MONDAY 3 JUNE HUNTERS GORGE TO BOULIA 180kms
The morning was still chilly, and windy.
We managed to get breakfasted, packed up, and away, quite early.
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.
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.
Salty residue on the water’s edges
We spent about an hour wandering about the Springs area, and taking photos.
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.
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!