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Day 1 Queensland to Western Australia

Brisbane - Goondiwindi

It was 9.15 am when we eventually left home in Queensland with our Caravan in tow. The morning was cool and sunny, lovely after the previous frosty mornings - A great start to the day!
We made our way to Beaudesert and onto beautiful Boonah in the Scenic Rim. This town is a favorite of mine. It's situated in a pretty area with magnificent views of the Great Dividing Range, I always reach for my camera here!

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Great Dividing Range near Aratula

Then next town on from Boonah is the small village of Aratula where we make a stop before making the climb up and over the range to the fertile valley beyond.
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Great Dividing Range near Aratula

On Warwick side of the range, the surprise was the price of fuel, 146.9cents litre, compared to 160.9 at home, what a difference! Of course, the price made us stop and top up with fuel, have a quick lunch and toilet stop before making our way to Inglewood. Travelling along this road, we see a tremendous amount of road-kill, mainly Red and Grey Kangaroos, even a massive Wedge Tailed Eagle who was too slow escaping from the many semi-trailers that travel this road.

SAM_5945S.jpgInglewood is only a small town, but one we usually make a break at, today was no exception. First we stopped at the park to have a look at an interesting Sundial and to use the toilets before travelling further along the main street where we found a Cafe open so we stopped for a caffeine break.

Pity it wasn't lunch time as they had Roo (Kangaroo) burgers on the menu. The shop walls were adorned with old types of agricultural pieces.

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Goondiwindi is a border town and our final destination for the day. We crossed the McIntyre river which is the border between Queensland and New South Wales and continued to the small, mainly Aboriginal town of Boggabilla. About 9kms from there, we found a free camping site at Whalan Creek, away and hidden from the highway.

Posted by balhannahrise 02:53 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes road trip queensland free camps Comments (0)

Day 2 Queensland to Western Australia

Whalan Creek to Brewarrina

We woke to a fine and sunny day after a good nights sleep at our Whalan Creek free camp.

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Time to hit the road again and travel 100kms across the Moree plains to the Spa town of Moree. This area has some of the world's richest black alluvial soils where sunflowers, safflowers, canola, mungbeans, olives, oats, barley, sorghum, wheat and cotton is grown. July, and the farmers in their huge tractors were busy ploughing the paddocks ready for the next crop.

Wheat is usually sown in late May or June, then harvested from November through to December. The wheat is then delivered by truck to local grain terminals for transportation to various mills for domestic use or seaports if being exported.
The Moree plains is the largest cotton producing region in Australia. Cotton season was over, but still balls of cotton lined the roadside. To see Cotton growing, September/October is when its planted, then picking takes place between March, April & May of the following year. Even in July it was interesting seeing the hundreds of 227kg cotton bales at the Gins waiting to be taken by Semi-Trailer to a Port where they are sent overseas for spinning. I find what ever time I come to this area, there is always something of interest to see.SAM_5962.jpgcotton bales

The road from Moree to Collarenebri was another littered with dead Kangaroos. At least we didn't see any dead Emu's, only plenty of live ones! We passed by a couple of Cotton Gins on this road and a Semi-Trailer loaded with Cotton bales. The road is wide and had more grass on the side than in the paddocks. We saw "Cattle on road" signs, meaning that some-time we would be coming across Cattle drovers. Sure enough, we passed three on this road.

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We hadn't been to Collarenebri before and were rather disappointed with the town. It's a small mainly Aboriginal town with not a lot to offer, we couldn't even find anywhere to buy lunch! Luckily I had some food in the Caravan, at least we didn't starve!

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Out this part of Australia, a lot of the towns have a large majority of Aboriginals living there. Walgett is one such town. As we had been here before, we didn't stop, just took the turn-off that would lead us to Brewarrina.
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Fish traps

Brewarrina was quite a surprise. Located on the Barwon River, it is thought to have the oldest man made structure on earth. The Brewarrina Aboriginal fish traps are estimated to be 40,000 years old. Unfortunately, many were washed away when the weir was built, so new ones were built at the weir. Obviously the Pelicans know there is fish to be found here!

