Lara Wetlands

Barcaldine was a hive of activity, so many parked vans we lost count. Nice tidy friendly little town.

Our friends had told us of this wonderful place with an Artesian pool, wetlands with lots of birds, free canoes to use, hot showers and toilets. Fire pit at each site with free wood. We had driven pass the area several times but didn’t even know it was there.

It’s called Lara Wetlands 28 kms south of Barcaldine and 78 kms north of Blackall in Qld. It’s 14 kms up a good dirt road where you are greeted by friendly hosts to pay your fee of $10pp, you can also use their facilities for the day at $5pp. You can camp anywhere around the wetlands.

The hot showers are donkey showers that are lit mid-afternoon. They are unisex.There is an old funny dunny which is good for a laugh to think people actually used toilets like this. Thank Goodness for modern toilets.

A large camp kitchen and play area for the kids.

The hot pool was really hot, it actually hurt your feet and legs when you first hopped in. Maybe slowing the water coming into the pool may help reduce the temp. Maybe it was hotter at the time we were there but everyone was commenting how hot it was. We went down at night and had the pool to ourselves, floating on your back looking up at the millions of stars was nice.

There is also a cold pool but we didn’t see anyone using it.

The lake has loads of dead trees in it which would be fun to kayak in, there are free kayaks to use.

The only downside for us was the word had got around how good the place was and being the busy time of year in this part of the country it had a lot of campers, vans etc. the day before they had a record numbers. We know people including our friends who have stayed here and had the whole, place to themselves which would be awesome.

Matilda Way

We arrived in Winton about morning tea time. After a cuppa we had a walk up the Main Street and checked out the new building being built to replace the Waltzing Matilda Centre that unfortunately burnt down a few years ago. So good to see they are replacing it, the old one was great.

After filling up with fuel we went and had a look at Arno’s wall. The wall is 2m high and is over 70m long. It is made from concrete and rock bought in from Arno’s opal mine at Opalton and has all sorts of bits and pieces like old lawn mower, microwave, oven, whole motorbikes, boat propellers, plates, cash registers, typewriters, even the back end of a cement mixer and even the kitchen sink. Why we don’t know, someone was a little eccentric we think.

Since we had looked at most attractions in Winton and Longreach it was mostly just a drive through this time.

We stopped at Ilfracombe and went to the Artesian Spa which we hadn’t done before even though we had passed by several times. It is only open certain hours and cost $2.60pp. It was pretty good, about 37 degrees and a very popular spot. We did find later our eyes stung, we smelt of bleach and were very thirsty. Bit to highly chlorinated we think, so something to keep in mind if you are senstive to these things.

We stopped for the night a few kms outside Ilfracombe at a big free rest area. Bit dusty, crunchy grass and prickles, you can get a fair way off the road.

Longreach to Barcaldine

Mon 27th – The Qantas Founders Museum and Jet Tours are well and truly worth doing. First up was the Secrets of the 747 Tour, which starts with a run down of all the bits on the outside of the plane. Bits that tell the pilots when they are too close to the ground, others that tell the tower who and where the plane is going and who there are. Bits that let the pilots know of other planes and exciting info like where are the toilets are emptied. Did you know the engines are only held on by 5 bolts, scary.The-Rolls-Royce

Then we went inside and got a run down on the inside of the plane from the cockpit to the black box, even got to sit in business class.


The Boeing 707 Restoration Tour was really fascinating learning about the history of that particular plane, it was the very first 707 Qantas owned. Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 used to charter the plane. It had all the seats taken out and was set up as a luxury plane, complete with queen size bed and ensuite.


The museum side of things was also really well set up, giving a good run down on the history of Qantas and how it started. Very inspirational place, we spent over 4 hrs there.


The Machinery Mile at Ilfracombe is a row of old machinery, from trucks to tractors and tanks. There are also several old buildings filled with other memorabilia. Think we have had our fill of old memorabilia now, certainly makes us appreciated the time and place we live in.

Machinery-Mile Tank-on-the-Machinery-Mile

We stopped at Barcaldine and had arvo tea before stopping at the Tree of Knowledge. It was poisoned in 2006 so all that remains is what they were able to preserve, sort of half a tree. It’s been set up as a monument to the 1891 shearer’s strike which then played a part in the formation of the Labour Party.

Tree-of-Knowledge-Memorial Tree-of-Knowledge

We stopped 40kms outside Barcaldine on the old hwy, someone had even left a fire place and some firewood for us.