Kununurra – 30th July – 6th August

Katherine to Kununurra – 30th July

We leave Katherine and head west towards WA.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/g4lwhoj0ynegfca/IMG_1974.jpg?dl=0
 

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The Gibb River Road – August 7th to August 21st

It was with no little trepidation that we set off from Kununurra to the turnoff to the Gibb River Road.

Gibb River Road 001

First stop was at the eastern end for a group shot.

Gibb River Road 002

Then off down the road towards the Cockburn Ranges.

Gibb River Road 003

The bitumen didn’t last long and we stopped just past the El Questro turnoff to lower our tyre pressures to something more suitable for running on the rough stuff.  We dropped ours to 24PSI for the cruiser and 28PSI for the van.  Had no tyre problems at all.

Gibb River Road 005

The Cockburn Ranges are spectacular.

Gibb River Road 007

And the road was not too bad.

Gibb River Road 011

We arrived at the Pentacost River crossing

Gibb River Road 012

I was the first across.

Gibb River Road 016

We all crossed safely and headed further south.

Gibb River Road 017

We stopped at a Photo-Op location just past Home Valley Station.  We were doing one of our routine checks on our hub temperatures when I found one of my van hubs was running hot.

Gibb River Road 017A

The Management sorted it. We got the hub off after letting it cool down.  Turned out the brake shoes were on a little too tight.  We adjusted the brakes, bunged a little more grease in the bearings put it all back together and set off again.

Gibb River Road 017B

We found a great camp not far further down the road that had a view over the Cockburn Ranges, the Pentecost River and the confluence of the rivers at Wyndham.  It also had decent Telstra connection, the last on the Gibb River Road.

Gibb River Road 018

It was my birthday so we applied our skills with the camp ovens and cooked up a dinner of lamb shanks and a chocolate cake, with candles, for desert.

Gibb River Road 018A

I thought it was an appropriate occasion to have another cigar.  A Cohiba Behike.  Very nice.

Gibb River Road 019

 

The Gibb wasn’t too bad, but some of the roads leading off it were pretty rugged.  This was the road to Ellenbrae Station and we’d pulled up to help a couple of guys in a Prado.  They said they’d heard a bang and then some thumping noises.  I had a look and found a blown shocker on the front driver’s side wheel.  The rest of the management agreed with the prognosis.  We told them to lower their tyre pressures and slow down a little.

Gibb River Road 020

Ellenbrae Station was a pleasant green spot and we stayed their for lunch.

Gibb River Road 021

We circled the wagons at Russ Creek that night.  A good camp spot well back from the road and nice and flat.

Gibb River Road 021A

We turned right at the Kalumburu and headed on up to Drysdale Station.  The road was pretty rough so we kept the speed right down.

Gibb River Road 022

We came across an 80 Series Landcruiser abandoned and being stripped on the side of the road.  Apparently a local bloke died in it and it was left there to rot.

Gibb River Road 023

We arrived at Drysdale Station and settled in for a few days.

Gibb River Road 024

We arranged the vans in our “Circle the Wagons” configuration.  No power, no water, $15 per person per night.

Gibb River Road 025

The place was quite busy with a large number of motorcycle riders camping there.  Beer was around $8 a stubby.

Gibb River Road 026

The Kimberley Burger was pretty tasty, and should have been for $18 for lunch or $26 for dinner (with chips).

Gibb River Road 027

We cooled off in Miner’s Pool just up the road from the station.

Gibb River Road 028

We cooked up a side of beef in the camp oven.

Gibb River Road 029

For Terry and Rosemary’s Wedding Anniversary.

Gibb River Road 030

We thought the road out to Mitchell Falls was just a little too rough for comfort so we booked a flight.

Gibb River Road 031

The countryside was pretty arid.

Gibb River Road 032

And some great ranges.

Gibb River Road 033

Mount HannGibb River Road 034

And closer up.

Gibb River Road 035Lots of escarpments

Gibb River Road 036

And the Prince Regent River.

Gibb River Road 037

We flew along the river.

Gibb River Road 038

Heading towards St. George Basin.

