South Oz to Outback Queensland!!!

Well, what a trip! As with most travels on the road there are ups and downs…we did have a number of ‘downs’ pre-trip (not worth going into) but one thing that did cause concern was our batteries.

Day 2 – Peterborough Rest Area, SA – woke up to low voltage throughout van – and it was freezing!! Turned on diesel heater – no go, lights dim, loo wouldn’t flush!! Bugger! So it was a mad dash on a Saturday morning to nearest battery shop (Port Pirie) for 4 new batteries. B installed Sat arvo and then we were off again! Big thanks to Neville Coe of Coe’s Autoelectrical!

Then on to the Flinders Ranges…we thought! Held up for 4 hours just outside of Port Augusta due to Bike Race. Eventually we made it to our favourite stop: Willow Springs Station.  We did a 3 month work stint here many years ago and when we return we are always made to feel like family.

Sunset views @ Willows Springs Station

Check out their website (above) to see what’s on offer: from bush camp sites to 4×4 tracks to hiking trails to doing absolutely nothing! I took Jeda’s photo @ 8wks at the woolshed, so tried to replicate the photo again 4 1/2 yrs later, but not with much success!

Jeda @ 8weeks and recently 4 1/2 years

After a few days there it was onwards to Blinman, Parachilna, Farina, Lyndhurst (for fuel) & Marree. Had read a bit about the restoration of Farina and the underground bakery so stopped over a couple of nights to check out the ruins and of course the bakery! Absolutely beautiful fresh baked bread daily (only a few months a year so check website) – highly recommended!!!

Farina’s freshly baked bread

Stopped a night in carpark of Marree Hotel. Shouted ourselves dinner in the pub. By around 5pm the carpark was full of travellers! And by 8am the next day most had gone! From here we headed up the Birdsville Track. Smoko at Clayton Station – they have a lovely spa tub that is worth a stopover, stopped a night at Cooper Creek (no creek!), onwards past Mungeranie as we had stopped here before. Only took us 2 days and we arrived in Birdsville late afternoon.

We did have a mishap on the track though. Scored a broken rear window from a Road Train. It happens (1st time for us). B taped it up best he could till we could get it repaired.  Only a few days before the road had been closed due to rain. Graders were working frantically making sure traffic could get through due to Big Red Bash starting soon.

Smashed rear window

We parked up on the Birdsville Common with thousands of others! Did some long needed washing and minor repairs. Then it was time to sign in to the Big Red Bash Volunteers Hall in town. B signed in and I volunteered at the time as they had a number of people unable to attend or fulfill their roles. I was allotted Road Marshall for one shift and two shifts on Toilet Duties (Loo Angels).

Then too soon it was time to head out to the Big Red Bash site for B’s first setup shift. I will post a separate blog about the bash when I get time to edit my thousands of photos!! Let’s just say it was BRILLIANT!!! The concerts were great, the performers were terrific, but the event as a whole was a wonderful experience. We met some lovely volunteers and had a great time, made even better because we were able to take Jeda. I even hung out in the ‘mosh pit’ for a few performances (took me back to 25 long years ago!!)

After the Bash, we went back to Birdsville common for a day or so then we headed up to Boulia for the Camel Races. Free camping included with your ticket. By the time we arrived there were hundreds of campers there. We spent 6 days and loved it. They had entertainers for 2 nights but it was so cold we bailed early for a warm caravan!

Relaxing before the race meet begins

From Boulia we headed to Middleton, Winton (Hotel), Barcaldine, Anakie, Duaringa (Hotel), Lake Victoria, Mt Perry to Hervey Bay. Recommend Winton Hotel carpark for free camping and a great pub meal (find info on Wikicamps).

To sum up – yes outback Queensland is dry, dusty and remote – and beautiful. It is DEFINITELY a  must do for all Travellers. Don’t be put off by distance, dirt or cost. Support the people of the Outback by visiting their ‘backyard’.

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