Gregory Downs - one of the best free camp spots in Qld

We parted from Sandi and Noel at Mt Isa. We decided to backtrack to Cloncurry rather than chance the shorter dirt roads and slippery mud (it had lightly rained frequently whilst in Mt Isa) before heading north. We had a sticky beak and picnicked at the pretty Chinaman’s Dam just outside Cloncurry before heading north to Gregory Downs.

They breed the cows tough enough here to eat cars!
On the way we stopped by Burke & Wills, just one of the many camp stops made by the famous early explorers. It was just out of here that we started to see a new road sign that is completely self explanatory.

Rob outside Burke and Wills
We were to meet up with good friends. We had met Kathy and John back in WA and spent several camps with them.

We arrived before them and waited at the camp spot just near the pub, (Camps 6: 227).

Overlooking Gregory Downs Campsite
Our friends rolled up an hour later and directed us to camp down at the river even though there are signs NOT to camp alongside the river. They had obviously been there previously.

What a delightful place. We parked right on the water’s edge next to an old wooden bridge, however the next morning Bob moved us to a place a bit further back as a vehicle driving over it makes quite a racket esp if you like your sleep.

Camping right alongside the river

The council even has rubbish bins down at the riverside that they regularly service and the cops come past waved friendly like to the campers. We think the sign is there to cover them for insurance purposes as it will flood in the wet season and the tracks were as rough as any we’ve come across and made worst in the slightest bit of rain.

Michelle & John supervising the campfire

It is all to do with the type of black (or red) clay soil in the north up these last 500 or more kilometres. (Remember our story back at Nindigully Pub!) Now this is a site I could stay at for a week easily. There are no toilets or showers here or even up top at the ‘correct’ camp spot. However just across the road from the pub is a public toilets and solar hot water (that is mildly warm to hot!)

Camping lifestyle

The weather was a little windy with quite cold mornings, but the days are delightful, especially considering it is in the middle of winter here. We met other campers, had drinks and shared fires etc. We took a few walks along the river and tracks. A few tried fishing and yabbying but with not much success that we noticed. It was just nice to sit back and watch the fast river flowing by with nothing to cause any kind of stress except what to choose for dinner each day.

Rob watching the camp fire

We did get a bit of rain part way through our stay and that made it difficult for vans to leave but not impossible. The worry was how much more rain are we to get over the next few days especially as John and Kathy had a commitment to start work at Adel’s Grove in Boodjamulla National Park (also known as Lawn Hill) on Monday. We were booked into Lawn Hill camp grounds from Saturday but otherwise, our time was our own. John & Kathy decided to leave a day early to beat the mud if it continued to rain. Fortunately it didn’t rain anymore and we could still get out the next day, even though the track was still muddy.

Boiling the billy and cooking in the camp oven

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