If you sit by a river for long enough
the body of your enemy will pass by.
Old Chinese proverb (or some such)
As far as I know I don't have any enemies,
and if I did I probably wouldn't want to see their body float
past. But the gist of the saying is that if you don't get
too worried about things they have a way of sorting themselves
It's a philosophy we've followed for
years, happily ignoring pretty much everything that most people
rush around trying to fix, so during the course of this chronicle
we must have sorted a heck of a lot of stuff out because for
weeks now we've just been sitting around watching various
And we have seen a shit-load of stuff
float past, no bodies I'm happy to report.
Till next time then, and remember,
Don't Dream it, Be it!
Wed 17 Mar 2010
I finally feel we're back on the road. I know we left Gin Gin last
September but in all that time we've really just been visiting friends
and heading away from God's country (anywhere in northern Australia
that is), now we're heading north though so as I said, I finally
feel that we're back on the road.
We do have two friends to see just north of Tocumwal, it's about
a 130k drive so we should get there in a day or two.
Meanwhile the digital speedo is working well, it's still not calibrated
but does all the right things and it's nice to finally know roughly
how fast I'm going and to have 6 trip meters to keep me amused.
We drive to Yanco Creek, about 80k north of Tocumwal, and call
it a day.
Thu 18 Mar 2010
We sit around the creek for half the day then make our way up to
Bob and Heather's place at Coleambally.
B&H are in Melbourne buying parts for their current motorhome
conversion so we settle in at the back of their yard. Chris starts
on a crossword while I try to do some work on the computer between
interruptions like "Really annoying, C something something
S, four letters".
And this one.
"AN EASTERN TEMPLE"
"A BLOODY WAT, W, A, T, WAT"
Is it any wonder wars start through bad communication?
While waiting for B&H to get home I wander around their yard,
Bob is into buying and selling machinery and he has a couple of
6x6 ACCOs here.
I think I'll stick with mine.
Fri 19 Mar 2010
Drive up to Griffith then out to Lake Wyangan. We camped here about
10 years ago and I remember it fondly although Chris has no recollection
of the place at all.
We only planned to spend two days here but there's a sign that
reads "Three days camping only" so I guess we'll have
to stay one more day.
Dawn over Lake Wyangan.
Mon 22 Mar 2010
Leave Lake Wyangan and head north with no particular goal except
to make our way up to Queensland. There is however a nice spot on
the banks of the Lachlan River about 36k north of Hillston so we
aim for there.
Tue 23 Mar 2010
This is a really nice spot, I think we'll stay another day.
Workbench out, doing a couple of small jobs.
Wed 24 Mar 2010
Still driving north, we find a good rest area 110k south of Cobar
that is not in the CAW5 (Camps Aus Wide #5) book so we'll earmark
that for next time.
We've read about a deserted township at Mt Drysdale about 30k north
of Cobar but when we get there cannot find any sign of it, well
actually that's all we can find, a sign. It reads "Mt Drysdale"
so I guess we're in the right place. We drive a few 100 metres into
the bush and set up camp.
Campsite at Mt Drysdale.
Thu 25 Mar 2010
It's off to Bourke. As I recall Bourke has a bad reputation for
it's "aboriginal problem" but I have to say the town looks
as neat as a pin. I admit we weren't there on a Friday night just
after everyone got paid, but first impressions are good.
There are however signs that things aren't, or at least weren't,
so good. For example the cop doing some community relations with
a mob of aboriginals in the main street, the pub has no windows
and broken signs, the supermarket also has no windows, just a single
barred door, and there's a larger than normal proportion of high
fences with assorted sharp and pointed tops to the pickets.
Still we're not that interested in the town, we prefer the bush
and are heading for a camp spot we've heard about just to the north,
on the river. After following directions, a fence line, then our
noses we find what must be one of the best campsites in central
We back the truck to the top of a bank within just a few metres
of the Darling River. For much of the time I suspect this spot wouldn't
be quite as good because like most Australian rivers the Darling
normally struggles to provide any real flow. But at the moment it's
running gang busters due to the immense amount of rain we've had
Campsite on the Darling River.
Mindful of the floods that are heading our way we get on the net
to see what the Darling is going to do over the next few days. After
all we don't want to get too close to the water. I can
find little information so decide to ring the local police.
The cop I speak to knows about as much as I do, so eventually I
decide to use an old-fashioned method, I jam a stick into the mud
at the water line.
The next problem we have is that the road north is closed, in
fact just about all roads north are closed but the one we're interested
in has had a 5-tonne limit set because the recent inundation has
weakened the road and made it too soft to carry heavy vehicles.
So rather than being between a rock and a hard place, we're between
the water and a soft place
I ring QLD Transport and the girl says they are currently testing
the road and they'll ring back. Yeah right, someone from a government
department is going to ring me back.
Blow me down if we don't get a call about an hour later from a
very friendly and helpful QT engineer. Apparently they are still
testing but hope to open the road tomorrow. I should ring in the
morning to get the latest. He says that the only place we can cross
the border at the moment is at Goondawindi, and that is a LONG way
He also says that even if they open the road it may not stay open,
it depends on how it handles the traffic.
