Thank you for joining me on my Queensland Outback Adventure!
We thought we’d play tourist in our backyard and visit all the places in our own state that we said we’d get to ‘one day’ and since overseas travel is so far off for most of us, I thought you might like to go on a virtual holiday with my husband and me.
Here’s our itinerary:
Saturday, April 24 – Home to Chinchilla Motor Inn Sunday, April 25 – Chinchilla to Augathella Palms Monday, April 26 – Augathella to Longreach (Jumbuck Motel) Tuesday, April 27 – Longreach Wednesday, April 28 – Longreach to Winton (Matilda Motel) Thursday, April 29 – Winton to Blackall (Coolibah Motel) Friday, April 30 – Blackall to Mitchell (Major Mitchell Caravan Park and Cabins) Saturday, May 1 – Mitchell to Toowoomba (Platinum International) Sunday, May 2 – Toowoomba to Home
Augathella to Longreach
We made the trip in good time, arriving here at just after 3pm and we have a treat in store…
Not that far out of Augathella, we encountered a stock drive. We inched our way carefully amongst the cattle which were being driven south. One of the stockmen was on a trail bike, another on his horse. Leading to a discussion on why cowboys are more romantic than shepherds. We came to the conclusion that a shepherd attains the same romantic hero status if he is in the company of his trusty sheepdog.
Above, two pieces of public at in Blackall. I just love them. I like the anime-style the artist has used. There are plenty of pieces of public art in Queensland small towns and it is glorious to see – paintings, mosaics, sculptures… it is an art lover’s dream.
The first town along the way was Tambo. We didn’t stop there since it was a public holiday and we’ll be back through in a few days. We pressed through another 100km to Blackall with zero mobile phone coverage.
Here we see a community hurting. A number of businesses in the main street are either empty or for sale. But the Queensland outback spirit is resilient and they have a major social media campaign to support local businesses and encourage tourism. You’ll be seeing a few Instagram posts with these hashtags, so I encourage you to like, share and follow to give them some support.
At left, an abandoned grocery store which murals covering the front widows. At right the main street of Blackall. There are two pubs in the man street. One of them is closed up completely.
We had lunch at Blackall and we’ll be breaking there overnight on our trip back home.
Another 200 odd km through pasturelands to a scrubby desert lands. The colours of the landscape yellows, greens, reds, blues and purples are beautiful but even that gets monotonous after a while. We plugged in the USB filled with songs and we had our own version of carpool karaoke.
Now we’re relaxing in our room at the Jumbuck motor inn, the least salubrious of our accommodation so far. It’s a 1960s time capsule and in desperate need of refurbishment. But it is clean and the bed is nice.
I managed to be the first up onto the paddlewheeler wheelhouse deck
The Outback Pioneers’ River Cruise on the Thomson River. They run two craft, the paddlewheeler and a small ferry.
A full moon rising up over the landscape
An outback sunset on the Thomson River
A wedge tail eagle searches for his last meal of he day. The wedge tale eagle is Australia’s largest eagle and is much larger (but far less pretty) than the American bald eagle.
What a night that was! We were picked up by a coach and soon we were on our way just out of town to a place on the banks of Thomson River called Fishermen’s Bend. It was set up like a stockman’s bush camp. We were given an introduction into the life of a drover, before being invited to embark on a small paddlewheeler for a sunset cruise along the river. All up we estimated about 100 people on this excursion and every one was from out of town having their own outback adventure including two incredible older ladies who have been to Western Australia, the northern territory and now they’re driving back to Sydney, stopping in Brisbane to visit family.
Once back at camp, we were ready for dinner – beef and vegie stew with mash. Scottie regaled us with bush poetry and jokes. He’s an older man who has difficulty walking and yet he gets about in the dirt and gravel completely in bare feet.
We learn after, from the bus driver/stockman Jonsey, that Scottie is well known in town as a character, much beloved. When he was 16 he fell off a horse and severely injured his back. He spent 3 weeks in a coma. After he recovered, he suffered severe vertigo which was only relieved by going barefoot. He worked 20 years for the State Department of Primary Industries. Then they did an OHS audit and sacked him because he couldn’t wear shoes. He started his own lawnmowing business and did so for years until the local council threated to close him down for not wearing shoes (for safety). The morning before his OHS audit the town turned out and presented him with a pair of boots – with the souls cut off. And he’s still mowing lawns today.
And that’s another point. The guys who did the show and cruise tonight do this as a second job, they too work on the land, struggle with the drought and the Covid restrictions. They need our support.
Following dinner (dessert was apple strudel and custard), we went out to stadium seating overlooking the river to a floating stage where we watched a short film telling the story of the notorious cattle (duffer) rustler called Captain Starlight.
The night ended with fresh cooked damper made over an open fire, and brewed billy tea.
LEAVE ME A COMMENT BELOW TO GO INTO THE DRAW FOR THIS OUTBACK PRIZE PACK
Queensland boulder opal pendants
Coloured sands from the Winton ‘Jump Up’ Mesas
A canvas tote from Tambo teddies
An Australian Country soap
Winner will be announced in June’s Love’s Great Adventure magazine.