Thursday, July 13, 2017


A nice early start today as we had a long drive ahead of us heading to Mt. Isa.
We were not quite sure where we would stay tonight, Mary Kathleen, Corella Dam or Fountain Springs Rest Area.  In the end we decided it would be Fountain Springs Rest Area as we knew there were amenities blocks there, and us ladies like a decent toilet.

The drive from Winton was quite different to the drive from Longreach to Winton,  a lot more Jump Ups, and the scenery was quite diverse. changing frequently.

The road ahead
Jump Ups dotted the horizon

 then it seems for miles that there were all these black trees...

 Then Savanna grasslands for as far as the eye could see...

We are not used to doing such long distances without any towns in between.  There was over 300 kms between Winton and Cloncurry, and only two small dots on the map.  The first town we came too was a place called Kununa... There was nothing there,  no park, no public toilets, in fact we went to the toilets at the service station and that was a huge mistake.  I am sure they are never cleaned,  they were absolutely filthy and you really felt you couldn't go.  The only thing of interest there were the flocks and flocks of Galahs.  We thought they looked great but I am sure the farmers don't like them....
Large flocks of galahs
 Whilst we were there though, Steve got chatting to this couple who had a camper hitched to their truck and were towing a boat.  They were heading up to Normanton and Kurumba in the Gulf Country to go fishing... Steve was in his element, and chatted to the guy for close to half an hour.  He came back to the car quite excited, because the guy he was talking too gave him some beaches he recommended to go visit up near Darwin.  Guess where we are going now....

We took off,  still feeling like we needed to go to the Loo, and also starting to feel a little hungry.  The next stop was 75kms away at a place called McKinley.

McKinley was a totally different story.  Lovely little town, although very small.
Straight away the Pub beckoned us... Photo opportunities.... Never miss a chance to get a good photo...
Crocodile Dundee's Walkabout Creek Hotel

 Steve even ventured inside to get a couple of photos..

 McKinley was a nice clean little town,  very old with a lot of the buildings being corrugated iron, but it was well looked after.  We found a little park around the corner from the hotel and had our picnic lunch there.  Their toilets were amazing.... spacious and very clean.   This place could grow on you...
Houses in McKinley..
Anyone want to buy a new house...
Couldn't believe this house,  it had louvers in the windows but the old corrugated iron shutters that closed down over them. 
We left McKinley a little after lunch heading for Cloncurry.  We had to pull off the side of the road for this huge road train to go pass us.  It was massive with four trailers hitched,  I would hate to meet one of these around a corner....  We were pleased to have it in front of us, and not coming up behind us. 
massive long roadtrain..
By the time we left McKinley, the scenery changed again,  the termite nests suddenly started appearing..
 then we started coming into rock and hilly country.  This extended all the way from Cloncurry to Mt Isa.  It has a beauty all of it's own...

 We arrived in Cloncurry around 2.30pm and had a short break in the park.

This house took my fancy in Cloncurry...

Mainly we wanted to use Wiki Camps where we had access to the internet to try and work out where we would spend the night as we didn't want to head all the way into Mt Isa.  After checking out Wiki Camps, we decided on Fountain Springs Rest Area.  It was exactly half way between Cloncurry and Mt. Isa.

The scenery out from Cloncurry was stunning.   Rich earth colours, all with shades of yellow, and green and blue skies....  We couldn't help but admire it and give thanks to our wonderful Creator for his amazing gifts to us...
 By the time we got to Fountain Springs, the rest area was full.  We were thinking we might have had to push on to Mt. Isa.  Steve went for a walk in there and this lovely old gentlemen told him that they could park up close to the shelter shed and in front of the rocks just in front of that.  Apparently  they were here a fortnight earlier and folks were parked in there for the night, so in we drove...

They were a lovely old couple and spent some time chatting to us whilst we had our cup of tea.  They had just come back from a fishing trip up in the Gulf and had lots of photos and stories to share with us.  Steve was in his element, and was taking notes.  They were showing us some photos of their catches too.  Not a good thing... Steve was drooling and all he wants to do now is head to the Gulf to fish...

Our vans the following morning when we were ready to leave

 We were right on the highway and wondered how we would go with all the traffic noise from the road trains passing through the night.  We were obviously tired because we slept all night.  In fact it was one of our best nights of sleep.

The rest area started emptying pretty early the following morning with vans leaving from about 6am.  This we could understand as it seems that Ian and Kathy and Steve and I were the only vans still up after 8pm the previous night.

All the vans bar one other were gone by the time we left at 9.45am.    The rest area was empty again I guess until about lunch time when they all start turning up again.  There is only a 20 hour layover allowed here...
The shelter shed we parked next too ( you can see Steve at our van door)
 We were pretty pleased to hear from John and Barb whilst we were here.  There car had been fixed the previous day and they had pushed on to Emerald on Monday night.  They had hoped to reach Longreach by Tuesday night which would have then put them two days behind us.  When they rang we were delighted to hear that they were actually at Winton and would make it to Mt Isa the same day as us.  Excitement all around.

We rang the Mt Isa Caravan Park before we left Fountain Springs and were able to book all of us in for the night... Check in time wasn't until 11am, so we knew we didn't have to rush to get there.  We left Fountain Springs around 9.45 and had a leisurely drive into Mt. Isa where we arrived at the van park at around 10.30pm.

The thing that struck me most about Mt Isa was that the Mine is right in the middle of town.
Welcome to Mt. Isa...
Coming into Mt Isa.
We were very fortunate in that the van park was happy to allow us to go in pretty much straight away.  Both Kathy and Steve had a wander around the park to find a site to fit all three vans close by.
Our first job as soon as we got in and unhitched was to tackle the mountain of washing we had.  We knew we were going to be going bush and not have facilities available to us until we got to Alice Sprints so it was a big job to get it all done and hung out as we had plans on going to visit the Underground Hospital whilst in Mt Isa.  Unfortunately in the end we were unable to do this as it closed at 2pm and we were still madly trying to get washing done and on the line at 12.30pm.  We still hadn't had lunch so in the end we decided that we would just have to come back and visit Mt Isa another day.

It did take the pressure off us a little, and allows us to relax a bit before we took off to do our first big grocery shop since leaving home.   Kathy and I did some menu planning together.  We also decided that we needed to have dinner cooked for John and Barb as they had spent three days solid on the road getting to us and they were pretty tired....

They rang us around 2.30pm to let us know that they were in Cloncurry and were possibly an hour and a half away, so we hurried off into town to get our shopping done so that we would be there when they arrived.

By the time they arrived and got unhitched and set up, it was pretty close to dinner time.  Big night tonight, the final game of State of Origin tonight, and we are hoping for a Queensland win.  John and Steve set up computers and TV screens for us to watch the game under the stars.
The boys setting up for us to watch the State of Origin
I had bought some maroon balloons with me, so they got blown up and hung up in Ian and Kathy's awning.  It was a great night.   Queensland won... so many happy campers all round.  Every time Qld scored a try, you could hear the cheering all around the park.
 So our stay in Mt. Isa comes to an end, we are off on the road again tomorrow heading for the Northern Territory.


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