This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2013 Travels July 16

TUESDAY 16 JULY     CUNNAMULLA TO CHARLEVILLE     226kms

Although there was some blue sky this morning and the weather looked to be clearing, it was definitely departure day today! After the night’s steady rain, there was so much water lying around – and red, red mud.

We were better off than some because at least we had a dry area around part of the Bus. Some rigs were totally marooned in huge puddles. We were able to negotiate a fairly non-muddy route to walk dog out for her morning business, and to reach the amenities.

Aftermath of a rainy night. Amenities block to left.

I felt really sorry for whoever had to clean that building today. Even though campers were mostly trying to be careful, there was so much red mud tracked into the building.

We had to move Bus forward before  hitching up the car, as the back area was over a large puddle.

Although we only stayed the one night at Riverside, this time, would certainly stay here again – in fine weather.

Lots of red mud

Left the camp at 9am. Drove back through Cunnamulla and on to the highway north. The road was quite bumpy  in sections, the effect of which was to really bounce Bus up and down. We discussed whether this was accentuated by the distance between the front and back wheels of Bus, and its leaf springs. I hoped we weren’t on the way to needing to replace those. The ride was quite uncomfortable.

Refuelled in Charleville, at a servo conveniently on the way into town. $1.569cpl.

Drove through town, then out the Adavale road to the Evening Star Caravan Park, about 9kms NW of town. I had phoned ahead, this morning, to book us in for three nights. Good thing I did because the park was full by late afternoon.

We have previously stayed several times in Charleville, in the town, and at those times had seen most of what the town had to offer. In 2009 we stayed at the then-new Evening Star and I thought it would be a pleasant place, this time, for a few days’ break from driving.

The place looked more established now – four years later – and was very nice. The plantings between sites and around the grounds, had grown up.

Evening Star before the arrival of the afternoon rush

Sadly, the founding owners had split up and the property had been sold earlier this year. Its upkeep seemed to be very reliant on the managers, as the new owner lived at another property he had in the district. The managers seemed to be keeping it well, but I wondered if there would be much more of the developmental work done, like the unusual and quirky stuff that gave the place atmosphere. Things like the windmill pumping water into a tank, the old machinery dotted around and the like. Summer would be a test, with the watering. The adjacent original homestead, where the owners had lived, appeared to be empty. I so hoped the place would continue to be such a great place to stay.

Our site cost $29 a night. It had plenty of space, and shade. Dog could be on a long rope and had grass to lie on.

This was a very dog friendly park and we could play ball with Couey on the grassed area at the back.

There was, however, a major drawback, only discovered after we were settled in. Telstra 3G reception was very poor out here. Thus, no internet for us. No World of Warcraft for John for three days! I was firmly instructed that, in future, I must check the 3G status before booking us in anywhere! Travel priorities had certainly changed since we started out in 1998, without even a mobile phone……despite the convenience of the current technology, I think I liked it better when TV and internet reception didn’t govern where we stayed.

After setting up camp, drove the car into town. I wanted to collect the mail that had been sent here. John requested chow mein (made with a packet of chicken noodle soup – very sophisticated cuisine), so I bought mince from the butcher.

We were able to  give Couey an off lead walk at the gardens by the Vortex Gun display. There was a small lake area in that park. Couey spotted a mob of geese by the water, but – very wisely – decided to ignore them.

The Vortex Gun displayed in that park was one of several used, in 1902, in an attempt to cause rain and break a long drought in the area. The theory was that firing into clouds would cause them to drop rain. Scare them maybe? It didn’t rain, some of the guns blew up and the experiment was abandoned. There’s lots of interesting historical trivia to be found when travelling……

Vortex guns

Relaxed back at camp. There was little of note in the mail bag, mostly end of financial year paperwork.

At least John was able to get TV coverage and after our chow mein and rice dinner, we watched Kitchen Cabinet again.

