Adels Grove

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Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Boodjamulla National Park
September 18th 2015
Published: February 11th 2016
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What an awesome place but a fair old way from civilisation, that however is one of many reasons for its great appeal. For those not in the know Adels Grove is located in North West Queensland. It is about 340 k’s NW of Mt Isa and about 160 k’s SW of Burketown, the Northern Territory border is maybe 80 k’s to the West. See

We arrived just before mid April and had expected to be there until probably late September.

The turnoff from the Barkly Highway at Julia Creek was only one lane wide most of the way, every now and then they had 2 or 3 kilometres of double lanes for overtaking purposes. The road was in reasonable nick but a bit bumpy but that’s no surprise hey? The bitumen ends about 30 k’s out of Gregory where it is thinly sealed, a kind of temporary measure up to the turn off to the Century mine.

This section is cared for by Century mine for the benefit of their vehicles mind you it is much appreciated by the rest of us travellers also. Century is predominantly a zinc mine and was expected to cease production during the year.

From the mine for the next 35k’s or so it was unsealed and fairly corrugated. It had been graded maybe 6 or 8 weeks before hand but as the dry season kicks in and with Easter included a fair amount of traffic had travelled along this way.

We met some fantastic people and made some incredible friends. So a big shout out to Mal & Shirley, Peter & Linda, Harley & Lyn, Ange & Phil, Arthur & Coral, Adrian and Crystal. Our time together particularly around our campfire at night made it all the more pleasurable – thanks heaps.

Rod and Michelle the owners were a bloody good mob to work for as well.

As is often the case in these jobs you need to multi task which I really enjoy doing. So I shared my time between being a tour guide/driver where I did the Riversleigh World Heritage fossil field and Harrys Hill sunset tour both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. The fossil field was about a 1 hour drive along some pretty dusty and bumpy roads whilst providing commentary along the way and at the fields itself, I found it really interesting and certainly left with more knowledge than I’d started with.

As you know I love my photography so having to take people on our sunset tour was a blessing, gee it’s a tough gig but somebody’s got to do it.

At the fossil fields you can walk around and check it out yourself, it has various signs pointing out some of the highlights. But if you really want the whole story, plus hidden bits and pieces, history on the area and plenty more go with a guide. One morning while driving some guests to the site I had a lady say she had waited most of her life to visit Riversleigh. Gulp!

Now that was some pressure right there but when we chatted on the way back and I asked how she enjoyed the day she could not have been more pleased or grateful l. Truthfully I reckon I was more satisfied than she was, to be a part of that dream was incredibly rewarding. See

Other tasks um nah they weren't tasks, other duties I performed were bar work, rubbish/recycling, operating the canoe hire at Boodjamulla NP and cleaning the ablutions, they were all fun. Oh maybe except for the cleaning that was just a little crap … ark ark ark (in the voice of Mork from Ork). And YES pun intended.

Adels Grove has its own airstrip and plane and for very good reason it is remote very remote. The Royal Flying Doctor Service uses it for their monthly medical clinic run and also for emergencies in the area. Unfortunately on a couple of occasions they were needed in a hurry, I am pleased to say that both times the outcome was positive.

Sometimes things breakdown or are needed urgently to keep the business functioning properly flying saves many many hours of driving.

I was very fortunate to enjoy a scenic flight around the area and as always the view from the air is incredible. Flying over Century Mine is amazing. I was once a bit dodgy with flying but this little 2 seater did have me ….. not breaking into a sweat but I really felt every bump in the air.

Boodjamulla NP – Wow! The water is an emerald (well almost) green and just spectacular. You can most definitely enjoy a dip (swim) it is clean and safe, no salties just freshwater crocs.

It is deep in sections though up to 30 metres as it passes through the gorge with its 30 metre high vertical walls. An abundance of fish and turtles to be looked at and enjoyed as of course in our National Parks it is strictly forbidden to fish.

You can canoe through the middle gorge and into the upper gorge but you will need to physically manhandle (or should that be personhandle) your craft up a short distance from the lower. The park has a number of scenic walks all are enjoyable – must dos are:-

The Island Stack

Constance Range

Upper Gorge lookout

Wild Dog Dreaming featuring aboriginal artwork.
Sam and Opal Ah Bow memorialSam and Opal Ah Bow memorialSam and Opal Ah Bow memorial

On the site of their market garden 100 years ago

A 40 kph speed limit exists in the park and it is there for a reason. It gets dusty, bumpy and wildlife roams. Some people aren’t into obeying these signs and consequences do arise. Such as the clown well he wasn’t a real clown, well at least not in clown’s clothes who decided he had every right to drive faster. He said 40 is too slow and he liked going faster.

Do you believe in Karma? Sometimes it is instant because as this bloke overtook a vehicle showering him with stones the last bend a 90 degree left hander as you enter the carpark was upon him before he knew it. This resulted in old mates Landcruiser rolling over, ohhhhhhh. He got out uninjured so excuse me for being a little callous.

During the year a buffalo an injured one to make it worse strayed into the park. This created concerns for Rangers and public alike near the top of the upper gorge, this big fella was bailing people up left right and centre. The Upper Gorge walk was closed for a period of time much to the annoyance of travellers but safety comes first. He was eventually relocated.

The area is rich in history it is nice and has benefits having an insider’s perspective.

Birds I mean loads of birds populate the area – I will do a short blog to follow on just the birds.

Plenty of wild and not so wild life in the region also. This is cattle country mainly Brahman, but you will see dingoes, feral pigs, roos, wallabies, emus etc.

As I discovered this part of Australia is on many people’s dream/wish list and for good reason do a little research and you may just put it on yours.

Typical of much of outback Australia you get plenty of opportunities to experience splendiferous sunrises and sunsets and stark stunning landscapes. I would often jump on my treddly and go for a ride for a few hours, yeah the roads were bumpy and dusty but it is therapeutic and very relaxing. Though thirsty work at the same time it is well worth it just make sure you always have water with you.

Take care travel safe and remember it’s nice to be important but it’s important to be nice.

Additional photos below
Photos: 55, Displayed: 27


Riversleigh fossil fieldRiversleigh fossil field
Riversleigh fossil field

The limestone below your feet at this spot was water flowing through the rainforest 25 million years ago.
My officeMy office
My office

Canoe hire in NP

2nd February 2018
Sam and Opal Ah Bow memorial

They are my Great Grand Parents. My family resides in Tenant Creek, Mount Isa, Cloncurry and Cammoweal.
6th February 2018
Sam and Opal Ah Bow memorial

Oh wow how interesting. Gee it must have been a tough old existence for them but by all accounts they had a busy little community happening out there. I worked at Adels Grove and did the Riversleigh Fossil Field tours so drove by regularly. Part of the tour involved explaining to guests on the bus about the history and goings on in the area including your Great Grandparents involvement. Thank you so much for letting me know. Take care and all the best to you, Bernie

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