Distance: 393 km
Fuel: 39 L
Went for a walk after breakfast to the main street of Clermont and bought bread at the local bakery .
No rush to leave because there are no stops on this journey except Belyando Crossing roadhouse if I get a sudden urge for expensive food or fuel (it is the middle of nowhere – approximately 170km north of Clermont and 220km south of Charters Towers). The only other land marks are turn offs to stations (farms) and mines.
Pretty easy drive – one hard application of brakes to allow two kangaroos cross the road. I tried to save the video of the dopey things but ended up ejecting the memory card by mistake.
I did stop at Belyando Crossing and I did pay $6 for a packet of chicken nuggets. It is the least interesting roadhouse in Australia that I have been to; small selection of food, a caravan park and some picnic tables. Unfortunately there was a parked road train with a load of cattle and the picnic tables were down wind of it.
Arrived at Charters Towers after 1pm, set up and went for drive round town. Took the inevitable drive up Tower Hill , went past the Stock Exchange and other historic buildings but only spent an hour looking about before returning to the caravan park. I was only here last June so there was little that was new – except for a concrete walking track up Tower Hill perhaps; I don’t remember it being there before.
Really only needed fuel.
To see more of Charters Towers >>>Click Here<<< and >>>Here<<< for lots of pictures and notes about my last visit.
Distance: 258 km
Fuel: 57 L
Was woken up at 1.40am by some of the park residents returning from their Saturday night frolic, not a problem, it was Saturday night and I went straight back to sleep.
Set off at about 8.30am which seems to be my ‘usual’ time. Only 250km today, because Charters Towers or even the roadhouse at Belyando Crossing is just too much driving to do comfortably in one day.
Stopped at one lookout on the way to view the Staircase Ranges – could see why they are so named but frankly it is not particularly spectacular.
Next stop was Springsure and the Virgin Rock. Have actually stopped here several times before.
Called into Emerald for fuel.
I have been to Clermont a few times but previously stayed at a local motel, there seems to be only one caravan park but there appeared to be plenty of space though it filled up more as the afternoon went on.
After setting up the camper (I had to reverse into place for the first time this trip) went for a drive to see what Clermont has to offer. Apart from mining the town is famous for the 1916 flood when many people were killed and the whole town was subsequently relocated to higher ground.
Reminders of the 1916 flood are well signposted.
Distance: 334 km
Fuel: 31 L
Change of mind
It had been my intention to stay at Narromine tonight but as I drove it was obvious that I was going to arrive far too early – ie before noon – so I decided to press on an extra 55km to Peak Hill.
Nevertire is somewhere I never tire of stopping just to stretch my legs (and photograph the sign).
According to BOM the temperature in Peak Hill is going to be 40’C but as I drove not only did the temperature rise but also did the wind. It was a hot dry wind, I doubt the humidity was over 15% but the wind didn’t relent once. where ever there was a bare paddock there was a dust cloud visible for miles. I drove with my sidelights on the whole way. I am hoping that as the wind was behind me it resulted in better fuel consumption.
Peak Hills was hot… After checking in – when I was given a handout of local attractions – my set up was very quick because the park even provided a TV connector. The site was shady but it was the wind that was hot so the shade didn’t provide much relief; anyway it was time to look around.
Another day, another gold mine…
The first port of call had to be the Peak Hill Gold Experience only a couple of blocks from the caravan park.
Then I drove out to the Bogan River Weir a few kms out of town.
I had a look at the local attractions including St Josephs Church designed and built by its first priest.
By now the day had reached its predicted 40’C so it was time to seek air conditioned comfort and where better than the local Ex Services Club where I spent an enjoyable couple of hours. I decided against waiting there until the dining room opened at 6pm as there was the danger that by then I would be incapable of ordering a meal so I returned to the caravan park to start writing this (and recharge my phone).
The meal at the club was not bad I had a Char Kuey Teow, if I had a complaint it was that it wasn’t spicy enough.
