Outback Australia - Desert Country
Where: Birdsville, Qld
Dist: 5.1 km in 25'40" at 5'02"
Weather: sunny, temp 28 degrees, humidity 30%, wind NW 20 km
Where: Winton-Boulia Road, Qld
Dist: 6.1 km in 31'36" at 5'11"
Weather: cool, morning, temp 15 degrees, humidity 80%, wind calm
Week: 11.2 km, July: 11.2 km, Year: 1232.05 km
We left Charters Towers last Wednesday heading to Winton. Rain during the previous week had closed some roads so our plans had to be flexible. Last option was to head north to Mt Isa, then back to Cloncurry, Longreach and head to the east coast.
However, as we neared Winton the sun and wind were drying out the roads and countryside so road were reopening slowly. There has been a lot of rain out here so even sealed roads are closed due to the narrow road, the soft edges and some water still over the road. Those open were 4WD only.
We chanced getting from Winton to Boulia through mud in road works, the car & van covered in outback dirt. A free camp on the road with 2 other travellers was a friendly night with plenty of info flowing as to conditions and directions. It was here in the morning I ran along the road with no chance of seeing another vehicle, it was remote but a nice place. That was Friday.
We stopped at Boulia for fuel and information as the road from Bedourie, next town south had it's road closed due to water. Luckily, a road report was good and we continued to free camp again outside Bedourie. Then after refueling, south to Birdsville, a town of 100 locals, a famous hotel, bakery and horse race track.
It also has a very famous road heading south past Lake Eyre in South Australia. But that's another story and trip as the road is flooded and the ferry can't take caravans, a very long detour through Innaminka.
Today we headed out to " Big Red". a sand dune in the Simpson Desert that requires good 4WDriving skills, most I which I don't have.
But to get to " Big Red", there is a detour due to flooding, so much water about in the outback. The detour requires lowering the tyre pressures, correct gearing, holding on and having fun.
We were very lucky to have 3 other 4WDs on the road at the same time to give us enough info and confidence that we could make the sandy trip. With no tyre gauge or air compressor of my own, these fellow travellers were the best mates you could find.
We made it through the dunes on the detour, a road that is next to a fence that separates Queensland and South Australia. So much fun here and more to come from getting up and down "Big Red".
It's big for a sand dune, may be 50 metres high up a slope of 40 degrees in very soft sand. Tyre pressure at 18 psi, low range high, leave vehicle in 1st, but not too many revs.
Made it up "wimps way", the straight up the front too much for me, but not 2 of the other vehicles, so I caught a ride with one just for the fun of it.
The view from the top is unbelievable looking out across the desert, one side flooded from cyclone and monsoon activity during the summer. Looking west towards the Northern Territory, 1100 more sand dunes to climb before getting to Dalhousie Springs on the French Line track. However, part of that is also closed due to water.
An hour on the top of "Big Red", we headed back to town, took photo of the pub, called in to the bakery for a curried camel pie, good, a photo of the race track, down to the South Australia border to visit another state and back to camp.
A short 5 km run, quick shower and dinner at the pub with our day trip companions. A couple of schooners of beer topping off a brilliant day,almost best 1 day of my life.
Travel tomorrow towards Windorah so out of contact range for nearly a week before we get phone and Internet reception again.