Cooper Creek – The Legend

We have a little tradition that we like to leave after Chris finishes work and get a few hours under our belt. Makes us feel like we are really off on our next adventure. This time was no different with us stopping at our usual place when heading west Swinging Bridge at Cooyar.

We had a very early start the next morning wanting to put a big full days drive in and knock off a few km’s. This trip we had some Audible books we listen to via the Audible App on our phones through the car speakers. It certainly helped keep our minds occupied and the km’s just seemed to slip away. We had a great run and stopped for the night approximately 100km’s east of Quilipie at a large area near a communication tower. It was well off the road, private, quiet and we had it all to ourselves.There was plenty of wood lying around so we had a nice fire and an early night.
We weren’t in a hurry the next morning on the road by 9am with Cooper Creek near Windorah as our goal. With us planning on being there early arvo to just enjoy the area.
There is a lot of road kill on the road, more than we have seen before. It was like slalom through the road kill.
We arrived at Cooper Creek just before lunch, we took the track down to the creek and have a great spot overlooking the creek. After a quick setup, we had lunch and then sat back and enjoyed the creek and bird life.
Cooper Creek is a lot more popular than last time we were there with campers on both sides of the river. On one side there is a 12km nature trail.

Cooper Creek to Birdsville

Mon 9th – Mmm be good if we could keep this place to ourselves. We woke to the sounds of birds chirping, expecting grey skies we were pleased to see blue sky with fluffy white clouds.

There is loads of birds life here, could easy spend the day relaxing by the Cooper taking birds photos. Lots of Pelicans, Herons, Daters, Egrets, Kites and some other beautiful little birds in the amazing rivers gums with touches of yellow on their feathers. This place gets a 5 star in our book. If the breeze wasn’t so stiff be nice to have a paddle down the river.

Pelicans-taking-a-bath Pelicans Heron

We take it slow this morning enjoying the tranquillity of the spot, deciding the have morning tea here before we make the last leg to Birdsville.  It was overcast and breezy when we hit the road at 10.30.

Ohh exciting, the amazing sites you see. A horse and cart, called the Humpy only been pulled by 2 camels and 4 others tethered to the sides . On board was an older couple and a dog. Awesome 🙂

Humpy

Yesterday we had to avoid road kill today its tumble weeds. We hit the dirt about 260kms from Birdsville. We haven’t seen a lot of traffic on the tar for the last day, few cars here and there but wow, it’s peak time. Groups of 4×4’s showering us in red dust as they pass. Maybe it’s groups that have done the Simpson as some have flags, all have spare tyres, max tracks and other gear on their roofs.

Birdsville is a hive of activity and it’s warm, 26 degrees and I’m wearing track pants.  The caravan park is doing a roaring trade with people lined up on the road trying to get in. We are heading for the free camping area in town. Ouch, it hurts at the bowser when you have two tanks and they are both nearly empty, fuel was $1.78 per L.

The camping at the windmill is real bush camping, dirt and dust and grey looking river. Compared to the caravan park this area is pretty empty with only 2 other campers but when the races are on it would be packed. There is a bus pickup near the main road for picking up campers for the races. We thought it was strange for there to be so few campers here but we are thinking maybe people who have come across the simmo and haven’t had a shower for a while are keen to have a long soak in the parks showers.

Windmill

There are still flies here, not as bad as when we were here in April but we have surprised how many there still are.

Wildflowers

Swinging Bridge to Cooper Creek

Sat 7th – It was rather chilly when we arrived at Swinging Bridge rest area, but we were soon set up, heater on and snuggled up in bed. The earliest night in months. We had a leisurely morning hitting the road by 8.45am.

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The drive into Roma was a bit slow with lots of road work starting from about 80kms out of Roma.  Repairs were needed due to some damage caused by the floods.

The plan had been to stop in Mitchell, check out the Murals  under the bridge and have a soak in the hot artesian waters but both were damaged in the floods. The pools are still under repair, due to open in August. The bridge is one lane and the walk way underneath to see the murals was washed away.

Old-fuel-pump Feathered-Friends

We stopped for the night at Neil Turner Weir, 3.5km west of Mitchell. The place was pretty full, we pulled in around 3.30 figured we had to stop a bit earlier than we normally do to get a spot. After a cuppa we had a shower before it got too cold and then went for a walk around. Its a pretty good, spot not far off the main road, free firewood is provided, toilets and bins. There is plenty of areas to camp but we did have one person tell us that they were there in Aug last year and they had trouble finding a spot.

Neil-Turner-Weir

After tea we retreated to the warmth of the camper having a read before bed.

20120707CooyarMitchell

Sun 8th – We have been fortunate so far this trip not to have much dew in the mornings so we have had relatively dry canvas to pack up. Heading off about 9am.

Very bumpy road with heaps and heaps of road kill. Its like dodging mine fields. Where we stopped for morning tea there was several skeletons and carcasses. Last time we were out here we were avoiding the sun and seeking shade, now it’s finding a bit of sun to warm up.

We decided to make a big day of travel and head for Cooper Creek 10kms out on Windorah. We arrived at 5.45pm still light but the last 70kms we were on roo alert as they came out to feed on the grasses near the edge of the road. One bounced in front of us, Chris jammed on his brakes, easily missing the young wallaby it did a big slide as it tried to stop and nearly slid into the side of the Ute.

River-Gum

The extra km’s was worth the effort. There is plenty of camping along the banks of the Cooper, at first it just looks like a big pull off area but as we took one of the tracks it led us down to  a sandy area all to ourselves overlooking the river. After a quick setup, we had a shower and enjoyed the lovely evening. No heater tonight it’s quite mild. There are a few campers set up across the river.

Our-Cooper-Creek-Camp-Spot Cooper-Creek

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The Dig Tree

Tues –  3/4/12

Driving on the way out to the dig tree we saw literally hundreds of kites. Kite convention. The road to Arrabury literally only just opened, lucky for us. Once we crossed into QLD we found ourselves on the tar, have to say it was very pleasant after the rough roads we had been on. Its only to the dig tree turn off but it was nice while it lasted. The vegetation also changed, flat no tress but lots of green grass. Absolutely nothing out here.

There was a fairly deep creek crossing to cross, road is rough in places. There is a $11 management fee per car to the dig tree which we didn’t know about but is fair enough to keep the history of the place. The old chap collecting the money said they get a lot of people through here, 7000 last year. You can also camp here for as long as you like, rubbish bins are provided.

It is a lovely spot next to the Cooper, under the shade of the trees. Much better area to camp than along the creek at Innamincka. We have decided to camp here the night, maybe have a paddle down in the Kayak. We just went for a dip. Lovely to cool the core body temp down, very slimy and muddy on the bottom. You also feel a little nibble every now and then. We have seen fish jumping and turtles in the water. It felt like it was in the high 30’s when we arrived.

We have set up the beach umbrella with the fly/mossie net over it. So nice to sit and relax without the flies and watch the birds in the trees.

We put a lamb roast on the Webber and then went for a short paddle down the Cooper past the dig tree, awesome.

We ate our yummy tea under the fly umbrella, with all the flies on the outside looking in 🙂

We cleaned up the dishes before the swarm of mossie hit, after a short walk the mossie and the heat got to us so we retreated into the trailer with the chairs, cuppa, chocolate and the fan on. It cools down very slowly in this area. We have come to the conclusion we are still a bit early in the year, too hot so too many bugs.

Short travel day today 73kms on dirt roads.