Category Archives: 2022 NT Roadtrip

Chinchilla to Aratula, Scenic Rim QLD

Thursday 7 July 2022
The weather loomed gloomy again this morning so we just headed on our way from Chinchilla going south east. After a couple of hours we arrived at Toowoomba where we had another swim. This time at the Milne By Aquatic Centre Indoor 25m heated pool. Thankfully only heated to about 28°. Yay. We managed a good session and then headed on our way again. David isn’t much liking the increased traffic. We kept headed SE towards our destination tomorrow where we meet the kids. It was an average day weather wise. Not the sunny day we were led to believe was on the way. Oh well, hopefully tomorrow. The last 45mins we drove through the Scenic Rim area and the Main Range National Park, it was very scenic. We love being back in thew mountains again. We were going to go for a walk but rain was imminent again and it was pretty cold so instead we just headed to tonight’s accommodation. We are sneaking in another motel tonight as we will be camping for the next 10 days after tonight. We are looking forward to meeting up with Kristen, Matt and grandkids tomorrow.

We have 2 nights at Bigriggen Park and then 5 nights at Sandstone Point Caravan Park. Then a couple of days on the way home. We anticipate being home around 18th July.

Maybe one more blog tomorrow night, maybe not. We will see what develops. See you all soon. xxx

Charleville to Chinchilla QLD

Wednesday 6 July 2022
Today we woke top overcast skies with a fine misty rain. It was so fine we weren’t sure if it was rain or just mist from the fog. We headed off close to 10am with the intention of going as far east as we could manage today. Firstly, before we left town we went to the Royal Flying Doctor Service museum at the RFDS head quarters in Charleville. David was hoping to see a plane arrive or take-off but no such luck today. We watched a short video and it is always more interesting when you know the towns mentioned and are aware of how remote they are. So grateful for where we live and the services we take for granted. The RFDS seems to foster community life with its clinics and services. Such an amazing service to the people from remote towns and communities.

Following that we drove in and out of light rain throughout the day. I drove about 150km at the end of the day.

We drove through many tiny towns with very Aboriginal sounding names like :-
Mungallala – The name Mungallala derives from a pastoral run and comes from the Kunggari language with from mungar / kungar meaning bird and yaya / lala meaning shout, implying the sound made by the claws of running emus.
Womalilla – The town’s name is derived from a pastoral run name used from 1862, reportedly an Aboriginal word group for trees by a creek (from womalmeaning tree/timber and illa meaning creek).
Muckadilla – The name Muckadilla was first used as the creek name, which in turn is believed to be an Aboriginal word (language and dialect unknown) to mean plenty of water.
Wallumbilla – The name Wallumbilla was the name of a pastoral run leased by Charles Coxen, The name is presumed to come from the indigenous Mandandanji language and reportedly means wallu=plenty and billa=jew fish.
Columboola – The town takes its name from Columboola Creek, an Aboriginal word, meaning plenty of white cockatoos.

It was a nice drive on a bumpy bitumen road. We even had overtaking lanes today, the first we have seen in a long time. We also passed many signs indicating Brisbane, so we are definitely getting closer to the east coast.

We are staying in a motel tonight at Chinchilla, enjoying the warmth of a home and some takeaway pizza for dinner whilst David does a little work.

Hope you are all surviving the rain and floodwaters. xx

Blackall to Charleville QLD

Tuesday 5 July 2022
Today was just a little driving day. We had a float in the pool before leaving Blackall at about midday. We drove to Tambo to see the Teddies and then on to Charleville. We headed a little west on our travels south to try and avoid the rain without success. It seems it followed us. We managed a spot in the very crowded caravan park and thankfully the rain stopped at about 4.30pm. Lucky us!