Distance: 429 km
Fuel: 46 L
Fog! Woke up to a thick fog, visibility was down to less than 50m however by the time I was ready to leave at 8am you could see the end of an adjacent paddock. For the first 30km of the drive it was still pretty thick fog.
Almost suddenly I was driving in sunshine, the clouds disappeared rapidly and it was horizon to horizon blue skies which remained for the rest of the journey.
On the way south I passed hundreds of caravans and trailers going north, “hundreds” is not an exaggeration I counted 30 in one 12 minute period. I can understand now why someone said that on 1st July the parks put their fees up to $50 a night with all that traffic.
Nearing Clermont I passed the Clermont Coal Mine with its conveyer belt running for km beside the road and its enormous spoil heap stretching along the other side of the road.
I had intended to stop at Clermont tonight but because there were few opportunities to stop on the road it was still reasonably early when I arrived so I only stopped to fill up with fuel before driving on to Capella another 60km further south.
Capella is a small town of less than 1000 people but it has a caravan park. It is Sunday and the town is dead except for the pub which was surrounded by utes and as noisy as anything. I bought a 6 pack of beer and had a quick schooner there.
Distnace: 324 km
Fuel: 36 L
Cold again this morning (of course), had a shower at 6.30am; the good thing about a roadhouse as a caravan park is that they are open at ridiculously early hours (if they are not open 24hrs) so I was able to buy ice and milk straight away. Once this had been done I got back in the camper to watch an episode of Cold Feet to allow the morning to warm up a bit before I started to dismantle my ‘camp’.
Left Camooweal before 9am even with my late start, easy drive to Mount Isa where I only stopped to fill up with fuel. Didn’t visit the city centre because it is only a year since I spent several days here.
Continued on to Cloncurry and found a caravan park on the highway about 1km from the town centre – I checked in and unhitched the camper.
Went back to the shopping centre and discovered they have a Woollies; so stocked up with some fruit, cheese, nuts and other bits and pieces before looking round the town.
Apart from an art deco civic centre and some typical country pubs there was a museum to the Royal Flying Doctor Service which they claim was started in Cloncurry by John Flynn. Not a particularly big museum but it had his car, a quarter scale model of his plane,”The Victory” and various examples of bush radios including pedal powered ones. The RFDS started off as the Australian Inland Mission so there are obvious religious overtones. The museum was only open until 3pm and I arrived at 2.30pm (it’s Saturday) but I had enough time to see everything.
Distance: 489 km
Fuel: 53 L
One of the things I like about this camper is how easy it is to pack up when you need to leave a site – literally the biggest job is dismantling the TV aerial. I had a fair distance to travel today so I was ready to move just after 8am.
The first part of the trip was retracing my steps south for 100km before turning off toward the Hamersley Range and Tom Price the mining town. It was nice to get away from the flat coastal plains.
I was soon set up at the Tom Price Tourist Park. Even got some laundry done.
Distance: 562 km
Fuel: 56 Ltr
Long way to go today so started pretty early.
First up was 146 km of the longest straight bit of road in Australia. It certainly was straight but it was not flat no steep hills but undulating.
Astute observers will notice that the wombat has been replaced by a large chicken.
Virtually at the end of the long straight road I stopped at Balladonia Roadhouse for ice and a coffee to fortify me for the task of turning the steering wheel. The coffee wasn’t bad at all, just don’t drink the water.
The drive to Kalgoorlie was uneventful and relatively uninteresting there were no particular sights or points of interest. the trees got more dense as I got further from the Nullarbor so it wasn’t unpleasant countryside. I listened to the new Harper Lee audio book which passed the time nicely.
Am wondering about the Esky – Ice costs at least $4 a day (a day and a half max) a lot more in remote places but all it carries is milk, sliced cheese and marg. I think it would be cheaper to buy fresh and throw it away than keep buying ice. On the downside – no cold beer. I notice most people seem to have a portable fringe in the back of the ute.