Bullah Bullah Waterhole (Dig Tree) QLD (via the Strzelecki & Bore Tracks)

Monday, May 30, 2005 at 00:00

Mick O

Monday 30th May, 2005
Bullah-Bullah Waterhole (Dig Tree), Queensland


It was a very chilly night and morning that greeted us. This did not deter the bush marvel from indulging in a brief bush bath by the side of the trailer. Very bloody invigorating to say the least. The fire was soon roaring and the jaffle iron heating for the breakfast fare which leads me directly to the lesson of the day.

Outback etiquette: Lesson 7. “A Jaffle is not a Breville”.

The outback culinary marvel known as “the jaffle” should never be referred to as “A Breville“. Brevilles are electrical appliances used by chardonnay swilling, latte sipping city dwellers to produce a toasted bread sandwich containing non-bush tucker such as turkey breast, cranberry and camembert. A jaffle on the other hand is a bush treat conjured from nothing by a masterful bush chef. It’s a lusty little hard shelled treat made using a red hot jaffle iron, specially crafted en masse by the drop-forgers of mainland China. The breaded envelope should be dark brown to black across its surface and charred beyond recognition at its edges. The contents of this delicacy often remain a mystery, even to those creating the masterpiece, but usually include anything that comes to hand. Left-overs from last nights spag-bol, crusty cheese, camp pie or road-kill (fresh of course), it matters not as all contents become unrecognisable once blessed by the magic wand of excessive heat.

9.00 a.m. saw us on the road west again towards Cameron’s Corner. The road wound its way through red sand hills punctuated by clay pans and gibber flats as we paralleled the dog proof fence. Often the road surface was blown out forming a depression or bowl up to 40 cm deep. This them filled with incredibly fine dust (bull dust) which had no impact absorbing qualities at all and rather was there to camouflage the deep rut or hole in the road. Very poor quality road.

We reached Cameron’s Corner within the hour and payed the obligatory pilgrimage to the corner store cum pub. Several other travellers in there including one fellow who’d knocked the top off his first beer. “Had to mate…it was a pilgrimage for me!” Amanda had an interesting encounter with chocolate yoghurt. It had originally started life as a UHT flavoured drink but ran off the rails somewhere between point of manufacture (east coast of Australia), and point of sale (Strzelecki desert…Middle of bloody no where!). It took her some time to recover.

Took photo’s at the corner and was able to have body parts in all three states at the same time. Not something accomplished since the Columbia shuttle disaster, although not on our turf I might add. There thought it might be an idea to take the road less travelled to Innamincka, namely the “Bore Track” which headed north from Bollards Lagoon Station itself only 14 km west of the corner. Certainly a differently route and 100 shorter in actual Km. Spoke to Peter and Cathy Sheehan at the corner who had expressed and idea of the same ilk and decided to team up together.

We headed off in convoy to Bollards lagoon where we met “the boss” and paid her our $11 fee ($5 donated to RFDS).Bore track is a privately owned track. She was quite forthcoming with a mud map and brief directions. “Turn left at the last building, out 2 k’s to the double gate, take the right hand gate and SHUT IT! You’ll be right from there”. Uuurr Ta love.

I Gave Peter our two portable UHF’s for comms and the great adventure began. It was a fantastic trip parallelling dunes for the first 30 kms. It was a classic station track often not more than a wind-eroded gutter cutting its way parallel to the dunes. The Road later intersected and absorbed several lengths of Santos developmental roads.Took lunch by the roadside and during the break, had a bit of a chat with a passing Santos workman.

The areas of the track cutting westward were best as they crossed the dunes. The track was a mixture alternating between sandy, corrugated and rough. Of course many obligatory photo stops were taken along the way.

Area where dune ended and onto gibber plains that themselves were raised some level above the surrounding dune country. Afforded excellent views near their edge north to the ranges bordering the cooper and Innamincka.

Hit the main road somewhat undeservedly called “Adventure Way” some 19 km east of Innamincka. Past several large and slow moving trucks hauling Atco’s to Moomba and then to the thriving metropolis of Innamincka. The place was even dustier than in December, if possible. Had a quick ale in the pub with the Sheehan’s before taking advantage of the facilities to shower. Colour of the water had to be seen to be believed. Didn’t smell like rotten eggs this time though. A lot more water in the cooper. Still a milky yellow, like a weak Chinese corn soup. Fuel a mighty 149.9 cents per litre. 4pm saw us on our way out of town towards the dig tree. The road is in appalling condition with several obvious frequent users opting to travel on the verges or off the road all together. It did prove to be much smoother at times but “sidewall paranoia” sets in. Road was very cut up with large rocks frequently turned up. Front end smashers indeed. Huge potholes and areas of bulldust.

Hit the Cooper again at Nappa Merrie but the “No Camping” & ”Private Land” signs were everywhere. No doubt forcing all and sundry to the Bullah Bullah camping area for land management reasons (and the hefty camping fee). That is however where we have ended up. Overlooking the water hole (Coopers Creek). Plenty of others here with various travelling rigs. About 10 vehicles in all. Firewood was very scarce but managed to scavenge enough for the BBQ. Very late stop so sun was almost set on arrival. Another spectacularly starry night by the fire and not as brisk as previous nights. Burke and Wills did it a damn site tougher here 145 years ago. God knows how they kept their Chardy cold! The neighbours are getting noisy. Obviously hitting the port. Bloody grey nomads lol!
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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