately purchased it with "her own money" and named it BK after a dog in a movie she recently watched...look out Lulu!

Thirty plus degree temperatures and ice cream in the shopping saw us rush back to the camper and a well earned swim. We also returned to find some miserable caravanner had moved in on our spot, his door side facing our tables and chairs, only about 3 meters away. These were the shut the door, air conditioner-on and don't bother with any socialisation types. An effort to chat later rewarded me with a couple of grunts and their TV turned up!
Mike & Amanda
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