Interesting place Birdsville, nothing much here but they have a small lake and it has a croc in it, they fish in it, catching yellow bellies which soak in a salt water and vinegar mix , which gets rid of the muddy taste and then its not bad at all. There are four old guys with a couple of early twenties Dodges which they are driving across Oz, they left this am and got abt 500 yards down the road when one had an autovac fail, which they replaced with a british SU petrol pump, before continuing on their way west.
There is a deep water artesian bore here, which supplies the local hot water as it's coming out of the ground at around 90 deg, there is also an interesting solar system for the local electricity supply. The Birdsville Bakery is noted for its pies, I have had Kangaroo and claret and Geoff's had Rabbit, you could choose Emu or a Farmers pie which is probably a mixture of everything. Anyway off we set for Windorah, over a very flat Landscape but a good road, sadly plenty of roadside casualties, mainly roos, we arrive andl pop into local pub for a burger, meet an old guy whose on a mission is to deliver 600 eggs to the Birdsville Bakery ( apparently a crisis as they hve run out) he recommended we stop at Jundah, a good camp site, we headed for there but found a better site just off the road on the top of an escarpment, a lovely view and setting; plus a permanent barbecue. lovely ,cook a meal plus sit around fire and talk over where we go next.
Tmrrw we are off to Longreach
Another day of travelling over flat plains , it's very dry, weathers good, still cold in the morning and evenings, it's nice to sit by an open fire, the roads are in good condition we are making good progress, and seeing lots of wildlife, Wedge tail eagles. kites and hawks all feeding off roadside casualties, the eagles are very large, loads of kangaroos and emus, and camels plus loads of sheep and cattle; it's a flat plain as we draw into Longreach, but a complete change . grass verges. trees and very tidy painted buildings. A surprise, and we are impressed. Set up camp, tmrrw will go to the stockman's Hall of Fame and The Quantas Museum. Both look interesting, the hall of fame is very interesting recap of the past and the fortitude and resilience these pioneers to overcome the times of hardship. not forgetting the aboriginals who helped them establish themselves. We had a good run tdy and if it as good a run as tdy we cud make Cairns in max two days. That was the plan but Alf has had a puncture, soon fixed and off we went
Spent night at a "green" campsite. no fires allowed. toilets are using recycled water, nice spot kangaroos hopping about and some curious little creatures like quokkas, hopping around like miniture roos and very inquisitive and unafraid of us, Slept in swags and cud hear them nosing around all night, set off early to make the most of the day, oddly hve started seeing some wild pig corpses on the roadside, (apparently a left over from Capt Cook), anyway it's a big thing round here, Road was good, but is climbing upward and climate is green pastures with dairy cattle, as day wore on road became much more winding ending like something from an alpine pass or of Italian design, having got to the top began descent just as winding and not for nervous dispositions, made very good time plus drove a bit later into the day to reach Cairns, very tropical, saw sugar fields as we came in , trains ferrying the cane to the factories run on very narrow gauge tracks, its like a miniture railway set, Set up camp at some Coconut Grove campsite, Turned out to be expensive , but suited our purpose . Regroup tmrrw,
Sort ourselves, washing clothes, Alf wants to raise the front suspension on his wagon, plus our beast is hving balance problem at the front, it only shows at around 70k but as the roads are better it is showing up more, need to restock on food front , next day both probs abve sorted, Geoff's got some Land Rover specialist from his forum, very helpful and solves the front vibration with shimming of king pins and checks tests all is well at front end, Time to look at fishing gear, find three fishing shops, shuffle around to see who has best prices, meet one shop guy, only just come back from fishing trip to Cape, tips us off as to best spots to go, shows us his picture of him holding a whacking great mackerel, a good 30lbs, except a shark had taken the tail end while he was landing it
best part of the day has been lost , but we leave Cairns heading for Lakeland and Cooktown, Geoff has a contact there, Steve (another Land Rover fanatic from the Forum) willing to let us camp on his land and tell us of best fishing spots, turns out Steve is quite an accomplished engineer with a fully tooled workshop, although he is a radiographer by trade, and a fisherman to boot, he generously gives us his choice spots at the Cape and suggest we start at 6 mile creek, a billabong where he has caught barramundi, Alf is very keen.
Cooktown is a pleasant town with beautiful views it's where Capt Cook put into after a lucky escape from sinking when his vessel Endeavour hit a reef, we did an interesting tour of the local museum, bought bit more fishing gear from local tackle shop and got our permit for the Cape, we head out of Cooktown on the Hopevale road turning off for Old Laura, about 6 miles further on we find a sign for Steve's advised fishing spot, went down to the end to find a shallow pool, not impressed but retraced our tracks and came upon a rough side track, further investigation and billabong was found, large enough for us to launch the boat, set up camp, launched boat, Alf went for a trial run , rods out all set up, Geoff's got his jabbies net in the water, but no fish tonight, Geoff's caught a prawn popped into fridge for tomorrows bait
full day plus stocked up and clean