|The endless plains|
We’ve had a couple of easier days, not driving too far and not doing too much. So many people we talk to are doing hundreds and hundreds of kilometres every day, but we just don’t want to do that. A case in point is yesterday, we left Winton to drive about 200km north to a place called Hughenden (originally we thought about continuing west to Mount Isa, but it’s another 500km and then another 500km back again, with totally unchanging scenery. Its flat land with dry Mitchell grass as far as the eye can see, with the odd tree. As first it was different and interesting, but the novelty has worn off and we think we’ve had enough of the outback, hence our decision to go north and then east back to the coast rather than continue west.
|The pub at Hughenden|
So Hughenden was our target on Friday and off we set up the ‘Development Road’, pulling over as instructed on the narrow first part when we saw Road Trains coming the other way (we only saw 2), at a fairly leisurely pace. After about 90km we came across a very small town called Corfield, with a population of about 15.
|The campsite at Corfield|
It is literally in the middle of nowhere with flat grassy plains all around as far as the eye could see, but it has a free camp ground and right next door a pub with free hot showers out the back. The town bizarrely has a race course and tennis courts right next to the campground and the whole place just had a certain appeal, so I suggested we stay there the night, even though it was only about 11:00am.
|Someone had left one of those pedally scooter things...|
Jackie seemed a bit shocked at this but went along with it, (only because we’ve never stopped so early before, and this really was just a carpark by the roadside) so we chilled out reading and generally relaxing, taking in the scenery. We were joined by another campervan and then a car and caravan later on in the day, but they all seemed pleasant enough (even though the caravan owner ran his generator for over an hour spoiling the tranquillity, until I asked him to move it further away whereupon he switched it off!).
After our dinner we went across to the pub which turned out to be co-operatively owned by the villagers.
|Sunset over the endless western plains|
The building used to be the local dance hall, but was converted to a pub after their original pub burnt down. It is well attended with ‘locals’ driving up to 100km for an evenings drink and we had a great couple of hours talking to the locals. Looking across later we could see it was fairly packed with loads of cars in the car park, didn’t want to ask too much about drinking and driving, but one of the women we were chatting to had 4 whiskies while we were there and her car was parked outside!
At this point I went to the loo and had another frog event, he managed to cling on to the side of the bowl with no problem, I was just worried about the effect of the ‘blue loo’ on him!
On Saturday morning we planned to go to Stamford races (Stamford population: 5!), which seemed to be a major annual event in the locals diaries (the 4 whisky woman was going with her new best frock on!), so we thought we’d give it a try. It was only 60km up the road, but the races didn’t start until 1:00pm and we were there at 10:00am with nothing much going on, so we decided to carry on to Hughenden (population over 1000!) and find a supermarket and an internet connection, we failed on both counts!
|The Pyramid in the gorge|
It’s a small country town with small grocery, butchers and newsagent shops at greatly inflated prices, so we got what we needed and went to the campsite where we found no mobile signal (will have to wait until tomorrow to post this)!
Today we took a trip to Porcupine Gorge, a pleasant place about 70km north, where the river has eroded through basalt and sandstone, revealing rocks up to 200 million years old and producing an impressive gorge.
We walked down into the gorge, along it and back up and it was very pretty, but as a walk it was pretty easy, which was just as well in the heat, probably high 20’s C.
|Jackie having a bit of a fossick|
We did stop en-route to do a touch more fossicking – I could get him slightly more interested this time as it was for fossils (fossicking is obviously a generic term for grubbing around in the dirt!) We found two belemnites (old squid type things) before we got too bored, so pretty good I’d say!
|A fence - but not just any fence, its a dingo fence built to protect sheep and cattle from dingoes. Its the worlds lonest fence at 2500km long, but is no longer maintained|
Tomorrow it’s further east to civilisation and a decent supermarket (I hope, …I’m so excited!) (we’re pretty low on most things) and somewhere with mobile reception! Bye, bye outback, it’s been very nice, but we’re ready for something else now!