Gibb River Road 039

The river turned a little turbid and green as it became an estuary.

Gibb River Road 040

There wasn’t much water going over the King Cascades.

Gibb River Road 041

Mt. Trafalgar stood out.

Gibb River Road 042

Or this might have been Mt. Trafalgar. It was just next door to the last image.Gibb River Road 043

Lots of bays along the Kimberly Coast.

Gibb River Road 044

And lots of cliffs and beaches.

Gibb River Road 046

It would be a great place to go with a boat.

Gibb River Road 047

We arrived over the Mitchell Falls and did a few orbits.

Gibb River Road 048

It was a pity the gorge was in the shadow.

Gibb River Road 049

 

But we were pleased that the falls we running.

Gibb River Road 050

Judy was enjoying herself.

Gibb River Road 051

We had a good view of our “Circled Wagons” on the landing approach.

Gibb River Road 052

We left Drysdale Station headed off back to the Gibb.  Along the way Terry called up to say he had a problem.  A broken spring.

Gibb River Road 053

We strapped the axle up and slowly headed back to Drysdale.

Gibb River Road 054

 

The Drysdale Station staff were very helpful, they gave Terry a number to call in Kununurra for the replacement springs and organised the shipment.  Next morning the springs arrived by air at about 7:30AM and The Management set to work.  We’d replace all the springs by mid afternoon.

Gibb River Road 055

And got pretty dirty in the process.

Gibb River Road 056

 

We set off early the next morning and we very pleased to arrive back at the relative smoothness of the Gibb River Road.

Gibb River Road 057

We motored on through the red dust.Gibb River Road 058

And arrived at the Mount Barnett Roadhouse, gateway to Manning Gorge.

Gibb River Road 059

We set up camp at Manning Gorge, no power or water but the best ablutions block I’ve seen in a bush camp.

Gibb River Road 060

Next day we ferried across the Manning River for the trek to the gorge.

Gibb River Road 061

It’s a little over an hour across rocky ground and small gorges.

Gibb River Road 062

With wonderful views if you remember to look back at where you’ve come from.

Gibb River Road 063

Coco accompanied us and enjoyed a refreshing drink stop along the way.

Gibb River Road 064

The gorge was delightful. Plenty of water and full of fish.

Gibb River Road 065

I’d love to have a house on the gorge rim.

Gibb River Road 066

The waterfalls didn’t look particularly good in the image, but they were great being there.

Gibb River Road 067

The water tasted pretty good as well.

Gibb River Road 069

We were lucky to see so much water so late in the dry.

Gibb River Road 070

This was pool we went swimming in.

Gibb River Road 071

We swam over and under the falls.  There was quite a stream of water falling.

Gibb River Road 072

Lots of Boab trees around.  Some were extremely large.

Gibb River Road 073

 

The Manning River was only a couple of hundred metres from our camp and we went down for a swim the next day.

Gibb River Road 074We left Manning Gorge and filled up the next day at Barnett Station.  $2.50 litre for petrol or diesel. Ouch.

Gibb River Road 075

So back on that wonderful red dust

 

Gibb River Road 076and corrugations again.  But the vistas were amazing at every turn.

Gibb River Road 077

We crossed a number of ranges.

Gibb River Road 078

and lots of rocky terrain.

Gibb River Road 080

We stopped at Imintji for an excellent lunch an the diesel boys refilled at a somewhat cheaper price.

Gibb River Road 081

A little further down the road we were passed by a “hiker” looking somewhat tired.

Gibb River Road 082

There’s a lookout spot not far south of the turnoff to Bell Gorge that provides a great outlook over the Kimberley countryside.

Gibb River Road 083

Brilliant views.

Gibb River Road 085

We camped for a couple of days at March Fly Glen.

Gibb River Road 084

Rather poor name, but a lovely location surrounded by escarpments and full of tiny birds.

Gibb River Road 086

Continuing down the road we stopped for some great photo ops in the King Leopold Range.

Gibb River Road 087Queen Victoria’s Head on the right down the road is an interesting rock formation.

