Time for us to get back to the coast
26.10.2007 - 02.11.2007 36 °C
In the morning just as we had packed up and was ready to head off, I noticed the tread had come away from one of the tyres. We couldn’t travel on this, so after a bit of driving around, found a tyre shop to replace the tyre. It turned out that the other 3 tyres had very little tread and would be lucky to last another 5000 kilometres! So I bit the bullet and forked out for 4 new tyres for the van (and $400 later), but as this is our home and we will be travelling through a lot of isolated countryside, so it made good sense to do so. This is now the 6th tyre we’ve had to replace since leaving Perth (2 for the car as well as these 4 van tyres). In the end, we didn’t leave Mt Isa until just before 1pm which meant we were going to be late at our next stop, Julia Creek.
Julia Creek is a small town in cattle farming country on the Barkly Highway which runs from Mt Isa to Townsville on the coast (just over 900 Kilometres). We will need to make 2 overnight stops with Julia Creek being the first. As the sun went down we were treated to a beautiful colour display in the sky as the clouds were building to a storm as the sun was setting. However, the storm did not eventuate, and after sunset we were treated to a beautiful full moon which highlighted the night sky for us. We sat outside with a couple of drinks soaking up the atmosphere for the rest of the evening – it doesn’t get much better than this.
After another 250 Kilometres travelling west along the Flinders Hwy (Barkly Hwy), we pull into the town of Hughenden which is our next overnight stop. After setting up we head into town to stock up supplies only to find the whole town shuts down at midday on a Saturday. Having arrived there in mid afternoon, there was nowhere for us to buy food for tonight’s dinner. We noticed a couple of pubs and a Chinese restaurant so it looks like we’re eating out tonight. We decided on Chinese and it tuned out to be one of the best Chinese meals in a while – quite the little gem in an oasis.
In the main street there is a quaint little shelter made from windmill rotors and a café called F.J. Holden which is a 50’s style diner with an Aussie flavour. It’s actually owned by F & J Holden!
After getting all packed up again, we jumped back onto the Flinders Hwy and continued west. This is the main highway between Mt Isa and Townsville on the coast, but the section is this part of the country is one of the worst pieces of bitumen we have driven on so far. The road has a lot of dips and on a couple of occasions, the tow hitch bottomed out on the road. I had to drive the car a lot slower which was going to make for a long journey, as our this stretch is almost 450 Kilometres.
We stopped at Charters Towers for lunch, a delightful town which is the last major centre before the coast at Townsville. After depositing the car and van on the main street, we had some good old fashioned pub grub. One thing we couldn’t help but notice was the pokies which you won’t find anywhere in WA (except for the casino). Unfortunately it spoiled our dining experience with the incessant ker-chinking and blipping of the machines. Despite that, we had lunch and set off on our final leg.
After the long drive from Hughenden we finally arrived at our destination, Rollingstone which is a beachside village approximately 60 Kilometres north of Townsville. After setting up and a BBQ tea, we sat on the beach and watched the moon rise over the ocean, a strange sight for west coasters! It was lovely and a perfect way to end a long day travelling.