I have recently returned from a fantastic nine-day trip into the Outback – usually a very dry region – but after heavy rains a couple of weeks before, we were fortunate to see it blooming in parts with white and yellow wild flowers and verdant green grass.
With Noosa as our starting point, we travelled through Gayndah, the citrus growing region, the fruit trees positively groaning with beautiful bright orange fruit.
Our friends towed a 4WD caravan, and we drove our 4WD with a roof tent – not for the feint hearted, especially when negotiating the ladder in the middle of the very chilly nights answering the call of nature.
When picking our special place to camp each evening, we followed the advice of our friends and took time to find the perfect spot – preferably level ground, in the lee ward side of the wind. If possible, we made a corral, with a cosy campfire plumb in the centre. Ahh... the quintessential campfire – this for me is one of the joys of any outdoor camping experience. Feeling the warmth of the coals, watching the dancing flames, almost hypnotically, and just hunkering down to revel in the comfort of it all.
Heading through Theodore, it was blatantly evident what was grown in the area, with small, white fluffy balls of cotton strewn along the roadside, remnants of the last cotton harvest.
Being a passenger on a long trip can sometimes be a trifle boring, but there is always something to take note of. For me it was the various names of the creeks, sometimes so apt it was hilarious; Fat Hen Creek, Toogood Creek, Nugget Creek, Mudaduck Creek, Dogwood Creek, and my favourite – Big Womadilla Creek.
Carnarvon Gorge was a treat – a lovely day walk enabled us to see beautiful waterfalls, the Moss Gardens and well-preserved and beautiful Aboriginal Art. Then it was through the gem fields of Emerald, Sapphire and Rubyvale – all laden with fascinating stories of the mining and prospecting days of yester year. Jus and I are born fossickers and I can't wait to return with her and have some fun.
At Barcaldine we stopped and witnessed firsthand the spot where the birth of the Australian Labour Party was took place – sheep shearers in 1891 went on strike for better working conditions and wages and thus the Labour Party was born.
On to Longreach, where the Australian Flying Doctor service was formed and QANTAS (Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service). We enjoyed the Stockman’s Hall of Fame and the Stockman’s show for a bit of local history and flavour.
We pushed on to Winton, a small town that has well and truly earned its fame with the discovery of dinosaur bones in the area. It has a great museum, as well as a short documentary and some locally discovered fossilised bones.
All too soon it was time to head for home. A fascinating and worthwhile trip of over 3,000 kms in nine days. Would love to do more but back to work!
Photography / Nathan White Images / Mahali