The blog for the 10th - 16th was written by Lesley Bray
10.4.10 At long last,
after 12 weeks in Brisbane, the trip was underway. We headed out
the Warrego Highway, until we reached Minden, where we detoured
around Mountain View Drive, I had spotted this road on one of
our weekend trips and was curious to see where it went, so we
dragged the van high up the narrow road and found a great view
and photo opportunity. Next stop was Toowoomba, lunch time and
we passed Big Dad's Pie Shop, hit the brakes and walked back for
some Pies with Mushy Peas. Possibly the largest pies we have seen,
no wonder the shop was busy. Found a park and had lunch. Oakey
was the next place we stopped, the highway bypasses this town
these days. We visited the Museum of Australian Army Flying, cost
of $6 all up. Their pride and joy was a Bristol Boxkite. Those
pilots must have had sheer guts to fly in that thing. It also
featured a copy of Baron Von Richthovens Plane (this plane featured
in the film "The Great Waldo Pepper". Left Oakey and
stopped at the Jondaryan Woolshed which is a huge working historical
museum, only thing was we arrived around 3pm and nobody was actually
there except us, which was probably a good thing. We quite enjoyed
the place and moved on to Bowenville, just shy of Dalby, where
we freecamped for the night. The rest spot wasn't exactly as the
Camps 5 Book described it, the toilets were actually at another
park up the road and the fireplaces were non existent, not that
we needed one.
to Roma Pic
This morning we got away at 8.20am and headed into Dalby. The
thing that gobsmacked us was that this town has parking meters.
Visited the information centre which was not very informative,
considered going north to Jandowie but ended up spotting a sign
to Lake Broadwater in the opposite direction, down the Moonie
Highway, and decided to investigate that option. Surprisingly,
Lake Broadwater Conservation Park did not have a lot of water
in it, this was amazing considering the rain we have experienced.
This little corner of Queensland seems to have missed out. The
lake has a great camping spot, with all the amenities. Too early
in the day for us, didn't want to backtrack to Dalby so followed
the Moonie Highway further looking for a back road to eventually
take us back to the Warrego Highway. Wanda (the GPS) directed
us to turn right along the Ducklo School Road, and then on to
the Gulera Road, which ended up at a dead end (not according to
her though) at El Kantara Station. Oops have to turn around and
go back to the beginning of Gulera Road, which was okay because
it was along this road, in the middle of nowhere we found a great
letter box and sign on gate, 'Please shut the gate or the Mrs
will go shoppin!!'. Back to turnoff of Gulera Road and after passing
another brilliant letterbox made up from an old motorbike, came
to another intersection. We were not sure which intersection we
were at on the map, and which way to turn, so while booting the
computer with the detailed GPS map on it, a guy came up behind
us and advised us to turn right. Drove past the Daandine State
Forest and Braemar State Forest and found Daandine where we turned
right and ended up at an isolated little place called Kogan which
turned out to be rather interesting. It turns out Hugh Sawry the
artist used to live there and they are very proud of that. There
is a sculpture there made by Dion Cross made with old tools and
bits and pieces, all stuck together with galvanised steel coating.
We had a cuppa and lunch at their local park which they call Our
Pioneer Park and decided to keep heading west till we found a
round up to Chinchilla on the Warrego Highway, but somehow we
ended up at Condamine which was a non event, so we headed up the
Leichhardt Highway to Miles where we refueled for $124.9 per litre.
Beware, the service station at the other end of town was 15c dearer.
