2nd June, 2016
Some of you who are familiar with our blog may be wondering about the speed of our trip at this point. This part of our trip is a “quick and dirty” drive to Broome to ensure that we are there in good time to commence our cruise on June 23rd. Still plenty of time to get there one would think, but we want to make sure Murphy does not have a hand in delaying us. Hence the quick trip. So far we are mostly going over old ground for us so not much interest in spending time in places we have already seen.
The weather is also slightly against us at the moment. The road between Barcaldine and Longreach had been cut by floodwaters at Ilfracombe two days ago so, with more rain predicted, we were anxious to reach Longreach before said rains arrived.
We set off from Bluff at around 8 a.m. and programmed the GPS for Longreach. A long drive for us at over 500 kms but we were certainly glad that we did it. On the way, I phoned the Information Centre in Longreach to ascertain the state of camping in the area. I was told that people were camped at the Apex camp site on the Thompson River outside of town but that we should check it out to decide if we should stay there. When we stopped in Jericho for lunch the previous day, a fellow traveller told us that he decided to give Longreach a miss based on information from someone who had told him that the caravan parks were full with queues of vans trying to get in. We have learnt not to take too much notice of this kind of second hand information as it is invariably exaggerated. And so it proved to be on this occasion.
It was certainly true that there was a queue of vans waiting to enter the “better” park in town but that seems to be the standard there. With more rain threatening we decided not to chance getting in to the riverside camp and chose the “less desirable” town CP. It certainly is not flash and was more than a little worse for wear from the rain but it was good enough for a night.
We realised that we had forgotten to pack an umbrella for this trip so walked in to town to see what could be had. We found a “cheap” shop and bought something that looks like it may last one or two showers. A quick walk up and down the main street and we were back at camp.
Not much has changed since our last visit 3 years ago. This chap has not moved at all.
And the Post Office has not changed a bit since we collected our fridge hinges there 3 years ago.
The rain began again at around 5 a.m. this morning but had ceased by about 7 a.m. when Erich decided to go for his walk in the dark.
Almost sunrise but threatening skies.
McKinnon & Co is a long established Longreach company.
A rather attractive building.
All the streets in Longreach are named after birds
Another long established Queensland company (Winchombe & Carsen) that I remember from my youth.
I asked Erich why he thought this photo worthy and he said he found it amazing that something like this would still be acceptable.
And so we said farewell to Longreach with one eye on the weather radar hoping to get past the incoming rain from the west.
We made good time although we passed through some heavy showers. There was not much traffic in either direction thankfully. We topped up with fuel in Winton and were on the road again.
The landscape was typical outback – that is, not a lot to see but north of Winton we came across some breakaways that I took a few photos of from the car.
There were some interesting cloud formations but my camera did not do them justice.
We topped up the fuel tank again at McKinlay just past the Walkabout Creek Hotel made famous in the Crocodile Dundee movie. We had been there before and found the whole thing just too commercialised but judging by the number of vans parked in their yard, others did not share our view.
We arrived at our camp site at Fullerton River at around 2 p.m. and quickly found a level spot out the back of the rest area.
Tomorrow we plan to stop at Camooweal Billabong, just before the Northern Territory border, having driven through Cloncurry and Mt Isa. The last time we stopped at the Billabong the water was low and it was packed with campers. It will be interesting to see what tomorrow brings. At least we seem to have left the rain behind.