Woke to a spectacular sunrise. Went for a walk first thing to the local bakery to buy a fresh loaf and a couple of rolls for lunch.
Heading north today, wasn’t sure where I would stop so just set off. BTW At the moment I am listening to a John Grisham audiobook called, ‘The Whistler”, not a bad story.
First major town is Barcaldine but I stayed there not that long ago so didn’t stop at all and headed toward Longreach.
Stopped for a while at Ilfracombe and took some pictures of its machinery mile and walked round the town before having one of my cheese rolls – wish I had bought more, they were excellent.
Drove on to Longreach where I stopped again for a break.
Arrived in Winton mid afternoon and booked into one of the not very promising caravan parks that the town has to offer. The main street is undergoing major renovations, the entire eastbound lane has been torn up and a detour in place.
Minor domestic disaster, my china mug has cracked, must have endured one bump too many.
Wasn’t sure which way to go today but in the end decided to go west, initially thought I might stay at Mitchell but once I arrived at that town it was still early so decided to push on to Charleville.
I didn’t stop in Roma because it is not long since I was last there. Click here to see that visit.
Passed through various scenery, some open paddocks others more wooded. The weather so far on this trip has been perfect.
Stopped a couple of times once at Muckadilla – somewhere I have stopped before, it is a tiny town, little more than a service station and a few buildings but let’s face it who would not want to stop somewhere called Muckadilla? The name just appeals, even better they even offer free camp sites behind the community hall.
At Charleville found a caravan park that I had stayed at before which was pleasant enough and set up before going for a walk. Charleville is also a place I have visited a couple of times before, the last time not that long ago, I have seen the Bilbys before and it was closed while a show was in progress so I didn’t stop. Click here to see the last visit.
There must have been a rodeo in town because the commentary could be heard all afternoon and evening from the caravan park the activities were followed by a band which was quite enjoyable.
Had a bit of a scare in the evening when I hurt my back and could hardly walk but fortunately by the morning it was back to normal.
Distance: 448 Km
Fuel: 49 L
Even as I left Roma I had not decided where I would stop for the night. I have previously stopped at Hebel (one pub, one store and about twenty houses) as well as Lightning Ridge (opal mining centre of NSW) so decide to just drive and see how felt when I arrived.
It was very dry country that I drove through, the grass was almost yellow but the weather was perfect, no need for air conditioning today. Didn’t stop at St George or Dirranbandi just kept going until I reached Hebel.
When I was last in Hebel (click here) the General Store was up for sale with the threat of closure at Christmas if not sold but it was open when I arrived. I stopped in for a coffee and one of their home made pies (they are really good) and walked to their History Circle just to stretch my legs.
It was only just after midday and the journey had been very easy so far; I decided to push on to Lightning Ridge which was only about 70km further on.
Arrived in Lightning Ridge at about 1pm and checked into the first caravan park I came to.
Visited the Tourist Information Centre and paid $1 for a Car Door Tour guide. I don’t know if it is just an Aussie thing but a number of towns have these guides. An old car door is painted an appropriate colour and numbered indicating a point of interest, personally I quite enjoy them and so easy to find rather than the usual council signs which often peter out in the middle of nowhere.
The evening meal? Went to the pub, they had a bistro but all the meals were $28 then I noticed the bar sign for food served all day. Pizza – $15 – that’ll do me. It was quite good too, went down well with a couple of beers.
Distance: 283 Km
Not far to go today on an easy road with few towns. Still left at about 8.30am but didn’t stop at Morven or Mitchell largely because all the available parking seemed to be taken up with caravans however I did stop at Muckadilla (well you would, wouldn’t you?). Smashing little rest area with toilets, chairs and tables by the community hall, it even had free camping on offer.
I made some coffee and a sandwich before continuing on to Roma.
Booked in to a caravan park right next to the Big Rig, it was early; probably only midday so I had a cup of tea and washed yesterday’s clothes before walking over to the Big Rig to see what’s on.
Blow me I am on the right day for the night show (Sunday, Tuesday, Friday) but due to electrical problems neither it nor the little train are happening today.
Got myself a map and a brochure, had a look at the slab hut, read about Roma’s disastrous floods – three floods between 2010 and 2012 – then decided to walk along the Adungadoo Pathway to the largest bottle tree in Roma (girth = 9.3 metres) and the Shady’s Lagoon before returning to the caravan park.
Watched some of the new arrivals set up their rigs, including a young couple with a toddler who have a roof top tent, before I recovered my washing from the line, by then it was time for dinner. I heated up the second half of my “special fried rice with prawns” from the Happy Elephant Thai Restaurant in Charleville before the sun finally set and the temperature plummeted.