14th June 2017–Georgetown to Undara

Distance: 178 km

With only about 140km to travel to reach Undara today there was definitely no rush. The only fly in the ointment was the intermittent closure of the bridge but even that seemed unlikely.

Once again the road was a mixture of single and two lane carriageway with no particular problems until I caught up with two identical caravans who at stayed in Georgetown overnight next to me, the first one I passed with no problem but his mate suddenly sped up at every passing opportunity to block me from getting past. When I eventually did get past he tailgated me for a few km before dropping back to his original speed of about 80 to 90kph. Unbelievable!

When I arrived at Undara it was too early to check in (their checkout time is later than normal at 10.30am) so I made use of their free coffee and wandered around the site and read up on the lava tubes. Actually only had to wait about 25 minutes but finally was given my site and I also paid for tomorrow’s tour that I had booked over the phone.

Once I was settled in I went for a drive to Kalkani Crater a trip I couldn’t do when I was here 5 years ago in my little car. At that time the road was in an appalling state and I was forced to turn back, ironically that car would have easily coped with it today because the road must have been recently graded because it was as smooth as.

The crater looks more impressive from the air so I will include an on line photo here (see above). I climbed the path to the crater rim and looked inside it was just a bowl filled with normal bush vegetation. I took some photos but frankly you can hardly see that it is a crater. Walked around the rim for a while but it didn’t get more exciting so strolled back down to the car park.

170614 005  Undara Kalkani Crater170614 007  Undara Kalkani Crater170614 010  Undara Kalkani Crater170614 012  Undara Kalkani Crater170614 019  Undara Kalkani Crater

Returned to the Undara Caravan Park had another coffee and then took the Atkinson’s Lookout Walk it is only about a 4 km round trip but over rocky terrain so takes about an hour an a half. There must have been bushfires through the area recently (or burning off) because quite large swathes were blackened however in places regrowth had just started.

170614 022  Undara Atkinsons Lookout Walk170614 023  Undara Atkinsons Lookout Walk170614 024  Undara Atkinsons Lookout Walk170614 026  Undara Atkinsons Lookout Walk170614 027  Undara Atkinsons Lookout Walk170614 028  Undara Atkinsons Lookout Walk170614 032  Undara Atkinsons Lookout Walk170614 035  Undara Atkinsons Lookout Walk170614 038  Undara Atkinsons Lookout Walk170614 039  Undara Atkinsons Lookout Walk

It was getting to late afternoon by now and I decided to have dinner in the bistro so I booked (you have to) then went for a shower.

Went to the bistro a bit early so I could have a beer first, by the time I was ready for my second beer (bottled only) it was time to order the meal. Spoilt for choice I fell back on my old favourite beer battered fish, even managed to refuse the salad or veggies. It was ready surprisingly quickly and I ate it in one of the old railway carriages (they’re not that old I travelled in them in the mid/late 60s – the fine for pulling the communication cord was in dollars).

170614 045  Undara Carriages

13th June 2017–Normanton to Georgetown

Distance: 307 km
Fuel: 36 L

The caravan park office doesn’t open until 9am so walked down to the local ‘Supermarket’. It is one of these country stores that sells fuel, burgers, milk, bait, tools and just about anything including ice which was what I wanted.

Headed south toward Cloncurry to get to the turn off toward Cairns on the Gulf Developmental Road. These developmental highways are usually part of the price mining companies pay to develop their mine. (BTW the road from Cloncurry to Normanton is the Burke Developmental Road.)

At one point was held up for 20 minutes where they were resurfacing the road by covering it with tar then pouring small stones on top and following this up with modern equivalent of a team of steam rollers.

170613 001 Normanton to Croyden

Stopped for a while at Croydon basically because it is the only town between Normanton and Georgetown where I will stop tonight. It was the third largest town in Queensland during its gold rush but it’s glory days are behind it and now it is just another pleasant, small, outback town.

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From Croydon the road was a mix of single and two lanes of varying quality but nothing to slow down for (except the occasional single lane bridge). Georgetown is not a big place, you can stroll from one end of town to the other in a few minutes.

170613 022 Georgetown Peace Garden170613 021 Georgetown Peace Garden170613 024 Georgetown170613 028 Georgetown170613 030 Georgetown170613 034 Georgetown170613 040 Georgetown170613 038 Georgetown

As I neared Georgetown I saw one of those big solar battery powered signs which said something about the Etheridge River Bridge being closed on the 13th and 14th June however it was not clear. I enquired at the caravan park to be told it was possibly being closed between 9am and 5pm each day so at the worst I have to be out of here before 9am. However when I went for a walk the traffic controllers unloading their gear at the bridge told me it was not being totally closed. It is the only route east.

170613 036 Georgetown Etheridge River Bridge

Am not particularly worried because it is a rare occasion that I am not on the move before 9am. Notice why this is called the ‘dry’ season?

By about 5pm I was starving so I had the $10 special of Chicken Burger and Chips – not bad once I removed the beetroot.

170613 044 Georgetown Dinner