This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2005 Travels September 18

SUNDAY 18 SEPTEMBER   MT ISA TO BOULIA   300kms

This was another hot day for driving. We took the Diamantina Development Road out of town.

At least, the first part was scenic, through the range country. We had travelled this road before, but coming north, so this time we got to look the other way!

The road was, mostly, a narrow, single, sealed strip, with reasonably wide gravelled shoulders. In places, the edges of the sealed strip were crumbling and jagged. The Driver hoped to be able to pick the places to move to one side for approaching traffic. Fortunately, this was rare. We crossed a number of cemented dry floodways, notable mostly for the scenic variety provided by the lines of trees that signalled their approach.

Once south of the rather forlorn little settlement of Dajarra, the country became flat and even more arid looking. In that flat country, the towers and buildings of distant Boulia stood out on the horizon, as we approached.

The main street of Boulia, with its central islands of green grass and trees, signalled a town that was trying hard to make the best of itself.

We had reached there in good time.

Refuelled Truck on the way through town – $1.40cpl. We had done 325kms.

Took a powered site in the caravan park and were able to pick a site with a cement slab, that backed onto the Burke River. This still had water in it, though it was fairly low. $15 for the night.

Resize of 09-19-2005 01 caravan park Boulia

Had a quick late lunch, then walked across the road bridge over the river, and up along the main street, just looking around. Went into the Information Centre/Min Min Centre, named for the mysterious lights that have sometimes appeared to travellers in these parts. We browsed about the “free” part of the centre, which was well set up and interesting, but did not pay to visit the specialized section on the lights. We had seen our own Min Min lights, in the remote Kimberley Mitchell Plateau, in 1993!

Just relaxed at camp for the rest of the day.

Resize of 09-18-2005 to boulia


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2005 Travels September 17

SATURDAY 17 SEPTEMBER     MT ISA

Drove to the shops again.

I bought the Saturday papers to read.

John refuelled Truck. Had done 350kms. $1.17 cpl.

Shopped at Woolworths. It felt really strange to be in a supermarket again – almost overwhelming. There was just too much choice and too many decisions to make.

I had not anticipated quite how hard it would be to return to civilization!

Lazed around at our van for the rest of the day. I read. John watched the football – it was preliminary final time.

Resize of 09-18-2005 caravan park Mt Isa

Toto, we are not in the bush anymore!

Again, the urban night noises were too obvious.


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2005 Travels September 16

FRIDAY 16 SEPTEMBER   ADELS GROVE TO MT ISA   295kms

We didn’t hurry to get going in the morning.

Hitched up, said our goodbyes – yet again! Told the boss we would be open to working at least part of the tourist season here, next year, if they wanted us. She said they do! We did not make a firm commitment yet, but I quite liked the idea, of course. John discussed with them the possibility of doing the Riversleigh tours. He would need to get his driving licence upgraded to Light Rigid, to drive the Coaster, though. Food for thought…..

Resize of 09-15-2005 26 By track to Lawn Hill NP

South of Adels Gtove

We took the route south, past Riversleigh. Had no problems fording the Gregory – first time we had done it with the van, as we usually came and went via Burke and Wills. The fords were very shallow, at this time of year. But still, I recited to John the mantra that I’d stated hundreds of times, when working on Reception at Adels: “Keep to the middle or even slightly the downstream side of the fords. Do not drive close to the upstream edge, even though that is what you are tempted to do, because that it where it is most slippery!”

Resize of 06-16-2002 13 Gregory River second ford Riversleigh

Gregory River ford, south of Riversleigh

Turned south, down past Thorntonia, to the highway, and then east into Mt Isa.

It was a hot day of driving.

Went into the Argylla Caravan Park in Mt Isa. $19.80 a night, after discount.

The park was pretty empty. We would stay here for two nights, in order to get some supplies for the run home.

After setting up, we ventured to the shops. There were far too many people around and it was too busy for comfort.

At Woolworths, I was hoping to see the lady who was the Country Orders person, to thank her in person for the great work she did with my Pungalina orders, but she was away. Pity.

We bought fish and chips for tea. It had been so long! But the anticipation was far better than the reality.

Phoned the family to let them know we were out of the wilds.

The night seemed really noisy, with town sounds. It was hard to sleep. We were no longer used to this.

Resize of 09-16-2005 to mt i


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2005 Travels September 15

THURSDAY 15 SEPTEMBER   ADELS GROVE

Today we decided to stop being lazy.

Drove to the National Park to go canoeing.

This was a really nostalgic activity for us. We had done the paddle, on both the Middle and Upper Gorges, several times before, when working at Adels.

Resize of 09-15-2005 02 canoeing Middle Gorge Lawn Hill

On this hot day, it was really pleasant being out on the water.

Resize of 09-15-2005 04 canoeing Middle Gorge Lawn Hill

Resize of 09-15-2005 06 canoeing Middle Gorge Lawn HillWe slowly paddled up through the Middle Gorge, as far as Indarri Falls.

Resize of 09-15-2005 10 canoeing Middle Gorge Lawn Hill

But there were limits to our motivation to be energetic, and we did not feel like going to all the effort of taking the canoe out of the water and around the falls, to do the Upper Gorge.

Resize of 09-15-2005 14 Indarri Falls

Resize of 09-15-2005 15 Indarri Falls

So we paddled about in circles at Indarri, for a little while, then went back.

Resize of 09-15-2005 22 canoeing back down Middle Gorge Lawn Hill

That was a lovely way to finish off our few days here.

