Onto Mt Isa

We rocked up to Mt Isa Caravan Park in time for a rest before dinner. We got sites together with Sandi & Noel. The caravan park is just across the road from Super IGA which was very handy and we discovered that its prices were reasonable. We bought the scrumptious and extraordinarily tender whole rump there for just $5 per kilo. My gosh it was just melt in your mouth. I am not a big meat eater, but this had me happy to eat steak every time we had it over the next few weeks!
We stayed at Mt Isa  for 5 nights.

A view over Mt Isa

The first day was taking up with some things we needed to do and buy in a reasonable sized town as well as repairs to the muffler which was damaged in that long rough track to & from the outback station we visited back near Augathella. Also the lock on the back gate door on the car was completely broken and Bob had to work out temporary repairs on it since Toyota was unable to fix it.

Mt Isa is the centre of the world!

I also needed to visit a doctor at the hospital to get a check up on the healing progress of my ear. It is still infected and a 2nd and 3rd course of antibiotics was recommended.

Noel was trying to sell his 110 litre Waeco in preparation for purchasing a smaller one with little success and so we ended up doing a swap, trading our 50 litre one for it plus a small cash payment, since the indicator lights on ours was playing up. The larger one will come in handy for our 4WD camping trip up the Cape later on, when we leave the caravan behind.

Some interesting rocks. This one is Erythrite
We took some time out and went out for dinner and had a scrumptious steak, chips and salad dinner at the pub across the road near the Super IGA. The meat was so tender and cooked perfectly. I can highly recommend it and it only cost $9 each.

We trialled our bench top turbo oven for the first time. Roast dinners are a piece of cake in it. We also trialled chips and pizza on separate occasions with great success. Pity it gobbles up too much power to use on the caravan inverter.

We went to the lookout over the town and to the Hard Luck Museum (Hard Luck is the name of a mine here). We chose not to do a mining tour as we have done several over the years, including Port Kembla as well as in Nhulunbuy, Olympic Dam and most recently Kalgoorlie.

Now be nice: Truly, I am not quite as heavy as this 3.5 tonne rock!

We attended the Baptist Church here with Sandi and we were made to feel very welcome especially at morning tea.

For those interested in costs 

Powered sites here were $28 pn for 2 people. Diesel was $1.46.9. We picked up a full rump for $5.00 per kilo on special at Super IGA. Post script: The steak is the most tender I have ever bought at home or away!

Chinaman's Creek and Cloncurry

We had intended to stay at the Walkabout Hotel, the pub made famous in the Crocodile Dundee movies, but they were closed for renovations. A silly time of the year as far as we can see when the tourist season is just getting started, but then who knows maybe they couldn’t get tradespeople at a different time of the year. 

Along with Sandi & Noel, we ended up going to Fullerton River Campsite (370 in the Camps 6 book).  To us it is just a road side campsite, nice enough with decent toilets and a picnic table, but we didn’t see any river, but then again we were too tired to go walking to discover the area. This camp is also used by trucks, thankfully we didn’t have any refrigerated ones stop overnight whilst we were there.

Chinaman's Creek/Dam

We left reasonably early the next morning for Cloncurry where we stopped for morning tea with Sandi & Noel at a nice little cafe on the main street. There is a Woolies here which surprised me.
We stopped for lunch at Fountain Springs Rest (310)  area after discovering that Corella Dam (309) was closed. Again there was no easy sighting or sign of the Spring. Fountain Springs is not a nice place as it is very noisy with frequent traffic noise being so close to Mt Isa.

Winton and Waltzing Matilda

We stopped overnight at the Matilda Caravan Park in Winton. It used to win awards apparently, but that must have been some time ago. The only thing to recommend Matilda Caravan Park is that every tourist season (winter) there is a nightly free show put on by 2 very talented bush poets: Mel and Susie. They travel and do shows around the country during Summer and I can highly recommend these 2 ladies to you. The poetry is very clever and enacted and easy to understand. Some singing is incorporated along with good fun clean jokes. I am not a poetry lover and neither Bob nor I feel that it was the slightest bit boring!

