Oh what a slow start to the day with a welcome sleep in. The last week had been an early start each day so a sleep in was appreciated by all. We set off from Middleton Hotel campground about 9.30am and continued our journey west. The countryside around Middleton is flat grasslands with the occasional flat topped mesas in the distance. The road is a narrow one lane tar road with wide gravel shoulders. The straight road stretches way ahead of us and we could see the Farrells caravan in the distance.
As we approached Cawnpore Station we came to an area of mesas. The road traveled up and over this line of hills. We stopped at Cawnpore Lookout and walked to the top. The scenery is just spectacular. The mesas with their top layer of ironstone and then the red sandstone layers under are incredible. There was a guy flying a drone and I’m sure he would have been getting some amazing footage of the hills from above. I just can’t stop taking photos! I’m sure my phone is going to run out of storage!
Past Nerida Station and the land had flattened out again to wide open grasslands, although there wasn’t much grass left to speak off. It looked like it had all been grazed out.
We stopped at the site of the ruins of the Min Min Hotel. Boulia Shire has erected a signboard explaining the phenomenon of the Min Min lights. The creek nearby had water in it. Evidence of the recent rains. The paddocks surrounding this creek were covered in a slight green tinge of new grasses coming up. The land flattened right out after this and the narrow road stretched straight ahead into the horizon. We both commented on the lack of animals. I think we’d only seen one lonely cow and a couple of dead birds on this part of the trip.
We came to a series of floodways and went up and down over those. Some of the little creeks had water in them. On the other side of the floodways we came to the ruins of the Hamilton Hotel. Not much is still standing just a bit of fence and a brick and stone chimney. We stopped to take a couple of photos and continued on. We hadn’t got very far when we caught up to the Farrells. They were on the side of the road and oh no! They had another flat tyre on their car.
It took the better part of an hour to change the tyre and put on the spare. Now they have no spare. I just hope they’ll be able to get a tyre in Boulia. I wouldn’t like to be traveling out here without a spare or two!
After travelling down the road a few hundred metres the Farrells pulled over to check the tyre and let us know they had decided to return to Winton as they thought they’d have a better chance of getting tyres in a bigger town than Boulia. We think they made the right decision. Hopefully they will get the tyres sorted and catch up to us in Birdsville.
We continued on and made it to the tiny outback town of Boulia. Boulia sits on on the Burke River and it was a muddy brown waterhole as we crossed the bridge into town. We fueled up, visited the tiny supermarket for fresh bread and came back across the bridge to park under a shady tree for lunch. We were parked right next to the caravan park which is on the riverside. Across the fence was an RV we recognised from our travels since Winton. It is an orange Kombi towing a red teardrop van. I had a chat to the couple as they waved when they saw us pull up. They recognised us too.
They are from Melbourne and luckily left Melbourne on the day lockdown started. They were very happy to be across the border into NSW just in time. It was no surprise to learn that they are also going to the Big Red Bash. They are first timers too!
Also stopped for a break in Boulia was the Pizza Van and the Pie Truck we’d seen camped at Middleton the night before and again along the way. They are on their way to BRB too.
While having our lunch break we had some decent Telstra service and were able to speak with our daughters and daughter-in-law. It was great to talk with them.
We left Boulia heading southwards. The land around there is very flat and there was a line of jump ups on the far horizon to the west. I was quite astonished by the quality of the road. It’s a very good two lane tar road and we were able to eat up the kilometres on that stretch.
Some of the shallow depressions in the paddocks still have water in them from the rains a week ago. We regularly cross cattle grids along the way.
Around 3.30 we crossed the Georgina River and saw a huge mob of cattle on both sides of the road. They were Brahman cattle and they looked fat and sleek. Not long after this we passed the marker for the Tropic of Capricorn. We’ve crossed this line a couple of times already on this trip.
About 100km south of Boulia we came to an area of stones. As far as the eye could see the land was covered in red stones. Not a lot of grass in that area for cattle to eat. I’ve never seen so many rocks. They need a Big Red Rock Eater out this way!
The sign for Motorcarbreakdown Creek was missing. Rich said someone’s taken it home as a memento for their man-cave!
About 30kms north of Bedourie we left the red stone plains behind and came to an area of red sandy country covered in scrub much like the country around Menindee. There were large shallow channels between the sandy hills that were covered in water.
We arrived in Bedourie around 5.00pm and went directly to fill up with fuel. There was a bloke near the bowsers taking down the amount of fuel everyone used and handing them a paper to take inside to pay for their fuel. We asked him why he was doing this and his answer saddened us greatly. He said that in the last week three vehicles have pulled in, filled up with fuel and driven off without paying. Scumbags!
We continued on southwards and drove until the sun was about to set. We ended up camped by the banks of the Eyre Creek. Water views again! We had hit the gravel road not long before and as the sun was soon to set we pulled up for the night. Only 130kms to go tomorrow and we will reach Birdsville.