Some places we've been and some places we're going.

Archive for May, 2018

Boulia – Monday

Apologies for the photos today my camera is barely surviving the dusty journey.

I forgot to mention yesterday two things, the first was the “Shoe Tree”, I’ve seen these before but they’ve always started with at least a bit of wood but not this one. I guess someone decided trees were too rare in the area so decided to start one growing.

Shoe Tree

The second thing was that while I was having a siesta as all wise people do in the heat of the afternnon, Alex went across to the pub and chatted with the barmaid. He was the only customer for a while and she said she was a German backpacker earning spending money for 3 months. When the Grey Nomads start coming through she won’t have time to chat! The weird thing was that she had spent time in Aviemore, Scotland, Alex’s home town.

Our day started with another soak in the hot artesian spa and a swim in the pool before we packed up and set off.

On our way out of Bedourie this morning we stopped at a significant old wooden pole. In 1970 the town was supplied with electricity and it’s apparently traditional on such occasions to bury a hurricane lantern to celebrate the occasion. The pole marks the site where the Bedourie lantern is buried.

Hurricane Lantern memorial

We checked out the “loo with a view”, it really does have a window so you can admire the view. The vast expanse stretched out in all directions is amazing.

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As you drive along the vegetation changes from bare stony ground to little shrubby bushes or subsantial trees along water courses. None of the floodways had any water that we could see but there were cattle tracks beside the road obviously leading to some water source.

Some Waddi Trees not far from the road are the second group of the three in existence so we checked them out before continuing on the Boulia. Alex says we now have to go to Old Andado Homestead to see the final group!

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Boulia seems to have changed a lot since we were last here …. can’t remember the year but we were driving the Mitsubishi and camping in our tent. The MinMin light experience is now housed in a flash new building and most other buildings seem to have been reinvigorated.

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The Caravan Park is situated beside the River Burke and a variety of birds were around when I went for a little walk. I hoped we’d left the flies further south but unfortunately that isn’t the case. What was a big surprise though were the butterflies and tonight cicadas are chirruping all around us.

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Bedouri – Sunday

It was a busy morning with people packing up ready to drive on to their new destinations though some were packing up before heading out to Big Red. The disadvantage of roof top tents etc is that you need to pack them up before you can drive anywhere. It was an interesting collection of campers at Birdsville.

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After packing up we drove out as far as a group of Waddi Trees, one of only three stands left in Australia. Although the trees are only small most you see are 500 – 1000 years old. We found a seed pod with a single seed in it and hope it eventually grows in the tough environment.

Waddi Trees

The next stop was Carcoory Ruins a property Sidney Kidman bought in 1899 but later abandoned after he lost too much stock to drought.

Rock from around Carcoory Ruins

At Cuttaburra Crossing lots of different birds were enjoying the shallows near the small bridge but not many were visible near the rest area. Further down the road where water  was lying we were lucky to see Brolgas.

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It’s been a bit frustrating looking for places described in the tourist brochure but not signposted.

Are we there yet?

The Sturt Stony Desert is quite awe inspiring, how anyone managed to travel across it without modern resources is beyond me.

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We called into the Bedouri Information Centre to find out about the Caravan Park and I’m glad we did because we were able to get a key to the local pool and artesian spa pool ($50 cash deposit). The pool was fantastic, the spa pool a bit scary at first, the water is hot, 40 deg. There are warning signs to make you aware of the danger of staying in too long etc but I wasn’t tempted to stay in too long. We went in and out of both pools and I was reluctant to leave. There was only one other family there so only five of us in the big swimming pool. I think we might go back in the morning before we hand the key back.

Birdsville – Saturday

Up before the flies again and walked down to the lagoon to see what bird life was about. Although the Corellas were screeching in trees across the water there weren’t many birds to be seen on our side. The view of the sun rising though was lovely.

Sunrise at Birdsville Billabong

We had breakfast at the bakery and it was very satisfying. The bakery is fitted out with lovely naturally stained wooden chairs and tables as well as some special gadget on the door to stop flies getting in. The walls were lined with old photos, some showing early vehicles crossing the desert.

The Birdsville Bakery

 

After breakfast we called in at the Hardware store for desperately needed dust cleaners, it’s not because we’re fastidious campers but the dust gets onto and into everything. Boxes under the bed are dusty and so are the AC air vents.

It was then time to see Big Red which marks the end of the Simpson Desert when travelling east. It’s considered a 4WD challenge to climb Big Red but we’re not softies, we walked up! The wind quickly drove the sand over our footprints. We watched one vehicle have three tries to get up the dune without success but the next two had no problems at all.

 

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The road out to Big Red is very wide and even has an overtaking section which was weird when we were the only ones on the road. When the Big Red Bash is on every year it would be an entirely different scenario. The Birdsville Caravan Park has a lot of extension work being done and that would be to cope with the influx of visitors for The Bash.

Laundry duties came next, the cold weather clothes are packed away now.

There is a geothermal plant in the town and waste water is available to wash down cars so we took advantage of it to get rid of some dust.

Alex intended to stay on bitumen roads until the car was dry, that didn’t happen, instead we went to look for the Burke & Wills Slash Tree. The road was closed and after walking for a while we couldn’t see any signs so gave up. Next stop was Pelican Point, no pelicans but a couple of Herons, a Plover , small ducks and some little birds too fast to photograph. After that it was time to find a few geocaches then back to camp to cool down.

 

Dinner at the Birdsville Pub. It really is a “man thing”, driving up Big Red then eating at the pub and talking about it.