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Thursday, October 4, 2012

BEYOND THE BLACK STUMP


This time we have a bigger trip planned. We want to head out way   beyond the black stump to The Channel country and see the mighty Diamantina National Park. It is a huge drive so we decide to get a lot of miles under our belts, stopping our first night beside Judd’s Lagoon near Yuleba. Then on to Mitchell for a therapeutic hot swim. Here we detour off the tarmac for some more interesting driving. We camp overnight at Major Mitchells Campsite, with not another soul in sight. It was a pretty cold night with frost, so we had a roaring campfire.

The next day we have a lovely drive through back roads crossing the Maranoa and Warrego Rivers. But finally back to the tarseal and on to Tambo & Blackall, home of The famous Black Stump. The town is not very big, but has lots of activities for tourists (who are mainly grey nomads in caravans) and a great camping area beside the Barcoo River. Then we continue on to the Idalia National Park. The camping area wasn’t great, but there were quite a few walks with some pretty lookouts. Lots of roos were there and the farmhouse was now a pile of wood. We left late in the day, and found another spot to camp beside a brown river, with only cattle and wild pigs for company.

Our next destination is Wellford National Park on the Barcoo River. There were no walks here, but there were a few drives. The sanddune drive was the prettiest right through rows of bright red sandhills. We finally stopped for the night beside the Thompson River just outside of the tiny town of  Jundah.

Then on to Windorah, stopping to look at the museum & to stock up on diesel. There won’t be any more petrol stations for a long while now. There is no mobile phone range in these towns, although I did find Wifi in Jundah. We decide to try to get into Diamantina National Park…..a long flat drive. The road was pretty good. No traffic, but we didn’t make it. So we camped beside a dried up creek, and continued into the Park the next day. Our first port of call was the old homestead. What a desolate place to live. There was a fascinating diary of an English girl who travelled to the homestead many years ago. Then we headed across the many Diamantina waterways to drive around the Warracoota Circuit to see the old cattle yards, dams and other ruins. Then on to the camp site for the night. It is right beside the river, and is a truly magic spot, with 100’s of pelicans fishing on the river. Isn’t it always the way….you set up camp not too close to other people and a group of 3 camper trailers come and camp right beside us!! Oh well. The sunset & stars are amazing.

Time to head off again stopping at the lookout at Janet’s Leap, and then the ruins of the Mayne Hotel. The scenery is gorgeous. Our fuel is getting low so we head to Winton, stopping for lunch at some more ruins at Old Cork Station right beside the Diamantina River. This would be another lovely campspot. We have just missed the races, and the pubs are busy (for Winton that is), so we stay for dinner in the outside bar. A fight erupts inside so we head out of town to camp for the night beside Long Waterhole. This is a very busy camping area, with lots of caravans. Fortunately quieter than town.

From Winton we head south to Isisford, east back to Blackall, and then south towards St George. There are some great spots to camp on the Maranoa River. There is still debris in the trees from the last flood. After St George we stop at Nindigully for morning tea and we see Global Roamer 1. She has been busy touring Australia with her new owners. Great to see her being used. Then the long haul home via the Cunningham highway. There is lots to do before we head back to Uruguay in October.

 

 

 

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