Friday, May 23, 2014

Over the Border to Northern Territory 15th to 23rd

Thursday 15th
     We crossed the border this morning at 8.30am. Now 8am as we are in the Territory, 1/2 and hour behind Qld.
     Spent sometime yesterday enjoying the last of Queensland at Camooweal billabong, where we have been for 3 days. I collected some neat rocks but can't take all of them with me so have taken this photo to remind myself and everyone of the beauty that they are.
 There was a full moon that night and we took time out to enjoy it, had a couple drinks to depart the state of Queensland and watch this view of the moon coming up through the trees as we sat in front of Dilligaf admiring.

Any way you want!
as long as you want straight

   We travelled about 20 minutes before crossing the border, there is not much to see on the way, just more of those long straight roads again, as this shot shows really well. We came across Vince, the bike rider again, at one of the rest stops we had along the way, man!! he is making good time.
                                      We went about 200 km today to the Barkly Homestead Van park, a bit too far compared to the normal travelling k's we do, but found an oasis in the middle of nowhere, a very nice place to spend the night. This photo is of the original homestead, the van park is behind it.

     Friday 16th
Hey Yip! another great place
to explore eh?
     Moving on, 117km today to a free camp called 41 mile bore, stacks of room here, Dot and Yip thought it was pretty neat, lots of walking space. Dot seems to be enjoying herself, making friends with all who come our way. Yip is travelling really well, getting used to the new places everyday and meeting people all the time, she gets quite cheeky at times and gives the people she thinks are O.K. little nips on their fingers, the folks love it.

           Saturday 17th
     Made Stuart Highway this morning at Three ways. Turned left at the intersection on to Tennant Creek,( have decided to give Darwin a miss, too big and crowded for us, Cities! Yuk!!). Travelling down the highway and look what I see  out the window! HILLS ! well -  where did they come from? long time since have seen any of those things, (Ha Ha ) there are a few of them here and all along the way to Tennant Creek.
Remnants of Bonney Well
      Stopped long enough in Tennant to restock the larder with a few things and went looking for a camp site 11km east of Tennant Creek. Couldn't find the place so turned back and headed south along the Stuart for 87km to a rest area called Bonney Well. There is a water course near so went to check it out with Yip and Dot. We found a nice sized billabong about 100mt upstream of the bridge and Dot couldn't wait to go in for a swim, had a ball splashing and carrying on. Yip was not so keen to jump in but enjoyed being splashed and went for a paddle." Oh, I enjoy swimming" I reckon Dot said. Spent an enjoyable evening and lazy morning the next day at Bonney Well rest area.

             Sunday 18th
C'mon Devil play marbles
with me! (the devil won)
     To Wauchope (pronounced war-hope) today but first called into the Devils Marbles. An aboriginal Sacred site with a fantastic display of naturally occurring boulders of all shapes and sizes stacked precariously one atop the other.

     Could have camped here overnight but the dogs weren't allowed out of the day car park, so I took these photo's and we continued on to Wauchope.

     At Wauchope there's not much to see. Only the Pub and the van park behind the pub which is where we camped. There was the publicans dog, a red cattle/dingo cross, a great looking male with a red mottled coat and very bushy tail, anyway Yip and him had a ball, playing with each other for a couple of hours, and Dot thought he was pretty too.
NOTE- the sights!

     Inside the hotel was this (Presumably Aboriginal) Spear and boomerang with built-in telescopic sights. Very funny.


Next morning while walking Yip and Dot this neat sunrise over the hotel was something I thought worth a photo.
A very nice interlude at the Wauchope Hotel.

               Monday 19th
Wycliff Well Roadhouse
     15 minutes down the highway today we came across Wycliff Well, the U.F.O capital of Australia, (so the sign said).

Not much here, the roadhouse with all sorts of U.F.O collectibles and a big4 caravan park. Had a look around then went on to a road-side rest area called Taylors Creek where we spent the night.

                      Tuesday 20th
The interior of the Barrow Creek Hotel
After a good nights sleep we moved on to Barrow Creek. A run down hotel with a bit of character on the inside. We stopped here for breakfast 'cause Jim can remember stopping here over 30 years ago (before we met) and getting very inebriated, oh happy memories!!.
Maybe one the signatures is his, he can't remember if he did or not!! and the ceiling is covered in money of all kinds, Jim reckons one of them may be his, who knows?