Moved onto Yuleba where we set up a free camp just after 4pm,
had barely pulled up when a council man pulled in beside us to
check what we were doing. He gave us a little booklet about the
Maranoa region and advised us that nearby Judds Lagoon was a good
place to camp. We decided to stay put and check out the lagoon
Left Yuleba at 9am and drove out along Moongool Road to Judds
Lagoon. A truly picturesque spot, lots of birds there too, the
squawky kind. We drove back through Yuleba doing a tour of the
town on the way through. In the booklet that the council man gave
us it discussed Native Wells, Cobb & Co rest station and Corduroys
- but didn't mention where exactly these things were. Nice glossy
book but lacking informative information. We checked out the map
on the sign at the Yuleba rest area and headed down the Yuleba-Surat
Road, easily finding the Native Wells Rest Site which is maintained
by the local aboriginals. Interesting rock wells where the aboriginals
could find fresh water. By the time we reached the turnoff to
the Carnarvon Highway we knew we had missed the other points of
interest, where they were we have no idea as there were no signposts
directing us. Pretty pissed off over missing them. We found a
gravel road to Surat which was signed posted as having water over
it (from recent floods).Not knowing how much water or how deep
the mud may be we chose to stay on the bitumen. Later we came
across some flood water still lying over the bitumen, and as we
drove carefully through it, found part of the underlying road
was washed away. We hit it with a giant thud. Luckily we were
able to tow the van through safely and checked for damage when
reaching dry ground, we found the printer had hit the floor and
apparently broken. A later inspection showed that all the loose
bits had fallen of, and were easily re-attached. No sign telling
us that the road was washed away, really pissed off by this time.
Flagged down the next car to warn him about the road, only to
find he was a local who said it has been like that for weeks despite
many calls to the local council. Reached Surat, parked down by
the Balonne River where the hundreds of cuckatoos were going crazy.
Ate lunch, walked around the town, chatted to the locals, from
whom we found that some things we would like to see were on gravel
roads still closed by flood water. We ended up in the Cobb &
Co Changing Station Museum which was excellent as well as being
free. In the same building was a art gallery, displaying a photography
competition. The photos were excellent and entries came from everywhere.
Pride of the town is the impressive Shire Hall which has been
revamped back to its original colours at much expense. Driving
up the Carnarvon Highway towards Roma, we came across a very pretty
place called Green Swamp. Naturally we pulled over and took some
photos. Next stop was for a stranded girl driving between Roma
& St George and had broken down alongside the road. Her mobile
was dead, and was not a member of the RACQ. We rang Roma to get
her some assistance, and they were sending down a tow truck to
pick her up. Bet she joins the RACQ now !! Arrived at Roma and
booked into the Big 4 Tourist Park,
I had been looking forward to having a look at the Roma Cattle
Sale. Nearly 40 years ago, when I worked at The Katanning Meat
Works, some of my bosses had worked in Roma, and it had been an
ambition of mine to visit at some time in the future. Today was
the day. Roma has on average, 12000 cattle pas thru its saleyards
every week. It is the biggest cattle selling complex in Australia.
It was interesting to watch horsemen rounding up the cattle, and
the non-injurious implements used today to persuade the cattle.
The afternoon allowed us to catch up on our shopping.
Cattle Sale Pics
Visited the Big Rig, which is a visual display of the history
of the oil and gas industry in Roma. We chatted to a lady in the
adjoining Information Centre who told us about the stained glass
in St Paul's Anglican church. She told us she would be there at
1.30pm and would open up the church for us. Visited a couple of
other things around town and ended up lunching at the Empire Hotel.
I know people add garlic to their cooking - these people added
ingredients to the garlic. Off to St Paul's where we listened
to a history of the church, the lady was very, very knowledgeable
and were able to photograph the stained glass windows and leaded
glass windows. Outside the church, we saw something move while
we were taking photos, only to have a very large goanna waddle
past us searching for insects. We then ducked around to have a
look at Roma's biggest bottle tree, and the Hero's Avenue where
they have planted bottle trees through the town dedicated to soldiers
who died in the World War 1.
This morning we visited the Romavilla Winery which is right next
door to our caravan park. This winery was established in 1863
and is the oldest working winery in Queensland. Business must
be tough because they are subdividing some of the land for housing.
What a pity. We found that the business relies heavily on internet
sales. We explained that we were not drinkers or potential customers
but they were still very happy to allow us to photograph the place
which was a very old original building housing some very old wine
casks, some of which were huge and covered in thick dust. We brought
a bottle of Cabernet Merlot before we left. We topped up with
groceries, ready for our trip to the National Park and were successful
in finding some printer ink for the printer. We found National
Parks and Wildlife to enquire about visiting Mt Moffatt. Thankfully
we did, because we were told that Mt Moffatt would be closed for
a week from this Sunday. This threw our plans into disarray as
Laurie had booked into Takarakka Bush Resort before our Mt Moffatt
trip. He phoned the resort and postponed our stay at Takarakka
until Monday and Tuesday, so that we could fit Mt Moffatt in on
Friday and Saturday before the closure. On the way back to the
park we visited the Roma-Bungil Cultural Centre to view the 3D
Mural by local artists depicting Roma's history which was actually
very impressive, also walked through the Art Gallery in the same
building and the display was about Roma's oil history.
