SATURDAY 29 APRIL BOURKE TO CHARLEVILLE 482kms
The day was hotter – more so than yesterday. The morning though, was balmy and pleasant.
We slept last night with the doona off for most of the night – it had been a long time since we had done that!
Today’s intended destination was Cunnamulla – which would see us over the border and into Qld – three days after leaving Melbourne.
After hitching up, we departed the caravan park and drove to the Information Centre, where we picked up some good materials on parts north.
Then I went to the newsagent for newspapers and postcards. While I was in there, John started a conversation with a nearby clothing shop owner, which soon got onto the difficulties of trying to run a business in the town. The man said he’d had three break ins, in two weeks, and he’d had to reinforce his brick side wall with steel mesh and steel sheets. That was why shops have so few windows, and most have steel mesh shuttering. The man said that the town no longer had a football team as its members just wanted to fight all the time, so no other teams would play them. I guess that all of that commentary reinforced our impressions, given all the damage we’d seen.
We did a limited fresh produce shop at a small supermarket – there was not much choice.
Refuelled Truck – 92cpl.
It was 11am before we left Bourke. Apart from the hamlet of Enngonia, there was little sign of settlement. It all felt rather “outback”.
We had lunch at a roadside stop near the border, and then it was on, into Qld. Again!
The route north of Bourke was still interesting and lush, with much grass and the occasional very fat cattle. Clearly, the area had received quite a lot of rain over summer and autumn. I suspect the country around here is not normally this well watered? It is certainly mostly very flat.
When we reached a servo on the outskirts of Cunnamulla, John decided to keep going to Charleville.
Refuelling in Cunnamulla was not much cheaper than in NSW – 90cpl.
While John was filling Truck, I phoned the caravan park of choice in Charleville and secured us a site.
The last couple of hours of driving was quite hot and I for one was glad when we rounded a sweeping curve and saw the outskirts of Charleville coming up. We’d been running parallel to a railway since Cunnamulla; didn’t see any trains on it, but the crossing signs on the side roads made it appear the route was still used. We crossed that line just before the central part of the town and yes, it definitely was still in use. Good to see!
Booked into the Bailey Bar Caravan Park – $12.60 a night, after discount. We’d decided on the way that, if the park looked alright, we’d stay a couple of nights and look around the town and have a break from driving.
It was a very nice little caravan park. We were parked on good grass. There were plenty of shade trees. It was a little different in that there did not appear to be formally marked out sites in the main section – the owner directed us into the place he wanted us to park. The vans were at all sorts of angles to each other, apparently designed to maximise use of the space – but without crowding them too close together. It was probably a good thing that we did not intend to put on the awning roof – we may have taken up too much space!
The amenities were fairly modern, quite adequate, and clean.
By the later afternoon, there appeared to be few vacancies, so I was glad I’d phoned ahead for a place. Lots of “snowbirders” are heading north it seems.
Another bonus of this pleasant place was that the town water was drinkable – not always the case in more remote places.
The air was lovely and warm and there was a real “tropical” feel. The park’s trees attracted many birds too, so we would have those to watch.
Tea was lamb chops and salad.
We were very tired from the several days of travel, and had an early night, though I managed to write some postcards while John watched a bit of TV. The TV options were not great – basically just our old Central Australian friend Imparja! At least we could watch the news – sort of.
The night was warm, again, so we did not need the doona – sheet was sufficient.
I was happy!