This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


2003 Travels September 30


We crossed over the Murray River and back into Victoria.

Today’s was a relatively short drive south. It was pleasant to travel through country that was progressively greener than we’d been used to.

Refuelled at Yea – 85cpl.

We were home by lunchtime.

Our house sitter was at uni, but had left us a welcome home note. The place was immaculate.

We commenced the arduous work of unloading the van and packing away the contents for however many months it would be before we headed off again. Trips would be so much better if they didn’t end in all the unpacking, sorting and cleaning!

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Kms travelled:     9,534

Kms towed:         6,594

Cost of diesel:        $1,367.24

Average fuel consumption:   6.95kms per litre

Dearest diesel:     $1.33cpl – Hells Gate Roadhouse

Cheapest diesel:   $0.85cpl – Yea

Accommodation cost:   $675.90

Dearest accommodation per night:  $25 – Pungalina Station

Cheapest paid accommodation per night:   $16 – Blackall Caravan Park

Number of different places stayed:  14

Longest stay in one place:  20 weeks – Adels Grove


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2003 Travels September 29


Refuelled at Cobar – 99cpl and at Griffith – 96cpl.

Today saw changes of the type of country passed through. Since leaving Adels, we had travelled mostly through semi-arid grass and scrubland. But today we transitioned into the irrigated farmlands of the Murrumbidgee River lands and then reached the Murray River country.

Being inland, it was still hot, though by the time we stopped for the day, it was definitely somewhat cooler.

Went into the Boomerang Way Caravan park – $19.80 after discount. I was not impressed with this park, even though it was a Big 4 one. Seemed quite run down.

After minimal set up again, John napped. I went for a walk – it was cool enough – down to the main part of town, just to get some exercise after the long days of sitting. I did not really look around the town to any extent – just walked.

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2003 Travels September 28


Yet again, hot driving. The central drive shaft of the Defender seems to generate heat, and because there is not a great deal of leg room, it is a hot vehicle in which to travel. When it was really hot outside, the Truck battled to tow the van and run the air con, so we tended to rely on just having the windows down to generate a bit of passing breeze.

Refuelled at Cunnamulla -91cpl. Once in NSW, fuel would become more expensive, without the Qld State Government subsidy on diesel.

When we reached Bourke, John was wanting to continue on, so the stage became a really long one.

Went into the Cobar Caravan Park – $18.

We were pleasantly surprised at how attractive the caravan park was, and noted it for future travels.

After the long day, all we did was set up a minimal camp, leaving the rig hitched up. Tea, a bit of TV, and to bed.

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2003 Travels September 27


After breakfast, we drove to the main area of shops, to get the weekend papers, and to have a browse around shops again. It was already too hot to contemplate walking there from the caravan park.

John bought himself a good Akubra hat – leather – in the men’s outfitters.

Refuelled Truck – 89cpl.

Rested around the van for the rest of the day. It was so hot! I read the papers. John watched the football.

The rest did John good.

It was rather an unusual caravan park, this one. Very pleasant, though, with fairly modern and very clean amenities. But different because there were few formal, marked sites. A few down one side fence were standard, but over the main central area, an owner directs the parking of each van, very carefully, to optimize the number of vans fitted in. They could pack it quite tightly. This was not really an approach that I liked, but at this time of the year the place was not busy, so we had finished up with plenty of room around us.

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2003 Travels September 26


Yet another really hot day.

We reached Charleville, with only minimal stops along the way.

Topped up the fuel before we left Longreach – 93 cpl, and filled at Tambo -91cpl.

We went into the Bailey Bar Caravan Park – there were new owners, we found. $16.20 a night, after discount.

We decided another rest day was in order, so John could watch the AFL Grand Final on TV, so booked for two nights.

Encountered the couple with the Bushtracker van, who we’d met here before – they visit the town regularly – so we had a catch up talk with them.

John drove to the shops and bought us fish and chips for tea. It was so long since we’d had proper fish and chips!

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2003 Travels September 25


It was a very hot day.

We stayed in the van, with the air-con on, for most of the day, only venturing out late in the afternoon, when it was a bit cooler, for a short walk. We headed up to the Stockmans Hall of Fame – that was far enough and we turned and went back to the van!

I could not even find the motivation to go for a swim in the pool.

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2003 Travels September 24


Today was John’s 63rd birthday and he spent it behind the wheel.

It was a very hot day of driving.

Refuelled at Winton – 96cpl. Don’t know why Cloncurry was so much cheaper.