Gibb River Road 088

It’s a little more obvious up close.

Gibb River Road 088A

We set up camp next to the Lennard River.

Gibb River Road 089

And the intrepid travellers set off next day to Tunnel Creek.

Gibb River Road 090

The tunnel goes for about 750m

Gibb River Road 091

Parts of the tunnel have collapsed allowing a some daylight in.

Gibb River Road 092

There was quite a deal of water to wade through.

Gibb River Road 093

And some aboriginal art on the rock walls at the south entrance.

Gibb River Road 094

Rob adjusted the water temperature

Gibb River Road 095

Next morning we went to Windjana Gorge.

Gibb River Road 096

Large numbers of fresh water crocodiles.

Gibb River Road 097

Surrounded by sheer limestone cliffs of old coral reefs.

Gibb River Road 101

Some of the “freshies” were quite large.

Gibb River Road 099

And while it is claimed they they are relatively docile and harmless, will still rip you leg off if you upset them.

Gibb River Road 102

The entrance/exit to the gorge is through a narrow cleft.

We left our campsite and headed to Derby.  A fairly easy run over a mix of bitumen and smooth graded gravel roads.

Gibb River Road 103

And celebrated our adventure with a glass of french champagne at the Kimberley Entrance Caravan Park.

 

 

 

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Kununurra – 30th July – 6th August

We leave Katherine and head west.

Victoria River RoadHouseFirst stop is Victoria River Roadhouse where I had a very tasty Buffalo Burger for lunch.

Big Horse CampgroundPushing on we camped overnight at the Big Horse Campground on the Victoria River west of Timber Creek.

Victoria River Sunset

There was a great sunset across the Victoria River

Big Horse Camp Stew

Followed by a great camp oven stew, to get rid of all the vegetables before we hit the quarantine checkpoint into WA.

WA Border Crossing and Quarantine

The WA border and the quarantine checkpoint.

Kununurra Hidden Valley

We arrived in Kununurra and checked into the Hidden Valley Caravan Park. Its surrounded by sandstone crags and the sites are spacious and grassy. Facilities are basic but a very picturesque park to stayKimberley Flight PlaneWe took a flight over Lake Argyle, the Bungle Bungles, the Argyle Diamond Mine and the Cockburn Ranges.  It was by Kingfisher Tours and our pilot, Scott, provided a wealth of information about the area we flew over.

Kimberley Flight Lake Argyle A Lake Argyle was a wide expanse of blue in the red landscape.

Kimberley Flight Lake Argyle B

There were a large number of islands and rocky outcrops.Kimberley Flight Lake Argyle C

The size is astonishing.
Kimberley Flight Lake Argyle D

It was like flying over a sea.

Kimberley Flight Bungle Bungles A

The Bungle Bungles appeared below.

Kimberley Flight Bungle Bungles B

We’ve been there a few years ago on the ground but from the air you can really appreciate the vast expanse of them.

Kimberley Flight Bungle Bungles COur plane flew a slow “S” across the sandstone domes.

Kimberley Flight Bungle Bungles D

 

The range was laced with narrow canyons, that appeared as little more than cracks in the rock,Kimberley Flight Bungle Bungles E

to vast canyons with what appeared to be river beds in the base.  It would be a spectacular view during the “wet”.

Kimberley Flight Bungle Bungles F

More canyons.

Kimberley Flight Bungle Bungles G

And even more.

Kimberley Flight Argyle Diamond Mine A

We flew north over the Argyle diamond mine.

Kimberley Flight Argyle Diamond Mine B

It’s no longer “open cut”. The mine is now underground chasing the diamond bearing dirt very deep down.

Kimberley Flight Argyle Diamond Mine D

The geologists calculate it will list until around 2021.

Kimberley Flight Cockburn Range A

We flew over the Cockburn Ranges

Kimberley Flight Cockburn Range B

Which appeared quite green.