The Birth of our Famous Teddy Bears.
Back in 1992 wool prices had crashed and the district was in the grips of a drought. The community of Tambo, western QLD, were challenged to come up with new industry to sustain the economy of this little town. A brain storming session during a workshop developed the idea that Tambo could assist the wool industry, encourage tourists and create employment by making unique teddy bears from wool pelts and stuff them with wool.

Popular opinion said it wouldn’t work, but after many laughs, three women – Mary Sutherland, Charm Ryrie, and Helen Sargood – decided to bite the bullet. After many frustrating months of designing and planning, the first Tambo Teddies were ready for sale in February 1993.
The impact and enthusiasm of the public was overwhelming and the business grew to employ over fifteen part time workers.

Tambo Teddies take pride of place in homes all over the world and our famous teddy bears have made our little town of Tambo the ‘outback Teddy capital of Australia’.

After more than twenty years sewing bears and managing the business, the remaining director decided to it was time to retire. Wishing to only sell to a local, Mary was delighted when in a unique synergy, three more local ladies decided to purchase this iconic business.

Created in Outback Queensland, Tambo Teddies are tenderly crafted from 100% woollen sheepskin, truly an Australian hand-made product. These very appealing, friendly teddy bears come in different styles. There are two teddy families, the Basils and the Tobies; basils are a traditional teddy bear style and the tobies have a chubby physique and come as multi-coloured patch work bears. Find a soft and cuddly Bickie Bear for your newborn or a fully dressed Mr. Stockman teddy bear with his hat, swag and stock whip. Pop in and see your bear come to life as he or she is lovingly made. As their personality emerges each bear is individually named after a farming property in the Tambo district.

In the workshop, you can meet your new lifelong companion, over 62,000 teddy bears have been made and yours will have its own unique number and personality; no two bears are ever the same. You might fall in love with Macfarlane Michael or Tambo Station Tony or not be able to resist the charms of little Drensmaine Debra; but be assured there is a teddy bear just waiting to go home with you. We want you all to love Tambo Teddies as much as we do!

Lake Dunn to Blackall QLD

Monday 4 July 2022
Unfortunately it rained lightly most of the night and our camp area was a little boggy. After a cold wet morning we headed back the way we came yesterday. We couldn’t continue on the Sculpture Trail loop as it went on dirt roads which were closed. It was bad enough when we had to straddle the verge when one of the 50,000 caravans came towards us. David asked them to “P… off, please”. We continued through Aramac to Barcaldine (BAR-CALL-DIN – we now know how to pronounce it) where we had a look around the Main Street. It was quite interesting. We saw the “Tree of Knowledge, a sculpture about the Shearer’s Strike of 1891 and a million caravans. There are so many travellers around. We then decided to follow the sunshine and head south to Blackall instead of east to Emerald and Carnarvon Gorge. We would have like to go to Carnarvon Gorge but being school holidays they were totally booked out. Oh well, maybe next time. When we arrived at Blackall we went for a swim in the 50m outdoor heated pool. This pool has water from the Artesian Spa which is regulated through a heat exchanger. It was 31°C, still too warm but comfortable to get in. They also have a spa which is 36°. We are staying at the Showgrounds in Blackall tonight as the caravan parks and motels are book out. Hopefully no more rain tonight. Hope you all survive the rain over the next few days..

Longreach to Lake Dunn QLD

Sunday 3 July 2022
Today we woke to a beautiful blue sky with not a cloud to be seen. We have holed up in our little cabin hiding from the rain for a couple of days and will finally leave Longreach today. We had another swim session at Longreach pool in the bath temperature water. It is very easy to get in but way to hot for long efforts so we keep it to short intervals.

Wow then started east towards Barcaldine, stopping for a lunch break at Ilfracombe on the way.  This was a drive on a bitumen road with single lane each way. There were still many caravans travelling west towards Birdsville as the Big Red Bash doesn’t start until 5th July. We then headed north towards a little town called Aramac and the followed the sculpture trail to Lake Dunn. We unintentionally did a little cattle droving along the road as well. The scenery was very greensand the verges of the road very soft, so luckily once we headed north on the road less travelled we didn’t have to pass too many cars.