On the roadside wall where the fish traps and weir are, children have told the dreamtime story by the way of descriptive Aboriginal paintings!

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There was other artwork in town, like the fish near the Tourist Information centre.

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If your after a Kangaroo hide, then head here for all sizes at pretty good prices.

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Well, time to look for somewhere to stay! The Brewarrina Caravan Park had plenty of powered sites, so this is where we stayed the night. A very pleasant Aboriginal caretaker greeted us and told us the ropes. Even though the Amenities block was old, it was clean, the showers were hot, there was a Laundry with coin operated machines and a free bbq!
All for the bargain price of $20 night for 2 people!

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Posted by balhannahrise 00:47 Archived in Australia Tagged parks park landscape new south road trip wales caravan aboriginal Comments (0)

Day 3 Queensland to Western Australia

Brewarrina to Wilcannia in New South Wales

We had a good night at the Brewarrina Caravan Park. First thing, I rode my pushbike around the town, easy riding as it was all flat going! It had rained a little overnight, so when we reached Bourke in Outback Australia, we had to ask at the information centre if the Darling River road was "open" or "closed."

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Bourke Information centre

Roads in this area are made from red soil, so when only a few mills of rain falls, they can become so slippery and dangerous that they are closed to all traffic. As it happened, the road was open.

Bourke is located on a bend in the Darling River and is the traditional country of the Ngemba people. Alongside the River is lovely lawned picnic areas, a wharf and trees where about 100 Parrot's squawked their way to a perch!

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Darling river @ Bourke

First we had a look around Bourke and were quite impressed with what we saw. There were lots of historic buildings in the busy main street.

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Then we took a drive to the historic cemetery where there are many old graves, but a more recent one is of great importance. This is the grave of Fred Hollows, the famous eye surgeon who spent his life helping those who couldn't afford basic eye care. He gave sight to these people and Indigenous Australians and to those living in the poorest communities in the world. In 1990, he was honoured with the title " Australian of the Year" for all the work he had done.

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Fred Hollows grave

Leaving Bourke behind, we began travelling south along the wide red dirt road known as the Darling River road tourist drive. This follows the Darling river and I imagine would be quite scenic if the river and backwaters were full of water, unfortunately, the river didn't have a lot of water.

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Darling river tourist road
We did see many goats, a blow of the car horn soon had them running off the road!

There are only a couple of very small towns along this route, so when we saw the notice advertising food at "Louth" we made this our lunch stop. The Louth Hotel is a one stop destination. It is Hotel, shop, runs a few powered sites for caravans and a couple of cabins for travellers. A few locals were in the Pub and were on for a chat, thankgoodness for that as it was a rather long wait for our two chiko rolls to be cooked!

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Louth Hotel

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Louth Church

Finally we reached our destination for the night - Wilcannia. The Caravan Park was located in a very pleasant situation amongst the red gums and alongside the Darling river. We booked in and settled down for the night.

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Wilcannia caravan park

Posted by balhannahrise 12:41 Archived in Australia Tagged landscape new south road trip wales fred bourke hollows Comments (0)

Day 8 Queensland to Western Australia

Ceduna to Nullarbor Roadhouse - South Australia

It was 7 am and still dark in Ceduna. Today was the day we began our big journey across the Nullarbor. We filled the car with fuel at Ceduna and then travelled along the Eyre Highway past many paddocks with Sheep and others planted with crops such as Wheat.

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Sheep near Ceduna

Along the Highway we noticed many signs

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Watch out for wildlife on the Nullarbor Plain

Not long afterwards, we began seeing many squashed Wombats on the road and lots of Wombat mounds in the paddocks. Dusk or early morning would be the best time to see them live! Penong was where we stopped for our morning tea.

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Lunch was at Yalata where we enjoyed some of my home-made pea soup. Back on the road, we see a notice to the Head of the Bight, this is where the Whales come and give birth and stay for a while before heading back to Antartica with their calf.
During Whale season there is an admission charge to walk to the Bunda cliffs to view the Whales.

