Monday, December 19

Honeymoon of Awesomeness Day 9

Sunrise was quite ordinary today, a thick band of cloud on the horizon blocked out any colour that wanted to shine through, so we took our time packing up and enjoyed a relaxed breakfast at Banjo's before we left for our days journey. We had a few things to do in Winton before we left, such as a visit to Arno's Wall. Arno's Wall is a strange mixture of art and architecture. Cemented contents of the wall include rusted lawnmower parts, boat propellers, vintage typewriters, sewing machines and even a couple of complete motorbikes. It really has anything and everything, including the kitchen sink!!

One part of the wall even showcases his suggestion for a new Australian Flag.
We took the chance while he had some bigger supermarkets to stock up on a few items, milk, juice and of course the Tim Tams!! Everything here was quite fresh with long expiry dates, unlike the stuff we bought at Longreach!! One last stop before we left was the Winton Bakery where we grabbed a couple of coffees to go and some hot bacon and cheese scrolls. Oh boy, were these awesome!! As we sat in the Patrol with our yummy treats we had a quick look at where we were going to go!! I love not having a plan!! The places we had intended on visiting had just got pushed to one side as we had spotted a location we had missed earlier. A place EVERY Australian should visit! The Walkabout Creek Hotel at McKinlay!! It was only 260km away. So it looked like we would continue on to Cloncurry as a place of rest for the night. Still on the Matilda Way (Landsborough Hwy) we headed off for the pub!! I love a good drink, but I have never driven 260km to quench the thirst. I was excited!! Just out of town we encountered a bit of slow moving traffic in the 110 zone... Damn caravaners!! We found a nice stretch of straight road (ok it was all straight) and safely overtook them. About 70km into the days travel a site caught my eye a few hundred metres off the road. A 4wd track up a steep rocky outcrop...
It was pretty steep, sandy and loose sharp slate rock. It was there to be climbed and not wanting to back out of a challenge, I went for it! Hey, after all we conquered the sand dunes on the edge of the Simpson Desert. I only made it 3/4 of the way up on the first go, the sand was slippery and was hard to get any traction. I wish I had those new tyres!!
The second attempt was much easier.
After driving around on top for a while we found a nice spacious place to park. We had a quick explore around and enjoyed the view as those caravaners zoomed past us!
We proceeded down the other side of the rocky outcrop and headed back to the highway where we thought it was a good idea to give way to this bloke. A wee bit bigger than us!
Back on the road again we soon caught up to and overtook that convoy of caravaners. Only to find ourselves pulling over again shortly after to do a U-turn for something we saw in the paddock beside us. I didn't think we would see any off these until we got nearer to the beach!
After a few photos of the boobs we were again headed closer to the pub. Again distracted by a POI we turned off the road again. This time for Combo Waterhole. The waterhole is believed to be the setting for Banjo Patterson's Waltzing Matilda.
The site is also noted for the historic stone-pitched overshot weirs built by Chinese labourers around 1883. After floods these would increase the waterholes depth by quite a bit.
After doing the walk we continued, stopping briefly at Kynuna for some morning tea. We saw another Road Train.
And a friendly Brolga.
Right on lunch time we made it to Walkabout Creek Hotel. Ah time for a nice cold Bundy!
We took our time perusing the walls of the pub, there was so much memorabilia and old photos of Mick Dundee, or Crocodile Dundee for those International people reading this.
It was here we caught up to our fellow travellers (those caravaners) and chatted about the days drive. They had spotted us on top of the rocky outcrop and also asked why we had done a U-turn. When I showed them a shot of the boobs they laughed, one lady even wanted her husband to turn around and drive back so she could have a look.
We both used the bathrooms before we left, I nearly wet myself on the way!! It cracked me up.

Next stop, Cloncurry or as the locals call it The Curry. As we entered the outskirts we were met with a massive rocky outcrop, it was a beauty! Unfortunately there was nowhere to pull up so we continued into town. We had planned to stay here the night and then head back East towards Julia Creek and Richmond. We were starving by the time we reached the centre of town so thought it was a great time to pull up and find a place to eat. We chose the Fish Cafe, where we had a Barra Burger and Chicken Burger. They were delicious!! While we were eating we were again looking at the maps. I pointed out the fact that we were only 450km south of Burketown and the Gulf of Carpentaria. That wasn’t far. I had always wanted to see the Gulf! It was also here we decided that The Curry didn't really have a lot to offer us in the way of what we are interested in so we didn't see the point of staying the night. It was 2.30pm so we settled on Burketown as the next major town. We noticed a campsite roughly 180km North of our position at the Burke & Wills Roadhouse, this was achievable. After a brief drive around The Curry we left, onwards and upwards! As we reached the outskirts of town the landscape was still quite beautiful.
We drove through a small town called Quamby which had a neat pub, it wasn't until we had past we had noticed a giant tank on the hill that had been painted to look like a Bundy Rum can. I am still kicking myself I didn't get a photo of this as it was the last thing of interest we saw for the rest of the day until we reached the Burke and Wills Roadhouse. This drive seemed long, the same scrub the whole way just high enough to block out our view of anything else. By around 5pm we had reached our camping spot, we paid our fee at the roadhouse and proceeded to find a spot in the paddock out the back. It was quite busy a few campers, mostly in vans and some Roadtek crews in portable accommodation filled the areas closer to the toilets and showers. We picked our spot, near a little tree away from most of the others. As we started to peg the tent down, we hit a problem... The ground was like cement. I tried to hammer in few of my good solid tent pegs only to end up bending a few of them before I had to give up. Our Oztent boasts quite a solid aluminium fold up frame inside the tent itself which was good as at least we had some sort of shelter, even though it was unsecured. I made the call that it would be ok, as it was nearing dark and it was dead calm, not a breath of wind at all!! We were not really hungry that night after our burgers from lunch so we had a wander around the roadhouse. Luckily most places are licensed to sell alcohol out here so we grabbed a few rums and a bowl of hot chips and gravy for dinner. We headed back to our tent ready for an early night when we walked past this dog. He seemed afraid at first, quite timid and kept backing off. It was kinda weird as he was quite a large dog. Being dog people we finally got close enough to give him a pat. He loved it and the tail started to wag!! What had we done :) We sat down outside our tent, giving our new found friend quite a bit of attention. He had no collar and no one really seemed to be looking for him so we nicknamed him Dusty. He escorted us to the showers, waited outside, then took us back to our tent. We said goodnight to him and told him to go home. About 10 minutes later I could hear him walking on the tarp just out the front of the tent. It was there he stayed for the entire night. We had just started to doze off for the night when out of nowhere a howling wind picked up. The tent started to sway backwards and forwards violently. This turned out to be the most restless, uncomfortable night I have ever spent camping. A few times during the night I thought we were going to take off. We hardly slept a wink.
A total of 551km today with 3958km in total.  

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