Left Roma at 8.30am for the drive up to Injune which was uneventful
except for the fact that we discovered that the caravan's tail
lights were not working. This could turn out to be a major problem
out here with nobody with the expertise to repair them or obtain
parts. Arrived in Injune and topped up with fuel as there is nowhere
else except here for fillup. Paid $143.9 which is fairly expensive
(15c dearer than Roma, which is only 90kms away). Took the van
to Injune Caravan Park where we left it paying $10 for the night.
We are off to Mt Moffatt and cannot take the van with us. Packed
up the car for a night out camping. Mt Moffatt is part of the
Carnarvon National Park. Finally left Injune at 11am and headed
off westwards to Womblebank and then turned northwards. The first
interesting thing we passed was a slab hut in the middle of nowhere
alongside some old stockyards. Was an excellent photo opportunity.
Next stop was Charlies Creek where the reflections in the water
were excellent and we came to a turnoff to Mt Moffatt. Someone
had scribbled on the sign 4WD. Just around the corner was Coffin
Gully which was full of mud and slush which covered the Cruiser
in mud. After entering the National Park we stopped at Cathedral
Rock which is right by the road side, just a short walk in. This
huge rock is so named because of the unusual pattern on the rock.
Across the road were some walks so we walked the 850m to see The
Looking Glass which is an unusual sandstone formation. Walked
back to the main road and took another track to see The Chimneys,
which was spectacular. There was yet a longer walk to The Tombs
which we would have liked to do but time was running out and we
still hadn't found the Rangers Hut to register for camping. Drove
to the Rangers Hut, nobody to be found, but we filled in the forms,
paid the money, $4.50 per person per night. We decided to drive
out to the Top Moffatt camp site, leaving immediately as we wanted
to set up camp in the daylight. Very bumpy road with creek crossings.
Arrived at Top Moffatt to find nobody else there. There was even
a toilet with toilet paper which was definitely a bonus.
Hard to believe it's been a week since we hit the road. We seem
to have packed so much in. We packed up and left the Top Moffatt
campsite behind us, and we moved to the stockyards at Long Gully
(just near the Rangers Quarters). We then had a look at the West
Branch Campsite, before going to what was to be the highlight
of the day. We entered the 4WD only section, and passed Kenniffs
Lookout, before reaching the turnoff to the Rortary Shelter Camp
Site and the Top Shelter Picnic Site. The road was rocky, loose
in places, and went up......and down ...... and up .....and up.....and
up......you get the drift. The Rotary Shelter Campsite is just
over 1000m, and affords a beautiful view over the Great Dividing
Range. The climb continued to the Top Shelter Picnic Spot where
at just over 1200m, further amazing views were available.
Back at the base of the hill, we followed a little used track
to the Incineration Site. Now these Kenniff Bros were not very
nice characters. They were cattle duffers, and when Constable
Doyle and the local Station manager attempted to arrest the brothers,
it appears the duffers killed the their pursuers, and then burnt
their bodies on a rock near the creek.
Back to the main track, and we stopped of at the Marlong Plain
(a surprise given the hilly country), Lots Wife, Kookaburra Cave
(another Rock Art sitr) and Marlong Arch, before heading back
to Injune. I have tail lights to repair........
Moffatt Section Photos
continued by Laurie
My first problem was to repair the tail lights on the van. It
was a simple earth problem in the end, but had me worried for
a while. After refuelling at Injune, we set out for Carnarvon
NP. We chose to stop at a huge truckstop just 70km up the road,
as we weren't expected at Takarakka until tomorrow. We set up
the Satellite dish, and watched the motor racing from Wellington,
and also worked on some more of our video and photos.