The tourist season was really slowing down at Adels. There were not many campers in the Grove, and the main campground was only sparsely occupied, as well. We sort of knew that anyway, because V and F had been able to finish up work here before they came to visit us. Our stay would have been even more enjoyable had they still been here.

Still, it was very pleasant to have the break here. The atmosphere of the place is so serene.

John refuelled Truck here – $1.50cpl. We had done 440kms.


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2005 Travels September 13-14

TUESDAY 13 & WEDNESDAY 14 SEPTEMBER   ADELS GROVE

We slept in. Wandered about the property. Went swimming – in water deep enough to actually swim in, unlike the camp creek at Pungalina. And where it was croc free – there was no way we could have swum in the Calvert River, with its crocs and bull sharks!

Just relaxed.

Resize of 3-19-2005 Creek swim hole Adels

Swimming hole in the creek

I would not have minded staying here a bit longer – I really love the place – but John was keen to push on. Story of my life!

Resize of 3-19-2005 Lawn Hill Crk Adels 2


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2005 Travels September 12

MONDAY 12 SEPTEMBER   PUNGALINA TO ADELS GROVE   370kms.

We were up early, in order to get a good start to what would be a long day.

We had to manoeuvre Truck and van about a bit, after hitching up, in order to get facing the right way.

Resize of 09-12-2005 03 Van leaving Cane Toad Clearing

Leaving Cane Toad Clearing – lot easier than coming in was!

The little track from our clearing to the camp track was a lot wider, smoother and easier to negotiate, than when we arrived.

Resize of 09-12-2005 05 path to safari camp well worn

Our well worn path to the safari camp

It was really sad, pulling out of our clearing, and seeing it all empty again.

Resize of 09-12-2005 04 Empty Cane Toad Clearing

Little saplings had begun to grow under the van!

Resize of 09-12-2005 06 last view Cane Toad Clearing

We drove to the house so O would know we were on our way.

Truck pulled the very heavy van through the sandy stretch with no problems at all. So we did not need any help from O. We said our goodbyes to him there, by the track, and continued on.

And sometimes the drive way got a little sandy

We made quite good time to the Gulf Track, and then east along it. There were some corrugated sections, as one would expect at this end of the dry season, but it was not too bad.

Again, as we wended through the Redbank Gorge, I regretted that we had not had time to stop and explore it.

About half way between the border and Hells Gate Roadhouse, we pulled off the road for a short way, down a little track that led to a small lagoon. Eight Mile Creek? Had an early-ish lunch there.

Drove past the turnoff that led into the Doomadgee community, with no inclination to go in there at all. Not great memories for us! And on over the long cement ford across the Nicholson channels.

Took the Doomadgee to Lawn Hill track, which was in pretty reasonable condition, considering the time of year. Didn’t try to use the short cut route, but stuck to the way we knew best – along to the T intersection, with Bowthorn straight ahead, turn left and follow the track south.

The Elizabeth Creek ford was now almost dry. But that of Lawn Hill Creek, by the homestead, was running, as always – but shallow.

Resize of 08-02-2002 05 fording Lawn Hill Ck

Reached Adels Grove mid afternoon, and received a warm welcome.

Resize of 3-30-2005 Adels entrance

We were charged to stay – but only $8 a night – and were allowed to park in our old area of the staff compound down in the Grove. We were able to run a lead to the shed for power – too many trees in the Grove for the solar to work.

We cooked our own evening meal in the van tonight. For the remaining nights we would be here, we would go eat with the staff, as in past times, and in return would help with the dishes.

It was good to be footloose again!

We decided to stay a couple of days here, partly to just relax, partly to ease gradually into being around other people!

Resize of 09-16-2005 parked at Adels Grove

Relative solitude in the empty staff compound – and a pleasantly green contrast to Cane Toad Clearing

 


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2005 Travels September 11

SUNDAY 11 SEPTEMBER     PUNGALINA

We took today as a day off, although technically, we were in charge of the place!

John did a final fill of Truck from one of the diesel drums. We’d done 359kms since last time. With both of the camp runabout vehicles out of action, our Truck was getting quite a lot of use, back and forth from house to camp.

I gave a last cuddle to the female dingo pup. O had been trying to find homes for the two of them in a sanctuary or appropriate place for them, especially the little male. I hoped he would keep the female. She was beautiful. I would so loved to have had the sort of property where she could have come with us – beautiful little lady.

Resize of 09-09-2005 09 Little Dings

We spent the bulk of the day packing up our camp and the van, to be ready for an early departure tomorrow, provided O returned as he said he would.

It was quite a mammoth job.

Resize of 09-11-2005 01 Pack Up

John was rather sad to be leaving his maturing corn crop by the van.

Resize of 09-11-2005 02 Pack Up 2

The lengths of milled ironwood were going to have to go in the van! Down the centre of the floor. They would have to be taken out each night, when we parked up. It was not the most satisfactory of arrangements, but John could see no alternative. They were too heavy to go on the roof rack of Truck, and too long to go inside it.

O returned late in the day. John asked him to escort us, tomorrow, as far as the really sandy section of the track out, because he had doubts about us getting through without bogging.

Tonight was our last happy hour in Cane Toad Clearing. We said farewell to our friendly fantail, who usually came to the big tree we sat under, to watch us in the evenings.

I had really mixed feelings about leaving here, after nearly six months.

Earlier in the season, O had made regular references to our returning to run the camp in 2006. But he had not mentioned that in recent times, and we did not raise the matter. At this stage, we could not feel very enthusiastic about coming back, brilliant though this year had been. Time for new adventures?

Resize of 08-27-2005 13 August Sunset 9