This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2006 Travels April 28


We woke early, after a fitful night’s sleep, to a very wet and dark grey dawn. It was still raining solidly, but the wind was less.

The ground in our parking area still seemed fairly firm.

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Morning – grey, bleak, wet

We took our time having a basic breakfast, hoping conditions would keep easing.

Stopped at the Wonarah Bore Rest Area for a quick coffee and look at what that area was like.

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Wonorah Bore

Called in at Barkly Homestead Roadhouse and topped up the fuel – at $1.81cpl. Ouch. We’d done 271kms from Camooweal by then.

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Barkly Highway bush – and some hints of blue sky!

At Three Ways, the junction with the Stuart Highway, after another 195kms, topped up the fuel again at the roadhouse there where the fuel was a more reasonable $1.68cpl.

It was still raining at Three Ways, but began to ease off as we continued north.

There was lots of water lying about the road sides and there were flowing streams. It was actually really interesting to see the country like this, in contrast to what it had been like the other times we had driven this way.

North from Three Ways was a pretty section of country to drive, with lots of hills and ranges.

We stopped for lunch at Renner Springs Roadhouse. John bought a pie and an icy pole. I had a hamburger, which was probably not a good idea, but it was a generous one with everything. A bit greasy though. My preferred lunch  of a salad sandwich was not an option. The place smelled heavily of sewage, too!

Having been planning on staying for a few months at Adels Grove, and not being able to shop since then, we were not very well endowed with supplies, at the moment.

The bush still smelled great, wet. There were lots of birds about, due to the road side water and full swamp areas.

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About Elliott, the rain petered out.

As we continued north, decided to stay the night at the famed Daly Waters Inn, which we had not visited before, but which is almost a grey nomad rite of passage. But it was not to be. We turned off the highway, only to find that the way to the township was blocked by a stream that was almost a metre deep and flowing very fast. There was not even a creek or river marked here, on our map.

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The signposted detour route was blocked by the same stream. There was a sort of side track over a very small bridge structure, but we were not sure it would take the weight of our rig, so played it safe and went back to the highway, to the Hiway Inn at the Roadhouse.

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Refuelled there – $1.66cpl. Had done 400kms.

At the Hiway Inn,  we paid $16 for a powered site.

The camp ground was extremely soggy. We found a site on spongy, muddy, lawn, but it held the weight of the van. Further along, there was a full sized bus motorhome, bogged to its axles on the grass. Bet management was happy about that!

From the radio weather reports we picked up along the highway, we thought there had been several  inches of rain where we were last night. Guess it was yet another experience to add to the collection – spending the afternoon and night in the tail end of a cyclone – because that was what we had encountered.

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The path of Cyclone Monica (BOM)

Cyclone Monica had been a Category 5 cyclone when it came across northern Arnhem Land a few days before, but had quickly turned into a tropical low and turned to the south east inland, dumping lots of rain along the way.  Not having access to news or radio at Adels, we had known nothing of this when we decided to drive west – right into the path of the tropical low!

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from BOM site

Phoned M to update her. She was in Moree for the night, having just spent a great time in the Warrumbungles.  She loved it there. Gave her details about the Clermont station teaching job, in case she was interested. She was about to head off to Carnarvon Gorge National Park for almost a week. She seemed a bit taken aback by our change of plans. Said she would check with Adels if there was work for her, before heading up that way, later. She said she would come to where we were, if there was work for her. We would suss that out when we got there.

It was a strange amenity block here. It was a transportable structure, but with louvered batwing doors on the showers – and not very big ones at that! They certainly did not give a sense of privacy!

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2006 Travels April 27


After breakfast, we hitched up, then took Truck to the bowsers to refuel. We’d done 368 kms since the last fuel (in Mt Isa), so John only bought 40 litres, at $1.50 cpl.

O had been expected, at 8.30am, flying in from Pungalina in the Jabiru, on the way to Isa, but had not appeared by the time we left. Pity – I had been looking forward to a quick catch up with him.

As we left, wondered if this was goodbye to Adels forever? Or if we would be back sometime?

Headed south, on the Riversleigh road. This was a lot drier than when we came up, less than two weeks ago. The areas broken by the trucks had not been fixed yet, but the side tracks around them were well settled and would present no problems for travellers.

The sky was grey today and it looked like it might rain. It was actually strangely cool, which was a pleasant change.

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Near Riversleigh

We stopped at the Site D at Riversleigh, for a nostalgic look around. John had expected to be doing the Adels tours down to here! We went in through the entrance structure, with its informative displays, then walked around the track through the site.

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Inside the Riversleigh entrance shelter. Representations of creatures re-created from fossil bones found at the site.

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Walking track round Site D at Riversleigh

The ford through the Gregory River was about half the height of twelve days ago!

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One section of the Gregory River ford – much lower than the last time we came through

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Still a fair current across the ford!

Took the Thorntonia road again, to the Barkly Highway, then turned west.

We picked up some radio reception. Heard that a trough was coming across these parts – the remains of Cyclone Monica that went through Arnhem Land three days ago. That explained the change in the usual weather.

Stopped at Camooweal to refuel. 225kms. $1.56cpl. The guy had to come out of the pub to serve us and did not seem at all happy to have a customer.

Rain set in, west of Camooweal, as we crossed the border into the NT.

There was plenty of surface water lying around and little streams were flowing, in places as shallow floodways across the road.  The country was very green and pretty.

On a tableland section, with no trees at all, there was a repeater station with a high fence around it – and a bird of prey perched on every post. It looked quite surreal.

We noted a very good looking overnight free camp area at Avon Downs Police Station – with toilets and a phone.

Our intention had been to reach at least as far as Barkly Homestead Roadhouse. But the rain grew steadily heavier, and the head wind stronger, until we were facing  into almost horizontal, driving rain. John was driving very cautiously and quite slowly, but the conditions continued to deteriorate to the point where driving was unwise.

Then, about 5pm, we found a rest area, that we later found was Soudan, and pulled into that.

The conditions by now were such that it was almost dark at this time.

There was another caravan and a group of camper trailers pulled up there. We found a spot where a small tree night act as a bit of a wind break. It was actually quite hard to see far and we did not want to risk driving around and maybe getting bogged. Neither if us wanted to get really wet and cold, walking around and looking!

There was a water tank and windmill there, but no facilities for travellers.

We did not unhitch or put up the poptop on the van. The wind was moaning around and getting stronger all the time. The rain was heavy on the van roof and getting heavier.

We got drenched, just getting from Truck to van. It actually felt very cold.

The bush smelled wonderful wet – really aromatic.

We wondered how far north this rain band was reaching, and whether it would delay the opening of the Gulf Track even longer. Also wondered whether Pungalina was affected – that might have accounted for the no-show by O.

I prepared a  scratch meal, having to work  partly bent over due to the low roof. Just tinned tomato soup, with Salada biscuits.

It rained heavily and the wind gusted, shaking the van, all night. It was certainly the worst night we had ever spent in the van. Had no way of knowing just how bad it was going to become and could only hope that the weight of the rig would keep us on the ground!

John was really worried that the unsealed surface of this parking area would be bog by tomorrow and that we would not be able to drive out.

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