We continue to cover some big distances as we have remained in outback Queensland for a while. First stop was Charleville – where we rested for a few days with the highlight being Charleville’s renowned Cosmos Astronomy Centre.
We stepped up for a night of stargazing and we certainly were not disappointing. Big telescopes – big stars – big impressions. We got to understand the difference in the colors of the stars – presenters first class!
What an experience makes me want to buy a telescope for home but it wouldn’t live up to my expectations, as we couldn’t afford the type we would need. We also got the pushbikes out for a day and visited the weather bureau and the Royal Flying Doctor Base. Visionary man John Flynn. Even considered paying the 270K for this house in town – problem – too far to drive to the beach although it does have a Catholic School.
From Charleville we stayed overnight in Roma – the amazing fact about Roma was that every motel was booked out and at the airport there seemed to be 100’s of white Avis Utes for rental. The coal seam gas projects in this area are a big employer – a sort of reminder of some of the North West mining shows in WA. The other point to mention driving to and from Roma was the amount of road works – due to poor conditions and the occasional flooding it took twice as long as a normal drive – but that’s life and it does mean a better road for you or I when we pass again.
The last 5 nights have been spent at Takarakka Bush Resort – mentioned to us by our friend Tony Nelson as a must see place – and he doesn’t get much wrong the old bald fella from Culcairn – Carnarvon Gorge has some brilliant walks.
The park is basically empty throughout the week but come Saturday there has been a steady flow of backpackers and caravaners. For the first time the Excalibur has gone off road. Infact some 10km of rugged road, including creeks and ruts but it seems to have held together (got to get it out tomorrow).
Walking missions all accomplished – Big Bend conquered – walked to the summit of Boolimba Bluff – – visited the Art Gallery, Moss Garden, The Amphitheatre, The Cathedral and Ward’s Canyon. We are both pretty happy that the body stood up to the challenges and we pushed ourselves (needed to) to tackle the Class 4 tracks. The walk would not be a walk without Julie finding a snake (Brad T is the boy who knows all – day 1 Julie lead the walk for 5 minutes – then no more as we were greeted by a not too happy snake.)
The Gorge, which is a big-ticket item in itself, also rewards you with platypus, echidna, numbers of kookaburras waking you in the morning, three species of roos, grey kangaroos, rock wallabies and betons and a wide range of birdlife and plants. It’s a shame the platypus are so timid – you get to see them for a quick second and then they disappear again under the water but they are so cute. 5.15am get ups to see them.
Truly an inspiring place but located outback some 700km from Brisbane – simply a drive from Perth to Esperance for those of us who have done it.
We are now planning to head to the coast, destination the Whitsundays aboard a sailing ship [Solway Lass below] for a few days– would like to head east to Longreach and Winton (will leave them to another time) but need some running repairs and I’m heading to Townsville [750km+] to get the car serviced and some warranty repairs on the car air bags attended to.
Will let you know in a week or two about the experiences of life around the Whitsundays. Big challenge for Julie – she gets sea sick – hopefully we can show off old fashioned WA snorkeling I need to pick up a couple of noodles – that should impress all the young European backpackers on board the ship with the old fella floating on a noodle while they deep sea dive – can’t wait to talk to them.
Trevor and Julie