20th May 2019–Winton

Distance: 405km
Fuel: 39L

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.

Blackall Dawn

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.

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Drove on to Longreach where I stopped again for a break.

Longreach Stockman's Hall of FameLongreach Stockman's Hall of FameQANTAS Founders Museum, Longreach QANTAS Founders Museum, Longreach QANTAS Founders Museum, Longreach QANTAS Founders Museum, Longreach QANTAS Founders Museum, Longreach QANTAS Founders Museum, Longreach

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.

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Minor domestic disaster, my china mug has cracked, must have endured one bump too many.

19th May 2019–Blackall

Distance: 318km
Fuel: 33L

Slept a bit too well last night and didn’t wake up until nearly 7am, usually by that time I have showered and had breakfast, not that it mattered because there is no rush today. Heading north to Blackall.

Left the caravan park just after 9am and didn’t stop until I reached Augathella (where the writer of the Smiley stories grew up). Stopped there for a coffee and snack at the pub and a bit of a walk about to stretch the legs. The coffee was OK but the scone had seen better days (I suppose it is Sunday) – should have stuck to coffee and raison toast for $6.

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Anyway after a decent break set off again. There had been signs warning of cattle droving on the road and so there was.

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Arrived in Blackall about 1.30pm found the only caravan park. I have not stayed here before but I guess apart from mining it is famous for being the site of the ‘’Black Stump”. Also had a look of the original pioneer bore which only produced water unsuitable for drinking then came across the current bore which does supply the town water. I have got used to showering in water smelling of sulphur and the water furring up my kettle but whether artesian bore water is drinkable is debatable in my opinion but they seem to have plenty of it because sprinklers were going all over town.

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BTW The flies are terrible thank gawd for Aerogard.

18th May 2019–Charleville

Distance:  426km
Fuel: 42L

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.

On the road 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.

On the road to CharlevilleAtOn the road to Charleville

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.

Muckadilla 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.

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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.

17th May 2019–Miles, Qld

Distance: 365km
Fuel: 40L

Good sleep, only down to 15C in the camper during the night so the summer doona was fine. As usual up about 6.30am and straight into the shower before having breakfast.

Reasonable drive to Miles stopped a couple times as before the stretch my legs and use the composting loo much like yesterday.

Arrive in Miles just before 1pm not that pleased with the caravan park I thought it was a bit pricey even though it has brand new unisex toilets/showers. It is crammed between the highway and a railway track so noise might be an issue.

 Miles

After setting up went across the road to the Miles Historical Museum. It is one of those community museums full of nic nacs  and junk, always quite interesting though some rooms were a bit like visiting my grandmother.

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15th May 2018–Lightning Ridge

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.

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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.

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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.

Goodbye Queensland:

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Arrived in Lightning Ridge at about 1pm and checked into the first caravan park I came to.

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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.

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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.

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14th May 2018–Roamin’ Roma

Distance: 11 Km
Fuel: 30 L

At about 8am wandered into town to find Woollies. I had left my toothbrush at the last stop, was completely out of plastic and paper plates, needed milk and some fruit. It is a big supermarket in Roma – Though I suppose Woolies wouldn’t bother if there wasn’t that sort of demand.

The Big Rig

That done I once again walked to The Big Rig to see their static display called Oil Patch. It is about the discovery of oil and gas in the area. Originally discovered by accident when drilling for water over 100 years ago the oil was never discovered in commercial quantities and the industry died but there was plenty of gas. Initially LPG now CSG which is largely exported through the port of Gladstone though any new licences are only granted to supply the domestic market.

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Without the night show I can’t say it was an exciting exhibition but it was interesting enough, the films shown in the theatrette were all made by Santos (the gas giant) and really were just publicity films showing them as a good corporate citizen.

After the Rig Rig I returned to the caravan park for lunch then went to explore Roma. I had the Historic Walk guide but sadly, like so many of these small towns, most of the building described have long gone but there were a few interesting ones left.

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Avenue of Heroes

The town has The Avenue of Heroes where a Bottle Tree represents a local person killed in action during WWI each with its own plaque.

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The 3D Mural

The one thing I had great difficulty finding was the 3D Mural which even has its own brochure. It turns out to be in the Council Offices though described as a Community Centre in all the literature but unless you actually looked inside you would never find it I didn’t see any signs. There was an audio visual presentation to go with it which explained the features on the mural. It was actually quite good and worth seeing.

180514 059 3 D Mural Roma

By now it was mid/late afternoon and I decided I had exhausted the delights of Roma so I bought a Subway to have for dinner (too early for a restaurant) and walked back to the caravan park.

This might be the last day in Queensland it all depends on which side of the border I decide to stop tomorrow.

13th May 2018–Roma

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.