Longreach QLD – Day 1 and Day 2

Friday 1 July and Saturday 2 July 2022
On Friday we managed to have a swim at the Longreach heated pool. We are very difficult to please, this pool was heated to 33°C and was way to hot to train properly. We still managed to do 2100m but in very short distance so we didn’t overheat. David worked most of the day and I uploaded some more of the Larapinta trail blog.

Today, Saturday we have managed to secure another night in our cabin. It rained heavily all night, about 40mm in total. We are very thankful for our little house over the last couple of days  of inclement weather. We headed o the QANTAS Museum today where we learnt lots about the history of QANTAS. It was very interesting.

We managed to see a little blue sky amongst the not so dark clouds this afternoon. Hopefully the forecast will be correct and we will be back to sunshine tomorrow. Wishing everyone at home warmth and safety in the oncoming days with the forecast at home.  Take care!

Boulia to Longreach QLD

Thursday 30 June 2022
Today we left Boulia after a day of work for David and a day of blogging for me, a nice rest day in a little house for a change. As David was inflating the tyres we had 5 caravans go passed us. David thought that was annoying as that was 5 vehicles he was going to have to pass later. That was not they case, they must have all turned off to Birdsville. We then continued to have caravans and campers heading west that we had to contend with on the development road. This is a single lane road that each vehicle has to staddle the edge of the road when passing. So not sure if you believe in unlucky numbers but within about 15min we had our first big stone chip of the trip from vehicle no 13. It’s a big one right in the middle of the driver’s viewing area. An expensive morning. We passed about 50 cars with caravans or camper trailers or roof top tents in the first hour. It is going to be a long day because as you approach each vehicle you slow down, staddle the road edge and pray they do the same. Now we understand why Google maps said 600km would take over 7 hrs. Once again the scenery is so green. We started this morning before we had even left Boulia seeing a camel, a goat and a pig on the side of the road. Followed by brolgas, a bustard and many flocks of birds. We stopped at Cawnpore Lookout which had a beautiful view. A couple we met there had travelled over 200km from Winton this morning and passed 2 cars going east, us and one other. We are definitely going the wrong way, we have passed over 50 in the first hour and it kept going, it is trying David’s patience which is saying something. Our big decision, when is the best time to stop for lunch? Drive hard from 12 to 1pm whilst everyone is eating? We tried that but it didn’t make any difference. It has been sprinkling with rain before lunch but after lunch the rain became quite consistent making going over the edge of the road pretty tricky, slippery and slow. Hopefully it will slow people down a bit. Thankfully we only have to get to Winton and then the last 200km will be dual lane, we think! It ended up being bitumen from Winton with 2 lanes – one each way so I even drove the last 100km. We have checked in to a little steel box for another two nights so David can do some work tomorrow. We will try and have a swim here as well, they have a 25m heated pool.

Tobermorey Station NT to Boulia QLD

Tuesday 28 June 2022
Today we had about a 3.5 hour drive to Boulia QLD from Tobermorey Station NT. E got away about 9.15am and hadn’t even left the station when we saw a couple of wild bustards. Within 5 more mins we saw a couple of grey kangaroos, maybe Euros. The drive was probably about 1/4 of the way on dirt. I have spent so morning trying to capture his green it is with little success. We have seen many varieties of birds today. A few flocks of the most vibrant budgies, many brolgas, more bustards, a bit of road kill with a number of hawks or similar and more kangaroos. The Plains have been so green, it had been a lovely morning on the road. After passing a number of cars early, our first chipping our windscreen again, we have hardly seen a car the next 2.5 hours. Most pleasant says me, the passenger and David is quite happy too. We had a short break at Georgina River in Channel Country. It is hard to believe that after rain where we were standing could have 7 or 8m of water above our heads. David is preparing himself for Big Red Bash traffic which is on next week. We have met a couple of people on their way to Birdsville.