The drive from our truck stop was a pleasant surprise. Leaving
our camp site, we immediately began to descend a steep couple
of kms, being confronted by huge rock walls and cliff faces alongside
the road, We also had to wait whilst slow moving cattle made their
way across the road in their own time - this is unfenced station
country, and although it is a main road, the stock has right of
We reached the turnoff into the Park, and and drove until we came
across a memorial to a C47B Dakota aircraft that had crashed with
19 people on board in a severe electrical storm in 1943. We arrived
at our campsite in Takarakka Resort, and then set out to do a
couple of walks that we hoped might help prepare us for a major
assault on the Gorge tomorrow.
We visited Baloon Cave, which is a sacred site featuring some
stencilled and engraved rock art, and then took a walk up Mickeys
After tea, we joined Guide Simon Ling, who took us spotlighting,
finding animals in the trees with remarkable ease.
A pretty uneventful day for us, as we packed up and left the Carnarvon
NP and headed back to Injune. Our spotlighting guide Simon, had
told us about a phenomenon at the creek crossing the road near
the Aircraft crash site memorial. It appears that fish were swimming
upstream, and crossing the road (where the creek actually ran
across the road) and crows were sitting there picking them off
as they made their attempt. So we stopped to observe, and sure
enough, what Simon had described was indeed taking place.
Having arrived in Injune, we allowed ourselves to contribute to
the service station owners superannuation fund by taking major
shares in his fuel supply business, and then settled into the
Caravan Park where we again tackled video and photo editing
This was the big day. Had we done enough walking to get ourselves
ready for todays events. We would soon find out. Today was the
day we were going to tackle The Carnarvon Gorge. Where most gorges
have a number of canyons to explore from different entrance points,
this gorge starts and ends at the one spot.
And so, at 6.30am, we set out to do the undulating 2.4kms before
you hit flat ground and a reasonably easy walk. We had decided
to go straight to our chosen furthest point (there was anothe
10kms round trip available on top of that had we decided to go
further) which was the Art Gallery, some 5.4 kms away. We achieved
that in reasonable condition, and marvelled at this huge wall
covered in stencilled and engraved rock art. It was then time
to start the return trek, visiting the various gorges we had bypassed
on the way in.
The first of these was Wards Canyon. It is only 270m off the track,
BUT it was almost a vertical staircase, and to now rapidly tiring
legs, this was a real test. The climb was worth it. After passing
the waterfall, you entered a virtual fairyland of beautiful green
moss covered rocks, tree ferns and KING FERNS. These things only
grow near the coast, and only on Fraser Island in Queensland.
So for these four examples this far inland, the experience is
priceless. A stream running through the centre topped the whole
thing off. The place was amazing. Unfortunately, the photos don't
do the place justice.
Going down was much easier, but then we had to negotiate the Auditorium.
About 600m off the track, you negotiate about a 10m staircase
to enter a slot in the rocks, that leads you into this huge cavern,
which apart from the gap to the sky, totally encloses you. Awesome.
By now, we chose to skip the Moss Garden, and we dragged ourselves
back to the undulating final 2,4kms which totally destroyed this
extremely underprepared, unfit persons sense of humour (at least
for an hour or so). People bouncing past like they didn't have
a care in the world didn't help............. mumble mumble.
Back to the original question. had we done enough preparation
to do a 14 km walk, loaded up with cameras, back packs with lenses,
water and a little food? No we hadn't, but believe me, we wouldn't
change the experience.
We took the opportunity to have a quick look around Injune, taking
photos and filming the town, before once again heading out the
road towards the Mt Moffatt Section of the Carnarvon NP, this
time with caravan in tow. When we reached Womblebank Station,
we turned south, and followed the road towards Mitchell. We weren't
bothered by traffic, and in fact it was several hours before we
saw our first oncoming vehicle..
We arrived in Mitchell at lunchtime, and after a bite to eat and
a quick tour of town, we resumed our journey.stopping at Arrest
Creek, where we discovered that the dastardly Kenniff Brothers
of Mt Moffatt Murder and Incineration fame were finally arrested.
As the day wore on, it was becoming increasingly important that
we find somewhere to camp for the night, not easy in a state that
doesn't seem to understand the concept of truckstops or rest areas
- maybe it feels the standard of the roads will keep you awake.
And then, there it was, the first semblance of a truckstop after
97 kms. We naturally, took advantage and spent the night there.
