Published: June 26th 2009June 24th 2009
Left Broken Hill and halfway to Tibooburra (in the North Western Corner of NSW) time got changed back to Eastern Standard Time (normal for Melbourne). It is very weird in the outback!
Roads were pretty rough, there was bitumen leading to the cattle grids and in between were gibbers, red or grey sand, it kept on changing without rhyme or reason. There were salt and clay pans and the scrub disappeared to spinifex then nothing - just dirt and rocks. Came upon dry creek beds and they had Gum Trees managing to grow in them.
Filled up at Tibooburra fuel $1.51pl. Continued on to Sturt National Park and set up at Fort Grey Campground around 2.30pm. Was glad to change into shorts, got to 25°. Kids did some Math, Time and English. Cooked early tea and read 2 chapters of Deltora Quest.
Got to Cameron’s Corner where the 3 states meet and took lots of photos. There were 100+ hills on way to Innamincka - it felt like we were on a rollercoaster. Turned off at old sign pointing to Innamincka and went past Santos Oil Fields with the huge arms pumping the oil from the ground (like
3 States at once - Alex, Kate & Rod
Texas). Grey sandy track with red sand hills to the East. Got very desolate and Rod almost overshot a couple of corners. Made myself feel better when I turned on the Satellite phone and made sure it had plenty of charge - just in case!!! It was just as well, as we realised 80kms later that we were on the OLD Strezlecki Track, which cut the corner off, but we saw no other cars.
Innamincka is a very small town with a combined servo, general store, tourist shop, info centre. Of course they have the pub (not many towns don’t) and on the back road a Laundromat. Drove out to Burke’s Grave, Cullyamurra Waterhole and Burke & Wills Dig Tree on Nappa Merrie Station next to Cooper Creek. We set up camp there, only $11 and they come around and ask if you want any fire wood - service or what? The station manager, Bomber Johnson had lots of stories to tell, if only there was enough time.
Next morning, we were getting very confused as to which state we were in. Headed north to Arrabury and crossed back into SA to Cordillo Downs with Australia’s Largest Shearing
Shed, up to 82,000 head of sheep were hand sheared there within a season (a few weeks). It was changed to a cattle station in 1942. Stopped at Cadelga Ruins and continued on to Birdsville. Got some bread from the bakery and bumped into one of the guys from Tour for Timeout group raising money for Depression and Youth Suicide in Tassie. Last saw them in Innamincka. Fuel only $1.35per litre - we were stunned. Set up camp just outside of town at the windmill by the river and drove out to see Big Red a huge sand dune near the start of the Simpson Desert. I tried driving up the first sand dune, but forgot to put the car in 4WD and ran out of go. I got out and let Rod take over. The kids climbed the dune to the side and near the top Kate got on her hands and knees - a bit scared of heights, while Alex just kept on marching.
We had tea at the Birdsville Pub. Met a couple from the School of Air who gave us some pointers to try and get the kids motivated to write in their journals. They
were from Mt. Isa and had suggested that we could have enrolled them in the School of the Air from Melbourne before we left. We could have called in to any of their offices/classrooms whilst traveling.
There are more photos below