We’ve decided we should be on commission for Pioneer Mitchell Camper-trailers. When we were in Barcaldine a woman came up before we’d even opened everything out she was asking questions and putting her head inside to see the interior dimensions. She went away and checked out prices and availability online. At Aramac she turned up right next door and was dubbed, “Alex’ Stalker”. That time she was glued to our packing up operation in her PJs with her morning coffee! At Karumba the night-arriving neighbours were very taken with our set up, it was obviously more appealing with indoor sitting area and attached kitchen etc. The man was going to investigate Pioneers. Last night it was a neighbour who had a Tvan, the “standard” for hybrid campers, who preferred ours and was going to modify his to get some of our kitchen features. His wife has told him if she sees a secondhand one she’ll buy it for the headspace alone.
This morning early it was obvious those campers who’d chosen their spot for its river view, serious looking people were heading from their vans etc across to bushy private areas in the opposite direction. Before we left the Falls we walked around the camp areas then crossed to the other side of the river to see if any falling water was visible but it wasn’t. Many birds were out and busy while the croc we could see was lying low near a bank, maybe hoping some dozy bird would come to the water’s edge.
The road from the Falls to Burketown was bitumen of varying widths and condition. Brahman cattle were often on the road, apparently they like the heat it still holds in the early morning.
Burketown was another place we’d been told that had a full Caravan Park but it clearly hadn’t. We think the best part of the town is the central park area and the Morning Glory Bakery and Cafe.
We were surprised to find one of the river crossings actually had water across the road.
The next community was Doomadgee the only part of it beside the road is the Roadhouse and we didn’t need anything so we continued on. It’s difficult to know the criteria used to determine which sections of road are renewed, they seem to be random. Sections of both sides of the road had been strategically burnt and in places logs were still burning.
We’d decided that Hell’s Gate would be an interesting place to stay for the night and I didn’t have high expectations but it’s a nice place. In the 1800s police escorts would see travellers to a gap between high rocks but travel no further towards the NT. The gap was called, “Hell’s Gates”.
The Roadhouse and camping area is a section of a cattle station and the owners have made a real effort to make it attractive. The new Amenities Block is interesting for two reasons, firstly it’s all corrugated iron with an open corridor down the middle. Showers are on one side and toilets the other, secondly it’s all unisex. When I went for a shower I was ready to step into nice warm water when a man’s voice boomed out, “Have you got hot water?” I think there were three female responses all negative. It was only minutes later I could hear banging right beside my tin wall as a gas cylinder was moved out and a new one rolled in. Too late for me though, I had a cold shower!
Wildlife seen today, there are lots of birds visiting the birdbath here at Hell’s Gate.
We’ve had a tasty meal over at the Roadhouse, the trees and area nearby are lit by moving lights.