Reached Longreach and called it quits.

Booked into the Gunnadoo Caravan Park and decided a rest day from driving was in order, so booked for two nights. $19.80 a night, after discount.

John had intended we should detour via Canberra on the way home, to see daughter, but they had headed off to Sri Lanka for a holiday, so we would head straight home. I admired their determination – an overseas jaunt with a six month old was a rather brave undertaking!

We had no special celebration of the birthday. John would, as usual, buy himself some new tool or machine when he was home, as his present.

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2003 Travels September 23


I was quite sad to be leaving here after so many months. It was such a beautiful place. But, given the staffing situation, it was – from our viewpoint – a good time to go. I suspected  we would  be back.

Took the usual route via Gregory Downs and Burke and Wills Roadhouse. Reached Cloncurry after a long, hot and dusty drive.

Went back into the Gilbert Park Caravan Park – $17.10 a night, after discount.

We unhitched Truck and went to the supermarket for some food supplies. It felt really alien to be in such a place again, and was quite hard to adjust to. Such choice!

Refuelled Truck – 89cpl. That was a big difference – back under the dollar.

The other aspect that was really noticeable to us was the general background noise of the town – vehicle traffic, train noise, and just having people around, in general.

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2003 Travels September 22


Packing up day, today. Got as much as we could ready to go.

We cleaned the van’s exterior. where lots of leaves had accumulated over the season.

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Put away the old piece of lino that we’d been using for flooring under the awning.

Filled Truck’s fuel – $1.02 cpl.

J and D left today – they had to be home and simply could not stay any longer. Old F would go soon, too.

After lunch, I had a long swim in the creek – in the shallower section down from the dining deck, not the main part. I could just laze around there. It was really pleasant, in the heat. This was my only swim here, this year! I think that, getting acclimatized early in the season, one becomes  like a local and it seemed too cold to swim through most of the time we were here. Somehow, one acquired different temperature perceptions to the tourists.

Our last night in the grove. The barking owls were performing – I should miss these, as well as our regular birdlife visitors.

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2003 Travels September 21


Our week was up and it was time to leave, for the long drive back to Adels.

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It was hard to leave this wonderful camping place

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Sign points to “Civilization” – down the airstrip. Side track goes to safari camp

Despite the heat, we’d had a great time at Pungalina – quite a unique set of experiences. The country was absolutely stunning. Purely as a camping experience, it was well worth the effort to go there – and the money paid! But we had some reservations about future work there, though. Apart from the primitive conditions for catering for guests who expect decent meals, we had the distinct impression that O was looking for workers who would labour for love of the experience – whereas we had money in mind as part of the equation! However, we left matters open, with an understanding that O would contact us early next year.

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1: The track in. 2: Fig Tree Camp. 3: Squeaky Trees Camp. 4: Safari Camp. 5: Fern Swamp. 6: Croc Hole. 7: Lake Crocodyllus. 8: Jabiru Wetland. 9: Caves and stromatolites. 10: escarpment.

We stopped again at the wood mill area and John picked up a couple of last-minute pieces of ironwood.

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It was very hot – definitely over 40 degrees, as we thought it had been for much of the week.

Made our slow way back the 64kms to the entrance. This seemed a little easier than on the way in, probably because it was no longer the unknown. If we did decide to come and work here, the long sections of fairly deep sand in a couple of parts of the track in, might create problems with the van towing.

Stopped at Hells Gate Roadhouse to refuel. Still $1.39cpl. John only put in 10 litres, to ensure we got back to Adels.

Decided to go back via Doomadgee and the back track. This was considerably quicker than going via Bowthorn, but not nearly as interesting. The Gulf Country was in late Dry season dress: dry, brown and dusty.

As we approached Adels, admired John’s painted drum lid signs, which he’d attached to trees at various points from the Gregory corner, south.

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We got back about 6pm. Very weary.

The staff compound was looking empty. B and M had gone while we were away – so she hadn’t stayed to work the Variety Bash, which was still to come. Cook and D were still there, but talking of leaving soon. So, although visitor numbers had continued to reduce, with the heat, a staff shortage could loom. A couple who were friends of the boss, had come to visit and decided to stay on a while and they were working, and staying in a donga room. But the man was a heavy drinker and this was showing up to be a problem. Drinking whilst on duty at the canoes was not a good look for a staff member!

It was so nice to have a proper shower and wash my hair – and to sleep in the caravan bed again!

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