Wednesday 28th May, (Richmond).
We broke our tradition of short trips only again today as we travelled from Cloncurry to Richmond, 377k. We had intended to stay at Julia Creek, only 130k, but when we arrived there we decided that as we were only having an overnight stay that it might as well be at a rest area for free. There was a rest area further down the road that we had selected, but again nobody else stopped before our time limit of 3:00pm. The rest area was also very close to the highway, with road trains passing all night, and it was also very windy and dusty so we decided to move on to Richmond. We had decided to stay at Richmond for a few days anyway so it might as well be a day earlier.
The only caravan park at Richmond, with the same name, turns out to be a little better than we expected. In smallish towns like this where there is only one park it is usually the case that the park is not of top quality, but this one is not of that norm, it is quite a nice park, and cheap too. At $14.00 per night it would be the cheapest park we have stayed at yet in our two and a half years of travel.
One thing noticed here is that the price of petrol has come down somewhat, but the price of gas has not. Would you believe that the price of gas was the same as petrol, 89c per litre. I bet he doesn’t sell much gas, he didn’t to me anyway.
Monday 26th May, (Cloncurry).
Well it has happened again; Almost a full week has passed since putting down any words. This could be because we are now camped at a rather laid back town, relaxing again and enjoying the little amount to do. This town is Cloncurry, we moved here on Friday and have decided to stay until Wednesday. We are in no rush now, as we really do not have to be in Townsville, about 600k from here, until about the end of June. We are also waiting on a mail delivery at Richmond, about 200k away, and it will not be there until at least Friday.
Cloncurry has its own bit of history; it is the town where the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) commenced. The John Flynn place museum has some quite interesting displays of the setting up of the RFDS.
The Gilbert Park Tourist village is the caravan park we are staying at and they had a bar-b-que last evening, at a minimal cost, and all had a great time and meal. They cooked fish and potato patties and tasted absolutely great. One of the reasons we have extended our stay is another bar-b-que on Tuesday evening and Linda especially will enjoy a second, as she won’t have to cook for the evening.
Tuesday 20th May, (Mount Isa).
Lake Moondarra was the item on the agenda for today. This is a man made lake 15k or so north of Isa and was built for recreational purposes for the local community and for the city’s main water supply. It turned out to be an ideal resting area, being so peaceful and quiet, then it is a week day and no locals were out there.
We also went on a short drive out to the east to have a look and upon returning we noticed our first view of Mount Isa from that direction was not a very impressive one. All one could see was the mine that was towering above anything in the surrounds. This is especially daunting with the locals boasting that Isa is such a large city and one can’t even see it.
Monday 19th May, (Mount Isa).
Mount Isa; We came here with the idea that we have gotten from other travellers that one will either love or hate the place. Even though we are enjoying our time here, I for one can’t really work out the city. It has a feel different to any other that we have visited, it is large but does not seem to have a great deal to see or do, it is reasonably picturesque but does not seem to be photogenic, it does not appear to be much further north than Alice Springs and the terrain is similar but the temperatures are completely different. It has been 35 in the day and 14 at night one day, and 30-7 the other, where Alice has been 15 cooler in the day and 5 cooler at night. The city centre is laid out in an unusual way: it’s as if the buildings came first and the roads built around them. So overall it seems the words of other travellers don’t mean much, as when we form our own opinion it is different to that told to us, we do like the place, but do not love it, nice for a visit though. These ideas probably have a lot to do with the fact that whatever scenery one is looking at the mine is always in the background.
Sunday 18th May, (Mount Isa).
We have now had a couple of days in Isa (Mount Isa) relaxing. It does make it a little hard to relax properly though when the temperatures reach the 30’s during the day and get down to about 7 or 8 during the nights, a bit much of a variation.
We had a look at the tourist information centre today and would you believe there is not really a great deal to do here, unless one’s budget can afford it. It seems a couple of hour mine tour costs about $22.00 per head and all other attractions seem to have a reasonable entry fee as well. I’m afraid our budget will not permit all these fees so maybe all, or most, will be missed.
There is a lake, Moondarra, just northwest of Isa that is supposedly designed to cater for all sorts of recreations so we will visit there soon. There is a caravan park on the entrance to the lake, with the same name, so we will also check this out and if it comes up to our expectations we may move there for a couple of days before we leave Isa.
