THE LAST LEG – 3-6 December – Quilpie, Charleville, Toowoomba...and home

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December 6th 2016
Published: December 17th 2016
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THE LAST LEG – 3-5 December – Quilpie, Charleville, Toowoomba...and home

Quilpie was the next town of interest. Quilpie is on the banks of the Bullo River in the outback's famous Channel Country. The town was established as a rail centre for the area's large sheep and cattle properties. Today it is better known as an opal town and, in particular, for the 'Boulder Opal'. The world's largest concentration of this opal is found in the area surrounding Quilpie. The town takes its name from the Aboriginal word 'quilpeta', meaning 'stone curlew'.

We visited the St Finbarr's Catholic Church which has a unique altar, font and lectern made from opal-bearing rock.

We visited the literal “End of the Railway Line”, the old Powerhouse Museum and the Mini Museum at the airport, dedicated to the old woolscour and the unexpected landing of Amy Johnson. We drove across the bridge over the Bulloo River but it was too hot to do the walk where interpretative signs are positioned with information on the local vegetation.

After having lunch at the Military Museum we drove onto Cheepie. Now that is an interesting place!!!!!!!!!! It has a population of 1….yes 1. It was once a Cobb & Co change station. And for a short time from 1914, was the railhead from Charleville. The old railway station is still there.

From Cheepie to Charleville, we drove through some rain after seeing lots of incredible lightening ahead of us. The roadside was full of puddles so we had missed most of it. By the time we got to Charleville, the wind had started there and was threatening rain. As we drove into the Evening Star Caravan Park which is 8km out of Charleville and the van park we stayed at early in this trip (mid-September) Craig Alison the owner and his mum, Shirley were hoping it would rain. Unfortunately, it didn’t so they had to do a major watering of their garden.

If anyone who is going to Charleville want a great spot to stop, this is this is the place to stop. The people are so fantastic and so knowledgeable of the region. We hooked up to power and settled in for the night.

Charleville is in the heart of mulga country on the banks of the Warrego River and at the centre of a rich sheep and cattle district. By the late 1890s the town had its own brewery, ten hotels and 500 registered bullock teams. Cobb & Co. recognised the value of Charleville's location on a major stock route and opened a coach-building factory in 1893. It also has strong links with aviation: the first London–Sydney flight landed there in 1919, Qantas' first fare-paying service took off in 1922 and record-setting aviator Amy Johnson landed nearby in 1930. Charleville marks the terminus of the Westlander rail service from Brisbane.

As we were anxious to get home, the next morning we packed up and left before 9.00am. We had to fill up with diesel and pump our tires up to 40psi as they were still in dirt road mode at 32psi. When that was all done, we were on our way and drove for 640 kilometers to Toowoomba.

We arrived in Toowoomba at 6.00pm (4/12/16) and checked into the Toowoomba Motor Village Caravan Park where we stayed for our first trip in our new van in March 2015.

As soon as we pulled up, we opened all the caravan windows to let all the western Queensland heat out. It was distinctly cooler at Toowoomba and they too were hoping for a storm …. which didn’t happen.

We went to the nearby hotel for a tasty meal and came back to the van for coffee and to catch up on some computer work, including Facebook. It was a beautiful evening with a gentle breeze.

The next day, which was a Monday, while we were still in the caravan park, we cleaned the inside of the caravan as well as the outside compartments. We then went to a car wash place to attempt to get rid of some of the outback’s’ red dust. Fortunately, a team of 3 people washed the outside of both our van and car while we sat down for a coffee. The whole rig looked fantastic.

Then it was home time. We arrived at about 3.00pm just before Adam was going to work. It was fantastic to see him. Later that night, Kerrie & Gemma came around. Oh it was so exciting. We had a fantastic time aver the past 3 months but it is ALWAYS great to be home.

Our next trip away in the caravan will be to Tasmania over February and March 2017.

HIGHLIGHTS of our trip:

Travelling with Doug & Leura - great company, we found plenty of good bakeries, eating oysters in Eyre Peninsula
We enjoyed each others company while travelling
Western coast of Eyre Peninsula from Streaky Bay to Elliston and Innes National Park, York Peninsula
Having the time to wander around little towns in the Australian Outback & country Australia
Seeing & staying with both Pam & Tom's families, especially visiting Pam's 91 year old Dad who is getting used to being in Aged Care
Travelling to Kangaroo Island with Doug, Leura and Sheryl
Catching up with friends who we haven't seen for a long time
Travelling on the Oodnadatta Track
The flight over Lake Eyre
Seeing the Painted Desert, Painted Rocks and Breakaways
Arkaroola & the Ridge-Top Tour
Seeing the work & impact that George Burford (Tom's old landlord in Adelaide) did in Coober Pedy in the early 20th Century
Travelling up the Birdsville Track and seeing Jude & Paul
Arriving home and seeing our children Kerrie & Adam and our special granddaughter, Gemma

Additional photos below
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