Home Sweet Home

7/08/2014 – It doesn’t seem to matter how long you are away for, when it’s time to go home, you are keen to get there. For us it’s catch up with family and friends. Don’t like the unpacking, packing is so much more fun 🙂 .We have a few repairs to do on the Ute before we can head off on another adventure, where too we aren’t sure at this stage. We have the birth of our second grandchild in a few weeks, so that will keep us busy for a while.

It’s been an awesome trip, the Kimberley has been on our to do list for a long time, it was an epic journey, few mishaps along the way. But what’s life without a few challenges.

Not-Good

We have seen some awesome gorges, stunning waterfalls, swum in some beautiful waterholes and hot pools, met some wonderful people, seen a lost city that blew the mind, camped in some remote places, seen some incredible Bee-Hives, travelled on some iconic outback roads, paddled up beautiful Lawn Hill Gorge, ridden some camels, covered a lot of kms and got home safe and sound. We have such amazing things to see in Australia, we are very fortunate to live in such a wonderful country.

Bell-Gorge-Rock Buley-Rockhole-4 Camel-Ride Gibb-Road Horizontal-Falls-3 Katherine-Hot-Pools-3 Lawn-Hill-Gorge-1 Oue-Campsite Picc-Creek-1 Us-at-Cabel-Beach Us-at-Mitchell-Falls Wangi-Falls_3987 Western-Lost-City

Until next time, stay safe everyone and happy travels 🙂

Maranoa District

6/8/14 – Chris had to change a slow leaking tyre this morning, the same tyre that came off the ute on the Tanami, which seems so long ago now. The tyre has done well really, considering everything it has been through, it is hopefully repairable.
Augethalla-CampingWe have passed through Mitchell so many times and have never been to the Artisan Hot Pools in town, we had intended to in 2012 but the complex has been flooded in the big flood and was under repair. Since hot pools seem to be the flavour of the month we decided we were going to go there this time. It will be a once off though, cost us $8 each, $6.50 for pensioners, after Blackall it seemed rather steep. The fee was for an all day pass but even if you were staying in town I don’t Know how many would come and go, it’s not like Blackall where you could hang out at the pools for hrs.

Mitchell-Hot-PoolsThe hot pool was 39.1 degrees like stepping into a bath that is too hot. There are notices up and you are told to limit your time in the hot pool for 15 – 20mins at a time. There is a cold pool at 21 degrees that those that are game can hop into to cool down, Chris did. We were told by one couple who had been dropping into the hot pools on their travels for several years that they had seen two people on separate occasions be taken away in an ambulance, so take heed to the warning of not staying in too long. We personally did find it too hot. You are also encourage to drink lots of water.

Mitchell-Hot-Pools-1 Mitchell-Hot-Pools-2 Mitchell-Hot-Pools-3Roma is another town we just pass through, so we stopped and did a walk up the Main Street and called into the Big Rig. After we had a cuppa and afternoon tea we moved on to find our night spot. Judd’s Lagoon was full so we went a few kms down the road to a gravel pit, our last night on the road.

Back to Blackall

4/8/14 – It’s nice to have options and the time to explore them. We have changed our minds about which was to head home several times. The Hot Pools at Blackall won out, we enjoyed them so much the first time we thought it would be nice to come back home this way and have another dip and checkout some of the things we missed first time round. So today was a pretty well a driving day. Just outside Ilfracombe there is a weed wash, mostly for trucks but they do say vans and trailers can use it too. So we did, to wash off some off the dust 🙂 it’s all automatic, you drive in slowly and it it starts automatically washing under the vehicles and up the sides, you just have to drive through very slowly.We drove into Blackall, straight to the Artisan Hot Springs to have a soak. Main pool was 31, the spa 34, which is where we spent most of our time.
Wonderful-Hot-poolsWe drove back out of town 5km to stop for the night hidden and protected from the wind behind some trees.
Blackall-Campspot5/8/14 – This morning we did a walk around the town before heading out to the Woolscour. Unfortunately the place had been broken into overnight, some mongrel taking the takings from the day before. The volunteers out there put in a big effort to get the place up and running by 10am.
J.-Howe Local LocalsWe did the tour this time $15 each, $14 with a pension card, $10 child, $45 family. Woolscour means wool washing which they did to get out all the oils and dirt so it presented better at sale. The Woolscour operated from 1908 to 1978. It is the only steam driven scour incorporating a shearing board left in Australia. In 2002 the Woolscour started up again as a tourist attraction. The tour starts with a film about the shearing industry and how the Woolscour came to be. Then you are taken over to the Woolscour and shown the different machinery and what it was used for. They are all started up for the tour. It was really interesting we encourage everyone passing through Blackall to stop at the Woolscour and give them your support to keep this vital piece of history alive for future generations.
Woolscour