Catching the Sheep

Winton also has the distinction of being the place where Waltzing Matilda was written. There is a local history museum attached to the Information Centre which we declined to go. However outside there is a marvellous and clever concrete sculpture interpretation of Waltzing Matilda.


Before leaving Winton we decided to play string & percussion music on the Musical Fence.

The little drummer boy!


We opted to stay just on the western outskirts of town at a popular free camp (Camps 6: 355). The camp is alongside a river but basically you only get to see the river when you walk (or drive to it).  The area floods in the heavy wet season.

Longreach is going to be the largest town we will see before we reach Mt Isa and there were a few things we needed to do here including another visit to the doctor re my ruptured ear drum, purchase an additional battery for camping and a few miscellaneous things. We decided to stay here until Monday to allow us to attend church here.  It was not unusual to have 35-50 caravans and motor homes here each night, Maybe the fact that this was the weekend of the Longreach Show might have swelled the numbers a bit.

On the first day here we went to the Stockman’s Hall of Fame. It is a huge museum of the pastoral industry of this area. We also took in a horse show that we paid for in addition to the entry fee. 

This was cleverly done with the cowboy showing the various tricks that one or another of his horses can do. There was also a lot of story telling and a few jokes interspersed as part of the show. All in all we spent 4 hours here including a light lunch. 

On our 2nd day here we did have a quieter day. Bob and Noel worked on their cars. Sandi and I catching up on the internet, reading or craft and such. Sandi even cooked us all some pofferjes for afternoon tea. (These are Dutch mini pancakes)

Noel and Sandi

Felt shapes for "In the garden theme"
Basically the Longreach Show is a local rural show, with a few markets, rides etc as well as cattle sales, baking and craft show competitions and horse competitions etc. Sandi and I went in early on Saturday morning and thoroughly enjoyed a few hours wandering around whilst the guys congratulated themselves that they did not have to come with us. Bob and I went for a drive up some rough river tracks after lunch, but it is nothing exciting to write about.
On Sunday, Bob & I as well as Sandi, went to the local Baptist church, which is a good size for all ages. Afterwards Bob & I went to the Qantas Museum which we thoroughly enjoyed, much more than the Hall of Fame.  The big 747 was unavailable as they had made a huge mistake of putting it on uncompacted ground and the 747 was sinking into the ground and thus deemed unsafe and therefore closed to the public. Someone made a big boo boo.

Bob is wondering if it is worth replacing the Landcruiser motor

Michelle is thinking she'll stay on the land

Lloyd Jones Weir & Barcaldine

We camped at yet another waterside campsite, this time at Lloyd Jones Weir (Camps 6: 346) for 2 nights.  We saw the evidence of the successful fishing efforts of others here, mainly from those on the down side of the weir. It is not a particularly beautiful spot but obviously being a true waterside spot with the added benefit of fishing, it is a popular spot, with tales of some people staying here for months at a time.  We camped maybe 15m from the waterside. There are lots of picnic tables here and camp side fires are acceptable. We enjoyed this quiet campsite and the bird watching here. I think I would have liked to stay here for a few more days even though there is not much to do here, but sometimes that has its own attraction.

A word of warning to the unwary: Beware of those that take their vengeance out on toilet paper thieves. Here is what happened to one luckless soul.

We met some nice people here especially Sandi and Noel from Victoria who are permanently on the road now.  We end up camping together with them and their 2 dogs for the next 2 weeks until we both leave Mt Isa to head in different directions.  Sandi and I got along famously as we both make cards and crochet and had no shortage of something to talk about!
We enjoyed short walks gathering firewood and cooking all our meals on Nifty. The corned beef was fabulous, finished off with toasted marshmallows for a most unhealthy but yummy dessert! (For an explanation or photos of Nifty click the Warrumbungles entry).

Upon leaving, we called into Barcaldine and looked around. This is basically where the Labour Party started after a terrible Shearer’s strike back in the 1880’s. There is a memorial made of the tree under which the strike was held. The tree was vandalised and consequently killed but the town has made a fascinating gigantic wooden chime sort of contraption above the tree and named it “The Tree of Knowledge”