June 25

Our last pack up 145 days in van. 40 of which were “free” camping 22,000 km. 2,300 liters of petrol. Just visited my old stamping grounds Emerald, Rockhampton and Yeppoon.

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June 21 and 22. The Rubyvale at the gemfields

Great little place in a really nice park. Quite quaint and laid back. Cash only society! 

The main gems here are sapphires in many different colours. You can either go out and dig up the earth and “wash” it to look for sparklies or you can go to the Miners Cottage ( and many others) and pay $15 for a bucket of dirt which may or may not have a stone in it.  That was our option. It was a lot of fun and we found a bunch of coloured chips which Edie really enjoyed.

Gay gave us all morning tea with fresh scones for that too!

We had a camp fire each night and the Maroons won the Origin. Life is good.

It has been freezing though. Hard to remember the 3 months of 35C plus.

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June 15 to 22.  Winton to Ilfracombe. Enough rain to need an ark

Rain has been threatening for a few days now and falling all of last week so many of the roads are closed as cars just sink into the mud.  I nearly bogged us by pulling over for a wide load on the main highway between Winton and Longreach. Lucky we had 4WD to get out.

So no dinasours, and no Waltzing Matilda centre because it burned down.

But Winton was a nice place to walk around and visit the Musical Fence and Arnos Wall, and have a drink at the pub or a milkshake in the cafe.

Edie on the drums in Winton.

Cool in Longreach

Mud glorious mud, but not right outside our door. We sank to our ankles a few times. Ken even broke his thongs 

Flat and wet. Great dog walking. Lots of dead kangaroos 

Edie at the Qantas museum 

Not quite !

Great sculpture near the Hall of Fame

Edie and I went on a sunset cruise and dinner. Poor E, no one else under 60.  It was a bit dull. Better years ago when it was just a cruise with a bush poet 

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June 15.  5 days in the Isa

On our way out of Mt Isa the road signs have all the iconic names that we hear in the news and on the extreme weather reports. Cloncurry.  Julia Creek.  Winton, it is always exciting to hit the road again.

We just had 5 great days in Mt Isa. Anne arrived on the same day that we did and we did lots of stuff together with her and her 2 sons and a bunch of kids. Edie had a ball, really got on well with Felix and Bella.

James took us down into the open cut mine for the Saturday morning blast. It was really awesome. Truly got right into the mine. Ken took Edie and Felix on the tour, and they went underground 

There was a cold snap and we now all have fleecy pjs and boots.

The landscape on the road to Cloncurry is awesome, a bit like around Tom Price.

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June 8 and 9.  To and around Camooweal 


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June 7.  Along the Stuart Hwy after leaving Mataranka

Just finished a 520 k drive from Mataranka to the Attack Roadside stop just 70 k north of Tennant Creek.

 The last 360 k were super fast. The road is pleasant mostly straight with red rocky outcrops and sparse vegetation. What you expect in the centre of Australia. The speed limit is 130.

 This morning our faith in the NT was restored a bit after having a great stop at the Pink Panther pub in Larrimah. Finally someone who advertised themselves as dog friendly and actually was.  Cup of instant coffee and some raisin toast and back on the road to Daly Waters. Another outback icon. Great old pub with the best Barra burgers ever. Sorry no picture. Come up yourself. Nice service and neither place was too expensive.

Mataranka had wonderful hot springs. Truly a great natural phenomena but the human side left a lot to be desired. It was a bit of a dump, literally!  


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June 3.  Katherine

Sofar we have been swimming in the hot springs, watched Origin outside under the stars after we all stood up and sang the anthem, visited Edith Falls; and this morning Edie and I took part in a cultural morning at Didj Cultural Experience.  We listened to a Dalabon man, Manuel, who told us his story and then then showed us how to paint, make fire and catch dinner.

The aboriginal story is fascinating and still so sad, there does not seem to be a way in which we can meld the 2 cultures.


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June 1.  Back to Katherine aka “The long way home”

A little hill outside Mt Bundy Station

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May 31.  The Battle of Australia 

Now I did not know this had even occurred.  We visited the small town of Batchelor today and watched the movie about the war effort up here. It was huge! At least 60 air strikes. Thousands of troops, American and Australian.  They built airstrips and roads. The dead are buried here in Adelaide River, which Ken and Edie visited yesterday.

We also hiked to Robin Falls again today. Great fun.

Edie suggested a visited to the little bar here because she likes the peanuts.

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May 29.  Mt Bundy Station

We are a 100k south of Darwin on a working cattle station. Lots of dogs and horses. Coco can’t tell the difference!

A bit cooler here as we are on a huge shady site, not like Darwin where we were packed like sardines.

Lots of history here. Am learning heaps about WWII. Never realised how invasive the Japanese had been.

We will stay here for a few days and visit the surrounding area.



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