Monthly Archives: August 2021

Mt Isa to Cloncurry QLD

Tuesday 31st August 2021
Well another month has gone by and we are still in Queensland. Who would have thought we would be away this long.

I forgot to tell you how friendly the aboriginals were at Adels Grove and Boodjamulla National Park. They were always smiling, happy, laughing and dancing. They were always happy to have a chat.

Today we did a bit of touring in Mt Isa. Firstly, we went to the Hospital Museum, the Underground Hospital and a Tent House ($16 each).

The Hospital Museum is setup as a maternity wing with beds, cots and instruments.

Then we went down to the Underground Hospital which was built by Mine workers in war time after the bombing of Darwin Hospital. The miners had already done their 8 hour shift in the mine, then they came and worked for another three or four hours voluntarily to build the underground hospital. It was fully fitted out with equipment and beds etc, except for patients, but they were brought there in their weekly air raid drills. At this time all staff were on deck to transport the patients to the underground hospital. There were three wings – Male, Female and Maternity, plus a space for surgery. After the war when the underground hospital was no longer needed the nurses used it for sleeping during the day as it was a lot cooler down there.,_Mount_Isa

The Tent houses developed over the years from canvas tents, to tents with tine roofs over the top and the with tin walls as well. They were basic two or three rooms, which were later extended to include a kitchen and bathroom. Initially the kitchen and bathroom were outside. These had many things inside that both David and I remember seeing as young children.,_Mount_Isa

After lunch we headed on our Hard Times Mine Tour ($85 each) which was a three hour tour underground in a purpose built touring mine. It has never been worked in, it is just a simulation of a mine. David said it is quite realistic. They have been running tours there since about 2004. It was very interesting but unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos. It was quite good value.

At about 4.30pm we headed on our way to Cloncurry about 120km east. On the way we stopped at the Mary Kathleen Uranium Open Cut Mine and the site of the Mary Kathleen Township. This took a lot longer than anticipated to drive the 7km detour because the road although bitumen was heavily pot-holed.

We finally arrived at Cloncurry at 7.05pm, we are getting into bad habits again today. We have to change that as it is so much easier when we get settled by 5pm. I am not sure where we are headed tomorrow, only time will tell.

Camooweal to Mt Isa, QLD

Monday 30th August 2021
After a lovely night by the billabong where we listened to lots of wildlife coming and going we are on the road again but before we leave a visit to the Camooweal Caves National Park is in order.  This was a lovely drive through beautiful plains where it is flat as far as the eye can see. I love the colours in the plains. The Camooweal Caves were just open sink holes but worth an investigation anyway.

Then on we head to Mt Isa – some bitumen driving at last. We had lunch at Moondarra Lake BBQ Area where we greeted by about 8 peahens and 3 peacocks. They were very friendly as they were expecting to be fed. We watched one of the males preen in front of the ladies to no avail. Then on to the shops to restock, buy a new camera and head to our camp.

Tomorrow we will visit some tourist attractions here before moving on.

Camooweal Caves National Park
The 13,800 ha of semi-arid Barkly Tablelands that make up Wiliyan-ngurru National Park are characterised by open eucalypt woodland, spinifex, turpentine wattle shrubland and extensive areas of Mitchell grass plains. A variety of birds including waterbirds and woodland species can be seen in the park at different times of the year.

The caves and sinkholes formed when water percolated through 500 million year-old layers of soluble dolomite creating caverns linked by vertical shafts up to 75 m deep. Visitors should be extremely cautious around the edge of the sinkholes. Public entry inside the caves is not allowed. A safe viewing area is located at Great Nowranie cave.

Lawn Hill to Camooweal QLD

Sunday 29th August 2021
Well we were invaded by some campers last night, they encroached on our camp site, made lots of noise until late in the night, then this morning moved in and around our campsite making us feel uncomfortable and annoyed. Lucky we are moving on today.

