FRIDAY 12 APRIL NORTH BOURKE TO LEOPARDWOOD 390kms
The grumpy worker in the tent behind us left, very noisily, at 5am. I was very tempted to get up and call out to him to be quiet because some of us had to sleep!
We were away before 9am.
Before we left, managed to make phone contact with our house sitter, which we had tried to do, unsuccessfully, the previous two nights. She said she had been out playing tennis, that all was well and that one cat was sleeping on her bed! It was a relief to contact her. This house sitter thing is new for us and it is still easy to imagine all sorts of problems.
It was another hot day. We are somewhat earlier in the year than most tourists visit these parts, because of this sort of heat.
The country north of Bourke was not particularly interesting, and we’d been that way before. Semi-arid mulga type country and much red dirt.
We reached Cunnamulla, in southern Qld, at lunchtime. Had not been into the town before. Last time, we turned onto the Charleville road on the outskirts of town. We walked around, having a look at the place. Looked at shops. Bought a magazine and a postcard, lotto tickets, milk and bread.
Whilst we were in mobile phone range, cleared the accumulated messages. One was from cousin K from Tasmania: they will be passing through Melbourne in early May and he was hoping to catch up with us. He’s out of luck there!
We ate our pre-packed lunch in a park in town, watching some little kids on a school outing, in the playground.
Then it was west on the Thargomindah road, through Eulo, where we stopped briefly, so John could check the price of diesel there. He bought us an icy pole each – nice, in the heat.
Then it was on, past the sealed road to Yowah and Toompine, that we took last year. There was not much of interest along the way. The road was narrow – basically a single width of bitumen. There were occasional floodways – dry – though there was a bridge over the Paroo River at Eulo, and there was water in that. The country was either lightly timbered scrub land, or grazing country.
Then we took the “back” unsealed Black Gate Road that goes to Yowah. Leopardwood was only about 4kms along this, and we turned and drove the track to some buildings that could be seen. It was about 3pm by then.
At what seemed to be the house, we could not find anyone around. But there was a billy goat and a goose on guard – quite effectively, too. The goat seemed to want to bail John up, so I distracted him with a bread crust, so John could get back in Truck! It was fortunate that I’d put the shopping bags from Cunnamulla inside Truck, behind my seat, rather than open up the van, so I was able to reach the bread to get the crust.
We followed the signs that were there, to the camp area, and began to set up, in a spot that looked alright, between some mulga trees that might provide a bit of shelter and shade.
Then Mike, the owner, came down, in an old, white, small wagon type of vehicle. He confirmed that it was alright for us to camp here. The goat – Hannibal – had followed the vehicle down, so Mike showed us how to handle him. In theory, at any rate. Hannibal gave us a head-butting exhibition against the spare wheel on Mike’s little ute. I decided I would prefer just to give him a wide berth!
We arranged to meet Mike up at his house, in the morning.
We spent some time getting our camp set up.
There was a primitive shower and a long drop toilet, a water supply and a shelter. It was sort of a lot of oddments cobbled together. The water came from a bore and we thought it might be a bit sulphur-y – but alright to clean and wash with.
Overall, we could be quite comfortable here, I thought.
We sat outside the van, watching the sunset. There was enough cloud in the sky to make it fairly spectacular. It was enjoyable to be out in the mulga country again, though round there the mulga was fairly sparsely scattered amongst areas of bare ironstone covered flats, and the like. It was not thickly wooded country. But the camp was in a somewhat better vegetated patch.
It was a beautiful, balmy evening, with a bit of a breeze.
Tea was warmed up corn cakes and ratatouille, left over from the other night.
The night was silent – no urban noises out here. Wonderful.