We had spent a night alongside a road that rarely saw traffic
whilst we were there. We amused ourselves watching a couple of
ants moving crusts of bread many times their size and weight,
before once again hitting the road to St George. Unlike yesterday,
we passed at least half a dozen vans heading in the opposite direction
within an hour of moving off.
We arrived in St George, by crossing the Andrew Nixon Bridge incorporating
the Jack Taylor Weir. We stopped to have a look at how the weir
worked, and found an oblisk, which showed that Thomas Mitchell
had crossed the Balonne River at this point on April 23rd, 1864,
exactly 156 years ago to the day. It being St Georges Day, he
named the locality St George.
Lesley's Laptop which had died a couple of nights ago needed to
be replaced, and so, our first task was to see if that was possible,
and yes, it was, not at the local computer store, which doesn't
actually sell computers, but at the local Betta Electrical Store.
Lunch at a cute cafe decorated with a lot of retro ........ well
some people would call it junk, but it worked.... and then to
the local Information Centre to get loaded up with what we should
be looking at. We took a self guided tour around town, looking
at where the flood waters of a few weeks ago had left their mark,
and marvelling at how well the affected area had been cleaned
We jumped on the computers to check our emails and update photo
files, and then headed into town to have a bit more of a look
around. The first thing we saw was this beautifully presented
Model T Rod, hooked onto a trailer, out of which was being unloaded
a Falcon Ute. The owner was rather perturbed, and was muttering
unkind things about Queensland Roads (rather mirroring my own
thoughts) and really dirty that the service stations down the
road didn't have gas. I deduced that the reason he was so filthy
on the world, was that the ute ran entirely on gas, and none being
available, ran out. It would seem that the ute was towing the
trailer with the Rod in it, but now, it seems the rod became the
tow vehicle, and the ute the Towee. He seemed to have the same
opinions about NSW roads as me as well. Funny that.
From hot rods to matchbox toys, and one of the locals has a collection
of cars that goes back to the beginning of time. We spent a little
time having alook, before deciding to travel to an old pub 44
kms out of town for lunch.
The Nindigully Pub is Queensland's oldest hotel located in its
original condition and position on the banks of the Moonie River.
The license was issued in 1864 after operating as shearer's accommodation
for the Nindigully Station. The Gully, as it's affectionately
known, brewed its own beer and spirits before XXXX and Bundaberg
Rum even existed. Today the boom town of approximately 50 people
and 15 houses of the early 1900s have been reduced to two houses,
the pub, the old General Store and the Town Hall with a population
of six! It sits on the banks of the Moonie River, where campers
and caravanners are encouraged to camp, and enjoy the fishing
and the pubs facilities.
Driving back into town we took time to have a look at the cotton
farms along the road, and detoured to have a look at the Buckinbah
We packed up and left the "Pelican Rest Caravan Park".
we were surprised by the small number of vans using this park
It is beautifully presented, fully grassed, caters for big rigs,
has cabins, and is not expensive. It's about 2 km out of town
whilst there are two other parks within the town boundary. They
looked quite cramped to us
First stop was Dirranbandi, where we had a look at the old Railway
Our next destination was Hebel. Here, we stopped and had lunch
at the historic store - everything is historic out here. Step
into the store, and the wooden floor moves up and down - it was
apparently a dance hall in the 1890's. The Woolpack Dining room
is attached to the store, and is said to be in it's original state.
It was cute, regardless. Then over the road to the Hebel Pub,
which features on the cover of a book of Pub Photographs from
around Australia. A chat with a couple of locals gave us our destination
for a camp that night.
We arrived at Angledool Weir, and set up camp for the night, got
some photography and video done, and then sat back for a quiet
We arrived in Lightning Ridge, hit the Information Centre, booked
into the caravan park, and then went for a cruise around the area.
The town has a system of numbered coloured car doors, which you
follow with a cheat sheet, which quides you around the towns attractions.
We wandered off course and drifted thru the minesites, and immersed
ourselves in a look at another world.
The miners are allowed a maximum of two 50x50m claims, and they
usually set up camp on their claims. The result is hundreds of
mulloch heaps scattered through the bush, with old caravans, buses,
shantys, and some more elaborate establishments, surrounded by
old wrecked cars, trucks, and machinery. This surrounding the
main townsite, and within a few hundred metres of the town boundary.
