Friday, September 4, 2015

Birdsville to Cunnamulla, Qld. - Part 1.

The gravel road towards Windorah is in good condition, with only isolated rough patches. We could easily travel at a steady 70 kph and still dodge the odd large rock. The first night's camp was opposite the abandoned Betoota Hotel on level ground that was once a cricket oval, the concrete pitch is still there! We had a great Happy Hour with some fellow travellers, I might add, I am wearing jeans, wind cheater, socks and shoes for the first time since our washed out stay at Karijini NP.

Early, on our first morning at Betoota a rain front came in and looked as though it was going to stay with us for a while. At Birdsville we had seen a forecast and rain was a high possibility. We waited for Westbound traffic to come through and sure enough, they were completely covered in mud. From then on it was an easy decision for us to make, we would sit out the rain at Betoota! The following morning the sun was shining and a steady breeze would help dry out the road surface. We headed on towards Windorah with all manner of oncoming traffic, horse floats, fast food vendor trucks and vans, caravans, motorhomes and camper trailers by the dozens. The road surface had largely dried out, except for the low areas, floodways etc.

We had noted several camp areas along the way to Windorah but when we reached them the previous day's inclement weather made them impossible to enter. We continued on into Windorah and found a camp site in the Caravan Park Overflow area. Windorah made all travellers welcome with Caravan Park Rates very low at $15 for powered and $10 for unpowered. Our overflow Rates were $5 per night with access to the CP amenities. Later we wandered down to the local Pub for dinner. when we got there the Pub patrons had overflowed out onto the footpath. It was a carnival atmosphere. After an excellent meal at the Pub we strolled back to the 'van and watched the Broncos demolish the Rabbitohs.

After a late start the next morning, we left Windorah and drove the 12 km to Cooper's Creek RA. This is a large area accessible on both sides of the river in dry weather only. We heard that on a recent night 105 vans camped here! Tonight probably about 25 vans stayed for the night. 10 of those were vans from the Brisbane Roustabouts Chapter of the Australian Caravan Club enroute to Birdsville. We have been having a fantastic run with the winds and our fuel consumption has been favourably low. Some legs of the journey down to 13 l/100 km. We are only travelling at about 75/80 kmh, that helps too. We had several camps selected from here on, but as before, most were unsatisfactory, until we came to Thylungra Station RA on the banks of the Kyabra Creek. This Station was one of the original property selections made by the Duracks. This RA is a large area but only 3 vans made camp here tonight. Only 118 km into Quilpie from here. I think we can manage that in one day!

The Dreamtime Serpent, made from coloured rock accessed in the local area, on the side of a small rise about 7 km West of Betoota.

Only flat Gibber Plains between Birdsville and Betoota with a few large red sand dunes here and there.

The abandoned Betoota Hotel.

Superman wasn't seen in the area of this Phone Booth.

Only 1 unserviceable fuel bowser remains.

Rudimentary power lines from the generator up to the Hotel and the fuel pumps.

The generator still looks serviceable.

The Male "thunder box" Toilet is still standing.

Ziggy, the Pub owner is buried here.

A previous traveller has passed by again and left Ziggy a can of baked beans and a can of beer!

Windorah Outback Store.

The sign says it all. Last night the crowd was out the back and out the front onto the footpath.

The Windorah Main Street. Still many caravans in town.

Cars and Vans are queuing to buy fuel at the only fuel outlet in town.

Looking East to West over the bridge crossing Cooper's Creek.

Still a large amount of water in Cooper's Creek, but very muddy.

The road bridge crossing Cooper's Creek.

Will this river gum survive another big wet season?

There are many Cattle Road Trains moving cattle around the area.

Our camp site at Thylungra Station RA beside Kyabra Creek.

That low level crossing is the main road over Kyabra Creek. That stone wall in the foreground is a weir but the water doesn't reach it at this time.

However! Look the other direction and there is plenty of water in the Creek.

We caught the rising Full Moon in the sky and as a reflection in Kyabra Creek.

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