After a very pleasant evening around the fire pit with our neighbours, Allan and Toni, from the caravan next door we set off from Oondooroo Station heading to Longreach via Winton. We needed groceries, wine, fuel, a dump point and to fill up with water.
We arrived in mid-morning at Winton and I wanted to have a look at the Corfield Stores, something we didn’t do when we were there a month ago. The heritage listed store is now a local craft shop and houses a small museum that you can visit for a gold coin donation. The small museum has displays of boulder opal and opal mining equipment, a historic shop display showing goods that the store might have sold in the old days, a large life sized diorama of the dinosaur stampede at Lark Quarry and an excellent display of the history of wool and sheep in the area.
I even found an old photo of Oondooroo Station as it was in the height of the wool era.
We also paid a quick visit inside the historic North Gregory Hotel. The hotel was burnt down and rebuilt in the 1950’s. The architect must have liked the Art Deco period though as the building has many Art Deco features including light fittings, the railings on the staircase and the etched doors into the dining room.
Back on the road and we headed further south east to Longreach. The road is long and straight and traffic was heavy with lots of road trains. We noticed lots of roadkill along this stretch and each of them was being eaten by huge birds. We made pretty good time though and arrived in Longreach around 12.30pm. We went directly to the carpark where we knew there was a dump point and a water tap. We got those jobs done, had a bite to eat for lunch and continued on. Our next stop was the IGA then the bottleo. We were restocked, full of water, cassette empty and ready to go again.
We’d made contact with Richard’s cousins, Ross & Jenny, who had been in Emerald after visiting Carnarvon Gorge. We arranged to meet up with them at Lara Wetlands. It wasn’t really on our way as we’d planned to continue east to Emerald but hey, Lara Wetlands was one of our favourite spots on the way north and we were more than happy to detour to there for a few days.
We passed through the tiny town of Ilfracombe with its Machinery Mile, a roadside display of old farm and earth moving machinery.
Further along we came to Barcaldine and, again, we just drove through, like last time, without stopping to explore. We wanted to get to Lara before the office closed at 5pm. We made it just in time and arrived at 4.45pm.
We were quickly checked in as we already knew the check in routine and we paid for a couple of nights. The owner, Jodie, was sitting outside the office and I said hello and told her we’d met her friend Jason at Oondooroo Station. She seemed pleased but sadly she was nursing a broken arm. I’m not sure how she did it but she’d broken it in the last month since we were here.
We found cousins Ross & Jenny all set up on a waterside spot and there was room next to them for our motorhome. They had reversed in so we drove in so that our awnings were facing each other and we all enjoyed the next few days relaxing, reading, going for walks around the wetlands, soaking in the thermal pool, paddling my kayak and meeting the neighbours. We love this place. It’s definitely one of our favourite camp spots. After two nights we decided to stay for one more.
On the third morning Ross & Jenny went off for the day in their car to check out the Lake Dunn Sculpture Trail. This is a 200km loop featuring over 38 metal sculptures by local artist Milynda Rogers. It is a gravel road so that was not on our list to do. We’d find out all about it when they got back.
We only had one bar of Telstra service at Lara which is really only enough to send text messages so uploading photos would have to wait.