Mt Isa – Camooweal – Barkly Homestead – Devils Marbles – Alice Springs
Kilometres 3119 – 4673 km
As week 2 finished we were stranded out in the bush with a broken van. So bright n early on Monday I headed into Mount Isa in an attempt to repair the drum brake on the van. With a little luck and a lot of cash we ended up with a new hub and drum which is pretty good for such an isolated town. After 150km and a lot of blood, sweat and tears we were on the road again and heading to Mount Isa and our trip was back on track. We chose to only spend 2 nights in Mount Isa as this kept our plans on track, get the washing up to date and take in a few of the local attractions. The “School of the Air” being the highlight of our time in Isa. The school teaches 160 students from prep through to year 10. We got to sit in on a year 6 lesson and got a greater appreciation of the remoteness some families are faced with. One family in particular live 250km from their front gate!
|Running repairs for the van|
Leaving Isa we drove to Camooweal, which is just inside the QLD/NT border. Here we visited a Drover’s Camp museum and learnt the dying art of cattle mustering. Its a trade that is all-but extinct due to road-trains and helicopter mustering. That night we headed out to a beautiful billabong and enjoyed a night under the stars. The serenity of the spot made it our best overnight location to date. The birdlife was amazing with brolgas, pelicans, ducks, eagles, finchs, budgies and kites all feasting on the billabong. To our surprise we witnessed some traditional people come to the billabong where they fished for a few hours catching their night’s dinner.
|School of the Air - Teacher delivering a Year 6 lesson|
|WWII Underground Hospital|
|Camped by a billabong|
|Kids on top of this roadtrain at Barkly Homestead|
|Some of the Devils Marbles|
|The busy campground at Devils Marbles|
|Alice Springs and the MacDonnell Ranges|
|The Todd River|
As expected, Sunday Alice style is at a much slower pace and we took the opportunity to do the same. We took in the sights of the town from the ANZAC lookout. The kids struggled to grasp that the dry sandy parkland that snakes through town was actually the Todd River. We saw “The Ghan” which was in town and a few of the other sights. Late in the day we caught up with some old school friends who I hadn’t seen for over 20 years. We laughed and chatted about old times and digested what we’d done in recent years.
We finished week 3 by going out to dinner with a few local geocaching teams.