We continued our tour of car doors, finding the largest opal open
cut mine in Australia, where the famous Halley's Comet was discovered
in 1986, and valued at $2.5m. Amigos Castle is an amazing structure,
built entirely of ironstone, and modelled on a ruined castle in
Amigos home town in Norther Italy. Amigo is apparently, a small
man, and built the castle entirely singlehanded, constructing
scaffolding out of old oil drums cemented together.He started
building the castle in the early eighties.
The Astronomers Monument is a weird construction, which was built
by obviously, one of the towns eccentric characters.
Fueled up, some shopping, and we headed for what promised to be
an interesting day. First stop, and disappointment was Cumbarah,
which promised history, and community spirit. What we found was
a few houses, no store, no fuel, and not much public infrastructure
And so we set sail for another opal field just down the road,
and what a fascinating time lay ahead of us. Off the bitumen and
a few kms up a dusty road to Grawin, and the Club In THe Scrub.
This is one of only two clubs in NSW without pokies. It runs a
whole heap of courses (They were doing computers today), has a
library, and a host of other activities to keep the miners occupied.
It is built out of logs, and is a great little community centre.
We had lunch, and then took off towards the Glengarry Hilton.
Remember the description of the mining accomodation in Lightning
Ridge, here it was duplicated, but without the infrastructure
of a major town. All of this activity happened in the bush.
From the "Hilton" and onto Sheepyard. There is a store/pub
there, and apart from the mines/accomodation, not much else. So
imagine our astonishment, when in the midst of all this rubble,
we came across the Sheepyard & Community War Memorial. Sitting
on the side of a (man made?) lake (named Lake Beard), is the most
beautiful War Memorial you could imagine, way out in the scrub,
in the middle of nowhere. It appears that many of the locals are
Vietnam vets, and people ship in from all over Australia to attend
Anzac Day. Aborigines attend the service here, because the memorial
recognises the efforts of those who gave war service. A local
farmer (who lives within 50kms of the memorial) restored a 1942
Willys Jeep in which he transports the old diggers to the service.
Just blown away.
Finally back to Grawin, set up camp, into the club for a Pizza
for dinner, a chat with the locals, and call it a day. A phone
call to my middle daughter, found all three girls in Sydney for
Tanya's birthday tomorrow. A quick chat with all three was a great
way to finish the day.
This has been one of the highlights of our travels so far. If
you don't get off the bitumen, you miss the best part of Australia.
Ridge Photos Sheepyard
War Memorial Video
We were tempted to hang around a bit longer, but I have a lot
of Queensland to see before October, and so we moved on. It turned
out to be a transport day, as we travelled through Walgett and
Brewarrina, to find a camp about 47kms out of Bourke.
The excitement for the day came when an inverter we had plugged
into a cigarette lighter, blew a fuse, and then when tried in
the another outlet, blew yet another fuse. This rendered the fridge,
GPS, and Tyredog useless, as well as silencing the UHF. So while
we had lunch, I set about solving the problem. It had been 5 years
since some of this stuff had been installed, and where had they
hidden the fuses, and did I have the right size spares? Got that
sorted, and we were away...... or were we.
I mentioned the Tyredog - what is that you ask? Tyredog is a set
of valve caps, that monitor the tyre pressures and temperatures,
and send the results to a monitor on the dash of the car. I installed
it after losing two tyre @ $180 each to punctures and subsequent
destruction. Having found and replaced the fuses in the car, the
tyredog was now operational (having not been running all morning)
and it started to beep at me, telling me that the Right Rear tyre
on the caravan had dropped below the pressure warning setting.
A quick look told me that it wasn't telling fibs, and so a tyre
change was effected. The time wouldn't win a pit stop race, but
the tyredog saved me another $180. And it was all a fluke. If
I hadn't fixed up the fuses at lunch time, it wouldn't have been
TRIP VIDEOS 2010
Desert In Bloom
- North Queensland
Telegraph Track - Qld
Hwy - Qld
Gulflander - Normanton - Qld
War Memorial - NSW
O Bourke Hotel - before the fire
The Ant Ordeal - Bourke
Moffat - Top Shelter Shed - Carnarvon NP
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your thoughts or comments, please feel free to do so. I would
love to hear from you
more photos, visit Lesley's site. Queensland,