WEDNESDAY 18 JULY MORNINGTON TO CHARNLEY RIVER CAMP 190kms
We were up at 6.45am., packed and away by 9. John really wanted to get ahead of other departing travellers with camper trailers, and not be held up by them and following a cloud of dust for long distances. He didn’t really know how many of such would be departing, just assumed there would be some!
A little way down the track, M’s CB radio suddenly decided it was going to work again, after having been U/S for some time. Seemed she might have hit the right bump? Anyway, now we could communicate when going along, again, if need be.
I loved the drive back to the Gibb River Road, with the King Leopold Ranges sometimes visible in the distance, and the majestic flat topped peaks near Mt House.
At the junction with the Gibb, turned to the west, to go back to Imintji Store, 25kms away, where we had noticed, the other day, they did tyre repairs. It meant backtracking, but doing all that was reasonable to ensure we had two functioning spares, seemed the sensible thing.
Tyre was repaired, after a fashion. The problem seemed to have just been wear on the tube – it might have been getting a bit old. Sometimes, we’d had new tubes put into older tyres, and part used tubes put into new tyres, and John had lost track of the age of the tube in this particular tyre. Fortunately, the wheel size was a common one, and the Store was able to supply a better tube.
The rough and rocky crossings of Fletcher Creek on the Bungles track had quite possibly created the problem.
M had elected to do the doubling back bit to Imintji with us, rather than go on ahead. We were able to do a little stock up at the Store – margarine, which we were just about out of and hadn’t been able to get at Halls Creek! Bought some frozen meat, packets of cup-a-soups, bread, fresh tomatoes (what a luxury), and a sandwich for John’s lunch.
Topped up the fuel again. We’d done 350kms since last here. It was still $1.85cpl.
Best of all, the wife part of the couple running the Store for the season, was a hairdresser by trade. Because the Store was not busy, I was able to get a hair cut. Bliss. I had definitely reached the uncomfortably shaggy stage.
The access track to Charnley River Homestead (Beverley Springs Track) was only just to the east of the Mornington one we’d come up this morning. It was nearly 50kms from the Gibb to the Charnley River Homestead and camp area. The track was quite rough, and rutted in parts where it had obviously been driven on wet. So it was fairly slow going. There were a few little creek fords with mud and low water in.
About 7kms in from the Gibb, we stopped to view a boab tree where the explorer Frank Hann (of Cape York notoriety) had carved his initials when he explored through this area in the 1890’s. I guess that what would be considered graffiti, if done today, served a purpose then, in that his route could be found by others.
The campground fees here were $30 a night. Unpowered of course. The amenities were adequate, if a bit rough and bush style, compared to Mornington.
It was hard to find a good spot to pitch the camp. We were comparatively late getting here, due to the detour to Imintji. The really nicely shaded places, beside the little creek that edged one side of the camp area, were occupied. The area we ended up on had been watered, so was a little muddy in places, and with lots of ants going through it. Although we’d managed to find a place with some trees for shade, this would be in the mornings, so in the afternoon the tents would get hot. Couldn’t be helped. I resigned myself to a not so great camp spot.
After the rough track in, the left rear tyre was slowly going down when we arrived at the Charnley camp area. Another tube? Maybe it was a similar age to the one we’d just replaced? At least that justified the detour we’d done back to Iminitji!
From the information given to us when booking in, there was quite a bit to do here, although the access track to the north, to Old Beverley Springs Homestead ruins, was closed. Like Mornington, it was new ground for John and me.
Charnley was a working cattle station. There were some calves wandering about the place, plus a baby donkey, chooks, a little mob of geese, some peahens and peacocks.
At least our rather exposed camp spot was not very close to any other campers, which meant John could run the genset for a while so he could play computer games! No comment from me…