Kimberley Flight El Questro

We got a god look at the exclusive El Questro homestead

Kimberley Flight WyndhamFlew over the mudflats outside Wyndham

Kimberley Flight Ivanhoe Crossing

Overflew Ivanhoe Crossing on the Ord River

Kimberley Flight Kununurra

Had a good look at the vast farms irrigated by the water form Lake Argyle

Kumberley Flight Airport

And then landed back at the Kununurra Airport.

Kununurra Hoochery A

No visit to Kununurra is complete without a visit to the Hoochery.

Kununurra Hoochery BWe sampled their range of various proof rums.  Unfortunately I was the designated driver and could only partake sparingly.

Kununurra Ivanhoe Crossing

The following day we took a trip out to Wyndham on the dirt road. We stopped to look at Ivanhoe Crossing on the North side.  Unfortunately, the council have blocked the crossing with huge boulders so you no longer have the fun of driving across the causeway.  This picture shows just part of the crossing, there is about another 75% past the rocks.

Kununurra Crocodile on the OrdWe stopped at eh Mambi Island boat ramp and spotted our first wild “saltie” of the trip.  Big bugger, at least 4 metres long.

Kununurra Marigu Billabong AThe Marigu Billabong is a haven for birds.  We saw quite a variety including a few brolgas.

Kununurra Marigu Billabong B

A short way down from the bird hide an egret was standing on the back of a croc.  It flew off and stood in front of it by the time I managed to snap a pic.  Probably end up as dinner for the croc.

Wyndham_A

A feast of barramundi at the Wyndham Town Hotel was next on the agenda.  Very tasty.

 

Wyndham_B

The port area is pretty sleepy.

Wyndham_C

And the port area itself is not too inviting being at the confluence of 5 croc infested rivers.  The tide was ebbing while we were there and the current was pretty vicious.

Wyndham_D

The view from the lookout was spectacular.

Kununurra Rodeo A

The Kununurra Rodeo was on.  We got there early and set up next to the ring.

Kununurra Rodeo B

They ran out the bulls and raised a lot of dust.

Kununurra Rodeo C

The ladies showed vast skills in the barrel races

Kununurra Rodeo D

And the stockmen got bounced around on the bucking horses.  Unfortunately the rodeo was held late in the afternoon and evening and the light was too low to get images of the bull rides.

Kununurra New Akubra

But I did get a chance to wear my new Akubra.Lake Argyle AThe weather was great for a cruise on Lake Argyle.

Lake Argyle B

The Management were having a great time.

Lake Argyle DWe all got to be helmsmen.

Lake Argyle F

The lake is immense, there are places were you cannot see the other side.

Lake Argyle E

On little island was inhabited by a family of rock wallabies, tiny little creatures.

Lake Argyle G

There are a huge number of fresh water crocodiles in the lake.

Lake Argyle H

We stopped for lunch and a swim on a little island.  The water was around 24C.

Lake Argyle I

We climbed back on our cruise boat.

Lake Argyle J

On the way back we passed a small rock outcrop in the lake, the nesting place of a Jabiru, naturally called Jabiru Rock.  It contains he nest of a pair of Jabirus, who mate for life. Tragically the female didn’t return a couple of years ago and the male has been forlornly waiting for her.  Apparently he’s now showing interest in another female.

Lake Argyle K

We returned past the relatively tiny dam wall and took the bus down to the other side.

Lake Argyle L

It looks somewhat bigger from this angle.Lake Argyle MAnd the exhaust from the hydro turbines made quite a splash.

Kununurra Stone Stomper A

My Stone Stomper took quite a beating up some of the rough roads earlier in the trip so we decided to spend the day repairing it.

Kununurra Stone Stomper A2

A lot of the damage was caused by barbed wire and other detritus dredged up from the roads by the low hanging curtain.

Kununurra Stone Stomper B

A few metres of shade cloth, some glue, some clamps and some heavy cord saw it returned to a serviceable state.

Kununurra Stone Stomper C

Ready for the next stage of the trek down the Gibb River Road.

 

 

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Katherine – 24th to 29th July

Arrived in Katherine

Katherine Riverview Caravan Park

And checked into the Riverside Caravan Park.  Nice sites, shaded in the morning.  It’s getting pretty hot here.  Lots of shopping to stock up for the next stage.

