This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2005 Travels September 18


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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2002 Travels June 3


The morning was still chilly, and windy.

We managed to get breakfasted, packed up, and away, quite early.

Resize of 06-03-2002 01 leaving Hunters Gorge

Leaving Hunters Gorge

The unsealed road out to the Boulia-Winton road was much better than the road we had come in from the south on. There were the occasional lumps and bumps and dust areas, but not the huge bulldust sections of the other day. Most of it seemed to be station tracks. The track went virtually to the front door of Springvale Homestead – another Stanbroke Pastoral Company property – they are all around this area.

We sidetracked a short distance to look at Elizabeth Springs – natural artesian mound springs, the same type of occurrence as we’d seen along the Oodnadatta Track in SA. But the mounds here were only low, grass covered rises, not the big mounds of SA. But there was still an evident flow, with open pools and a small wetland.

06-03-2002 03  Elizabeth Springs.jpg

Quite a useful flow in very dry country – Elizabeth Springs

06-03-2002 06 Elizabeth Springs mound springs.jpg

Low mound formed by deposition around a spring

There were salty residues at the edges of the water, in some sections, suggesting that the outflow levels have dropped. There could have been quite an impressive wetland area here, before the Great Artesian Basin became depleted.

06-03-2002 04 Elizabeth Springs outflow

Salty residue on the water’s edges

We spent about an hour wandering about the Springs area, and taking photos.

06-03-2002 05 Elizabeth Springs

Elizabeth Springs

Further on, on Canary Station by now, we came across a couple of different mobs of cattle, being droved by riders on horseback. This appealed, as a real “outback” scene.

Resize of 06-03-2002 02 cattle muster on Canary Station

Cattle droving on Canary Station

The final 25kms of the journey was on a sealed road – albeit a narrow strip – of the Winton road.

We reached Boulia in the early afternoon, and went straight to the caravan park. We had been here in 1999, after our Simpson Desert crossing.

After a minimal set up for an overnight stop, we walked across the river bridge, to the main street shops. John bought a fly net for his hat.

At the new Information Centre/Min Min Light display, i bought some postcards. The charge for going into the display section was $11 a head – too much for us. There was a bus load of elderly travellers in there, though. The Centre seemed to be doing ok – that sort of interpretative centre of local features has become very popular with visitors now.

The little caravan park was much busier than when we were here nearly three years ago. However, they hadn’t improved the donga amenities any! At $12.10 a night, it really was rather over priced.

We were not on a proper site, but pulled up alongside the kerb of a grassed area. This was fine for our overnight stop – grass was quite a luxury!

The park became more crowded later in the afternoon. There was a variety of motor homes in evidence, and I wondered if they had come from a get-together somewhere.

The lady in the General Store in town had told us that the road south from here to Birdsville was still not sealed. She said that when the government changed in Qld and the ALP came into power, they withdrew the funding that had been allocated for that work. I guessed there were not too many ALP voters out Birdsville way?

The Burke River that borders the park was much lower than when we were last here.

Despite the rather basic amenities, it was wonderful to have a shower, and to wash my hair. The last shower was back at Windorah! There was a definite brown scum on the residue that rinsed out of my hair! Diamantina dust!

The mobile phone worked, here. There were messages from cousin M and H, who were aware of our vague route, and had been waiting in Mt Isa, as they knew we were going to be there around about now. The final message said they had decided to leave today, and head up via Lawn Hill National Park, to Adels Grove. Oh, well.

Tea was ham steaks – the nice ones from Charleville that I’d had frozen, pineapple (from a tin), and Greek salad. I’d managed to buy some salad makings at the General Store.

TV signal here was great – but unfortunately the available programs were not.

John spent some time playing computer games – no need to conserve power now!

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1999 Travels August 21


After the day “off”, today was another driving one, and to be first of several.

Refuelled at Birdsville – 92cpl. Quite a drop from what we had been paying.

Today’s drive was northwards, through rather featureless and monotonous country, much of it stony, flat, plains.

After leaving Birdsville, we stopped at the stand of Acacia peuce (waddi) trees, a few kms to the north. These trees are rare now, so the site is noteworthy.

08-21-1999 01  acacia peuce waddi.jpg

Acacia Peuce – Waddi – trees

Another stop was at the Carcoory Homestead ruin. This was built in the late 1800’s. The pastoral property was, for a time, part of the Kidman empire, but was abandoned due to drought. The ruins were stark in this harsh country. It is hard to see how cattle survive in such conditions, but cattle there were, in the area.

08-21-1999 03 cattle country around Carcoory ruin

Cattle grazing on arid country near Carcoory ruin

08-21-1999 02 Carcoory ruin former Kidman property

Carcoory ruin

We stopped beside the road, outside of Bedourie, in the sun. Shade and pleasant places were hard to find. We should have continued onto Bedourie, though, where at least we could have parked by Eyre Creek and had something of interest to look at, while we ate.

John did not enjoy the drive. This type of arid country is not a favourite of his. There were several detours in place, where we had to slow down, due to road making activities. The sealed sections of road are being extended.

We reached our destination of Boulia mid afternoon. Just drove through slowly. Stopped to buy some frozen fish, and other oddments. John bought a small cask of wine at the pub – it was $20.

Boulia seems an adequate little town, by a fair sized river – the Burke.

Booked into the caravan park – $10 for the night. The amenities were in an Atco type building. This was a strange arrangement inside, with very little privacy. But, overall, the park was quite pleasant.

08-21-1999 Boulia camp

Boulia camp

The park is by a waterhole in the river. There were quite a number of water birds on it.

Tea was tinned soup, fries and the oven fried fish I bought today. It cooked alright in the frying pan. We enjoyed the meal, but couldn’t eat it all – the fish was meant to serve four.

We were camped next to an elderly lady artist and her husband. After tea, she came across and chatted/argued with John, over a wine or two. She’d had a fascinating upbringing in northern SA and the NT, some seventy years ago, with an independent mother. She is a very outspoken lady! She and John clashed over a few things, but finished up friends. We certainly meet interesting people on our travels.

08-22-1999 02  butcherbird.jpg

Boulia butcher bird

There was obviously something on in town tonight, as there was much traffic coming in, past the caravan park, between 7 and 8.30pm. There seems to be a surprising number of motor vehicles in the district to the east of here!