After staying in a cabin at Kidman Camp in North Bourke (Northy to the locals), we drove through the Camp to the Darling River where a paddle boat was undergoing repairs. PV Jandra usually does cruises on the river but it is out of action until its generator is fixed.
Next stop was Bourke Bridge Inn as I wanted a photograph of the old lift bridge. These were built by the NSW Government to replace river barges crossing the river and to encourage graziers to send their wool to the nearest railhead which eventually came to Bourke. A section of the bridge lifted up, allowing the paddle boats to go further up the river. Continue reading
This morning we were on the road again early. We stopped briefly at the Tambo Teddies shop to buy a gift before driving on to Charleville. At the Bilby Centre, located in the Charleville railway station, we saw bilbies running around a glass enclosure in semi darkness. Story boards and a video showed the efforts made to save these small, nocturnal marsupials from extinction due to the prevalence of wild dogs and cats. Bilbies have a long nose, a black band on the upper tail, then white fur hides a spur like tip. One way to save these creatures from extinction is instead of buying rabbits at Easter, buy a chocolate bilby from Cadbury or Darryl Lea instead – I am personally going to appeal for Lindt to make one too, from 70% cocoa of course!! Continue reading
An early rise again this morning as a crowd gathered in the park opposite our motel. Over 50 horsemen and women wearing authentic Light Horse regalia, rode their whalers down the street and lined up outside the old railway station. They remained in place for over half an hour, while across the road in the park, people gathered to listen to speeches, prayers and both the New Zealand and Australian national anthems. The Kiwi anthem puts ours to shame as it was sung in both Maori and English. A procession of the Light Horse started in Barcaldine to celebrate the last cavalry charge at Beersheeba in Egypt in 1917. It moves on to Winton tomorrow. Continue reading
We took advantage of the cool early morning to walk through the Bush Tucker Garden on the banks of Lake Fred Tritton before the 6 hour drive to Longreach. All the plants are native to the region but it took us a while to realise that short bright green posts held labels outlining their traditional purposes as food, medicine and or firewood. Some fabulous shaped moonstones also inhabit the garden and the walk and the scenery made a great start to the day. Continue reading
Replica of Muttaburrasauras
After two days of dinosaurs I thought driving out further to see more at Hughenden and Richmond may not be worth it. As we had been very impressed with everything we had seen and we had bought discounted tickets to see the lot, we decided to go.
After two hours driving I was pleased to see construction underway for a giant solar farm south of Hughenden. The Flinders Discovery Centre is worth a visit to see the display on the local wool industry, the fossil collection and a replica skeleton of Muttaburrasaurus. The light and sound show about the formation of Porcupine Gorge to the north showed how the inland see came and went numerous times and the layers of the sediments that it left behind. Continue reading
We drove for an hour and a half to the Dinosaur Stampede site. The road is bitumen in some places but not others. A sign on one sealed section says NO PARKING NEXT 1.5km EMERGENCY AIRSTRIP.
A large building protects the footprints of a number of dinosaurs that are believed to have stampeded when a very large one was looking for something to eat. The story of how the prints were found and why the dinosaurs stampeded is initially told in a video presentation. Then you enter the large room housing the footprints and a tour guide explains the different size footprints and how they were preserved. Continue reading
As we are coming back via Longreach we decided to push on to Winton. I booked accommodation from Longreach as a Festival is on next week and the town is likely to be full. Sure enough I couldn’t get into the first motel I tried but I managed to get a room in the second but it was the last room.
With accommodation organised we decided to visit the Australian Age of Dinosaurs as it is on the road into Winton. Wow! This is a first rate tourist facility – the vision of one man with a passion. The building is an architectural gem. It acknowledges the surrounding landscape and pays homage to local materials. It sits on a ‘jump up’ – a flat topped section of land raised above the surrounding land so it has spectacular views. Continue reading
During the Welcome to Carnarvon Gorge presentation we were told that despite culling, 4,000 brumbies lived in the park. I awoke in the middle of the night and heard one cantering around our cabin neighing. We were also told that platypus were best seen in the early morning so I woke up early. It was very cold but I stood very quietly near the Rock Pool for about half an hour watching the surface. I saw a couple of ripples every now and then as some creature broke through the water briefly. I was just about to give up when I saw ripples near the big rock. Something was swimming around the edge, then went into a small cavern and disappeared. It looked like a platypus. A few minutes later a 30cm platypus surfaced about 4 metres away from me. It swam closer, poked its head up, seeming to look straight at me then hid behind some reeds. I moved to get a better view. It surfaced saw me move and ducked straight back into the water. I have only ever seen platypus once before in the wild but due to a series of coincidences over many years these strange creatures have become my mascot. Continue reading
Roma Cattle Yards
This blog is about travelling beyond Roma which I visited on my last gasgab tour. http://giftofthegabau.blogspot.com.au/ The plan is to reach Winton as soon as possible and see as many things as we can while in this area before driving back to NSW.
In Roma we saw tourists in t-shirts and shorts, cattlemen wearing blue striped shirts for 3 days of cattle sales and fluro maintenance crews from the gas fields. The main gas pipelines and other large infrastructure appear to be finished but tradesmen continue to work in the area. Along the roads signs point to drilling rigs and man camps but I saw no evidence of wells from the main roads. Large mining equipment continues to be trucked on the highways but there seems to be a lot fewer fluro utes on the roads than when I was last in the area. Although the airport carport seemed to be full of them. Continue reading