Inside-Woolscour Sheep-Shed Wool Wool-Bale

We then headed back to the hot pools, had a swim and a chat with other travelers before buying lunch at the pool. $10 for fish (Barra), chips and salad. It was great, big piece of fish, decent salad and proper knife and forks. After that it was a other dip in the hot pool. The pools are great value and encourage people to stop in for a dip.

Wonderful-Hot-pools-1

We then headed off out of town stopping a few Kms south of Augathella for the night.

Riversleigh Fossil Centre – Mt Isa

3/8/14 – We had been to the Riversleigh Fossil site near Lawn Hill on a previous trip in 2012, and to be honest it didn’t mean or do a lot for us. However the Fossil Centre in at Mt Isa helped shine a light, more information and the significance of the Riversleigh site. It would have been beneficial to have seen the Fossil Centre first then see the Riversleigh site, would have all meant a lot more.

Riversleigh-Fossil-CentreAnyway the Fossil Centre is well worth doing. Over 200 different mammals were found at Riversleigh as well as insects, birds etc many of them were ancestors of animals we see today. Like the Big Bird, Crocodiles that lived on land as well as water, meat eating Kangaroos called Fangaroos. Kids will love it, there is a sand pit with buried Dinosaurs fossils for the kids to dig up.

Riversleigh-Fossil-Centre-1 Riversleigh-Fossil-Centre-2 Riversleigh-Fossil-Centre-3 Riversleigh-Fossil-Centre-4 Riversleigh-Fossil-Centre-5 Riversleigh-Fossil-Centre-6 Riversleigh-Fossil-Centre-7We had planned to give the trailer and ute another wash as it was muddy and dusty once again but the car wash said no trailers, or caravans so we couldn’t. So we headed off once more towards Cloncurry.

We stopped at Cloncurry for lunch at a lovely park called Mary Kathleen, there was a large play area, heaps of trees providing shade, table and chairs and also the info centre and outside museum. Closer towards Mt Isa there is Mary Kathleen ruins, you can buy a map for 50c from the tourist info centre.
Mary-Kathleen-Park Mary-Kathleen-Park-2Mary-Kathleen-Park-1Next stop was McKinlay and the famous Walkabout Creek Hotel as seen in the Crocodile Dundee movie. They welcome, well play on the famous role and invite visitors to stop and look around and maybe buy a pint or two.

Walkabout-CreekAfter Kyunua the area was pretty flat, any rest areas were open and close to the road. We didn’t see anyone using them. About 70km out of Winton were several jumpups with 3 caravans spread around one, we decided it was a good place to stop as well. It was until the wind came up. It howled all night, canvas was flapping continuously, we both had a rough night sleep.

