Monday 28 Nov – 1 Dec 2016  Birdsville

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December 1st 2016
Published: December 14th 2016
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Monday 28 Nov – 1 Dec 2016 Birdsville

Arriving in Birdsville: We had been to Birdsville before but had flown in, stayed for 3 hours then flew out. We pulled into the Council-run caravan park and booked in for 4 days as we were gong to meet my sister Jude and her husband Paul who were arriving on 30 November. The van park had excellent facilities. Only 2 other caravans were in the park and both were medium-term stays as Telstra employees lived in them.

Considering they get over 5,000 people to the annual Birdsville Raced on the 1st weekend in September, the number of facilities need to be good and extensive, even though 100s of temporary facilities are bought in for the event.

As soon as we chose out spot, we switched on the airconditioning …. which didn’t get switched off until we left Birdsville!!! It was very hot, reaching over 40 degrees every day.

The town was quiet. The famous Birdsville Baker had closed for the summer and will open again at Easter time. We were sorry that we couldn’t have another camel pie!

The Simpson Desert Ranger was gone for the year and the Police Station was closed all the time we were there. However, the great Birdsville Hotel was open and was visited by most locals on a daily basis. The Roadhouse operated 24/7 and had the best supply of groceries etc. There was also a shop attached to the Post Office.

As we had a couple of days to wait for Jude & Paul, we methodically ticked off all the sites which were on the map that the Tourist Information Centre had given us.

After setting up the van, we walked to the Visitor’s Centre. What a great facility. It included a museum, book exchange and book shop, auditorium where we watched a DVD on the Birdsville Region and another on Tom Kruse the Mailman. We also used their free WiFi.

The 1st night we went to the pub for a meal, which we decided that the next time we eat there, we would share a meal. The servings were hugh!

The next day we all the other sites such as the Artesian bore head and outlet where the
158.1 Big Red sand dune 35km from Birdsville (8)158.1 Big Red sand dune 35km from Birdsville (8)158.1 Big Red sand dune 35km from Birdsville (8)

Tom, Jude & Paul looking as far as the eye could see on top of the dune
town gets its water, the Geothermal Power Station, Old Court House, the ruins of the Royal Hotel, the pontoon on the banks of the bore-drain billabong, Burke & Wills Slash Tree, the Birdsville Race Track and the Waddi Tree stand.

In the evening, we took some wine and cheese out to Pelican Point to watch the sun set. It was one of the most beautiful sun set we have seen. It even had purple in it. The sun reflected beautifully on the water.

During the next day, just after lunch, we were sitting in the van and got a knock on the door. It was Jude & Paul. They had driven over 900km the day before and had less than 180km to drive on 30/11 so arrived in Birdsville early. It was fantastic to see them both. It didn’t take long to park their car and TVan next to us.

We had a lot to catch up on so chatted over tea and coffee until we decided to drive out to another famous feature of Birdsville – Rig Red, a big sand dune about 35km west of Birdsville which is the
158.1 Big Red sand dune sunset (18)158.1 Big Red sand dune sunset (18)158.1 Big Red sand dune sunset (18)

Jude enjoying the sunset.
start of the Simpson’s Desert.

I was expecting a very big sand dune similar to the ones we saw in Botswana but Big Red was very small in comparison. Non the less, we had our 4x4s to drive over the dune. That was a lot of fun. All 4 of us drove up and down the dune. We then set up our vehicles at the top of the dune. Paul pulled the awning he had on the side of his car out and we sat on our deck chairs with cold bears and chips to watch the sun set. It was very pleasant and with a gentle breeze blowing, the temperature wasn’t too bad.

Jude and I walked up a different and higher section of the dune and ran down. Soon, Paul and Tom walked up the same area. There were several desert plants in flower so it was good to walk around and appreciate the area.

We drove back to town around 8.00pm and went to the pub for dinner. We had ordered our meals before going out to Big Red.

When Jude & Paul arrived in Birdsville, we had to break the news that the Simpson Desert Park was closed to all visitors from 1 December. This meant we could not go out to Poeppel’s Corner as we had planned. How unlucky. However, in hignsite, as it was going to be 45 degrees in Birdsville the next day (1/12), it would mean that it would be 50 degrees at Poeppel’s Corner. That would be unbearable. And besides, it would be better and easier driving to approach the Corner from the west due to the shape of the dunes.

After some discussion, our fluid plans changed to deciding on leaving Birdsville on 1/12 despite us having paid for a 4th night.

Additional photos below
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