This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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1999 Travels August 22


Refuelled before we left town today – 90cpl.

Today’s drive was fairly boring and hot driving, over flat, stony plains.

We took the main road north and after a few kms, turned west onto the Donohue Highway. To call the road a highway was a massive stretch of someone’s imagination. It was an awful stretch of track, featuring corrugations, sections of deep gravel, potholes, bulldust holes, and dry claypan-like stream channel crossings.

08-22-1999 03  donohue hwy bulldust.jpg

A bulldust patch coming up on the Donohue Highway

Much of the way paralleled the Georgina River. There were places where the treed floodplains in the distance added some interest, as did an area of opalized stone around the NT border. We stopped and had a look around there.

08-22-1999 georgina r floodplains.jpg

Georgina River floodplain country

With the crossing from Qld into the Northern Territory, the Donohue Highway becomes the Plenty Highway. The road remains unsealed, but differing roadworks regimens between the states can mean an abrupt change of road condition. And so it was here – the road improved considerably once we were in the NT.

08-22-1999 04 in two states

Truck in two states. The sign tells us that it is 500kms to the Stuart Highway.

We had decided that to try to drive as far as Gemtree, on these poor roads, would make for an awful day, so stopped at Tobermorey Station, which has a camp ground.

We reached there in the early afternoon, and were ready to stop for the day. The people there – managers? owners? – had just arrived back from a trip to Mackay. They seemed very casual and disinterested, and as if we were a bother, rather than the paying public.

We were charged $20 for a powered site, which was over-priced for what we got. There was some sparse grass, and shade where we could set up, by a power pole. The toilets clearly had not been cleaned for some time and there was a very nasty smell coming from the waste basket in the Ladies. It seemed pretty unhealthy to me.

We set up camp, then relaxed, for a while. Went for a walk along the levee banks by their creek, looking at birds. It seems an untidy place, in general.

08-22-1999 05 camp tobermory

Tobermorey Station campground

Earlier, as we’d driven along the entrance track, encountered some travellers with a camper with a broken axle. They were camped beside the track, waiting for spares to arrive. Later, I decided that they were better off out there, than in the camp ground with the generator going all night nearby. It would certainly be cheaper! But hot and dusty too.

We were the only campers in the campground.

Tea was tinned soup, fettucine with a bottled sauce.

After tea, I began to feel as though I was getting a cold – prickly nose, sneezing. Not happy!