Leaving Bedford Weir after a few pleasant days of R&R we were heading West. In Emerald we filled up water and fuel. Didn’t spend much time there – only pictures I took were of the railway station. It is a beautiful old building.
We headed out to Rubyvale and had fish and chips at the Poppy Cafe Rubyvale – which came highly recommended. Lunch was OK. We stayed overnight in Sapphire in the freecamp behind the swimming pool. We woke up finding a cow grazing right next to our car. There are plenty of diggings in the area Opal and Sapphire stones obviously gave these towns their names. We checked out the Gem Store next to the Cafe and saw some beautiful Sapphire and Opal jewellery.
Leaving Sapphire we passed through hilly countryside until the road climbed the Drummond Range. At the Drummond Range lookout you get great views down the range and the surrounding mountains. A plaque reminds us that the Capricorn Highway over the range was unsealed until 1984. Today the road is excellent allowing travelling at good pace. Most of the way the railway line to Longreach travels along the highway. I was amazed how many roads turning off the Capricorn Higway lead to unguarded railway crossings.
The Drummond Range is a Dividing Range. All the rivers east of the Drummond Range run into the Pacific Ocean. Any water on the west of the range drains into the Lake Eyre basin and actually flows into Lake Eyre – if it doesn’t evaporate before it reaches the lake. Once the water reaches the lake there is no escape. The lake has no outlet and all water eventually evaporates leaving the salty crust that mostly covers Lake Eyre.
Our trip to Lake Eyre with Outback Spirit Tours (May 2011) was the impetus for our caravanning. We saw so much of Australia and knew at the same time that there is so much more. We really enjoyed the trip, at the same time we felt restricted by the rigid timetables. Caravanning was the answer for us. We bought the caravan and Landcruiser in January 2012 and have enjoyed every minute we could spend touring with the caravan while still working. Check out our blog from our Lake Eyre trip.
We passed through Barcaldine and headed to the Lloyd Jones Weir.