I was woken by the sound of the helicopter taking off from the paddock behind us but rather than get up I was content to lie in bed looking through the open skylight over the bed and watch the leaves on the trees above change colour as the sun came up. In due course, cups of tea, breakfast and showers, not necessarily in that sequence, happened, the fiver was packed up, and we hit the highway.
We decided that today would be a driving day with Mount Isa as the final destination. It was a longer day that we generally plan for, but very doable, and certainly not the longest we have done on this trip. Basically we decided that we needed three things:
- Power for the cooler
- TV reception – we haven’t seen any for a few days
- Shops – some supplies are running low.
Another night of station stay or free-camping just wasn’t going to do it.
Our first quick stop was to check out the Wonara Bore Rest Area where friends of ours had stayed not long ago. This is a great spot with plenty of room Our morning coffee stop was at the Souden Rest Area which is also a spot with plenty of room but also had zillions of flies!
Landscape wise today was again pretty monotonous and boring, although perhaps there were a few larger trees replacing some of the low scrub. Most of the time we generally seemed to be going uphill, which is probably not that surprising given that we are in the Barkly Tablelands. The roads aren’t that great either and the fiver bounced around a lot – cupboards opened, cushions flew about, etc.
We had a look at the Avon Downs Rest Area and decided that it would be a safe place to stay, especially as it was directly opposite the Avon Downs Police Station – way out in the middle of nowhere. Suffering through all of this is a hardy band of Peace Runners who are obviously out there in the blazing heat carrying burning torches in aid of charity. Each to his own I guess!
About 30 kms from the Queensland border we hit roadworks. Nearly 10 kms of 60 kph detour along a very bumpy side road while major work took place on the Barkly Highway. Unfortunately we missed our photo opportunity at the NT-QLD border as some drop-kicks had set up camp with tables and chairs and ruined things for everyone else!
Just over the border at Camooweal we stopped in a nice shady spot for lunch, then topped up the diesel before continuing our journey. We had a coffee break at the David Hall Rest Area and later had a quick look at the WW2 Airfield Rest Area just before Mount Isa. This would be a very good option for travellers not necessarily wanting to stay in a caravan park in town. The landscape did change as we were nearing Mount Isa and hills/mountains re-appeared.
Finally we arrived at our destination – Mount Isa Caravan Park. This is an older park with plenty of character, and we have a shady drive through site, power and TV reception. And there are shops in town.
Milestone: Our arrival at Mount Isa Caravan Park ticked over 10,010 kms travelled so far on our 2013 Big Adventure.