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Week 2 Of Our Weekly Blog 04/06/2021 - 10/06/2021

Week 2 Weekly Blog

Last week saw us in Birdsville for an extended time waiting for a new CV Boot for our car. Read on below for what adventures we got up to in week 2 of Allan and I exploring Oz.

Day 8 Day 4 (and hopefully our last full day) in Birdsville saw us explore the small town a little bit further. We went to Bourke and Wills Tree, which was an information board and a sign in front of a tree about Bourke and Wills’ adventure. We went to the Birdsville Racecourse, which was desolate, but on the first weekend of September each year comes alive with people and horses. If you have not already seen, Allan posted some photos and info on our ‘Explore Oz’ Instagram and Facebook pages. We found another geocache site in Birdsville- Allan left one of our ‘Explore Oz’ stickers. Sue showed me how to make homemade wraps in the afternoon. In the late afternoon Allan went over to the mechanic’s shop to make sure our part was delivered via plane today. It was and the mechanic said to leave our car at the shop so he can get a start tonight and it will be finished the next morning.

Day 9

Our last day in Birdsville, yay!!! We packed the camper, then went to the mechanics. He had not even started fixing the car yet, so we went to the local pop-up café for a coffee and stayed for an hour. Went back past the mechanic and he was only just starting to take the tyre off. We left the mechanic be and went for a walk around town. By 12ish, the mechanic had finished putting the new CV boot on ($500 later) and we were able to hook the camper up to the car and head out of Birdsville on the way to Bedourie. We stopped at one of only 3 sites of Waddi Trees. They have solid trunks and have spiky needle-like leaves and when windy, the leaves whistle. Stopped at the ‘shoe tree’ and Allan donated his white Adidas shoes to the tree and stuck ‘Explore Oz’ stickers on the soles of both shoes. Next point of interest was listed as an Outback OP Shop where someone (possibly a local station owner) had put a whole heap of old appliances (microwave, cupboards, oven, wire, telephone, radio, etc.) which could have acted like a “take and replace” shop. Got to Bedourie (the home of the Bedourie Camp Oven) at 3:30ish and headed straight to the Pub for a round of drinks. Spoke to a local who told us about some pet camels out the back. We went out the back and petted the camels who were very friendly then went to the Visitor Information Centre and got a key ($10) for access to the Artesian Spa and Pool facility and booked 2x unpowered sites at the Caravan Park ($20 per night per car). We set up camp quickly and walked to the Artesian Spa just down the road. It was very hot (gets up to 40degrees C) and we could only sit in it for ~10mins before sitting on the edge with only your feet in it. Another older couple came and sat with us (the man was wearing budgy smugglers- yuck!) and chatted about our travels. We went back to camp and then went for a walk around town. We looked at the Mud Hut which was used as a camp by farmers droving cattle to markets in Adelaide, because prices were better in Adelaide compared to Brisbane! We cooked dinner, then played Cards Against Humanity (Allan won), then went to bed.

Day 10 We woke up at 7am (sleep-in for us!!). Went and had another spa (Jess decided it would be a good idea to swim some laps, but she is not much of a swimmer and so lasted about 3 laps up and back of the 20m pool. Packed up and left camp at 10ish, fuelled up and went to the general store. I bought 1x tomato, 1x cucumber ($6.70!!) and 2x bananas for $16. We got on the road to Boulia and saw lots of livestock (cows and horses) from stations. Stopped at the Vaughan-Johnson Lookout. It was very windy, but a pretty sight of the landscape. Next stop was the Tropic of Capricorn Monument where we took photos. Someone painted on the monument a unicorn horn and wrote “Tropic of Unicorn”. Collected firewood and stopped at another plantation of Waddi Trees. Ate lunch at Boulia and continued to travel North towards Mt Isa with the aim to get to a free campground for the night. Got to the campground at 3pm, which had mostly been blocked off by a new fence put up by the station owners. We had a fire, cooked tea and sat by the fire.

Day 11

Woke to the sound of cows mooing, Allan and I saw 2 cows on the wrong side of the fence. As we were cooking breakfast on the fire, 3 people on motorbikes came along and pushed the cows back over the fence- they were mustering the cows and picking up strays with advice from a helicopter on where to go. Left camp at 9ish on our way to Mt Isa, saw lots of wildlife (Eastern Grey Kangaroos, eagles and hawks (eating roadkill) and cows. Drove through Dajarra the first major Aboriginal Community for the trip. Allan almost ran over a snake, but he was not sure what type of snake. Stopped at the ‘Bike Tree’- literally a hundred bikes and bike tyres thrown up into a tree. Got into Mt Isa at 1:30ish and went to the Visitor Info Centre so we could work out which caravan park to stay at and so Brian could book a mine tour (something he has wanted to do since he was a young child). We decided to stay in Mt Isa for 2nights at Argylla Discovery Parks (just outside of Mt Isa City) as Brian booked the mine tour for 1pm tomorrow. It cost $35.10 per night for an unpowered site and that was the cheapest around town and with a G’Day Rewards discount!! We wanted to do a restock of food, but it was Sunday and none of the large supermarket chains (Coles, Woolworths) were open, so we made a list to do it tomorrow. Cooked and ate tea, then played a card game “Singapore Joe”- Jess won.