What to do? I go and check the stick-o-meter, the water has risen
about an inch in the last couple of hours. We know the floods are
coming — slowly from what we hear — but coming all the
same and we could get caught here and maybe even have to go back
The stick-o-meter is already in the water.
Unfortunately then, despite having found one of the world's best
campsites, if they open the road north tomorrow we should probably
make a bolt for it and hope to get through before they close it
Meanwhile I go for a wander to get some photos.
This is normally a vehicle track. Check out tomorrow's photo of the same place.
You can see the river is higher than usual.
The view from the deck.
Our other meter, we'll see how the water goes relative to the sign.
Fri 26 Mar 2010
The stick is in trouble.
the stick-o-meter in well into the river now.
When placed in the mud yesterday it was on the waterline, now it's
about 2 feet in the river. There's no doubt the water is heading
our way so we get back on the web.
The Darling is expected to peak at about 11 metres on April the
10th, it's now at 6.8 metres, so the authorities expect it to rise
another 4.2 metres and we're currently camped about 3 metres above
the water level.
You do the maths.
Time to ring "our" engineer at QT. I wait until 9:20
to give him time to have a cuppa then dial.
"Office hours are between 8:30 and 5PM" says the recorded
message. Eh? Oh that's right, Queensland is not on daylight saving
time so they are an hour behind us.
A wait an hour and try again. He's opened the road and says that
they will keep it open even if only as a single lane in the trouble
spots. So as there's no immediate danger here, and some of the places
we want to go to are still drying out, we might as well enjoy this
spot for another day.
Same vehicle track as yesterday, I can't get to the same spot because it's under water.
The sign is getting closer to the water as well.
It's nice to have most of the back open for a change.
Sat 27 Mar 2010
What the heck, we'll stay for a couple of days, the floods won't
be here for a week or so and the road north is open so there's no
We spend most of the day watching the water flow past, and also
the flotsam, everything from massive logs to plastic bottles. I
hope the bottles don't have any "help" messages inside
because they are way out in the centre of the river.
Stick-o-meter almost gone now.
Sign in trouble.
Sun 28 Mar 2010
The stick-o-meter has gone. I did a sterling job for several days
but in the end it just wasn't long enough.
Chris is sitting on the deck watching nothing in particular when
a snake ambles down the bank and goes for a dip. It seems intent
on getting to the other side and strikes out for the far bank (can
a snake "strike out"?). It does well for a while but then
enters the main flow, still this doesn't phase it, with a change
in heading into the flow it keeps pretty much on line.
After a few minutes it reaches the other side. I hope it stays
Now the sign is in the water, time to move.
Mon 29 Mar 2010
What was that I said about Bourke? Chris is listening to the radio
and apparently on Saturday night there was a riot in town.
Anyway we're leaving today, in fact it's not even day when we start
as we have a long way to go and as you probably know we don't travel
that fast, so we head off before dawn.
After 127k we reach the "town" of Barringun (one building
that I can see) where the road was closed the other day. I can see
why, each side of the road is a swamp with water rushing from one
side to the other through drains in places. It wouldn't take much
to close it again.
Remember the old maps that used to say "There be dragons 'ere",
well they were referring to Queensland, I swear there's a dragon
(large lizard) posing on the road every kilometre. It's as though
they are only allowed in Queensland because we didn't see a single
one south of the border.
We persevere and reach Cunumulla after 6 hours driving, and we're
not in camp yet, that's still another 70k away on the Paroo river.
A quick whip around town then it's off on the Bulloo Development
road towards Eulo. On arrival we drive straight through town and
out to the Paroo where we find a nice spot on the banks of the river.
As we arrive about a 1000 water birds scarper, I wonder what the
attraction is to have so many birds right near the road. We quickly
find out, there must be millions of fish trying to get up the weir
and for the most part they are milling around in the shallows in
places with no current.
Easy pickings, no wonder the birds like it here.
At night I go back out to photograph the fish
Most fish are swimming up the spillway.
But some are trying to jump the rapids.
You can clearly see how the fish are huddled in the still water gathering strength for th enext step.
Chris reading in the lounge room.
Tue 30 Mar 2010
More news from Bourke, part of the Radio station we've been listening
to for forecasts was burnt down last night.
Anyway we're on a mission to get to Lake Houdraman just outside
of Quiplie. I remember though that it's a dirt road to the lake
so on arriving in town we drop into the visitors centre to ask about
Pretty good she says, but if it even looks like rain get the hell
We drive out of town and turn onto the dirt road that leads to
the lake. For a while it's pretty good, but when we turn onto the
access track the surface turns to sticky mud. It's like driving
on ice, even in all-wheel-drive both vehicles are sliding all over
There's no risk of getting bogged as the ground is dry and hard
just an inch below the surface, but steering is nearly impossible.