After checking in to our little cabin for the next 2 nights so David can do some work, we tried to have a swim at the local pool. David was sure he read it was heated. Foiled again. Only 12°C – definitely not Broady temperature. We will have to go for a walk instead.

Arltunga to Tobermorey Station NT

Monday 27 June 2022
Today was not as cold as we were expecting. A low of 4.5° overnight. Not too bad. It was a bit windy so made it feel a little colder. We headed off from Arltunga at about 9.15am with a long drive ahead of us, 860km of unknown dirt road to travel over the next couple of days. The countryside is amazing and the East Macdonnell Ranges are as beautiful as the west. David loves this type of driving, the challenge of getting to our destination as quickly as possible whilst driving safely and smoothly as we both enjoy the ever changing scenery. From smooth track to heavy duty rocks with the potential of damage to our tyres at any time. Lucky me just gets to enjoy the view and DB arrives at our destination exhausted from the concentration involved in driving along the mostly deserted Binns track. We have been dealt an added challenge, the weather man forecasts rain in a couple of days. Hopefully it doesn’t come early as we may get stuck for a few days. Fingers crossed. Most of the drive is on dirt roads so we don’t know how far we will get today. The scenery was spectacular. We left Arltunga with the East MacDonnell ranges in our sights and we drove for a long while enjoying their beauty. The vegetation and road terrain was changeable all day. We live in such an amazing country. As we got closer to the Plenty Highway we approached the Harts Range and had that in our sights for a long while. We drove through stations, aboriginal land, the ranges and plains. Once we finally turned on to the Plenty Highway we started to head east. Over a little bit of bitumen but mostly dirt we continued for hours. The dirt was good most of the way, not as tricky as the Binns Track from this morning where it took a couple of hours to travel 100km. Anyway, it was a most enjoyable drive and we eventually covered over 500km and are within 10km of the Queensland border tonight. We will make it into QLD tomorrow.

Ross River Resort to Arltunga NT

Sunday 26 June 2022
We enjoyed a lovely night by the fire last night with fellow travellers Joe and Jenny from Victoria. They are on their way to Darwin. 

We headed off from Ross River Resort this morning down the Binns Track to N’Dhala Gorge where we enjoyed a nice walk through the gorge and saw some old Aboriginal Petroglyphs. 

“N’Dhala Gorge is a cultural treasure with 6,000 individual petroglyphs, or rock carvings, found in 438 engraved sites along the main gorge and 240 engraved sites in the side gorge. It is suggested that engraving occurred over two time periods. The first was around 10,000 years ago and the second started about 3,000 years ago.”

We then went to John Hayes Rockhole which was via a 4km high clearance 4WD track. This was quite slow going and a definite tyre puncture trail. Once again, David’s cautious driving avoided the tyre trashing. Yippee!! We did the Chain of Ponds. An easy 15 minute walk to the top of this narrow Gorge offers spectacular views. However, some difficult climbing and scrambling over rocks is required to continue to the Rockhole. A feature of this walk is the lookout which provides a fine view over the Gorge. We did the whole walk which took just over an hour.

Next stop was Trephine Gorge. By thistle I was fading but we managed to do the Panorama Walk which had spectacular views over he East MacDonnell Ranges. This walk offers good views and interesting geological sites. The spectacular folding you can see in the rock faces along this walk were created in the upheaval stage, when the soft bitter springs rock was twisted and folded by powerful earth movements. We left the Trephine Gorge walk for another time.

We then enjoyed a beautiful drive along a dirt road through the East MacDonnell Ranges to Arltunga. A tiny place which the NT Govt has done some restoration of the Old Govt Works and Mining Town. We also visited an old Cemetery and a lookout before heading to a new campground on a Cattle Station. It is getting very cold here now, about -2° here last night. Hopefully it isn’t that cold tonight.