For those of you who know me there has not been a year where I haven’t spent many a weekend or a holiday travelling.
This may be with school groups/students or even personally.
What a year it has been. Not only has losing someone changed all that but add in COVID, and the ‘normalcy’ turned to shit.
I promise to not refer to COVID again! We all hear way too much these days and it has been all consuming for way to long.
Instead I am going to take you on a journey, the first this year. One of healing, time out, adventure and really, to put it bluntly, a necessary one.
It was time to take a break. To try and relax and take some time to ‘take stock’, ‘reflect’, ‘laugh’ and be somewhat normal.
Here we go!
The borders were due to open and we had a week free. So before the outback was booked up by all the travellers we planned our escape.
Day one – Saturday saw us take just a short trip to the Sunshine Coast where we began our weeks journey at Chateau Haines. The food was fresh, the beds amazing and the company even better (it was with my parents). What a way to start 💐
Day two – Sunday.
The driving started! We were up before the sun had risen. An eskie and picnic packed by my fabulous mother! Coffees made and a roadie croissant breakfast. The aim was to get to Blackwater. Approximately 8 hours away. Easy I said!!
It was great, along the way my co-pilot kept me going with trivia, reading the news, readers digest articles and more!
We passed the big orange and all sorts! There really are some ‘big things’ in the Australian outback!
The big orange, the big banana, the big elephant, the big spanner.. and more. However, I digress.. (what a word!)
We did make a slight detour to visit a friends old stomping ground. We even managed to take a photo outside the house she grew up in! That was a ‘tick’ on the achievement list!
Blackwater….. I’m not sure what to say but …. it is a small town. Not a lot was happening and the Japanese gardens they advertise were great to see through the fence. With not a lot open and the coal trains km’s long passing by we settled into our accomodation.
We did visit the second largest show of flags in the world – when compared to the flags in New York. Each flag represented the nationality of the miners/workers. That is pretty interesting! Brings to the forefront of the mind how multi cultural we are!
Dinner….. to be honest this set the trip up… red rooster was the only real option! I mean it could only get better! With time to relax and read, the TV on, I settled into my sofa bed and slept like a log! Nothing was open! Including the motels bar and restaurant.
Stomp, stomp, stomp!!! It’s 5;30 am, I believe and the shift workers were up and walking down the steps which backed onto our little ‘donga’. They were up and laughing, their work trucks beeping as they reverse!! Okay it’s time to rise!
I do not remember what breakfast was that day!! We packed up the gear and the car and we set off… Longreach here we come!
Actually now I do! We stopped in Emerald at a great cafe called Vybe. We only drove past the hospital three times trying to find it. I did comment on the fact if we went past the hospital again they might get suspicious! However, breakfast was delicious and the bucket of coffee even better!
There is a lot to see in Emerald. With our time limits though we narrowed it down to two things. Two amazing things.
First the walk through the mosaic tiles showing the past, present and future of the times! This was brilliant. Reading the plaques and ‘walking the story’.
Of course, the second thing we wanted to see was the largest Van Gogh sunflower painting on an easel in the world. I mean why wouldn’t you!! It was pretty cool!
So, goodbye Emerald, here we come Longreach. With a full belly and some sights under our belts we continued on our way to Longreach.
The next stop was Rubyvale and Sapphire. The place to fossick for the real thing! We topped up our coffees at a local shop and experienced the budget cuts it seems in the building of the public toilets!
Back on the road! With a short stop in Jericho, which backs onto Jordan creek. How biblical!
They may not have had any stores open but they were taking care of the open air drive in theatre, old style!
Okay Longreach here we come!! The destination and one of the main reasons we set off to experience the outback!!!
Longreach is amazing!! We managed to sneak into the luminescent light show at the Qantas museum! This was brilliant! Not to be missed! I cannot show you any photos nor describe how brilliant it was! You will have to go and see this for yourselves!