We headed off today on our way to Camooweal. First stop the Riversleigh World Heritage Site. After a walk around the fossil site which was quite interesting we moved on. We drove passed the Myumba Bush Camp which looked very hot and unshaded but a little bit down the road was a river and nice area of trees. We are happy we stayed at Adels Grove instead. We then continued all the way to Camooweal. It was a lovely drive through different vegetation, road surfaces , mainly gravel and dirt. Experienced some annoying drivers who drove slow on the dirt until you tried to overtake them on the bitumen, they would increase speed so you couldn’t get passed them and then slowed down again a minute later on the dirt leaving you in their trail of dust (DB decided it was National Jerk Day). It was a very warm day 33°. On arrival at Camooweal we decided on staying at the billabong (Lake Canellan) which was very peaceful. We sat in the shade watching the birds (brolgas, white corellas, galahs, black fronted dotteral, ducks, white-necked heron, masked lapwing and pied stilt. It was a lovely afternoon.

After dinner we lay on the blanket and watched the stars. We saw a couple of shooting stars and a satellite. We also found a few constellations – Scorpius, Corona Australis, Nunki, Kaus Australis, the Southern Cross and the Milky Way. I really enjoyed the relaxing time.

Riversleigh World Heritage Site
The World Heritage area was inscribed for its outstanding natural universal values. It is one of the most significant fossil deposits in the world and the richest known fossil mammal deposit in Australia. It has revealed records of Gondwanan life forms which existed prior to the break up of this ancient continent. Its fossils are from the late Oligocene period, dating back 25 million years. Turtles, fish, snails, crocodiles, lizards, pythons, birds and many types of mammal fossils have all been recovered from this Site.”

Boodjamulla National Park, Lawn Hill QLD – Day 3

Saturday 28th August 2021
Today we headed back to the park to walk the Island Stack, Wild Dog Dreaming Walk and the Botanical Walk. These are all on the other side of the Lawn Hill Creek. We started out about 11am and did the Wild Dog Dreaming walk which included some Aboriginal Art sites, middens and a walk down to the Lower Gorge, unfortunately we were unable to take photos as it is requested that we don’t for respect of their culture. We are lucky to be given the opportunity to view these areas. Then we headed up the Island Stack which is a steep climb up the prominent sandstone ‘stack’ and circle the ‘tabletop’ of the stack capturing breath-taking panoramic views from every angle. It was a 4km return walk. We then did the short botanical walk.

We then headed back to camp and in the afternoon we went for a paddle on Lawn Hill creek, this was a 3.5km return paddle looking everywhere for the elusive crocodile. We had seen pictures of where he was yesterday but he wasn’t there today. Poor David.

Then back to the National Park for the one remaining walk we hadn’t done. A sunset walk up to the Constance Range. It was very beautiful and a fantastic view also across the plains. Well we have left no stone unturned here at Boodjamulla National Park, a very special and beautiful place. Temperature range from 20°-30°ish every day. We will head on our way tomorrow. Not sure which direction at this stage. Only time will tell.

I forgot to tell you how friendly the aboriginals were at Adels Grove and Boodjamulla National Park. They were always smiling, happy, laughing and dancing. They were always happy to have a chat.

Boodjamulla National Park, Lawn Hill QLD – Day 2

Friday 27th August 2021
Today we had a very quiet morning, a sleep in as I slept badly yet again. some housekeeping and a rest until lunch time. We the had a swim in the creek near our camp, whilst in the water a lady paddled passed and told us she had seen a little freshie up the creek about 400m basking on a log. We had a chat with a family from Freshwater NSW who have been travelling for the same timeframe as us from who had made the decision to travel all of Term 3 and are really grateful to be away as they would be home schooling anyway. We really enjoy the time spent chatting to people about where they have been and where we have been, all feeding off one another to gauge where to go to next. We have decided to extend another day here so we will be leaving here on Sunday. Not sure where we are going then but we will work it out in the next couple of days.