Back in Queensland May 2003
Friday 16th May, (Mount Isa).
We spent last evening at Camooweal; we booked into the caravan park behind the local pub thinking it was no different than the other. It turned out that we were the only ones in the park for the night. It seems the signage for this park is not obviously visible and everyone automatically selects the other. We only noticed this one when we were walking around the town looking for parks and when he quoted what he did for the night we just booked in there and then.
The trip today to Mount Isa along the Barkly highway would have to be along the worst section of road called a highway in Australia. About 40% of the road is single lane bitumen and simply placed on the road as it was originally constructed. I am told the road was built by the Americans during word war 11 when they decided it was too far to drive to Darwin via what roads were in existence, so deployed a heap of bull-dozers and made the road. Apart from being single lane sealed, the road is still in its original state, no hills cut out, just up and over leaving some rather dangerous crests with annoying gravel on the edges that one has to move over on to.
We are going to be in Isa for at least a week, relaxing and getting over all the travelling we have been doing lately. After this most of our trips will be relatively shorter and less frequent, thank goodness.
Thursday 15th May, (Camooweal).
Camooweal is our present place of abode, moving on from Tennant Creek on Tuesday and taking two days to get here. We camped at a rest area last night about half way across just east of Barkley Homestead. This was a very enjoyable stay as it was quite warm, quiet apart from the occasional road train, a full moon and the sky was full of stars, so most of the evening was spent sitting outside admiring the night sky.
We had thought of staying at Camooweal for a couple of days, but there really isn’t much to do here so we will be moving on tomorrow.
I guess that this is a good time to start a new chapter.
Tuesday 13th May, (Tennant Creek).
We have now formed the opinion that Tennant Creek is basically only worthy of a stopover. This is only our opinion and we appreciate that others may have a completely different one.
A visit to the Pebbles today was rather disappointing as they were not quite as we expected. At the Marbles there were roads to the main scenic advantage point and walks around them, but at the pebbles there were not any such advantages. Maybe the scenery we saw was the best they had to offer, then we aren’t to know. Take nothing away from the Pebbles, they were an attraction in themselves but were not what we were led to believe.
Monday 12th May, (Devils Marbles/Tennant Creek).We had a look at the map on our last night at Wycliffe to see how far it was to Devils Marbles, a reserve just north, knowing it wasn’t far, but it turned out to be only 30k. We should have had a closer look before stopping at Wycliffe and moved straight on to the Marbles. Being a reserve it only cost $6.60 a night where Wycliffe was $21.00 and we had intended staying at the Marbles anyway.
Now, the Devils Marbles is another must see when in the area. They are a mass of rounded granite rocks, some very large, just sitting on the ground on a few acre area in the middle of nowhere. Most of the rocks are precariously balanced on top of others and one can spent heaps of time marvelling at the sight. We spent two days camped there and took in a sunset, which is as spectacular as Ayres Rock, if not more. The Marbles are, reputed to be, more often photographed than Ayres Rock.
This is just a very small area of the boulders.
Just one rock formation, I don’t know how I got Linda on top of it.
Guess who is enjoying herself.
We are now at Tennant Creek, just south of Three Ways where we turn right to travel toward to the east coast again.
It just goes to show; We were looking forward to reaching Tennant Creek, number one for the warmer weather, and number two because we had an idea it was such a nice place and there would be plenty to do. It was just as well we only booked in for three days because we, especially Linda, really do not like the town very much. There are a lot of indigenous people live in the town and it is surprising how much this detracts from the place. Linda went for a lone walk back from town and did not fell very safe at all with some of them not looking very savoury types at all. There does not actually seem to be as much to do here as we thought, or maybe this has a lot to do with our feelings of the town. There are the Devils Pebbles just north of town, which are a smaller version of the Devils Marbles and just as spectacular, but we will find out tomorrow.
Thursday 8th May, (Wycliffe).
Wycliffe Caravan Park is one of a difference; it has a total theme of UFO’s and aliens with murals on just about every wall in the park. Somebody must have been very busy over the years with a paintbrush and lots of paint. The murals also feature a lot of the scenery in the area down to the rock, and are actually very well done. The park also offers a lake stocked with fish and guests are welcome to try their luck. The lake is at a quite low level so I for one gave it a miss. There is also a mini zoo with several animal types and bird life.