Overland Telegraph Station
Barrow Creek
     There is a great set of buildings here which is the remnants of the overland telegraph station.
The stone work is something to be admired and was probably gathered from the surrounding area.

      On the highway just before entering Barrow Creek the rock formations are very impressive and the hilly country is like this photo.

We travelled a bit further to spend the night at John McDouall Stuart Memorial rest area.
    Next morning while walking Dot and Yip up a track running parallel to the highway we came across this huge nest on the ground. An ant nest, I guess, although there was no evidence of any insects at all. The outside measurement of this nest like structure had to be about 18 inches around the base, made of the red dirt which is in abundance here and then overlaid with grasses and sticks. A strange thing to see, is all I can say.
                  Wednesday 21st
Ti Tree roadhouse
     On to Ti Tree today. Drove around the streets then crossed the highway to a sign that read -
 "Store - Free camping", had a look but elected to return to the roadhouse which has a van park behind it. Set up camp for a day or three, just to chill-out for a while. The area is nice and quiet with green grassy sites for only $20. per night.
                 Thursday 22nd
      Staying at Ti Tree until Saturday, there are plenty of places to walk the pup's and we are enjoying the relax.
We had a few spits of rain today, just enough to dampen the ground.
Yip and Dot relaxing outside the bus
     Yip had some fun with a group of three young brothers, camping with their parents aged about 7 to 12 or so, she was playing with the youngest of them, growling and darting back and forward at him, being very cheeky. The older boy was also treated to some cheek from her.

             Friday 23rd
     Another great day is had by us all. We will head off tomorrow, toward Alice Springs with a couple of stops on the way. Life is good, see you.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Still heading north 8th to 13th (Northern Territory next)

 Thursday 8th

We left the truck-stop at Fullarton river this morning, where we met this bloke, Vince, who is cycling from Yamba in N.S.W., to Broom and on to Perth in W.A. That's a long way by leg power only. He said he averages about 100 km per day, if he needs to. Imagine walking 100km a day just for fun!! not me thanks, I'll stick with the bus.
Me and the pups at Chinaman creek dam
     We travelled through Cloncurry on to Chinaman Creek dam, which is just west of the township to have another look, there has been some rain since we were last here in July 2013. It certainly is different this time! The dam is almost full by the look of it, very pretty compared to nearly 12 months ago, although it was nice then too!.

Chinaman creek dam - Cloncurry
We had a look around and the pups had a drink of the fresh water. We continued on to a rest stop half-way between Cloncurry and Mount Isa called fountain Springs rest area to spend the night.

Friday 9th
     Spent heaps in Mount Isa this morning, replenishing the larder, drinks cabinet and the tank in Dilligaf, along with filling up a couple of extra fuel cans as we are going far into the unknown outback today and the next few days with very few fuel stops that we know of. Got everything accomplished by midday and continued north-west about 50km to a rest stop which is a WW2 airfield, an historic sight where we spent the night.

     There is a stretch of road which was built before the war which they have preserved for future generations to see. It runs parallel to the new road and is just as long and straight as all the roads around here but it follows the contour of the land instead of cutting through hills etc.

     Also there is this billboard sign which explains all they did and what they achieved, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of world war 2. So a bit of interesting history for me.
             Saturday 10th
     Moving on, travelled approximately 130km today, to Camooweal, gateway to the Northern Territory. Arrived before lunch and parked up at the Post Office Hotel caravan park. Paid for a couple of nights. This sign is on the wall of the roadhouse and tells it all!! We have come from Townsville, but on a longer route than this sign fore-tells, and we have a way to go before we get to Tennant Creek, which is our objective at the present time.

       Sunday 11th
     Had a look around town this morning, took all of half an hour, not much to see really, there is the hotel of course, a post office with small shop and essential grocery items and 2 service stations, a small one with a mini mart-takeaway and other assorted stuff and a BP roadhouse with all the usual roadhouse goodies with a huge truck parking area.
     There were a couple of odd things, one was this historic general store, falling into disrepair (sadly), but the stone walkway out front is very impressive.
    The other was this Kangaroo statue outside the roadhouse under the trees with some picnic tables and chairs. I have no idea what the horns represent (obviously the cattle industry in some way) but strange to say the least.
     I had a fun day, the pup's have enjoyed themselves and I'm sure Jim has been having a ball too.

