As we drove out of Alice Springs we had that ‘end of holiday’ feeling even though we still had 3,000km to travel over a variety of outback roads before we would pull onto the driveway at home. Not far north of The Alice we turned eastward onto the Plenty Highway, named after the Plenty River whose course it partly follows and not because there is plenty of anything much to see or do when driving its 500km length.
The patchy bitumen sealed first 110km had been extended since we last came across The Plenty with a broad new asphalt surface continuing almost to the Hart Range community. Even the gravel section from there was in great condition and must have had recent maintenance work, although the last 100km on NT side of the border was starting to deteriorate into bull dust holes and mild corrugations.
An easier than expected drive saw us pulling into Tobermorey Station, our camp for the night, earlier than expected. Tobermorey is a great place to spend the night with flat grassy sites under the shade of gumtrees that are complete with galahs and corellas to entertain campers, and the facilities are clean and well maintained.
Second day of our run home took us into Queensland and onto the Donohue Highway whose condition is a big improvement over the Plenty. I love the run through this country, with wide gibber plains stretching to the horizon.
After refuelling at Boulia we continued eastward aiming to have lunch at the Middleton Pub – unfortunately the meal options there weren’t great and the bar attendant was too busy talking on the phone to take our order, so we moved on.
We were now on blacktop for rest of the run home, other than gravel side tracks to camp grounds and other diversions. The country changes from bare plains to wide Mitchell grass flats punctuated by jumpups and low hills.
We soon reached Winton and its grand main street where a late but welcome lunch was had in Tuckerbox Café of the Matilda Centre, Winton’s newest tourist attraction that provides a range of information on the area’s rich colonial history that includes setting of Patterson’s ballad “Waltzing Matilda“.
Our camp for the night was in the nearby Bladensburg National Park, a former grazing property acquired by Qld Parks to protect the area’s wetland habitats. We found a nice corner of the campground behind which budgies were feeding on grass seed while kangaroos wandered through the spinifex, a great backdrop while we ate our dinner.
Day three and we headed south to Longreach for morning smoko before circling through Isisford and a lunch stop on banks of the Barcoo River. We had an uneventful run on country roads to Blackall where we turned onto the Landsborough Highway destined for our next nights’ camp at Macfarlane, a sheep station just west of Tambo that we found on Hipcamp.
After meeting the owner and a few of her poddy lambs we were directed to an area beside the house dam where we set up camp in a stand of coolibah trees. We find Hipcamp sites are a great choice when travelling as there is a secure feeling to be on private property, allowing us to lower our guard a little further for an easier night’s sleep.
Day four and with 900km ahead we’re not far from home now. We would often push hard on our last day but this trip we were determined to keep a more relaxed pace, choosing to break the distance over another day. After refuelling at Tambo we continued southward through the pretty little town of Augathella to Morven and on to the east bound Warrego Highway.
After a lunch stop at Roma we headed to our last camp for the trip, another Hipcamp find on a cattle property called Moraby just south of Dulacca township. Once again Suze wanted to steal and adopt their various dogs, cats and livestock…
It turned into a windy night as a weather front moved over us, making us thankful for the hardshell sleeping quarters of the TVAN. To add some drama to the scene we could here the farmer racing past a few times and later learned they had a cow stuck in a dam and they were out in the storm rescuing her from the bog.
And then it was over, a short and easy 400km run saw us reversing the rig onto the driveway at home. Then comes the dreaded clean up, emptying then refilling the TVAN and getting set up for our next get away, keep an eye on the blog or subscribe to find out where we are headed next time. 😉