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Whale centre and where you pay admission fee

It was just a short walk and we were at the edge of the cliffs. Already we could see many Southern Right Whales in the water.
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Southern Right Whale

The sea is a beautiful blue and the cliffs just blow you away! Proper walkways and viewing platforms have been erected to make it easier to see the Whales at close quarters. Sure enough, many were lazing about with their calves just below the cliff - wow! There wasn't any action, I guess the mothers are too tired after giving birth, still it was a wonderful sight to see!

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Southern Right Whale & Calf

We stayed here a while and watched the Whales, read the interpretive signage and then went back to our car to continue our journey towards the west.

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Head of the Bight

Well, we didn't make it over the border today, tomorrow we will for sure!

Posted by balhannahrise 05:33 Archived in Australia Tagged road trip whale watching plain nullarbor Comments (0)

Day 9 Queensland to Western Australia

Nullarbor Roadhouse, S.A to Caiguna on the Nullarbor Plains, Western Australia - 22nd July

Our campsite was great! We didn't hear the traffic as we were back from the road, this gave us a good nights sleep. The morning was sunny but quite cool. Back on the road early and it is mainly Semi-trailers on the road.
Travelling this section of road, we find tourist signs to look-outs along the cliffs. We drive into Stop 1 and soon put on Beanie and gloves because of the cold wind blowing from Antartica.

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Brr! It was cold!

The cliffs were great, but a little dull looking in the morning when the sun wasn't hitting them, would be much better with the sun on them. Still, it was worth a stop as it has proper viewpoints and information boards.

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Stop 1

Some wildflowers had already begun to flower in this area.

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Stop 1

It was here we met a Victorian couple from Geelong. We kept on meeting them at every look-out, our last time was at Eucla, then we didn't see them again. This is the good part of travelling!

We went into all the stops and found each one to be a little different. I was a little disappointed that we didn't see anymore Whales.

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Stop 2

Border Village is where we cross the border into Western Australia. Here is a notice sign beside a picnic area which has distances to all places around the world. Next to it, is a giant Kangaroo which I took a photo of.

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We had our morning tea break and enjoyed our break watching the road-trains pulling in and out of the roadhouse.

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After morning tea, we make our way to the border crossing [Quarantine checkpoint] where we are stopped and asked if we are carrying any fruit & vegetables, honey and other products. We had already got rid of ours, but it you haven't, then you have to surrender them here. The Officer in charge had a look through our car and caravan and gave us the all clear to enter Western Australia.

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At last we are here!
Eucla, home of the old Telegraph station. Fuel is a little cheaper here. LPG is $1.27 litre & unleaded Petrol $1.98. I thought Eucla had the nicest and cleanest looking Motel on the Nullarbor. On this side of the border there is a giant Whale.

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Eucla

We took the drive towards the coast and to the old Telegraph station, must say I was rather disappointed as it was half buried in sand.

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Historic Telegraph station

Of more interest were the monuments at the top of the hill that we stopped at on the way back.
One is the Eucla War Memorial that consists of two granite boulders. It commemorates Australian servicemen and women who have served in all wars and conflicts.

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Eucla War Memorial

A cross next to the War Memorial is in memory of the Christians and other people who helped build the new highway.

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The last Memorial in this area is to Edward Eyre & Wylie who camped in this area.

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Along the highway we see a sign with a Plane with R.F.D.S. Airstrip. This is here to notify people that the Royal Flying Doctor Plane is using the Highway as a landing strip when attending an accident in the area. Of course, people will we be at each end of the strip to notify travellers on the highway that it will be closed for a while. I think we saw five of these signs along the Eyre Highway.

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As we have been travelling along the Highway, the Fraser Range has been to our right. Now were are going up and over the Madura Pass which is our way through the Range. It is getting late, so time to look for a campsite. Once again, we found a good free camp away from the highway at Jillbunya Rockhole. We quickly set up camp and we finished just as the first spots of rain began to fall. During the night it rained quite heavily.

Posted by balhannahrise 00:15 Archived in Australia Tagged outback road camping trip free plain nullarbor Comments (0)

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