70km-from-Winton

Mount Isa

2/08/14 – We had booked into do the Hard Times Mine Tour, we decided to go for the package tour 1 which included Riversleigh Fossil Centre and the Isa Experience & The Gallery, cost $59 each. Tickets for the Fossil Centre and Isa Experience last until 5pm the following day, so effectively 2 days.
Outback-at-Isa
Our tour was at 1pm so we went to the Underground Hospital in the morning after 10am when it opens. The hospital was built during WW2 after the bombing of Darwin when it was feared Mt Isa might be next due to its mining of lead. It was dug out by volunteers from the mine in a record time of 3 months. Beds and equipment were set up ready to be used, it was however never used during the war as a hospital. Nurses used to come down to sleep during the heat as it was nice and cool in the tunnel. Many many years later the tunnels were rediscovered and restored over 2 years to what we can see today.
The-Underground-Hospital Underground-Hospital Underground-Hospital-1 Underground-Hospital-2 Underground-Hospital-3 Underground-Hospital-4 Underground-Hospital-5 Underground-Hospital-bedsIt’s really fascinating in the tunnels and seeing some of the old equipment, beds, nursery, maternity ward, plates etc. Back up top there is also the Beth Anderson Museum which has a wonderful collection of antique medical equipment.
Underground-Hospital-Museum Underground-Hospital-Museum-1 Underground-Hospital-Museum-2 Underground-Hospital-Museum-3There is also a Tent House on site which were built as quick fix housing for miners and their families. At one time 300 of these houses stood in Mt Isa.
Tent-House Tent-House-1 Tent-House-2 Tent-House-3The Hard Times Mine Tour ($49 A) was fantastic. You are given a pair of disposable orange overalls to wear as well as a hard hat, light, boots (bring your own socks) and optional belt. No cameras are allowed on the tour. The tour guides are or have been miners who have worked at the Mt Isa Mine, the tour gives you an insight into what it is like to work in the mines especially back in the early days. It’s a bit hands on with opportunity to operate a rock drill. The mine comprises 1.2km of tunnels (The Mt Isa Mine has over 1,000km of tunnels) the tunnels are 4m x 4m wide big enough for a variety of large drilling equipment. Our guide was Bill who had worked in the mine for 33 yrs now retired and a guide for the last 14 years. He had a wealth of information and told us some great funny stories, great guide. We descended into the mines via an Alimak Cage (mine elevator), at this point your photo is taken which you can then purchase, maybe the reason you can’t take your own camera. The tour runs for 2.5hrs and we even got to have a cuppa in the Crib Room. Lots of fun and very informative, well worth doing.
Hard-Luck-MineWe only had time left to wander around the Isa Experience which is a bit of a look at Mt Isa, present and past.We bought tea and took it up to the Lookout to eat and checkout the town and mine lit up by lights.

Isa-at-night Us-at-Mt-Isa

South to Mt Isa

1/8/14 – Well it was time to leave this amazing place and head south down the Riversleigh Road towards Mt Isa. We stopped in at Adels Grove to top up the fuel tank $2.05l.

Just before we hit the bitumen on the road from Riversleigh towards Camooweal we came across 3 guys who had just rolled their 4wd. All were ok and I think they thought it was rather a blast. The vehicle was driveable, but had a few dings and no back window but they were happy. The gravel section of the road is a bit rough in places.

The plan was to stop not far out of Mt Isa but the closest rest stop was over 50km away and we didn’t see anything suitable where we could just pull off. So we went into the Isa and booked into the Discovery Holiday Park which is also a Big 4 for 2 nights, $38 powered site per night. We were fortunate to get a grassed site and not too bad a size but sites are pretty close and some are rather small. In the ladies flooding from the showers was a bit of an issue as they didn’t drain away quick enough. The park is just outside the town area so maybe quieter than some of the other parks.

Mt-Isa-Mines Mt-Isa-Mines-2 Mt-Isa-Mines-3We topped up on some groceries and checked out where things were in town. The Mount Isa Mine dominates the area. In the past there was a distinct two areas of the town. The Town side and the Mine side, the mine was there before the town, so the miners and their families lived close to the mine. The mine provided all essential items for the miners and their families. As more people arrived the town developed on the other side of the Leichhardt River and so did the two distinct areas. Now most people live on the Town side.