Longreach has so much to offer! The Stockmans hall of fame, the Qantas Founders museum and just what is around town. The town centre is a hustle and bustle of life. The Merino bakery a place to visit. Casey’s has great coffee to kickstart the day! So much to see including amazing sunrises and sunsets!
Oh and they have a courtesy bus to the birdcage hotel. The local pub which provides decent pub meals and a great atmosphere!
Longreach was an amazing place to visit. So much history, so much to read! Along with my new akubra we set off to Winton!
Winton – a place with so much history! It is known for the one place in the world where a dinosaur stampede has been recorded. In fossil form!
Banjos, our wonderful, amazing and most certainly memorable accomodation had a lot to offer. The one ply toilet paper, the brown towels, which disguised the stains, and the brilliant maroon shower curtain which stuck to you if you tried to turn around in the shower!
Eeeeiiikkkkk that was a surprise and one I hope not to relive! The darn shower curtain!
I mean for me it’s just a bed. However, it will be a fun memory. Good old Banjos!! It’s for sale everyone, just in case you wanted a slice of dirt and dust in outback Queensland.
It was time to explore the town and the sights. This included the Winton club, where the first Qantas meeting occurred. Next to this is Arnos wall. A wall made up of all sorts of ‘stuff’ collected from the dump and inserted into the wall. Not only are there those amazing places but there is also the musical fence. A place where you can pick up a stick or a tube or even a metal pole and create sound on the pieces of metal, tubing and more that have been placed in all the right places.
So while in Winton one cannot miss the dinosaur stampede! We booked a 3/4 day tour with Vicki from red dirt tours and boy what a day!
She was exceptional and took us on a day to remember. Off track with morning tea on a ‘jump up’ and lunch outside the stampede. We learnt so much from her and she was so amazing to travel with!
Here are a few photos to help!
The main area… the stampede!! So here goes! The history behind it is amazing! So many people were involved, it lay undisturbed for so long after it’s discovery! It is quite a place to visit!
Winton was amazing. As the QLD borders had opened we did not get a chance to get in to see the Age of the dinosaurs which is a place which has the bones of dinosaurs, workshops and more! Next time!
Leaving Winton we headed off to Tambo. On the way we stopped at Ilfracombe and also Barcaldine, where the tree of knowledge is.
Again so much history, so much has happened in our own back yard! Who would have thought!
Tambo. We arrived. What a tiny but spectacularly tidy and beautiful town. The people so friendly, bar the lady at reception, the pub with such a nice atmosphere and more.
Sitting outside facing the pool, the birds buzzing around, the sun setting and the breeze picking up, one could not enjoy the downtime. We even popped into Tambo teddies. A ‘must’ visit for those passing through.
From Tambo we headed off to St. George. Our next stop. We passed through Mitchell and much more. The landscape, the tall grasses yellow and green, the mulgas and of course the kangaroos and cows!
St.George has a lot to offer and with more time we would have explored. However, we did the most important thing. A wine tasting and of course this was accompanied with a ploughmans platter. The cool breeze and a Merlot from the winery’s grapes could not have been a better way to enjoy the cool crisp breeze.
So the journey and outback adventure was coming to an end. We had seen to much and been so many places. So much history in our own back yards.
It was time to not necessarily relax, as the alarm was always set for 7am, but there was time to read, time to talk, time to learn and more.
So off we set, homeward bound. A long day ahead and a slight detour!
The painted silos something I had seen along the way. So while on the toilet I googled the nearest one to Yeralbon, a place we were passing through.
What a sight and what a story!
To sum it all up.. as words and photos just do not do it justice, taking the time to, ‘take the time’ was just what the soul needed. The brain and the heart often rule our lives. More often than not one wins over the other.
This time we trumped them both and just got in the car and drove!
The outback is amazing, the landscape soothing.
If you get the chance, fill up the car, pack an eskie and just start driving. Who knows where you will end up and what you may see!
Although, it is great for the heart and good for the soul!