29th May 2021
The best day of the trip without a doubt and the reason for taking the whole trip, certainly something I had wanted to do for a very long time.
Set off from Tibooburra at about 8.30am after the kids refuelled their cars.
The dirt road started almost as soon as we turned off the highway to the track to Camerons Corner.
The sign told us that the road was open I would guess that for the first 80km we were able to travel at 80 to 100kph the road condition was pretty good there were some corrugations and gullies that required a much slower speed but generally we made very good progress. The road was a mixture of dust, gravel and rocks., with a few washouts.
We travelled several hundred metres apart because the cars kicked up a tremendous cloud of dust but used the UHF radios to warn of hazards including the occasional on coming vehicle.
The last quarter of the journey was a different matter the road was in much poorer conditions with many corrugated sections and a lot of sections with a moderate depth of dust. This required much slower speeds in fact the last 20km of road had a 60kph speed limit, though that was about as fast as you could go anyway.
We entered Camerons Corner through a gate in the dog fence and a sign which told us we were entering South Australia, Just before the entrance to the Camerons Corner Store/Pub is an area where the plinth marking the exact location where the Queensland, NSW and South Australia borders meet. The pub itself is in Queensland.
It was therefore possible to stand so that one half your body was half an hour away from the other half.
That evening there was the most beautiful sunset which we watched from the plinth.
BTW yesterday I maligned the town of Cunnamulla by saying it was shut, in fact it was a Queensland public holiday so it had every right to be (though that is no excuse for shutting the tourist information office).
Definitely no need to rush today, only travelling 260km down the road to Bourke so everything was very leisurely and I didn’t leave the caravan park until nearly 10am (kicking out time).
Nothing very exciting to report on the drive south except crossing back into NSW and stopping briefly in the tiny town of Enngonia for a short break. My only complaint about these back roads is that they are very short on rest stops.
Found a nice caravan park close to town and was given a very wide grassy site so decided, because the weather forecast is good and it is the weekend, to set up my gazebo and stay for two nights. Didn’t go anywhere after setting up, read my book and had a thoroughly lazy day. Will get fuel and look around Bourke tomorrow but today is a rest day.
Topped up with a few litres of fuel at one of these 24hours card only service stations.
Drove to Thargomindah supposedly the furthest town in Australia from the sea, apart from that fame it is just another small town where I stopped briefly.
About 40km of the road between Quilpie and Thargomindah was dirt and I kicked up a lot of dust. I wasn’t too worried about that at the time but it did have an effect as we shall see later. I found the top vent cracked open even though, before setting out, I ensure it is firmly shut – I can only assume that the extra vibration from the dirt road bounced it loose.
From Thargomindah it was all sealed road and the next stop was Eulo another small town though this one did have an historic Police Cell.
Finally arrived at Cunnamulla just after 2pm and checked into a caravan park. Immediately after unhitching the trailer I drove to get fuel and visit the tourist information office. No problem with the fuel but unbelievably the tourist office was closed. It was right next to the Cunnamulla Fella but there was no one about, indeed for a Friday afternoon the town seemed deserted with about two cars parked in the business centre.
Back to the caravan park and opened up the camper. Dust had got in via the back (kitchen) door, my fault, I had been slackening off the screw latches to reduce the pressure on the rubber seal and it looks like I over did it. Oh well, spent 20 minutes wiping down the kitchen and its containers. Later I found that the open roof vent had sucked dust from the kitchen into the cabin, fortunately not much but enough to need shaking off a small section of the bedding directly under my internal vents. Not a disaster but if I travel on dirt again with the camper I will stop and double check these things first.
Apart from that I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening listening to the radio and reading. I will probably be back in NSW tomorrow and home on Monday or Tuesday.
Woke up just before dawn so I watched the sun come up before I had a shower. Today I intend a fairly long drive to Quilpie taking in Windorah on the way, there is a more direct route to Quilpie partly using an unsealed road but there was something in Windorah I wanted to see.
I am still surprised how much water there is, some of the countryside is very green.
The visit to Windorah was to see the Solar Plant which uses mirrors to concentrate the heat of the sun to produce power. I had intended to buy food but the local shop didn’t really have much. Windorah was, perhaps slightly bigger than Stonehenge but not by much.
Then it was on to Quilpie. The road was mostly single lane with some wider sections for overtaking though personally I wasn’t stuck behind anything and only passed a few vehicles going the other way.
A widened section of the road was an emergency airstrip. I have come across these before they are always a long way from town (which usually have their own airstrip) I presume they are to serve the local farms.
After arriving at Quilpie and going through the usual business of finding a caravan park, (the girl in the information office told me that there are two) I drove a few kms out of town to Baldy Top Lookout, didn’t actually climb to the top might save that for tomorrow.
At the local airstrip is a memorial to Amy Johnson who landed at Quilpie during her 1930 attempt to break Bert Hinkler’s record time flying from London to Australia. She didn’t beat his record but became the first solo female flyer to make the trip.
Bought 35 litres fuel as I was down to less than 100km worth in the tank but at $1.62 a litre I didn’t want to fill up.
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.