 

Edith Falls Trekking up the escarpment

Next day, Rob led the troops on a spirited climb up the escarpment at Edith Falls.

Edith Falls Top Pools

The climb was worth it.  A swim in the pool was very refreshing.

Edith Falls Waterfall

Especially under the falls.

Edith Falls Old People

Rob had some difficulty negotiating the rocky shore but was ably assisted by Rose.

Edith Falls Lookout

The round trip return walk had some excellent lookouts.

Cutta Cutta Caves B

Cutta Cutta Caves just south of Katherine is worth a visit.

Cutta Cutta Caves Tight Squeeze

Though it can be squeeze in spots.

Katherine Gorge Bats

The bats had moved from Mataranka, obviously they’ve taken up residence at Katherine Gorge.  Very smelly.

Katherine Gorge River

We did the two gorge tour along the Katherine River.

Katherine Gorge End of First Gorge

Lots of spectacular scenery.

KatherineGorgeHDR2

The second gorge.

Katherine Gorge Jeddas Leap

And Jedda’s Leap (from the 50’s film Jedda – must see if I can find it on-line)

Katherine Gorge Great Billed Heron

Lots of wild life including a relatively scarce Great Billed Heron

Katherine Gorge Freshie

And a not so scare Fresh Water Crocodile.

Katherine Hot Springs

The hot springs at the back of the Caravan Park are a great place to relax.

Katherine The Ghan

The Ghan was in today, so we went up to the station for a look.  It was a little late because the rail south of Alice is blocked from an earlier derailment.  The supermarkets are starting to run out of some items as they’re normally brought up by train from Adelaide.

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Mataranka 23rd July

We left Daly Waters

Larrimah Wayside Inn

Had a lunch stop at the quirky Larrimah Hotel

Mataranka Hot  Springs

And then moved on to overnight at Mataranka and float for a while in the hot springs.

Mataranka Roos

 

Fortunately we weren’t plagued by incontinent bats this time but there were a number of semi-tame roos wandering around the park.  Much to Coco’s consternation.

 

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Birdsville to Daly Waters 12th to 22nd July

Hooked up and waved ta-ta to Birdsville.

Desert Birdsville to BedourieOff into the desert again on the road to Bedourie.

Cacoory BoreStopped for a look at the Cacoory Bore.  Boiling water pouring out of a pipe and down a channel to a holding pond for stock.

Dead Dingo Came across the remind of a dingo down the track.  Serious teeth.

Bedourie Camel Race Crowd

Arrived at Bedourie in time for the Camel Races.  A respectable crowd in attendance.

Bedourie Axemen

There was a wood chopping competition.

Bedourie Old Mans Race

An old man’s walking race, that’s me in the blue check shirt, I should have won but got pipped at the post by a local who broke into a run.

Bedourie Pig Chase

A catch the piglet event for the kids. It almost got away.

Bedourie Camp Oven Toss

A Bedourie Camp Oven throwing competition.

Bedourie Camel Race

And of course the Camel Races.

Bedourie Winning Camel

I place numerous bets, but apart from one I placed for Rob Farrington lost the lot.

Bedourie Out Back Promise Team

We picked up a stack of T-Shirts from Queensland Tourism.  I thought it was something to do with taking the pledge, but apparently it’s about visiting the remote Queensland outback. Which we were happy to do.

Dajarra

On from Bedourie via Boulia and Dajarra to Mt. Isa.

Mt. Isa Repair Planning

Gave us a chance to undertake some repairs to the van.  Here’s Rob Farrington planning the new base for my battery box.

Mt. Isa Repair Construction

Followed up by some cutting and drilling.

Mt. Isa Lookout

We didn’t do a great deal of tourist stuff at Mt. Isa, we were mainly there to repair and restock, but we did a bit.  The sundown view from the lookout was spectacular.

Lake Moondarra A

And Lake Moondarra, though low, was well worth a visit.

Camooweal Main Street

Next stop was Camooweal were we picked up some lunch and fuel.

