A fairly early start this morning and we drove down to the Barkly Roadhouse to fill up. Not long after, we’d arrived at the Queensland border where we took a few pics and continued to Camooweal. However, as it was a weekend, the entire town was pretty well closed so we hightailed it to Mount Isa. Arriving late in the afternoon, we were fairly surprised that all five caravan parks were full, so now where to stay? Wanting to go to the markets the following day, we headed out of town and free camped before going back into town the next morning. As it turns out, the markets were pretty well a non event. After a quick stop at the information centre, we moved on to Cloncurry.
Cloncurry has significant history – it is the home of the Royal Flying Doctor Service which was set up by Rev. John Flynn in 1928; it is also where the idea of QANTAS was conceived, and also was visited by Burke and Wills in 1861 on their overland trek to the Gulf. Stopping here for the afternoon, we toured the RFDS Museum as well as the local museum and managed to get a glimpse of a water bottle which belonged to Burke on his tragic journey. Both museums we found to be very informative.
Heading north of Cloncurry, our next destination was Adels Grove just outside Lawn Hill National Park. Whilst out the way of many travellers (due to its isolation), it was a “must see” given the fond memories I had from my last visit in 1988. Heading west from Burke & Wills Roadhouse, we drove for a while before needing to slow down due to the amount of wildlife on the roads. It was an amazing drive with many varieties spotted. Wallabies by the dozen, flocks and flocks of galahs, heaps of green budgies, a couple of juvenile jabirus (in the middle of the road!), some whistling kites overhead, eagles feasting on a dead wallaby, many cranes, and heaps of wandering stock. Not to mention the amazing sunset ahead of us which was almost blinding as Grant drove. Just on dusk, we found another free camp, had a peaceful sleep, and headed into Adels Grove first thing in the morning.
Originally set up as an experimental botanic gardens by Frenchman, Albert De Lestang in 1920, Albert provided seeds from his nursery to botanic gardens all over the world. Unfortunately in the 1950s, a fire swept through the grove whilst Albert was absent, destroying everything including his dwelling and all his research papers. Subsequent owners didn’t have the passion for the garden as he did, so some trees and shrubs succumbed to the elements. However, what has been left behind is a beautiful shady area where travellers can camp in the grove under huge trees, but what is also appealing, is the amount of other flora and fauna there, as the grove is adjacent to the Lawn Hill National Park which contains permanent fresh water.
Driving the 10kms to the gorge, we hired a canoe for a couple of hours upon our arrival and paddled our way up the gorge. It was so peaceful! Heaps of birdlife could be heard as we paddled, and we spotted the odd turtle and freshwater crocodile. It was still an absolute oasis.
While out this way, we went to Riversleigh Fossil Site D, about 55kms from Lawn Hill. The site is a significant fossil site (in the middle of nowhere), but unfortunately we think many of them have been removed and placed in museums.
Leaving Lawn Hill, we continued our journey to the Gulf of Carpentaria, staying at Karumba for a few nights. Renowned for being the prawn capital of Australia, we struck it lucky getting some great prawns really cheap. Deciding to head out on a fishing charter (bad idea!), it didn’t turn out exactly as planned. It was such a cold morning and we were both underdressed, I think even the fish were cold!!! Grant had the chance to feel what pulling in a groper was like; I reeled in 4 spanish mackrel (all just undersized around 49cm) and a milk shark, so we basically came away empty handed. Another meat bbq for tonight! Grrr. Karumba has magnificent sunsets, often resembling the staircase to the moon effect as seen in Broome, so at least we got to experience those.
So as you’ll read, we’re not having much luck on the fishing front, but we’ll keep trying once we head up to Cape York. That’s it for this post – we’re now heading further east and making our way to Cairns stopping at Cobbold Gorge and Undara Lava Tubes before finalising our preparations for the Cape trip.
Grant & Linda.
|Kms Travelled Total 22,372