Within a 100 yards of the lake the track has the smallest of inclines,
the left side just a couple of inches higher than the right, but
in this slippery mud that small slope is totally insurmountable,
and forces the vehicles toward a ditch on the right of the track.
Doesn't look like much of a problem eh? But that tiny incline towards the tree was forcing us into the ditch on the right.
After several failed attempts by both of us we back up the track
to find a spot with almost no side lip, then after a dozen attempts
I manage to get a big enough run up to get off the track.
From there it's just a short way to the picnic area.
It doesn't matter what tread you have on your tyres in this sticky mud, within a few yards you're running on slicks anyway.
Storm clouds are about, should we stay?
Walking around is also well-nigh impossible. The mud not only sticks
to our shoes but huge muddy dollops attach themselves with grass
and swing around like dags on a sheep's bum as we walk.
We sit under the picnic shelter watching the sky, we'll be ok here
as long as it doesn't rain. Then we hear rain on the roof of the
Still, as we've always said, as long as we don't have
to move it doesn't matter if we can move or not. We plan to stay
here at least a few days so as long as it's dry come time to leave
it can rain all it likes in the meantime.
With that decided we get into the truck and settle in, it's beer
Thu 1 Apr 2010
Well you can tell we're in the country. I ring the newsagent this
morning to see what time they're open on Saturday so we can get
"Oooo about 9, maybe 9:30" she says, and closing time?
"Around 12 maybe 11:30". Yep, you gotta love that precision.
Deck open again, this is getting to be a habit.
Sun 4 Apr 2010
When we were in at the information centre the other day the woman
told me about the frogs in the trees out here at the lake. But I
hadn't seen them until today, why I don't know because they are
Fri 9 Apr 2010
I finally get around to taking a decent shot of the bedroom.
As you can see, with the shutters and roof open it's almost like
sleeping outside. Certainly if there's any breeze at all we get
it up here. In my opinion this is the only way to have a bedroom,
most motorhomes have a couple of pokey windows placed well above
the actual bed, so a) you don't get much breeze, and b) what you
do get wafts above you along the ceiling somewhere.
Sat 10 Apr 2010
The lake seems to have a resident goose and it swims by on most
days, today however it decides to waddle up to shore and have a
closer look at us.
The lake's resident goose.
Tue 13 Apr 2010
It rained again yesterday, good thing we don't want to go anywhere
because around here that's not an option after rain.
Even walking around the truck is a problem, get a load of my sandal.
Good thing there's no reason to get out of the truck, I can even
take my photos from the landing.
The lake shore at dusk.
Mon 19 Apr 2010
We were told about the frogs but no-one mentioned the toads, probably
because they only come out at night.
Nobody loves me, everbody hates me, think I'll go and eat worms.
How cute is that, you'd think butter wouldn't melt in his mouth.
But other things will, these toads have a dark side.
Not so cute any more eh?
Frogs? yeah I love frogs...couldn't eat a whole one though.
That's one of "my" frogs on its way to becoming toad
shit. Still, I'm a hardened nature photographer, I've seen baby
gazelles dragged down by cheetahs, warthogs torn in half by lions,
you name it. If that's nature's way then that's nature's way. It's
not for me to interfere. Nope, the toad deserves to eat as much
as any other animal, nothin' wrong with that, nature is cruel, it
doesn't play favourites, it's eat and be eaten. Nothing to do with
Pigs arse! I'm coming little fella.
I squeeze the toad's tummy and out pops the frog, all covered in
toad vomit but apparently none the worse for wear.
I clean him off a bit then he's on his way.
I've rescued a few frogs over the last week or so, despite emitting
quite a mournful cry (which is how I find them in the dark) they
seem unperturbed by the whole nearly-being-eaten-alive thing.
What I don't understand is why they don't put up a fight, I reckon
if I was halfway down the gob of a crocodile I'd be hammering and
eye gouging with all my might. Maybe to no affect in the long run,
but at least I'd have a go. But most animals seem to just give up.
Then I return to the truck and solve one of our recent mysteries,
that is how have the frogs been getting inside?
Answer, they use the steps just like we do.
Tue 20 Apr 2010
We're leaving tomorrow, so I thought I'd better get a shot of
the campsite that's been good to us for the last three weeks.
And we only figured to stay here for a couple of days, our date
with Kakadu NP in the Northern Territory is getting later every
Wed 21 Apr 2010
We fill up with fuel and water in town, sometimes in these outback
towns water is in short supply, but not here in Quilpie. Not only
to they have a washdown facility, there's a a sign next to the tap
saying that there is a 2-hour limit on washing your car.
Two hours! Nope they don't have a water problem.
We wash some mud of the truck in much less than two hours then
drive to the Cooper Creek near Windorah, getting there late in the
After doing the sums it seems that the truck is getting slightly
better fuel consumption in it's new guise, we used to get 3.3k/l
but it seems like we now get 3.6. That's the small improvement I
was hoping for, but one fill up doesn't really make for a reliable
reading so the jury is still out.
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