Camooweal Drover Jeff Simpson

We backtracked a couple of ks to the Camooweal Drover’s Camp and were conducted on a tour by an old drover, Jeff Simpson.  He was absolutely fascinating describing the history and life of the drovers from the Kimberley to the west of NSW.  If you are ever up that way, don’t miss him.

Camooweal Georgina River

That night we camped beside the Georgina River, just over the bridge west our of Camooweal.

Barkly Homestead

With fair winds behind us we headed across the Barkly Highway to the Barkly Homestead lunched and filled up.

Sunset at Brunette Downs Rest Stop

After lunch we headed north on the Tablelands Highway and overnighted at the Brunette Downs Rest Area.  Marvellous sunsets. And it’s getting warmer.

TableLands Hwy

Continued along the highway through vanishing horizons.

Kiana Turnoff  Morning Tea Stop

Stopped for a coffee at the Kinana Station Rest Area

Cape Crawford Heart Break Hotel

Arrived at the Heartbreak Hotel in Cape Crawford for fuel $2.2o / litre!!!  Dropped in enough to get us to the Stuart Hwy and continued another 10K west.

Little River Camp

To the Little River Rest area.

Mt. Isa Site

A delightful spot next to a clear spring fed river.

Little River Camp Water Monitor

Large water monitors

Little River Rest Area Large Bull

And even larger bulls in attendance. We stayed a couple of nights here.  A delightful spot.

Carpentaria Hwy

Off west along the Carpentaria Highway.

Daly Waters CP

To our camp at the Daly Waters Pub CP.

Daly Waters Pub Outside

We went down to the Daly Waters Pub

Daly Waters Pub Inside

And had a beer in the bar.  This time it was line with bras rather than hats.  Makes a bit of a change.

Daly Waters Pub Pyjama Party Winners

The weekly Pyjama Party was scheduled that night and Rob and I turned up in out onesies and won first prize.  It was a great night.

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Birdsville – 9th to 11th July

We set off  from Betoota along the Birdsville Development Road.

Desert outside BirdsvilleThrough lots of stony desert.

Bitumen Road Outside Birdsville

And sometimes the road was good, but mostly it was like the desert, pretty rough and rutted.

Remains of my Trailer Mate and Jockey Clamp

My Trailer-Mate Jack support bungee broke along there and ploughed a significant proportion of the road.  Thought it was my hitch doing the ploughing as the bottom of the jack was hidden under the stone guard.  Didn’t spot it until we went to drop the van off at the Birdsville CP.  One rather bent jack and jockey-wheel clamp. (Replaced at Mt. Isa)

Birdsville Roadhouse

We had some more excitement on this leg.  I’d slightly underestimated the distance from Innamincka to Birdsville and after adding the 5 litres left in my generator can, the 5 litres in Terry’s generator can, the 3 litres from Rob’s  chainsaw can and the cup of fuel from my chainsaw, we pulled up next to the pumps at the Birdsville Roadhouse and the motor died.  Tanks totally empty.  Biggest fill I’ve ever done.

Camped at Birdsville

It was pretty busy as the Big Red Bash was on with a large contingent of entertainers performing out at the Big Red Sand Dune.  The caravan park was very crowded and we managed to get our three vans in a sort of “U” across 2 sites.  Very cosy.

Birdsville Bakery

Had pies from the famous Birdville Bakery for lunch

Birdsville Dinner First Night

It was pretty cold out there, cold winds blowing in but we bundled up and braved the elements for our normal communal dinner that night.

 

Birdsville Hotel Colour

The Birdsville Hotel was an interesting spot.

Sitting Outside the Birdsville Pub

Nice seats to sit on and watch the passing parade.

Bar fo the Birdsville Pub

And a typical outback bar for this part of the world, full of hats stuck to the ceiling and a variety of outback paraphenalia.  Beer was pretty expensive, but on the plus side I discovered Cooper’s Pale Ale.  Great stuff, now my tipple of choice. We ate in the hotel one night.  Not your typical outback tucker.