Day 12 Today was restock day. We went to Woolworths and Coles for food and K Mart, Bunnings and Autobarn for essential ‘other’ items. While Brian went to the Mine Tour, Allan and I went to the Mt Isa Lookout and water tank art and explored the old underground museum which had been abandoned and looked to be the local teenage hangout. Spent the day chilling out at the caravan park, restocking and relaxing.

Day 13 Today was expected to be a short drive with the destination in mind being Mary Kathleen (MK) Town Centre, an abandoned mining town 55km out of Mt Isa (now Private Property used for livestock), so we left the caravan park at 10ish. We decided to take a detour first and explore Lake Moondarra (a recommendation from lots of people at the caravan park). Lake Moondarra was a beautiful blue lake and was a contrast to the mining town of Mt Isa while being <20km out of the city! We saw some peacocks (had to take photos and videos of) and walked across Lake Moondarra dam wall. By 12ish we decided it was time to continue East towards Townsville. We got to MK Town Centre by 1:30 and had lunch before finding a slab of cement (old building foundations) to set up camp so we could unhitch the campers and explore the old uranium mine 7km from the town centre along a 4WD track not designed for towing. We got out the car at the uranium mine and it was a short walk (500m) to get some great photos. Allan wanted to fly his drone to get some footage, but his drone would not let him, as it was showing an error which we thought we had got fixed prior to leaving Adelaide, but apparently not. After getting hundreds of photos and videos, we decided to take a 4WD track to a waterhole showing on Wiki-maps. There was an Army camp set up on the way to the waterhole and just after that, there was a sign saying, “Do not enter, falling rocks”. Most people would have stopped there, not Allan, he ignored that sign and kept going (insert Jess rolling her eyes). It was a rough, rocky, steep track to the waterhole, but once there, it was a beautiful view with many multi-coloured rocks speckled with what we think (or hope) was copper (and not uranium). There was some water in the waterhole, and it was obviously used frequently by cows (there were fresh tracks and cow pats). We collected firewood and headed back to camp. Set up camp Allan and I worked out we were staying on the foundations of the old MK Library and Brian and Sue were set up on the “wet store”. There were cows walking through the campground, so Allan and I went for a walk to look around ‘town’. We cooked tea and went to bed, only to be woken at about 11 to the sound of wind. Jess freaked out and got out of bed to pack away anything that could blow away.

Day 14 Allan and I woke early to the sounds of cows mooing (again). We got up and had our morning coffee while being surrounded by the cows. Two calves even come up to Sue and Brian’s car and scratched themselves on the front bar. Allan cooked breakfast while Jess did a quick workout (her first of the trip). Allan decided to add habanero (chilli) sauce to our baked beans/spaghetti combo and added too much so our mouths were on fire all morning, especially Jess’ because she is not as accustomed to chilli as Allan. We packed up camp, then set off East towards Cloncurry. We stopped off at Corella Dam in Clem Walton Park where heaps of people were camping around the lake and dam. It was a beautiful spot for boating and fishing, but it was way too busy! We stopped at Chinaman Lake/Creek which was another beautiful spot for recreational day use only, had a look at the painted water tank and took some photos before continuing to Cloncurry. We went to the QANTAS Hangar, which was quite a drive out of town next to the Cloncurry airport. It was a bit of a let-down, as it was just a couple of info boards outside of a refurbished shed (used for tourism and potentially a function centre). Kept driving with Julia Creek Caravan Park being our camp for tonight. Got to Julia Creek at 2pm, stopped at the Visitor Information Centre, then set up camp at the caravan park ($28 per night per couple for unpowered sites). Brian and Sue also booked a package to try out the Artesian Baths ($80 for a couple for 1hr 15mins with some take home goodies included in the package). They got the last booking for the day, so Allan and I missed out, which we were not too upset about- Allan was more upset than me, because he loves a good bath. Sue and Brian went for their bath and upon their return said that it was worth the money, as it was a hot bath with a nice view of Julia Creek/paddock, and it was just pure serenity.

That is all we got up to this week, thankfully we got back up and running after a slightly extended stay in Birdsville. Stay tuned for next week’s adventures getting closer to “The Tip”

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