WEDNESDAY 22 MAY DUCK CREEK TO QUILPIE 135kms
After early breakfast, we finished the packing up.
Mike came over the say goodbye to us, as he was going off to his mine and would be down the hole. This was despite his statement on Monday that he would not be mining this week, due to the dust. I am convinced that he did not want us to have anything to do with whatever he was finding on the mine bottom. Fair enough – he had no way of knowing if he could really trust us, and I suspect he has had the odd unsavoury visitor in past times.
Anyway, he issued an invitation for us to come back next year, and stay as long as we like, so the visit finished on a positive note.
We went for a quick final walk before we left – and “got” a new bird: the tree creeper we had been trying to identify for much of the time here. It finally stopped still long enough to be identified – the White-browed Treecreeper.
We took the short cut route used by the locals heading north, some of which we’d already driven on in our explorations.
As we drove alongside a fence beside this track, we were entertained by an emu that persisted in running alongside Truck, on the other side of the fence. It had any amount of space it could have veered off into, but had this mindset that it had to outrun Truck to get to safety. Eventually, we all came to a fence corner and the dumb bird just about wrecked itself, trying to get through two fences that it did not need to go through, at all! I had to open a gate at the fence junction and collected some of the many feathers the bird left behind – they were so soft and unsubstantial.
It was an interesting drive today – mainly on dirt roads.
There was a mix of scenery: the flat country near Duck Creek, jump ups near Toompine; then, clearly, we were in the Bulloo River channel country as we approached Quilpie – lots of trees and better grass. I could imagine the difficulty of moving far around here when a good flood comes down. Could also see why it was good cattle fattening country, after such an event.
Despite the local drought, there was still water in some of the channels.
We booked into the Channel Country Caravan Park, for $15 a night. The park was quite adequate. It was near the bowls club! There was both grass and shade. Our site had a cement slab.
It did not seem very busy. We guessed that Quilpie was still off main tourist routes. Two big vans came in. They had been heading west towards the Dig Tree area by the SA border, but did a leaf spring on one – a standard on-road van – and had to get repairs in Thargomindah. They were now sticking to sealed roads mainly!
After setting up camp, we walked to the main street and shops.
John checked out the bowls club on the way. He might get a small game on Saturday.
We went to the Information Centre. There was quite a good little museum and history centre attached. The lady in the centre did not know much about opal tours and opal mines in the area, though, but directed us to the office of the Mines Department. There, John bought a fossicking licence – for $23.70, and valid for six months. It was possibly a bit redundant, considering our activities to date……
I checked out the newsagent, which also had a film processing depot. Put my films in there – they would be sent to Brisbane for processing. Should be back on Friday.
I discovered that, in Quilpie, greengroceries are expensive!
Quilpie is the end of the railway line, from Charleville and parts east.
There was much activity related to cattle, going on. We guessed it was mustering time. There was a steady procession of trucks bringing cattle into town, to the railway, so the whole place was rather dusty.
We had washed off the van, a bit, when we arrived. Inside it was rather dusty, but that was mostly from being at Duck Creek, rather than from the road travel.
It was wonderful to have a warm shower and wash my hair properly, despite the rotten-egg-gas smell of the bore water.
The caravan park has two sets of taps, per site – hot and cold! The hot comes straight from the bore; the cold has been settled and does not smell much – they say it is alright to drink.
Tea was the rest of the minestrone soup, and zucchini fritters – the latter were not as bad as John had feared! I liked them.
John phoned his sister and caught up on family news – with such a big family, there is always some!
We watched some TV. I hadn’t missed it.
It was a cold night