Birdsville Terry Cooking Fryup for dinnerOther nights we stayed back at camp and cooked up excellent meals between us.  Fry-ups, pizzas. We’re all eating too much.

Toured around town, not a great deal to see.

Old Birdville Hospital

The old hospital.

Typical Vehicle after a few k on Birdsville Track

An example of what typically happens to a vehicle transiting the roads to Birdsville.

Ruins of Royal Hotel BirdsvilleThe ruins of the Royal Hotel.

Birdsville BoreAnd the bore that provides the town water.

Us at the Top of Big Red

No visit to Birdsville is complete without climbing “Big Red”  the highest sand dune in the Simpson Desert.

View from Big Red

There’s quite a view from the top.

Cruiser at the Top of Big Red

Of course I had to drive the cruiser up to the top.

Coco Mooching Food from Rob

Back at camp, Coco continued here mooching rounds of the caravans.  Here she is mooching for sausages at Rob’s caravan.

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Broken Hill to Birdsville

Broken Hill to Milparinka 30th June 2014

We left Broken Hill early Monday and headed north on the Silver City Highway.

Silver City HighwayWe soon hit the dirt, but it was generally smooth and comfortable to travel on.

Parked at Packsaddle

We arrived at the Packsaddle Roadhouse around lunchtime

Packsaddle Hotel Bar

And had a huge hamburger in the colourful bar.

Circle the Wagons

Arrived at Milparinka and circled the wagons.

Happy Hour in the Desert

Then settled down for a happy hour in the desert evening.

Milparinka to Cameron Corner 1st July 2014

WedgieTibbooburra

Some magnificent wedge-tailed eagles enjoying the fresh food along the way.  Not much road-kill in evidence yet.  Must have been good rains in the area.

Tibbooburra

First stop is Tibbooburra for a tank fill and a bite of lunch and then off onto the rougher stuff toward Cameron Corner.

Dry Lake Bed Tibbooburra to Cameron orner

We pulled up on a dry lake bed for some afternoon tea.

The gang on the Dry lake Bed

And snapped a picture of three of the four vans in the team.

Crossing into SA

We crossed the gate in the Dog Fence at Cameron Corner from NSW to SA.

Cameron Corner Store

Then back into Queensland to the Cameron Corner Store.

Coco Straddling Three States

Coco was not to sure of standing on the post but she persevered and straddled three states, NSW, SA and QLD.

Jude and I at Cameron Corner

We only straddled two states.

Cameron Corner Store Bar

We had a drink in the standard outback colourful bar.

The Dog Fence at Cameron Corner

Collected some firewood along the dog fence, a 5600km fence to keep dingoes and wild dogs from getting to the other side.  I’m not sure which is the other side.

The Outback Flies

The flies were pretty bad and fly nets were de rigueur.  I think this mob were trying to spell out a message on Ray’s back.

Cameron Corner to Innamincka Attempt 1 – 1st July 2014

Cattle Drive

After lunch we set off again bound for Innamincka.  We were slowed down by a large drive of cattle crossing the road at Bollards Lagoon.  As you can see there were a few corrugations on the road.

Waiting for the Team

About 26Km west of Cameron Corner we lost track of the team.  Got a call on the radio that Rob (Rob Farrington) had a jammed brake back down the track and had pulled off the road.  We turned round and headed back.

Locked Wheel

The locked wheel left quite a furrow on the road and the roadside before Rob pulled up.

Damn Bearing Seized

The van was jacked up and the hub removed to reveal a minor disaster.  A wheel bearing had overheated and seized, welding itself to the stub axle and the hub.  The hub and wheel was replaced and we limped back very slowly to Cameron Corner to complete repairs.

Cameron Corner 1st July to 4th July

Cameron Corner Grinding off the old bearing

We settled back into Cameron Corner and ground the failed bearing from the stub axle.  Local mechanic didn’t have any of the correct size so replacements were ordered from Broken Hill.  They were scheduled to arrive on the 4th July.

Cameron Corner Happy Hour

We made the best of the situation and happy houred round the camp fire every night.

Cameron Corner Sunset

And enjoyed the outback sunsets.