Monday 12th
     We moved on today - went a whole (maybe) 2 kilometres, over the Georgina river on the west side of Camooweal to the Camooweal Billabong. It's pretty here and plenty of room, it is a free camp along side the river which is choka's full of lilies, there are huge white and blue ones and a smaller pink one and another kind of water plant with yellow fluffy flowers on it.  Absolutely beautiful.
      We will stay here for the maximum allowable length of 48 hours and head off towards the Northern Territory probably on Wednesday 14th, following the long road out of town. I'll leave you at present, with this image of the road we will  travel on in our continuing saga of fun and frivolity.

     Catch you when we hit the Territory!!



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Change of plan 4th to 7th May- Blackall to McKinlay (chasing warmth)

            Saturday 3rd
   Wow!! awoke this morning to only 3 degree temperature. Oh-h-h, so-o too cold for us, after a little discussion we have decided to head back the way we came, eventually heading for Darwin, chasing the warm weather, (we have been going in the wrong direction, only going to get colder as we head south)
             Sunday 4th
     Packed up this morning and went as far as Ilfracombe again. Fueled the bus and actually gave her a wash before leaving Blackall, (looks like some-one owns the rig now that she's clean again), got to Ilfracombe lunch time.

     Monday 5th
     Walked the dogs this morning and couldn't resist taking another photo of the sunrise here in Ilfracombe, they are something else around these parts.

      Heading to Cloncurry via Barcaldine, Longreach, Winton, on the Winton-Cloncurry road. The road is so-o-o- long and straight, they're all like this in the outback by the looks of it, and the scenery is very unchanging. Got to Winton before lunch and rested up for a couple hours and continued on to Kynuna. a little place in the middle of nowhere with a pub, roadhouse and caravan park, police station and not much else. The population of the town in 1894 was 400, in 1994 it was only 15 and now in 2014, is only 2, I believe. The pub is the Blue Heeler Hotel, very quaint old outfit with caps all over the wall in one bar and the other bar wall and ceiling is covered with names etc that people have done on the visit here from all over the country and the world, the wood furniture is pretty nice too. We stayed in the van park at the roadhouse for tonight and tomorrow night, to give the driver a good spell before we head off again on Wednesday.

          Wednesday 7th
     Drove to McKinlay this morning, the home of the Walkabout Hotel, you know the one! Crocodile Dundee's pub. Well the hotel wasn't open yet, the information centre and craft shop at the old post office doesn't open until June, so, there was nothing for it but to have some breakfast and carry on.
     We went to a truck stop a couple of k's past the Fullarton river by 11.30 am, about 46 km north east of McKinlay. We will spend the night here and make for Cloncurry or maybe Mt Isa tomorrow, in our new journey destination of Darwin. (however long that may take us!) It is a long way I know and on those lo-o-o-ong roads most of the way. All is good.  Hooroo for now.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Isisford to Blackall 1st to 4th May

     Thursday 1st
We got away from Isisford reasonably early this morning on our way to Blackall. The road is tarmac and pretty good travelling. On our arrival in Blackall (just before actually) this sculpture is in the park we are camping in at the entrance to town. It is an eagle and it's nest, made of recycled metal, found mostly in the Barcoo river, and the stand is made out of old bridge timbers, rather neat construction.
     We had to get a camping permit to spend a maximum of 3 days in the camp at $8.00 per night. We have decided to stay a couple of days here so got a permit for 2 nights.


      Having done that I took a look around town in the afternoon and found these old buildings. The one on the right is an old Cinema and the left one  is a memorial statue to Jack Howe - legendary shearer -  he is Australia's most famous sheep shearer who shore 321 sheep with blade shears in 7 hours and 40 minutes, (a record that has never been broken) in front a replica of the Universal Hotel.
     Friday 2nd
     Did some sightseeing today and shopping, taking the whole day to do very little, but what a way to spend my time!!
     Saturday 3rd
     Staying another night and heading for Tambo tomorrow.