Isa Isa-Mine Mt-Isa Mt-Isa-at-night

Day 3 – Lawn Hill

31/7/14 – Pancakes for breaky then paddle up the gorge again. Good to see the gorge at different times of the day, both sides of the gorge were lit up by the morning sun. It was busier in the mornings, with all the hire canoes out. With having our own we can take our time and have plenty of time to enjoy a swim. People who had hired them were usually up and back pretty quick.
Lawn-Hill-Gorge Lawn-Hill-Gorge-1 Lawn-Hill-Gorge-2 Lawn-Hill-Gorge-3 Lawn-Hill-Gorge-4 Lawn-Hill-Gorge-5 Lawn-Hill-Gorge-6 Lawn-Hill-Gorge-7 Lawn-Hill-Gorge-8 Lawn-Hill-Gorge-9Lawn-Hill-Gorge-Falls-1 Lawn-Hill-Gorge-Falls-2The arvo was filled with lots of dips in the water to cool off and pack up a few things ready to leave the next day.

Lawn-Hill-Gorge-Falls

Lawn Hill would have to be one of our favorite spots, as Arnold Schwarzenegger would say “we’ll be back” 🙂

Lawn Hill National Park

30/7/14 – Into the Island Stack walk early before the heat of the day. It’s a 4km return walk. Mostly pretty easy but there is 200m that is a steep climb up steps to the top, but the view is amazing and worth the climb. The rest if the walk takes you around the top of the island with some great views.

Climb

Gorge-View Island-Stack-View Island-Stack-View-1Campground At-the-topOne of the other walks we had planned to do was the Cascades walk but due to less than an average wet season the cascades weren’t flowing.

Sign

Bridge Info-boards

Back at camp for morning tea, made some lunch and then headed off for a paddle up the gorge. We saw 2 fresh water crocodiles along the gorge and was able to paddle up to within a few metres of them.

Gorge-Boat

Croc Croc-2Gorge Gorge-1There was less water flowing over the falls than last time we were here but it still beautiful.

Lower-FallsWe carried the kayak up pass the falls into the top gorge. We think the top is even better. It was awesome to have a swim up the top gorge and back at the falls.

Lawn-Hill-Upper-Gorge-Falls

Q – Lawn Hill National Park

Lawn Hill, Boodjamulla, National Park – T, S, B, OR, M, W, $. Lawn Hill is a favorite and special place for us. Whether you stay here at the National Park or at Adels Grove, you are sure to have a wonderful time. Standard Qld national park fees apply, booking needs to be done online. Each site is separated by pollards and trees and not close to the next site as the photos show. These were sites around us, but all of them were much the same. Some sites are for tents only. Cold showers, plenty of taps spread around the place. Mobile reception only at the national park, dump point up near Adels Grove. Rating – 5

Lawn-Hill-National-Park Lawn-Hill-National-Park-1 Lawn-Hill-National-Park-2 Lawn-Hill-National-Park-3 Lawn-Hill-National-Park-4 Lawn-Hill-National-Park-5 No-9

Heading towards Lawn Hill

28/7/14 – We are back to dewy morning and the days are a bit humid. A big travel day today along mostly dirt road, makes it a long day. We had to call into Borroloola to fill up with fuel, $1.85l.
Billengarrah-turnoffAs nice as it is to visit other states it’s always nice to be back in your home state which for us is Queensland 🙂 we stopped at Hells Gate for afternoon tea, fuel was $2.03l.
Hellsgate Hellsgate-Roadhouse
We headed in the back way into Lawn Hill known as the alternate Savannah Way and pulled off the road for the night in a big paddock about 40 kms along the road.
Pelicans_4162Camping-spot-on-the-way-to-Lawn-HillLawn Hill National Park
29/7/14 – We were at our camping spot at the national park just after 10am. Since we were staying here 3 nights we decided to put up both awnings and the floor mat. Think it was better without the floor mat as it kept getting grass on it. Caught up on some washing and cleaned off some dust.
Creek-Crossing Walking-the-Creek-CrossingNo-9In the arvo we had a swim and nice cool down and relaxed for the rest of the arvo.