This afternoon we finally got on the water. We paddled a canoe (a first time thing for me) on the Middle and Upper Gorge of the Lawn Hill Creek ($50 for a double for 2 hrs). We took the 3-5pm time slot and when we collected the canoe the guy asked if would we like to stay out for the sunset, he was happy for us to stay our passed 5pm, if we just dragged the canoe up as he wouldn’t be there after 5pm. That was awesome. So we enjoyed a leisurely paddle up the gorges, looking on every log and in every nook and cranny for a croc to no avail again Maybe tomorrow. On the way back we stopped between Upper and Middle Gorge for a swim at Indarri Falls which was lovely again. We then paddled back along Middle Gorge in the fading light and picturesque landscape. It was so serene, with smooth waters and spectacular cliffs. An amazing experience yet again.

We finished at about 6.15pm which was unfortunately a little late for the sunset walk we had planned, so instead we headed back to camp and joined another couple we talked to who were also canoeing this afternoon that we met at the falls for dinner. Like minded travellers sharing their adventures. It was a lovely night.

Boodjamulla National Park, Lawn Hill QLD – Day 1

Thursday 26th August 2021
Well today is going to be a very long day as I had the most horrendous nights sleep. We were hoping to get going early but unfortunately my best sleep was between 6.30am and 8am. Oh well. We set out for our hike about 10am and did the Upper Gorge Loop which encompassed Lawn Hill Creek, Upper Gorge Lookout, Duwadarri Lookout, Indarri Falls and Indarri Falls Lookout. It was a lovely walk and wasn’t too hot considering we got started a bit late. We walked the back section in the sun first and then enjoyed a lovely swim before lunch at Indarri Falls. We chatted with a few couples along the way. We saw a potential inflatable kayak ( for us in the future. Then we headed up to the Indarri lookout and back along the creek.

We headed back to camp for a short while, prepared dinner, then headed back to the national park for a sunset walk to The Stack. Unfortunately the bridge was down and we decided swimming across the river after dark probably wasn’t a good idea. So we did a quick loop around the smaller Indarri Falls lookout loop. It was beautiful in the fading light. We returned to the car in the dark by torchlight but the track was really good so it was a quick easy walk.

Karumba to Lawn Hill, Far North West QLD

Wednesday 25th August 2021
Today was to be another big driving day. 490km to the far north west of Queensland. Our destination is the Adels Grove Camping ground at Lawn Hill so we can spend some time in the Boodjamulla National Park. It is a very long way to go for a walk but we are also hoping to go for a paddle in the Lawn Hill Gorge as well. There are a number of walks to explore in the national park.

First things first, the drive. We had a couple options – Mainly dirt road after Normanton or bitumen most of the way. We decided to go via the bitumen this time so I can do some driving as David has only just recovered from our drive on Monday from Chillagoe. We are funny fellows, we drove 560km to the Gulf of Carpentaria for Fish’n’Chips and now we are driving 4490km for a walk and paddle. Hehehe! Hope the walk is better than the fish’n’chips.

Anyway, the initial part of the drive to Normanton was through beautiful plains/wetlands with so many brolgas, we even managed to show a couple to Peyton and just for her they took off flying which was a treat. Just before Normanton we came to a river crossing and David didn’t even get out – he said “Crocs here are all bogus, there is no point even looking”.

I started driving along the Burke development Road from Normanton – it was pretty good, bitumen all the way with the occasional single lane narrow bits. I haven’t really driven for about 4 weeks so I managed 200km 2hrs of driving which is very good going for me. We swapped drivers at the Burke and Wills Roadhouse and David continued then along the Wills development Road where we came across a few roadworks sections and then the last stage was dirt/gravel. The scenery was a bit the same most of the way and unfortunately not many animals to report few animals brolgas early in the wetlands, about 3 or 4 emus and a few kangaroos later in the day, some road kill and a few hawks and smaller eagles.

We arrived at Adels Grove campground about 4.30pm, found a spot by the river and instead of rushing off to do a sunset walk as planned, we took it easy, had a bit of a walk around camp  and relaxed instead. We are hoping there are no sandflies and mosquitoes here as I am suffering badly from the sandflies at Kurumba but only time will tell.

Karumba, Gulf of Carpentaria, QLD

Tuesday 24th August 2021
The weather is very warm, about 30° but the wind has been howling since early hours of this morning, thankfully as it was way too hot to sleep and the sand flies disappeared with the wind.

