Published: August 6th 2012July 22nd 2012
Home Hill is a tiny country village en route from Bowen to Ayr. We hadn’t really planned to stop there and it was the ‘Home Hill Comfort Stop’ that made that decision for us. It’s a spot with BBQ facilities and lukewarm showers where travelers can stay for free for up to 48 hours. The village itself is a bit of a dive so we figured that this is an effective way to boost the economy and get people to spend some money there. Instead of having names, Home Hill’s streets are all numbered, ie “Fourth St” and “Fifth Ave” etc. Very New York for a little country settlement!
Our camping was a very interesting old chap: permanently on the road, Gary liked to drink and loved to talk. Many conversations and jokes later (Gary even showed us various bits and pieces in his van and gave me a new toothbrush), we found him fast asleep in his van, getting some shut-eye before the next morning’s early start.
That afternoon, as recommended by Gary, we went for a cycle to the nearby Burdekin River Bridge. This railway bridge certainly is something. At 1103m, it is one of Australia’s longest
multi-span bridges and longer than Sydney’s Harbour Bridge. Construction began in 1947 and took a decade to complete. Its steel structure requires ongoing maintenance and as soon as workmen finish painting it, they return to the beginning and start again! I also noticed that its struts and railings are riddled with many horrid spiders…
The Burdekin River, which is 740km long, was named by German explorer and scientist Ludwig Leichhardt after Mrs Burdekin who assisted him during his expedition. At a nearby information centre we learnt all about the area’s sugar cane industry. There are four large scale sugar production mills in the Burdekin Shire and the district produces over 8 million tonnes of cane each year, accounting for a quarter of the nation’s sugar production!
As we drove out of Home Hill, we saw the same cyclists that we had passed the previous two days. Those guys were actually traveling at the same speed as us! We affectionately christened them the cyclopaths :-)
By the way, I’ve included a couple of photos of a monster pod with seeds. Many of these pods dropped from the tree under which we were camping. They’re very impressive! And if
anyone knows what they are, please let me know. :-)