TUESDAY 20 SEPTEMBER BIRDSVILLE TO COOPER CREEK 385kms
The morning saw a quick pack up, then we headed out of town, across the Diamantina River channel.
Finally, we were on the Birdsville Track – a long held goal of mine. This was the last of the three desert tracks in this region, and the only one we had not previously driven.
I was hoping that we could take our time going south to Marree, camp at least a couple of nights along the way, sidetrack out to Kalamurina on the Warburton channel – but John was not so inclined. Once he became fixated on an end goal, he was not to be moved, and in this case the goal was getting south fast!
Left to my own devices, I would have camped at least a night at each of Kalamurina (probably two or three nights!), Mungerannie, Cooper Creek, Clayton Station – and taken a week to do the track.,
It did not take long before we were seeing sand dunes running parallel to the track.
Much of the way was flat and dry, as one would expect, but not without its own beauty.
Every so often we would cross a dry, shallow water course, marked by a line of low trees – variety in the landscape.
It was getting late in the tourist season for people to be travelling the Birdsville Track. We only encountered one lot of traffic for the day.
The track was in much better condition than I had anticipated – but with some areas of corrugation, and – surprisingly – a short, wet section. The water was not very deep, and the base of the track was still firm though.
We had a couple of short stops, to look at the country, stretch our legs a bit.
One of the stops was to look at some budgerigars that appeared to be nesting in a tree hollow. There were not that many trees along the northern part of the track, so that was a novelty.
Had a slightly more extended break at Mungerannie Roadhouse. The little camp area there was quite pleasant, beside a wetland created by the bore outflow.
We walked around and took photos.
Bought cold drinks at the roadhouse and refuelled – we had done 326kms. Fuel was $1.70 cpl.
There were some relics here of the time of the Birdsville Mailman, who plied this track, keeping the really isolated station people in touch with the outside world. They were the days before mail planes!
It was getting to late afternoon, by the time we came to the Cooper Creek crossing.
This was quite prominent, in that a belt of low trees and scrub extended for some distance – the result of the occasional big floods of the creek. There were a number of shallow channels. But now it was totally dry.
It was time to stop for the night, so we pulled slightly off the track, in amongst some trees.
After the minimal set up for overnight, I had a walk around the area. The profusion of little bush flies were really annoying.
The colours of the sky and the bush, as the day faded, were beautiful.
The night was quiet and still – like being back at Pungalina.