We had a lovely quiet day, we visited Les Wilson’s Barramundi Discovery Centre and learnt a few things about the Gulf Barra. We learnt about the history, lifecycle and habits of the barramundi.

• Barramundi can live for around 20 years.
• Barramundi have been recorded up to 150 cm long and weighing more than 40 kg.
• Large females can produce 32 million eggs a season, but more than 90 per cent of eggs and larvae die within the first few months. The death rate is even higher in years of low rainfall, colder water temperatures, or when food is scarce.
• Barramundi change sex: they generally mature as males in their third to fifth year, then change to females between four to eight years of age, but only in salt water.
• Barramundi like water temperature of between 23°C to 35°C.

We enjoyed a walk through the wetlands, which currently aren’t too wet and dinner at the Sunset Tavern. We both enjoyed fresh Barramundi.

We are heading on a long drive tomorrow to Boodjamulla National Park where we will stay at Adels Grove Camping as the National Park is unfortunately booked out. Phone service might be a bit sketchy for the next 3 or 4 days.

Chillagoe to Karumba QLD

Monday 23rd August 2021
Well we have had the most amazing day. We have visited our last cave in Chillagoe, travelled west from Chillagoe 580km to Karumba on the Bourke Development Road and seen the most amazing wildlife.

We headed for our Donna Cave tour at 9am. Inside the cave, about half of the 283 steps are steep, including 33 very steep ladder-type steps where most people choose to turn around and descend backwards, and a steep 34-step spiral staircase to climb at the exit that may be challenging to those afraid of heights. There are several low overhangs including a section where you need to walk crouched for about 12 metres (1.1m at the lowest point). This was an amazing cave as well, they all had their own beauty. This one opened out in to a cavern with the most amazing altar in a cathedral. It was spectacular, then it weaved around with many false floors, the higher the false floor the older it is. There were many stalactites and stalacmites, some that meet. Also there was lots of cave coral, a fairy garden and many rimstone pools which are formed by water flowing down a slope. It was another enjoyable tour with Eddy.

Following our cave tour we decided to head west to Karumba. This is a 560km drive north west then south west all the way to the gulf. We were not sure what we would see, it was nearly all the way on a dirt/gravel road and we had no expectations. Would it be the same scenery all the way, would we see any animals, would there be much traffic. Well it was the most exciting day. The scenery was changeable all the way, We saw so much wildlife. Thousands of cows, many of them very skinny, hundreds of brolgas, a few bustards, many eagles of varied size – some really big, a goanna, a cattle muster, a dead cow, many dead kangaroos, a couple of dead wild boar,
flying brolgas, landing brolgas, galahs, an emu, a brumby and many cane toads. Unfortunately we weren’t able to capture many of the wildlife in photos but they are imprinted in my mind for ever more. The most exciting thing for me today was seeing about 6 brolgas descending to land, it was the most incredible sight, it reminded David of the witch on her broomstick in the Wizard of Oz, it was incredible.
We had lunch at Dead Cow lagoon on bourke development road.
We crossed the Walsh River, the Lynd River and the Staaten River, we saw many willy willies or twisters. The road was narrow in some parts and a six lane highway in others and sometimes DB picked the wrong lane and we bumped all over the place. He often weaved from one side of the road to the other avoiding deep ruts and water. It was aa very interesting drive and very challenging to concentrate so hard for so long. We passed only a handful of cars and no more trucks than that as well. For such a big distance it was pleasant not having much traffic.
At one pond we passed there would have been more than 30 brolga lake, we also saw thousands of termite mounds some looked like the castle in the Frozen movie. At dusk the kangaroos came out in huge numbers and we had one sudden stop to avoid a silly one that jumped the wrong way.
We arrived at Karumba at 6pm after travelling 560km. It was a fantastic day.

Chillagoe QLD – Day 2

Sunday 22nd August 2021
Today was a bit slower in pace than yesterday. We did two tours through the caves with Ranger guide Eddy. He was very informative and the caves were very interesting. We did the Royal Arch cave tour in the morning and then the Trezkinn cave tour in the afternoon. A little trip to the weir and a rest back at camp in the late afternoon. I will let the pictures tell today’s story.