An early start and a few short miles had us crossing the border out of the NT and into the Sunshine State, welcome home for the Travelling Two.
Our 630km run southward today took us along the Donohue Highway to Boulia, then down a series of development roads through the channel country that was inundated only a fortnight before our arrival, and as we headed toward it we were interested to see how the roads had held up to the flooding.
We refuelled at the remote outpost of Boulia and were surprised to see all staff wearing face masks in response to the state wide COVID19 lockdown that was established while we were distracted in Alice Springs, so it was a trigger for us to get ours out of hibernation in the centre console. Some hot chips and snacks from the service station made for a great morning tea and we were on the way again.
Not far out of Boulia we passed one of the few other places in the country that the rare Acacia Peuce tree grows, and one of those others is the Mac Clark reserve that we visited only days earlier at Old Andado – we count ourselves lucky to see them both in such a short space of time. Its amazing to think that these sites are separated by hundreds of kilometres of desert and that once the areas where joined in the eons before being separated by a sea of wind blown sand.
As we entered the channel country the abundant water laying in gutters and gullies had attracted more birdlife than we had seen for the past month of travels, and particularly the large flocks of circling hawks at each causeway we crossed. It seemed that they were hunting the fish that were swimming upstream according to their instinct to breed and populate the river system after rainfall re-established flow.
While stopped to watch the birds of prey at work we put our lunch in the oven, and a half hour later at Bedourie we were enjoying hot left overs opposite the town’s famous Royal Hotel. The Road Chef oven has revolutionised our touring meals, stale lunch time sandwiches are a thing of the past.
The road south of Bedourie was signed as “CAUTION”, so we were vigilante for washouts and soft spots that might be a trap if we got complacent. There were a couple of minor hazards that needed to be navigated but for the most part the road was in good shape.
Unlike South Australia, Queensland’s outback does not have a terrific number of stone ruins, mainly because the more northern state was blessed with more trees that offered timber as a cheaper and easier building material with which to work. And as a result, many of Queensland’s old building ruins have been burnt or termite eaten away, with only foundation stones and old iron work left as testimony to the building that once stood there. This makes the starkly beautiful Carcoory Station ruins all the more interesting and a great diversion from the drive along the dusty Eyre Development Road.
Only a half hour further along the road and Birdsville’s water tower appeared on the horizon, followed by silhouette of the town itself. We had reached our destination in good time and with no dramas, which is always a good thing at back end of a long trip.
Although the day was not without its disappointments! We had promised ourselves dinner at the Birdsville Hotel tonight, but the pub is closed until after the Easter weekend, so it will be sausages on the Weber as a poor second place.
After a quick circumnavigation of the town we checked into the Birdsville Tourist Park and were very happy to find that the unpowered area by the billabong was empty, so we took our pick of places beside a shade giving tree.
We are getting close to home now, only a few more days due travel due east – jump on our next blog to follow us there.