TUESDAY 6 JUNE WINTON TO CLONCURRY 380kms
It was cloudy again.
We left the caravan park about 9am – part of the usual morning exodus from Winton.
Refuelled at the Caltex depot – still 83cpl.
Took the highway to the north west, through mostly flat grassland country, broken occasionally by low tree lines that marked a water course, or a shallow depression where water stayed longer. There was one interesting area of low jump ups that we passed to the edge of, maybe 50 or 60kms from Winton.
Not far before Kynuna, we turned onto the dirt track to Combo Waterhole, on the upper reaches of the Diamantina River. This waterhole is supposed to have been the inspiration for Banjo Paterson to write “Waltzing Matilda”, while he was staying at nearby Dagworth Station, and picnicked there. No one knows for sure whether there ever really was a sheep stealing swagman once camped here, but it would be a pleasant spot for a camp, for sure.
We did the Information Walk , finding out about the many channels of the Diamantina River here, and crossing several of them – dry.
An interesting feature that was highlighted was the low stone overshot weirs, built about a hundred years ago using Chinese labour. The technique of using flat stones to build these was a Chinese one – and obviously effective, given how well the weirs have lasted.
We spotted three new birds – a Jacky Winter, a brown songlark and a pratincole.
Ate our lunch by the waterhole – wide, brown, peaceful.
Just as we were finishing lunch, heard a motor and then a vehicle arrived – an official vehicle of the Outback Trek – a 4WD fundraising event. They said the Trekker vehicles were expected within the hour – so we left – hastily! We definitely did not want to get caught up in the noise, dust and general mayhem of that sort of thing.
The rest of the drive to Cloncurry was uneventful, through country with many water channels – mostly dry – and with the occasional hills.
Just beyond Kynuna was where the divide is between the streams that drain into the Lake Eyre Basin, like the Diamantina and those that drain north, to the Gulf, like the Flinders River. I guessed this meant that we had entered the Gulf Country?
There was less grass as we got closer to Cloncurry and we had a few spots of rain.
Booked into the Gilbert Park Caravan Park, on the eastern outskirts of town for three nights – for $13.50 a night, after discount. It seemed alright.
We unhitched and set up, then drove into town, found a Woolworths, bought some supplies, then bought an early fish and chip tea.
By then, it was quite windy and cool.
Phoned and left message for K that we were back in civilization. J phoned his daughters – one had flu and one wasn’t home.