Cameron Corner Nice Cigar

The crystal clear skies made for a perfect night for enjoying a cigar, a Romeo and Juliet Commemorative Edition  Churchill, courtesy of a Qatari prince, accompanied by an excellent 2007 Maurice O’Shea Shiraz courtesy of my mate, Steve Shipley.

Cameron Corner fixing the bearing

Finally the new bearings arrived and were fitted. Lots of grinding and sanding and bashing involved before we had finished the repairs.

Cameron Corner Dinner

Friday night we had dinner in the Cameron Corner Store.

Cameron Corner Crew

And farewelled the crew at the Cameron Corner Store.

Cameron Corner to Innamincka Attempt 2 – 5th July 2014

Rays Brake Problem

A short way down the track we stopped to check undercarriage on Rob’s van.  His was OK but Ray’s was showing one wheel very hot.

Broken Brake Magnet

A quick wheel and drum removal revealed a brake magnet had dropped off .  This was disconnected and wheel replaced before setting off again across the 139 sand dunes between Cameron Corner and Innamincka.

Over Dune Beef

A few beef started appearing over the dunes, but it was too early for a BBQ.

Old Strezlecki Track

Turning right onto the Old Strezlecki Track.  We were told it was better than the new one through Moomba. And it wasn’t too bad.

Oil Pump

A few oil pumps along the way.

Odd Skeleton

And a strange skeleton beside the track.  Probably a southern Min Min.

Innamincka Trading Post

Arrived at Innamincka.

Innamincka Pub Bar

And it was Terry’s shout at the pub.  $38 for four beers.  He’s still complaining about it.

Happy Hour Beside Cooper Creek

We set up camp on the banks of the Cooper Creek at the Innamincka Town Common.  Great spot, plenty of room and $5 per van.

Dinner Beside Cooper Creek

A chilly night but the excellent BBQ meal and the wine fended off the cold.

Innaminka TownshipView of Innamincka from the rubbish tip.

The Masters and The Apprentice

The two masters and the apprentice.  Take your pick.

Burkes Grave

Visited Burke’s Grave just out of Innamincka.

Dig Tree Camping Area

Then went out to the Dig Tree and set up camp for a couple of days.

Ray Nets a fish at Dig Tree

Ray went fishing and caught one. Unfortunately not quite big enough for all of us.

The Dig Tree

The Dig Tree, quite poignant.

Fishing Futility at the Dig Tree

I tried a bit of fishing.  Quite futile actually.

Good Gravel Road on the Arrabury Track

Headed off up the Arrubury Track towards Birdsville.  Not bad conditions, recently graded and stretches of bitumen over the steep bits.

End of the Arrabury Track

The vanishing horizons at the end of the Arrubury Track, we turn right and head for Birdsville.

Betoota Abandoned Pub

We camped opposite the abandoned Beetoota Hotel.  Great camp spot, toilets, shelter, fire pits and visitations by the ghost of the publican.

Betoota Campfire

Had a great campfire dinner that night.

Rock MuralAnd in the morning headed off past some very modern rock art to Birdsville.

 

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Broken Hill

Last couple of days in Broken Hill have been bitterly cold and windy.

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Yesterday lazed around the town and had crowded happy hour in the van.  Too cold to be outside.

Today we headed out to Silverton.

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Pulled up at the iconic Silverton Hotel, location for a number of movies under a variety of names.

DSC_0462The boys enjoyed a convivial breakfast ale in the bar before heading up the road for an excellent lunch at the local cafe.

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After lunch we spent some time touring the extensive museum at the local gaol.DSC_0486

And the girls obtained some welcome relief.

 

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Ensconced at Broken Hill

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Drove from Hattah to Broken Hill today. Severe headwinds all the way. Fuel consumption about 25% more than normal. Arrived in Broken Hill and met up with the Bartons and Nunns. We’re camped at the racecourse. Nice green grass, unpowered $15 per night. Water, showers, toilets. Fairly basic but clean. We’re now happy houring at St. Patricks bar next to the grandstand.

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