We were back to a cold morning this morning, but the diesel heater soon improved the situation. After some confusion about what time it was (only some of our clocks had been updated from NT time) we got underway about 9.30am.
Our first stop today was at Mt Isa, where we parked near the Visitor Information Centre which is known as “Outback at Isa”. This is a very large place and is the centre of various tours, museums, mining exhibitions, and even a brilliant photographic exhibition. There is also a nice café – yes Kaye we had coffee and cake!
We then moved Bertha and did a quick shop at Coles to replenish our food supplies. We stayed at Mt Isa for a few days on our 2015 Big Adventure, and this is still very much a mining town. The mines and associated infrastructure dominate the skyline and the landscape.
Yesterday I commented that the Queensland roads were surprisingly good, but I’m sorry to say that the situation didn’t last too long and the quality diminished around Mt Isa. Queensland seems to design its roads, and we’re talking a major highway here, differently to NT, for example. The highway is generally narrower and there is very little space beside the road to pull over if required. There are very short roadside stops which are shared by cars and trucks, and very few rest areas with toilet facilities. In contrast, NT has quite separate stopping areas for cars and trucks, and proper rest areas at reasonable intervals. From Mt Isa the road at least did have frequent overtaking lanes as there were few opportunities for trucks and cars to overtake slower vehicles otherwise.
After lunch in Bertha we hit the road and continued our journey to Cloncurry. The changes in the landscape were amazing with flat scrub plains making way for mountains, rocky outcrops, and more.
Once in Cloncurry we booked in at the Discovery Caravan Park, which is a combination caravan park and mining workers’ accommodation huts. The facilities are excellent with camp kitchens, pool, gym and washers and driers, for instance, are free. There is also a restaurant called ‘The Curry’ and all caravan park guests are welcome – it’s an all-you-can-eat feast each night! It all works very well and this is a really nice place to stay, partly due to being on grass sites rather than dust or gravel, for a change.
It has been a great day with temperatures in the mid-twenties and our lovely clear blue skies are back.