During the night, Couey did some occasional growling at the kangaroos grazing around Bus. She couldn’t see out of the front, so must have been able to hear them.


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2013 Travels July 15

MONDAY 15 JULY     BOURKE TO CUNNAMULLA     272kms

I hurt my arm this morning. Was letting Couey outside, on her lead. John was out there and dog was so anxious to get out of Bus, to join him, that she exited in a great rush and dragged my arm against the door frame. The arm was grazed and bruised and there was a chunk missing out of a finger – not sure what bit did that. Guess I am learning when to take extra care, brace myself and so on.

Again, dog was not a willing traveller. After we packed up, she was tempted inside by peanut butter on a treat, then snapped at me as I got in.

Dog-related dramas aside, we were away in good time.

Must admit that I looked wistfully at Kidmans Camp as we passed by. Had always enjoyed staying there, and often managed to get some great sunset photos from the camp area.

Just like the other day, we needed to make five stops along the way, for John. We were noticing that after about two hours, the need to stop regularly seemed to ease off. But, obviously, this is yet something else medical related that will have to be checked when we are home again.

A quick stop under threatening skies

At one of the stops we took dog out for a walk on the lead. This time, she got back in Bus quite willingly. I daren’t hope that we are making progress….

The road was a bit “bouncy”, especially in the NSW part. All that increased truck traffic had not done the road any favours.

Rain had been forecast and this showed as increasing banks of black clouds to the west, as we drove. Eventually, there was some rain, but we seemed to drive out of that rain band.

Definitely rain…..

So – we made it to Qld, after three weeks on the road. Guess we didn’t exactly hurry. There had been some past trips, when we were coming north to work, when we had reached this far with only two or three overnight stops. But, with Bus, it seems more appropriate to travel in a more leisurely style than we once did. Maybe getting older also has something to do with it?

Previously, we would go from Bourke to Charleville in a day, but not this time. Cunnamulla was another place we’d only ever passed through. This time, it warranted a stay.

Refuelled at the big servo at the highway junction. $1.639cpl. The Qld government subsidized diesel but you wouldn’t know it from these prices.

From the servo, headed on into town and then out the Weir Road for about 3kms, to the Warrego Riverside Tourist Park.

This place was only opened last year and we found it very pleasant indeed. The sites were drive through ones. We got the last powered site available, right on the end of the row. It was not the best site, but that served us right for not booking ahead. It cost $32.

The last powered site…..

The amenities building featured a central hallway, or breezeway, that was both laundry and camp kitchen, with the bathrooms off each side.

This park was genuinely dog friendly – the owner’s late husband had been a vet. She told us places where we could walk dog, and where she could run off lead. The emphasis was on the can-do, rather than the can’t-do, as in Bourke.

There was a nice grassy area along the river bank, and a campfire pit.

The Warrego River itself was starkly scenic.

Warrego River

The owner had told us our site was one of the shorter ones, and she doubted we’d be able to leave the car on the back. We unhitched it and the man on the next site, with a Winnebago, very kindly said we could park Terios on the front of his site and he would be able to back out in the morning. He had to leave very early to go into Cunnamulla. He had stripped a tyre on the way here and then been told that, at best, he’d need at least a couple of new ones. He’d bought the used motorhome in 2006 and hadn’t replaced any of the tyres that were on it. He didn’t know about age related tyre deterioration, though he was finding out the hard way. I tried to explain as best I could and advised him to get the tyre dealer to show him how to read tyre ages.

Sharing site with obliging neighbour

Took Couey across to the river bank area for a walk, and I took some photos.

John then took her out on one of the designated tracks where they could play ball fetch. Dog was suitably tired then, for the rest of the day.

At 5pm, took our chairs and the dog across to the camp fire area, for happy hour. We’d not long settled there, when rain began, so the gathering was abandoned.

I cooked pasta with tuna, capers and olives, for tea.

The rain became steady all through the night. Before that, we’d almost decided to stay another night here – it was our sort of place, but reserved the decision once the rain set in.


