Our last major stopping place in Queensland before we hit the Northern Territory border at Camooweal is Mount Isa or, as the locals refer to it, ‘The Isa’.
The city came into existence because of the vast mineral deposits found in the area. Mount Isa Mines is one of the most productive single mines in world history, based on combined production of lead, silver, copper and zinc.
One of the attractions for Bob is the Irish Club in town which has a more than acceptable pint of Guinness.
Julia Creek is a very small town (population 511) on the main highway between Townsville and Mount Isa which has a free camp set up next to the creek in the town’s name. Great overnight stop.
The next town along between Julia Creek and Mount Isa is Cloncurry where we found another top spot for a coffee stop – the town’s water source dam.
Hughenden is a dinosaur town, boasting a replica of the Muttaburrasaurus, whose bones were discovered in 1963 and some teeth and other bones were also discovered around Hughenden. One reason for fossils being discovered must be the dry climate, which means the rocks are usually bare of vegetation. The town is home to the Hughenden Dinosaur Festival, which attracts tourists and includes entertainment and other events.
On the road from Hughenden to Julia Creek we stop in Richmond. On the outskirts of the town we find Lake Fred Tritton which is a great place for a cup of coffee and a scone. The lake has a unique attraction – a golf hole in the middle of the lake where you can try for a hole in one (probably need an old ball though).
A quick whizz by the Big Mango at Bowen and we arrive at Groper Creek.
So … why are we so excited about being back at Groper Creek ? Well … there is always friendships to re-ignite – thanks Kevin for letting me borrow your cast net as I did not bring my own because they are illegal in most other states. Lots of prawns about for bait (see below). And not having a boat is no real hindrance as the jetty is a great place to catch fish (9 good whiting in one day !).
Not to mention a cold glass of Ricard sitting on the banks of Groper Creek watching the romantic sunset. Oh … and the little green visitor.
So prawns for lunch and whiting for tea … how good can life get ?
Now … about the cast net thing. Way back in 2010 a certain individual – Steve Redman of Pelican Waters – introduced us to the wonders of Groper Creek. Not only that, he spent many long hours tutoring Mr Bob Davies in the finer arts of throwing a cast net. Well, Steve, the fruits of your labours are upon us … The following sequence is about to be published in the ‘Art Of Throwing A Cast Net By Steve Redman’.
Regular followers of this blog will be familiar with Groper Creek – well, yes, we are heading back there for the seventh time. Only a small stay this time – probably 2 nights. Before we leave Bargara, we find a leak in one of our water tanks which delays us by a day or so. But once fixed, we continue our journey north with overnight stops in familiar free camps at Gin Gin and Yaamba.
Famous for its Mon Repos turtle hatchery, Bargara is almost always on our itinerary. We catch up with good friends Jeff and Faye and have a round of golf at Bargara Golf Club. Cannot stop at Bargara without a visit to one of the best Asian restaurants in Queensland. The caravan park put on some free entertainment and a sausage sizzle – can’t beat a good sausage sizzle.
So … caravan packed … goodbyes said … security cameras on … unit locked. But one small hitch – caravan tyres are over 5 years old and just to be sure as we are planning to drive over 15,000 Kms we take the safe option and give the caravan a new set of shoes.
First day we take it easy and stop after 200 Kms (only 14,800 to go) at one of our regular free camps – Tiaro.
The Sunshine Coast is beginning to cool down for Autumn and Winter which means … it is time to be heading up north again to chase the sun. But this time we are not going to stop until next year.
The plan is to head north to Darwin, then west across the top of Western Australia, then south through WA, east to South Australia, then across the Bass Strait to Tasmania for the Australian Veterans National Golf Championships and back home in January 2020.
So we are busy getting our home ready for the big trip. First stop will be Bargara to visit our friends Jeff and Faye and to play one of our favourite golf courses.
And here’s the (not so planned yet) route :