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2002 Travels April 12

FRIDAY 12 APRIL   NORTH BOURKE TO LEOPARDWOOD   390kms

The grumpy worker in the tent behind us left, very noisily, at 5am. I was very tempted to get up and call out to him to be quiet because some of us had to sleep!

We were away before 9am.

Before we left, managed to make phone contact with our house sitter, which we had tried to do, unsuccessfully, the previous two nights. She said she had been out playing tennis, that all was well and that one cat was sleeping on her bed! It was a relief to contact her. This house sitter thing is new for us and it is still easy to imagine all sorts of problems.

It was another hot day. We are somewhat earlier in the year than most tourists visit these parts, because of this sort of heat.

The country north of Bourke was not particularly interesting, and we’d been that way before. Semi-arid mulga type country and much red dirt.

We reached Cunnamulla, in southern Qld, at lunchtime. Had not been into the town before. Last time, we turned onto the Charleville road on the outskirts of town. We walked around, having a look at the place. Looked at shops. Bought a magazine and a postcard, lotto tickets, milk and bread.

Whilst we were in mobile phone range, cleared the accumulated messages. One was from cousin K from Tasmania: they will be passing through Melbourne in early May and he was hoping to catch up with us. He’s out of luck there!

We ate our pre-packed lunch in a park in town, watching some little kids on a school outing, in the playground.

Then it was west on the Thargomindah road, through Eulo, where we stopped briefly, so John could check the price of diesel there. He bought us an icy pole each – nice, in the heat.

Then it was on, past the sealed road to Yowah and Toompine, that we took last year. There was not much of interest along the way. The road was narrow – basically a single width of bitumen. There were occasional floodways – dry – though there was a bridge over the Paroo River at Eulo, and there was water in that. The country was either lightly timbered scrub land, or grazing country.

Then we took the “back” unsealed Black Gate Road that goes to Yowah. Leopardwood was only about 4kms along this, and we turned and drove the track to some buildings that could be seen. It was about 3pm by then.

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Turning onto the Black Gate track

At what seemed to be the house, we could not find anyone around. But there was a billy goat and a goose on guard – quite effectively, too. The goat seemed to want to bail John up, so I distracted him with a bread crust, so John could get back in Truck! It was fortunate that I’d put the shopping bags from Cunnamulla inside Truck, behind my seat, rather than open up the van, so I was able to reach the bread to get the crust.

We followed the signs that were there, to the camp area, and began to set up, in a spot that looked alright, between some mulga trees that might provide a bit of shelter and shade.

Then Mike, the owner, came down, in an old, white, small wagon type of vehicle. He confirmed that it was alright for us to camp here. The goat – Hannibal – had followed the vehicle down, so Mike showed us how to handle him. In theory, at any rate. Hannibal gave us a head-butting exhibition against the spare wheel on Mike’s little ute. I decided I would prefer just to give him a wide berth!

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Hannibal being aggressive

We arranged to meet Mike up at his house, in the morning.

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Going home

We spent some time getting our camp set up.

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Leopardwood camp

There was a primitive shower and a long drop toilet, a water supply and a shelter. It was sort of a lot of oddments cobbled together. The water came from a bore and we thought it might be a bit sulphur-y – but alright to clean and wash with.

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The camp kitchen and the bathroom

Overall, we could be quite comfortable here, I thought.

We sat outside the van, watching the sunset. There was enough cloud in the sky to make it fairly spectacular. It was enjoyable to be out in the mulga country again, though round there the mulga was fairly sparsely scattered amongst areas of bare ironstone covered flats, and the like. It was not thickly wooded country. But the camp was in a somewhat better vegetated patch.

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Dusk over camp

It was a beautiful, balmy evening, with a bit of a breeze.

Tea was warmed up corn cakes and ratatouille, left over from the other night.

The night was silent – no urban noises out here. Wonderful.

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